Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

Actually, more tanks will be in play, as the Valiant started production in February 1940, rather than the middle of the year, plus LMS is producing Valiants, rather than struggling with Covenanters (which, according to this site, didn't start serious production until 1941), so that's another company that's going to be months ahead on production over OTL.


Depends who (if anyone) the Germans send over (someone other than Rommel might not attack). And even if they do attack, having Valentines at El Agheila and Brega might stop the German advance.
On the first point, the issue is in theatre tank numbers. More tanks sent to Greece doesn't help Crete (or North Africa)

More tanks might halt the Germans earlier if they were sent to North Africa (likely) but it won't help them enough to take North Africa without the resources spent on Greece.
 
On the first point, the issue is in theatre tank numbers. More tanks sent to Greece doesn't help Crete (or North Africa)

More tanks might halt the Germans earlier if they were sent to North Africa (likely) but it won't help them enough to take North Africa without the resources spent on Greece.
With the Valiant, it's not just a case of quantity, but also of quality. A Valiant won't go down to a 37mm AT gun, the way a Cruiser tank will, and won't give the Germans as easy a target for their big guns as, say, a Matilda will, due to it being faster, and thus, more quickly able to advance on the enemy position.

In addition, Britain isn't having to run all their supplies all the way from Egypt, because the can bring some in through Benghazi, which is only ~240 km from Brega, or ~285 km from El Agheila. Meanwhile the Germans' closest port is Misrata, over 550 km from El Agheila, or on the cusp of 600 km from Brega, so they're pretty far from their supply line too. If the British can survive that initial attack (if they come), they stand a good chance of holding Cyrenaica in the long term, which improves matters significantly.
 
It's also a case of doctrine - if they charge into a line of 88s without support it probably really doesn't matter what kind of tank they are using.
 
25 May 1940. Crèvecoeur, France.
25 May 1940. Crèvecoeur, France.

General Robert Altmayer was trying to bring together a strong enough force to break through the German positions on the River Somme and then continue north to relieve the French, Belgian and British forces surrounded by the Germans. The visit of General Roger Evans of the British 1st Armoured Division was one element in that force.

The British had done some good reconnaissance which had outlined the German bridgehead south of the Somme from Saveuse to Clairy-Saulchoix, almost ten kilometres southwest of the centre of Amiens. Evans tried to help Altmayer understand that his two armoured Brigades lacked artillery and infantry support, and that his tanks were a mixture of light and cruisers, so the French general should think of the British as being more akin to a French Division Legere Mechanique rather than a Division Cuirasse, which would be equipped with what the British termed 'Infantry tanks'.

Altmayer had been informed that the British 51st Division was on its way from the Saar region and would come under his control. On hearing this, Evans argued that putting that infantry Division and his tank Brigades together, would give Atlmayer a strong British element. The 51st Division however wouldn’t arrive for another few days to be able to work with the British tanks. In the meantime, the bridgeheads over the Somme had to be eliminated.

What Altmayer did have at the moment was two Divisions Légères de Cavalerie, 5e DLC and 2e DLC. These were made up of a horsed Cavalry Brigade and a light mechanised brigade with a mixture of armoured cars and 38 Hotchkiss H35 tanks. Altmayer persuaded Evans to attach his 3rd Armoured Brigade to support the 5e DLC and 2nd Armoured Brigade to support the 2e DLC in their attempts to retake the Somme crossings. The attacks were due to take place either the next day, 26 May or the day after, 27 May depending on circumstances. Altmayer suggested that the British should try to link with their French counterparts and have some hours to coordinate their command and control systems. Evans however feared that the French General still thought of the British tanks as being capable of directly attacking an enemy fixed position, rather than exploiting a breakthrough won by infantry and artillery.

NB no changes to OTL.
 
It's also a case of doctrine - if they charge into a line of 88s without support it probably really doesn't matter what kind of tank they are using.
That's a situation which is less likely to happen in this world to be fair - more tanks armed with pom-poms over MGs and better support tanks means there won't be as many times when they have to try and close the range to engage AT lines with the co-ax or bow MG.
 
There are a number of ways to make Compass succeed, and not all of them depend on the Army.
The need is to improve the logistics and speed.
More tail would work, but what's the driver for it?
More reliable tanks helps, less broken tanks hence the tail isn't as stretched.
Faster tanks help a bit, the faster the Italians are chased the more likely units are to collapse faster.
Increasing the combat power of the tanks probably doesn't help, you couldn't win the battles much faster than OTL. It might hit Italian morale even harder, but it was pretty much shattered anyway.
Getting further before Greece happens might help, if the goal is seen to be that much closer then they might go for it first.
Better and more reliable tanks mean there might be some for Greece while still attacking the Italians.

