Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The British plans from 21 June 1942
When the British commanders could see that Tobruk was about to fall, they reported their plans to London. General Ritchie had recommended not trying to hold the frontier, but to slow the enemy advance to give time to withdraw to Mersa Matruh. The New Zealand division was being sent to Mersa Matruh where there were some fixed defences for a division-sized unit. The one bright spot was that the British were strong in the air. The British proceeded to plan on a delaying action on the frontier to give the Matruh defenders more time to prepare defensive positions. One new difficulty was that by withdrawing to Matruh, the Axis air forces would be positioned to hit the base at Alexandria and other targets in the Nile delta and the Red Sea. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.