Tobruk

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by spidge, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    I was looking through some Australian History and came across this site.

    The Rats of Tobruk

    Interesting perspectives!
     
  2. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Thanks Spidge, enjoyed reading that !!
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Love the British Vs. Aussie cricket rules, especially the Iti helmets directive, I guess there was a rash of bersaglieri feathers on the field :):
    Rule 2. Play to be continuous until 1800 hours, except by interference by air raids. Play will NOT, rpt NOT cease during shell fire.
    Rule 4. Shirts, shorts, long socks, sand shoes if available. ITI Helmets will not be worn or any other fancy head gear. Umpires will wear white coat (if available) and will carry loaded rifle with fixed bayonet.
    Rule 6. All players to be searched for concealed weapons before start of play, and all weapons found, other than S T grenades, Mills bombs, & revolvers will be confiscated. (This does not apply to umpires.)
    Rule 8. Manager will make medical arrangements & have ambulance in attendance.
     
  4. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog Member

    Nice one spidge
     
  5. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Imagine striking the ball and doing your runs with shell bursts going off over your head. I guess it'd make you run faster anyway :)
     
  6. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    Love the "ITI helmets...or other fancy headgear".

    They were/are amazing men weren't they?

    Thanks Spidge.

    Cheers

    Andy
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    I was looking for an image of the Rats of Tobruk badge when I came across this on the WildBillGuarnere.com discussion forum from 2003.

    Should have said the 9th Division!

    The commander of this German force, Erwin Rommel, was given direct orders to remain on the defensive until his entire force was assembled. In early April, before the 5th Light Division was completely assembled (and before anything except an advanced party of the 15th Panzer Division had arrived), he broke out into Cyrenacia in an offensive which, by the middle of the month, had hustled the English back into Egypt and isolated the 6th Australian Division and other units in Tobruk. After probes on 11 annd 12 April, he tried to break into the fortress. His tanks penetrated the fortifications but his infantry could make no headway against them; and the isolated tanks were disposed of by British tanks and artillery. A follow-up attack the next day by Italians was easily repulsed. He tried again on the 16th and 17th, but could make no headway. Reluctantly, he broke off the attack to await the arrival of more troops.

    Tobruk was more than just a beleagered garrison like Bastogne or Bataan. British control of the sea kept it supplied (indeed, in the late summer and early fall, the 6th Austrailian Division was replaced by the 6th (later redesignated 70th) British Division). Its retention by the British not only forced Rommel to rely on Bengazi and points west for his supplies, it constituted a major threat to his supply lines which must be contained. A pursuit into Egypt would split his forces, inviting defeat in detail. Before he could advance further, he HAD to take Tobruk! He tried again, with a larger and predominently German force, on April 30. Three days of hard fignting gained him a small portion of the fortifications, but his penetration was blocked by a minefield and sealed off with reserves. He sat back to wait for more forces, which included not only the balance of the 15th Panzer but a miscellaney of units which he lumbed into the ad hoc Afrika (later redesignated 90th Light) Division. He also embarked on a training program, both to prepare for the attack on Tobruk and to prepare his troops for fighting in the desert. His attack was scheduled for mid-November. It was never launched.
     
  8. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    When the AIF 6th Division captured Tobruk in January 1941 the Australians took down the Italian flag and replaced it with a slouch (diggers) hat.

    I believe the hat was replaced by a flag later in the day.

    Spider
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I love the idea of Umpires being required to have rifles with fixed bayonets. Not many disputed calls I would imagine in "Tobruk Cricket"!!!

    Good site Spidge.
     
  10. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    I love the idea of Umpires being required to have rifles with fixed bayonets. Not many disputed calls I would imagine in "Tobruk Cricket"!!!

    Good site Spidge.

    This is dad after he was hit at Tobruk.

    In the hospital at El Kantara with the shaved head where they put a metal plate to cover the hole in his head after the mortar bomb broke him up just a little.

    Dad in Australia during training
    fred.jpg

    El Kantara hospital front right with the shaved head
    FredHospital2.JPG

    Recovering a few months later.

    Fred Hospital.jpg
     
  11. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Very interesting reading. So too the other articles on site.

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Spidge -
    whilest your extract of history of Rommels first foray into the desert from El Agaiela is quite correct it should be in the context of the larger picture of the fact that the "English" had just destroyed a whole Italian Army of Graziani - the 4th indain Div was already on it's way to Ethiopia - The New Zealans ders had been warned off for Greece - the 7th Armoured Div was on it's way to Cairo for a badly needed refit - the newly arrived 2nd Armoured Div was all that stood in Rommels way - they were destroyed - Gen.O'Conner -Gen. Neame and Brig. Combe were captured - all that was left were the Australians - for which we gave our thanks to God and everyone else !

