Friday, February 18, 2011

General Wavell in February 1941

General Wavell could see that for the British to hold Salonika and provide an air force to raid Rumanian oil fields would be desirable. He thought, though, that they were likely not to arrive in time to do either. Another possibility was that they could help the Greeks hold the Aliakmon River line. But Wavell had doubts about whether the Greeks would fight the Germans when the time came.

While all this was being discussed, the British air strength in the Middle East was declining. Losses exceeded what was being sent to North Africa. In the first three months of 1941, the British lost 184 aircraft and received 166. Also, there seemed to be no army units available for North Africa. The only division that had arrived from the UK after June 1940 was the 2nd Armoured Division, which was poorly equipped. There was a plan to send the 50th Division around the Cape of Good Hope, but they had not been dispatched as of February. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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