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During the Second World War (1939-45) Tobruk was a pivotal supply base for the North African campaign. Despite heavy Italian fortification it was captured in January 1941 by British and Australian forces. The Germans entered the campaign 10 weeks later and forced the British back into Egypt. Meanwhile in Tobruk a garrison of Australian infantry and British forces including artillery and tanks stood firm but isolated. During the siege from 9 April to 7 December 1941 the repeated German and Italian attacks upon the 48 kilometre semicircular perimeter, had only very limited success. This was the first major German defeat of the war.

Life was harsh for the men of both sides, they suffered extreme temperatures in a flat, barren and exposed landscape with a limited water supply. The British and Australian navies supplied the garrison and in august brought valiant polish reinforcements.

The siege of Tobruk is part of modern day Libya's rich history, for the allied nations a shining example of courage, endurance and comradeship against overwhelming odds.


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