What’s in a Name? The change from Panzergruppe to Panzerarmee

This is just a small housekeeping issue, but when googling I noted that there is a lot of false information on the internet about the date of the change in designation from Panzergruppe to Panzerarmee. This was communicated to Panzergruppe on 22 January 1942, effective immediately. This did not co-incide with Rommel’s promotion to Generaloberst which followed on 30 January. I am not sure why there was this divergence, it is possible that Rommel’s promotion was a snap decision based on the re-occupation of Benghazi, but to be honest I have no information on this. What is certain however is that the redesignation of Panzergruppe had nothing to do with the successful counteroffensive, it was probably just an administrative move, since the other four Panzergruppen on the eastern front had by then all been redesignated too.

Panzergruppe Intelligence Assessment 21 Jan 1942

Enemy Behaviour 21 Jan 1942

The opponent pulled averted the German – Italian attack in flight and retreated up to the line Mn. Mensci – el Gtafia and north of it. By evening 1st Support Group stood in the sector Mn. Mensci up to about 10 km south of Gtafia. Mass 200th Guards Brigade area Gtafia and north of it. Staff near B. el Tombia. According to radio reconnaissance the northern wing of this brigade completely confused.

Luftwaffe attacked during dawn commands of 13th Corps and 1st Armoured Division, as well as successfully enemy concentrations at Ain en Naga and north of it. In this area presumed 2nd Armoured Brigade, which according to radio reconnaissance was not ready for action during the morning due to supply difficulties. Rear services of 1st Armoured Division have received task to be ready for march. Even though according to aerial reconnaissance no rearward moves were noted of the enemy forces in the area el Haselat – Agedabia – Mensci, it has to be expected that during the night the opponent will further retreat in north-easterly direciton.

No details thus far on number of prisoners and booty.

Panzergruppe Intelligence Assessment 19 Jan 1942

Enemy Behaviour 19 January 1942

Enemy armed reconnaissance with focus south B. es Suera and east of B. el Ginn. Established presence of 20 tanks there. Along the whole front weak artillery fire. On both sides Via Balbia noticed 5 batteries.

Also today 1st Armoured Division brought up further in south-westerly direction. 1st Support Group inserted itself by this move between 7th Support Group and 200th Guards Brigade.

Aerial reconnaissance noticed no enemy movements south of the Uadi al Faregh, other than the enemy reconnaissance battalion east of Burruei.

On 18 January 12 prisoners from 2 K.R.R.C. were brought in from opposite the sector of the Trento division.

Panzergruppe Intelligence Assessment 18 January 1942

Enemy Behaviour on 18 January 1942

Along the whole front normal reconnaissance activity and weak artillery fire on the northern sector. The opponent pushed closer towards the Italian positions at and north of B.es Suera and on both sides of the Via Balbia. Thus far two enemy batteries were recognised northwest B.el Ginn and 2-3 batteries on both sides of the Via Balbia (6km east Marsa el Brega). South of B.es Suera only reconnaissance forces in the area forward of our lines. According to aerial photo reconnaissance 800 vehicles (amongst them 80 tanks) are in the area north M.el Mensci and at R.el Gtafia 600 vehicles, while in the until now more heavily occupied area south and south-east of Agedabia only occasional vehicle groups were recognised. Based on this the mass of 1st Armoured Division has pushed further south-west. According to radio reconnaissance the 7th South African Field Artillery Regiment – until now at the Bardia front – is now appearing under 2nd Armoured Brigade.

Overall impression: The enemy appears to concentrate for a planned attack with focus between B. es Suera and B. el Ginn.