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This is the order of battle for Operation Brevity, a World War II battle between the British Commonwealth and the European Axis Powers of Germany and Italy in North Africa between May 15–16, 1941.

British and Commonwealth Forces

General Officer, Commanding in chief, Middle East Command - General Archibald Wavell

HQ Western Desert Force - Lieutenant-General Noel Beresford-Peirse

Operational command - Brigadier William Gott

The British and Commonwealth force were drawn mainly from the 7th Armoured Division's, 7th Armoured Brigade and 7th Support Group and from the independent 22nd Guards Brigade. They were organised into three groups:

German and Italian forces

Supreme Commander - General Italo Gariboldi[5]

Following the British attacks General Rommel ordered the following force, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Crammer, to the frontier to defeat the British.

  • 1st Battalion, Panzer Regiment 8
  • One Flak battery

During the morning of May 16, Rommel ordered further forces to the frontier.

  • Kampfgrppe von Esebeck
    • Schuetzen Regiment 200
      • One battalion
    • 1st Battalion, Panzer Regiment 5
      • Medium tank Company (minus one platoon)
    • One Panzerjäger Company
    • One artillery battalion (minus one battery)

See also


  1. Howard, p. 75
  2. The battalion were a follow-up force to take possession of Halfaya Pass once it had been captured and did not take an active part in Operation Brevity other than providing mortar support to the Rifle Brigade
  3. 6x Cruiser Mk I, 17x Mk. IIA and 7x Mk. IVA (one of these thirty tanks was in repair in a field depot and didn't see action)
  4. The Hussars were on the extreme flank of the advance, according to there regimental history they manoeuvred themselves to the rear of the German-Italian positions from where they conducted reconnaissance but did not engage any targets, they then covered the withdrawal of the forces on the desert flank on the 16th
  5. The Commandante Superiore was Rommel's superior on paper, but not in practice.


  • Clarke, Dudley (1952). The Eleventh At War: Being The Story Of The XIth Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) Through The Years 1934-1945. Michael Joseph. 
  • Erskine, David (2001) [1956]. The Scots Guards 1919-1955. DNaval & Military Press Ltd. ISBN 1-84342-061-9. 
  • Hastings, Major R.H.W.S. (1950). The Rifle Brigade In The Second World War 1939-1945. Gale & Polden. 
  • Howard, Michael; Sparrow, John (1951). The Coldstream Guards, 1920-1946. Oxford University Press. 
  • Jentz, Thomas L. (1998). Tank Combat In North Africa: The Opening Rounds, Operation Sonnenblume, Brevity, Skorpion and Battleaxe, February 1941 - June 1941. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-0226-4. 
  • Maughan, Barton (1966). Official History of Australia in the Second World War Volume III – Tobruk and El Alamein. Chapters 4 - 9. Series 1 - Army. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. 
  • Playfair, Major General I.S.O.; and others (2006) [1954]. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume II The Germans come to the help of their Ally (1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series, Official Campaign History. Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84734-427-5. 
  • Rommel, Erwin; Liddell Hart, Basil (editor) (1982) [1953]. The Rommel Papers. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80157-4. 
  • Government of India (2004) [1944]. The Tiger Kills: The Indian Divisions in the North African Campaign, 1941-1943. Military Library Research Service Ltd. 
  • Government of India. The Tiger Strikes. 
  • Wake, Major-General Sir Hereward; Deeds, W.F. (1949). Swift and bold: The story of the King's Royal Rifle Corps in the Second World War 1939-1945. Gale & Polden. 
  • Ward, S.G.P.; Poett, Nigel (2005) [1963]. Faithful: The story of the Durham Light Infantry. Naval & Military Press Ltd. ISBN 1-84574-147-1. 

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