Talk:Siege of Tobruk

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Mustafa Kemal[edit]

The article on Mustafa_Kemal says that he participated in the Defense of Tobruk. Where is he?

Mustafa Kemal died in 1938 so he can't have participated in this battle. Besides Turkey was neutral in :WWII. Raoulduke47 17:02, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Someone added it again, and provided a source! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:06, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938) defended Tobruk in 1911 war. --ja_62 (talk) 14:43, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Supply convoys[edit]


Royal Navy Day-by-Day in World War 2 by Don Kindell

  • August 19
    • Six thousand troops of the Polish Carpathian Brigade were ferried to Tobruk, covered by the cruisers of the 7th and 15th Cruiser Squadrons.
    • On the first night of TREACLE, destroyers JERVIS, KIMBERLEY, and HASTY departed Alexandria for Tobruk in the first series. The destroyers arrived back at Alexandria on the 20th.
  • August 20
    • Light cruisers AJAX and NEPTUNE departed Alexandria covering minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers KIPLING, NIZAM, and KINGSTON en route to Tobruk in the second series of the TREACLE operation.
  • August 21
    • Destroyers KANDAHAR, GRIFFIN, and JACKAL departed Alexandria for Tobruk in the third series of the TREACLE operation. The destroyers returned to Alexandria on the 22nd.
  • August 22
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers JERVIS, HASTY, and KIMBERLEY departed Alexandria for Tobruk in the fourth series of the TREACLE operation. The operation was covered by light cruisers PHOEBE, NAIAD, and GALATEA of the 15th Cruiser Squadron. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 23rd.
  • August 24
    • Light cruisers AJAX and NEPTUNE departed Alexandria covering minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers KIPLING, KINGSTON, and GRIFFIN in the fifth series of the TREACLE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 25th.
  • August 25
    • Light cruisers NAIAD, PHOEBE, GALATEA departed Alexandria to cover minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers JACKAL, HASTY, and KANDAHAR on the series six of the TREACLE operation. The light cruisers were unsuccessfully attacked at dusk on the 25th. The ships safely returned to Alexandria on the 26th.
  • August 26
    • Light cruisers AJAX and NEPTUNE departed Alexandria escorting minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers JERVIS (Rear Admiral Destroyers, Mediterranean Fleet embarked), GRIFFIN, and HAVOCK in the seventh series of the TREACLE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 27th.
  • August 27
    • Light cruisers NAIAD, GALATEA, and PHOEBE departed Alexandria covering minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers KIPLING, KINGSTON, and HOTSPUR in the eighth series of the TREACLE operation.
    • Light cruiser PHOEBE was torpedoed by an Italian aircraft at 2145/27th 32-15N, 24-53E, one hundred miles northeast of Tobruk. The light cruiser reported eight ratings killed. Destroyers JERVIS, KANDAHAR, KIMBERLEY, and HASTY departed Alexandria to escort the damage ship. Light cruiser PHOEBE was able to proceed to Alexandria under her own power.
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers KIPLING, KINGSTON, and HOTSPUR returned to Alexandria from Tobruk, independently, arriving on the 28th.
    • The light cruiser after temporary repairs was sent to the United States for permanent repairs. She was undocked at Alexandria on 9 October and passed through the Suez Canal on 13 October. On 26 October, the light cruiser arrived at Durban from Mombasa and departed on 28 October for Simonstown. Light cruiser PHOEBE was under repair at New York Navy Yard from 20 November to 15 April 1942.
  • August 28
    • Light cruisers AJAX and NEPTUNE departed Alexandria escorting minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers NAPIER, JACKAL, and DECOY in the ninth series of the TREACLE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 29th.
  • August 29
    • Destroyers GRIFFIN and HAVOCK departed Alexandria for Tobruk in the tenth and final series of the TREACLE operation. The destroyers arrived back at Alexandria on the 30th.

