Table of Contents


You have arrived at The CRUSADER Project, either by a link on a discussion forum, or through a Google search using a clever search term.  If you want to know what this project is about, start reading this page. If you have been here before, you may want to know what has changed recently. You’re in luck, I recently added an updates page, which you can find at this link. If at any given time you want to return to the Table of Contents, simply click on the picture on the top of the page.

Apart from the main purpose, I am also always happy to help those who had relatives in this battle, regardless of which army they fought with. Simply drop me a comment on the relevant page. I have already been able to help some to learn more about the services and sacrifices made by their fathers or grandfathers, and it is one of the pleasures of this work to be able to do this.

Why am I doing this? My late grandfather served involuntarily in the Wehrmacht in the counter-battery branch of the artillery, fighting in Poland, Holland, Belgium, and France, before moving to Russia. He ended the war in Denmark. He died in 2010 of old age. His experience inspired me to learn more about this chapter in Germany’s history, and I ended up with this project, which is better suited to my language abilities than trying to do justice to the war in Russia.

A small note of caution – this table of contents will only put posts under their major categories, not into multiple categories.  The choice of category is made by me and maybe erratic. 🙂 I hope the Table contains all the pages, but I may have missed some due to a move to a new service provider a while back.

Finally, a note on links to other websites. I am not checking those regularly, and WordPress does not alert me to broken links. So if you come across a link that’s no longer working, either on the side bar or in an entry, drop me a line. It’s much appreciated!

Naval Forces

Small Naval Unit Losses

Large Naval Unit Losses

Supply Statistics for North Africa

The Insect Gunboats

Force K Reports

Successful Italian Convoys November 1941

Italian Naval Vessels engaged during CRUSADER

Transport Ship Tonnage Losses on the Italy-Libya Route

The Italian ‘Liberty’ Ships

German Sonar on Italian Naval Vessels

The Emergency Supply Programme of 22 November 1941

Commonwealth Prisoners of War Killed at Sea by Royal Navy Submarines

Sinking of Submarine HMS P.38 on 23 February 1942

Submarine Supplies to North Africa 1941

Mystery Sub Loss – 8 Jan 1942

Naval Personnel Losses during CRUSADER

Survivor Interrogation Reports of German Submarines

German AA gun installations on Axis merchants – 26 Nov. 41

German Radio Intercepts Relating to Convoy Operation MF3 and Loss of SS Thermopylae

Initial Transport of the Afrikakorps

Naval Supply Situation – 1 December 1941

The Kriegstransporter Programme

HM/Sub Urge May Have Been Found

German Sonar on Italian Vessels – Pt. 2

German Sonar on Italian Vessels – Pt. 3

Translation of the War Diary, Commander U-Boats in Italy

Ground Forces

Defending Position 19

Major Ground Commands and Commanders

Counterbattery Observation

11th Indian Brigade in CRUSADER

Some views on the Matilda II

6 NZ Brigade on Totensonntag

Italian Division Strengths on 1 February 1942

German General Officer Casualties During CRUSADER

Battalion Kolbeck on Ed Duda 1/2 Dec 41

Sonderverband 288’s Arrival in Africa

Finding your way around the battlefield – German style

The Tobruk Amphibious Assault Scare

Who used the French Canon de 155mm Schneider C guns?

Day 1 of the Tobruk Breakout from the German Side

German Army Unit Designations Explained

Defending Position 19 – Part 2 Retreat from the Tobruk Front

Kampfgruppe Burckhardt in North Africa Jan – March 42

German Firing Trials Against the Matilda II Infantry Tank 19 March 1942

German and Italian new self-propelled anti-tank guns during CRUSADER

Bencol – Advance on Benghazi Part I

22 Armoured Brigade and the Delay in Starting the Operation

Losses of German 15th Armoured Division

Commonwealth Tank Numbers when CRUSADER started

Mechanical Failures of 7 Armoured Division tanks – workshop report

More Info on the Use of the French 155mm Mle.1917 gun

The Italian Parachute Carabinieri Battalion in CRUSADER

‘Sunscreen’ British Armour Camouflage

Some more on the French 155mm Mle.1917 gun

1st Carabinieri Parachute Battalion in North Africa 1941

Personnel Losses in the German Army Artillery during CRUSADER

Panzerregiment 5 at the End of CRUSADER

Experience with Tanks of 2 Armoured Brigade, January 1942

Some more on experience with Cruiser tanks, Jan. 42

Brandenburger Special Forces in North Africa, 1941

German Tanks Sent in January 1942

Use of the 3.7″ AA gun in the Ground Role – Lessons Learned 1942

The first and last battle of 2 Armoured Brigade – 23 January 1942

First S.A.S. Operation – SQUATTER

8 Army Supply Organisation – Lorries Lorries Lorries

British/US tank deliveries 2nd half of 1941

Some more on problems with Cruiser tanks

Night Operations 25 November I – who attacked strongpoint 903

Tobruk Breakout Objective Names and Map

The first US soldier killed in ground combat?

