12 June 2013

Kapiti Wargames Club Open Day, Call for help from FoWers

Kapiti Wargaming Club Open Day:

  Call for Help from FoWers

Hi everyone. The Kapiti Wargames Club will be having an Open Day on Saturday 30 June 2013.
We hope to promote Wargaming regionally as a hobby and pastime as a whole, not just our club.

The event will be our second, with our first visit attracting well over a 100 visitors last year. 
(Infant steps yet) We plan to feature Warhammer Fantasy and 40K games, Flames of War in 20mm, Napoleonics/7-year war, and Starwars X-Wing games, and more

BUT we have run into a bit of difficulty finding members who are able to do a FoW Demo game in 15mm.

The date seems to clash with the FoW tournament schedule. :(

This is an appeal to regional FoW players not involved in the tournament. Would any of you be interested in doing a demo game on the day ? Any other period or scale is  of course also welcome. Just drop me a comment and we can discuss details.

9 June 2013

WW2 Curiosity photographs

Some WW2 Curiosity photographs

Hitler's shredded tweeds after the Wolfschanze blast (attempt on his life)

Stalin horsing around

Hitler delighted at the Volkswagen (Ferdinand Porsche, the designer at left)

Churchill (The First Sea Lord) emerging from the sea

Incoming over Moscow


Downed Kamikaze

Contrails and Fire in the sky
London Blitz

7 June 2013

Russki Tankovy: KV1 and IS-2 and ISU-122

Russian WW2 Tankovy for FoW 1/72

Building and painting my Russian Tanks for the Planned Armourgeddon Kursk Event at the Kapiti Wargames Club later this year, and also working on my D-Day and beyond Forces.

Jagdpanthers, Cromwells and ISU-122s in my workbench assmebly line

Jadgdpanthers and Cromwell kits from Armourfast, SU-122 from Italeri. The ISU-122s have the alternate barrels to build the ISU-152 variant too, but the instructions are pretty vague, and don't even mention the ISU-152

 Joseph (Iosef) Stalin 2 Tanks (Source Wikipedia)

Italeri models top and die-cast Altaya at bottom, weathered


The Iosif Stalin tank (IS, in Cyrillic "ИС" tanks, (meaning the Joseph Stalin tank) was a series of heavy tanks developed as a successor to the KV-series by the Soviet Union during World War II. The heavy tank was designed with thick armour to counter the German 88 mm guns, and carried a main gun that was capable of defeating the German Tiger and Panther tanks. It was mainly a breakthrough tank, firing a heavy high-explosive shell that was useful against entrenchments and bunkers. The IS-2 was put into service in April 1944, and was used as a spearhead in the Battle of Berlin by the Red Army in the final stage of the war.

KV1s (Altaya models, repainted and weathered)

KV and IS-1

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet Red Army heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early part of World War II, especially during the first year of the invasion of the Soviet Union.

They were almost completely immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted respectively on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading German forces. Until better guns were developed by the Germans it was often the case that the only way to defeat a KV was with a point-blank shot to the rear.

Prior to the invasion, about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1,the only other heavy tank in operational service in the world at that time. Yet in the end it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base of development for the Josef Stalin (Iosif Stalin, or IS) series of tanks.

The KV series of Soviet heavy tanks was criticized by its crews for its poor mobility and lack of any heavier armament than the T-34 medium tank. In 1942 this problem was partially addressed by the lighter, faster KV-1S tank. The KV series were much more expensive than the T-34, without having greater combat performance; the heavy tank program was nearly cancelled by Stalin in 1943. However, the German employment of substantial numbers of Panther and Tiger tanks at the Battle of Kursk in 1943 changed Soviet priorities. In response, the Soviet tank industry created the stopgap KV-85, and embarked on the KV-13 design program to create a tank with more advanced armour layout and a more powerful main gun. The IS-85 (Object 237) prototype was initially accepted for production as the IS-1 heavy tank and first deliveries were made in October 1943. Production ended in January 1944.

