Friday, October 28, 2005
The causes of the collapse in Cyrenaica
The causes of the quick defeat in Cyrenaica were largely due to the strategy of sending most of the available forces to Greece and leaving Cyrenaica denuded of forces. What were available were understenght and raw. The core blame was Churchill's for his refusal to consider finishing the victory in Libya. General Wavell was a willing accomplice in this scheme. The result was predictably bad. I can't believe that those who were stuck as targets in western Cyrenaica didn't feel pretty vulnerable, especially when they realized the Germans were operating in the field. During the collapse, they pretty much were deprived of air cover, as they had been intended to have No.3 Squadron RAAF for fighter cover, but No.73 Squadron was not sent to Greece, but went to Cyrenaica. At first, only No.55 Squadron was equipped with Blenheims, until April 8th, when No.45 Squadron arrived. A retreating air force is at great disadvantage, as they don't have a secure base from which to operate. The logistical issues are immense. This is based, in part, on Vol.II of the Official History.