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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Military/History Related Hobbies > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The plausible "what if's" of military history.

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SEALION FACT Thread

This thread is "under construction" and will be added to and then broken into a number of posts detailing specific categories. I have been combing though the books and threads as well as exchanging info with Doveton Sturdee to begin piecing this thread together.

Others with information on German a British forces in the period Jun - Sep 1940 can pm me with information and links if they so desire. I will note the contributors in the notes preceeding the various sections.

The intent here is not to debate the Sealion operations likelihood of success but to lay out what forces were available when.

Assumption

If basing a "go" signal for Sealion on the OTL the last likely moment would have been at a conference following the climax of the air battle of September 15th. If this conference were held on the 16th and the KM needed 10 days to get ready, then the go signal would mean the invasion would set off on afternoon or evening of Sept 25th for a landing at dawn on September 26th. This was also the last period in 1940, before the October storms began, that tide and moon conditions would permit dawn landings. It was late Sep 1940,... or May 1941.

By providing information for the entire period (where available) it will assist readers in noting the strengths and weaknesses as the summer progressed.
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The Naval Thread

<more to follow>

Comparative Naval Strength Sep 16/17

-99% of the naval info on DDs and TBs courtesy of Doveton Sturdee

RN DESTROYER DISPOSITIONS, 16/17 SEPTEMBER, 1940.

On 16 September, 1940, the Admiralty had operational control of 182 destroyers. Of these, 5 were Royal Australian Navy vessels, 7 Royal Canadian vessels, 8 were Free French, and 3 were Polish.
These vessels were disposed as follows:-
East Indies : 3
China Station: 5
Mediterranean Fleet: 22 ( including 5 RAN)
Freetown: 11 ( for Operation ‘Menace’)
Gibraltar: 8
Portsmouth/Southampton: 20 (including 5 French)
Plymouth: 12 (including 3 French & 3 Polish)
Harwich/Sheerness: 25
Rosyth: 16
The Humber: 7
Scapa Flow: 7
Liverpool/Londonderry: 6
Firth of Clyde: 8
Royal Canadian Navy: 7 ( 2 at Rosyth, 2 at Halifax, & 3 in the Firth of Clyde)
Convoy Escort Duty: 8
Repairs & Refits: 17

Thus, there were 49 boats on overseas stations, 29 either on convoy escort duty or operating out of convoy escort ports ( including the RCN vessels ), 23 operating with the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow and Rosyth, and 17 repairing or refitting.

Summary - not counting MTB, armed MS, SS

This leaves 64 destroyer available for anti-invasion duties not counting convoy escorts or transfers from the Home Fleet.

In addition Geoff Hewitt notes there were 8 light cruisers spread between the Nore Command and Western Approach Command.

DD/DE = 64
DD/DE (Western Approaches and Home Fleet) = 30
CL = 8

Kriegsmarine Naval Dispositions, Mid-September, 1940.

Destroyers

DF5: Karl Galster, Friedrich Eckholdt, Friedrich Ihn. - Cherbourg.
Erich Steinbrinck – refitting in Wilhelmshaven, sailed for Brest on 22/3.09.40.
Richard Beitzen – refitting in Wilhelmshaven, sailed for Brest on 22.10.40.

DF6: Hans Lody, Theodor Riedel. – Cherbourg.
Paul Jacobi – transferred from Wilhelmshaven to Brest on 22/3.09.40.
Hermann Schoemann – refitting in Wilhelmshaven until 15.10.40.
Bruno Heinemann – refitting in Wesermunde until 4.10.40.

Summary - with a bit of a push to get the 2 DDs in Germany to Belgian ports for the 25th the Germans have 7 available DD

Wolf/Mowe Class pre-war Torpedo Boats.

TBF 5: Falke, Kondor, Grief. – Den Helder.
Mowe – Laid up until Spring 1941, following major hull damage,
TBF 6: Seeadler – Cherbourg.
Wolf – Le Havre.
Jaguar, Iltis. – Den Helder.

Summary - 7 W or M Class Torpedo Boats

T Class Torpedo Boats:

TBF1: T1, T2, T3 – Den Helder ( T3 sunk, 19.09.40.)
T4 – Working up ( 1st operation 6/7.11. 1940.)
T9 – Working up ( 1st operation 6/7. 11.1940.)
T10 - Working up ( Commissioned 05.08.40.)


