Talk:Operation Compass

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To Kurt Lehmann[edit]

"men" in force strengths is opposed to guns or tanks or aircraft, not to women

"killed" in casualties, because total casualties are killed+wounded+captured+missing

"India" because there were forces of the (British) Indian Army - specifically 4th Indian Division - involved in this campaign.

Richard Gadsden 12:41, 10 June 2006 (UTC) Well..

What else can they be if they are not men?

"....there were forces of the (British) Indian Army - specifically 4th Indian Division - involved in this campaign."

That doesn't change the fact that India was part of the British Empire and did not exist as an independent country. Thousands Indians also fought with the Japanese during WWII, but I don't see any mentionings about that in the Japanese side of the battle boxes of the Asian battles.

And I did not mean to remove the word killed, sorry for that.


Battle of Beda Fomm[edit]

Both this article and the Beda Fomm ones are pretty short. I think that, for now at least, the Battle of Beda Fomm can be a section in the main Operation Compass page. Oberiko 15:20, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Stats[edit]

Forces for Italiens: 100K But somehow they got 130K captured. Did they spawn new soldiers during the battle by themselfs or is something hidden in the numbers? =) Zarkow 203.144.143.9 12:11, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

100K in the Battle of the Camps - Compass proper; casualties are for the whole Cyrenaica campaign. Richard Gadsden 20:25, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Come on! How can be Italians lost more than 1000 planes in tha campaign, when the total amount of plane Italy could have displayed in Lybia could not exceed 542 (optimistic number)!! Who wrote that?? Also I do not see other stats which can put this battle into a different perspective than which seems stereotype; ie 35 Matildas out of 57 were lost by the English; 4/5 of motorized vehicles were damaged and could not prosecute offensive and – above all: did you notice that more or less 2000 casualties out of 36000 – I use your stats; the truth is English force was 31000 – means 1 out of 20 English soldiers were wounded in battle (very high rate)?...not so easy battle after all... Antonio — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.252.96.8 (talk) 16:11, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

And 600 Italian Tanks?? Please... Antonio — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.252.96.8 (talk) 16:13, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I checked the relalnumber of Italian planes lost: 77 due to fighting, 40 destroyed on ground, 91 destroyed during the retreat - 208 planes in total (please note that Italians had 594 planes TOTAL in 1940 - how can be that they lost more than 1000 in Lybia alone??) Antonio — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.252.96.10 (talk) 07:30, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

British Army total number of troops[edit]

has got to be rubbish!

"31,000 soldiers(december 1940 250,000)[1]"

Forces involved in Compass: 7th Armour and the 4th Indian plus iirc some small other units, in December the Indian division transferred to East Africa and the Aussies took there role for the rest of the campaign.

So total of 2 divisions active at any one time .... how does that add up to 250 000 men!

To my understanding, there was other Aussies Divisions in Palestine, other British units based near the suez canal and at the forward base. But including them which is the only thing i can see has happened is just wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EnigmaMcmxc (talkcontribs) 13:48, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Removed the piece of information, i guess who added it made a mistake and it was suppose to be in the Italian coloumn.

infor removed: (December 1940 250,000)[1] --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:12, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Come on! How can be Italians lost more than 1000 planes in tha campaign, when the total amount of plane Italy could have displayed in Lybia could not exceed 542 (optimistic number)!! Who wrote that?? Also I do not see other stats which can put this battle into a different perspective than which seems stereotype; ie 35 Matildas out of 57 were lost by the English; 4/5 of motorized vehicles were damaged and could not prosecute offensive and – above all: did you notice that more or less 2000 casualties out of 36000 – I use your stats; the truth is English force was 31000 – means 1 out of 20 English soldiers were wounded in battle (very high rate)?...not so easy battle after all... Antonio

Brigata Corazzato Speciale (BCS)[edit]