The Royal Navy and the Mediterranean


Royal Navy Day-by-Day in World War 2 by Don Kindell

  • September 17
    • From 17 to 27 September, 6300 British troops and 2100 tons of supplies were moved to Tobruk in Operation SUPERCHARGE.
    • Light cruisers AJAX, NEPTUNE, and HOBART departed Alexandria for Beirut to embark troops.
    • Light cruisers AJAX and HOBART arrived at Beirut on the 18th. Light cruiser NEPTUNE was detached to spend the night of 18/19 September at Haifa, rejoining at Beirut on the 19th.
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, and HASTY departed Alexandria carrying supplies to Tobruk in Serial 1 of the Operation.
    • The minelaying cruiser and destroyers arrived back at Alexandria on the 18th.
  • September 18
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers NAPIER and NIZAM departed Alexandria with supplies and some troops. Destroyer HAVOCK sailed later to load at Mersa Matruh and joined the ships en route in Serial 2 of the SUPERCHARGE operation.
    • While berthing alongside the wreck of Italian steamer SERENITAS (5171grt) at Tobruk, destroyer NIZAM was damaged forward when a cross wind blow the destroyer into the wreck.
    • The ships arrived back on the 19th. Destroyer NIZAM was out of action for fourteen days to repair.
    • In Serial 3 on the same date, A lighters A.2, A.9, and A.11 proceeded to Tobruk.
    • Serial 4 was also conducted on this date with schooners KHEYR EL DINE and HILMI. However, these ships returned to Mersa Matruh and completed the operation on the 21st.
  • September 20
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers JERVIS, KIMBERLEY, and HASTY departed Alexandria with about 1000 troops, brought to Alexandria by the 7th Cruiser Squadron, and one hundred and twenty tons of stores in Serial 5 of the SUPERCHARGE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 21st.
  • September 21
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers NAPIER, KINGSTON, and HOTSPUR departed Alexandria on Serial 7 of the SUPERCHARGE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 22nd.
  • September 22
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers KANDAHAR, JAGUAR, and GRIFFIN departed Alexandria for Tobruk on Serial 8 of the SUPERCHARGE operation. Light cruisers AJAX, NEPTUNE, and HOBART departed Alexandria to cover the destroyers and rendezvous with minelaying cruiser ABDIEL at daylight on the 23rd. All ships involved arrived back at Alexandria on the 23rd.
  • September 23
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers JERVIS, KIMBERLEY, and HASTY departed Alexandria for Tobruk on Serial 9 SUPERCHARGE operation. These ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 24th.
    • Also sailing was petrol carrier PASS OF BALMAHA (758grt), Greek steamer SAMOS (1208grt), and A 2 and A 9 lighters, carrying tanks, in convoy for Tobruk, escorted by anti-submarine trawler FALK and minesweeping trawler SOIKA (per Med Fleet WD -- SOTRA in Preliminary Narrative) in Serial 11. The convoy arrived on the 26th.
  • September 24
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers NAPIR, KINGSTON, and HOTSPUR departed Alexandria for Tobruk on Serial 10 of the SUPERCHARGE operation.
  • September 26
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers JACKAL, KIMBERLEY, and HASTY departed Alexandria for Tobruk on Serial 12 of the SUPERCHARGE operation. The ships arrived back on the 26th.
  • September 27
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers KANDAHAR, JAGUAR, and GRIFFIN departed Alexandria for Tobruk on Serial 13 of the SUPERCHARGE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 28th and SUPERCHARGE came to an end.
    • Also sailing on this date was Serial 14. Anti-submarine trawler WOLBOROUGH, A 7, A 11, and store ship MIRANDA departed Alexandria. They turned back on the 28th after A 11 was bomb damaged. They sailed again on the 29th and arrived on 1 October.
    • Store ship TIBERIO also sailed on this date in Serial 15 and arrived at Mersa Matruh. She sailed on the 28th and was damaged by British bombing on the 30th. She arrived at Tobruk on 1 October.
    • In this operation 6308 officers and men and 2100 tons of stores were carried to Tobruk. 5444 officers and men, 544 wounded, and one prisoner of war was brought from Tobruk.


