Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

I'm bemused at this hyper efficient Italian intel net that is passing photography up the chain whilst being encircled and captured

Are there an elite squadron of Italian carrier pigeons that are ferrying microfilm taken by cameras hidden in coat buttons - by a loyal cadre of staff officers feeding intelligence out from their internment camps?

The Italians were defeated in detail, critically they had their division level staffs which would include the photo analysis staffs, regularly captured. Then the retreating troops would have some very very arms lengths engagements possibly with some British tanks.

They have not been in possession, at any point, of the field for a forensic post battle analysis.
 
Gotta agree with the above. I don't see the Italians getting any concrete intelligence out of the debacle of their utter collapse in North Africa. A few radio messages talking about Tanks that are invulnerable to Italian guns isn't going to cause any re-evaluation of what the Germans already know about British tanks.

The Germans have already encountered the nasty surprise in the Matilda series in France. They'll apply Occams Razor to whatever meagre intelligence the Italians managed to put together and likely go with the simplest explanation that the British Army has deployed the Matilda II to North Africa.
 
I think it's reasonable to assume that the Germans will be aware that the Valiant exists and that there a quite a few of them in Libya and Eygipt. The Valiant has been in production long enough to be issued to quite a few units in the U.K. which is airspace the Luftwaffe has been flying over taking lots of photos for some time. As other posters have mentioned there will be some propaganda about the new tank whether this is just the Building for Victory info movies or photos in the papers.

However, it's unlikely they will much of an idea about the tanks capabilities. I hadn't considered that the Germans might think the Valiant is a later model cruiser although this is plausible. The Germans could therefore be expected to think in that case that the Valiant is an up powered, armoured and gunned Crusier. This would be reinforced by the rather confusing two types of Valiants. It would be possible that the panzer 3's and 4's struggle but manage in the early encounters with Valiant*'s only to get completed mauled when they come up against the Infantry tank variant.
 
I'm also curious about the next stage of operations in the desert. Forgive me if I missed it but I've not seen confirmation that Rommel is the commander of the DAK ITTL. Perhaps his less than stella performance in TTL's Battle of Arras hasn't allowed him to get the promotion to corps commander and the plum job of independent command in Africa.

However assuming its Rommel I always got the impression that much like O'Conner against the Italians the preceding year, what Rommel started as a disruptive raid caused the enemy to collapse so completely a rapid advance could take place. Here the British are in a better posssiton. More tanks produced overall means that the forces in Lydia haven't been robbed of their tanks for Greece,. This means that the Germans are up against more and better tanks tand more capable opponents than OTL. I foresee a rout being less likely.

Of course if it's not Rommel the German commander is much more likely to follow orders and stay on the defensive.
 
I'm also curious about the next stage of operations in the desert. Forgive me if I missed it but I've not seen confirmation that Rommel is the commander of the DAK ITTL. Perhaps his less than stella performance in TTL's Battle of Arras hasn't allowed him to get the promotion to corps commander and the plum job of independent command in Africa.

However assuming its Rommel I always got the impression that much like O'Conner against the Italians the preceding year, what Rommel started as a disruptive raid caused the enemy to collapse so completely a rapid advance could take place. Here the British are in a better posssiton. More tanks produced overall means that the forces in Lydia haven't been robbed of their tanks for Greece,. This means that the Germans are up against more and better tanks tand more capable opponents than OTL. I foresee a rout being less likely.

Of course if it's not Rommel the German commander is much more likely to follow orders and stay on the defensive.

The best defence is an good offence
 
The best defence is an good offence
The best defence is tailored to your specific circumstances. Sometimes that's fortifying heavily, sometimes that's defence in depth and sometimes that's an offensive.

In WW2 Italian North Africa, the best defence is to dig in and actually establish a supply line.

North Africa killed more vehicles than the two warring factions. And the Italian North African Rail Network was more theoretical than real. There was a solid set of lines near Tripoli and a less solid set of military lines near Benghazi and that was it. Completely it. The two did not connect. Both also are quite old as they were built before WW1. In 1940 they planned to expand the Tripoli network to French Tunisia but the war cancelled that. Then the plan was to build a line to British Egypt but they never got that done. The Tripoli to Tobruk line that the Italians started in Spring 41 only ever got 18 km finished.

