A Mad Max retreat in the desert
Cover of Mad Max (Special Edition)Daily Mail:
Libyan rebel forces retreated in disarray yesterday as the battle in the east swung dramatically in favour of Colonel Gaddafi. The oil town of Brega changed hands for the sixth time in six weeks, as regime troops backed by heavy artillery won back most of the ground they had lost in recent days.As I mention below, they need some heavy equipment to drop Jersey barriers to block the advance of the enemy and dig trenches on the road sides. They need to be able to build field fortifications so they have some choice between advancing and retreating.
Last night Gaddafi loyalists were once again closing in on the key town of Ajdabiya, which they had abandoned on Saturday in the face of devastating coalition airstrikes. Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawad had already fallen again.
As civilians began to flee there were reports that fresh Nato air raids were being carried out against the regime advance.
They even claimed to have taken Sirte itself. There was giddy talk of Tripoli within days.
But since then the rebel volunteers’ lack of heavy weapons, battlefield tactics and communications, or even basic training has seen them routed.
During the last 36 hours the oil towns of Bin Jawad, Ras Lanuf and Agheila were all abandoned. More than 100 miles of ground was lost by the rag tag rebels to the well-armed Gaddafi loyalists.
I witnessed the fragility of the recent rebel advance on Monday evening at Nowfaliyah, some 20 miles west of Bin Jawad.
A mortar shell landed a couple of hundred yards away. This prompted the driver of the pick-up truck next to our own car to immediately drive off at great speed.
They also need some clear weather so that the A-10s and the AC-130s can do their damage to the advancing enemy force.
BTW, there some good photos of the Mad Max routines at the link above. It is an apt description.