The lighter KV-1S was released, with thinner armour and a smaller, lower turret in order to reclaim some speed. Importantly, the KV-1S also had a commander's cupola with all-around vision blocks, a first for a Soviet heavy tank. However, the thinning-out of the armor called into question why the tank was being produced at all, when the T-34 could seemingly do everything the KV could do and much more cheaply. The Soviet heavy tank program was close to cancellation in mid-1943.

The appearance of the German Panther tank in the summer of 1943 convinced the Red Army to make a serious upgrade of its tank force for the first time since 1941. Soviet tanks needed bigger guns to take on the growing numbers of Panthers and the few Tigers.

A stopgap upgrade to the KV series was the short-lived KV-85 or Objekt 239. This was a KV-1S with a new turret designed for the IS-85, mounting the same 85 mm D-5T gun as the SU-85 and early versions of the T-34-85; demand for the gun slowed production of the KV-85 tremendously and only 148 were built before the KV design was replaced. The KV-85 was produced in the fall and winter of 1943-44; they were sent to the front as of September 1943 and production of the KV-85 was stopped by the spring of 1944 once the IS-2 entered full scale production.


Gun choice
Two candidate weapons were the A-19 122 mm gun and the BS-3 100 mm gun. The BS-3 had superior armour penetration (185 mm compared to 160 mm), but a less useful high explosive round. Also, the BS-3 was a relatively new weapon in short supply, while there was excess production capacity for the A-19 and its ammunition. Compared to the older 76.2 mm tank gun, the A-19 had very good armour penetration, similar to that of the effective 75 mm high velocity gun mounted on the German Panther, and delivered 3.5 times the kinetic energy of the older F-34.

Out with the old and in with the new, IS2 passing the (unpopular) Churchill and Shermans, Stuarts

After testing both BS-3 and A-19 guns, the latter was selected as the main armament of the new tank, primarily because of its ready availability and the effect of its large high-explosive shell when attacking German fortifications. The A-19 used a separate shell and powder charge, resulting in a lower rate of fire and reduced ammunition capacity, both serious disadvantages in tank-to-tank engagements. The gun was very powerful, and while its 122 mm armour-piercing shell had a lower muzzle velocity than similar late-issue German 75 mm and 88 mm guns, Soviet proving-ground tests established that the A-19 could penetrate the front armour of the German Panther tank, and it was therefore considered adequate in the anti-tank role.

German Army data on the penetration ranges of the 122 mm A-19 gun against the Panther tank showed it to be much less effective when the Panther stood at a side angle of 30 degrees to the incoming round: the A-19 gun was unable to penetrate the glacis plate of the Panther at any distance, and could only penetrate the bottom front plate of the hull at 100 m. It was the large HE shell the gun fired which was its main asset, proving highly useful and destructive in the anti-personnel role. The size of its gun continued to plague the IS-2, and the two-piece ammunition was difficult to handle and slow to reload (the rate of fire was only about two rounds per minute). Another limitation imposed by the size of its ammunition was the payload: only 28 rounds could be carried inside the tank

The IS-122 prototype replaced the IS-85, and began mass production as the IS-2. The 85 mm guns could be reserved for the new T-34-85 medium tank, and some of the IS-1s built were rearmed before leaving the factory, and issued as IS-2s.
The main production model was the IS-2, with the powerful A-19. It was slightly lighter and faster than the heaviest KV model 1942 tank, with thicker front armour and a much-improved turret design. The tank could carry thicker armour than the KV series, while remaining lighter, due to the better layout of the armour envelope. The KV's armour was less well-shaped and featured heavy armour even on the rear, while the IS series concentrated its armour at the front. The IS-2 weighed about the same as a German Panther and was lighter than the German heavy Tiger tank series, and was slightly lower than either.
Western observers tended to criticize Soviet tanks for their lack of finish and crude construction. The Soviets responded that it was warranted considering the need for wartime expediency and the typically short battlefield life of their tanks.

Early IS-2s can be identified by the 'stepped' front hull casting with its small, opening driver's visor. The early tanks lacked gun tube travel locks or antiaircraft machine guns, and had narrow mantlets.

