Saturday, April 26, 2008
The Prime Minister is angered
Churchill, as always, was pressing for a premature offensive in the desert. General Auchinleck presented the reasons why such a move would be risking disaster. Churchill, in fit of pique, wanted to bring Auchinleck back to Britain to confront him. Auchinleck argued that he did not want to be absent from the theater, as he did not want anyone but himself to be responsible for even a short period. In a compromise, Sir Stafford Cripps, who was travelling to India, was diverted to the Middle East to meet with Auchinleck and his commanders. The Vice-CIGS, General Nye, was also present. They met with Auchinleck and were convinced that he was correct. One factor ignored by the Prime Minister and others in Britain was the urgent need for training of raw troops. Churchill was extremely displeased, but he grudgingly accepted the date of mid-May 1942 for the offensive against Rommel's forces. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.