Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

They attacked Russia - that is IMO, pretty idiotic to start with...
With hindsight, yes, but at the time Russia didn't look like a juggernaut. In fact, in the aftermath of the winter war it looked very much to be easy to topple. And arguably, with a leader less bloody-minded than Stalin it might well have fallen.
 
Sorry team, a note of seriousness - NZ sheep farming is high volume, high production and so farmers have long bred for both meat production and commercially saleable wool. Because herd / flock size is often quite high, things like horns are not encouraged. So any breed with big horns doesn't usually end up on a large commercial farm. The average size would have been around the 1000-2k back then as well. Whereas by the late 80s we were running 2.5-3k on ours.

The interesting looking breeds, that are smaller, or have different coloured wool tend to be marginal outside of Europe/Middle East. That is changing a bit, as most sheep farmers now don't make much money off wool, unless they've specialised in wool - for example marino. So there is more adventurism now, but that's in part desperation.
 

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Manx Loaghtan​



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Manx Loaghtan
Traits
Manx loaghtan.jpg
Manx Loaghtan sheep at The Grove, Rural Life Museum, Ramsey, Isle of Man
Conservation statusRBST (2017): Category 4[1]
Country of originIsle of Man
UseMeat, wool
Horn statusHorned, with two, four or six horns.
The Manx Loaghtan ([needs IPA] loch-tan) is a rare breed of sheep (Ovis aries) native to the Isle of Man. It is sometimes spelled as Loaghtyn or Loghtan. The sheep have dark brown wool and usually four or occasionally six horns.[2]
The Manx Loaghtan is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds, and descends from the primitive sheep once found throughout Scotland, the Hebrides, and Shetland Islands. The word Loaghtan comes from the Manx words lugh dhoan, which mean mouse-brown and describe the colour of the sheep.[2] This breed is primarily raised for its meat, which some consider a delicacy. The meat has recently received EU recognition and protection under the Protected Designation of Origin scheme, which requires products to originate in a specific region.[3]
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has characterised the Loaghtan as "at risk". By the 1950s there were only 43 surviving specimens. Manx National Heritage developed two healthy flocks. These have given rise to commercial flocks on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom and Jersey. Even so, today there are still fewer than 1,500 registered breeding females.[4]

Contents​

Appearance​



A Manx Loaghtan at Butser Ancient Farm

The Manx Loaghtan is a small sheep, with no wool on their dark brown faces and legs. The sheep have short tails and are fine boned. In the past century the sheep's colour has stabilised as "moorit", that is shades between fawn and dark reddish brown, though the colour bleaches in the sun.[5] Manx Loaghtan usually have four horns, but individuals are also found with two or six horns.[6] The horns are generally small on the ewes but larger and stronger on the males. An adult female weighs about 40kg, and an adult male weighs around 60kg.


Products​

Meat​

The Loaghtan is farmed as a delicacy on the Isle of Man, with only two principal farms on the island producing the meat. There are now many holdings on the UK mainland that also breed Loaghtans, including some farms with over 100 ewes: for example the Fowlescombe Flock in Devon.[7] This gourmet meat is highly prized, often being sold as hoggett or mutton from well-finished animals. A 15-month-old will yield a carcass of 18 kg of lean meat.[5]




Manx Loaghtan sheep at the Ryedale agricultural show

There is a large flock of the sheep on the Calf of Man, and access to the Isle of Man was closed to protect them during the 2001 UK Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic. The disease did not reach the Island itself, nor the Calf, which continued exports of the meat to the continent of Europe.

The breed is listed in the Ark of Taste, an international catalogue of endangered heritage foods that the global Slow Food movement maintains.


Wool​

Craft spinners and weavers like the wool for its softness and rich brown colour. The crafters use the undyed material to produce woollens and tweeds.[5] The wool from Jersey's flock of Loaghtans (see below) is sold locally.[8][Note 1]

The Loaghtan's wool has a high coating of lanolin wax, also known as wool wax or wool grease. Warm weather makes the lanolin viscous, which aids shearing.[8] Some speciality soap producers also use the lanolin as an ingredient in a mild soap.