An example of a Stosslinie

Cross-sections and plans of the Tobruk fortification system

Strength of I./S.R.104 when entering the Halfaya Sector

KDG on 28 November 1941

2-pdr Experience and Lessons Learned

Tank losses in Operation CRUSADER

Fuel Requirements Artillery Regiment 33 – 26 September 1941

Air Forces

The major air commands and commanders

A look on the waterlogged landing grounds

The Fleet Air Arm

The impact of air operations

Italian Air Force frontline strength

Air Transport to North Africa

I./StG 3 in North Africa

Daily Italian Air Force History

Regia Aeronautica Fighter Planes during CRUSADER

Regia Aeronautica Bombers during CRUSADER

More on I./StG3’s transfer to North Africa

RAF Strength in the Middle East November 1941

Luftwaffe raid on Giarabub 15 November 41

Daily Report by Fliegerfuehrer Afrika 23 Nov. 41

Luftwaffe Intel Assessment of Desert Air Force Strength 20 Nov. 41

Boeing B-17 bombers in the Middle East, 1941

Flight Archive on the Free French Air Force in 1941

Ground Support by the Western Desert Air Force

Operation Report No.12 S.A.A.F. Squadron, 29 November 1941

Some more on German Air Transport during CRUSADER

German Transport Aircraft Strength in Greece, December 1941

The B-24 Liberator during CRUSADER

4 RAF Battle Missions

The effectiveness of dive-bombing

Axis Air Strength for the Planned Attack on Tobruk in November 41

Effectiveness of Air Attacks on Axis Forces – 30 Dec 41 to 1 Jan 42

No. 107 Squadron’s costly shipping strike on 11 October 1941

Axis Aircraft found on Captured Landing Grounds

eArticle on German Desert Rescue Squadron Announcement

Beaufighters and Telegraph Poles

Background to No. 220 Detachment’s B-17 planes in use during CRUSADER

Air battle over Landing Ground 125, 23 November 1941

Combat Reports and War Diaries

Combat Report 7th Hussars

Italian Navy Reports on Engagements with Force K

Combat Report 15th Rifle Brigade 28 Dec. 1941

Combat Report Panzerregiment 8 29 November 41

Diary of Composite Squadron NEMO

An expensive visit to Castelveltrano

6 RTR War Diary 1 to 23 November 1941

Pictures from Force E’s Desert Ride to Gialo

War Diary Detachment 101 Special Wireless Section 26 Nov to 13 Dec 41

1 RTR on 21 November 1941

First Battle of Gazala 13 December 41

The Battle for 1 Army Tank Brigade’s repair workshop

2 Beds & Herts War Diary for fight with Batallion Kolbeck – 1/2 Dec 41

3 R.T.R. on 23 November 1941

The New Zealand Night Attack, 26/27 November 1941

Kampfgruppe Briel’s Defense of Gambut Airfield

Ariete’s Actions on Totensonntag – After Action Report

Tobruk Fortifications Analysis

Combat Report – 3./Flakregt. 33 for Sidi Rezegh 23 November 1941

Strategic, Intelligence, ULTRA

Countries Involved in Fighting During CRUSADER

Losses in Operation CRUSADER

First Impressions

The Role of Crete

Effect on Air Transport in Russia

The Admiral’s Views are Wild

German Strategy in the Mediterranean

Directive No. 38

The Impact of the War in the Far East

The Strategic Impact of the Counteroffensive

Rommel’s Misappreciation of the Battle – 2 Dec 41

‘The Good Source’ – the Axis intelligence success against US codes

Supply Requirements of German Forces – November 1941

Capacity of Tripoli and Benghazi ports

The end of the Halfaya garrison

German Code Names Used during CRUSADER

German Security Lapses

Protecting the Secrecy of Radio Interception

70 years ago today – 21 January 1942

Luftwaffe Aerial Recce Report – 12 January 1942

Luftwaffe Aerial Recce Visual Report – Bildskizze morning 22 November 1941

Panzergruppe Daily Intelligence Assessments

Please click here for an overview table.

