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|CSI Special Studies cover a variety of military history topics. The views expressed in this CSI publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.|
1. Intelligence Planning a. Desert Terrain and Climate b. Scope of the Evaluation c. Influence of Intelligence on Planning d. Availability and Evaluation of Terrain Intelligence e. Use of Historical Data for Planning Purposes 2. Operational Planning a. General b. Changes in Troop Organization and Equipment c. Special Training d. Acclimatization of the Troops e. Development of Special Equipment 3. Logistical Planning a. February-May 1941 b. June-Decemebr 1941 c. January--June 1942 d. July 1942--May 1943 Chapter II. Operations 4. General Description of the Zone of Operations a. Mountain Ranges b. Steep Terraces 5. Order of Battle of Army and Luftwaffe Units 6. Reasons for Changes in Organization and Equipment 7. Descriptions of the More Important Battles a. 31 March--19 April: The First Counterattack to Reconquer the Cyrencica b. May--June 1941: Battle for the Positions on the Border c. July--Mid-November: The Siege of Tobruk and Preparations for the Attack d. Mid-November 1944--Mid-January 1942: Repelling The British Autumn Offensive and the Retreat to the Gulf of Sirte e. Mid-January--End of May 1942 The Counteroffensive to Retake the Cyrenacia and the Preparations for the Attack on Tobruk f. Late May--July 1942 The Battle of Tobruk and the Pursuits to El Alamein g. August--Early November 1942: The battles Around Alamein h. November 1942-March 1943: The German Retreat to the Border Between Libya and Tunsia i. November 1942--March 1943: The Occupation of Tunisia and the Battles Fought in Tunsia j. April--May 1943: The Final Battle in Tunisia Chapter III. Special Factors 8. Dust a. Effect on Troops, Weapons, and Equipment b. Effect on Combat Operations c. Effect on Tactical Measures d. Effect on Aircraft and Their Crews 9. Terrain a. Influence on Tactical Measures b. Influence on the Construction of Field Fortifications and the Use of Weapons c. The Tactical Importance of the Recognition of Vehicle Tracks by Air Observation d. The Use of Vehicle Tracks for Deception of the Enemy e. The use of Wheeled and Track Vehicles f. Influence of Desert Terrain on the Development of New Tactical Principles for the use of Motorized Units g. Influence of Rainfall on Mobility in Desert Terrain 10. Water a. General b. Requirements for Troops and Vehicles, Economy Measures, ect c. Water and Motor-Fuel Requirements d. Tactial Importance of the Presence of Water Sources e. Assignment of Engineer Troops for Water-Supply Services f. Well-Drilling Equipment g. Method of Distribution h. Pipelines 11. Heat a. General b. Effect on Unaccustomed Troops c. Effect on Tank Crews d. Measures Taken to Avoid the Noonday Heat e. Special Equipment for Protection Against Temperature Variations f. Types of Shelter g. Comparison Between the Efficiency of Troops in the Tropics and in Temperate Climates h. Effect on Material and Equipment i. Effect on Visibility j. Effect on Airplanes in Taking Off and Landing Chapter IV. Miscellaneous 12. Cartographic Service a. General b. Reliability and Methods of Use 13. Camouflage 14. Evaluation of the Enemy Situation Through Aerial Photographs 15. Visibility at Night 16. Choice of Camp Sites 17. Selection of Battle Sites 18. Time of Day Selected for Combat 19. Influence of the Dsert Climate on Daily Service Routine 20. Special Problems of the Technical Service 21. Influence of Light, Shade, and Sandstroms on Combat 22. Influence of Darkness on Radio Communications 23. Wind 24. Special Equipment and Procedures for Aircraft Crews 25. Dry Docks and Port Installations for Aircraft Crews 26. Reinforcement of Sand Surfaces for Landings by Amphibious Craft 27. Changes in Loading and Unloading Procedures 28. Material Losses and Replacement Estimates for Desert Warefare 29. Modifications in Supply-Dump Procedures 30. Diseases and Insects in the Desert 31. Desert Weather Service Chapter V. General Remarks and Experiences 32. Special Equipment for Desert Warfare 33. Research and Development Possibilities for Special Desert Equipment 34. Unusual Supply Problems 35. Nutrition 36. Clothing 37. Comparison with Desert Warfare in Southern Russia 38. Troop Welfare in the Desert
It has probably never happened before in modern warfare that an operation of this type was undertaken with so little preparation. On 11 February, I reported to General Garibaldi, the commander in chief of the Italian forces and informed him of my mission. Initially, he showed no enthusiasm for my plan to organize defense positions in the region of the Bay of Sirte as a first measure. Using the poor and inaccurate Italian map material, I then proceeded to explain to General Garibaldi my ideas as to approximately how the war in Tripolitania should be conducted. Garibaldi, who was unable to give me any precise information about the terrain that would be involved, advised me to reconnoiter the terrain between Tripoli and the Bay of Sirte personally, and said that I could not possibly have any idea of the enormous difficulties this theater of war presented. Around midday I took off aboard a Type He 111 plane to reconnoiter the combat area. We saw the field-type fortifications and the deep attack antitank ditch east of Tripoli and then flew over a wide belt of dunes which presented a good natural barrier before the fortifications of Tripoli and would prove difficult to cross with wheeled or track vehicles. Then we flew across the mountainous country between Taruna and Homs, which appeared hardly suitable for operations by armored units in contrast to the patches of level terrain between Homs and Misurate.
Like a black band the Via Balbia road could be seen extending through the desolate country, in which no tree or shrub was visible as far as the eye could reach. We passed over Buerat, a small desert fort on the coast with barracks and a landing stage, and finally circled above the white houses of Sirte. Southeast and south of this locality we saw Italian troops in their positions. With the exception of the salty swamps between Buerat and Sirte, which extended only a few kilometers southward, we found no features in any sector that would favor a defense, such as, for instance, a deep valley. This reconnaissance flight supported me in my plan to fortify Sirte and the terrain on either side of the coastal road and to concentrate the mobile units for mobile operations within the area of the defense sector in order to counterattack as soon as the enemy started an enveloping attack.
On 13 March 1941 I transferred my headquarters to Sirte so that I could be closer to the, front. In order to save time I attempted to reach this area by airplane. In the area of Tauroga a sandstorm came up. The pilot of the airplane turned around, although I tried to get him to fly on. The trip was then continued by car. We were now forced to admit that we had had really no idea of the tremendous force of such a sandstorm. Huge clouds of a reddish blue hue obscured our vision and the car crawled slowly along the coastal road. Often the wind was so strong that one could not drive at all. Sand dripped down the car windows like water. It was only with difficulty that we could breathe through a handkerchief held in front of the face and perspiration poured from our bodies in the unendurable heat. That was the ghibli. In the silence I made my apologies to the pilot of my airplane. One Luftwaffe officer actually crashed with his airplane in the sandstorm that day. On 4 April 1941 I got underway with my combat staff at 0300 in order to bring the artillery battalions into their positions before daybreak. In the complete darkness we did not find the columns. On the next morning we repeated our attempt and were finally able to locate the artillery. Among other things, we ran into the rear of a British outpost area without knowing it. Although we only had three vehicles, of which only one was fitted with a machine gun, we drove up to the enemy at high speed while raising a great deal of dust. This apparently made the Englishmen nervous and they evacuated their position in great haste, leaving weapons and materiel behind.
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