TBF 2: T5, T6, T7, T8, T11 – Cherbourg. ( T11 serious bomb damage on 18.09.40.)
T12 – Working up – (Commissioned 03.07.40., 1st operation 03.11.40.)

Summary - 6 T Class torpedo boats

S-Boats :

SCHNELLBOOTE, Early September, 1940.

The following is a list of every S-Boat built between 1930 and the end of August, 1940, together with status in mid-September, 1940:-

Prototype
S1 Sold to Spain in 1936

1931 Series

S2 – S5 Sold to Spain in 1936

1933 Series
S7 ‘Unavailable for Operations’ – Presumably beyond economical repair.
S8 – S9 Converted to Fast Anti-Submarine Vessels. (S7 –S9 had MAN diesels, which had proved unreliable, hence the conversion to A/S vessels of these two).
S10 Collided with barge entering Vlissingen on 8.9.40., still undergoing repairs in mid Sept.
S11 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S12 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S13 Operational in Mid-Sept.
(n.b., S10 –S13 had the more reliable Daimler-Benz engines, hence their retention in front-line service.)

1934 Series
S14 – S16 Converted to Fast Anti-Submarine Vessels ( MAN Diesels).
S17 Scrapped following storm damage in Spt. 1939.

1937 Series
S18 – S20 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S21 Sunk off Boulogne 21.06.40., subsequently salvaged in 1941.
S22 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S23 Mined & sunk 12.07.40.
S24 Damaged by sabotage (explosion) at Ostend on 15.08.40. Undergoing repairs at Wilhelmshaven until 23 Sept.
S25 Operational in Mid-September, 1940.

1939/40 Series
S26 Undergoing collision repairs at Schiedam. Repairs were in progress on 1 Sept., and had still not been completed by 28 Oct., when she was due to join her flotilla in Norway.
S27 Operational in Mid-September.
S28 Commissioned 1 Sept. Still working up and not yet allocated to a flotilla.

1939 Series
S30 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S31 Sabotaged at Ostend (see S24). Under repair at Wilhelmshaven until Dec. 1940.
S32 Mined & sunk, 22 June.
S33 Repairing collision damage to hull in Wilhelmshaven, completing mid-Sept.
S34 operational in Mid-Sept.
S35 Sabotaged at Ostend (see S24). Under repair at Wilhelmshaven until mid-Dec.
S36 Serious air raid damage on 8 Sept.
S37 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S54 Operational in mid-Sept.
S55 Commissioned 23 Aug. Working up and not allocated to a flotilla.

Ex Bulgarian
S1 – A boat under construction for the Bulgarian navy, similar to the German 1931 series, but with a Daimler-Benz engine (the 1931 series had petrol engines). On 8 Sept., she was allocated to the 3rd flotilla at Vlissingen, but collided with S13 entering harbour. She came off worse, and was still undergoing repairs in mid- September.

I make this 13 operational boats, by the way.

Incidentally, the ex-Bulgarian S1 should not be confused with the prototype S1, and for reasons completely beyond me, there never was an S6.

Summary: 13 S-Boats

M-1935 Minesweeper

Summary: 19 M-1935 MS

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmari...t35/index.html

The U-Boat Arm

Up to the end of September, 1940, 90 U-Boats had been commissioned, including one oddity, a boat being built for Turkey in a German yard, and requisitioned in September, 1939.

During the same period, 30 boats were lost, leaving a total of 60 for which to account.

31 were the small Type II ‘canoes’ suited for coastal rather than deep water operations. Of these, 5 were Type IIAs, 15 Type IIBs, 6 Type IICs, and 5 Type IIDs.

8 of these 31 were already classified by Doenitz as ‘unfit for front line service.’ These were U2, U3, U4, U5, & U6 (all IIAs) U17, U19, & U24 ( IIBs ).

A further 13 were described as ‘training boats,’ these being U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U14, U18, U20, U21, U23, U120, U121, (Type IIBs ) and U139 (Type IID). Incidentally, I suspect that U139 has been wrongly classified here; she was only commissioned in July 1940, and I wonder if she was actually a boat working up, rather than simply a training boat.

