4 Your Bibliography: Memorial, T. (2017). Diversionary actions extended to Benghazi (Operation Bigamy), Jalo oasis (Operation Nicety) and … [19], A cadre of the British 3rd Armoured Brigade was refitting at Tobruk, with personnel and equipment sent from Egypt by sea and had a regiment of armoured cars, two composite regiments with 15 light, 26 cruiser and a troop of four infantry tanks. A small force held El Adem, south of Tobruk to observe the approaches from the south and south-west and at Mechili, Gambier-Parry had the 2nd Armoured Division headquarters soft-skinned vehicles and a cruiser tank, most of the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade, M Battery 1st Royal Horse Artillery, part of the 2/3rd Australian Anti-tank Regiment and elements of other units. Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron, the commander of the 15th Panzer Division, was sent ahead with a column of reconnaissance, anti-tank, machine-gun, and artillery units to block the eastern exit from Tobruk as the 5th Light Division moved from the southwest and the 27th Infantry Division Brescia advanced from the west. “This book is a compact guide to the German divisions that saw combat in 1941 and 1942 between Tobruk and El Alamein. At the end of 15 June only 48 British tanks remained operational and next day, a German counter-attack forced back the Allies on the western flank but was repulsed in the centre; the Allies were reduced to 21 Cruiser tanks and 17 Infantry tanks. A record amount of supplies arrived in June but at the front, the shortages worsened. These losses on the German side meant that tanks that would otherwise be used in the European theatre of battle   especially against the Russians on the eastern front were destroyed.Furthermore by removing the Germans and  Italians from Egypt crude oil was harder for these axis forces to source. Control of Tobruk was useful to the Allies because it was the only significant port east of Benghazi and west of Alexandria. [15], A German motorised division needed 350 long tons (360 t) per day and moving the supplies 300 mi (480 km) took 1,170 two-ton lorries. Tanks of the 15th Panzer Division, tried to drive north but were prevented by anti-tank fire. Australia's War, 1939–45. Six Merchant Navy ships and a schooner were sunk and six merchant ships were damaged; a total of 62 ships were sunk or damaged. [33], The intensity of the battle for air superiority was mirrored by the air war over the sea as the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica attempted to cut off sea traffic supplying the defenders. On 6 April, Allied air reconnaissance reported that there were Axis columns in the desert and the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade repulsed an attack at Mechili, which led to O'Connor at the Cyrcom headquarters (Neame had left to visit Gambier-Parry) to order a general withdrawal. The Italians had 395 casualties, of whom 347 were captured. Both sides sustained large losses but the German and Italian losses were higher. [39] The escorting sloop, Grimsby was damaged, and sunk by 3./StG 1. During this battle there were many casualties of man and machine the 9th armoured brigade was further reduced to 24 tanks left. (The 18th Australian Infantry Brigade had arrived from Egypt by sea after the dispatch of the 7th Australian Division to Greece had been cancelled.) This lead to only half of the infantry breaking through and no tanks being able to make it. Along with these soldiers there were engineers who were tasked to disarm these mines so that the following tanks could come through. Rommel thought that Tobruk could only be taken by a deliberate attack, which could not begin until support units had arrived in the area and the Luftwaffe had been reinforced, particularly with transport aircraft to carry ammunition, fuel and water. [42] The Stukas were active in night operations. ... positions near the coast and later under General Montgomery took a leading part in Rommel's defeat in the battle of El Alamein. The road could flood, was vulnerable to the DAF and alternative desert tracks increased vehicle wear. Battle of TObruk and the seige of El Alamein. The blow mostly fell on empty desert and gave the Eighth Army time to regroup and re-arm. Once ashore the Commandos found that the port was empty of Axis forces and faulty intelligence led to some objectives being missed and others turning out not to exist. The name roughly meant "across from Pyrgos", referring to a location in Crete across the Mediterranean Sea from Antipyrgos. Web. Gambier-Parry and 2,700–3,000 British, Indian and Australian troops surrendered to the 17th Infantry Division Pavia (General Pietro Zaglio). Nothing more ambitious than securing the Axis hold on the Egyptian frontier, from Siwa Oasis north to Sollum was envisaged. Morshead ordered the garrison to exploit Axis disorganisation and their inability to quickly dig in on stony ground, through conducting patrols and small sorties. 