Tuesday, August 02, 2005

General O'Connor's plan in late January 1941

After it was clear that General Babini and the Italian armoured unit had escaped from Mechili, General O'Connor analyzed the situation and made a new plan. He believed that strong Italian forces were posted in the high ground in "the Jebel". There were reports that they were supported by German forces, possibly with 88mm AA guns. A direct assault on Benghazi no longer seemed like a reasonable plan. The indirect approach always was appealing. Send two brigades of the 6th Australian Division along the coast road towards Benghazi. Send the 7th Armoured Division, supported by one infantry brigade towards Msus, across desert in the south. The timing was now an issue. The 7th Armoured Brigade tanks were desperately in need of maintenance. Two 2nd Armoured Division regiments were due to arrive somewhere between February 7th and 9th, 1941. While he waited, he would put the best tanks (cruiser and light) into the 4th Armoured Brigade. Now, a move forward would not be until sometime between February 10th and 11th. This is based on the account in Vol.I of the Official History.

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