|This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Operation Compass article.|
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|A fact from this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the On this day... section on December 9, 2012.|
- 1 To Kurt Lehmann
- 2 Battle of Beda Fomm
- 3 Stats
- 4 British Army total number of troops
- 5 Brigata Corazzato Speciale (BCS)
- 6 Breakout of battles into separate articles
- 7 French participation
- 8 Separate articles, again
- 9 Strange phrasing, not NPOV?
- 10 Surprising thing that may be an inaccuracy
- 11 The Summary box really needs correction or explanation
- 12 Bardia
- 13 Tidy
- 14 10th Army oob
- 15 Capture of Tobruk
- 16 Desert operations
- 17 Newspapers as a reliable source
- 18 Recent edits
- 19 Casualties section
To Kurt Lehmann
"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
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)
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 184.108.40.206 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 220.127.116.11 (talk) 16:11, 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 18.104.22.168 (talk) 07:30, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
British Army total number of troops
has got to be rubbish!
"31,000 soldiers(december 1940 250,000)"
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 (talk • contribs) 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.
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)
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)
Breakout of battles into separate articles
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)
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.
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".
- 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
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?
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).
Surprising thing that may be an inaccuracy
The Summary box really needs correction or explanation
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 (talk • contribs) 03:23, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
- Also, there is obviously something wrong with the artillery numbers:
120 artillery pieces
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)
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)
It's some time since I looked at this article. It has become somewhat bloated with much too much detail for an article of this level and huge quotes have appeared in the citation list. I will work my way through,tidying up the citations and moving quotes (where relevant) into the Notes section. I will also make a start in tightening up and removing some extraneous detail but I suspect a full review will be needed in due course. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 11:55, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
- I wonder if the sections "Border Skirmishes", "Pursuit" and "Desert Operations" are necessary here? With Western Desert Campaign having 1-2 paragraph summaries (eventually) and there being articles for the operations conducted during the pursuit and bearing in mind that Compass was a five-day operation, shouldn't the exploitation be reduced to a Subsequent Operations paragraph? There's a Beda Fomm page (with Battle of... redirected here) with less on it than in this article.Keith-264 (talk) 23:21, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
- Re-edited the Tobruk section.Keith-264 (talk) 09:23, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
10th Army oob
Capture of Tobruk
Keith-264's revision at 20:28, 5 April 2015 deleted two sizeable paragraphs without explanation, calling this a "minor" edit. As such, the narrative now leaps from 5 January to 21 January, with no explanation of what happened in between. As a reader, this is extremely confusing. I'll restore his previous version, pending some explanation of why this sizeable deletion was helpful. - Zulu Kane (talk) 04:51, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- I'm grateful that you asked why this time before jumping in with mistaken assumptions. The Tobruk page has been re-edited so the link points to a section not there yesterday. With the detail in the Tobruk page the section here can be slimmed to a narrower summary and the link. It's a summary section of the Tobruk article. Keith-264 (talk) 06:54, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- I understand that you're trying to slim this section. But I see two problems, as it is:
- What I want is a shorter section than merely copying all of the section in the Tobruk article so if you can find a way to put back some of the summary without it being a copy the section in the Tobruk article, fine by me. Please don't forget to s[c ahem!]ite any additions. Keith-264 (talk) 08:49, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
-  Directing readers instead to the Background section on the Siege of Tobruk page is confusing, because that page is really about a later event. I understand that the Capture of Tobruk by the British in January led to their being besieged there beginning in April. But from the point of view of a reader simply trying to understand what happened on these days in January, referring them to a page whose primary purpose is describing what happened (over the course of seven months) later that year is awkward and distracting. - Zulu Kane (talk) 08:12, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- I disagree, the Tobruk page has a background section for a reason - a lead up to the siege. I doubt that a hypothetical reader is incapable of seeing that, especially since the revised link goes straight to a section in the background called "Capture of Tobruk".Keith-264 (talk) 08:49, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- It was a mess, due to many edits, by many hands, in many styles for many reasons, using many sources, many of which were tertiary hackwork, with little reference to the Italians and Germans. The narrative was bare on some significant points and bloated on others. The tactical niceties need a separate article or the doings of a platoon get more coverage than the Eighth Army. Air and naval operations get a mention now and eventually I would like to see a section on intelligence, since both sides were reading wireless messages.Keith-264 (talk) 08:49, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Though brief, this section seemed somewhat disjointed. It also describes some events without dates or references and/or locations. I attempted to organize the existing text into a separate paragraph for each place/battle. - Zulu Kane (talk) 05:50, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- Just to back up and be clear: My main goal in editing this section — indeed, with most things I edit — is to make it more readable for people with little or no knowledge of the subject. To that end, I find that historical events are usually best told in chronological order. In this case, that was difficult, because some of the existing content lacked dates (or even approximations of timeline), and some of these events seem to overlap in time. So I attempted to organizing these events by locations. I also try to consolidate non-sequential and/or repetitious telling of the same facts, when they are scattered across a section or article.