5 Your Bibliography: En.m.wikipedia.org. The distance between Tobruk and El Alamein is 494 km. The 2/48th Australian Battalion counter-attacked and took 803 prisoners. The Germans were surprised, having assumed that the shipping at Tobruk was to evacuate the garrison and planned a night attack by the 5th Light Division for 13/14 April. Allied forces dung themselves into deserts and waited to face enemy armour. The Italians had only the one design, while the Germans relied on their Mark III and Mark IV, which, unlike earlier British tanks, had been designed from the outset to accommodate upgrades in armour thickness and gun … Blamey wrote that the health of the Australian division had deteriorated "to the point where it was not longer capable of resisting attack"; he also wanted to unite Australian forces in the Middle East. Fighter cover could only be maintained at intervals by the last 14 Hurricanes in the desert; Axis airfields at Gazala, Derna and Benina, were bombed at dusk and night to limit Axis air attacks on Tobruk. Two battalions of the Australian 24th Infantry Brigade and the newly arrived Australian 18th Brigade (which had been detached from the 7th Division) took over the perimeter and the Australian 20th and 26th brigades took up a covering position on the outside until 9 April, while more work was done on the defences. On 17 June, the Allies evaded encirclement by two Panzer regiments and ended the operation. This ariel bombardment was followed by artillery firing a total of 15,000shells. The port was frequently bombarded by artillery, dive-bombers and medium bombers, as the RAF flew defensive sorties from airfields far away in Egypt. Most of the British tanks were worn out and the Italian tanks were slow and unreliable. The 3rd Armoured Brigade moved there and found that the petrol had been destroyed to prevent capture. The Break In,At 9:40pm Egyptian time on the 23rd of October an a thousand gun barrage went on for twenty minutes and this lead to a total of 529,000 shells being fired by the end. Vichy agreed to Bizerta being used for supplies but none passed through until late 1942. The gunners changed their tactics from a sustained barrage at a fixed altitude, to a staggered, and thickened belt, at various altitudes covering 1000 metres or more, thereby forcing the Ju 87s to fly through fire for much longer. [38] On 24 June the sloop Auckland was sunk by 239 Squadriglia. [32] Of stated losses from 10 April—14 May [excluding claims made by either side], 73 Squadron lost 15 fighters and five damaged. On arrival, one LCA could not be lowered and there were difficulties releasing the others. This was because due to this fighting allied forces pulled back. So commanders planned that troops should capture the northern corridor whilst Australians would attack at night in the south to plan a crumbling. Bedouin tracks linked wells and the more easily traversed ground; navigation was by sun, star, compass and "desert sense", good perception of the environment gained by experience. A Commando raid was carried out on Bardia and supply runs began to Tobruk. Rear area units had accumulated at Tobruk and ​1⁄3 of the 36,000 personnel were in base units or local refugees and prisoners of war. The 2nd New Zealand Division, attached to XIII Corps, would take advantage of the distraction of the 21st Panzer Division and 15th Panzer Division and advance to the Sidi Azeiz area, overlooking the Axis defences at Bardia. He told London that to maintain patrols, the fighters were forced to refuel at Sidi Barrani granting Axis air units a free hand over Tobruk but arguing that without patrols to defend fighter squadrons refuelling at Tobruk on the ground, they were "hostage to a fortune we cannot afford. [62] The central attack by the Black Watch, involved a charge under massed machine-gun fire to strongpoint Tiger, which incurred 201 casualties. [10], On 24 March, Rommel advanced with the new Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK). The germans had also lost two of their battalions and most of their artillery. [59], The navy took out 5,040 men of the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade and the Indian 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry, on three destroyers, a minelayer and one destroyer carrying supplies, with cruiser escorts as anti-aircraft ships, a cruiser and a destroyer being damaged. The Commandos destroyed an Italian supply dump and a coastal artillery battery before re-embarking. When Italian troops advanced into Egypt in September 1940, the Maletti Group got lost leaving Sidi Omar and had to be found by aircraft. Rommel was told on 5 December, by Comando Supremo that supply could not improve until the end of the month, when airborne deliveries from Sicily began. [40][41] The lack of fighters made for a straight battle between the gunners and German pilots. As the army retreated to Tobruk and the frontier, coastal operations were conducted on the nights of 10–11 April by gunboats, which bombarded transport on the Via Balbia around Bomba and Gambut airfield and on the night of 12 April, six destroyers and two cruisers made a coastal sweep from Ras Tayones to Ras et Tin. The Allies lost 206 casualties, five tanks destroyed and 13 damaged. Web. The Afrika Korps was ordered back to Tobruk, where the 70th Infantry Division and the New Zealand Division had gained the initiative. [43] From 11 April – 10 December, 47,280 men were taken from Tobruk, 34,113 were brought in and 33,946 long tons (34,491 t) of stores delivered; 34 