Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The British plan for an offensive in 1942
Because of the pressing need for the British to base aircraft in western Cyrenaica, a plan was prepared that envisioned a force of "three armoured divisions, two armoured brigade groups, one army tank brigade, and three infantry divisions" by mid-April 1942. This plan was made as early as February 1942. A tank superiority of 3:2 was needed to fight the Germans, due to the inferiority of the Crusader tank. There was increasing pressure from the staff in Britain to launch an early offensive, but the commanders in North Africa, including General Auchinleck resisted an attack before a superior tank force could be assembled. The goal was not just to take Cyrenaica but to advance into Tripolitania. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.