Thursday, October 29, 2009
The 8th Army withdraws from the Egyptian border
With the 8th Army withdrawn from the Egyptian-Libyan border area, the Desert Air Force light bombers and fighter-bombers made a strong effort against the Axis forces. On 23 June 1942, the light bombers flew 45 sorties and the fighter-bombers flew 30 sorties. The fighters made their first jump back to pre-prepared fields at Mersa Matruh. The bombers were moved further back to El Daba. The Axis mobile forces were held up until 24 June due to a shortage of fuel. The DAK and the Italian 20th Corps cut across to the south, while the 21st Corps and 10th Corps moved east along the coastal road. The Douglas Bostons and Martin Baltimores flew 72 sorties on 24 June while the fighter bombers flew another 30 sorties. The Beaufighters had a greater range, so they attacked transport. There had been almost no sign of Axis fighter aircraft in this phase. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.