Who was at Tobruk April-Oct 1941

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Owen, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    spidgeI still cringe when I read (like an article recently) "that Tobruk was held by "British" troops for eight months during 1941................................?
    Geoff, why cringe? After all you lot still have OUR flag in top corner of yours! :)

    Geoff, why cringe? After all you lot still have OUR flag in top corner of yours! :)

    spidge
    The cringe is for the imbecilic moron who wrote the article.

    I know where I come from and don't mind it a bit.

    What I do mind is people who write about a topic and don't get it right.

    There are no British soldiers who would like to see this type of error appear in print, especially the men of the four British regiments of RA that supported them during those 8 months.

    They knew that 3,000 Aussies were killed or wounded in that rathole.

    Owen,

    Do you know what those four British RA regiments were?

    I have a list of the total Australian units that took part but not the British compliment.


    Don't know of top of head but looking here,
    http://members.tripod.com/~nigelef/regtsumm.htm

    1 RHA
    Tobruk 1941 - 9 Aust Inf Div
    Tobruk 1941 - 70 Inf Div

    104 (Essex Yeo) Regt RHA
    Tobruk 4/41-10/41 - 9 Aust & 70 Inf Div

    107 (S Notts Hussars Yeo) Regt RHA Tobruk 4/41-10/41 - 9 Aust & 70 Inf Div
    http://members.tripod.com/~nigelef/regtsumm.htm#RHA


    51 (Westmorland & Cumberland Yeo) Fd Regt
    Tobruk 1941 - 9 Aust Inf Div

    3 RHA
    Tobruk 4/41-10/41 - 9 Aust & 70 Inf Divs


    149 ATk Regt
    Tobruk 1941 - 9 Aust & 70 Inf Divs
     
  2. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Apologies Owen.

    I added this to the PM before opening the thread.

    The 70th (British ex 6th) was not designated as such until late 41 and only relieved the Aust 9th & Aust 7th (18th brigade) in October 41.

    The only British contingents were Artillery & Armoured.

    The 104th was a support to 8th armoured who never fought as a complete formation, however I do not know where the others were from.

    I had always read it was only 4 regiments. Maybe one of them was relieved by another at some stage?

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Combined Arms Research Library

    The forty-eight 25-pounders of the three Royal horse artillery (RHA) regiments and the twelve 18-pounders and twelve 4.5-inch howitzers of the 51st Field Regiment were organized into three groups to cover the three infantry brigades on line.16 The 51st Field Regiment was in direct support of the 26th Brigade in the west; the 104th RHA was in support of the 24th Brigade in the east. In the central (southern) sector held by the 20th Brigade, the 1st and 107th RHA were formed into a tactical group of thirty-two guns. The guns were mainly employed at the escarpment below Pilastrino and near Sidi Mahmud.


    With the exception of the 8th Battery of the 3d Light Antiaircraft (AA) Regiment, which was Australian, all the antiaircraft guns were manned by British troops. The 4th AA Brigade consisted of the 153d and 235th Heavy AA Batteries from the 51st Heavy AA Regiment; the 14th Light AA Regiment; and the 39th, 40th, and 57th Light AA Batteries from the 13th Light AA Regiment.17

    Antitank units were the Australian 2-3d Antitank Regiment with four of its six batteries-the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th; the three brigade antitank companies; and the British 3d RHA Antitank Regiment, with its M and J Batteries but minus D Battery.



    HQ Royal Horse Artillery
    • 1st RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders)
      3d RHA (minus one btry) (16 x 2-pounder antitank guns)
      104th RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders)
      107th RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders)
      51st Field Regt (12 x 18-pounders and 12 x 4.5 inch how)
      2-3d Aust Antitank Regt (Unk no., type, Bofors
      (minus one btry) 37-mm; Breda 47/32-mm; 2-pounders)
    Royal Artillery

    HQ 4th Antiaircraft (AA) Bde
    • 13th Light AA Regt
      14th Light AA Regt
      51st Heavy AA Regt
      3d Aust Light AA Regt
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Other British Units at Tobruk from source quoted in post #3
    Combined Arms Research Library
    Notts Yeomanry (coast defense)

    Royal Engineers (under chief royal engineer, 9th Aust Div)
    295th Field Co Royal Engineers
    551st Tps Co Royal Engineers
    4th Field Sqd Royal Engineers
    143d Field Park Troops
    Signals (under Cdr Signals, 9th Aust Div)
    K Base Section
    27th Line Maintenance Section
    Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)
    309th Reserve Motor Co
    345th Reserve Motor Co
    550th Co
    RASC 4th Lt AA Bde
    RASC Sec 13th Lt AA Regt
    No. 1 Water Tank Co
    Medical
    16th MAC
    Ordnance (Royal Army Ordnance Corps [RAOC])
    2d Armored Div Workshops RAOC
    Y Army Tank Receiving Section, RAOC 2d Spt Gp Ord Field Park Sec, RAOC
     
  6. Mark F

    Mark F Junior Member

    Does anybody know more about this unit? Notts Yeomanry (coast defense) What were the coast defences? Captured Italian guns, RN or RA coastal guns?

