The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: June 1999 (page 1 of 3)

Dec 1941

Dec I

Allied – The third battle of Alamein begins with a massive attack by several Infantry XXs on the 21 PZ, 102 Mot and assorted odds and sods. Air support is massive from the Allied side, and there is little the Luftwaffe can do to contain them, suffering heavy losses in trying to do so. The battle goes poorly for the Axis who are able to inflict some losses on the infantry, but not nearly as much as was hoped for. (3:1 -2 AECD = HX).

In the exploitation phase, the Allied armoured units enter the vacated positions of the Axis and try to look as enticing as possible to the German armour just behind the line. (Ha – me attack at -4 ATEC, I’d have to be stupid!!)

Axis – Initial news at 10th Army Command in Matruh is bad – supplies are reported to have been sent to the bottom of the ocean by Malta based pirates. In response a massive raid inflicts 3 hits on the defenders. At Alamein, an all out counter offensive is launched to crush the Allies and drive on to destiny. Over the desert, more planes are flung into the repair shops or crash and burn on the desert floor as air superiority is contested. There appears to be no clear winner in the skies. On the ground, the coastal attack on the Allied armour fails badly with the troops fleeing in terror from the resolute defenders. (3:2 -4 ATEC, +2 AECA = AR – call me stupid.) South of this battle the majority of German and Italian Armour is engaged against some Australian and Indian units. Despite rough parity in strength, the armour gives advantage to the Axis and, in exchange for the finest armour in the desert, is successful in routing the defenders from their lines (3:2 +3 AECA = EX).

In the follow up phase, Pz cadres and the 101 Mech with attached riff raff advance to just south of Alamein, over running an empty fort and breaking the allied line – ahead of them is clear terrain until the Nile. The message is sent back to Matruh and there is great rejoicing and a round of medals for everyone. Cairo will be a Christmas present for Il Duce!

Dec II

Allied – Mustering all their forces, the Allies close their trap on the lead Axis force. Attacking from four directions (the southern most being blocked by the Qattara salt marshes), the Allies smash into the defenders who hold out for a short while before panic sets in and they try to flee from battle. Along their retreat path however are Allied patrols and artillery killing zones. Troops begin to surrender en masse and only the remnants of the 101 Mech make it through to some form of apparent safety (4:1 -3 ATEC +1 AECA = DR with ZOC all around).

Exploitation Phase. Italian tankers of the 101 Mech rest from the terrible ordeal they have just been through. They are caught by utter surprise when British tanks and armoured cars over run their hasty defence lines, and all are forced to join their comrades in captivity. (overrun by exploiting armour – boo hoo).

Axis – Disaster, utter disaster. With heavy heart, the retreat begins – airfields and airstrips are evacuated and destroyed by retreating units. The Matruh rail line is blown up and the remaining Panzer forces cover the retreating Italian infantry.

 

Nov 1941

Nov I

Allied – The 6th Indian XX is sent to Palestine to relieve the 2nd SA which returns to Egypt. At Suez, the 8th AS arrives, and with the 6th AS and 38th Ind X attacks into the swamps and canals against the 22 Glider XX at Port Said. Using rafts and locally commandeered fishing craft, the Germans slip away from the overwhelming Allied might to the island north of Damiatta. (5:1 -1 = DR). Meanwhile to the west, the 7th AS and 2nd NZ drive the paratroopers out of their positions in Damiatta to join the Glider regiments. (5:1 -1 = DR)

Axis – All that is written in the Italian CinC’s log for this time period is: “AS to Alamein. Spec Ops withdrawn. WASTE!” No doubt due to the pressure from Allied forces Goering determined it was no longer feasible to maintain his units in the Delta while the main thrust at Alamein had been thwarted. Obviously there were lots of tears and tantrums in the bunker that night. It is believed there was on going bombing of Malta also but the results are lost to history.

Nov II

Allied – The 9th Arm X and Indian 3 Mot X switch positions to maintain the NE Garrison and allow more armoured force in the main theatre. There is a mass build up of XXs behind the Alamein line – 6 infantry, 1 Armoured and a handful of various brigades and artillery units. Allied Fighter strength is rebuilt and supplies stockpiled just behind the main line. The Allied Commander is reported by Italian Intelligence as being seen in a Cairo brothel living it up with his staff and celebrating his forth coming victory. The Italian CinC is not amused.

