Friday, June 08, 2007
Early on 7 December 1941
From the British perspective, 7 December 1941 (the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and brought the Americans into the war) was frustrating. The British had hoped to advance and take territory from the Axis forces. 30th Corps was to advance to El Adem from their current location at El Duda. 13th Corps, with the 2nd South African Division, was going to clean up pockets of Axis forces from Tobruk to Bardia. The RAF needed forward airbases, so these became a priority. Rommel's delaying tactics worked so well that "General Gott even began to think that the enemy was being reinforced". The Official History indicates that General Ritchie had a better view of the situation. He believed that Rommel was hitting them before withdrawing. They could afford to wait for the withdrawal and then occupy the territory he left for them. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.