From: Ottawa, Canada
I have played an older computer game based on this Operation, so I thought I would give this a try.
It is Nov, 1941 and the war is continuing to go in favour of the Axis powers. The Germans are heading towards Moscow, making huge gains against the Soviets.
In the desert, the Commonwealth forces are getting ready to challenge Field Marshall Erwin Rommel – the desert fox.
Following two unsuccessful operations, Brevity in May 41 and Battleaxe in June 41, General Auchinleck takes over command of the Middle East Command and LGen Cunningham in in charge of the 8th Army.
Tobruk is still under siege by Axis forces. Rommel was tasked with driving the Commonwealth forces out of Egypt and controlling the Suez Canal. But he was unable to push into Egypt with Tobruk still in Allied hands.
The Axis supply situation
The Axis forces were constantly struggling with supply issues. British efforts in attacking Libyan-bound convoys were very successful between July and October.
Despite shipping losses the Italians succeeded in putting an average of 72,000 tons, slightly more than Rommel’s current consumption, across the Mediterranean each month during July through October. Rommel’s difficulties, for the moment, stemmed less from the threat posed by Malta and problems with Mediterranean convoys than from the impossible length of his supply lines with most supplies being delivered to Tripoli.
Moving the supplies from Tripoli to the front line was about a 1000 miles drive. The capture of Benghazi helped shorten the distance, but the capacity of the port was still very low.
Securing the port of Tobruk, would assist in reducing the supply line distance, but again most supplies would have to come from Tripoli.
For more info on the supply situation in North Africa – see http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/north-africa-the-war-of-logistics/
Here is a look at the terrain in the Area of Operations