Axis – The supply trucks work their wheels off getting AS to the front. Units are shuffled to try and get maximum ATEC/AECD. Malta is again bombed to bits by the air units based on Sicily.

Oct 1941

Oct I

Allied – More troops are placed in the Delta, blockading the airborne units, but no attacks are made by the allies. The Allied Commander ignores the furious pleas and demands from Whitehall and remains cucumber cool in the current crisis. The Cypriot Garrison is brought back to Alexandria, obviously there is no danger to the Allied CinC of further landings being made.

Axis – Malta is struck heavily by combined might of the Luftwaffe and Italian airforce. 3 hits are inflicted on the island for 1 Ju 88 destroyed. On the ground outside Alamein, another attack is launched, with another massive air battle occurring overhead. 350 Axis fighters escort 200 bombers and attack craft against 200 British fighters. Losses are heavy on both sides, but the Italian CinC’s handwritten notes of this episode record “Allied Airpower broken!!!” (The multiple exclamation points an example of his unravelling mind) The ground battle goes poorly again, and the valiant troops of fascism are forced back beyond their start lines. (2:1, -1 = AR) What is needed to break these colonials?

Oct II

Allied – Calmly the Allies rebuild the NZ 2nd HQ and a couple of British brigades. The last Aust. X’s arrive from the Near East and again reinforce the Delta blocking positions. No movement or attacks occur at Alamein. Obviously General “Iceman” is unruffled by anything the Axis can do….

Axis – The 2nd and 5th Pz XXs form up at Matruh and march to Alamein. The 101 Motorised converts to Mechanised and replacements are assigned to the Ariete and 21Pz XXs. The Axis units prepare for the final thrust into Alamein to join their brethren awaiting on the Nile, motors on tanks are revved up, smoke is laid down, march routes and timetables prepared. Then the dreaded report from the commissary arrives – no supplies available! Cursing at discovering the nearest supplies are back at Tobruk, the Axis are forced to wait… and wait.

Letter from Tobruk

Dear Il Duce,

Well its been a busy time since I last wrote, what with the Glorious Battles in Iran, Iraq and Syria. I have no doubt had they been stiffened with some of your glorious blackshirts they would have fought harder and lasted longer. Oh well, so much for them.

As you know, I captured Tobruk in a masterstroke – make it look like I was on the ropes, my men tired and hungry (only one kilo of Pasta per man! Mama Mia!) and then, kapow, seize the port in a fine display of Generalship. Hurrah for me! – and you of course most great leader.

I am confident that this latest battle at Alamein will see me through to the Nile within the month. Many British soldiers are still in the Near East and I believe it will be too late for them to return and affect the battle. The paratroopers in the Delta will no doubt be causing my opposite number troubles and soon I believe I will be able to receive you in person at the Pyramids and like that most noblest of Caesar’s, carve our names in one hundred foot high letters in the side of them.

Viva Italia!

your most obedient servant,

Marshal Roberto

(PS, thank Clara for the photos)

(PPS – What is it with all these Germans? Soon they will out number my Italian troops in terms of combat power and may demand an equal say in operations. Never!)

 

Sep 1941

Sep I

British: Scanning the skies fearfully, the allies remain in position at Alamein.

Iran – The 9th Lt Arm X surprises everyone by attacking and nearly destroying an Iranian Corp. (1:1 +2 AECA = DH). Remaining Iranian XX flees into the hills but the rapidly approaching Polish Mtn X will mean they are unlikely to delay the British advance for long. In the south, Australian and Indian forces overrun the 6th Iranian XX just north of Ahwaz allowing a SA Lt arm II to race through the mountains to hold the north end of the mountain pass leading to the plains and Teheran. Right in front of them is the 1st Lt Arm X from Teheran which was on its way to join the 6th XX. The Shah is reported to be very angry. So angry he surrenders!

Axis: The loss of the Iranians is another (inevitable) blow. But fearing nothing but defeat itself, and galvanised by a stern letter from Il Duce, the Italian CinC launches the second battle of Alamein. Massive dogfights break out over the frontline. The Axis attack is powerful but the mixed bag of Aussies, Indians and South Africans hold out (4:1 -1 = DR). The reason for the ferocious attack is soon clear as parachutes are spotted over Damietta as two Para IIIs land, seizing the city. Over Port Said, glider-borne soldiers of the 16/22 III land, overrunning the ME Commando unit (which has been sitting here looking pretty for quite a while). The Special Operations Forces have shown their hand and the drive is on to seize the Delta. The long range of the operation (from Rhodes and Crete) has severely limited initial commitment, but there are few forces available to stop them in the Delta without stripping the Alamein line………. At Bengasi troops of the 2nd and 5th Pz XXs land, unaffected by the British, although the HQ of the 5th and one Mot III is returned to Italy. Over Malta, 4 hits are made for the loss of one Ju 88 to AA fire.