    Thanks

    Mark F
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    'B' Squadron, Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry were at Tobruk from January to June 1941 they were a searchlight unit at that time.
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Spidge -
    I think I am right in saying that the "armoured" element at Tobruk in the initial siege was remnants of 3rd bde of Gen, Gambier- Parry's 2nd Armoured Div which was wiped out at Mechili on Rommel's first foray from El Ageila after Beda Fomm - at that time Gens. Neame V.C. and O'Conner as well as Brig John Combe went into the 'bag' - these tank units were the 1st and 5th RTR who joined 1st KDG's in the defence of Tobruk - they were looked after by 2nd Armoured base workshops of RAOC - before the REME was founded - so along with the Artillery already mentioned - the British were well represented.....
    Cheers
     
  9. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    This is a complete Order of Battle for Tobruk April 1941 instead of the piecemeal above. Many of the units above did not arrive at Tobruk until October 1941.

    Tobruk Fortress
    Order of Battle, 14 April 1941
    *Source: AIF (Middle East). Military History and Information Section. Active Service: With Australia in the Middle East (Canberra: The Book of Management of the Australian War Memorial, 1941).
    • HQ 9th Aust Div & Tobruk Fortress
    • 9th Aust Div Intelligence Sec
    HQ 3d Armored Bde (60 x tanks working; another 26 tanks in repair)


    • 3d Hussars/5 the Royal Tanks (Det 4 x light tanks and 18 x cruisers)
      1st Royal Tank Regt (Det 15 x light tanks and 19 x cruisers)
      1st Kings Dragoon Guards (30 x armored cars)
      4th Royal Tank Regt (Troop of 4 x infantry tanks)
    18th Cavalry Regt (Indian)
    HQ Royal Horse Artillery


    • 1st RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders)
      3d RHA (minus one btry) (16 x 2-pounder antitank guns)
      104th RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders)
      107th RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders)
      51st Field Regt (12 x 18-pounders and 12 x 4.5 inch how)
      2-3d Aust Antitank Regt (Unk no., type, Bofors
      (minus one btry) 37-mm; Breda 47/32-mm; 2-pounders)
    HQ Royal Australian Engineers


    • 2-3d Aust Field Company
      2-7th Aust Field Company
      2-13th Aust Field Company
      2-4th Aust Field Company
      2-4th Aust Field Park Company
      2-1st Aust Pioneer Battalion
    Signals 9th Aust Div
    HQ 18th Aust Inf Bde


    • Sig Sec
      16th Aust Antitank Company
      2-9th Aust Inf Bn
      2-10th Aust Inf Bn
      2-12th Aust Inf Bn
    HQ 20th Aust Inf Bde


    • Sig Sec
      20th Aust Antitank Company
      2-13th Aust Inf Bn
      2-15th Aust Inf Bn
      2-17th Aust Inf Bn
    HQ 24th Aust Inf Bde (-) (2-25th Inf Bn still in Australia)


    • Sig Sec
      24th Aust Antitank Co
      2-28th Aust Inf Bn
      2-43d Aust Inf Bn
    HQ 26th Aust Inf Bde


    • Sig Sec
      26th Aust Antitank Co
      2-23d Aust Inf Bn
      2-24th Aust Inf Bn
      2-48th Aust Inf Bn
    1 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (Machine Gun Bn)
    HQ Aust Army Service Corps (AASC)


    • 9th Aust Div Supply Column
      9th Aust Div Ammunition Co
      9th Aust Div Petroleum Co
      Composite Co AASC
      7th Aust Div Supply Column
      2-3d Aust Field Ambulance Co
      2-8th Aust Field Ambulance Co
      2-11th Aust Field Ambulance Co
      2-5th Aust Field Ambulance Co
      2-4th Field Hygiene Co
      9th Aust Div Provost Co
      9th Aust Div Protection Platoon
      9th Aust Div Empl Platoon
      9th Aust Div Postal Unit
      9th Aust Salvage Unit
    Fortress Troops
    Royal Artillery
    HQ 4th Antiaircraft (AA) Bde


    • 13th Light AA Regt
      14th Light AA Regt
      51st Heavy AA Regt
      3d Aust Light AA Regt
    Notts Yeomanry (coast defense)
    Royal Engineers (under chief royal engineer, 9th Aust Div)


    • 295th Field Co Royal Engineers
      551st Tps Co Royal Engineers
      4th Field Sqd Royal Engineers
      143d Field Park Troops
    Signals (under Cdr Signals, 9th Aust Div)


