British – A new year and a new attack by the British. Bardia is overrun by Australian British troops, capturing valuable supplies to allow the offensive to continue. The 7th Arm and 6th AS XXs attack and destroy the Tobruk garrison, supported by the RAF bombers. (4:1 -1 = DR). these RAF forces occupy the airfield south of Tobruk.
In the exploitation segment, the newly formed up 2nd Armoured XX crosses the border to threaten the Italians who remain south of Ain el Gazala.
Italian – In answer to his desperate appeals for aid, more Italian units arrive at Bengasi. particularly surprising is the arrival of Luftwaffe Me110D fighters at Bengasi. It seems the Germans are concerned for their Italian allies. JU 87Bs make the Med crossing to Tripoli and begin rebasing to the main conflict zone. Above Malta, a devastating attack by Italian and German bombers is made, but plucky AA fire sends two bombers back to base, their bombs undropped. Only one hit is scored against the island. In Iraq, on a moonlit airstrip near Mosul, an unmarked recon plane lands following a long journey through Russia and Iran. Disembarking is a team of German Abwehr agents, entrusted with the mission of provoking simmering Iraqi resentment at British interference to boiling point. Over the next few months they will work in Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk and other areas to set the Near East alight……
The 2AC Mot Art III is sent to Derna to provide desperately needed support for the defenders. A line is beginning to be built which hopefully will slow the British. At Mechili, the 1 and 2 Lt Arm Xs join the defenders that include the 64th XX, 3 Arm II and 22C Art III.
British – Supplies are moved by sea to Tobruk and supplies captured at Bardia are used to assault Mechili and Derna. the 2nd Arm and 6th XX’s hit Derna with RN gunfire support but to the great joy of the Axis and disgust of the Allies, the Italians are only pushed out of the town. (5:1 -2 AECD/terrain = DR) As the Italians retreat they meet up with the 6th and 21st Arm IIs, making them stronger still. At Mechili, the 7th Arm XX and assorted AS Xs and arty support slam into the defenders. They easily destroy the Libyans but the elusive Lt Armoured forces elude their grasp and the Allies can only satisfy themselves with occupation of the town and half the defenders. (7:1 -1 AECD = DH!!)
In the exploitation phase, the 2nd Armour pushes past the Italians retreating from Derna to advance towards Barce. The Italians can only watch from the distance in frustration as the tanks speed past in a cloud of dust. (Gotta love reduced ZOCs!)
Italian – Units outside Derna retreat towards Barce, marrying up with the 3rd Lt Arm III while overhead Luftwaffe units fly fighter and dive bomber cover. A series of telegrams is exchanged between Rome and Bengasi. The 10th Army CinC is wondering wether it would be permissible to withdraw to El Aghelia and abandon the remnants of eastern Libya, but Il Duce is adamant ‘stand and die’ in position while supporting units (marching along the coast from Tripoli) arrive to turn the tables on the impudent British and their colonial bandits! Stiffened by such resolve, the CinC awards himself a medal and determines to fight it out…….