Friday, November 06, 2009
The plan to defend Mersa Matruh
Like Tobruk, the defences at Mersa Matruh were in poor repair. The position was not particularly defensible, but rather the place had a history. The Crusader battle had been launched from Mersa Matruh, for example. The actual arrangements were in disarray. There were the forces retreating from the frontier. There were reinforcement arriving, such as the politically sensitive New Zealand division, under the command of General Freyberg. There were units releaving others, and the overall impression was of chaos. By 25 June 1942, General Auchinleck had had enough. He relieved General Ritchie and personally took command of the Eighth Army. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.