A sure sign of trouble was that the commander, Lt-General Beresford-Peirse, had his headquarters at Sidi Barrani, a five-hour drive from the battle. The choice was made to ensure communications with the RAF No.204 Group HQ. No.204 Group was a further 100 miles up the road at Maaten Baggush. Sidi Barrani also had an airfield from which reconnaissance aircraft could operate.
The British commanders were greatly concerned that they make maximum use of their air force in Battleaxe. The British had a considerable force available:
4 Hurricane squadrons
1 Tomahawk squadron
2 Blenheim squadrons (medium)
1 Maryland squadron (medium)
3-1/2 Wellington squadrons (heavy)
1 Maryland reconnaissance squadron
1 Hurricane reconnaissance squadron
128 105 medium and heavy bombers
116 98 single and twin-engined fighters
79 59 bombers and dive bombers
76 60 single and twin-engined fighters
49 25 bombers
156 70 fighters
Additional German aircraft were available outside of North Africa. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.