Orders of Battle

OOB of 101st Motorised Infantry Division Trieste

Order of Battle Division z.b.V. Afrika (later 90th Light) for 10 November 41

OOB of 7th Armoured Brigade at the start of CRUSADER

Oasis Battalion 300

The Tobruk Garrison at the Start of CRUSADER

8th Army’s OOB and tank strength after CRUSADER

55th Infantry Division Savona

Order of battle of a British Cruiser regiment in October 1941

Jock Column OOBs 13 Dec 1941

New Zealand Division on Zaafran, 1 Dec 1941

OOB 8th Army 18 November 1941

OOB for a new Rifle Company Organisation in Panzerarmee

Number of Guns of 1 Armoured Division, 8 April 1942

Commonwealth Medium Guns on 5 November 1941

Captured Guns in Use by 13 Corps, 17 February 1942

OOB Data for Sonderverband 288

Tank arrivals for 42 R.T.R. before Operation CRUSADER

Order of Battle of Ariete Elements at Sidi Rezegh 23 November 1941

Order of Battle for Italian 21 Army Corps 18 November 1941

San Marco Marine Battalion OOB 1941


Holding a Tiger by the Tail – Tobruk April 1941

Daily War Diary Entries – D.A.K. War Diary No. 1 Feb to Aug 1941 – see link below:

Overview Table


Torpedoing of MS Nino Bixio, August 1942


Lieutenant McGinlay’s DSO

Jock Campbell’s VC

Sir Arthur Coningham

Personal Pictures by an Italian Soldier

What’s with all the DSOs?

Last Alexandria Frogman Died

Video Interview with Giovanni Fascisti veteran


The Coleraine Battery

The Tiger Kills

Iron Hulls Iron Hearts

Green Book on Torch

The Mediterranean Fleet – Greece to Tripoli

Books of Interest

The War against Rommel’s Supply Lines

Afrika Korps Tome 1

The Battles of the Malta Striking Forces

Sir Arthur Coningham

A short write-up on Reid’s Force E

History of 4th Armoured Brigade

Fighting Flotilla

Ali D’Africa

Courage Alone

To the Last Round

Google News Archive

Two New Books by Cedric Mas

The other ULTRA

Logistics Revisited Lecture

Online Version of Official UK History


AHF Forum Discussions

Discussion on SV 288

War Art

Souda Bay War Graves

Happy 100th Birthday Royal Navy Aviation!

Minitiature Modelling of 22 Armoured Brigade

Operation CRUSADER in the News

The New War in Libya

Aerial Pictures of Tripoli, 1942

Ankara 1941 and 2011

The Cost of War

British Pathe Newsreels on Operation CRUSADER

Translation of Arab Terms on Maps

A personal note

Rommel’s ACE Hardware,  Chincoteague Island

Pictures from Duxford Flying Legends air show 2012

More newsreels

The War Illustrated on Operation CRUSADER

Meeting Rommel

Totensonntag 2013

If it were in a movie, I wouldn’t believe it…

Warship Pictures

Italian Navy Vessel Pencil Drawings

The Rommel Myth

Italian Newsreels

Australian Documentary on the Desert War

Book Content

What really happened at Bir el Gobi 19 November 41?

Progress on books

Bit of an update – September 2013

Allied force actions on 8 January 1942

Book update January 2016

51 thoughts on “Table of Contents

  1. Andreas?
    I have just come across this website as I try to identify which of the RTR regiments my father was in at Tobruk. He was captured when it fell so he may heve been either 4RTR or 7RTR. Do you have any mention of him in your studies of the war diaries. I do not know when he enterd Tobruk but he was in the siege.
    Any help would be fantastic

  2. Andreas,

    I have come across this looking into the death of my grat uncle who served with 2nd Bn York and Lancaster regiment. Died 24/11/41, likely in build up to assault on strong point ‘Wolf’ from what I can gather. I was hoping you could point me in the direction of some of the articles you have which would be most relevant, or if by some chance you had come across references to him / his unit. He is 4745747 Sjt H W Green

    I understand what you have may not be that specific, but I would be grateful for anything you would be able to provide!


  3. Hi Andreas,

    First class work!

    Could you be as kind as to drop me an email as there is something I would like to run past you :0

    My warm regards,


  4. Hello tried to contact you via ww2 talk, but it wouldn’t let me. My grandfather was lost on the ss chakdina.

  5. Hello Dear administrator of the website “The Crusaider Project”!

    You are chosen as one of the best site of Second World War for the interantional contest named “1939” ( in nomination “Best site of North Afrika 1940-1943” (

    Popular voting will start 15th January 2014. When it’s start we will inform you by E-mail with direct link fo voting (just send me an message for I know your E-mail adress). Then you can make banner on your homepage about voting for your visitors vote you.

