NEWS FROM THE FRONT
No pain no gain – but unfortunately unnecessary pain when the obvious dangers are ignored. Politicians suffer no pain – you do.
15th June, 1941 : The start of Operation Battleaxe in Cyrenaica – the operation by which General Wavell hopes to reduce the pressure of the Axis troops on Tobruk, and possibly even relieve the fortress. While the military situation at Tobruk is more or less unchanged, logistically things are growing gradually but definitely more difficult. This is what Rommel is mainly relying on, as a letter written at this time shows: ‘There is great shortage of water in Tobruk; the British troops only get half a litre a day. With the help of our bombers I hope to be able to cut down this ration still further. The heat is getting worse every day and doesn’t do anything to make you less thirsty.’
The British plan is to attack Halfaya Pass frontally, to occupy the Hafid Ridge, employing the 7th Armoured Brigade, and for the the 4th Armoured Brigade and the 4th Indian Division to encircle Fort Capuzzo and Sollum. By the evening the British have already taken Fort Capuzzo and the fortified position on the Hafid Ridge known as Hill 208. At Halfaya Pass the attacking forces are driven back by German artillery fire; the 88-mm anti-aircraft guns wreak havoc among the British tanks.