Sunday, January 24, 2016
Decisions in early 1941 for Greece and Libya
General Wavell, the theater commander in the Mediterranean and the Middle East thought that they would have until May 1941 before they would have to defend against Germans. They did not realize that Rommel would act sooner, even before his commanders were ready. The original plan was to retain the 6th Australian Division in Libya, as they were there best Australian infantry division. They would send the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions to Greece. General Blamey got involved and was able to change the plan, so that the 6th Australian Division went to Greece. General Blamey was concerned that the Greek campaign was so hazardous that they needed their best troops for the mission. The 9th Australian Division ended up being left in Libya on the defensive. The division was formed on 23 September 1940. Most of the units that comprised the 9th Australian Division had been formed for other purposes. There were two Australian brigades in England at this time, and they would be used for the new 9th Australian Division. The division's artillery was found by taking the I Australian Corps field regiments and converting the one medium regiment to field guns. They would form the third brigade in Australia and ship it to the Middle East, along with the other supporting units. Vol.III of the Australian Official History is primarily about the adventures of the 9th Australian Division in 1941 and 1942. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.