Friday, November 04, 2005

April 16, 1941 and immediately after: Rommel Attacks Tobruk

On April 16, 1941, Rommel personally led the assault on Tobruk. He attacked on the west side using the Ariete Armoured Division and the Trento Motorized Division. The Italians lacked enthusiasim for the attack, and surrendered in numbers to the Australians. A total of 26 Italians officers and 777 men surrendered. On the next morning, the Ariete resumed the attack. They were stopped with the loss of 5 tanks. General Moreshead instituted a defence based on "vigorous patrolling". An example was an attack on April 22, where one company of the 2/48th Australian Battalion, with 3 Inf.Mk.II Matildas and one troop of M Battery RHA. They captured a position, destroyed two guns, and took 370 Italian prisoners. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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