Later improved IS-2s (model 1944) had a faster-loading version of the gun, the D25-T with a double-baffle muzzle brake and better fire-control. It also featured a simpler hull front without a 'step' in it (using a flat, sloping glacis armour plate). Some sources called it IS-2m, but it is distinct from the official Soviet designation IS-2M for a 1950s modernization. Other minor upgrades included the addition of a travel lock on the hull rear, wider mantlet, and, on very late models, an antiaircraft machine gun.


Soviet High Command became interested in assault guns following the success of German Sturmgeschutz III SPGs. Assault guns had some advantages over tanks with turrets. The lack of a turret made them cheaper to produce. They could be built with a larger fighting compartment and could be fitted with bigger and more powerful weapons on a given chassis. However, assault guns could aim their cannons in high degree only by turning the entire vehicle, and were thus less suited for close combat than tanks with turrets.

The first SU-122s produced in December 1942 were sent to training centers and two new combat units, the 1433rd and 1434th self-propelled artillery regiments. Initially, each of these mixed regiments consisted of two batteries with four SU-122s each and four batteries with four SU-76 tank destroyers each. Each regiment had an additional SU-76 tank destroyer as a command vehicle. It was planned to raise 30 self-propelled artillery regiments operating within armoured and mechanized corps.

In January 1943, the 1433rd and 1434th self-propelled artillery regiments were sent to the Volkhov Front near Leningrad as part of the 54th Army. On 14 January they saw combat for the first time in Smierdny region. After that it was decided SU-122s should follow between 400 m and 600 m behind the attacking tanks; sometimes this distance was shortened to between 200 m and 300 m.

The use of SU-76 tank destroyers together with SU-122s proved unsuccessful. Based on combat experience, the organization of self-propelled artillery regiments was changed; the new regimental organization consisted of two batteries of SU-76 tank destroyers and three of SU-122s, for a total of 20 SPGs. In April the organization of self-propelled artillery regiments was again changed. Separate regiments were created for SU-76 tank destroyers (light self-propelled artillery regiment) and SU-122s (medium self-propelled artillery regiment).

The medium self-propelled artillery regiment consisted of four batteries of four SU-122s each. Each regiment was also equipped with either an additional SU-122 or a T-34 for the commander and a BA-64 armoured car. This organization remained in place until the beginning of 1944 when the SU-122 started to be replaced by the SU-152, ISU-122 and ISU-152 heavy SPGs and SU-85 tank destroyers.

The SU-122 proved effective in its intended role of direct fire on strongholds. The massive concussion of the 122mm HE round was reportedly enough to blow the turret off even a Tiger I if a direct hit was scored at close range, although longer range penetration against heavier German armor remained poor, a trait shared with the larger 152mm howitzers. The new BP-460A HEAT projectile was introduced in May 1943; however its primitive warhead design was only minimally more effective than brute concussive effects of the old HE shell at close range.

At least one SU-122 was captured by the German Army.


A prototype of the ISU-122 (in Russian ИСУ-122) heavy self-propelled gun was built at the Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant, (Chelyabinskiy Kirovskiy Zavod (ChKZ), Chelyabinsk, Russia), in December 1943. The design shared the chassis of the ISU-152 self-propelled gun and differed only in armament, having an A-19S 121.92-mm gun as its main weapon instead of the ISU-152's ML-20S gun-howitzer. Towed versions of these guns used the same carriage: 52-L-504A (Russian designation 52-Л-504А), so installation of an A-19 instead of an ML-20 gun was not a difficult task. After completing development of the ISU-152, ChKZ engineers mounted the A-19 gun on the ISU-152 chassis to create "Object 242" — the first ISU-122 prototype. It was successfully tested but not immediately launched into mass production.

At that time all ISU hulls were being equipped with the ML-20S gun-howitzer, but the production of hulls increased quickly and there was a lack of ML-20S tubes in the beginning of 1944. State authorities ordered these uncompleted hulls armed with an A-19 gun (specifically with the A-19S variant, slightly modified for the self-propelled gun mount). A further advantage of rearming the ISU was increased direct fire range against heavy German tanks. For these reasons the State Defense Committee adopted Object 242 for Red Army service as the ISU-122 on 12 March 1944. In April 1944 the first series ISU-122 left the ChKZ production lines.

