[ British North Africa Force, Tunisia Campaign, 1943. ] 24 original BNAF documents (many secret), sent from the field during the Battle of Tunisia by 6th Armoured Divison and 9th Corps, including operation orders, march tables, Eisenhower message.

[ 6th Armoured Divison and 9th Corps, British North Africa Force, British Army, Tunisia Campaign, North African Campaign, 1943 ]
Publication details: 
[ British North Africa Force, 6 Armoured Division and 9 Corps. ] Tunisia, North African Campaign, 1943.
SKU: 17410

The collection was acquired by military historian Barrie Pitt, while writing his 'Crucible of War' series on the Desert War, from Captain Vincent Duncan Jones, 6th Armoured Division, BNAF. It is in good overall condition, with rusted staples and other minor age and wear. All items duplicated typescripts unless otherwise indicated. All but two of the items (Thirteen and Seventeen below) date from between January and May 1943, the climax of the Tunisia Campaign, when Allied troops under Eisenhower won a succession of victories over the Axis powers, resulting in a defeat which Goebbels considered as disastrous as that at Stalingrad, followed by the surrender of a quarter of a million troops. This collection of scarce ephemeral items (none of which appears to be present in the Imperial War Museum collection) therefore represents history in the making. The following description, beginning with Eisenhower's message of congratulation to the victorous troops, is divided into 24 sections. ONE: 'MESSAGE FORM' relaying a message from General Eisenhower. Undated (circa May 1943) and without place. From '6 Armd Div 0.597 13' to '26 Armd Bde 1 Gds Bde 201 Gds Bde RA 1 Derby Yeo RE Sigs HQ Sqn A/Q RASC RAMC REME RAOC APM FS Sec Rear Div OC Adv Div ADC SCF Postal'. With facsimile signature of Captain V. Duncan Jones. Eisenhower's message appears to be unrecorded. The text reads: 'Following message has been received from General EISENHOWER and will be made known to all ranks (.) Begins (.) No word of mine could possibly express depth of my appreciation and gratitude to you and all ranks 18 Army Gp and to Allied air and naval forces in this theatre for your recent brilliant successes (.) Every citizen of each of the United States would like to send you similar messages (.) I know that these victories are merely spurring you on to utilise every last atom of your strength to destroy the enemy speedily and completely (.) Best wishes and good luck to you and every man in your magnificent command (.) Ends ALL INFORMED'. TWO: '9 Corps Operation Instruction No.10'. Headed 'MOST SECRET. | COPY NO [2] | 9 May 43'. Facsimile signature of author (B.G.S., 9 Corps). 'In the Field'. 2pp., 8vo. Begins: 'Enemy resistance to-day at HAMMAM LIF has been resolute and there is no sign of a general withdrawal either on the front of Eighth Army, 19 Fr Corps or between ZAGOUAN and HAMMAN LIF.' THREE: 'SUBJECT:- Constantine Div Plan of Operation'. Headed 'MOST SECRET. | 45/G(0)'. Illegible facsimile of author (B.G.S., 9 Corps). 'Field | 7 Apr 43 | JNG/EGM.' 1p., 12mo. Stamped and initialled. With pencil note headed 'CC'. A Covering letter, beginning: 'Herewith at Trace "A" showing approximately the plan of Operation of the French CONSTANTINE Div.' Includes four legends and map reference. Accompanied by two copies of the 20 x 33 cm trace, from 'General Staff | 9 Corps | 1943', headed 'MOST SECRET | Trace showing concentration areas, phases & objectives of attack of Constantine Div (Fr)'. FOUR: '6 Armd Div Movement Order No. 1.' Headed 'MOST SECRET. | Copy No [41] | 26 Feb 43.' 