Tobruk: The Story of a Siege (Fortunes of War) by Anthony Heckstall-Smith

Product Code: 1841450510
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Publisher: Cerberus Publishing Ltd.; 1st edition (June 25, 2005) ISBN: 1841450510 | Series: Fortunes of War

In the late summer of 1942 British military fortunes in the North African theatre reached their nadir with Rommels army seemingly close to the final breakthrough to Cairo and the Nile. The proud fortress of Tobruk, which had held out so heroically the previous year, had fallen with humiliating swiftness this time and it now lay far behind the German lines, serving as their main supply base.

In a desperate attempt to take pressure off the Eighth Army, to hinder the buildup of the Afrika Korps and to buy vital time as a breathing space for the Allies, an audacious and elaborate plan was drawn up to storm Tobruks defenses and lay waste to this vital Axis supply port, thus creating havoc in the enemys rear areas. All British armed services were involved in this desperate venture.

Included were a Royal Marines battalion and a sizable Royal Navy squadron of cruisers, destroyers and MTBs. The RAF was to carry out heavy bombing and the SAS was to engage in clandestine operations, as were the Long Range Desert Group and other secret special forces. The raid was duly mounted in September 1942. It was boldly conceived and vigorously conducted - but it failed with terrible losses. It achieved nothing and the German and Italian defenders scored a deserved and morale-boosting victory, the last by the Axis in this area. Just what went wrong and who was to blame?


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