Other logistical improvements really need more Aircraft Carriers :p
 
It's also a case of doctrine - if they charge into a line of 88s without support it probably really doesn't matter what kind of tank they are using.
While some of that was due to Cavalry Officers being, well, Cavalry Officers, a lot was because that was the only way they could get close enough to kill the guns - no decent HE or smoke shell.
 
With the Valiant, it's not just a case of quantity, but also of quality. A Valiant won't go down to a 37mm AT gun, the way a Cruiser tank will, and won't give the Germans as easy a target for their big guns as, say, a Matilda will, due to it being faster, and thus, more quickly able to advance on the enemy position.

In addition, Britain isn't having to run all their supplies all the way from Egypt, because the can bring some in through Benghazi, which is only ~240 km from Brega, or ~285 km from El Agheila. Meanwhile the Germans' closest port is Misrata, over 550 km from El Agheila, or on the cusp of 600 km from Brega, so they're pretty far from their supply line too. If the British can survive that initial attack (if they come), they stand a good chance of holding Cyrenaica in the long term, which improves matters significantly.
Don't disagree with that assessment but original six points suggested booting the Italians out of North Africa completely (and perhaps rolling up the Vichy French too). Which is beyond the butterflies of the PoD I would suggest
 
Don't disagree with that assessment but original six points suggested booting the Italians out of North Africa completely (and perhaps rolling up the Vichy French too). Which is beyond the butterflies of the PoD I would suggest
I think it's doable, but it isn't easy. It will be a close-run thing
 
Let us not overdo the effect of Valiants in NA. They will perform better than the OTL tanks certainly, but, as Montgomery deduced, any advance across such distances with limited infrastructure requires them to be limited to the distance and size that the logistics can support. Valiants will still need a better tail.
The biggest butterfly will be more tanks produced over OTL

Sonnenblume succeeded in part because the British only had 2 Battalions of tanks on the front lines

1 Battalion of worn out cruisers and 1 battalion of captured Italian tanks

Organised into a Brigade supported by some armoured cars and motor infantry etc - its commander had warned Wavell that it would last a day in combat before it tanks would become unserviceable - he was wrong as some tanks lasted 2 days!

With Vickers producing greater than OTL number of tanks and better tanks - we could easily see a few more Battalions worth of better tanks with an increase in spares arriving in theatre and with an increase in survivors from the armoured forces in France the Tribal knowledge would be greater than OTL as well - making for a more powerful potential force that the Desert Army can sustain in the field.

Rommel attacked with the 5th 'Light' Division a force of 71 Pz III with 20 Pz IV and 100 odd Pz 1 and II and this was reinforced during the attack with the 15th Pz Division with another 71 Pz III and 20 Pz IV with 45 Pz II as it became available.

It also had the advantage of having better armoured cars than the British allowing it to win the recce battles.

2 or 3 Battalions of Valiants would make things very difficult for this force verses what they had to face OTL with the 15mm armed light tanks being pushed to the cavalry screen allowing them to match the German armoured cars.
 
So I was hoping to avoid going this far ahead of the TL but since we seem to be here now.

Let us not overdo the effect of Valiants in NA. They will perform better than the OTL tanks certainly, but, as Montgomery deduced, any advance across such distances with limited infrastructure requires them to be limited to the distance and size that the logistics can support. Valiants will still need a better tail.
Technically the Valiant's will likely need a slightly smaller tail per tank over OTL tanks to cover the same distance. The improved tracks, the switch to diesel and the improved reliability in general of the tank over what was used OTL mean both a lower rate of breakdown and repair and fewer supplies needed. It also goes farther for a given amount of fuel.
All those point's make the Valiant a lower drain on the logistical tail.

Agreed. However, you could make the case of, would you rather have 12 Crusaders at Mersa Brega when the Germans come, or 6 Valiants. Personally, I'd rather go for the Valiants, since they can shrug off any calibre less than a long 50mm.
Given the above points I would argue that if you can get 12 Crusader's to somewhere in the desert you will be able to get more Valiant's or have a better supplied force of 12 of them.

Only if Italian North Africa is lost in 1941 which would require no Greece and more tanks to the Western Desert Force.
Far more goes into play than just those two event's. As MattII point's out tank production numbers are already higher than OTL and in the next month or so will continue to increase past OTL. Having more tanks wo pass out along with other factors potentially at play in North Africa. It is also worth remembering that Greece was basically 2 months worth of fighting, not brilliant for Britain but something she can manage.