ships were sunk and 33 damaged. The occupation of Tobruk deprived the Axis of a supply port closer to the Egypt–Libya border than Benghazi, 560 mi (900 km) west of the Egyptian frontier, which was within the range of RAF bombers; Tripoli was 930 mi (1,500 km) to the west in Tripolitania. [7], The 2nd Armoured Division had a reconnaissance regiment and the 3rd Armoured Brigade (Brigadier Reginald Rimington), which had an under-strength light tank regiment and one equipped with captured Fiat M13/40 tanks. General Sikorski visiting Polish soldiers in Tobruk, sfn error: no target: CITEREFShoresRing1969 (, sfn error: no target: CITEREFShoresMassimelloGuest2012 (, Mediterranean and Middle East theatre of World War II, 11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force), "The 9th Australian Division Versus the Africa Corps: An Infantry Division against Tanks: Tobruk, Libya, 1941", "German Experiences in Desert Warfare during World War II", Australian War Memorial – Siege of Tobruk, Australian War Memorial - Siege of Tobruk Short Documentary, The Characteristic of Tobruk defence in 1941, Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Siege_of_Tobruk&oldid=993858259, Battles of World War II involving Australia, Battles and operations of World War II involving Czechoslovakia, Battles and operations of World War II involving Germany, Battles of World War II involving the United Kingdom, Articles containing Italian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 12 December 2020, at 21:33. A sand sea 150 mi (240 km) inland marked the southern limit of the desert, which was at its widest at Giarabub and Siwa; in British parlance, the Western Desert came to include eastern Cyrenaica in Libya. [71] In Australia in the War of 1939–1945 (1967) the Australian Official History, Maughan recorded 9th Australian Division casualties from 8 April – 25 October, including two days before the siege started, as 746 killed, 1,996 wounded, 604 prisoners, that 507 Australians were captured between 28 March 1941 and the investment of Tobruk and 467 more were taken during the siege. The vessel had just survived an attack by Junkers Ju 88s of III/LG 1 and II/StG 2. The axis ordered an attack against the allied forces and they managed to recapture some hills from the allies. On 7 December, the 4th Armoured Brigade engaged 15th Panzer Division and knocked out eleven tanks. The Siege of Tobruk lasted for 241 days in 1941, after Axis forces advanced through Cyrenaica from El Agheila in Operation Sonnenblume against Allied forces in Libya, during the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) of the Second World War. At 2:20 in the morning the first of the 2000 tanks started to make their way through. [60], Operation Crusader began on 18 November 1941, with an outflanking movement that brought the Eighth Army to within 30 mi (48 km) of the Tobruk perimeter. The British 2nd Support Group (similar to a small infantry brigade) had only a motor battalion, a 25-pounder field gun regiment, an anti-tank battery and a machine-gun company. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. At the supply road they took cover, waited until 1:00 a.m. and edged forward just before the diversion by the 18th Cavalry. [38] The squadron involved, the 239 Squadriglia was the successful unit, which became among the most successful over Tobruk. The British and Commonwealth forces suffered 13,500 casualties and 500 of … Melbourne: Allen & Unwin. The Australian infantry had stood their ground and pinned down the German infantry. This siege went from the 10th of April to the 27th of November 1941 which was a total of 241 days. After another two days, 73 Squadron was down to five operational aircraft with very tired pilots. The Axis siege of Tobruk began on 10 April, when the port was attacked by a force under Generalleutnant Erwin Rommel and continued during three relief attempts, Operation Brevity (15–16 May), Operation Battleaxe (15–17 June) and Operation Crusader (18 November – 30 December). Operation Sonnenblume (6 February – 25 May 1941), forced the Allies into a retreat to the Egyptian border. On 27 April, Major-General Friedrich Paulus a Deputy Chief of the General Staff, arrived from Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) in Berlin, to question Rommel on his intentions, impress on him that there was little more help available and to forecast the defensive possibilities of the area, if Sollum was lost. It provided camouflage during the Siege of Tobruk; a dummy railhead at Misheifa, and the largest of all, Operation Bertram, the army-scale deception for the decisive battle of El Alamein in October 1942. $15.00 0 bids + $4.00 shipping . Battle of El Alamein Three major battles took place around El Alamein, Egypt between July and November 1942, with the Australian 9th division playing a key role in two of these battles. The 8th Bersaglieri Regiment of the 132nd Armoured Division Ariete had captured most of the Australian positions. Rommel's Afrika Korps: Tobruk to El Alamein. Ships lent their weapons to the defenders. In the Roman era, the town became a Roman fortress guarding the Cyrenaican frontier. [51] Paulus ordered that no more attacks be made, unless the Allies were evacuating the port. Axis forces