Gazala Tank Strengths Cross Referenced

Michael Carver’s Tobruk (1964) breaks down tank strengths on the 27th  of May 1942 for the start of Rommel’s Operation Skorpion (p.167). comparing this with the chain of command from  threw up some anomalies, which I had to resolve by working out the strengths for the whole of 8th Army. The task was complicated by the British habit of splitting tanks into cruiser/medium heavy tanks, and infantry tanks, as two separate groupings.

15mm QRF Crusader with QRF? Austin 3Tonner 'A' Echelon support

“Where’s my truck!”…. “Behind You!”*

8th-army8th Army [Lt Gen Ritchie] – 843 (28) tanks of which:

30th-corpsXXX Corps [Norrie] – 167 (5) Grants, 149 (5) Stuarts**, 275 (9) Crusaders allocated as follow:

(2) Stuart, (2) Crusaders

1st-armdiv1st Armd Div [Maj Gen Lumsden](1) Crusader

2nd Armd Bde [Brig Briggs](1) Grant, (3) Crusader.

22nd Armd Bde [Brig Carr](1) Grant, (3) Crusader.

201st Gds Mot Bde [Brig Marriott/Johnson]

7th-armdiv-1st7th Armd Div [Maj Gen Messervey](1) Grant

4th Lt Armd Bde4th Armd Bde [Brig Richards/Gatehouse](2) Grant,  (2) Stuart.

(British) 7th Mot Bde [Brig Renton]2? motor rifle battalions

(Indian) 3rd Mot Bde [Brig Filose] – 3 motor rifle battalions

(Indian) 29th Inf Bde [Brig Reid]3 infantry battalions

1st Free French Bde [Brig Koenig]4 infantry battalions with supporting arms

Plus 1 Armoured Brigade (from Army Reserve) –  75 (2) Grants (s3) and 75 (2) Stuarts (s3)


*  gives for an armoured division:

6 RASC companies and 4 light field ambulances, with a Divisional Workshop, and a Brigade Workshop for each brigade. This is roughly as many trucks as tanks, and gives an idea of how big the logistic tail was stretching across the desert. Even this monster was unable to sustain battle for more than a few days at a time before resupply was needed.

**Stuart tanks seemed to be popular with Artillery FOOs in armoured formations, which would easily swallow the “missing” Stuarts in the breakdown above

May 1942 GAZALA (Venezia)

  • this was my original breakdown. The slight differences probably reflect Crusaders being replaced by Grants as battle losses occurred.


Tanks – 849 (28) broken down as :

Armoured cars :  (10) Marmon-Herrington, (3) Humber

Cruiser : (3) M3 Honey, (10) Crusader

Medium : (1) Lee, (4) Grant

Infantry : (3) Matilda II, (7) Valentine

The collection in October 2012

Allied Tanks at GAZALA 4The collection in October 2015. Note the M5s , Shermans and even two ferrets filling in. The four blank bases are waiting for more Valentines


Tanks – 330 (11) broken down as :

Light : (2) PzII

Medium : (8) PzIIIh

Heavy : (1)  PzIVe

15th and 21st Panzer Divisions15th and 21st Panzer Divisions on the march


Tanks – 228 ( 7)  broken down as :

Light: (2) L6/39

Medium : (2)  M11/39, (3) M13/41

Box 023 ArieteAriete Armoured Division

Box 023 : 133 Littortio Armoured DivisionLittorio Armoured Division

The  pictures show the progress made since the original post

updated January 2017


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, DAK, Italian Army, Orbats, Wargames, Western Desert, WWII

2 responses to “Gazala Tank Strengths Cross Referenced

  1. Pingback: M5 Stuart to M3 Honey Conversion. | Not Quite Mechanised

  2. Pingback: Big Numbers on the Ostfront | Not Quite Mechanised

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