Saturday, May 06, 2006
Churchill makes personnel moves, starting in May 1941
In many ways, the manic way in which the Prime Minister and his staff in Britain managed the war was bound to cause friction. The first casualty of the impatience for results, when impossible and unreasonable demands were being made from Britain was Air Chief Marshal Longmore. He was relieved by his deputy, Arthur Tedder, on 1 June 1941. General Wavell's attitude was beyond repair, so he was another of Churchill's targets. Wavell was very much the establishment soldier, and was one of those responsible for striking down innovators, such as Percy Hobart and Eric Dorman-Smith. Another component of the clean sweep in the command structure was when General Sir Claude Auchinleck was appointed as the new theater commander, starting 5 July 1941. The third of the air-land-and-sea commanders, Andrew Cunningham, survived as Mediterranean Fleet commander until 1942. He had such prestige that he continued in high commands through the war, by 1943 becoming First Sea Lord. This is based, in part, on the account in Vol.II of the Official History, with my commentary.