The A-19S gun had a manual-piston breech, which reduced the rate of fire to 1.5 from 2.5 shots per minute. Soviet designers developed the D-25 by modernizing the A-19S's breech, creating a semi-automatic variant of the 121.92-mm gun. The D-25 gun was installed in IS-2 tanks as a priority, but in September 1944 became available for self-propelled guns. The prototype ISU vehicle, armed with a D-25S was designated "Object 249" and successfully passed plant and state testing. The fire rate was improved to 2 to 3 shots per minute and with two strong experienced loaders the rate of fire reached 4 shots per minute. Due to the muzzle brake reducing recoil forces the D-25 had a smaller recoil buffer than the A-19. This improved the crew's work conditions and allowed for a smaller, lighter gun shield with the same armour thickness.

After testing Object 249 was immediately launched in mass production as the ISU-122S (ИСУ-122С) self-propelled gun. However, the original ISU-122 remained in production (along with the ISU-152) due to a large stock of A-19 guns (the ML-20 and D-25 came directly from artillery factories). Mass production of the ISU-122 and ISU-122S ceased at the end of 1945. ChKZ produced 1,735 ISU-122 and 675 ISU-122S variants in total.

ISU 152

4 June 2013

Wunderwaffen: Hitler's flying wing. Horten Ho 229: The first stealth fighter?

Wunderwaffen: Hitler's flying wing: The Horten Ho 229

The interesting history of the Horten Ho 229. 
Possibly the world's first stealth fighter and inspiration for the B2 Spirit Bomber ?

Check the full story on my Aeroplane blog: http://aircraftnut.blogspot.co.nz/

28 May 2013

Beyond D-Day: The Battle for France

Beyond D-Day: The Battle for France

On the 30th June the Kapiti Wargames Club will have an open day. We hope to showcase a range of demonstration games, from WWII and Napoleonics through Warhammer Fantasy Battles and 40K.

We are also looking forward to "Armourgeddon" in August to Remember the Battle of Kursk, the greatest Armoured Vehicle Battle ever.

The WWII contingent will (hopefully) feature Flames of War in both 15 mm and 20 mm. My son, Luc, and I will play a demo game using FoW rules, and Mid/Late war armies.

We chose 1944 in Western Europe, as I have a complete German Army from this period (albeit painted more for the East Front) and sufficient Allied Armour. I have been repainting some of the Italian Front Allied vehicles for Western Europe, and have re-based (sigh) all my 20mm Germans on scaled bases FoW style. I have stuck with the Autumn theme...kicking our way through a carpet of autumn leaves.

Alled troops may be a different kettle of fish though. I only have a fully painted company of British soldiers, based for Warhammer WW2; and American Paratroops that are painted.My other allied forces consist of Desret War ANZAC Aussies and Indian. I do have a veritable treasure trove of unpainted 20 mm figures. I will likly have to do a huge amount of batch-painting in the weeks to come.

So I got stuck into my pile of shame: First up Monty's Caravan, a Model I recently acquired as part of a bulk deal. The old 1/76 Matchbox kit, a Japanese edition. Luckily you can simply follow the diagrams... Comes with a city street diorama and a Dingo scout car. Just perfect for my "Monty's Meat-grinder" campaign.

13 May 2013



I stumbled across this great website on the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, UK.
the author/photographer is Bernard Zee:

Check out his great photos: Bovington Tank Museum

No copyright infringement intended.

12 May 2013

Halfaya Pass: 15 May1941 Operation Brevity

Halfaya Pass: 15 May 1941 Operation Brevity

Today sees the anniversary of Operation Brevity, a (very) limited offensive conducted in mid-May 1941, during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. Conceived by the commander-in-chief of the British Middle East Command, General Archibald Wavell, Brevity was intended to be a rapid blow against weak Axis front-line forces in the Sollum - Capuzzo - Bardia area of the border between Egypt and Libya.


