Monday, April 12, 2010
Given the string of defeats suffered by the Eighth Army, General Auchinleck thought it prudent to make contingency plans in the event that Rommel would be able to push past El Alamein. In that case, Auchinleck planned a fighting retreat, never withdrawing without a fight. Defences were built deeper into Egypt and communications, in the sense of moving supplies, were improved. A "Nile Flotilla" was organized by the Royal Navy. All military schools were closed and the men were organized into improvised units. In the worst case, a force would stand on the canal while the main force would retreat along the Nile. If needed, the GHQ would move to Gaza, with a section left in Cairo. General Auchinleck declined to destroy anything needed by the Egyptian people. Still, plans were made for demolishing essential services and stocks of supplies. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.