Thursday, September 24, 2009
After Tobruk's capture
Mussolini's overriding concern was to capture Malta with the planned Operation Herkules. Mussolini had only authorized Rommel to advance to the Egyptian frontier, where he must wait until Malta was captured. Rommel would have none of it, however. He had an ally in Hitler, who was concerned that the capture of Malta could become a long and drawn out battle. Hitler asked Mussolini to reconsider and allow Rommel to advance into Egypt. Mussolini finally agreed with Hitler, as he coveted the Suez Canal. They decided to neutralize Malta rather than capture the island. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.