3 new Type IIDs, ( U140, U141, & U142 ) were August 1940 commissions, and listed as boats working up. ( Hence my earlier comment about U139 ). All these, including U139, undertook their first war patrols in mid November, 1940.

This leaves 7 operational ‘frontboote’ these being U56, U58, U59, U60, U61, & U137 (Type IICs), and U138 (Type IID).

18 were the larger Type VIIs, suitable for Atlantic operations.

1 of these, U30 ( Type VIIA) was a training boat.

4 boats (U94, U95, U96, U97, all August & September commissioned Type VIICs) were working up. All undertook their first war patrols in late November, 1940.

This leaves 13 operational ‘frontboote’ these being U28, U29, U31, U32, U34 (Type VIIAs), U46, U47, U48, U52, U93, U99, U100, U101 (Type VIIBs).

10 were the long range Type IXs.

3 were August & September commissions working up (U104, U105, U106, all Type IXBs). All undertook their first war patrols in late November, 1940

This leaves 7 operational ‘frontboote’ U37, U38, U43 (Type IXA), U65, U103, U123, U124 (Type IXB).

Finally, the ex-Turkish boat (UA) was undergoing extended refit.

Thus, in late September, there were 20 operational Type IIs & Type VIIs, plus a further 7 working up. In the event of ‘Sealion’ taking place, the Type IXs would have been allocated to long range weather reporting duties, as they were totally unsuited to inshore operations.

There were, of course, a further 14 training boats, but I leave it to others to judge whether, in the real world, deploying obsolete boats with half-trained crews, or even new boats in the throes of working-up, against experienced fleet destroyers would have been a wise decision.


Summary of U-Boat Availability

Up to Sep 90 boats had been commisioned of which there were 30 lost. Removing boats newly commisioned in August and Sept as well as the training boats and obsolete craft the Germans have:

7 Type IIC and D (coastal submarines)
13 Type VIIA and B
(7 Type IXA and B)

The larger Type IX were unsuited to the shallow waters of the channel and arguably could be deployed out in the Atlantic to try and tie down some escorts and to report on weather systems impacting the operation.

Total of KM warships (not counting S-Boats and armed MS, which will be added later) =

7 Destroyers,
13 Torpedo Boats.
13 S-Boats
19 M-1935 MS
20 U-Boats

Naval Auxiliaries

Vorpostenbootes - Converted fishing trawler, harbour craft, etc. Armed with an 3.5" gun and light AA and a speed of 12 kn. Used for light escort duties and considered a challenge for MTB and MGB class craft. To be used guarding the eastern Channel convoys and with convoys bound for beaches D and E

Available Sep 40 - 23 and 70 = 93

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmari...oot/index.html

Raumbootes - a small minesweeper that also escorted coastal shipping and carried light AA and depth charges with a speed of 19-20 kn. To be used guarding the eastern Channel convoys and with convoys bound for beaches D and E

Available Sep 40 - 24 and 16 = 40

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmari...oat/index.html



Transports - Subtracting losses, the German army could count on the following shipping to carry the troops as of Sep 17 :

159 transports
1859 barges
397 tugs
11 Herbert ferries
12 Seibel ferries
1100 motor boats
68 command boats.

5 Artillery ships (6" guns)

Total KM naval vessels:

7 Destroyers,
13 Torpedo Boats.
13 S-Boats
19 M-1935 MS
20 U-Boats

93 Vorposten Boats aux.
40 Raum Boats (MS) aux.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

OPERATION HERBSTREISE (courtesy of Doveton Sturdee)
( Literally ‘Autumn Journey’ )