    • K Base Section
      27th Line Maintenance Section
    Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)


    • 309th Reserve Motor Co
      345th Reserve Motor Co
      550th Co
      RASC 4th Lt AA Bde
      RASC Sec 13th Lt AA Regt
      No. 1 Water Tank Co
    Medical


    • 16th MAC
    Ordnance (Royal Army Ordnance Corps [RAOC])


    • 2d Armored Div Workshops RAOC
      Y Army Tank Receiving Section, RAOC 2d Spt Gp Ord Field Park Sec, RAOC
      A Sec Ord Field Park AAOC
      2-1st AFW AAOC
    • Det 2-2d AFW AAOC

    Tobruk Subarea

    HQ Tobruk Subarea


    • 1st Libyan Refugee Bn
      2d Libyan Refugee Bn
      4th Libyan Refugee Bn
      HQ 45th Group
      1205th Indian Pioneer Co
      1206th Indian Pioneer Co
      1207th Indian Pioneer Co
      Libyan Work Bn
      Army Post Office
      H Adv Stationary Depot
      Transit Camp
    Misc Detachments:
    Greek Civilians
    POW Cage
    [/list]
     
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  10. southern_cross_116

    southern_cross_116 Webmaster: SDC

    Spidge, out of curiousity, would there be a comparable orbat for the first battle of Tobruk (21 Jan 1941)?

    I'm trying to track down 2 things - if the composition of the 2/2 Field Rgt' artillery changed (I suspect what the Official History shows as their compliment at Bardia earlier in the month was the same as what they retained throughout the Cyrenaica campaign).

    Also, trying to track down the same for the 2/3rd Field Regt (as well as when it arrived in theatre).

    I know slightly OT but sort of related.
     
  11. Peccavi

    Peccavi Senior Member

    It is easy to forget the contribution of the Poles etc who replaced almost all the Australians before the end of the Battle after the Australian public demanded and got the resignation of Prime Minister Menzies.

    29th August General Stanislaw Kopanski's 1st Independent Carpathian Brigade (Polish troops)


    19th September - 16th Infantry Brigade and the 32nd Army Tank Brigade Forward HQ Plus four Light Tanks and forty-eight Matildas from the 4th Armoured Brigade, C Squadron 4th RTR


    12th October - 11th Czechoslovak Infantry Battalion


    A total of 15000 men exchanged in operation Treacle (so called cos the Navy thought it would be sticky), Supercharge and Cultivate.
     
  12. maisiefosse

    maisiefosse Member

    I know that this is an old topic, but it's very interesting to see how complicated it is to work out who was where, when.
    Having just got the Regimental War Diaries of the 3rd King's Own Hussars, I know that my father was listed in a roll call of personnel in Tobruck Fortress on May 1 1941, and his diary entries continue until 9 June.(and start again March 42 in Palestine)
    On June 4, 1941 he wrote:

    'Today our regiment had its final split-up. One squadron was at Crete – we are still waiting for news of them- one squadron is at Sollum, and of the 2 remaining squadrons half of them have today gone back as reinforcements to a Mersa Matruh attacking party. We are now being made up into one Squadron and attached to 1st Tanks.'

    In the Regimental Diary on Aug. 28th the KOH in Tobruk received orders to evacuate and the log says;
    ' Having severed all connection with 1st Royal Tank Regiment, the Squadron is now once again B Squadron 3rd K.O.H.'
    I might be a bit nearer to finding more when I receive his army records.

    Considering my previous total lack of knowledge, it's a very steep learning curve!
     
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  13. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Hi.

    I too share this interest.

    I have 2/2 arriving at Helwan 12/09/40, with 3 Bty 12x18 Pdr. 4 Bty 12x 4.5" Howitzer. I can't find any records showing replacement guns received. They leave theatre the following April I believe.

    I have 5th Bty of 2/3 present at 18/01/41, but not when or where they arrived. I can not place 6th Bty until 17/03/41. But I suspect that they arrive before then too. Both Bty on 12x 25Pdrs I think.
     
  14. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Hi Mark.

    I too share this interest.

    Reading a Diary (personal, not official) it seems that they were of 5 batteries, two of which were sent to Crete (B & Y). the remaining three "A", "X" & "Z".
    The guns mentioned were "4inch", "Bren" & "Hotchkiss". The latter two for air defence.
    At least one of the 4" guns (named Tilly!) was capable of firing landward.

    The Regiment appears to leave Tobruk in Mid July 41 for leave in Cairo then reforming in Jerusalem as an armoured Regiment.

    There is no indication of who took over their guns.


