NEWS FROM THE FRONT
No pain no gain – but unfortunately unnecessary pain when the obvious dangers are ignored. Politicians suffer no pain – you do.
9th December, 1940 : Opening of first Western Desert Offensive. In Egypt the British break through the Italian lines at Sidi Barrani. General Graziani’s seven divisions cannot manage to resist the thrust of two British divisions, the 4th Indian and 7th Armoured, which the British Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East, General Sir Archibald Wavell, has sent into the attack. The Italian troops are completely taken by surprise; despite their overwhelming numerical superiority, the Italians have done nothing sine taking Sidi Barrani on 16 September but dig in instead continuing their advance. Now the British action, as efficient as unexpected, puts the entire Italian force in danger; within two hours the British troops entirely surround the entrenched camp of Nibeiwa, killing, among others, General Maletti, who is caught by the attackers in his pyjamas. Tummar, Maktila and Sidi Barrani fall into British hands in four days fighting; four Italian divisions are wiped out and some 38,000 prisoners are taken, including four generals. British casualties are 624 dead, wounded and missing; and they have captured 237 guns, 73 medium and light tanks and at least 1,000 trucks.