This was a diversionary operation intended to draw the British Home Fleet away from the Channel by simulating a landing on the British East Coast somewhere between Newcastle-upon-Tyne & Aberdeen. Four dummy invasion convoys were assembled, involving eleven vessels of some 2000 GRT each, together with four large liners.
Convoy 1 : The steamships Stettiner Greif, Dr. Heinrich Wiegand, & Pommern, escorted by 2 anti-submarine vessels. 2 minesweepers, and 2 armed merchantmen.
Convoy 2 : Steamships Steinburg, Bugsee, Ilse LM Russ, & Flottbeck, escorted by 2 a/s vessels, 2 m/s vessels, 2 patrol boats, and 2 captured Norwegian torpedo boats.
Convoy 3 : Steamships Iller, Sabine, Howaldt, & Lumme, escorted by 2 a/s vessels and 4 old pre-WW1 torpedo boats. Fifteen such vessels, from the 1906 & 1911 series of torpedo boats, had been retained by the German Navy after WW1, and by 1939 were long past operational use, being employed as tenders and training vessels. They would have been hurredly re-armed with two 105mm guns and two torpedo tubes.
Convoy 4 : The liners Europa, Potsdam, Gneisenau & Bremen, escorted by the old cruiser Emden and 5 old pre-WW1 torpedo boats.

The first three convoys, on D-Day minus 3, would load troops of the 69th, 24th, & 214th Infantry Divisions from Norwegian ports (Bergen, Stavanger, & Arendal respectively) in daylight. They would then sail, before unloading the troops again (at Bekkervig, Haugesund, and Kristiansand) in darkness.
The fourth convoy would operate from Germany, where Europa & Potsdam would simulate loading troops from Bremerhaven, whilst Potsdam & Gneisenau would actually load troops from Hamburg, but would then disembark them, in darkness, at Cuxhaven.

In addition, the convoys would be screened by a cruiser squadron consisting of the light cruisers Nurnberg & Koln, the gunnery training ship Bremse (a destroyer sized vessel armed with four 127cm guns), 3 F Boats (fleet escorts, of a class of 10 vessels, which entered service from 1936 onwards, but which were so unreliable that they had all, by 1939, been converted to second-line duties such as tenders and training vessels), and 2 captured Norwegian torpedo boats. The cruiser squadron, incidentally, was under orders to attack inferior British forces should they be encountered, but to avoid action with a superior force, even if this resulted in the abandonment of the ‘invasion’ convoys.

Finally, the Panzership Admiral Scheer and the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper were to sortie into the Atlantic, but in the event Scheer did not complete her refit until 1941, and Hipper had major engine defects, severely restricting her operational radius.

Ironically, ‘Herbstreise’ was an operation intended to protect ‘Sealion’ from a non-existent threat. Whilst the German naval high command assumed that the British Home Fleet would immediately sail for the Channel in the event of an invasion, the Admiralty intended it to remain at Rosyth & Scapa Flow against the threat of a sortie by German heavy ships, reasoning that the resources allocated to the Channel area were more than adequate for the task. In short, ‘Herbstreise’ could have resulted in the loss of the few remaining German cruisers, together with several prestigious liners and large merchantmen, without contributing anything to ‘Sealion’ at all.
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The Air Force Thread

<more to follow>

The RAF

Bomber Command - July 10, 1940

Battles - 52
Blenheims - ~ 200 ("anti-invasion")
Wellington - ~ 212
Whitley - ~68
Hampden - ~ 200
Beaufort - 24

BC (minus the Battles) was organised into 40 sqns of which 35 were operational, containing 467 serviceable a/c

Bomber Command - Sep 13, 1940

Battles - 64
Blenheim IV - 222 ("anti-invasion")
Wellington - 180
Whitley - 84
Hampden - 136
Beaufort - 30

Fighter Command June 4, 1940

Fighter Command July 1, 1940

Available/Serviceable*

Blenheim - -/69
Spitfire - -/200
Huricane - -/348
Defiants - -/26
Gladiator - -/-

Fighter Command Aug 11, 1940

Available/Serviceable*

Blenheim - -/60
Spitfire - 374/245
Huricane - 721/382
Defiants - -/22
Gladiator - -/2

* including spares and reserves there were 334 Spitfire and 656 Hurricanes serviceable throughout England

Fighter Command Sep 15, 1940

Available/Serviceable

Blenheim - -/47
Spitfire - -/192
Hurricane - -/389
Defiant - -/24
Gladiator - -/8


The Luftwaffe

Luftwaffe Jul 10, 1940

Available/Serviceable

Me-109: -/708
Me-110: -/202
Dive Bombers (Ju-87): ?/?
Twin Eng bombers (He-111, Do-217, Ju-88): -/898