Royal Navy Day-by-Day in World War 2 by Don Kindell

  • October 12
    • Operation CULTIVATE, the relief of the Tobruk garrison, began. Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers HERO, KIPLING, and NIZAM departed Alexandria for the first serial of the CULTIVATE operation.
  • October 14
    • Anti-submarine whaler SOIKA and tug C 307 departed Alexandria on serial 1 A of the CULTIVATE operation. The tug returned to Mersa Matruh.
  • October 17
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers NIZAM, JACKAL, and HAVOCK, departed Alexandria on the second series of the CULTIVATE operation to Tobruk. The ships returned to Alexandria on the 18th.
    • U.97 sank Greek steamer SAMOS (1208grt) and British tanker PASS OF BALMAHA (758grt), which departed Alexandria, escorted by anti-submarine whaler KOS 19, on the 16th, in 31-14N, 28-50E proceeding to Mersa Matrah for Serial 4 of the CULTIVATE operation. Twenty four crew, three gunners, and four British personnel were lost on the Greek ship. The entire crew of the British tanker were lost. The ships were to have joined gunboat GNAT and landing craft tank A lighters A.13, A.17, and A.18 off Mersa Matruh before proceeding to Tobruk. Destroyers HASTY, AVONVALE, ERIDGE, and DECOY departed Alexandria, joined later by destroyer HERO and HOTSPUR, to search for the submarine.
    • Destroyers HASTY and ERIDGE were detached during the night of 17/18 October to sweep ahead of gunboat GNAT and the A lighters.
    • MTB.68 and MTB.215 joined gunboat GNAT.
    • After an unsuccessful search, the destroyers returned to Alexandria on the 18th.
    • The gunboat and the A lighters arrived at Tobruk on the 19th.
  • October 18
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers KANDAHAR, GRIFFIN, and JAGUAR departed Alexandria on serial 3 of the CULTIVATE operation. Returning from Tobruk, destroyer KANDAHAR attacked a submarine off Bardia at 0330/19th. Cruiser ABDIEL arrived back at Alexandria at noon on the 19th. The destroyers, after searching for the submarine, arrived back that afternoon.
  • October 19
    • Anti-submarine whaler KOS 19, escorting British tanker TONELINE (811grt) to Tobruk in serial 4 A of the CULTIVATE operation, reported a submarine contact off Alexandria. Motor launch ML.1023 departed Alexandria with the two ships, but had to return with defects. Destroyer ENCOUNTER and two anti-submarine trawlers joined to search for the submarine, without success. The tanker and its escort safely arrived at Tobruk on the 21st.
  • October 20
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers KINGSTON, NIZAM, and ENCOUNTER departed Alexandria on serial five of the CULTIVATE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 21st.
  • October 21
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers NAPIER, HASTY, and DECOY departed Alexandria on serial six of the CULTIVATE operation. The ships returned to Alexandria on the 22nd.
    • Anti-submarine trawler WOLBOROUGH and steamer GEBEL KEBIR departed Alexandria with Motor launch ML.1061 on serial 8 of the CULTIVATE operation. The steamer was damaged by German bombing off Tobruk and was towed into harbour by the trawler. Two motor launches intended as escorts were attacked by German bombers at dusk on the 22nd, sustaining only superficial damage. Both arrived at Tobruk.
  • October 22
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyers KINGSTON, ENCOUNTER, and HOTSPUR departed Alexandria on serial seven of the CULTIVATE operation. Minesweeping whaler SOIKA's LL sweep had been cut in an air raid at Tobruk. The cable fouled on HOTSPUR's propeller. The destroyer was able to return to Alexandria at reduced speed. No damage was done to the ship. The ships returned to Alexandria on the 23rd.
  • October 24
    • Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL and destroyers KANDAHAR, KINGSTON, and GRIFFIN departed Alexandria on serial nine of the CULTIVATE operation. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 25th.
  • October 25
    • Minelaying cruiser LATONA and destroyer HERO, HOTSPUR, and ENCOUNTER departed Alexandria on serial ten, the last, of the CULTIVATE operation.
    • Minelayer LATONA (Captain S. L. Bateson) was sunk by German bombing on the 25th in 32-16N, 24-55E late on the 25th. Commissioned Gunner (T) G. F. W. Bruce, Midshipman R. Kennedy, T/Lt (E) E. W. Pillinger, Cdr (E) T. G. B. Winch, sixteen ratings, and seven soldiers were lost on the minelayer. Destroyer HERO was damaged by a near miss while standing by LATONA and her speed was reduced to ten knots. The destroyer was later able to increase speed to twenty knots and arrived at Alexandria at 1400/26th. Destroyers ENCOUNTER and HERO took the LATONA survivors to Alexandria. Destroyer HERO was under repair for four weeks.
    • This was the last CULTIVATE serial in which 7138 troops had been transported to Tobruk and 7234 troops and 727 wounded were brought back to Alexandria.

Unverified sources[edit]

[1] i) Treacle (19-29 August)

IN: Polish 1st Carpathian Brigade (Bde) and a Polish Cavalry Regiment OUT: 18th Brigade, 18th Indian Cavalry and 152nd LAA

ii) Supercharge (19-27 September)

IN: British 16th Inf. Bde, Advanced HQs of 70th Div., 32nd Army Tank Brigade (32ATB)* and 4RTR [32ATB was in fact the unchanged 3rd Armoured Bde] OUT: 24th Bde. and Australian 24th Field Park Company

iii) Cultivate (12-25 October)

IN: HQ 70th Div. British 14th and 23rd Infantry Brigades a Czech Infantry Bn and 62nd General Hospital. OUT: 9th Div HQ and Divisional Troops 26th and 20th Bdes and Australian 4th Hospital.

