Sunday, October 30, 2005

The next steps, starting on April 8, 1941

General Wavell flew to Tobruk on April 8th, 1941. He took General Lavarack, 7th Australian Division commander. General Lavarack was to be temporary Cyrenaica commander. He was to hold Tobruk to allow time for a defence line to be built in Egypt. Admiral Cunningham committed to support Tobruk by sea, as he wanted to hold the Germans as far as possible from Alexandria, where the Mediterranean Fleet was based.

Lt-General Noel Beirsford-Pierce, former 4th Indian Division commander, arrived and was given the overall command in Cyrenaica, and was charged with reconstituting the "Western Desert Force", which had been disbanded after the victory over the Italians. General Lavarack was back to just being 7th Australian Division commander, located at Mersa Matruh. Brigadier Gott commanded the Mobile Force (the reorganized 2nd Armoured Division Support Group) at the border. General Moreshead was to command the defences at Tobruk. Major-General Evetts commanded the partial 6th Division, of which the 22nd Guards Brigades was a component.

A new air unit was formed, No.204 Group, under the command of Air Commodore Collishaw. By April 19, his units included:

  • No.73 Squadron (Hurricane) at Tobruk
  • No.274 Squadron (Hurricane) at Gerawla
  • No.14 Squadron (Blenheim IV) at Burg el Arab
  • Detachment of No.39 Squadron (Maryland) Maaten Baggash
  • Detachment of No.24 Squadron RAAF (Maryland) Fuka
  • No.45 Squadron (Blenheim IV) Fuka
  • No.55 Squadron (Blenheim IV) Zimla
  • No.6 Squadron (Hurricane and Lysander) Tobruk

This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History

1 comment:

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