Luftwaffe Aug 10, 1940

Available/Serviceable

Me-109: 934/805
Me-110: 289/224
Dive Bombers (Ju-87): 327/261
Twin Eng bombers (He-111, Do-217, Ju-88): 1481/998

Luftwaffe Sep 7, 1940

Available/Serviceable

Me-109: 831/658
Me-110: 206/112
Dive Bombers (Ju-87): 174/133
Twin Eng bombers (He-111, Do-217, Ju-88): 1291/798


LW Transports

June 30: Ju-52 - ~240, Gliders - ~ 20,
July 31st: Ju-52 - ~400, Gliders - ~ 80
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The Army Thread

<More to follow>

The German Army for Sealion

Quite obviously the German army was more than adequate to provide troops and equipment to fight a land battle. The question is more what specialised equipment, beyond landing craft and other means of transport, would the army need to assist any assault force. The German plan as it developed through June, July, August and Sept along with lift capacity and parachute forces will be covered here.

Amphibious Tanks - Sep 1940

A German panzer battalion in 1940 called for 25 Pz II, 53 Pz III and 14 Pz IV for full establishment of 92 tanks. These were organised into a HQ of 2 Pz III and 5 Pz II, 3 medium coys of 17 Pz III and 5 Pz II each, and a support coy of 14 Pz IV and 5 Pz II. By mid Sep 1940 the Germans had converted over 200 tanks to be used in four battalions attached to the first waves to go ashore. The Pz IIs with attached floats were to swim ashore while the Pz III and Pz IV were equipped with snorkels and would drive along the sea bottom to the beach. This second group was expected to be landed by barge if possible and a sea launch would only be used if the tactical situation warranted it.

Available amphibious tanks Jul 15:

30 Pz IIIF

Available amphibious tanks Sep 15:

52 Pz IIC
168 Pz IIIF/G
38 Pz IVC/D

German Amphibious Tractors:

Landwasserschlepper (LWS) - 7 (could carry 20 troops)


The British Army

http://www.wwiiequipment.com/index.p...cles&Itemid=61

Cheers to Full Monty for this link.

Notes on British Army Strength Jun 6-10, 1940 -

In June 1940 under General Ironside the British Army had concentrated its main stocks of AT guns along the GHQ Line protecting London. This was to change in mid July when Gen Brooke took over as C-in-C. The British command also believed the Germans were very likely to land in East Anglia as well as Kent. This too began to change in July but it reserves continued to be evenly split between Surrey and Essex until mid to late August. In any case the army was still very short on transport and a percentage of kit would have been required to remain in stock as reserves and for training purposes.

Complete Divisions - 52nd Lowland, 1st Canadian
Other divisions - 25 infantry, 2 armoured and 2 Army Tank brigades (there were more paper units)

Equipment on hand Jun 6th -

2 pdr AT gun - 333
40mm Bofors AA - 283
3.7" AA - 662
18 pdr Arty- 180
18/25 pdr (25 pdr Mk I) Arty - 492
25 pdr Mk II Arty - 114
4.5" Arty - 280
6" Arty - ?
Cruiser Tanks - 141
"I" Tanks - 140
Light tanks - 407

Production Jun 1940 -

2 pdr AT gun - 83
40mm Bofors AA - 118
3.7" AA - 122
25 pdr Mk II Arty - 102
4.5" Arty - 0
6" Arty - ?
Cruiser Tanks - 58
"I" Tanks - 57
Light tanks - 21

Total Equipment on hand Jun 30th 1940 -

2pdr AT - 416
40mm Bofors AA - 401
3.7" AA - 784
18 pdr Arty- 180
18/25 pdr (25 pdr Mk I) Arty - 492
25 pdr Mk II Arty - 216
4.5" Arty - 280
6" Arty - ?
Cruiser Tanks - 199
"I" Tanks - 197
Light tanks - 428

Summary for Jun 30th 1940

This still leaves enough equipment to complete approximately 10 infantry divisions, both armoured divisions and the two army tank brigades. The largest shortages remain divisional transport, the 2 pdr AT gun and the 3" mortar used in the infantry battalions. While there would not be 10 complete divisions the GHQ Reserve would consist of:

1st Canadian Infantry, 3rd Infantry, 42nd Lowland, 43 Wessex, 1st Armoured, 2nd Armoured, 1st Army Tank brigade, 2nd Army Tank Brigade. The NZEF and Australian divisions beginning to arrive and the Free French Demi-Brigade is also at Cantebury.