I question existance of the Brigata Corazzato Speciale (BCS) or "Special Armored Brigade." A description of this unit has shown up under "Derna." It is indicated that this unit had 50 M11/39 tanks. Where did they come from? There were about 100 M11 tanks manufactured. About 70 went to Libya and about 24 went to East Africa. Many of the M11 tanks represented "the armor" when Graziani invaded Egypt. A few were held back at places like Bardia. By the time the British were advancing on Derna, the M11 tanks in Libya were almost all captured or destroyed. At the Battle of Beda Fomm, some newly arrived M13/40 tanks were thrown against the anti-tank guns of the British forces blocking the Italian retreat. But this was about two battalions (approximatel 100 vehicles) of M13/40 tanks. As indicated, I have no idea where the Italians would have gotten an additional 50 M11/39 tanks. Also, Lieutenant-General "Valentino Babini" (the supposed leader of the Brigata Corazzato Speciale ) was the commanding officer of the "Sirte" 61st Infantry Division. In 1940, the Sirte Division was part of the Italian 5th Army in Libya which was on the border with French Tunisia. Mkpumphrey (talk) 22:09, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

It appears Babini was reasigned and was placed in command of the Comando Carris Armati dell Libia (Libyan Tank Command), which was set up following the opening engagements and had all tank battalions placed under one command instead of being dished out to the infantry.
In November a Special Armoured Brigade was set up under this formation and was made up of 57 M13/40 coming from the III and V Battalions.
Total Italian tank strenth in 10th Army sector is put at 145 M13/40, 70 M11/39 and 339 L3 (although only the 57 M13s in this "special armour brigade").
Source: Operation Compass, Jon Latimer, Pg 20


The British official history by Playfair, Voloume I of the Middle East series, Pg 352
Januaryish, Babini is placed with his armour brigade in reserve at Mechili with one regiment of the 60th Infantry Division.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:11, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Thank you all. My original question was about the 50 M11/39s and, according to several sources (both above and found elsewhere), Bambini's command existed but with M13/40s. Mkpumphrey (talk) 23:51, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Breakout of battles into separate articles[edit]

I think that it is time to create some separate "battle articles" for this campaign. The Camps, Bardia, Tobruk, Derna, and Beda Fomm all seem like good candidates. This would allow "overviews" of each battle in this article and not the detailed sub-sections currently featured ( ... I may even be able to add a few more references here and there ... and add a little more about the air and sea aspects of the overall campaign). I may start by working the "Invasion of Egypt" section down to what is absolutely necessary and allow that article to stand on its own. Anyone mind if I get started? Mkpumphrey (talk) 15:38, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Another item I intend to clear up is a host of related Wikipedia articles is whether or whether not Graziani ever DIRECTLY commanded the Tenth Army. Many writers (in Wikipedia ... including myself) have fallen into a pattern which has him as the commander of the Tenth Army. I can find nothing in any documents supporting this. He appears to have been the Commander-in-Chief of the Army when the war started and he got stuck with Balbo's jobs when he was killed (Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of North Africa). Any book suggestions are appreciated. I can brutally work my way through the Italian language if Italian sources are available. Thanks! Mkpumphrey (talk) 18:03, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Playfair Vol 1 p. 208 has Berti commanding the 10th Army. On p. 281 it says that Gariboldi was acting commander in Berti's absence on leave (no dates given) and also says (p. 287) that Berti was replaced on 23 December by Tellera after the fall of Bardia. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 00:19, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Graziani left Benghazi on 3 Feb having appointed Tellera to command all forces in eastern Libya (p. 354). Tellera, having been mortally wounded, was one of the 25000 PoWs taken when 10th Army surrendered on 7 Feb (p. 361). Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 00:27, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

French participation[edit]

They were covered by the 7th Armoured Division (which included companies of Free French Forces), which ensured that the Bardia garrison could neither withdraw nor be reinforced.[40]

I cant seen mention of Free French forces being part of the 7th Armoured Division in the reference supplied. however Jon Latimer (p. 25) states that a Motor Marine Company was attached to the Western Desert Force as a Corps assesst. The only other mention of them is on p. 53 when he states a minor attack, where they were supporting 6RTR (4th Arm bde) was a failure on the attack on Bardia. Sgt Harry Kirkham "Found our allies reluctant to attack. I looked beind at the FF ifnatry and there was not a man in sight".

Playfair's only mention of Free French forces supporting the British Army was during the Italian invasion and then not a peep about them.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:25, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

The article is correct though. Long, p. 284 notes that the two French companies remained after the 7th Armoured Division was withdrawn. I'll pull an appropriate reference from Stockings next week. Hawkeye7 (talk) 08:38, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Separate articles, again[edit]

It was suggested last year that the various battles here should have their own articles, and the content here summarized.
I think it's a good idea; what does anybody else think? Xyl 54 (talk) 23:18, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Strange phrasing, not NPOV?[edit]

This is an odd phrase in the article to my eyes: "Due praise went to Italian anti-tank and artillery gunners who managed to destroy eighteen British tanks but eventually, 237 artillery pieces, 73 light and medium tanks, and about 38,300 Italian and Libyan soldiers were destroyed or captured."

