Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Siwa reinforced in December 1940
On December 17, 1940, Colonel Fergusson, with the 6th Divisional Cavalry HQ and a second squadron arrived in Siwa. At this date, the main Italian force was at Bardia. The Italians were tired of the continued harrassment at Fort Maddalena and at Garn el Grein, so they abandoned both. The Italian force at Giarabub was about 2,000 men, and greatly outnumbered the two Australian cavalry squadrons. Colonel Fergusson asked for immediate reinforcements, but he had to wait for a gradual help, instead. He received a troop of 40mm Bofors guns. Then there was "a detachment of engineers". The plan had been to starve out the garrison of Giarabub, but Colonel Fergusson realized that Giarabub was being supplied by air. This is based on the account in To Benghazi.