I Sept 1940
On the early morning of September 9th, 1940 the Italian 10th Army based out of Cyrenecia, Libya advances into Egypt on a wide front. Infantry and artillery columns march full speed along the coast while armored columns advance further south. A Libyan motor brigade takes Siwa Oasis before sweeping north to join up with the Italian motor pool and some artillery just south of Mersa Matruh. Italian infantry stops just short of Matruh but is unable to attack before the WDF reacts. Construction begins on a road from Oasis de Giarabub to Siwa Oasis. A massive Italian bombing force based in Sicily commences its campaign on Malta, reducing its effectiveness (by 3 to 9). The Italian merchant marine begins shipping AS to Tobruk, flooding the port with supplies. Tobruk is also opened as a supply terminal and is predicted to be effective before the end of the month. The Italian commander, pleased at his situation and forecasting victory, moves his permanent headquarters to Tobruk as well, which has now become the lynchpin in the Italian supply effort, although supplies stockpiled at Tripoli begin movement east as well.
II Sept 1940
CinC Middle East orders his units in Matruh to hold their ground, seeing the Italian supply lines are dependent on the road junction their. As reports come in from the field, however, the massive show of force by the Italians has pushed back the WDF already. The CinC therefore commands his motor pool in reserve at El Alamein to move up and support a solid defensive line from the Med to the Quattara Depression about 50 miles wide. Fighters based in Matruh fly to Alexandria.
Despite some supply troubles, the Italians stay close on the WDF’s heels. As soon as the WDF turns to fight the Italians attack in a display of both overwhelming force as well as tactical brilliance (6:1; +1 AECA: DE), breaking the center of the British line entirely. An incredible display of artillery only assists British logisticians in destroying supplies needed by the Italian troops. In a stunning display of bravado, the Italian commander allows his motor pool to continue southeast to the Quattara, cutting off almost half of the remaining WDF but also being in the tenuous position of no support. Supply continues flooding Tobruk and is sent east as quickly as possible, aided by the newly completed Oasis de Giarabub-Siwa Oasis road. Fighters jump forward to Matruh airfield to provide cover for the advancing 10th Army. The Sicilian Air Force again does significant damage to Malta (up 3 to 12).