Burnley Road, Halifax
With regard to the Libya Conflict, it didn’t take my 30 years of army service to know that trained armies don’t retreat from untrained rebel opposition (in this case, almost a rabble army, as it has no command or control and as one can see on TV, has internal squabbles).
No, as in this case, they don’t retreat, they make tactical withdrawals, and lure the enemy into a trap or ambush.
I could not believe, that whilst the rebels were making their, too easy, rapid advance, the top brass and political hierarchy seemed to think the fight was as good as won. “What shall we do with Gadaffi? - hurry up or it will all be over” - the TV news bulletins led one to believe was the thinking.
Another unbelievable fact was that the rebels were, on the basis of occupying one of the oil towns, making contracts with other countries for the sale of the oil!! Needless to say, they have since lost possession of the town and the oil, following a very hasty and real retreat.
I was on post-war active-service in Tripolitania for two years (1948-1950). At the age of 18 I never understood the politics of it, but I know that coastal road very well, and the terrain either side of it is such that the manoeuvrability of heavy vehicles or weapons is very difficult, obviously very sandy and rocky with clumps of bushes etc. I used to, as part of a team, have to handle and dig-in a 17 pounder (weight of shell) anti-tank gun there, so I know what it is like. It would be too easy in any rapid advance, to become overstretched and become separated from vital logistical and other means of support
Unless the air-strikes reduce Gaddafi’s army to a spent force, I personally cannot see a quick ending. However, I’ve just heard about the Libyan Foreign Minister defecting, and should this lead to a mass collapse of Gaddafi’s regime, who knows? I cannot see him otherwise conceding to the requirements of the UN resolution. Harry Thompson