Friday, May 27, 2005
There is an interesting story about Eric Dorman-Smith
After Generals O'Connor and Neame had been bagged by the Germans, General Wavell decided that Tobruk needed to be held. He believed that was a good way to slow Rommel's advance eastwards. At that time a Brigadier, Eric Dorman-Smith was ordered to fly to Tobruk and give the commanders there Wavell's plan for the defense of Cyrenaica and Egypt. He flew in a ubiquitous Westland Lysander, an early STOL aircraft. The pilot flew through a sandstorm to a what Correlli Barnett called a perfect landing at Tobruk's airfield. He delivered Wavell's orders to Brigadier John Harding and Australian General Leslie Morehead. Dorman-Smith had the impression that the two had the situation under control. As he flew out, Brigadier Dorman-Smith noticed what appeared to be German troops east of Tobruk, astride the road to Bardia. Rommel attacked Tobruk on April 13 and 14, 1941, and was repulsed by the Australians. He attacked again on the 16th and 17th. While he was doing that, his advance forces were blitzing towards Egypt. They arrived on the border on April 28th, a started to mop up the local British and Commonwealth positions.