- It might be more apt to say I'm editing for readers who are about as ignorant as I am. I have claimed no expertise about the history of the Western Desert. As I've added no new information, I don't believe I've inferred anything more than the text previously stated. - Zulu Kane (talk) 22:11, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- I have made no effort to change the facts currently presented in this (and related) articles. I am simply trying to arrange them in an order that is easy to read and comprehend. I've done this mostly by cut-and-paste of the text which is already there, with minor editing of copy and punctuation as needed to make the narrative flow.
- I do preview and proofread all my edits before saving them. Obviously, if I leave a malformed sentence behind, I hope another editor will fix it — or point it out, and I'll fix it. In my edits, when I could not ascertain the intended meaning of some passages, or did not understand the facts well enough to state them more accurately, I simply left those passages as they were. So, I did not (never do) consider my edits the final solution, just a modest step forward. - Zulu Kane (talk) 22:11, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- Sorry about the single sentence paragraphs; I know they are usually frowned upon on Wikipedia. Again, I was simply trying to order what content was already there, for clarity. I think that putting related details together in paragraphs or subsections (even small ones) is usually more clear.
- As for existing citations, when they exist, of course I try to keep them with their associated text. Again, I've only been rearranging existing content, not providing new information or citations. Some of that existing content appeared to be uncited. I assumed this was because (as you've said about another section) the section was a bit of a "mess, due to many edits, by many hands, in many styles for many reasons". If I didn't understand your existing citations, I apologize for mismanaging them. - Zulu Kane (talk) 19:49, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- Since the editing I've done on the Western Desert articles hasn't been challenged like this before I've operated a rule of thumb, one cite per paragraph, except where I've shuffled them about to accommodate maps and pics in the right margin. When you split a one-paragraph section but don't duplicate the citation it automatically downgrades the article to C class. May I suggest that we work together to avoid wasteful cross-purposes and discuss each article you're interested in, section by section? That way you can benefit from agreed edits being left alone and I can benefit from a fresh pair of eyes, clearly I need some.Keith-264 (talk) 20:19, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- It's good to know your citation methodology. (I'm accustomed to them being tied more closely to specific statements, which usually makes it easier to keep those citations and statements together during subsequent edits.) In the future, if it is not obvious which citation is for which text, I'll post a query here. - Zulu Kane (talk) 22:11, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
- If there's a controversial point (historically or Wikily) I add more but when the article is assessed for B class it rarely gets a citation needed tag. If you think one is necessary  in the text will help. Other than that, one cite per paragraph is the usual minimum. If you check the banner on talk pages, the C class articles have usually been deemed insufficient on the B1 Referencing and citation criterion. Since we're both interested in the same articles, I'd be grateful if you mentioned it on the talk page first.Keith-264 (talk) 06:16, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
- Keith-264, I appreciate all the time you take bringing detailed information into this (and all the related articles). That is why I've spent so much time here reading them. All I want to do is help make these articles an easy and informative read for others. Which is the only reason I spent my free time this weekend making some copy edits to them. - Zulu Kane (talk) 19:49, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Newspapers as a reliable source
@100men, while I don't reject newspapers as reliable tout court, a censored paper during a war is difficult to represent as reliable, particularly against the OH which was written later and the intelligence report which summarised the number and places that pow's were taken. Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources as local colour and as a guide to what Australians were being told about the war, a paper seems to me to be reliable but as a repository of facts I think not, hence moving the recent edit to a note. What do you think?Keith-264 (talk) 06:48, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
