Rommel on his way to losing CRUSADER?

This is from NARA, but their caption reads it is from 24 January or November 1941 “General Rommel bei der 15. Panzer-Division zwischen Tobruk und Sidi Omar. General Rommel with the 15th Panzer Division between Tobruk and Sidi Omar. Libya, January or November 24,1941.: ca. 1946 – ca. 1946”.

Let’s assume they would mean 24 January 1942, not 41 (since 1941 is clearly not possible), and that they were not sure about the location, the context of the picture would change dramatically.  In the first case it would be Rommel off to one of the biggest mistakes he made in the war, the “dash to the wire” after winning the battle of Totensonntag on Sidi Rezegh airfield, while in the second it would be him off to pull victory from the teeth of defeat in the second conquest of Cyrenaica.

Of course, if the location is correct, it can only be 24 November 41.

It certainly looks like a winter picture, but which month is it? Does anyone know?

From US NARA Digital Archive Site

From US NARA Digital Archive Site

Mechanical Issues of British/US Tanks during CRUSADER

Stefan very kindly pointed me to this old post by Rich on Feldgrau. I think it is quite interesting data regarding the mechanical issues that British repair workshops had to deal with in the desert.  Note that this only covers the workshops of 7th Armoured Division, not those of 1st or 32nd Army Tank Brigade. Number of jobs and tanks does not match, since some tanks had more than one repair required to become serviceable again.  What is very interesting to me is the low number of battle casualty Stuarts undergoing repair. There is also quite a lopsided workshop repair vs. evacuated ratio between the Crusader tank and the Stuart – maybe the fitters did not have the skills or tools to deal with the Stuarts?

From: Summary of Work, 7 Armd Div Workshops R.A.O.C., Covering Period 18 November-26 December 1941 (WO 169/3861: Appendix C to CRME/1915/AFV, February 1942)

I. Received Repaired Evacuated
Crusader 134 – 95 – 39
Cruiser Mk. IV 30 – 5 – 25
General Stuart 61 – 11 – 50
Cruiser Mk. I & II 17 – 2 – 15
Valentine 10 – 6 – 4

III. Summary of Common Repairs
(a) Crusader – Mechanical Faults
Engine Oil Filter Leak 7
Engine Oil Leak main gallery pipe 16
Water leak, pump 15
Water leak, hoses and gaskets 5
Main fan driving sprocket 29
Fan idler sprockets 2
Fan idler sprocket spindles 7
Compressors 12
2-pdrs, faulty 6
2-pdrs, changed 7
Gearbox and steering levers changed 5
Front suspension lever 3
– Total 120
– Battle Casualties 39

(b) Cruiser Mk. IV – Mechanical Faults
Gearbox adjusted 1
Engine overhaul 2
– Total 3
– Battle Casualties 2

(c) General Stuart [no mechanical faults noted]
– Battle Casualties 9

(d) Valentine – Mechanical Faults
Engine clutch 2
Suspension overhaul 1
Injection overhaul 2
– Total 5
– Battle Casualties 3

IV. Common Reasons for Evacuation [mechanical only, battle damage not transcribed]
(a) Crusader
Engine seized – gaskets burned out 4

(b) Cruiser Mk. IV
Brake drum 2
Engine clutch 8