Halfaya Pass (English colloquial: Hellfire Pass) is located in Egypt, near the border with Libya. A 600-foot (180 m) high escarpment extends south eastwards from the Egyptian-Libyan border at the coast at as-Salum (or Saloum, Solum, Sollum), with the scarp slope facing into Egypt. Halfaya Pass is about two miles (3 km) inland from the Mediterranean and provides a natural route through.

The escarpment is known as Akabah el-Kebir  ( "great ascent") In World War II, the engineered route up the escarpment had been destroyed and the pass had great strategic importance. The only ways westwards into Libya were to assault the pass or to out-flank it to the south.

After the defeat of the Italian 10th Army on 7 February 1941 during Operation Compass, the Italians were reinforced by German units (Afrika Korps under Erwin Rommel) and the British forces were forced out of Libya, leaving a besieged garrison at Tobruk. On 14 April 1941. Rommel's main force reached Sollum on the Egyptian border and occupied the Halfaya Pass. There were several allied attempts to recapture the Halfaya Pass and relieve Tobruk.

The first attempt on 15 May, was Operation Brevity. Rommel counter-attacked: the British withdrew and by 27 May the Germans had recaptured Halfaya Pass, a passage of time in which Major Edward Thomas earned his Military Cross. Supply shortages obliged the Germans to curtail their advance, so they dug in and fortified their positions at Halfaya with 88 millimetre guns. This was the anchor for the Axis positions, which opposed the Allied forces during the next allied attack — Operation Battleaxe on 15 June. German armour was deployed to draw the British tanks (11th Hussars) onto the concealed 88 mm guns and the first wave was cut down in a few minutes (11 out of 12 tanks were destroyed), earning the pass the nickname "Hellfire Pass". The allied commander, Major Miles, was last heard on the radio reporting, "They are tearing my tanks apart."

The third attempt, Operation Crusader opened on 18 November, with a direct attack on Halfaya Pass and an attempt to outflank Rommel to the south and relieve Tobruk. This was done on 29 November. Rommel, now under pressure, withdrew to El Agheila.
Halfaya Pass was the location of the accidental death of Major-General 'Jock' Campbell (VC), then commander of the British 7th Armoured Division. On 26 February 1942, a month after assuming command, his staff car skidded on a newly laid clay road surface, killing him outright.

The First Battle of Hellfire Pass:

Operation Brevity: Following the Allied withdrawal from the eastern Libyan province of Cyrenaica in April 1941, 13th Corps was reconstituted under Beresford-Peirse and refitted. On 12 May a convoy arrived in the Egyptian city of Alexandria with reinforcements including 220 tanks. General Archibald Wavell, Commander-in-Chief Middle East, was under continual pressure from Churchill to engage Rommel and make amends for the defeat earlier that year.

The operation got off to a promising start, throwing the Axis high command off balance. However  most of its early gains were lost to local counterattacks, and with German reinforcements being rushed to the front. The operation was called off after a day.
Egypt had been invaded by Libyan-based Italian forces in September 1940, but by February of the following year a British counter-offensive had advanced well into Libya, destroying the Italian Tenth Army in the process. 

British attention then shifted to Greece, which was under the threat of Axis invasion; while Allied divisions were being diverted from North Africa, the Italians were reinforced with the German Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel's command. Rapidly taking the offensive against his distracted and over-stretched opponent, Rommel drove the British and Commonwealth forces in Cyrenaica back across the Egyptian border by April 1941. 

Although the battlefront now lay in the border area, the port city of Tobruk—100 miles (160 km) inside Libya—had resisted the Axis advance, and its substantial Commonwealth and British garrison constituted a significant threat to Rommel’s lengthy supply chain. He therefore committed his main strength to besieging the city, leaving the front line only thinly held.

Wavell defined Operation Brevity’s main objective as the acquisition of territory from which to launch a further planned offensive towards Tobruk, depleting German and Italian forces in the region as he went. With limited battle-ready units to draw on in the wake of Rommel’s recent successes, on 15 May Brigadier William Gott attacked in three columns with a mixed infantry and armoured force. 

