The "new phase" at Tobruk involved replacing the units in the salient captured by the enemy and a new an more aggressive posture. This would prove to be very hard on the Australian infantry, but it was what General Morshead thought was the most appropriate stance to take. The cost in casualties would be large, as they would be constantly probing and testing the enemy. The plan was to push ever more forward and to be on the move after dark, hoping to capture enemy outposts and more ground that had been lost. Brigsdier Wooten, commanding the 18th Brigade was to site his headquarters farther forward than anyone had previously done. Early on 14 May, he had been ordered to stage an operation that would give the impression that it was part of a larger attack. The reason being that the British had launched Operation Brevity on the Egyptian frontier.
Operation Brevity was planned by General Wavell, without prodding by Churchill in London. The Tiger Convoy was expected to arrive in Egypt about 12 May 1941. Once the Tiger tanks were unloaded, they expected some two weeks of work to ready them to equip units. The men in Egypt understood that, but Churchill really had no idea what was involved. He expected that they would unload the tanks and that they would be instantly ready for action. Wavell, though, was ahead of the game. He had some equipment and units that he could use immediately to strike at the enemy forces just to the west of the frontier. He knew that Rommel's forces were stretched thin. He would strike right away and try to push past Sollum and run up to Tobruk. That would enable the British forces to coordinate with the Australians in Tobruk. The flaw in the plan was that any chance of success was in hands of Brigadier Gott.
Rommel was an admirer of General Wavell. Rommel credited Wavell with a strategic judgment that could make forces available that could move despite any German and Italian possible moves. The Greek campaign was in the process of ending in a disastrous way. Many of the units evacuated from Greece were transported to the island of Crete in great disarray, as we have seen. The British fully anticipated that German airborne forces would attack Crete. Before the battle for Crete started, Churchill was boasting confidently of their ability to defeat and airborne attack. We have seen that the German airborne forces were unready for a real fight after landing from the air. What won the battle of Crete for the Germans was the airborne troops that were flown in by transport aircraft. They landed on beaches and in dry river beds. The Australian, New Zealand, and British forces in Crete were in great disarray and were unready for a serious fight. Still, if they only had to beat the German airborne forces, they could have done that much.
General Wavell was thinking about the situation in North Africa and the Levant, and he worried that the Vichy French in Syria and Lebanon might be a factor on the norther side of eastern Mediterranean. He asked what forces might be brought into Syria from Europe. The British had only a brigade of cavalry available to fight in Syria. Iraq was another concern, as a putsch by Rashid Ali, who was an Axis ally, had destabilized the situation in Iraq. There were many issues to concern General Wavell as theater commander. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.