Monday, August 22, 2005
The Italian retreat in early February 1941 (corrected)
The signs seen from air reconnaissance on February 3rd, 1941 led General O'Connor to believe that if he waited longer, the Italians would have succeeded in withdrawing their forces from Cyrenaica without further losses. The plan had been to wait until February 12th to send the 7th Armoured Division across country to block the retreat. The new plan was to send the 7th Armoured Division to Msus as a first step, and then on to Soluch. The 6th Australian Division was to continue to pursue the Italians. The 16th Australian Brigade, sitting at Tobruk, lost their vehicles so that the rest of the 6th Australian Division could continue to advance. Infantry divisions were not normally equipped with enough transport to be "motorized".