Monday, May 03, 2010
British success in July 1942 meant an Axis disappointment
At the end of June 1942, Rommel fully expected to be able to blitz all the way to the Suez Canal. Instead, his army was stopped and thrown onto the defensive. After the first week of July, Rommel knew that he had been stopped and by the end of July, the Axis command was worried that they would be thrown back. So certain of success were the Axis leaders that Mussolini had flown across to North Africa to be there when they captured the canal. Mussolini did act to increase the Italian air force in North Africa, in support of the army. Mussolini returned to Italy on 20 July, after it was obvious that the Axis army would not be able to advance further. Both the Germans and Italians concentrated on increasing their army, after it had been weakened by the battles from May to July 1942. German losses, in fact, were about 70% of their initial strength. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.