It's also a case of doctrine - if they charge into a line of 88s without support it probably really doesn't matter what kind of tank they are using.
Yeah..... i'll give you that one. But it depends on what troops are being used.
Even with the Greece intervention?
It is possible. It just needs the right set of circumstances.
So OTL Compass was a 65 day operation if I recall correctly. OTL it had a mixture of light tanks, Cruisers and Matilda II's, TTL it will be more of the same but with Valiant's replacing the Matilda II's and more of them in general perhaps replacing some of the light's and Cruisers.
Now given that the Valiant's are more reliable and less of a drain on logistics whilst being faster than the Matilda II it should not be difficult for Britain to advance faster than OTL.
The question becomes how much faster. A 10% faster advance assuming all other events go as OTL (I know but bear with me) means that the British get to Beda Fomm at the end of January and El Agheila within g the first couple of days of February. The supply situation likely wont be as bad along with the better condition of the vehicles meaning some advance can probably continue.
If that is the case then the priorities for sourcing men and equipment for Greece change. I would not be surprised if instead of draining North Africa some home troops are earmarked. That leaves the battle hardened troops in North Africa with more equipment and a position quite a bit further west. That changes the whole dynamic of the fight and quite possibly stops the Germans in their tracks and allows the advance to continue in May post Greece. At that point it may not be long for the axis in North Africa. Add in this post by Cryhavok101
The biggest butterfly will be more tanks produced over OTL

Sonnenblume succeeded in part because the British only had 2 Battalions of tanks on the front lines

1 Battalion of worn out cruisers and 1 battalion of captured Italian tanks

Organised into a Brigade supported by some armoured cars and motor infantry etc - its commander had warned Wavell that it would last a day in combat before it tanks would become unserviceable - he was wrong as some tanks lasted 2 days!

With Vickers producing greater than OTL number of tanks and better tanks - we could easily see a few more Battalions worth of better tanks with an increase in spares arriving in theatre and with an increase in survivors from the armoured forces in France the Tribal knowledge would be greater than OTL as well - making for a more powerful potential force that the Desert Army can sustain in the field.

Rommel attacked with the 5th 'Light' Division a force of 71 Pz III with 20 Pz IV and 100 odd Pz 1 and II and this was reinforced during the attack with the 15th Pz Division with another 71 Pz III and 20 Pz IV with 45 Pz II as it became available.

It also had the advantage of having better armoured cars than the British allowing it to win the recce battles.

2 or 3 Battalions of Valiants would make things very difficult for this force verses what they had to face OTL with the 15mm armed light tanks being pushed to the cavalry screen allowing them to match the German armoured cars.
And you can get a very different picture than OTL. That all assumes that events go as OTL and the fact Britain can advance faster does not mean that the Italians just get overrun. Vichy France is off limits however. Best that can be hoped for is parking a free french division on the Border with a bunch of Valiant's and other shiny equipment.
 
There are a number of ways to make Compass succeed, and not all of them depend on the Army.
The need is to improve the logistics and speed.
More tail would work, but what's the driver for it?
More reliable tanks helps, less broken tanks hence the tail isn't as stretched.
Faster tanks help a bit, the faster the Italians are chased the more likely units are to collapse faster.
Increasing the combat power of the tanks probably doesn't help, you couldn't win the battles much faster than OTL. It might hit Italian morale even harder, but it was pretty much shattered anyway.
Getting further before Greece happens might help, if the goal is seen to be that much closer then they might go for it first.
Better and more reliable tanks mean there might be some for Greece while still attacking the Italians.

Other logistical improvements really need more Aircraft Carriers :p

I agree with Astrodragon's list. The only real possibility for change with Compass would be with better tanks and the increased feeling of superiority this brings to the British Generals in theatre there is he possibility that they plan for Compass to be more ambitious than OTL. This would allow for more hidden forward dumps to be set up in the desert allowing the advance to continue more swiftly.

Sooner or later they are going to run out of steam/supplies. This will allow a German and Italian counter stroke. Although with better British tanks it might not be as successful as OTL. Especially as the feeling of superiority the Germans had over the British will be less, following the better performance by the BEF in France and the better British tanks.

I suspect that any TTL DAK would be equipped with more 88's and Pz 3 and 4 and less Pz 1 and 2 because of this.
 
I agree with Astrodragon's list. The only real possibility for change with Compass would be with better tanks and the increased feeling of superiority this brings to the British Generals in theatre there is he possibility that they plan for Compass to be more ambitious than OTL. This would allow for more hidden forward dumps to be set up in the desert allowing the advance to continue more swiftly.

Sooner or later they are going to run out of steam/supplies. This will allow a German and Italian counter stroke. Although with better British tanks it might not be as successful as OTL. Especially as the feeling of superiority the Germans had over the British will be less, following the better performance by the BEF in France and the better British tanks.

