Sunday, November 08, 2009

Auchinleck assumes command

General Auchinleck arived at Maaten Baggush on 25 June 1942, after he assumed command of the Eighth Army. He left his CGS, Lt-General Corbett in Cairo to act on "all matters except those of the highest strategic or political importance". General Auchinleck immediately changed the plan to defend Mersa Matruh and decided to keep the army mobile and able to fight a withdrawal back to El Alamein. Auchinleck's first move was to change the organization to brigade groups whose main strength was artillery. General Freyberg did not want to change the New Zealand organization, and was able to make two brigades mobile. It is unclear what the difference was between brigade groups and the New Zealand mobile brigades, which were undoubtedly supported by artillery. Presumably, the New Zealand division was not subdivided into all-arms columns, which the British brigades may have been. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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