The strategically important Halfaya Pass was taken against stiff Italian opposition, and  Fort Capuzzo, lying deeper inside Libya, was captured. German counterattacks regained the fort during the afternoon causing heavy casualties amongst its defenders. Gott, concerned that his forces were in danger of being caught by German armour in open ground, conducted a staged withdrawal to the Halfaya Pass during 16 May. Brevity was scuttled. As the balance of forces became more unfavourable to the British, 13th Corps withdrew to Halfaya Pass. The strategically important pass was held for two weeks before it fell to a German counter-attack. 

The operation had gained no territory and the damage inflicted on German tanks and artillery was more than balanced by the loss of British equipment, much of which the Germans were able to recover.
Following the British withdrawal, Rommel fortified the frontier with minefields and 88mm anti-tank guns - a weapon superior to any then deployed by the British.
Operation Brevity was a bitter lesson for the Allies: to deal with an enemy like Rommel, equally skilled in deploying tanks to outgun infantry and artillery to stop tanks, new levels of preparation and planning would be required.

Allied force 
Operation Brevity was carried out by the 22nd Guards Brigade and elements of the 7th Armoured Division. Its armoured component consisted of 29 cruiser tanks of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) and 24 infantry tanks of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment (4RTR). The Royal Air Force (RAF) allocated all available fighters and a small force of bombers to the operation.]
Brigadier William Gott—in command of all Allied front-line forces since the retreat—was to lead the operation in the field, and his plan was to advance in three parallel columns.[
On the desert flank to the south, the 7th Armoured Brigade group was to move 30 mi (48 km) from Bir el Khireigat to Sidi Azeiz destroying any opposition encountered en route. This group included three small mobile forces ("Jock columns") of the 7th Support Group, the cruiser tanks of 2RTR, and the armoured cars of the 11th Hussars, whose task was to patrol the open desert on the left flank and monitor the Sidi Azeiz–Bardia road.
 In the centre, the 22nd Guards Brigade group was to clear the top of the Halfaya Pass, secure Bir Wair, Musaid, and Fort Capuzzo, and conduct a company-sized probe toward Bardia. The group included the infantry battalions of the 1st Durham Light Infantry and 2nd Scots Guards, and the infantry tanks of 4RTR.
In the north, the "coast group" was to advance along the coast road, capturing the lower Halfaya Pass, Sollum barracks, and the town of Sollum. The group included elements of the 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade, and the 8th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

Axis force 
The main Axis opposition was Kampfgruppe von Herff, positioned on the desert plateau. 
It included 30–50 tanks of the 2nd Battalion Panzer Regiment 5, an Italian motorised infantry battalion of the Trento Division, and supporting arms. The frontline area around Halfaya Pass was defended by two companies of Bersaglieri—well trained Italian motorised infantry—with artillery support.
On 9 May, the Germans intercepted a British weather report over the radio. The Afrika Korps war diary noted that "In the past, such reports had always been issued prior to the important enemy offensives to capture Sidi Barrani, Bardi, Tobruk, and the Gebel."
Rommel's response was to strengthen the eastern side of his cordon around Tobruk as a precaution against sorties from the garrison, and to order Kampfgruppe von Herff to adopt a more aggressive posture. On 13 May, Axis aircraft bombed British tank concentrations, and von Herff expected an imminent British attack. However, the following day aircraft were unable to locate the British, and it was reported that the "enemy intentions to attack were not known".

British advance 
On 13 May, Wavell's infantry battalions began to concentrate at their start lines, followed by the tank regiments during the early hours of 15 May. At 06:00, the three columns began their advance, supported overhead by a standing patrol of Hawker Hurricane fighters.
Centre column 
Reaching the top of the Halfaya Pass, the 22nd Guards Brigade group ran into heavy opposition from an Italian Bersaglieri infantry company with anti-tank gun support. At the cost of seven tanks, the position was quickly taken by C Squadron 4RTR and G Company 2nd Scots Guards, and the brigade group pushed on towards the Bir Wair-Musaid road. 
At around 08:00, it received the surrender of a large German-Italian camp, and by 10:15 Bir Wair and Musaid had been taken in the face of limited opposition.

