Monday, August 24, 2009

The fortifications at Tobruk in June 1942

Tobruk was originally captured by the 6th Australian Division in January 1941. The perimeter of the fortifications was essentially the same in June 1942 as they had been a year-and-a-half before. The fortifications had been improved with an inner ring that ran about two miles in from the outer perimeter. The two brigades of the 2nd South African Division were the primary defenders of Tobruk. They occupied defenses that were inferior to those of late 1941, as the anti-tank ditch was partially filled in and many mines had been removed for use elsewhere. The division did not have the experience and leadership of their predecessors. The other defending units included the 32nd Army Tank Brigade, the 201st Guards Brigade, and the 11th Indian Infantry Brigade. The army tank brigade was reduced to the 4th RTR with 35 Valentines and the 7th RTR with a mix of 26 Valentines and Matildas. The defenders had a few of the new 6pdr anti-tank guns among them. There was a mix of artillery units, as well. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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