Sep II

Allied – The 1st Tk X rails down from Palestine to Ismaila and joins in with a couple of artillery and rear area units in attempting to block in the paratroopers. Australian forces sail from Iran and Iraq to Port Suez to join in the effort. At Alamein, the line is drawn back onto the second line of forts on the town itself. No attacks are made on the Axis.

Axis – Massive airbattles occur again over the Alamein battlefield as another effort is made to break the line. Unfortunately the vital Ju 87s are beaten back by relentless SAAF and RAF air power. Curse those Hurricanes! The loss is heavy to Allied fighters however (3 Fighters Killed). On the ground, the 10th Army and DAK are exhausted by the dogged defence and make no progress. (2:1 = AS). From Crete and Rhodes, more airborne troops are flown in with Mansura taken by the glorious paratroopers and Rosetta seized by another airborne landing by the 3/7 and 1st St.

 

Aug 1941

Aug I

British: Numerous units are rebuilt in the Delta, especially Australian and New Zealander now that sufficient RPs are available. The Italian CinC is stiff lipped about but does worry about the possibility of future operations against the Alamein line. Who will win the battle of the build up??

Iraq – Newly arrived Indian forces join in an attack by the 10th XX on the Iraqis outside Basra. the results are a smashing victory. (6:1 = DE). Further north, Habforce launches an attack on the Iraqi 2nd XX and with the aid of its superior armour, smashes it into the desert sands. (DE) Showing true cavalry spirit, Habforce charges into Baghdad, capturing all Iraqi coup leaders while in the middle of an emergency meeting. Iraq is free from the scourge of the Germans. No-one can locate the German agents who were last seen heading towards Iran in a black mercedes at high speed…….. In Basra there is much swearing and fighting as Australians and New Zealanders disembark at the port to find all the fighting over. What the hell are they here for when Jerry’s at the front door of Cairo?

Levant – A mass attack goes in against the remaining Vichy forces holed up in Allepo, fighting is desperate, with two British brigades being shredded in the attack, but ultimately the French give way and are marched off into captivity. (3:1 = HX)

Axis: Muffled sobs are heard from the new Matruh bunker of the Italian CinC. Iraq and Levant in the some time period are lost to the cause. Blame is laid squarely on the French by all concerned. An attack is launched by Axis Mechanised units on two Allied XXs (SA 1st and 50th) holding a portion of the Alamein line. Heated air battles occur overhead, with the Stuka air support being chased away by Hurricane fighters at great loss to the RAF and SAAF. The eventual attack is a failure (1:1 = AS). Over Malta more bombing occurs and damage done to the island.

Aug II

British: While on a roll in the Near East, Iran is invaded, much to the annoyance of the Shah. A battlegroup under the command of the Aust 7th HQ attacks the 6th Iranian XX with Air Spt from Bombay Air transports. The Iranians are forced back. (DR) Further north the newly converted 9th Lt Armoured (ex Habforce) crosses the border to seize Karind (sp) and Shahabad.

Egypt/Palestine/Levant – Mass reshuffling of units to set up garrison needs and get troops down to Alamein. The HQ 70th XX, Czech’s and a couple of brigades land in Cyprus to defend the island against reports from SOE operatives in Greece that Goering’s skygangsters have been spotted in the region.

Axis: The bombing of Malta continues unabated. Supplies are hurried to Alamein. The troops are there but no bullets! CinC 10th Army and titular commander of DAK, hears rumours that Rome are most unhappy with his performance to date. Something desperate needs to be done…..

Iran – Shah orders all available troops to head south and west to hold the borders against the British while he fights the Soviets in the north. The long marches begin….

Jul 1941

Jul I

British.

In Egypt, Halafaya is abandoned and the Alamein handicap is underway as a general retreat begins. Obviously with Tobruk fallen, the few units left are not sufficient to face the whole Axis forces. Movement of units is difficult due to tears blurring the British Commander’s vision when he peers at the map. At Alamein, Indians and South Africans arrive to man the forts that are sprouting like mushrooms in the desert. A lone Wellington bomber flies over Bengasi and ignores the severe AA to smash the docks (1 hit).

