Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The soldiers who were doing the fighting didn't notice the "Dash to the Wire" and didn't react
Robert Crisp and the other soldiers who were fighting near Tobruk didn't even notice the "Dash to the Wire". They certainly didn't react to Rommel's drive to the border area. General Cunningham panicked and was ready to pull back, but General Auchinleck would have none of it. Robert and his companions were glad to not be affected by Rommel's move. They assumed that Rommel had blundered and would pay for that mistake, in due course. They were correct in that belief. One factor which was a great relief to the British troops was that the RAF and SAAF had complete air superiority. There were brief German raids, but they were furtive and hurried. Robert Crisp says that the general opinion among the troops was that the two German panzer divisions had won the battle at Sidi Rezegh, and that if they had only held that area, they "could have fought the 8th Army to a standstill". Of course, they gave up the battlefield and lost the battle in the process. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots, with my commentary on that story.