On 26 March 1941, General Morshead received an instruction, a secret plan, about what to do if they were forced to withdraw from the lower escarpment. The main road to the north would be defended at the Wadi Cuff. This was the so-called "Valley of Caves". The other defensive point was the "pass east of Barce". The two defensive positions were quite far apart. They pointed out the problem that the line of communication "ran parallel to the front". If forced back further, the 9th Australian Division would try and hold the Wadi Derna.
They would plan to destroy any supplies in front of the positions that would be held. The British and Australian engineers were engaged in preparations for demolitions. The situation now had the 9th Australian Division separated from the 2nd Armoured Division by more than 100 miles. The Australians were left without any motor vehicles. They did not even have the capability for reconnaissance. The next day, 27 March 1941, General Neame that the two 7th Support Group motor battalions would be sent forward in support once they arrived in Cyrenaica. General Morshead requested that civilians be removed from the area where they expected to fight. The best that General Neame was ready to do would be to declare some "prohibited zones". When General Morshead and Colonel Lloyd, his chief of staff, visited the area to the south, they found it undefended. The 1/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (short of one company) with an anti-tank company at Bir es Sultan. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.