Levant – Beirut falls in a bloody battle to the British with Frrench Colonial troops lost despite having Lt Tanks supporting them in the city. The triumphant Allies enter and the 1st Tank X moves up the coast to seize Tripoli (the other one) and overruns the French crews of the Leo 451’s based there. The pilots swear in colourful French at the tank boys and refuse to tell them where the best bordello in town is. Inland the 70th HQ with Czech’s and British infantry take the city of Homs.

Iraq – The Allies remain in position, patiently waiting for a build up in strength, confident they will destroy Rashid Ali and his band of criminals. Habforce troopers try to teach Kurdish levies the rudiments of cricket. The experiment is not a success and the English concede they have as much chance as Americans introducing Grid Iron to the Antipodes.

Axis.

Egypt – Flush with success, the Axis troops advance to Matruh, unable to contact the fleeing Allied scum due to the reliance the Italians have on shank’s pony for transport. In celebration, the Italian CinC announces he is moving his HQ to Ain el Gazala “to be with the troops.” In the Med, the German Afrika Const III is returned to base by marauding Allied pirates operating out of Malta. In retaliation, a massive 400 bomber raid scores 4 hits against the allied bastion. The Allied CinC is reported as “pale and shaken”.

Levant – The remaining Vichy forces engage in a tactical redeployment northwards. (“This is not a retreat!” the French commander was reported as saying in The Allepo Tatler) Things look grim however for the plucky Frenchmen as Luftwaffe bombers also “redeploy” to Rhodes.

Iraq – With bad news continuing from the Levant, the Iraqi high command gamble on a desperate attack to try and regain the upper hand before it is too late. An attack on Basra is sent in, but even with Armoured support fails to shake the Indian infantry from the area. (1:1 +1 AECA = AS)

Jul II

British:

In Egypt, the retreating forces reach the vaunted Alamein line, where they meet up with the newly formed 50th XX and Indian 5th XX. British CinC releases a communique that he has drawn a line in the sand and the enemy shall not cross it. There is much flag waving and cheering in Westminster at this news.

Levant – NZ and Free French forces overrun a sad looking construction unit before joining in an attack with other units to force back the remaining Vichy units. The Poles and some Australian brigades and 6th HQ are sent marching across the desert to Iraq. The 1RTR advances along the coast and captures Lattique, ending any chance of Axis ground reinforcements arriving.

Iraq – 10th Indian spooks the Iraqis by forcing them back in a sharp sudden battle (DR) and begins the long march to Baghdad.

Axis:

In Egypt, the Alamein line is reached, and supplies are desperately hurried up along the coast, but many are spread from Tripoli, Bengasi and Tobruk. The HQ is advanced to Tobruk and a round of medals given to celebrate the restoration of tram services in downtown Matruh.

Levant – The gutsy little Frenchmen fall back to Allepo, determined to sell themselves dearly to the Allies. With their single AS with them and a couple of fighters (one Luftwaffe), they await the end with Gallic determination……

Iraq – An attack is made on the defenders of Ramadi (1 AS II and Habforce) with Luftwaffe bomber support. Confidence is high in Baghdad that victory can be theirs, but reports come back from the battle that it has been a disaster. Over half the attacking troops lie dead in the swamps and the road to Baghdad is now defended by a single Division (the 2nd). (2:1, -1 = AH!) Suggestions are made that peace negotiations begin, but German agents urge continued resistance. Such is the will of Allah.

Jun 1941

June I

British – At Haifa the tattered and torn remnants of the Greek Debacle come ashore (2 AS X’s, 1 NZ X, 1 Br X, Layforce Commando X, 6th AS HQ, Blenheims and Hurricanes) These units, despite the ordeal they have just suffered, are thrown into the invasion of the Levant that begins this turn.

Levant – Cavalry, Springboks, Free French, Czech’s, and Brits hit two Vichy units in the hills north of the border, but despite air support the Vichy are dug in and determined, fighting off the allied attack. (3:1 = AS). Further towards the coast, 2 British Xs with artillery support drive back some colonial rabble with cavalry support (3:1 = DR). In the centre of the front, the Polish Karpaty X with SAAF air spt smash the 16TT III and threaten to break the Vichy line. (4:1 = DH)

Iraq – The newly formed Habforce canters along the oil pipeline road towards the far off front. The 2nd Assyrian Battalion occupy Basra against minimal opposition. Here they await the promised arrival of units from India.

