By Steven J. Zaloga
The Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) observed the 1st operational deployment people armoured divisions in global struggle II, and the adventure proved chastening for the first Armored department whilst it suffered defeat by the hands of Rommel’s Afrika Korps on the conflict of Kasserine move. This identify covers the association of those early US armored divisions, in addition to the autonomous tank and tank destroyer battalions that followed them. It information the evolution if US armoured war strategies and doctrine, realized from the tricky stories of North Africa, and illustrates how they have been used in other places within the MTO, fairly within the Italian Peninsula.
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Extra resources for US Armored Units in the North African and Italian Campaigns 1942-1943
During the North African fighting, it was frequently necessary to attach units from neighboring infantry divisions to the combat commands especially during defensive operations. As a result, Gen. McNair of the AGF authorized a shift in the mix of tank/infantry/artillery battalions in the armored division from the current 6:3:3 ratio to 3:3:3. The armored regiment organization was abandoned, and in its place three tank battalions remained. In place of the armored regiment headquarters, the new organization marked a final shift to the combat command method of organization with the division's nine combat battalions parceled out to the three combat commands in varying mixes depending on the mission, now designated as CCA, CCB and CCR (reserve).
The CCR was not actually intended to be a combat formation, but rather it was based on the recognition that mechanized units required periodic time out of the front line to perform maintenance and refitting. The idea was to create a combat command within the division besides CCA and CCB to manage these units when off the line, and the CCR also served a secondary role as a divisional reserve in the event that a third combat command was urgently needed. While this organizational structure proved very effective when properly employed, it did have its drawbacks in the hands of corps or army commanders who were less trained in armored doctrine.
In 1942, the first M5 light tank were issued and some battalions sent to North Africa were equipped with this type. Although automotively superior with a new hull and power train, the M5 shared the same faults as the earlier M3 series in not having sufficient armor or firepower for the contemporary battlefield. It was followed by the M5A1 light tank, which had a turret bustle to permit the radio to be located behind the commander. The M5A1 remained the principal US light tank until the end of the war.
US Armored Units in the North African and Italian Campaigns 1942-1943 by Steven J. Zaloga