    Cheers
     
  13. SeasideAndy

    SeasideAndy Junior Member

    Not quite on the line of the thread I know and hold my hands up to say that my aim (like many) is to trace my fathers active service in NA, especially Tobruk.
    Over the years I have gone through the usual channels, MOD, RBL and RAA with little luck.
    I have an original local news paper cutting dated 19th of something (guessing it would be December) 1941, by line “Life not so Bad”, an interview with a Sergeant Robert Saunders, a member of a battery of the RA, who had returned home after 6 months in Tobruk. A list including my father is given as one of a dozen local men. The cutting is becoming very worn but I hope I can keep it to pass on to my son. I also have a letter typed on the reverse side of half an Army Form W.5175A, (it says COPY so I guess it`s one of a few handed out at the time) dated 20 Oct 41, written as follows :-
    1458079. W/Bdr. McClean . H.C. (my father)
    Headquarters, TOBRUCH FORTRESS, 20 Oct 41.
    My dear Muirhead,
    Would you please convey to all ranks of the 4th Anti-Aircraft Brigade the appreciation and esteem of the 9th Australian division. We shall always associate Tobruch with their magnificent and sustained defence and ever remember their courageous and victorious fight against great odds. The fire discipline and steadiness inspiration to all and we are sad to have to sever an association which has meant so much to us in the execution of our task here. Yours sincerely, (Sgd) L.J. Morshead.
    Brigadier J.S. Muirhead DSO, MC, TD., Commander 4th A.A. Brigade.
    I also have one photo of my father in Suez 1942 with 2 others, Tom Richardson and George McBrinn.
    If anyone could provide any info I should be most grateful.
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Andy and welcome to the forum,

    Have you got your fathers doc's from the MOD?

    There's a new member on here that knows rather a lot about the RA, you may wish to drop him a line. He's called op-ack

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  15. Des Ertrat

    Des Ertrat Junior Member

    Hi chaps,
    this is my first time on the site, just wanted to say My father was at Tobruk when it fell in June 1942, he was a British soldier with 67 Medium Regiment RA, but I cannot find much information on the regiment.

    I think they may have been attached to the Australian Army but not sure, I know he has spoken of them highly many times, unfortunately he has now passed away.

    He was taken prisoner by the Germans and handed to the Italians, later held in prison camps throughout Italy but eventually ended up in Lauchhammer which is near Dresden, he has told many stories of his confinement but again I cannot find any info.
    has anyone any Ideas?
     
  16. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Hi chaps,
    this is my first time on the site, just wanted to say My father was at Tobruk when it fell in June 1942, he was a British soldier with 67 Medium Regiment RA, but I cannot find much information on the regiment.

    I think they may have been attached to the Australian Army but not sure, I know he has spoken of them highly many times, unfortunately he has now passed away.

    He was taken prisoner by the Germans and handed to the Italians, later held in prison camps throughout Italy but eventually ended up in Lauchhammer which is near Dresden, he has told many stories of his confinement but again I cannot find any info.
    has anyone any Ideas?

    Hi,
    in 2007 there were two Ladies from Suffolk who did a lot of work on the Regiments History. They had a display in the Ipswich Library and even managed to find a few of the Regiments Veterans for a reunion.
    Most of the Regiment were taken Prisoner in June 1942 and shipped out to Italy. Several made escapes when Italy called an Armistace.

    Perhaps the Ipswich Library could help.


    Brian
     
  17. Hi Des Ertrat

    Welcome to the forum.

    I've been on a similar mission to you, researching my Grandfathers service. They guys here should be able to offer you lots of advice and support.

    From my own persepctive you have to keep plugging away at all sorts of leads. Initially we had very little to go as my Gransfather died in 1967 and a lot of his papers dissapeared, we suspect thrown away by my Grandmother.

    Sources to try include obtaining his Service Record, Battery and Regiment War diaries and Ex-POW Questionnaires from The National Archive, as well as lots of online research. Its amazing what turns up.

    So far we have established that 107 LAA Bty was providing Light Anti-Aircraft support at a number of Landing Grounds between Tobruk and Alexandra from October 1941 until May 1942 when they were sent to Tobruk to provide LAA cover for the Harbour, untill Tobruk fell and they were captured on 21 June 1942. I'm currently busy transcribing the Battery War Diaries, but unfortunatly they are only available until May 1941 for obvious reasons.

    After capture he was eventually moved to Italy and Campo PG 66 and then on to Camp PG 54, where in September 1943 like a large number of other POW's he escaped for a couple of weeks just prior to the Italian Armistace. After recapture he was moved to Stalag 18A in Austria and then onto work Camp 934L where they then escaped again on 1 April 1945 and made it through to the Russian lines, finally arriving back in the UK on 24 May 1945.

    Follow up all your leads, its amazing what you will find, for us a fascinating tale about Work Camp 934L 934L, Glashutten including a group photo of my Grandfather, and only last week a collection of recollections from another Gunner from the same Battery at BBC - WW2 People's War - Dad's War Diary including a mention of my Grandfather on page 5, April 5th. I am now trying the contact the lady who submitted the collection as her Father is also mentioned in my Grandfathers diary for 1943, one of the few items we still have.

    Above all dont give up, have fun, and if you get stuck come back for some more advice.

    Chris
     
  18. Des Ertrat

    Des Ertrat Junior Member

    Hi Brian and Chris,

    Thanks for that info lads i'll check it out.

    I bet you were excited Chris I know Iwould be if I could find something like that.
    All I have to go on are my fathers army record which does not say too much, but I will keep plugging away.

    Des
     
  19. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Des,
    post a name and we could help further.

    Brian
     
  20. Des Ertrat

    Des Ertrat Junior Member

    Hi Brian,

    My fathers name was Arthur Richard Lovett.

    Regards

    Des
     

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