Egypt – Under the cover of darkness, merchant ships provide supplies to the defenders of Tobruk. Behind Halafaya Hurricane fighters arrive at the forward airstrips, ready to protect the Allied forces. The Allied CinC is fairly confident that he can hold the line while he tidies up the annoying distractions in the Near East.

Axis – Supplies reach the front at Tobruk. The HQ of the 90th Light XX is returned to Sicily by patrolling RN vessels operating out of Malta.

Egypt – 20REs of units are used to try and storm Tobruk. The attack is hard pressed and should be overwhelming, but to the anger of the CinC, it is beaten off. (4:1 -1 ATEC, -1Fort = AS) This attack should have succeeded, and there is consternation that the Allies may improve the fortress making it next to impossible to seize! To show his resolve at pressing forward, the HQ of the CinC is moved forward from Bengasi to Barce.

Levant – The Vichy commander withdraws his lead units into the mountains while Colonial and Legion units head south to join the battle. He welcomes with open arms the arrival of LW Ju 88 bombers and Me 110D fighters. He is surprised to learn some of these have been assigned to Iraq. Sacre bleu!

Iraq – The newly arrived LW units are received with wild jubilation by the locals. in the south of the country, Iraqi military units advance to Basra, hopefully to block off this access route to Iraq. From Iran, the Shah sends a personal message of goodwill and encouragement to the leaders of the coup. This disturbs Allied intelligence officials.

Jun II

British.

In an ominous sign, engineering units are observed by Luftwaffe recon planes erecting Fortifications outside Alamein. Severe name calling ensues across the frontline between the respective CinC’s. Axis intelligence summaries indicate that either the Allies plan to run away to the Alamein line and draw Axis forces away from Tobruk or that the CinC Middle East is a cautious commander. The HQ 50th XX is observed at Matruh.

Levant – SA and Brit infantry arrive with the 1st Tank X. Two massive attacks are made, one south of Beirut by British Armour, Free French and SA that destroys the Vichy defenders and one at Mt Hermon pass by Aussies, Poles and Kiwis that likewise grinds the defence into small pieces. The French commander signals Vichy desperately for troops to aid him, but the strong control of the sea lines by the British makes it next to impossible to provide any aid other than aircraft.

Iraq – Habforce arrives in the swamps east of Ramadi, much to the relief of the 1st Assyrian II. At Basra the HQ 10th Indian arrives with a single Brigade in support. Many complaints are made about the lack of sanitation and comfortable billets. Overworked supply personnel set about developing a supply terminal at the port. Outside the city, the disappointed Iraqi soldiers arrive too late to interfere and set about wondering how they are going to defend their country now…….

Axis.

The Levant – With the flower of the Vichy Army being decimated by the brutal British and the uncultured riff raff of the Globe, the valiant forces of France fall back again into the mountains, trading space for time and looking rakish in their kepis and chain smoking gitanes, muttering sacre bleu and zot alors as they watch the tanks of the British in the valleys below. They can only hope for good news from Egypt to save them now. By sheer coincidence, a scratchy radio signal is received from Tobruk…………

Libya/Egypt – With no supplies, desperate and hungry, in a vain but glorious all-or-nothing bid for eternal glory, the besieging Axis forces of Tobruk attack at half strength the redoubtable Tobruk defenders. In a what is obviously a surprise, a breakthrough is made quickly and the entire garrison is routed for the loss of a few German tanks of the 21st Pz XX. (2:1 -1 ATEC, -1 fort = EX) Churchill is dumbfounded, CinC Middle East is suicidal, the Italian Commander gracious in victory with only a small amount of war dances and cries of “in your face”. (Truly a jammy moment in wargaming history!) To make matters better, the Attack Supplies hoarded in Tobruk are captured intact. Suddenly the garrison at Halafaya are as nervous as a herd of sheep in a field on a dark night outside a New Zealand pub….

Iraq – The ever victorious forces of the Iraqi military gather outside Basra – 2nd XX, 4th XX and 1st Mech X, with lots of wonderful air support from the mighty Luftwaffe and dashing pilots of the Iraqi air force. Soon the impudent infidel dogs will be pushed into the sea (or maybe the desert depending on what way they want to retreat) and Iraq will reign supreme in its homeland!!