I suspect that any TTL DAK would be equipped with more 88's and Pz 3 and 4 and less Pz 1 and 2 because of this.
Heavier shipping cost then with limited shipping resources - more time in dock needed to unload etc. Plus lower numbers of AFVs in theatre limits range of action.

It all adds up.....
 
It is possible. It just needs the right set of circumstances.
So OTL Compass was a 65 day operation if I recall correctly. OTL it had a mixture of light tanks, Cruisers and Matilda II's, TTL it will be more of the same but with Valiant's replacing the Matilda II's and more of them in general perhaps replacing some of the light's and Cruisers.
Now given that the Valiant's are more reliable and less of a drain on logistics whilst being faster than the Matilda II it should not be difficult for Britain to advance faster than OTL.
The question becomes how much faster. A 10% faster advance assuming all other events go as OTL (I know but bear with me) means that the British get to Beda Fomm at the end of January and El Agheila within g the first couple of days of February. The supply situation likely wont be as bad along with the better condition of the vehicles meaning some advance can probably continue.
If that is the case then the priorities for sourcing men and equipment for Greece change. I would not be surprised if instead of draining North Africa some home troops are earmarked. That leaves the battle hardened troops in North Africa with more equipment and a position quite a bit further west. That changes the whole dynamic of the fight and quite possibly stops the Germans in their tracks and allows the advance to continue in May post Greece. At that point it may not be long for the axis in North Africa. Add in this post by Cryhavok101

And you can get a very different picture than OTL. That all assumes that events go as OTL and the fact Britain can advance faster does not mean that the Italians just get overrun. Vichy France is off limits however. Best that can be hoped for is parking a free french division on the Border with a bunch of Valiant's and other shiny equipment.
For me, the intervention in Greece is a given, absent another (major) PoD affecting Churchill's view of Britain's commitment to the Greeks. So the question becomes can some of those extra tanks (there aren't many I think - maybe 200 by end of Feb?) be placed in North Africa. To which I would suggest only if the invasion threat is perceived to have completely gone. Which would mean the British Army is in significantly better shape than OTL after France. Even an extra 2-3 days delay at Dunkirk wouldn't do this but just possibly a better showing, possibly evacuating the bilk of the 51st Highlanders (and other French units) and more materiel might.

But then the WDF is still facing about as many Italians as it did in Compass - they might be able to do it again but i doubt it.
 
Remember there is a hidden bonus with more reliable tanks. They reduce the support needed from the tail, but in NA the tail also has to support itself. So you get a double bonus.
 
Bear in mind that the tail is for all troops and the whole army can only sustain such advances as the whole army that can be supported. Yes the Valiant tail will be smaller than IOTL but that is just one part of the whole army. The tanks cannot just race ahead at their best contact speed but are constrained by the need for infantry, artillery, signals etc. all to be up there with them. The distances are large and bite and hold, then bite again when ready is the overall game. Valiants are much better than OTL tanks of the day but are not the only part of the battle.

'Huzzah! We have found the enemy again. Advance our mighty Valiant tanks to the attack!' 'Er, Sir. The tanks have 4 rounds apiece now, two belts of BESA and 40 km of fuel. The crews have been on guard for the last 5 nights as we have out run our own infantry and the lack of maintenance time is increasing the breakdown rate. If we engage we will become a dismounted infantry unit within 20 minutes. We cannot call upon artillery support as they are resupplying 60 km away somewhere and we have no direct contact with them as yet. Should I order B Echelon to service sharpen the swords and issue them to the men?'
 
Bear in mind that the tail is for all troops and the whole army can only sustain such advances as the whole army that can be supported. Yes the Valiant tail will be smaller than IOTL but that is just one part of the whole army. The tanks cannot just race ahead at their best contact speed but are constrained by the need for infantry, artillery, signals etc. all to be up there with them. The distances are large and bite and hold, then bite again when ready is the overall game. Valiants are much better than OTL tanks of the day but are not the only part of the battle.

'Huzzah! We have found the enemy again. Advance our mighty Valiant tanks to the attack!' 'Er, Sir. The tanks have 4 rounds apiece now, two belts of BESA and 40 km of fuel. The crews have been on guard for the last 5 nights as we have out run our own infantry and the lack of maintenance time is increasing the breakdown rate. If we engage we will become a dismounted infantry unit within 20 minutes. We cannot call upon artillery support as they are resupplying 60 km away somewhere and we have no direct contact with them as yet. Should I order B Echelon to service sharpen the swords and issue them to the men?'
"Nonsense! We are the British Army! Fix bayonets and charge!"
 
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