A Squadron 4RTR and the 1st Durham Light Infantry (1DLI) continued the advance toward Fort Capuzzo. Concealed in hull down positions behind a ridge near the fort were 20–30 German tanks, supported by anti tank guns. These engaged A Squadron, disabling five tanks, but were forced to withdraw as the squadron pressed its attack. 
On the final approach to Fort Capuzzo, contact was lost between 4RTR's tanks and 1DLI's leading C Company, and the attack on the fort began without armoured support. The fort was vigorously defended, and it was not until just before midday that C Company, reunited with A Squadron 4RTR and reinforced by A and B Companies 1DLI, eventually took the position.
D Company 1DLI—which had been in reserve during the attack—then made a wide left hook to capture a small landing ground to the north of the fort.
In the afternoon, one company of the 2nd Scots Guards probed toward Bardia, the infantry coming under heavy machine gun fire from three positions as they neared Sollum barracks. A group of Universal Carriers—commanded by Sergeant F. Riley—charged the gun positions and quickly neutralised them, but one carrier was disabled when the group was subsequently engaged by anti-tank guns. Riley executed a second charge, silencing these too and taking their crews prisoner. His carrier was hit three times; for his actions Riley was awarded the Military Medal, the battalion's first decoration of the war.
Desert column 
On the desert flank, 2RTR advanced with the 7th Armoured Brigade group. During the morning, reports were received of up to 30 German armoured vehicles operating nearby, and A Squadron 2RTR moved to investigate. Most of the German force had pulled back, but three tanks were located and brought under fire. One Panzer IV was disabled and the other two driven off, for the loss of one British tank due to mechanical failure. A second force of 15 German tanks was engaged by two tanks of No 2 Troop, destroying a Panzer III and forcing the remainder to withdraw. By midday, the brigade group had reached a position west of Fort Capuzzo, and in the afternoon the nine remaining cruisers of A Squadron 2RTR began a reconnaissance patrol towards Sidi Azeiz.

Panzer IV
Coastal column 
The advance along the coastal road—which lacked tank support—was held up all morning by determined Italian resistance at the bottom of Halfaya Pass. This objective was finally achieved toward evening when S Company 2nd Rifle Brigade—supported by Australian anti-tank gunners fighting as infantry—overran the Italian positions taking around 130 prisoners.
Axis reactions 
Although the German and Italian commands in North Africa knew that a British offensive was imminent, Operation Brevity nevertheless caught them unprepared, and Rommel recorded in his diary that the initial attacks had caused him considerable losses. By midday on 15 May, Axis command was showing signs of confusion. It was erroneously believed that the offensive involved more than 100 tanks, and repeated requests were made to both the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica for a concerted effort to defeat it. Forces around Tobruk were redeployed east of the besieged city, to block any attempt at relief and to prevent the garrison from breaking out to meet the British advance.  Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Cramer was sent to reinforce Kampfgruppe von Herff with a tank battalion from Panzer Regiment 8 and a battery of 88 mm (3.46 in) FlaK guns, and additional reinforcements under General von Esebeck were despatched the following day.
The Germans concentrated their riposte against the central column. Von Herff—who had been prepared to fall back—instead launched a local counterattack toward Fort Capuzzo during the afternoon of 15 May with the 2nd Battalion Panzer Regiment. At around 13:30, D Company 1DLI at the landing ground was overrun, and with no anti-tank support more capable than the Boys anti-tank rifle, the remaining troops of 1DLI were forced to fall back toward Musaid. A fortuitous dust cloud aided their withdrawal, but by 14:45 Panzer Regiment 5 was reporting that it had recaptured Capuzzo, inflicting heavy casualties on the British and taking 70 prisoners.
On the desert flank, A Squadron 2RTR's patrol toward Sidi Azeiz was being monitored by Panzer Regiment 5, but the Germans misidentified the light cruiser tanks as heavily armoured Matilda infantry tanks, and reported that an attack was not possible. Col. von Herff—believing the British had two divisions operating in the area—had grown uneasy. A Squadron's patrol was interpreted as an attempt to concentrate south of Sidi Azeiz, in preparation for a thrust north the next day; such a move threatened to sweep aside von Herff's force and completely unhinge the German front in the Sollum–Bardia area. In response, von Herff broke contact with the British; his plan was to join up with Cramer's Panzer Regiment 8 to mount a concentrated counterattack the following morning.
Realising that the 22nd Guards Brigade group would be vulnerable to German armoured counterattacks in the open ground around Bir Wair and Mussaid, Brigadier Gott withdrew it during the early hours of the morning of 16 May. By 10:00, the infantry had taken up new positions back at Halfaya Pass, although the 7th Armoured Brigade group was ordered to remain west of Fort Capuzzo for the time being.