Jersey​



Loaghtan sheep on Jersey

The Loaghtan is believed to be the closest surviving relative of the now extinct Jersey sheep. In 2008 the National Trust for Jersey began a programme of introducing Loaghtans into Jersey for coastal grazing, a traditional method of vegetation control in the north of Jersey.[9] Today, two shepherds care for a flock that has grown from 20 to 231 animals.[8]


Ecology​

There appears to be a link between the presence of Loaghtan sheep and the ability of the chough to thrive. Studies on Ramsey Island, Bardsey Island, and the Isle of Man have found that as the number of grazing sheep fell, so did the number of breeding choughs; when sheep grazing increased, so did the number of breeding choughs. This appears to be happening on Jersey as well.[8]

As the Loaghtans graze, they crop and trample the grass. This enables the birds to access surface-active and soil insects. Also, the dung they leave draws beetles and fly larvae. These insects in turn are a resource for the birds when the ground is hard or other insects are scarce.[8]
 

Manx Loaghtan​



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Manx Loaghtan
Traits
Manx loaghtan.jpg
Manx Loaghtan sheep at The Grove, Rural Life Museum, Ramsey, Isle of Man
Conservation statusRBST (2017): Category 4[1]
Country of originIsle of Man
UseMeat, wool
Horn statusHorned, with two, four or six horns.
The Manx Loaghtan ([needs IPA] loch-tan) is a rare breed of sheep (Ovis aries) native to the Isle of Man. It is sometimes spelled as Loaghtyn or Loghtan. The sheep have dark brown wool and usually four or occasionally six horns.[2]
The Manx Loaghtan is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds, and descends from the primitive sheep once found throughout Scotland, the Hebrides, and Shetland Islands. The word Loaghtan comes from the Manx words lugh dhoan, which mean mouse-brown and describe the colour of the sheep.[2] This breed is primarily raised for its meat, which some consider a delicacy. The meat has recently received EU recognition and protection under the Protected Designation of Origin scheme, which requires products to originate in a specific region.[3]
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has characterised the Loaghtan as "at risk". By the 1950s there were only 43 surviving specimens. Manx National Heritage developed two healthy flocks. These have given rise to commercial flocks on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom and Jersey. Even so, today there are still fewer than 1,500 registered breeding females.[4]

Contents​

Appearance​



A Manx Loaghtan at Butser Ancient Farm

The Manx Loaghtan is a small sheep, with no wool on their dark brown faces and legs. The sheep have short tails and are fine boned. In the past century the sheep's colour has stabilised as "moorit", that is shades between fawn and dark reddish brown, though the colour bleaches in the sun.[5] Manx Loaghtan usually have four horns, but individuals are also found with two or six horns.[6] The horns are generally small on the ewes but larger and stronger on the males. An adult female weighs about 40kg, and an adult male weighs around 60kg.


Products​

Meat​

The Loaghtan is farmed as a delicacy on the Isle of Man, with only two principal farms on the island producing the meat. There are now many holdings on the UK mainland that also breed Loaghtans, including some farms with over 100 ewes: for example the Fowlescombe Flock in Devon.[7] This gourmet meat is highly prized, often being sold as hoggett or mutton from well-finished animals. A 15-month-old will yield a carcass of 18 kg of lean meat.[5]




Manx Loaghtan sheep at the Ryedale agricultural show

There is a large flock of the sheep on the Calf of Man, and access to the Isle of Man was closed to protect them during the 2001 UK Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic. The disease did not reach the Island itself, nor the Calf, which continued exports of the meat to the continent of Europe.

The breed is listed in the Ark of Taste, an international catalogue of endangered heritage foods that the global Slow Food movement maintains.


