Saturday, July 02, 2005
The commanders-in-chief decided to give Compass the priority on December 26th, 1940
After taking steps to strip the attack against the Italians in Libya of resources, the Commanders-in-Chief decided abruptly to give that front priority. The goal was to capture Tobruk, although Bardia was still waiting to be assaulted. The logistic situation became even more difficult, as supplies had to be accumulated for a continuation of the offensive. Marshal Graziani realized that the British were having difficulties, and his immediate reaction was to make a strong defence of both Bardia and Tobruk. Mussolini endorsed the idea, but Marshal Graziani immediately had doubts about the wisdom of such a plan. Meanwhile, General Bergonzoli ("Electric Whiskers") was able to bring the troops from the border region into Bardia to strengthen the defences. The raw 6th Australian Division would make the assault on what they supposed was a force of 20,000 men in Bardia. This is based on the account in Vol.I of the Official History.