Saturday, April 30, 2005
More about Gazala
The British commanders at Gazala were totally unaware that they were being beaten. From the Corps commanders and above, even on June 6, 1942, they thought that they had given as well as they had received. As I have pointed out, the British commanders were n the rear and communicated with the troops by radio or wire. Rommel was leading his troops in combat. That had its risks and drawbacks. One wrong move, and Rommel could have been either dead or a British prisoner. He also had challenges with communications, although the Germans were mobile and experts. Rommel was able to turn north and roll up the rear of the British and Commonwealth line at Gazala. Once General Ritchie realized that he was being beaten, he ordered the troops to head for the Egyptian frontier, which was contrary to what General Auchinleck wanted to see happen. That move caused Tobruk to be taken by the Axis forces. Auchinleck had taken command when he realized that his commanders had lost control of the battle and were being beaten. He was able to rally the troops and keep the Axis from rolling to the Suez.