    If any questions, let us know. Have a nice day!
    Best regards,
    Administration of the contest “1939”

  6. Hi – wondered if anyone could help with my understanding of Tracer Card of my Great Uncle Alfred Hunt 7932295. It states he was a POW in 25/11/41 but recaptured from enemy hands 2/1/1942.The card shows 59TR – but I do know he was a Desert Rat???? I believe when captured would have been part of the Sidi Rezegh battles? Many thanks for any advice. C Stevens

    • Dear Clare

      Many thanks for your inquiry. I would suspect 59TR to be a typo for 5 RTR. If he was recaptured, he was one of the POW released when Bardia fell to the South Africans on 2 January – about 2,500 Empire POW were released that day, all of them ORs I believe, no officers, who had been shipped out. If you email me I will be happy to send you some more information on this.

      All the best


  7. Hello Andreas, excuse me if I chose this place for a ‘service question’ which has not much to do with your blog, but I have no idea how to find a solution for this. Do you know the e-mail of the ww2 talk user Brian/ADM199? I have tried to contact him for the lists of POWs who died on Italian ships that were sunk in 1941-1942 via private message, but it seems not to work.

    • Ciao Lorenzo

      I have looked through my emails, but it appears I only communicated with him through WW2 Talk as well. I am afraid I cannot help you.

      All the best


  8. Hello, I have just discovered this site and find the wealth of information very exciting.

    I have a question that I hope you can help me with.

    I have stumbled across a source (unnamed and unverified) that suggests that during Crusader the South African divisions contained Infantry battalions with only 3 line companies and a weapons company, as opposed to 4 line companies and a weapons company as was standard TO&E for commonwealth divisions. Can you shed light on this or verify actual TO&E for the Infantry Battalions in the South African Divisions?

    Please and Thank you

    • Dear Hoyt

      I am afraid I have no clue. Unfortunately I have no access to South African war diaries, these are held in Jo’Burg, not in Kew.

      It’s possible though, the South African divisions had a special organisational standard. I will have a looksee if the RDLI history contains any clues.

      All the best


  9. hi!
    it is a wonderful repository of valuable knowledge on an important chunk of history. Kudos for the admin for the hardwork. I am recently compiling record of 4 Field Company Bengal Sappers and Miners and have kind of stuck a dead end. Can anyone put me wise by sharing any relevant details regarding employment, location and any other pertinent input regarding the 4 Field Company of Bengal Sappers and Miners.
    Thanking you in advance.
    God Speed.

    • Hi

      Many thanks for the compliment. I am afraid I have not noted down anything specific for them, but will now have a look when I go through the records. and revert here.

      All the best


  10. Has anybody ever heard of a Baron F Von de Genf? I have silver topped swagger stick inscribed “Baron F Von de Genf, Mekili 1942”. There is also the outline of a tank and three crosses or X’s inscribed on it like so; XXX.
    I would be very grateful for any information.

  11. Hello, Andreas!

    I run a similar blog to yours at I focus largely on the Eastern Front, but there are documents that would be relevant to me that you might have. Have you perhaps come across ballistics tables? While Soviet artillery tables appear to be easy to find, I have had trouble with foreign guns. Do you perhaps have the table for the 8.8 cm KwK 36, 7.5 cm KwK 40, or 7.5 cm KwK 42? Also, is there an email I can contact you at directly?


    • Hi Peter

      Very nice site you have there! I am afraid I have nothing as technical as what you are looking for. I am very sorry I cannot help you there.

      With kind regards


  12. Just found this and it looks quite good. I emailed the location on to my old co-author Alessandro Massignani. I understand that there were more than five Oasis Companies . . . .

    • Dear Mr. Greene

      Many thanks for the compliments! I look forward to any other comments you may have,

      On the Oasenkompanien, I am basing my entry on the September 1941 OOB for Panzergruppe. This is not a flawless document, but the best I have. I haven’t looked into whether further companies might have been assigned at a later date, especially considering that some were lost at Bardia, I think.

      All the best


      • Vance von Borries may know a bit more – he is the one who let me know 5 companies was NOT the answer. I forwarded him this site. Could additional ones have arrived later . . . ?

      • Hi Jack

        Quite possible. I have amended the article with a copy of the source, to make it transparent where my number came from.

