Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More about February and March 1941 in North Africa

After the decision to stop the offensive after Beda Fomm, General O'Connor was sent back to Egypt as GOC, British Troops. General Neame was left to command the garrison in Cyrenaica, as "Cyrenaica Command". He was left with an Australian infantry brigade and one armoured brigade from the newly arrived 2nd Armoured Division. One of their armoured regiments was equipped entirely with captured M13/40 tanks. They were an odd fixture in the British army, as they had diesel engines, while British tanks were petrol-fueled. The M13/40 tanks had the advantage of largely being very new with low mileage, unlike the remaining veterans of the offensive, which were worn out. General Wavell expected that the newly arrived Germans and their Italian allies would not be ready to advance until mid-April. Rommel attacked on March 31st, instead. This is based on the account in The Desert Generals.

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