re-captured the port on 21 June 1942, after defeating the Eighth Army in the Battle of Gazala. [16] With seven Axis divisions, air and naval units, 70,000 long tons (71,000 t) of supplies per month were needed. [33] The Regia Aeronautica's 151 Gruppo reported two aircraft destroyed and one damaged. During the El Alamein campaign half of Rommel's 100,000 man army was killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The password Jock was used when a position had been taken and the Italians were swiftly overcome. Rommel decided to abandon Tobruk and withdraw to Gazala, which led to the relief of Tobruk and the occupation of Cyrenaica. [75][76], Military Confrontation in North Africa During the Second World War, One of many Italian convoys heading towards North Africa, Italian troops and arms on their way to Tobruk 1941, Group of Italian officers, including generals Gastone Gambara and Alessandro Piazzoni, near Tobruk in autumn 1941, Australian entrenchment on the Tobruk perimeter. [56] On 12 May, the Tiger convoy lost one ship and arrived in Alexandria with 238 tanks, to re-equip the 7th Armoured Division and 43 aircraft; on 28 May, planning began for Operation Battleaxe.[57]. 4 The siege of Tobruk was one of the turning points of the African campaign in World War Two and this was where the Australian troops proved their bravery and that is where the name the Rats of Tobruk came from. The tide turned in the Allies' favour at the Second Battle of El Alamein in 1942. The tanks were held off by artillery-fire; German infantry who reached the anti-tank ditch were forced back by Australian infantry. The axis forces retreated and planned to rendezvous with other forces. Neame asked for a proper armoured division, two infantry divisions and adequate air support to hold the area; he was told that there was little to send and none of that before April. Like the siege of Tobruk earlier this battle was a major win for the allies. German casualties were 258 men, three tanks destroyed and several damaged. [13], The Germans tried twice to bluff Gambier-Parry into surrender but he received orders from Cyrcom to break out and retreat to El Adem and decided to attack at dawn, to gain a measure of surprise. A Squadron of the LRDG had appeared from the south, to harass Axis movements. The Australian engineers planted explosives on several mortars and an ammunition dump. Tobruk and El Alamein (Australia in the war of 1939-1945) | Barton Maughan | download | B–OK. On 26 May, Operation Skorpion, a German attack on the pass, succeeded and the Allies were ejected. Deliveries averaged 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) per month from July–October but the consumption of 30–50 percent of fuel deliveries by road transport and truck unserviceability of 35 percent reduced deliveries to the front. With Fausto Tozzi, Rossana Rory, Gabriele Tinti, Matteo Spinola. [8], Lack of transport made it impossible to supply a garrison west of El Agheila, the most favourable position for a defensive line and restricted the 2nd Armoured Division to movement between supply dumps, reducing its limited mobility further. But persisting the allied forces made another thrust which was a success. The Battle of El Alamein (Arabic:معركة العلمين) was a battle during the Western Desert Campaign fought in 1942.A crucial battle between the weakened German forces and the resurgent British, the battle marked a major turning point in the campaign, ending Axis hopes of occupying Egypt, taking control of the Suez Canal, and gaining access to the Middle Eastern oil fields. Bloomsbury Publishing, Jan 20, 2013 - History - 96 pages. This attack was aimed to engage and pin down the 21st Panzer division and the ariete Armoured Division. Command of the garrison passed from Morshead to Scobie. [12], Rommel had intended to attack Mechili on 7 April but the Axis forces were scattered, short of fuel and tired. The fighters of 274 Squadron stayed at Gerawla and 6 Squadron remained at Tobruk to fly tactical reconnaissance sorties. The attack was to be conducted by the 7th Armoured Division and a composite infantry force based on the 4th Indian Division headquarters, with two brigades. [64] On 4 December, Rommel attacked Ed Duda and was repulsed by the 14th Infantry Brigade of the 70th Infantry Division. 39 Squadron lost three bombers and 14 squadron one for a total of 31 aircraft. At noon on 27 November, the 15th Panzer Division reached Bir el Chleta and met the 22nd Armoured Brigade (reduced to a composite regiment of fewer than fifty tanks), which was joined later by the 4th Armoured Brigade. This lead to the 7th armoured division of the French Brigade under the command of British Lieutenant General Brian Horrocks to conduct a secondary attack. And they did that until the 11th of November when the battle ended. It was planned that the 70th Infantry Division would break out from Tobruk on 21 December, to cut the German line of communication to the troops on the border to the south-east. Commensurate with the sinking of Fiona and Chakla in April, the burden fell to the Mediterranean Fleet's destroyers to carry the burden but supply operations in daylight and on moonlit nights proved hazardous. 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