        All the best


  13. Andreas

    do you know where I can find a full casualty list following the sinking of SS Chackdina on the 5th December 1941

    • Hi, I am afraid I have never seen a full casualty list. Naval History Net has the navy/merchant navy losses, there are also pages for the New Zealand and Australian losses, and maybe you can construct the British/South African losses from a search on CWGC, but I doubt you can find a list of German and Italian casualties.

      All the best


  14. Hello, i am new to this, so i hope that i get this right, !!!, My uncle William John Turrell army number 6286126 was with the Royal East Kent Regiment “the Buffs”, he was one of the brave men who was involved in the battle of Alem Hamza Ridge (bless them) sadly on the 15th of December 1941 he and many others were out numbered, captured and taken prisoner,
    I have a photo that was taken of my uncle along with 6 other men while in a POW camp, maybe you could help, put names to faces, i will email you copy of photo if requested, as my uncle wrote and dated info on back of photo.
    However, what i would like to know is from point 204, what route would the pow’s had taken ??
    My uncle i know ended up at a Pow camp at Mullin Near Pupping.
    His POW number was 155006.
    He remained a POW from 15th December 1941 until the 5th of May 1945,
    Any help or information about the above would be gratefully received.
    thank you, kind regards
    David Turrell

  15. My uncle, John Brian Cother DOB 11/04/16, Second Lieutenant Royal Artillery, 72 Field Regiment, Service # 137857, Date of Death 5/08/41 Cyprus, buried Nocosia War Cemetary. . I am attempting to track this soldiers path to Cyprus, I believe his unit travelled with the 5th Bn Green Howards and the 150th Infantry Brigade aboard the Empress of Asia, arrived Port Twefik on 23 June 1941, the 72nd remained at Quassassian . Here is a slight difference as one report has them moving to Cyprss with no date The second report I have found the regiment assembled at Knutsford Cheshire, moved to Weymoth 1940. April 1941 it left England and arrived by sea Egypt on June 13, 1941 It embarked for Cyprus on 24th July 1941 and landed there the next day.
    I believe the second notes pertain to my uncle, what I would like to know, where the basic training depot was in UK, Uncle Brian came from Hove Sussex. At what age did he sign up, I have no details of this,
    I live in Central Florida, I will be in the UK during the summer and plan to request his military papers. I am compiling his biography for his soon to be 95 year old sister.
    Any information you may have would be sincerely received. I have photos.

    • Hi Bonny,

      many thanks for the comment. I am afraid I have absolutely nothing on the 50th Division and 150 Brigade. I am sorry I cannot be of any help.

      All the best


  16. My Father Flt. A.E.Marshall DFC, DFM was in North Africa flying Hurricanes with the 73rd Squadron. I have, not only his Pilots Log Book but his diary from that time frame as well as a lot of other “things” that could possibly help in your quest for a “complete history” not one determined by academics as the “only truth”.
    Barry Marshall.

  17. Hi Andreas,
    I recently started researching a piece of trench art I bought over 50 years ago – the piece is in the shape of a shield in Black slate/stone. On and on the back is carved “Angefertigt in der Kriegs gefangenschaft Sudafrika 1942”. On the front is a battle scene with Tanks, Artillery and a fort. Inscribed on the front is DAK 1941 with an Eagle and swastika. Below is “Bewidmet der 12.Oasen Komp Sidi -Omar 22.11.1941”. I can mail you some Pics if this is of interest to you.

  18. Hi there,

    A wonderful source of information here!

    Im just wondering of you would have any further information on the fighting at Point 204 on 19th December 1941?

    My Great-Uncle was with the Buffs during their last stand and was captured there.



  19. Ladies and Gentlemen, my father was a soldier in North Africa (15th Panzerdivision / Kradschützen-Bataillon 15) in the period from the 5th of April until his capture on 3th of December 1941. He spoke on several occasions that during this time he had come to the Siwa Oasis as part of a military reconnaissance. Was this possible? Do you know anything about it? Who could know something? Here in Germany and also Internet I have so far for this period no information found.
    I would be very grateful to you for any hints.

    • Hi Bernd, I am sorry, I thought I had responded. Your father was almost certainly captured in the failed advance of Vorausabteilung Geissler towards Bardia. I very seriously doubt the Siwa story, I have no record of any German forces coming near it in 1941. The Siwa/Giarabub oases were well defended, and very far away from the main area of operations.

      The battle in which your father was most likely the one described here from p. 158 onwards. This includes a German report. It was pretty much a total disaster for the Germans.

      With kind regards


      • Andreas, many thanks for the answer. The facts and assumptions you have presented are correct or I see them as well. I already knew the New Zealand source. Thanks for that too.
        Sincerely Bernd

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s