Italian 32nd Combat Sappers Battalion takes part in the capture of 3 bunkered platoons[edit]

I first found out about it by reading Alamein 1933-1962: An Italian Story by Paolo Caccia-Dominioni in a page where he describes the circumstances leading to the death of the commanding officer of the unit (a sister unit for Caccia-Dominioni was CO of the 31st Combat Sappers Battalion). Paolo Caccia-Dominioni would have no reason to lie about the achievements of this unit for he has written about about his unit experiences during the battles of Alamein and his book has survived for decades with its reputation intact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Generalmesse (talkcontribs) 00:15, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

The template "unreliable source" is misleading here. My problem with the reference is that it is a link to a web page which has no identification so that the reference can have no title, no author, no publisher no date etc.. It is therefore a suspect source. I have no problem with Caccia-Dominioni source because it is fully identified. Is the web page an on-line version of the Caccia-Dominioni book? It would be very helpful if you could fill in some details to identify this web page Italian isn't up to it!! Regards Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 13:43, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Interestingly, the Italian official history (Vol.II Tobruk, p.168) provides a rather more balanced perspective - the attack was a failure: "Aperti i varchi nei reticolati, i gruppi passarono oltre ma incaparono nell'intenso fuoco delle armi automatiche dei fortini e nel contempo si trovarono addosso l'immediato contrassalto delle riserve settoriali. Privi degli ufficiali, caduti quasi subito colpiti a morte, e sottoposti a dute perdite, i gruppi ripiegarono con difficolta attraverso i varchi ed a stento poterono riguadagnare la base di partenza." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:25, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Italian POV[edit]

This article has a very strong Italian pov:

  • It goes to all possible lengths to point out situations where the Italians performed well despite not doing so for the main beligerants, the Australians, British and Germans.
  • It makes at best pasing references to poor performance by Italian Troops, and does not mention many notable examples of their reluctance to fight.
  • When Rommel is critical of the Italians, it goes to great lengths to defend the them without giving Rommel's very good reasons for being critical (talk) 06:17, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

At the same time however in the Operation Compass section it glosses over the Italians who did fight well and did not give up as quickly as the rest of the garrison. i.e. "The Italian troops generally offered little resistance - large numbers surrendered without fighting." The article i think should on the same note referance the men who held out and offered much resistance.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:59, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Fair enough. I think that this article has been significantly extended (with good intentions) by Generalmesse using an Italian source which evidently has some pro Italian bias. My problem with this is that the article does not discuss relatively major events of some significance while going into some detail to appease the Italian forces.
As far as the sentence: "The Italian troops generally offered little resistance - large numbers surrendered without fighting." goes, if I had to choose a single sentence to describe the performance of the Italians forces that would be it. This article isn't a discussion about the performance of Italian troops. In my opinion, this makes the article less clear and concise. (talk) 02:34, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Imo, something along the lines of: "While some Italian troops fought well, the majority generally offered little resistance with large numbers surrendered without fighting."

My grammar isnt at its best early in the morning when am bored in work (lol :p) but i think something to that effect covers all bases.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:58, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

I Certainly appreciate the Italian POV comments concerning this article, having just come across it. However, to exclude the Italian's from the group main belligerents is absurd, given that they formed the bulk of the Axis forces, for better or worse. You'll find that what is more the case is that some of our most popular texts have simply neglected to mention that they were there and were in actual fact obliged to do more than merely spectate. We shouldn't worry about making assessments of who did well at what (as that errs on the side of POV), but rather comment on who took part in which actions. The merits of the performance of the Italian troops is for another article (which has been started).Romaioi (talk) 13:11, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Operation Brevity[edit]

Brevity was not an attempt to lift the siege of Tobruk. I have removed referance to this once before and have just done so again since it is now back within the article. The main objective of the attack was to clear the Libyan-Egyptian border so Operation Battleaxe could be launched from a better position. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:20, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

That is the correct action. I did that, my bad58.165.235.188 (talk) 02:37, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I'd keep a mention of it though. Reaching Tobruk was sort of a "blue skies" objective of Brevity, especially since the British believed (due to intercepting Paulus' report) that the Axis forces were pretty much ready to fall apart. Oberiko (talk) 02:43, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps it can probably be rolled into the subsection on Operation Battleaxe. Or perhaps it can have its own subsection, after all it is only a sub section... (talk) 04:56, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Oberiko do you have a source for that? It would be a nice addition to the Brevity article :) On reading the subject, the main objective was to clear the border area but Gott was also told to exploit towards Tobruk as far as supply would allow and without risking his force. Its because of this i dont think it should have its own section as a dedicated attempt to lift the siege although rolling it into another section as discussed above does seem like a decent idea.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 10:10, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

It looks like about the same information I have then. Personally, I think it warrants a minor note (a sentance or two), especially since, for some reason, most history books which don't cover Brevity in detail erroneously describe the operation as solely an attempt to lift the siege. Oberiko (talk) 13:51, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Operation Compass[edit]

Am finding this section to be extermly weak, as discussed above it pushes one point of view of the Italian soldiers without highlighting the fact some did fight well or explain why the men who didnt fight, didnt. It jumps all over the place, for instance what does the 9th Infantry Division have to do with the initial capture of the fortress, it doesnt.

On top of that, the "They also found that the Italians had constructed some impressive defences, including a perimeter of concrete pits." seems some what silly.

