Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Developments in December 1941
There were many changes happening in the situation in Cyrenaica and the larger Middle Eastern Theater. Besides Rommel being given command of the forces in Cyrenaica, which gave him 10th Corps, the Italian infantry division corps, as well as the 20th Corps, which had the Ariete and Trieste divisions. The biggest change that would occur was that more German airpower was moving to Sicily. When that island had substantial German airpower, the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean would change. Instead of the British having superiority in the air and on the sea, the balance would shift back to the Axis. Rommel expected, in the near term, that the British would outflank Gazala from the south and that he would be forced to withdraw further west. A strange feature was that Auchinleck was in one of those phases where he was concerned about a German attack down from the north, and wanted to pull the remains of 30th Corps back into reserve so as to have a way to counter such a move. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.