Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The airforce on the first day of the Gazala Battle

The rapidly changing situation effectively neutralized the Desert Air Force, except in the south. The British fixed positions held out and allowed the light bombers and Kittyhawk fighter-bombers to safely operate in support. They were able to punish the 90th Light Division. German fighter operations, including over the forward airfields necessitated withdrawing needed fighter squadrons to fields farther east. Still, South African Bostons acting in the "intruder" role hit airfields near Tmimi and those that were dispersed.

The British were relatively pleased with the situation by nightfall of 27 May 1942, while Rommel was not pleased. The axis forces had lost fully one third of their tanks on that day, despite having penetrated fairly deeply into British lines. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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