After reading the British Official History on the subject(am sure the aussie one will confirm with this outlook), they highlight the Aussie commander personally reconning the Tobruk defences before the attack and the assualt plan involved capturing 5 iirc of these concrete defence pits, therefore they cant have only found out about them after the battle as the article currently suggests.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:05, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Seems rather odd to even have a section dedicated to Compass here. The background can surely be more concise. Oberiko (talk) 00:09, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm certainly in favour of making the background more precise. On the impressive defences, after Tobruk was captured an appreciation of the available defences revealed that the were very well engineered. So this sentence is intended to mean that the impressiveness of the defences (which included the perimeter) was discovered) were discovered. On the 9th division, I got that confused with the 6th division. The article does jump over the place, it did before and I tried to fix it up a bit. It is just a mess really. (talk) 03:00, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Well I think the article does need to cover Operation Compass in brief, after all the article should cover how allied forces ended up occupying the fortress and Compass does seem to be the place to start.

In regards to the defences, let me establish am by no means an expert on Tobruk so am not trying to sound condescending here, we know the Australians before assaulting the fortress were aware of the concrete defence pits however it was only after they captured the fortress they discovered how well constructed they were?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 10:18, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

15 Panzer Div[edit]

I've been away for a few weeks and see that during my absence there has been some activity on this article. Two things strike me. The intro has been re-written in a rather Australian POV way. I imagine this is probably because the current text focuses on the fighting up to and over Easter and then covers the rest of the siege in a very cursory manner - not that I have a problem with that per se because the later fighting at Tobruk is covered in the Operation Crusader article. However, the article is supposed to cover the whole siege which lasted until November so the non-Australian force held Tobruk for some 70-80 days. I've re-written the intro to try and reflect the full period.

Secondly I am confused by the role of 15 Pz Div. The original text said that Rommell only commanded 5 Light Div because 15 Pz had not yet arrived in Libya (this coincides with the Sonnenblume article which says, with reference quoted, 15 Pz tanks arrived in Africa between 25 April and 6 May and the division was not fully concentrated until end May). The current text ascribes quite a lot of activity to 15 Pz during mid-April and I have added "elements of" to the text, assuming that perhaps the non-tank elements of 15 Pz were available to Rommell during April, until I can go to some references to sort out what was really going on. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 16:30, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure of the original role of 15 Pz., but I do know (and have referenced on the Operation Battleaxe page I believe) that they were in charge of the frontier defense following Brevity. Oberiko (talk) 19:27, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Yup. The Operation Brevity article has 8 Pz Reg (the tanks of 15 Pz Div) arriving at Sidi Azeiz on 16 May which fits fine with the idea that they arrived in N Africa between 25 April and 6 May. The question is what part of 15 Pz Div, if any, was involved at Tobruk in mid April, as described in the Siege of Tobruk article?Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 22:20, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Just to confirm, 15 Panzer did take part in the siege. Ill dig up some details from Jentz book later today.

I updated portions of the Operation Sonnenblume article a while ago with the information Jentz provides although only in relation to the panzer regiment. He provides convoy details, which confirm the regiment, shipped over between April 25 and May 6, will get you a date the tanks reached the frontline (also information on the convoys).

Other units of the division were shipped over as well as flown across to N.Africa and took part in the attacks, ill dig up some details on that too.

I haven't read through the article in full yet but it appears from Jentz (who takes the war diaries and personal testimony from both sides) that 5th Light fought rather badly and didn’t stick to doctrine while the British tankers within the fortress had started to become more competent although were not fighting in combined arms manner with the allied forces inside. Don't know if this helps explain some of the bias? (again i haven’t really read the article so i don't know what your referring to :p)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:37, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

The problematic bit is the para in "1.2 Rommel takes the initiative" which currently reads

This happened after the defeat of 2 Armoured Div on 8 April but before 11 April when the article goes on to say

....but 15 Pz Divs tanks didn't start arriving until 25 April at earliest. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 14:03, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Aye that is a bit confusing. Ill route through Jentz' book later on and get as much info on the 15 Panzer as possible and post it here. From the two chapters on Tobruk (not sure if there is more) am pretty sure there should be enough information to figure out when they arrived and what they got up to :)

I cant be sure since am not in front of Jentz maps but am sure the attacks (initial ones maybe?) were made along the southeast portion of the perminter.

