Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Halfaya in early January 1942

The Axis forces at Bardia has surrendered on 2 January 1942. The British forces had closely surrounded the Halfaya Pass position and the two remaining day bomber squadrons conducted a bombing program, but to no avail. The 6th South African Brigade was then sent in to assault the lower Sollum area. That area surrenderedon 12 January, isolating the rest of the Axis forces. They surrendered on 17 January. Within a few weeks, Rommel was able to attack and pushed forward, again, to Gazala. In the campaign from the beginning to mid-January 1942, Axis casualties were more than double those of the British. Up to January 1942, from the start of the Crusader Battle in November 1941, the British had air superiority in the battle area. That would change in 1942, as the Luftwaffe poured strength into the Mediterranean theater, in an attempt to reduce or at least neutralize Malta and to protect the Axis supply lines, while making British transport and even movement difficult. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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