Put simply, if either side goes on the offensive right now they'll stall out before they get to their objective. As they did OTL.
 
The 2-pdr anti-tank gun had proven its value in the fighting in France and Flanders, where it was a match for all the German armoured vehicles. The four wheeled armoured cars which approached the British position were particularly vulnerable, their speed would be their primary defence. However, in this case they were approaching slowly and carefully, the commander of the first vehicle clearly scanning for the British positions though his binoculars. Captain Pitt, as a pre-war regular, had been particularly careful about camouflaging his positions, partly with an eye to the presence of the German aircraft, and exactly for this very situation. The standing orders were to let the Germans come forward as far as possible before opening fire.

The leading German vehicle had got as close as four hundred yards before something made its commander order the driver to halt. The close range and velocity of the 2-pdr gun made that a fatal choice. The guns of a full platoon opened up on the Germans, including one of the attached Vickers heavy machine guns. 2-inch mortar rounds fell among the Germans which caused them to scatter. The Royal Engineers had laid the minefield with just this eventuality in mind. As the German vehicles and men spread out on both sides of the road, they soon found themselves in the midst of a killing field. Those still able to, reversed quickly from the British fire, using their machine guns and cannons to lay as much covering fire and smoke as they could. As planned, the British troops ceased fire as quickly as practical and most moved to secondary positions, awaiting the German response. A few men had been wounded and were taken back to the Company’s aid station, two had been killed. The cries of the German wounded were pitiful, but no one from the British side wanted to expose themselves to the continuing German fire. This was increased as the Reconnaissance Battalion’s mortars and artillery began to find the range of the British positions.

Nerves of steel and good kit makes for pretty effective kills. I expect ol'Jerry came out of this engagement with serious casualties.

The German Battalion commander was now conscious that the presence of tanks, of a type that was unknown to him, meant that he had encountered a serious defensive position, not a lightly defended outpost. He was aware that was the kind of information that his unit was designed to discover. He ordered his men to withdraw out of range of the British, and passed on the coordinates of the British positions to be communicated to the Luftwaffe. He also needed to report back to the Divisional Commander what they had discovered.

I wonder if they think this is the main British defensive position? If they do, they are more likely to either deploy a lot of artillery or try to make a grand flanking maneouver to try and cut this position off from El Agheila. Either way, that's a force which the British can punish quite severely, either via aerial and naval bombardment or by good old fashioned thin-red-line-shooting-the-enemy-column-lots Britishness, even as the tail of said column suffers in the desert.
 
Then the British need to push a railway out of Egypt to the front asap.
 
Then the British need to push a railway out of Egypt to the front asap.
The problem is, you're building at single-figure miles/day. By the time they can get the railroad anywhere useful, the campaign will be over.
 
I think we are underestimating the human ability to see what it thinks it should see.

It's a combat situation, you are in fear of your life and there is a British tank that looks enough like the ones you expect for it to be that one when you report it.

Even if that recce unit is believed they are going to want definitive proof not rumours from scared soldiers covering up their mistakes with monster British tanks.
 
Claymore'sValiant3.png

This is the Valiant I (I explained wrong to @Claymore the versions, the Mark II will be the same except with the 6-pdr gun.
ClaymoresValiant1.png

This is the Valiant I* cruiser variant, again, the Mark II* will be armed with the 6-pdr gun.
Allan
 
But still, that’s exactly what they did OTL. http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Engr-c9.html
One and a half miles a day. Every month you do that takes a 90-mile round trip off the road and put it on the rails.
On rare occasions 2 miles a day.
How many tons of supplies are coming through Alexandria vs Tobruk and Benghazi. And remember the latter two ports aren't well-developed, so bringing railroading equipment through those ports will reduce the amount of supplies, which will slow the very build-up you're building the railways to speed up.

Building any but the most basic infrastructure is a peacetime operation, not a wartime one.
 
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Would it be possible for the British to build a smaller improvised lash up of a Mulberry harbour somewhere along the Libyan coast? The Med is somewhat calmer than the English Channel and Britain should have enough spare coastal shipping to provide the block ships. It was Churchill’s idea from WW1 so its not unreasonable for him to Re-remember it a year or so earlier than OTL.

An extra harbour, even a small one closer to the front line would negate the need for constructing slow to build railways and ease the pressure on the trucks doing thousand mile trips to keep the front lines supplied.
 
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