Friday, September 21, 2007

Malta must be sustained

The Chiefs of Staff in Britain decreed that keeping Malta secure and supplied was a critical priority. The Official History describes the ruling as "drastic steps were justifiable to sustain it" (Malta). They did not have the resources to supply Malta from Gibraltar, so it had to be done from the east. What really was needed was for the army to retake Western Cyrenaica by April. Sadly, that was beyond the capability of the army commanders that were with the 8th Army in early 1942. There was also a scarcity of trained troops, after the losses of the Crusader Battle and the withdrawals to the Far East. One change was that General Auchinleck was given the General Officer Commanding Malta as his subordinate. The move was made to give General Auchinleck clear guidance about Malta. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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