Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean. Hosted by Andy H
User avatar
ClintHardware
Financial supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: 21 Jan 2011 12:17

Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by ClintHardware » 12 Jul 2022 20:27

Hi All
I thought the following might be of interest and argument. It is Norrie's report finally completed on the 29th December 1941 of XXX Corps' part in CRUSADER. I was also interested to see what his background was leading up to the operation - the following may not be complete:

Lieutenant-General Charles Willoughby Norrie, D.S.O., M.C. & Bar
Educated at Eton College and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Norrie was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 11th Hussars in 1913. He served during that war being awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and Bar, was twice mentioned in despatches, and was wounded four times. He became, successively, a Staff Captain in the 73rd Brigade; General Staff Officer GSO3 in XVIII Corps; served as the Brigade Major of the 90th Brigade, and in the 2nd Tank Brigade; and was second in command of the 2nd Battalion of the Tank Corps.

Between the wars Norrie had a number of regimental and staff postings, interrupted by a year at the Staff College, Camberley in 1924. In 1931 he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and commanded the 10th Hussars. After leaving the Hussars he was held on half-pay and after attending the Imperial Defence College in April 1936 he was appointed to command the 1st Cavalry Brigade which was mechanised in 1938 and re-designated the 1st Light Armoured Brigade, then later re-designated 1st Armoured Brigade in 1940. In April 1940 the brigade was under command of the 2nd Armoured Division. Norrie had temporary command of the division for a month before he was promoted to Major-General. He left the division to take up the role of Inspector of the Royal Armoured Corps, but four months later he was appointed to command the 1st Armoured Division. 22nd Armoured Brigade arrived in Egypt ahead of the rest of the 1st Armoured Division. Major-General Norrie was promoted to Lieutenant-General and took command of XXX Corps in the place of Major-General Vyvyan Pope who had died in an air crash en route to taking command of XXX Corps. Major-General Pope had had first hand experience of the armoured fighting in France and Belgium 1940 and was a leading expert within the British Army at that time.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

User avatar
ClintHardware
Financial supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: 21 Jan 2011 12:17

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by ClintHardware » 13 Jul 2022 17:28

There were some small typos in the report - I have now edited them out and replaced the previous version with the corrected version in the above post. Please take another download.
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4458
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by Urmel » 14 Jul 2022 17:20

The one thing that report is a reliable guide to is that Norrie was much better at writing up combat so that he came out of the car crash that was CRUSADER looking good, rather than commanding 30 Corps in combat.

A man thrown into a position he was not ready to and who wasn't able to rise to the challenge.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
ClintHardware
Financial supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: 21 Jan 2011 12:17

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by ClintHardware » 15 Jul 2022 14:22

You might be right to some extent but until I piece the combat evidence together with relevant paragraphs from his report I can not comment. Can you help readers here with relevant examples? You have studied Crusader for many years in detail. I am new to the detail at the moment.
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4458
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by Urmel » 15 Jul 2022 14:50

Look at the table of tank number comparisons paragraph 2, and how he uses the obsolete German Panzer I and II models, plus captured Matildas and the Panzerjäger I to pretend that 30 Corps did not have superiority in tanks. The Axis had about 300 mainline tanks (III, IV and M13/40), compared to 430 (excluding A10s) in 30 Corps. Norrie of course was fully aware of this, but in his report needs to make himself look weaker to explain his failings away.

He then explains how clever he was in aiming for Sidi Rezegh instead of Gabr Saleh, as the enemy would never attack his forces there (19 Nov D2 narrative) and Lo! the enemy did not attack at Gabr Saleh in his narrative, because he conveniently forgets to mention the attack by KG Stephan on 8 Hussars in the afternoon of 19 Nov, but writes about an earlier engagement with '60 tanks' (in reality armoured cars of Aufkl. Gr. Wechmar) near Bir Gibni. No doubt this way, if someone pulled him up on this omission, he could claim to have confused something and correct it. Or maybe he really wasn't aware, given his level of command competence it is hard to be sure. See second article here discussing this battle in great detail: http://rommelsriposte.com/articles/ Of course, on 20 Nov D3 he can no longer ignore what happened at Gabr Saleh, but somehow that didn't seem to influence his earlier view that the enemy would not attack him there, and therefore there is also no need to get into the question of how he could leave 4 Armoured Brigade hanging there on its own. So we have two full days of the Germans attacking British tanks at Gabr Saleh, but does that mean Norrie was wrong about Gabr Saleh being pointless because it wouldn't be attacked? Of course it doesn't, in Norrie's report.

We can also mention his mantra that forces have to be concentrated against the enemy (Para 11), and his failure to discuss why he didn't follow his own advice on D2/3.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
ClintHardware
Financial supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: 21 Jan 2011 12:17

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by ClintHardware » 17 Jul 2022 06:24

Interesting points. Thanks
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4458
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by Urmel » 17 Jul 2022 21:23

The amount of time I have for Norrie's nonsense couldn't be measured in miliseconds.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
ClintHardware
Financial supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: 21 Jan 2011 12:17

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by ClintHardware » 19 Jul 2022 11:05

What would you advise everyone here to concentrate on instead?

Is there a route around the sources to avoid Norrie?

I have yet to place the combat reported by the fighting units (including the six British and Commonwealth reconnaissance regiments and all types of artillery) around Norrie's statements to assess how Norrie is unreliable. If he is wrong, and I expect he will prove to be wrong in significant places, I will still quote him and highlight his account as differing from the accounts of the combat units.
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4458
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by Urmel » 20 Jul 2022 21:04

There isn't a particular item to concentrate on. You need to build up an understanding of the operation from its genesis to its conclusion through the study of primary documents at all levels.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
ClintHardware
Financial supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: 21 Jan 2011 12:17

Re: Willoughby-Norrie Report XXX Corps CRUSADER

Post by ClintHardware » 21 Jul 2022 06:02

Yes I'll do that. Have finally begun writing my third book covering July 1941- 20th January 1941. The first two are in print and available from www.armourpublishing.biz
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

Return to “WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean”