Tuesday, January 30, 2007
General Cunningham left the front on 24 November 1941
From the Official History, we know that General Cunningham took off under fire from visiting General Norrie and 30th Corps. As he flew east, he could see the Germans moving forward on the ground, and that they were in and around the frontier. To make matters worse, no one in a command position new what was happening on the ground. The RAF had to withdraw, due to the reduced security at the forward landing grounds. That meant that tactical reconnaissance suffered greatly. Air Vice-Marshal Coningham realized that the RAF would need to withdraw to landing grounds much farther east. That meant severe overcrowding at the receiving landing grounds. At one, there were 175 aircraft parked "wing-tip-to-wingtip", an inviting target. Fortunately for the RAF, the Germans were oblivious to what was happening. British fighter operations proceeded with great difficulty, but the day bombers were able to hit targets near Bir el Gubi, El Adem, and Acroma. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.