Wool​

Craft spinners and weavers like the wool for its softness and rich brown colour. The crafters use the undyed material to produce woollens and tweeds.[5] The wool from Jersey's flock of Loaghtans (see below) is sold locally.[8][Note 1]

The Loaghtan's wool has a high coating of lanolin wax, also known as wool wax or wool grease. Warm weather makes the lanolin viscous, which aids shearing.[8] Some speciality soap producers also use the lanolin as an ingredient in a mild soap.


Jersey​



Loaghtan sheep on Jersey

The Loaghtan is believed to be the closest surviving relative of the now extinct Jersey sheep. In 2008 the National Trust for Jersey began a programme of introducing Loaghtans into Jersey for coastal grazing, a traditional method of vegetation control in the north of Jersey.[9] Today, two shepherds care for a flock that has grown from 20 to 231 animals.[8]


Ecology​

There appears to be a link between the presence of Loaghtan sheep and the ability of the chough to thrive. Studies on Ramsey Island, Bardsey Island, and the Isle of Man have found that as the number of grazing sheep fell, so did the number of breeding choughs; when sheep grazing increased, so did the number of breeding choughs. This appears to be happening on Jersey as well.[8]

As the Loaghtans graze, they crop and trample the grass. This enables the birds to access surface-active and soil insects. Also, the dung they leave draws beetles and fly larvae. These insects in turn are a resource for the birds when the ground is hard or other insects are scarce.[8]
i think they should just use down filled coats.Much warmer.
 
The most unique local war memorial near to where I grew up was on a nearby sheep farm, where one of the sons died in Italy six days before Christmas 1944. It is unique as it is built into the gate to the farm-house.

Due to the miracles of the Internet, one can now read the official war diary of the engagement he died at, look at photos of the Commonwealth War Grave near Ravenna and his service record as well as look at the war memorial.

 
Operation Compass, Part 7. 8-15 January 1941.
Operation Compass, Part 7.

8-15 January 1941.

Major-General Michael Creagh’s orders were explicit, the Italian 10th Army, or rather, what remained of it, had opened itself up to be defeated in detail. The 60th Sabratha Division had been split between Derna on the coast and Mechili inland. The detached infantry regiment at Mechili were reinforced by an armoured force, whose composition and capability were unknown, but it had to be considered as dangerous. 7th Armoured Brigade with part of the Support Group were to continue up the coast road towards Derna. 4th Armoured Brigade would cut across country to Mechili.

The newly arrived 19th Australian Brigade, which was fresh, was given the task of advancing along the coast road towards Derna following 7th Armoured Brigade. The 6th Australian Division’s Cavalry Regiment, with its captured Italian tanks would be act as 19th Brigade’s reconnaissance force. The Australian infantry were accompanied by 40th Bn RTR in their Valiant Infantry Tanks. This particular Brigade had had much less experience of working with tanks, and so they spent a day exercising around Tobruk with the tanks before setting off.

Creagh’s two Armoured Brigades were still in a reasonably good state of repair. Although they had been moving far and fast over the previous month, their overall level of availability was quite high. Despite being far from their workshops the fitters and mechanics had been doing their best to keep the cruiser tanks on the road. There was a certain amount of cannibalisation of unrepairable tanks to keep the majority on the road, but the six regiments, two each made up of A9, A10 and Valiant I*, had set off on 6 January, just a day after the capture of Tobruk.


Each Armoured Brigade had its own designated RASC Company, split into four platoons (workshop, ammunition, petrol and supplies). Consisting of 9 officers, 17 NCOs, 338 Other Ranks, they operated 90 3-ton lorries, 25 motorcycles, various cars and lighter trucks. The two Companies had been fully stocked before setting off from Field Supply Depot 10 and supplemented by some captured Italian stocks from Bardia and Tobruk. The mostly highly prized (and fought over) Italian trucks were the 2000l water trucks. Four of these were ‘acquired’ by 7th Armoured Division, adding to the 15-cwt water trailers that each of the RASC platoons were issued with.