4pp., 8vo. On three leaves. First two pages, on first leaf, with illegible facsimile signature of author (Lieut-Col., General Staff). Second leaf with 'MARCH TABLE 26/27 FEB 43. | SECRET | Appendix "B" to 6 Armd Div Movement Order No. 1.' Third leaf with 'Trace Z to 6 Armd Div Movement Order No. 1'. FIVE: 'First Army Operation Instruction No. 19.' With illegible facsimile signature of Brigadier C. W. McNabb, General Staff, First Army. Dated from the 'Report Centre, | In the Field.' Headed 'MOST SECRET. | COPY NO. [12] | CP/113/GPS | 24 Feb 43'. 4pp., 8vo. Stamped and initialled. With a few ink emendations. SIX: 'Amendment No. 1 to First Army Operation Instruction No. 19'. Illegible facsimile signature of author (Brigadier, General Staff, First Army). Headed 'MOST SECRET | Copy No. [12] | CP/130/OPS | 26 Feb 43'. 1p., 12mo. Stamped and initialled. SEVEN: 'Amendment No. 1 to First Army Operation Instruction No. 19, Dated 24 Feb 43.' (Different from Item Six.) Headed 'MOST SECRET. | COPY NO. [12] | 216/G(Ops). | 25 Feb 43'. With date stamp of Headquarters, 6th Armoured Division'. 1p., 4to. Illegible signature of author (Brigadier, General Staff, First Army), different from signatory of Item Six. 'In the Field.' Stamped and initialled. EIGHT: 'First Army Operation Instruction No.20'. Headed 'MOST SECRET | 216/G(Ops) | 7 Mar 43 | Copy No [9]'. Illegible facsimile signature of author (Brigadier, General Staff, First Army). With manuscript emendations, and addendum on slip of paper stapled over part of text. Stamped and initialled. NINE: 'First Army Operation Instruction No. 22'. Headed 'MOST SECRET | 216/G(Ops)-22 | 8 Mar 43 | Copy No [2]'. Facsimile of signature of Brigadier C. W. McNabb, General Staff, First Army. Stamped and Initialled. 1p., 8vo. TEN: 'Notes of Conference at HQ 4 BR INF DIV'. Headed 'MOST SECRET'. Without place or date. 2pp., 8vo. Stamped and initialled. With a couple of pencil emendations. ELEVEN: '6 Armd Div Operation Order No. 19.' Headed 'SECRET | Copy No. [10] | 6 Apr 43'. 5pp., 8vo. On three leaves. Stamped and initalled. The first two pages, on first leaf, with illegible facsimile signature of author (Lieutenant-Colonel, General Staff). The next two pages, on second leaf, carry a 'March Table 6/7 April | Appendix "C" to 6 Armd Div Operation Order No 19 | SECRET'. The final leaf carries 'Trace "Z" Operation Order No 19.', headed 'SECRET'. TWELVE: '9 Corps Operation Instruction No. 8 | TAC/R. and AIR SUPPORT.' Headed 'SECRET. | Copy No [8] | 3 May 43.' (and in manuscript '6 Armd Div'). Illegible facsimile signature of author (B.G.S., 9 Corps). 'In the Field. | 3 May 43. | RO/AE.' 2pp., 8vo. Stamped and initialled. Attached are 'Appendix "A" to 9 Corps Op. Instruction No. 8 | dated 3 May 43' (2pp., 8vo, stamped and initialled) and 'Appendix "B" to 9 Corps Op. Instruction No.8.' (1p., 8vo). THIRTEEN: 'SUBJECT: Ammunition.' Headed 'SECRET. | HQ RAC, | Allied Force Headquarters. | RAC/29/[214]'. Covering page with facsimile signature of Brigadier H.R.B. Watkins, BRAC. 15pp., 8vo. The secret paper on 'Ammunition' is seven pages long, and is followed by six pages carrying three appendices, all dated 13 December 1943: 'A Statement on Modern A.F.V. Weapons and the Instruments necessary for their control', 'New Nomenclature for Sighting Telescopes' and 'Policy for marking of Dials'. FOURTEEN: 'SUBJECT: - Move of Corps H.Q.' Headed 'SECRET | 2019/G(SD)'. By a 'B.G.S. | 9 Corps.' 'In the Field | AGT/BO | 22 May 43'. 