Wednesday, June 20, 2007
17 December 1941
Rommel informed the vistors to North Africa, on 17 December 1941, early in the day, that he intended to defend Derna and Mechili, but if the British advanced that far, he would leave rear guards behind and withdraw from the rest of Cyrenaica. When Rommel heard that a British force was approaching Tengeder, he told General Cavallero that they needed to withdraw further back. The general disagreed, as he doubted the report, but it was real enough. The British force was from the 7th Support Group. Tengeder is about thirty miles south of Mechili. The British actually turned north from Tengeder and made for Mechili, which they reached on the 18th. Rommel was concerned that his more forward troops could be cut off by a bolder move southwest towards Agedabia. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.