Re-blogged from WWII Colorised Photographs
A British Crusader tank passes a burning German Panzer IV tank during ‘Operation Crusader’. Cyrenaica (the eastern province of Libya). Late November 1941.
was a military operation by the British Eighth Army between 18 November–30 December 1941 during the Second World War. The operation relieved the 1941 Siege of Tobruk. The Eighth Army’s initial plan to destroy the Axis armoured force before advancing its infantry came apart when, after a number of inconclusive engagements, the British 7th Armoured Division were heavily defeated by the Afrika Korps at Sidi Rezegh. Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel’s subsequent advance of his armoured divisions to the Axis fortress positions on the Egyptian border, failed to find the main body of the Allied infantry, which had bypassed the fortresses and headed for Tobruk, so Rommel had to withdraw his armoured units to support the fighting at Tobruk. Despite achieving some tactical successes at Tobruk, the need to preserve his remaining forces prompted Rommel to withdraw his army to the defensive line at Gazala, west of Tobruk and then all the way back to El Agheila. It was the first victory over the German ground forces by British-led forces in the Second World War.
The Tank, Cruiser, Mk VI or A15 Crusader:
was one of the primary British cruiser tanks of the early part Second World War and perhaps the most important British tank of the North African Campaign.
The Crusader’s mobility made it a favourite of British tank crews and once upgraded with the Ordnance QF 6 pounder main gun made it more than a match for the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks it faced in combat. Retained in service because of delays with its replacement, by late 1942 the lack of armament upgrade combined with the presence of Tiger I Tanks among the Afrika Korps and reliability problems due to the harsh desert conditions, led to the Crusader being replaced in the main line of battle by US-supplied M3 Grant and Sherman medium tanks. The next British cruiser to see combat would be the Cromwell heavy cruiser.
No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit
Davies L B (Lt)
© IWM (E 6751)
(Colourised by Paul Reynolds from the UK)
Historic Military Photo Colourisations