Perhaps General Hutchison’s most treasured gift was that the petrol platoons of the two Armoured Brigades had been issued with the new ‘jerrycans’. The arrival of a large number of these in the convoy which arrived from England in December had been shipped forward to Sollum at the beginning of the month. From there they’d been brought up to Field Supply Depot 10 for the exclusive use of the Armoured Division. Having these to carry petrol meant that they would lose less from leakage, and were generally found to be more convenient for refuelling tanks. These, along with the external fuel tanks on the majority of the tanks, added to Creagh’s ability to manoeuvre. From previous experience the crews would now only ditch these external tanks in an emergency. If it was believed that the tank would go into action the next day, then the crew would dismount the extra fuel tank the night before, carefully, to avoid it being damaged. The petrol platoon had some spare fuel tanks, but it had been learned by the tank crews to treat the ones they had with care.

General O’Connor had recognised that what he was asking of Creagh men wasn’t going to be easy, especially as it wouldn’t be clear just when the RASC Companies would be able to replenish the supplies they were carrying forward. The 4th Reserve Mechanical Transport Company New Zealand Army Service Corps had brought forward the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade, so these, along with other RASC units were given the task to create two more Field Supply Depots (12 and 13) halfway between Tobruk and Derna/Mechili.

The first encounter with Italian troops for 7th Armoured Brigade was in the vicinity of Martuba, some 70 miles from Tobruk, and only fifteen miles short of Derna. The road was blocked and so the A9 tanks of the 8th Hussars began to patrol to look for ways around the obstacle. The closer the Armoured Brigade came to Derna the less conducive to tank operations it became. The arrival of the Australians of 19th Brigade with the infantry tanks allowed 7th Armoured Brigade to move off south to support the efforts of 4th Armoured Brigade at Mechili.

The 7th Hussars, equipped with A9 Cruisers, from 4th Armoured Brigade acted primarily as the reconnaissance force for the rest of Brigade. The three understrength Squadrons of 7th Hussars had cut south of Mechili, with one each blocking the tracks leading into Mechili from west, south and south-east. The two other regiments 6th Battalion RTR in A10s and 2nd RGH in Valiant I* approached from the east and north respectively. Because of the slower speed of the A10s the 6th Bn RTR were approaching directly, while the 2nd RGH had swept round to approach from the north. Half of the Support Group were with 4th Armoured Brigade and the batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery got into position to support the attack.


Brigadier John Caunter’s intelligence was that there were probably two battalions of Italian medium and light tanks ahead of him, and an unknown number of troops, but probably at least a regiment, so he had to presume they had anti-tank guns as well as artillery. The first Italian M13/40s that had been encountered had proven themselves an improvement over the previous Italian tanks and its performance now well known to the British. While its 47mm gun was a threat to the A9 at any range, the A10 at medium to close range, but the Valiant I* would need to be very close to be in danger. The Italian tanks had shown themselves unreliable and few of them were equipped with radios. The armour was about the same thickness as the A10, around 30mm, but the British thought it quite brittle.

General Babini commanding the forces at Mechili knew that a British force was approaching from his own scouts. He therefore set up his units to catch the British in an ambush, but the British were moving faster than he anticipated. The initial encounter took place as the 7th Hussars’ A9s were caught moving into position by some of the Italian tanks of III Medium Tank Battalion. The 2-pdr guns fired by pre-war professionals took out six Italian tanks in quick succession, but the 47mm guns on the Italian tanks took an equal toll of the lightly armoured cruisers.