"Coastal" Divisions in East Anglia, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire:

Norfolk - 18th Infantry, 2nd London
Suffolk/Essex - 56th Infantry, 15th Scottish
Kent/Sussex - 1st London, 45th Infantry, (3rd Infantry)
Hampshire - 4th Infantry

Summary for July 31st, 1940

New production and the arrival of the US 'Cash and Carry convoys did much to improve the equipment levels of the British army but there were still large shortages in AT guns (<25%) and 3" mortars (35%). The artillery situation was improved to the point where the army now had approx 50% of its total requirements.

The armoured divisions and brigades received more than 100 Cruiser and Infantry tanks and the number of light tanks also increased. The four armoured formations could now count on 284 Cruisers, 218 I Tanks and 657 light tanks. However, a number of these would be held back as spares and training vehicles. July also saw the arrival of the newer A13 Mk III Covenanter and Valentine I in home units to augment the existing A10 and A13 MkII Cruisers and A11 and A12 I Tanks.

July also saw the change in Britain's top command for ground forces. General Brooke took over from Gen Ironside and changed a more passive defence to a more mobile counterattack scheme. Emphasis also changed in location in that East Anglia was no longer thought of as the most likely landing spot for invasion and defences in Kent and SUssex were now given first priority.

GHQ Reserves were to be committed earlier to counterattack landings as quickly as possible. The AT guns, once concentrated in the GHQ Line were now made more mobile and assigned to the mobile formations. US 75mm guns also found their way into the forward divisions and brigades both to augment artillery regiment but for use as AT guns as well. The arrival of the US equipment allowed a number of divisions in the north and west to be equipped with the US equipment while British kit was given to forces in the south and east.

GHQ Reserve July 31st -

East Anglia/Yorkshire: 1st Infantry, 2nd Infantry, 42nd East Lancashire, 2nd Armoured, 2nd Army Tank Brigade,

Surrey/Wiltshire: 1st Canadian Infantry, Australian Division, 3rd Infantry, 43 Wessex, 52nd Lowland, 1st Armoured, 1st Army Tank brigade, 21st AT Brigade.

"Coastal" divisions and brigades in East Anglia, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire:

Norfolk - 18th Infantry, 2nd London
Suffolk/Essex - 56th Infantry, 15th Scottish
Kent/Sussex - 1st London, 45th Infantry, (3rd Infantry), NZEF, 31st Motor bde, 13th Demi-bde (Free Fr) 29th bde, Royal Mar. bde
Hampshire - 4th Infantry

__________________________________________________ ___________________________________

TO&E for British Divisions 1940 -

Infantry: 3 infantry brigades (9 battalions), 1 MG battalion, 1 Engineer battalion, 1 Arty brigade (36-48 25 pdr), 1 AT Reg't (48 2 pdr AT guns), 1 AA Reg't (24 40mm AA guns)

<note, the cavalry reg't of light tanks was scapped after France>

Armoured: 2 armoured brigades (4 cruiser, 2 light tank reg'ts), 1 recce battalion, 1 Support Group (2 motor inf battalions), 1 engineer battalion, 1 Artillery Reg't (24 25pdrs), 1 AT reg't (36 2pdr AT gun), 1 AA reg't (24 40mm AA)

<note - each arm'd bde should have approx 100 Cruiser and 50 light tanks but the shortages meant that the two available divisions, if balanced, would have about 45 cruisers and 90 light tanks per brigade>

Army Tank Brigade: 3 infantry tank battalions (approx 12 Light tanks and 54 Infantry tanks)

<note of the 200 odd I tanks available 63 were the A11 and 134 A12 Mk II some of A11 were withheld for training. There would have been about 175 I tanks and 65 Light tanks available for the two brigades (120 tanks per brigade) by the end of June>
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Last edited by The Purist; 15 Jun 12 at 21:55..
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