    However, another account puts the Battery distribution thus....
    At the end of January, 1941, the Sherwood Rangers turned to coastal gunnery tasks. The Regiment was divided into Batteries. “B” and “Y” batteries were to go to Crete; RHQ., “A”, “C” and “Z” to Tobruk; and “X” to Benghazi.

    Captains Christopherson, Nelthorpe, Gold and Warwick were to go with to NCOs to HMS Terror to man the observation posts which she had on shore. HMS Terror was a monitor that had taken part in the anti-aircraft defence of Malta, then cruised up and down bombarding the Libyan coast, and then gave coastal and anti-aircraft defence to Tobruk.


    Lindsay, T.M., Sherwood Rangers, p5
     
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  15. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    As mentioned by Geoff at Message #9, the 1st Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers were present at Tobruk throughout the 8 months of the garrison/siege.

    The whole battalion was brought together at Tobruk under command of the 9th Australian Division from 9/10 April 1941 and remained there after the 'Aussies' were relieved in mid-October 1941, coming then under command of the 70th British Division. They were finally relieved and moved to Cairo on 15 December 1941.

    What may not be known is that 'Z' Coy, 1st Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers were instrumental in the capture and holding of the Ed-Duda feature and 'W' Coy' later assisting in the capture of El Adem. In these actions, which took place approximately between 19 and 29 November 1941, the battalion won the following decorations:

    Victoria Cross (1): Capt. JJB Jackman
    Military Cross (2): Capt. DL Lloyd, Lt. F Ward
    Distinguished Conduct Medal (3): CSM. G Hughes, Sgt. D McKay, Cpl. J McCloy
    Military Medal (6): Cpl. R Myers, Cpl. S Fram, L/Cpl. F Lloyd, Fus. J Kay, Fus. F Peary, Fus. TE Preston.

    That is quite a haul.

    NB. I am virtually certain that a relative of one of my school friends served with the 1st Bn Royal Northumberland Fusliers and was killed at Tobruk. I will need to make more enquiries to be absolutely certain though.

    Steve.
     
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  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Not sure if this has been posted before however it is a most comprehensive and "evenly" (in my opinion) of all those who participated at Tobruk.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRbebG7RlSo


    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  17. Austin k2y

    Austin k2y Member

    Hi
    my brother has an Austin k2y ambulance, (A1207004) that came into Australia in April /May 1942, and to the 2AACC NSW. as 1207004.
    I think with the 2/3rd Field Ambulance on the stepsister convoy.
    Reason being the 2/3rd field Ambulance arrived in Tobruk without vehicles, So used British ones.

    My brothers Ambulance was manufactured around ANZAC day 1941. So arrival in Tobruk would be a bit out for the 2/3rd F.A.arrival.
    It was shotup, a bit and painted desert sand, and had a conversion fitted(engine speed limiting, while stationary(two speeds).1/2 inch drive PTO.
    Information on Austin k2y nos in the Middle East, and Census no.s would help.

    There are not any records for this particular Ambulance at the AWM, 35 others are mentioned,
    total being 50-70 at a guess.( 1AACC-25, 2AACC-35,3AACC-5,4AACC-1) See AWM film FO1986
    As I think these Ambulances left with the stepsister convoy, bound for Singapore, what British units from the Middle East, would be also be in the convoy? although it appears odd that the British troops would have departed in Colombo, leaving the Ambulances to the Aussies.

    IMG_3571.jpg
    regs
    Rupert
     
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  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    John Goschen small.jpg One of my favourite rats of Tobruk is John Goschen of O Battery 1st RHA. His first MC, as a second lieutenant, was for escaping from captivity twice in France after his unit was forced to surrender at St Valery en Caux. His second was for his actions over the German attacks around Easter 1941. His citation reads

    Captain John Goschen died aged 23 in the breakout from Tobruk. He has no known grave. His portrait hangs in the officers mess of 1st RHA. He has apparently been adopted by the young officers of that Regiment who are aware that he died a younger age than many young officers on commissioning. I was told by the BC of O Battery that he gets a place at dinner and a copy of the portrait has been known to accompany the subalterns on expeditions of a ribald nature.
     
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  19. Austin k2y

    Austin k2y Member

    Hi I had this sent to me about the 16th MAC.
    _MG_9729.jpg

    A bit before the date I would like but good start.
    The 2/3rd AFA, then headed to Singapore, But were diverted, (after sailing around for 5 days
    (ran low on fuel refuelled Colombo) until a decision could be made) sailing to finally to Adelaide.

    regs
    Rupert
     

    Attached Files:

  20. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    His brother Geoffrey William also won an MC in 1940 as a captain and a bar to it in 1941 as a temporary major.

    He was captured by the Germans on 12 May 1941 whilst commanding the Jock Column callsign UVOR on the Egypt-Libya border. Rather promptly he escaped and rejoined his unit 4RHA.

    Was later awarded the DSO in 1945 too.
     

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