The 10th Bersaglieri Regiment had recently arrived in Libya and this was their first action. The destruction of the Italian forces in Egypt, Bardia and Tobruk by the British, following on the losses to the Greeks in Albania had dented Italian pride. The Bersaglieri were a proud regiment and felt they had the power to restore something of that lost pride. They had set up their anti-tank guns well and as the A10s of 6th Bn RTR approached to within range they began to take a toll on the British tanks. Other than a couple of Close Support tanks with their 3.7-inch tank howitzer with the ability to throw HE rounds at the Italian anti-tank guns, the rest of the A10s suffered the lack of an effective weapon to deal with dug-in anti-tank guns. The 6th Bn RTR started to withdraw as losses mounted, the Italians were in a stronger position than expected. The Italian artillery began to fall among the British tanks, with two tanks being put out of action because of near-misses.


This withdrawal was seen by Babini as an opportunity and so he ordered the battalion of M13/40s to advance and finish off the British tanks. Unfortunately for Babini, this advance coincided with the arrival of 2nd RGH from the north. The Italian tanks were caught on the flank, their thin armour no protection against the 2-pdr guns on the Valiant I* tanks. As losses mounted, and attempts to take on the new British tanks, whose 60mm frontal armour dealt with the Italian 47mm guns quite well, the position in Mechili was now in grave danger.

While the Italians had prepared an all-around defence, the fifty Valiant I* which rolled over their positions were almost unstoppable. A couple of tanks were disabled due to mines, but the rest rolled over the Bersaglieri leaving them no option but to surrender. The other battalion of tanks present in Mechili was a Light Tank Battalion in L3/35 tankettes, when they’d seen the British tanks coming and knew their machine guns would be useless against the tanks, some of them attempted to escape. B Squadron of 7th Hussars which blocked the route to the west picked off a number of them. The A9 Cruisers had much the same top speed as the tankettes and so ten British tanks chased after the thirty tankettes, destroying twenty, before ending the chase due to failing light and low fuel. The ten of tankettes which escaped were last seen heading in the direction of Benghazi.

The situation at Derna was complicated by the wadi that ran down to the sea. The 19th Brigade and the Valiant tanks pushed forward, and kept the pressure on the Italian defenders, but attacking Derna from the east was no easy matter. The support of the tanks could only take the infantry so far, as the terrain militated against the tracked vehicles.

With the other two Australian Brigades now rested after the battle at Tobruk, O’Connor could see that he had two options. With 7th Armoured Division now in possession of Mechili he could either strike directly at Benghazi, or if, as he suspected, the Italians might withdraw their remaining forces from Cyrenaica, he could cut them off them off by advancing through Msus to Agedabia. If the Italians decided to stay where they were, this would mean he could attack Benghazi from the south. Consulting Creagh about whether his tanks and men could achieve this feat, the answer was yes, but the tanks would be in dire need of maintenance afterwards. General Mackay’s opinion was that his 19th Brigade, with the infantry tanks would be able to keep moving along the coast road, but it would likely be hard going. One of his other two Brigades, 16th or 17th, if they had the transport, could follow 7th Armoured Division across country to support them. If the reports about Italian strength in Derna and beyond were correct, he would probably need two Brigades to clear them out.

The quartermasters of XIII Corps, who rightly felt that they had been doing miracles on a daily basis, looked at the O’Connor’s plan and sighed. They were being asked to supply an Armoured Division and an Infantry Division over waterless camel tracks. As the crow flies, a much shorter distance than driving over the desert tracks, Agedabia was over 250 miles from Tobruk, now the nearest place where supplies could be unloaded. It was five hundred miles from the railhead at Marsa Matruh, as the crow flies. Supplies were starting to arrive in Tobruk from Egypt and Tobruk was capable of dealing with around 900 tons of cargo per day. The number of prisoners being fed and watered was reducing as they were shipped back to Egypt, making life a bit easier for the quartermasters. But it was still an undertaking with considerable risk and difficulty. Like General Creagh’s assessment of his tanks, the supply chain could do it, but what kind of state it would be in at the end of it didn’t bear thinking about. The new plan for advancing across the desert made it absolutely essential to have sufficient reserve stocks well forward at the outset; another Field Supply Depot (No. 14) was therefore to be formed 25 miles south-west of Mechili, into which ten days' stock of food and petrol and two refills of ammunition were to be put—nearly 3,000 tons in all—with special arrangements for water. To do this over and above the daily routine running was estimated to require twelve days. O’Connor didn’t want to wait that long.

