Siege of Tobruk
|Siege of Tobruk|
|Part of the North African Campaign of World War II|
Australian troops occupy a front line position at Tobruk
|Commanders and leaders|
Leslie Morshead (to Sept 1941)|
Ronald Scobie (from Sept 1941)
|Casualties and losses|
|At least 3,836 deaths||
At least 74–150 aircraft destroyed
The Siege of Tobruk was a battle in Libya during the North African Campaign of World War II. It lasted for 241 days. The battle was between Axis and Allied Forces. The battle started on 11 April 1941, when Tobruk was besieged by an Italian and Nazi German force commanded by Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel. The siege continued for 240 days up to 27 November 1941. On that date, the Allied 8th Army took control of Tobruk.
The reason that both sides wanted to control Tobruk is that it had a deep protected harbour. This made it a good place for ships to seek shelter. As well, the Italians had built fortifications. There were also escarpments and cliffs near Tobruk, which helped to protect the town from attack.
The Allies wanted to control Tobruk so that they could defend Egypt and the Suez Canal. When the Axis armies could no longer use the port at Tobruk, they had to bring in supplies at the distant port of Tripoli. This required the Axis armies to bring the supplies by truck through 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) of desert. After the Allies won Tobruk, the Axis armies continuted fighting to take it back. The Axis armies fired many artillery shells at Tobruk and dropped many bombs on the town.
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