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Cassandra's Curse (Conclusion)
A Decision-Forcing Case
This post forms part of a decision-forcing case. Thus, you will probably want to read the introductory material and work through the five previous problems in the series before reading this article, which presents the historical outcome of the decisions made by the protagonist.
Historical Solution to the Fifth Problem
You decline to cancel the warning order that you gave to the 15th Armored Division before your meeting with General Rommel. You also arrange, with the commanding general of the 21st Armored Division, for the movement of his tank battalions to positions west of the presumed location of the British tanks.
At 2300 (or so) on 18 November 1941, the Italian Savona Division, which provides the garrison for the border forts, provides you with the report of the interrogation of a British prisoners. According to this prisoner, who claimed to be a member of the 4th Indian Division, elements of that division as well as the entirely of the 7th Armoured Division, had moved into the area west of the border forts. The prisoner also revealed that two South African infantry divisions were moving into that area from the south.
You immediately pass this information to General Rommel. Unfortunately, he dismisses it as part of a British attempt to deceive him.
On the morning of 19 November 1941, the two reconnaissance battalions become involved in fights with British tanks. At noon, the 33rd Reconnaissance Battalion reports the presence of a British armored division moving towards Tobruk.
At the same time, British forces moved into the area just west of the two westernmost border forts and bombarded them with field artillery.
At 1145, General Rommel gave you permission to move 15th Armored Division out of into the area where the 21st Armored Division was located. In doing this, however, he stipulated that the artillery of the division remain near Tobruk.
At the same time, Rommel also ordered the 21st Armored Division to attack the British forces in front of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.
At 1700, German reconnaissance aircraft reported three British divisions moving north towards Tobruk. This report convinced General Rommel that a major British offensive had, in fact, begun.