Monday, October 03, 2005
The situation in February 1941 in western Cyrenaica
General Wavell's stripping of Cyrenaica to equip the force being sent to Greece created a very bad situation. The Germans were able to establish air superiority over western Cyrnaica, and made supply by sea into Benghazi prohibilitively expensive. The only fighter unit in the west was the No.3 Squadron, RAAF. It had been rearmed with Hurricanes, but there was no radar, so they were reduced to flying patrols. The army did not have enough AA guns to protect both Tobruk and Benghazi, so they concentrated on Tobruk. The monitor HMS Terror, which had been effective in supporting the army, was sunk on February 23, 1941 by air attack. The destroyer Dainty was sunk off Tobruk on February 24. This is based on the account in the Official History.