Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Official History tries to spin that General Auchinleck should have attacked sooner

Vol.II of the Official History of the War in the Mediterranean and Middle East paints a picture that the Germans and Italians so benefitted from the delay in the British attack until November 1941, that the British should have attacked sooner. That ignores the fact that the British army in North Africa was not ready for any offensive. They would have just repeated Battleaxe, where they squandered what strength they had without result. They focus on the benefit to the Axis forces and ignore the realities of the British situation in this discussion. To be fair, they had already examined the British situation and had convinced me that even November 1941 was too soon to attack.

So, we should go ahead and list the Axis reinforcements that arrived between August and November 1941:

Part of the Afrika Division, later renamed as the 90th Light Division
Italian artillery units
Trieste (motorized) Division
Sabratha Division, reformed after being almost totally destroyed
100 M13/40 tanks for the Ariete Division
some light tanks of little value
15th Panzer and 21st Panzer Division were built up
to 250 tanks from 180, almost all by repairs

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