The garrison of Tobruk, believed to comprise one Italian division and certain ancillary troops, including 6,000 frontier guards, is still invested by our forces. There is also reason to believe that it has been reinforced by the two Blackshirt generals who retired from Bardia. If Tobruk falls, it is difficult to forecast where the Italians will make their next stand. Two infantry divisions are believed to be located between Derna and Benghazi; these may be used to cover the approaches to Benghazi, where a part of Italian G.H.Q. is now believed to be. There are no indications up to the present time of the arrival of reinforcements in Libya.
From the Military Situation for the week.
Constant and heavy pressure has been maintained on Tobruk, whilst aerodromes likely to assist in the defence of the position have been made untenable by the attacks of our aircraft. Reports of abandoned aircraft and landing grounds indicate that the enemy has withdrawn his air forces to the Benghasi area.
Benghasi was heavily attacked five times. Hits were registered on five large ships in the harbour, on the mole and on Government buildings. The neighbouring aerodromes of Benina and Berka were also successfully attacked, and much damage was caused to aerodrome buildings, hangars and aircraft on the ground. At Benina, at least twelve enemy aircraft were set on fire.
On the 8th January there was a very successful bombing attack on a convoy of motor transport near Jerabub by Blenheims, followed by a machine-gun attack by Hurricanes, as a result of which the convoy was abandoned.
Our fighters were also very active. They maintained offensive patrols in the Tobruk and other areas, and destroyed several enemy aircraft both in the air and on the ground.
Several reconnaissances of the Libyan coast were flown by our Sunderlands.
Enemy aircraft activity was slight. An attack was made on our troops in the Tobruk area, but little damage was caused.
From the Air Situation report for the week, see TNA CAB 66/14/33