@100Men I have corralled recent additions of contemporary news reports in notes, since they are of questionable reliability and done the same to lists of casualties, since they are contradictory and have no place in the narrative. Newspaper reports written under corporate and military censorship during a war are a curiosity not reliable sources. Adding a list of tertiary and quaternary sources about casualties is all very well but belongs in the casualties section where the discrepancies can be discussed. Breaking paragraphs and leaving sentences dangling without a citation is also a deplorable practice. If you must used newspapers as sources, I suggest you write an associated article where you can compare the contemporary disclosures of military censors to the press, what the press did with it and what subsequent revelations show about the censorship.Keith-264 (talk) 11:57, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
- I seem to have come late to this discussion; however, I have to say that I agree with Keith's approach here. There are numerous high quality sources available about this topic so we can afford to be careful in what is used. Whilst newspaper reports written at the time of the events may have some value (if only limited) they were of course subject to military censorship as stated above, in addition to the usual limitations of primary documents (pls see WP:PRIMARY). As such given that more up to date and reliable sources are available to us in 2015 I think they should be avoided where possible. Equally, consolidating the discussion of differing casualty figures in the casualties section (rather than the individual sections) is probably best (as now seems to have occurred). Even then we should be careful not to be too detailed here as this is an encyclopedia entry, not a blow by blow account of the fighting and as such we need to be careful not to provide undue weight to individual incidents (per WP:UNDUE). Anyway that's a bystander's viewpoint on this and given that I haven't had much to do with the ongoing effort to improve this article (which is great to see BTW) it may or may not be especially relevant. Anotherclown (talk) 08:54, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Please note that different numbers of casualties are endemic in articles like this and are best left to the separate casualties section rather than being strewn all over the narrative. Notice also that several of these sections are abstracts from a complete article where direpancies between sources should be discussed. This article is about Operation Compass and its sequel, the exploitation etc is covered in more detail in the individual articles, which are the right place for minutiae.Keith-264 (talk) 18:26, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
There are plenty of Wikipedia articles that accept different casualty figures to let the readers decide. Also plenty of Wikepedia articles accept newspapers reports as sources, but obviously that's a big no no here.--22.214.171.124 (talk) 18:46, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Here is a British newsreel at the time saying the number of POWS at Bardia was 25,000 http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0eb_1311123780, Churchill in his book claims the number was 45,000. Let the readers decide.--126.96.36.199 (talk) 18:55, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
- Please stop ruining the article with fatuous interpolations and list them in the casualties section where they form a unified discussion. See what I'm doing there for you?Keith-264 (talk) 19:02, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
- Please look at the casualties section and the alternative numbers listed there with cites and references. This is the way to demonstrate that different authors use different figures, Once they're complete the paragraphs about Bardia or Tobruk can had a range of numbers, not an irrelevant list culled from everywhere without and test of quality or reliability.Keith-264 (talk) 19:18, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
- Thank you for the Churchill amendment. As you can see, segregating the casualties discussion avoids endless lists at the end of short paragraphs summarising events. It also allows the references to go in the references section, rather than cluttering the text sections. I'll do the other bit tomorrow.Keith-264 (talk) 19:39, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, you're a gentleman. I'm adding the missing references to do with the lower figure claimed captured at Tobruk. I hope you can take the time to do the same with the page to do with the Battle of Little Big Horn, I tried years ago but got eaten alive.--188.8.131.52 (talk) 20:25, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
- Yoo hoo! Now that most of the information is in the casualties section it needs sorting according to place and date (of publication) so we can have a teleological progression. The trouble with trawling lots of books is the upper and lower numbers get duplicated. Anyway, I'm off to bed, nighty-nighty.Keith-264 (talk) 00:25, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
- I've had a quick dash before work and will think about the rationale for looking in so many sources and why a reader can benefit. The line I'm toying with is that large numbers can become exaggerated by duplicate counting, diplomatic inflation and intelligence and counter-intelligence operations.Keith-264 (talk) 06:32, 20 April 2015 (UTC)