Off topic: Ive noticed some mentions that the Italians had "Tankettes" i think that needs to be changed since there main tank the M13 was a medium.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:32, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

15th Panzer Division:

  • Bunch of units from Regiment 104 were flown in on the 27th April.
  • 1st, 2nd and the HQ Company of the 33 Pionier Battalion was flown into N.Africa on 28 April
  • Remainer of the 104 were flown in between29th and May 4

(Jentz, 217 - i get the impression these were flown in closer to the front and not towards Tripoli)

  • the first elements of the 115 Regiment landed (by ship) in Tripoli on the 14th April, last elements on May 2nd as far as i can make it out
  • Panzer Jager 33 landed in Triploi on 1st April
  • Kradschutzen Battalion 15 landed in Tripoli on 10 April as far as i can make out
  • arty and other units were also landed in between the above dates, all landings taking place at Tripoli

(jentz 215-216)

Panzer units at the front:

  • 1st Kompanie, landed in Tripoli on 25th April was at the front by May 9th
  • 2, 3 and 5th Kompanies landed in Tripoli on 2 May and was at the front by 12 May

6 and 7 Kompanies landed in Tripoli on May 6 and was at the front on 28 May (Jentz 38)

The OOB for the attack on the 30th which the 15th took part is:

  • 5 Light Division
  • 15 Panzer Division
  • 27 Infantry Division "Brescia"
  • 102 Motorised Infantry Division "Trento"
  • 132 Armoured Division "Ariete"
  • Gruppe Kirchheim
  • Gruppe Herff (based around Bardia-Sollum)

Jentz notes there OOB as being: Portions of the 1st Kompanie Pnz Rgt 8, Motorised Rifle Regiment 115, portions of Regiment 104, the recce battalion, Kradschutzen (motorcycle?) Battalion 15 (minus one company), Panzer-Jager Abt33, Pionier Battalion 33 (minus one company) and 200 (only one company) and the divisions arty and flak units. (Jentz, 118)

This attack however, went in agaisnt the southwest part of the perminter by elements of 4 divisions however the description of the fighting (Jentz Chapter 8) notes that only tanks from Panzer Regiment 5 only took part. The 15ths role in this attack was infantry and arty only.

So there we go... i think the question is answered :p

I'm sorry, but the OOB you list is that for 30th April or 30th May? I guess it must be 30 May because it includes elements of 1st Komp of 8 Pz Reg which didn't arrive in Africa until 25 April and wasn't at the front until 9 May. The mystery still remains as to what exactly was going on when on or about 9 or 10 April Rommell "ordered [elements of] 15th Panzer Division commanded by General Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron to attack Tobruk from the West, directly down the Derna Road". The Jentz info above suggests that only the Panzer Jaeger 33 anti tank unit of 15 Pz Div could have been at Tobruk at the time (it is unlikely the motorcycle battalion would have reached there having arrived in Tripoli only on the 10 April). The official record shows von Esebeck taking over 15 Pz on 13 April so the account of von Prittwitz's death is credible (but unreferenced!). So the question remains: what units was von Prittwitz leading when his staff car got blown up on the Tobruk front Line?! It certainly is misleading to say (as the article did originally) that 15 Pz were ordered to advance and attack Tobruk along the Dena road when most of the division had yet to arrive! Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 22:37, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Yea the bit about the 1st Kompanie confused me too, its deff labeled as 30th April. I only assumes he means units of the 15th Panzer who was in africa on that date but not nesscesary at the front.

Now to answer the question in full, here is the list of units under his command:

The Rommel Papers, Pg 118

General von Prittwitz, commander of the 15h Panzer Division, part of which had just arrived in Africa, was now instructed to take command of the pursuit force and follow up the British to Tobruk. The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 8th M.G. Battalion and the 605th Anti-Tank Battalion were put under his command. Not all of this force had arrvied yet, of course, but the machine-gun battalion had already refulled and was ready to contuine the pursuit.

Pg 122 mentions some stuff about the above elements in the attack in brief ... will type them up if you want?

However more importantly:

At about midday, Count Schwerin reported to me at a point some 25 miles west of Tobruk that General von Prittwitz had been killed a few hours earlier by a direct hit from an anti-tank gun

Is this a typo btw?: "General Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron" --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:40, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Terrific work! Three battalions. Need to think how to reflect this in the text without getting bogged down in superfluous detail. No, it's not a typo but his full name. A number of generals had similar names (von Senger und Etterlin, von Vietinghof genannt Scheel - the name is usualy given in full but then shortened to von XXX in subsequent repetition). Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 00:14, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I dunno simplifed something like "General von Prittwitz with two battalions and an anti-tank battalion....."--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 07:46, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

7th Bersaglieri versus Australian Diggers[edit]

Having a quick read through the Aussie's official history of its forces in the second world war it is quite clear that the Australians lost on the night attack of 1 May R.3, R.4, R.5, R.6 and R.7 to Italian troops. There were a number of Australian attempts to recover these positions and it was the Polish Carpathian Brigade that finally recovered these positions and Medauar Hill and Acroma in December 1941. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drunkgeneral (talkcontribs) 04:15, 15 April 2008 (UTC)


I'm getting a bit fussed about the quality of some of the supporting references being included in this article. Books are one thing but links to websites which do not identify what the site is, the author and context have no value whatsoever. Here's an extreme but not untypical example: [2]. It's written in an encyclopaedic style but there is no identification as to its source (and therefore credibility) - even though the page claims copyrite for the (un-named) author! It doesn't help credibility that if you click on this link you get bombarded with all sorts of pop-ups to undesirable sites (even sex-related!). Please may we have better quality control, epecially on the weblinks! Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 09:28, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I've found a nice source from the web - but I'm not sure how to cite websites properly! Grible (talk) 22:14, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Like so [1]. It should display like so:
  1. ^ The 11th Hussars, (Prince Albert's Own). "11 Hussar war diary entry for 15/05/1941". 

