Thursday, September 08, 2005
Churchill had never liked the advance into Libya
Churchill only allowed O'Connnor's advance into Libya, because the way was not open for what Churchill really wanted: to send troops into the Balkans. The main reason that the capture of Cyrenaica happened was because the Greek government had refused British aid in January 1941. All that changed on January 29th, when General Metaxas died. The new Greek government asked for aid, if the Germans entered the war in Greece. Churchill's telegram to Wavell on February 12th made it clear that Churchill had hoped that the offensive would stop at Tobruk, and that the move further west simply complicated Churchill's plan to send troops and equipment to Greece in an effort doomed to failure before it started. Anthony Eden and General Dill were in route to Greece to offer to send a force to Greece to aid in the war. Churchill also had his eye on Crete. O'Connor wanted to take the rest of Libya, and if he had been allowed, it could have happened. Instead, Churchill allowed a respite to the Italians that gave time for Rommel and the Germans to be shipped to Libya. This is based on the account in To Benghazi, with some editorializing by myself.