I think we should avoid phrases like "Due praise" - this feels like a biased piece of reporting promoting the Italian point of view. Also describing the soldiers as "destroyed or captured" is rather strange. Is this a translation from an unidentified source?

I have changed the text to a more neutral sentence

"73 Italian tanks and 237 artillery pieces were destroyed or captured and approximately 38,300 Italian and Libyan soldiers killed or captured. 18 British tanks were destroyed."

The next sentence then says that "dozens" of British tanks were destroyed. Some cleaning up of facts is required here. Were 18 British tanks destroyed, or dozens? (18 = 1.5 dozen).

--mgaved (talk) 23:27, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Surprising thing that may be an inaccuracy[edit]

How did the Italians lose 918 more planes than they initially possessed? The footnotes are no help in this regard. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.22.21.143 (talk) 10:40, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

The Summary box really needs correction or explanation[edit]

The previous issue (Italians losing almost 4 times as many planes as they even had) is only the most obvious discrepancy.

The British had at least 20 more planes according to the note. (46 fighters + 116 bombers = 162, if the squadron lists are just a more specific breakdown of the 162. Otherwise they had even more.)

Once I start questioning, other items could use some backup.

For example, the British commanders are listed as Archibald Wavell, Henry Maitland Wilson, and Richard O'Connor, with 36000 soldiers and 275 tanks. It does not mention any naval support.

The main article, in contrast, under "Opposing Forces" claimed that Wavell was in charge of the whole Middle East Command, which had only 30,000 troops in Egypt. This section does not mention Henry Maitland Wilson, though the "Britsh Plans" section suggests that he was in charge of all Egypt (and thus of all 30000 or 36000 involved?) It does mention Lieutenant-General Richard O'Connor as commanding the Western Desert Force, but also Major-General Noel Beresford-Peirse (4th Indian Infantry Division) and Major-General Sir Michael O'Moore Creagh (7th Armoured Division, the "Desert Rats"), and Major-General Iven Mackay (6th Australian Infantry Division). Were these Major Generals reporting to O'Connor (in which case he had direct charge of the whole campaign)? Should they be in the summary box? I couldn't find tank or artillery counts within the article, but articles on the individual units suggests that this may have been an overestimate. For example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_Armoured_Division_(United_Kingdom) says that "The unit was meant to be equipped with 220 tanks. However, at the outbreak of war the 'Mobile Force' had only 65.", and it isn't clear how many of the rest arrived before Operation Compass was completed. The "British plans" section does refer to the Royal Navy, and the "Battle of Marmarica/Battle of the Camps" section refers to a monitor and two gunboats -- each of which may be worth several tanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JimJJewett (talkcontribs) 03:23, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Also, there is obviously something wrong with the artillery numbers:
British
36,000 soldiers
120 artillery pieces
Italians
150,000 soldiers
1,600 artillery pieces
the British count seems to count only field artillery pieces, whereas the Italian, if not fictional, must be counting everything (antitank, antiaircraft, mortars perhaps). I don't know how many field pieces were in a Blackshirt Artillery Regiment, but they would not be more than 36, which was standard for regular Italian infantry divisions.
It appears from the article there were 4 regular Infantry (60th, 61st, 63rd, 64th), 3 Blackshirt (1st, 2nd, 4th), plus 2 or 3 Libyan division equivalents (1st, 2nd and "Maletti Group") on the Italian side, the last having no organic artillery; plus possibly some Corps or Army level assets. I'd say that about 300-400 field artillery pieces seems realistic.--Xristar (talk) 21:28, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Bardia[edit]

In both the Wikipedia pages for Italian Lieutenant General Annibale Bergonzoli and Military Figures' Nicknames the Italian "barba elettrica" is translated "Electric Whiskers", rather than "Electric Beard," as appears in both this page's section on Bardia and on the page for the Battle of Bardia. I suggest making this consistent among Wikipedia pages.
Dick Kimball (talk) 15:09, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Christie, p. 86