Friday, August 18, 2006

In preparation for Operation Crusader

Given the forces required for Operation Crusader, the railhead, which was 130 miles from the border seemed too far away. General Wavell had tried to get the railhead extended in May 1941, but there were no materials available at the time. The demands of material and supplies for Operation Crusader, planned for November 1941, were such that it was essential to extend the railhead as close to the border as possible. The work was finally pressed by the 10th New Zealand Railway Construction Company, starting in September. At the end of September, the 13th New Zealand Railroad Construction Company joined the project, and they were extending the track at a rate of two miles per day. They opened a railhead at Misheifa, which seemed to be far enough forward to support the offensive. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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