--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:20, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Many thanks. Grible (talk) 00:49, 10 November 2008 (UTC)


The title says 'Siege of Tobruk' but the infox title say 'Battle of Tobruk'.....which one is it?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:44, 10 May 2009 (UTC)


Why are all the photos from the Allied side? And none of German, or British, tanks? Sca (talk) 15:35, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Here are many - simply search for Tobruk. All of these photo's are also available via WikiMedia. Add as considered necessary! Farawayman (talk) 10:12, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Photo: Allied P.O.Ws June 1942[edit]

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B21459, Bei Tobruk, britische Kriegsgefangene.jpg

This photo, as used in the article is dated June 1942 and does not correctly relate to the initial battle and siege of Tobruk. It depicts POW's captured by the German forces after the Battle of Gazala when Rommel re-captured Tobruk on 20 June 1942. I suspect the POW's in the photo are from either the 2/5 Mahratta Light Infantry or the 2/7 Ghurka Rifles. Farawayman (talk) 10:05, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

And on a similar note, why is the photo "Italian officers overseeing the surrender of British forces at Tobruk, 20 June 1942" included here? Perhaps I've missed something but it seems to have no relevance?Nickm57 (talk) 10:45, 6 August 2016 (UTC)


If there is a number for the casualties it should be added with a reliable source, otherwise it is pointless to have this unverifiable numbers in the article, which have been added when the article was still a 2 sentence stub without sources. StoneProphet (talk) 19:12, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Confusing enough, there are different numbers mentioned for the Australian casualties. Is it possible that these number differ because they take different periods in consideration? As main force the Aussies were relieved in the moonless periods in August, September and October. But due to attacks on the Navy transport, 2/13th Australian Battalion and two companies of 2/15th Australian Battalion together with some men of 9th Division headquarters stayed behind. They were not part of the garrison any more. When the outbreak of the garrison during Operation Crusader ran into trouble, the commander asked the present Australian to come to their aid and go into the offensive. They duly did, but at a price. The Banner talk 10:35, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

B-class review[edit]

This article is currently at start/C class, but could be improved to B-class if it had more (inline) citations. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 18:01, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Order of battle[edit]

Would be good if there was an OOB to indicate which units / formations were involved in the siege. The infobox shows Australian, Czech, Polish, UK and Indian involvement. Who were these units? Farawayman (talk) 13:48, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

See: Siege_of_Tobruk#All_change_in_the_Tobruk_defences The Banner talk 11:34, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

See for the start of the siege. Note that the 18th Brigade was detached from the 7th Australian Division. The Australian official history is online (see the references to Maughan) and lists the Polish Brigade and the Czech Battalion followed by the British 70th Division. The 70th Division was formerly the British 6th Division which had served in the Syrian campaign and would later move to India where troops were detached to Special Force which was later renamed 3rd Indian Division. Anthony Staunton (talk) 12:23, 31 July 2013 (UTC)


Utterly biased. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:08, 20 July 2014

Self inflicted wounds - recently removed edit[edit]

@100menonmars: I have just removed this [3] which you have recently addeed. My reasons were listed in the edit summary; however, I will elaborate here so that further discussion can occur if need be. Essentially the edit stated that the instances of self inflicted wounds in the 9th Division were due "the capture of the Australian strongpoints and resulting casualties... [which] affected morale in the 9th Division...") yet this is not supported by the source you provided which no where states that it was the loss of these strongpoints or casualties caused by the Italians that resulted in this occurring. In fact it states: "Poor personnel selection, the activities of undesirables, the strain of the seige and a shortage of officers in some battalions weakened discipline... More disturbing was the large number of self-inflicted wound (SIW) cases. During a single week in May the division reported thirty SIW cases.". The source can be accessed here [4]. Pls be careful not to editorialise and add your assumptions. We need to stick to the facts provided by the sources used. Thank you. Anotherclown (talk) 10:16, 30 January 2015 (UTC)


Changed the citations to sfn so as to find the citations without a reference and vice versa, found some references to suit orphan citations. Will look for citations for the unreferenced sections presently. Hope no-one minds but the banners have been there a while. Keith-264 (talk) 18:22, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

