Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
When they were not supporting the army at El Alamein, the British air forces were engaged in a wide variety of operations. They hit distant targets with bombs, such as "Benghazi, Tobruk and Matruh", as well as Heraklion and Suda Bay. The types of operations included the strikes, providing air cover, and all types of reconnaissance (strategic, tactical, survey, and photography). The British air losses in July 1942 exceeded those of the German and Italian air forces. The British lost 113 aircraft "against about 80 German and 18 Italian".
Both Axis and British air forces and armies had difficulty in cooperating in July. The organizations that had been built up on the British side were all disrupted by the defeats and long retreat. Also, Auchinleck's HQ was separate from Air Marshal Conyngham's. The British were successful enough that the Axis forces were forced to disperse widely in the night. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The retreat of the desert air force to Egypt resulted in a great dislocation. There was a shortage of airfields due to the large number of aircraft that were involved. One result was that the medium and heavy bombers were moved to airfields in Palestine. The fighters and light bombers were located from behind the front to airfields in Cairo and the Canal Zone.
With the front stabilized at El Alamein, the air force was able to commence a high intensity of operations against Axis forces. From 1 July to 27 July, there were an average of 570 sorties per day. The targets included the enemy supply lines, against the German and Italian air forces, and the actual direct support to the army. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
As June 1942 ended, Rommel was intent on blitzing on t0 the Nile Delta. He hoped to keep the British on the run and not allow them to block his forward progress. General Auchinleck, for his part, was intent on setting up a blocking line at the narrow point of El Alamein. A few troops were already there and there were men streaming back from Mersa Matruh. Other troops were in transit from Iraq and Palestine, headed for El Alamein.
In the end, Auchinleck was successful and Rommel failed. Rommel's task was made more difficult by the lack of transport and the unpreparedness of the Axis transport organization. They had been promised a six week pause to recover after Tobruk fell, but that never happened. The leading Axis forces reached El Alamein about the same time as the forces retreating from Mersa Matruh. General Auchinleck planned to hold strong points, rather than establish a complete line. He hoped to "channel" the Axis forces into positions where they could be successfully engaged. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.