Thursday, October 15, 2009
The First Plan
General Ritchie's plan was to use a force commanded by General Gott to delay the Axis advance into Egypt. Doing that would allow the RAF to continue to operate from airfields close to the border and to bomb stores that had been left intact. Everything would be staked on a decisive battle to be fought at Mersa Matruh. The 1st South African Division was sent off to El Alamein. In the event, the delaying action became a normal withdrawal. One innovation was the sequence of landing-grounds that were prepared on the way deeper into Egypt. This was an innovation introduced by Air Vice-Marshal Conyngham to allow almost continuous air support to the army. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.