Monday, May 15, 2006

Churchill was not to get his early offensive

General Auchinleck was in a position to argue to Churchill that an offensive could not be mounted with any chance of success until late 1941. Battleaxe was a convenient example pointing to the consequences of a quick offensive with untrained troops. The fact was that there would not be a complete, fully trained armoured division in North Africa. Even by mid-October there would only be one division and one army tank brigade. After the commanders in Britain understood the situation (Auchinleck had argued persuasively), they decided to send out the 22nd Armoured Brigade, from the 1st Armoured Division in Britain. They had hoped that the 22nd Armoured Brigade could arrive in mid-September, but it convoy only arrived on 4 October 1941. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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