After consulting with General Wavell, O’Connor got permission to cut off the Italians in Cyrenaica, with the capture Benghazi a priority. That port would be needed to support the British formations so far from their own supply bases. The 7th Armoured Division would wait at Mechili for their own supplies to be topped up for four days’ worth of supplies. The 16th Australian Brigade would join the two Armoured Brigades, with the Support Group, they would move together to Msus, where another Field Supply Depot would be established. Then 16th Brigade would move forward with 4th Armoured Brigade continuing west to the sea at Ghemines. The Support Group would accompany 7th Armoured Brigade, travelling southwest towards Agedabia. Here they would block the road between Cyrenaica and Sirtica, preventing the Italians either withdrawing from, or reinforcing Cyrenaica. In the meantime, 19th and 17th Brigades, with the Infantry Tank battalion would continue the drive past Derna towards Benghazi from the north.

The other two Battalions of Infantry Tanks of 7th Tank Brigade would wait at Tobruk along with the British 16th Brigade in the meantime to act as a reserve. The planned arrival of the rest of the 7th Australian Division would be halted at Mersa Matruh, so that that Division’s transport could be utilised in moving supplies forward from there to Sollum and Fort Capuzzo, allowing the RASC units already at these sites to concentrate on moving supplies forward to Mechili.

At Derna the 19th Brigade had managed to clear the Italians from their positions on the eastern side of the Wadi, but the fire from the Italian artillery on the western side was heavy and accurate. The Australian’s artillery batteries were being frugal with their ammunition expenditure because of the difficulties in supply. To move forward against the Italian positions would need much greater artillery support than was available. The arrival of 17th Brigade allowed an attempt to outflank the Italian position at Derna, but involved a lengthy, almost fifty miles, detour along the track that ran from Martuba towards Chaulan and Giovanni Berta. This route was not without opposition, with the Italians using mobile forces to sting the Australians and slow them down. A Squadron of 40th Bn RTR’s Valiants joined the 17th Brigade along with B Squadron of 6th Division’s Calvary Regiment, mostly in Australian Pattern Carriers.

On the morning of 15 January, the Australians at Derna were approached by some locals to say that the Italians had pulled out of Derna during the night. When Australian patrols went forward, they found this to be true and so the process of moving forward began. The Italians had cratered the main road out of Derna preventing any vehicles from moving forward until the engineers were able to fill the crater in and make the roadway suitable. The 17th Brigade found a similar situation, as they neared Giovanni Berta it became clear from aerial reconnaissance that the remainder of 10th Army were pulling back and heading towards Benghazi. Over the next few days the Australians in both Brigades moved forward on the heels of the retreating Italians, but between demolitions and rear-guard actions, the Italians managed to keep the Australians at arms-length.
UK-Med-I-17small.jpg

The map is OTL, but gives you the place names etc. The full sized map is here
NB Text in italic differs from OTL. There's a couple of changes here. First it is happening significantly earlier than OTL, which means that the Italian forces at Mechili aren't reinforced as much as they were by the time the fight happened. Also the 7th Armoured Division is much stronger, far fewer light tanks and the cruisers are generally in better condition. The meeting engagement with 7th Hussars is roughly the same destroying about 6 tanks each, but obviously the 2 RGH Valiant I* changes things dramatically in the main attack. OTL much of this Italian force escaped and later were involved at Beda Fomm. Here they're mostly dead or captured. The advance through Derna by 19th and 17th Brigades is much the same. Although they have infantry tanks, from my reading of the situation these would be of limited value in those actions.
 
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