The tanks are coming through now

The tanks are coming through now

The Battles at Gazala, 27 May-18 June 1942

Neal Dando

A new and detailed account of the battle of Gazala from 27 May-18 June 1942 which reconsiders the brigade battles for Eighth Army. It uses archival war diaries and reports, supported by numerous published memoirs, and regimental histories to provide a fresh voice for the men who fought there.
Date Published :
May 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Wolverhampton Military Studies
Illustration :
8 maps, 1 table
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804512326
Pages : 176
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


This study is a new and more detailed narrative account of the battle of Gazala from 27 May-18 June 1942. The battle was a major defeat for Eighth Army in the midst of a long campaign and led to the immediate loss of Tobruk, Cyrenaica and a long retreat to the Alamein position. The work provides new details of the many training and equipment problems faced by the army commander, Lieut-General Neil M. Ritchie, in attempting to build-up Eighth Army for a renewed offensive in the spring of 1942. With Rommel clearly poised to begin his own offensive, Eighth Army was forced to adopt a defensive posture and hope that it might counter-attack a weakened Axis force. This work provides further material on the events and errors of the first days, which arguably placed the army in a position from which it could not easily recover.

This work reconsiders the brigade battles using many records from the National Archives, Bovington Museum, the Imperial War Museum, online sources and the Bundesarchiv, including war diaries and operational reports, supported by memoirs, and early regimental histories. The main aim is to use these accounts provided by the participants, combined with official reports and war diaries, to bring the daily battles across the Gazala line into finer detail. The work is structured by issue, including a discussion of the planning, terrain, brigade training and then by brigade action, mainly because the nature of Gazala was about a series of separated battles, and within these by the events through each day. In this way we see the effect of the weaker leadership, which leads to a soldier’s battle.

The major causes for the defeat of Eighth Army have been discussed by others, often as part of a wider narrative of the campaign, such as poor command and leadership, that fateful summer. This work provides much more detail about the actions within Gazala, to give us a better understanding about why so many British brigades were defeated by Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika. It has aimed to bring out many points of information which lie within the archival accounts, especially for those actions which have often been glossed over, so that the voices from the men of each regiment and brigade involved, can show how and why they fought. The text is supported by a range of newly commissioned color maps, mostly based on the detailed maps and diagrams provided by regiments in their war diaries to highlight their battles.

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