 

May 1941

May I

British – The HQ of the 70th XX and a newly arrived SA X head for Palestine, it seems clear that the British intend on removing the threat of the Levant from their flank before the Axis reach anywhere near the Nile. Flying overhead are fighters and bombers of the RAF, drawn back from Libya. Some units are rebuilt in the Delta from the survivors of the earlier campaigning. Tobruk is garrisoned by the 7th Aust XX, a tank battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers and an Artillery brigade. The message is clear – “There will be no Dunkirk here!” The remaining units of WDF (9th AS XX, 22G X and odds and sods retreat to Halafaya sending signals of good luck to the Tobruk defenders.

Axis – Construction units (from the 5th Army in Tripoli) build a temporary airfield to help push forward the air umbrella the Axis are building up. Tobruk is surrounded, but the eastern hex left clear, showing the benevolence and humanity of the Italian Commander who gives the option for the British to evacuate the port without a fight if they so desire. (This is a fact – I felt I’d give my opponent this option to avoid the inevitable battle and expected EX/HX result that occurs when Tobruk is fought over. If he gets his units out with no losses and I get the port – great, there’s a benefit for both of us. I can always hunt him down in the open and crush him like a bug later). Over Malta, the Italian airforce again flies overhead, raining death and destruction. The plucky AA gunners exact a heavy toll, aborting a SM-79.1 and causing the pilots to drop their payloads wide of the target. The Malta status is at 8 and causes the CinC 10th Army to roll about on his Bengasi bunker floor foaming at the mouth and biting the ankles of his air staff in anger.

May II

British – Retreating units destroy the port facilities at Bardia and join the defenders at Halafaya. temporary airfields are built around Sidi Barrani to provide access for the Desert Airforce. More units are built up in Palestine where a round robin cricket contest results in a shock victory to the Free French XI who knock off the surprised South Africans. The Czech’s in the area elect not to field a team but do provide samples of their home brewed beer for refreshment.

Axis – Supply is desperate for the front line troops. No reserves of artillery rounds or fuel are available to meet offensive requirements and the troops are forced to eat their boots, fried up on the turrets of their tanks with eggs brought from local chicken farmers. Bardia is taken as the Axis close off Tobruk and advance to Halafaya.

Meanwhile in Baghdad……

German agents succeed in convincing Rashid Ali to rebel against the imposition of British control of Iraq. For months a network of spies and agents have been working within the Iraqi military and Civil Service, planting rumours and paying bribes, gradually making the German (and Italian) cause more attractive. On a dark night outside Habbaniya Airbase, Kurdish guards, on contract with the British authorities for airfield security, hear the sound of approaching lorries. Standing-to and alerting the RAF personnel on the base, they put up a stiff fight against the Iraqi soldiers of the 3rd XX who are half-hearted in their attempts to drive the British from the vital airfield. It is only when the light tanks and armoured cars of the 1st Mech X arrive later in the day that the Kurds are forced to retreat into the swamps to the west. The powerful RAF contingent (that pathetic Audax I often wonder what to do with) is destroyed on the airfield. News of this battle is conveyed to the Iraqi soldiers, which galvanises them to swear to fight to the finish against the British infidels. Kut is occupied by the 1st XX while the 4th XX marches proudly towards Basra.

 

Letter from Tripoli

“Dear Il Duce,

As requested, I have invaded Egypt and continue to punish the impudent British for not liking us. Fancy not realising we too deserve a North African Empire – even at their expense!!!!

There has been a slight hiccup in operations, mainly due to poor showing by the rabble I was forced to leave behind during my tactical redeployment from Sidi Barrani and the treacherous British attack on Tobruk and Bardia. I assure you it is almost impossible to fight a campaign in such trying conditions when the enemy refuses to let his intentions be known. Thankfully the replacements you have so wisely sent to me has redressed the balance, and allowed me to win the strategically brilliant battle of Barce and I am now driving forcefully to Tobruk and the border again and expect to be in Cairo within two months.

The news from the Levant is good as this will surely draw off some British troops during my triumphant drive to the Nile. The Germans have had less success in Iraq, but then we know what they’re like when it comes to diplomacy….

The Germans currently under my command have played some small part in my victory over the British last month, it would be churlish of me not to recognise their contribution, but they are soooo boorish – always wanting to attack, training and planning, leaving no time for enjoyment. Please don’t send anymore or they’ll want to actually participate in my staff conferences!

I will write soon outlining my triumphs in your name in Egypt. Tell Duc d’Aosta I’ll be there soon.

Fondest regards to Clara,

Marshall Roberto.”

 

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