Tuesday, May 22, 2007

General Ritchie hoped to use the New Zealand Division and 4th Indian Division in a new offensive

British command of the sea lanes, in support of Operation Crusader meant that Axis forces were unable to quickly recover from their losses in Crusader. In contrast, the 5th New Zealand Brigade was quickly reconstituted and was used to contain Axis forces in Bardia. The 4th Indian Division was busy taking the Italian Sidi Omar. Reinforcements in the form of the 2nd South African Division were being sent forward to free up the New Zealand Division and 4th Indian Division for use in a new offensive. In contrast, Rommel had to contend with a visiting General Bastico, who had finally come forward to see for himself what had happened, since Rommel had not seen fit to inform him of developments. At least, General Bastico agreed that they needed to ask for reinforcements to be sent and to ask for permission to use ports in Tunisia which were thought to have lower risk of attack by British sea control forces. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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