Fort Cappuzzo
Cappuzzo from the Air
Cramer's reinforcements arrived in the Sidi Azeiz area at 03:00 and reached Fort Capuzzo at 06:30. At around 08:00, he made contact with Kampfgruppe von Herff, but by mid-morning both groups had run out of fuel. The German advance resumed at 16:00 before being stopped by around 17 tanks of 2RTR. The British reported one German tank set alight and another disabled, and that an advance of up to 50 tanks had been halted, while the Germans believed that they had repulsed a strong British tank attack. As nightfall approached, von Herff broke off the action and went on to the defensive. He intended to repair his damaged machines, reorganise, and resume offensive operations on 18 May. However, 2RTR pulled back to Bir el Khireigat, initially followed by two German tanks, one of which withdrew after the other was destroyed. The regiment arrived at Bir el Khireigat, from where it had set out two days previously, at around 02:30 on 17 May.
Operation Brevity failed to achieve most of its objectives, ultimately succeeding only in retaking the Halfaya Pass. The British lost five tanks and at least 206 men killed, wounded, or captured. German casualties numbered three tanks and 258 men killed, wounded, or captured. Losses among the Italian forces are unknown, but Allied accounts record the capture of 347 men.
On 5 August, Col. von Herff praised the Bersaglieri, who had defended Halfaya Pass. 
The British received plaudits from Winston Churchill, who sent a telegram to Wavell betraying his ignorance of events by stating: "Without using the Tiger cubs you have taken the offensive, advanced 30 miles (48 km), captured Halfaya and Sollum, taken 500 German prisoners and inflicted heavy losses in men and tanks. For this twenty  tanks and 1000 or 1500 casualties do not seem too heavy a cost." 
Churchill ended the message by asking Wavell "What are your dates for bringing Tiger cubs into action?", in reference to the reinforcements that had arrived at Alexandria on 12 May as part of a convoy code-named Operation Tiger.

The 11th Hussar's regimental history notes that "it was clear that no further offensive action would be possible before 7[th] Arm[oured Division] was fully prepared". The Tiger convoy brought 238 tanks and made it possible to refit the 7th Armoured Division, which had been out of action since February as a result of the losses it sustained during Operation Compass. Preparations could now be made for Operation Battleaxe and the relief of Tobruk. In the system of British and Commonwealth battle honours, units that served in the Halfaya Pass area between 15 and 27 May were awarded the honour Halfaya 1941 in 1957.
Historian Thomas Jentz suggests that Brevity could have ended in victory for the British. While their tank forces were fighting ineffectively, the "gutsy" actions by 2RTR and their patrol toward Sidi Azeiz had convinced the Germans that the battle was lost by the evening of 15 May.
 Because of their failure to engage 2RTR late that day, several German commanders from Panzer Regiment 5, including its commanding officer, were removed from their posts after the battle. Jentz notes that a feint by the 1st and 7th RTR out of Tobruk might have caused a realignment of the Axis forces, weakening their overall position and perhaps even forcing them to give up the Sollum area.
Operation Brevity highlighted to Rommel the importance of the Halfaya Pass; whichever side held it would have a "comparatively safe route for his supplies" during subsequent offensives in the area. On 27 May, he launched Operation Skorpion, during which von Herff recaptured the pass and reversed the last British territorial gain from Brevity.