I've put the re-edit on but the Sonnenblume and Crusader sections are unfinished, I hope to manage them tomorrow. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 19:36, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
Whoops, a new job has put a spoke into my editing so I'll try again this weekend. Recent edits have done something to alleviate the anglo-centric narrative and there should be something about mutual code-breaking to go with the air and sea sections. Keith-264 (talk) 08:32, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
Still snowed under with work but I'm still trying.Keith-264 (talk) 16:47, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Looking good, happy with the citations & image placements. Shire Lord (talk) 16:54, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I need to finish Sonnenblume and then it'll be fit for a B class review, instead I've been building fences and mowing lawns in the tropical English sun (being Hull it rained this morning). I haven't seen any mad dogs yet....Keith-264 (talk) 17:32, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Yep tropical Yorkshire who would have thought.. I digress. Look forward to it. Shire Lord (talk) 17:38, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
'Tis doneKeith-264 (talk) 16:07, 4 August 2015 (UTC)


Rolled back recent edits en masse as the editor appears to be our serial impostor. Keith-264 (talk) 12:26, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

Yes that seems quite likely to me. Anotherclown (talk) 00:23, 5 November 2016 (UTC)


300px is the standard size for infobox pics.Keith-264 (talk) 18:25, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

Western Desert[edit]

I edited this sentence "The Western Desert Campaign was fought primarily in the [[Libyan Desert|Western Desert]]," changing the piped link to Libyan Desert for one to Western Desert (North Africa). This was reverted with the edit summary "this link pointed to the Egyptian desert, while Tobruk is in Libya".
There's no argument about which country Tobruk is in, but the sentence is about the term "Western Desert", which is described here as being "from Mersa Matruh in Egypt to Gazala in Cyrenaica ". The purpose of the link is (or should be) to provide more information on the term used; in this case an explanation of what is meant by the term Western Desert. The new link is to the Name section of the Western Desert (Egypt) article, which has a full explanation, while the current link to Libyan Desert doesn't tell the enquirer anything.
As I've explained here, I intend to change the links in all our WWII/Western Desert Campaign articles to Western Desert (North Africa), as the most neutral remedy to an absurd situation. Is there any reason why the link here should not be changed? Moonraker12 (talk) 00:28, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Western Desert (North Africa) is a redirect to "Western Desert (Egypt)#Name". While the battle was fought in the Libyan Desert, the link/redirect points to Egypt. The Banner talk 01:17, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
@The Banner: The text says "Western Desert". You've linked that to Libyan Desert, which is not the same thing, and which offers no explanation when the linker gets there. That is a breach of our guideline on misleading links.
If you feel the need to specify the country in the desert's name, fine; put "Libyan Desert" in the text and link from that (you'll need to alter the description as well). But if the text is to say Western Desert, then the link I put in is the appropriate one. Your choice...Moonraker12 (talk) 01:22, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
Ehm, no Sir! The original link was [[ibyan Desert|Western Desert]]. You have changed that here into [[Western Desert (North Africa)|Western Desert]]. And I am also aware that you changed the redirect Western Desert (North Africa) from pointing to Libyan Desert to [[Western Desert (Egypt)#Name as you did here. You are doing a lot with the deserts, but I do not think everything you did is positive... The Banner talk 08:26, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
@The Banner: To reply (belately) to this, I'm well aware of the edits I've made (the which, I would hope, suggest that I know what I am talking about); the fact remains the current link to the Libyan desert article does not match the text describing the Western Desert as it was in the 40's. I offered you the choice of remedies, but nothing has been done, so I have decided for you. If you are unhappy with the change of link, restore it and change the text to match. Also, if you feel my edits on the deserts are not positive, I suggest you open a discussion on the relevant page and outline your concerns. Moonraker12 (talk) 22:37, 30 December 2016 (UTC)
I think I did the original link and picked the one that looked best. When I followed the revised link it looked all right. I hope you two manage to sort it out. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 11:55, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
@Keith-264: I've no quarrel with your original choice, but both articles have changed since then, which is what I am trying to address now. Moonraker12 (talk) 22:48, 30 December 2016 (UTC)
Do either of you have ambitions to improve Western Desert (Egypt) ?Keith-264 (talk) 12:08, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
I have not, as my knowledge is insufficient for a detailed improvement. The Banner talk 18:17, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
@Keith-264: I've already done what I can so far on the Western Desert (Egypt) article; what improvements did you have in mind? Can I suggest we open a discussion there on it, if you feel there are gaps? Moonraker12 (talk) 22:48, 30 December 2016 (UTC)
Still it is strange that the Libyan city of Tobruk is now located in the Egyptian desert... The Banner talk 14:05, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
I went through lots of them to improve them to B class but there's still much to do. I'm aiming to complete the 3rd Battle of Ypres articles before July so I won't be around much but I'll help anyone else when I can. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 10:31, 31 December 2016 (UTC)