Sunday, April 30, 2006
In the case of Syria, like Iraq, "London" knew better than General Wavell
By late spring of 1941, General Wavell had become very recalcitrant. After the traumatic experience of Greece, Crete, and Cyrenaica, he became very reluctant to commit to operations conceived of in London. He resisted participation in Iraq and Syria, and they only happened due to the insistance of the commanders in Britain. In both of these cases, the results were much better than the operations from February 1941 until May. The Official History points out that veteran Indian units did very well, and that the Australians, despite being given the worst terrain over which to operate carried out good plans, and because of their determination, were able to succeed. Syria was removed as a potential German base, and and a hostile Vichy regime was replaced by a friendly, Free French administration. You could almost sense that Wavell's days were numbered as theater commander. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.