4pp., 8vo. Including fold-out 'Appendix "A"' and 'Appx "B"', the latter consisting of one page giving a list of units in 'ADV H.Q.', and a second page giving a list of those in 'REAR H.Q.' FIFTEEN: 'MARCH TABLE 17/21 APR 43' by Lieut-Col. J. E. Swetenham, G.S., 6 Armd Div. Headed 'SECRET. | 0.413.' 2pp., landscape 8vo. Carbon copy (presumably used for duplication). SIXTEEN: '6 Armd Div Cloth Model Discussion "Thala". | General Instructions.' Headed 'SECRET. | 32/G/E6.' 6pp., 8vo. Facsimile signature of Lieut-Col. J. E. Swetenham, General Staff, 6 Armd Div. Written 'In the Field | 26 Mar 43.' On four leaves. Stamped. Four-page report on first two leaves. The third and fourth leaves each carry a one-page coloured diagram (X and I). The first ('Diagram "X"') shows a traffic control system; and the second ('Signal Diagram "I"') is headed 'SECRET' and titled 'Traffic Control - Movement through Minefield'. SEVENTEEN: 'COPY' of 'SECRET' document regarding a visit 'paid to the 11 Canadian Tank Regt.' Sent from 'Main HQ Eighth Army | M 19200 (AFV(T) | 16 Sep 43'. Written by a 'Lt. Col., A.D.A.F.V.(T)., | Eighth Army.' 2pp., 8vo. Under five headings: 'General', 'Engline', 'Transmission and Suspension', 'Maintenance' and 'Improvements'. An appendix lists ten 'Rough notes on maintenance to be carried out during the period 14/15 Sep'. EIGHTEEN: 'Personal from the G.O.C. to be read to all Tps.' With facsimile signature of Major-General C. F. Keightley, Commanding, 6 Armd Div. 'In the Field. | 11 Feb 43. | CFK/WR.' 1p., 4to. Begins: 'During the last three months you have become experienced soldiers. You have fought a skilled enemy in every kind of action from patrolling to repelling a full scale attack. | We have inflicted a defeat on the enemy which upset his whole plan of campaign.' NI NETEEN: 'Personal Message from G.O.C.' Facsimile signature of Major-General C. F. Keightley, Commanding, 6 Armd Div. 'In the Field | 21 May 43'. 1p., 8vo. Begins: 'I had hoped to visit all units before the Victory Parade and tell each individually how much the part played by each unit has affected the outcome of this campaign.' Ends: 'We shall require may other such victories before the enemy is finally defeated, but as a start it could not have been better and I congratulate every officer and man on the part they have taken in these battles.' TWENTY: 'Personal Memorandum by Lt-Gen. C. W. Allfrey, D.S.O., M.C.' Faded facsimile signature at end, with Allfrey's rank: 'Lieut-General, | Commander, 5 Corps.' 'In the Field. | 8 Jan. 43.' Headed 'SECRET'. 1p., 8vo. Beginning with section on 'General Policy for next six weeks'. TWENTY-ONE: 'Staff Duties 6 Armd Div Comd Post and Adv HQ'. Headed 'SECRET'. 4pp., 8vo. Illegible facsimile of signature of author (Lieutenant-Colonel, General Staff, 6 Armoured Division. 'In the Field | 15 Apr 43 | FAS/AAC'. TWENTY-TWO: 'Traffic Control in the Armd Div', to '5 Corps rptd APM'. By 'C. F. KEIGHTLEY | Maj Gen | Comd | 6 Armd Div'. 'In the Field | 26 May 43 | JES/H'. 2pp., 8vo. Headed 'COPY'. TWENTY-THREE: 'Movement on Roads'. By 'J. E. SWETENHAM. | Lt Col. | GS. | 6 Armd Div.' 'In the Field | 15 Apr 43. | CFK/HDM.' 2pp., 8vo. Stamped and initialled. With another version of the same text, differently laid out and headed 'COPY'. TWENTY-FOUR: 'Operational Notes.' 2pp., 8vo. Anonymous and without place or date. In nine sections: 'Fighting Spirit', 'Thoroughness', 'Time is vital', 'Digging and Concealment', 'Development of fire posns and localities', 'Fire discipline', 'Co-operation', 'Counter-attack', 'Tanks'.