In the early days of April 1941, the 14,000 Australian forces garrisoned in the Libyan town of Tobruk were told to expect reinforcement and supplies within eight weeks...
Eight months later, these heroic, gallant, determined 'Rats of Tobruk' were rescued by the British Navy having held the fort against the might of Rommel's never-before-defeated Afrika Corps.
Like Gallipoli and Kokoda, the Siege of Tobruk is an iconic battle in Australia's military history. Under ceaseless attack from Rommel's men, the Australian defense held strong.
In Tobruk, Peter FitzSimons relates the personal histories and stories not only of the men who defended the garrison against the German onslaught but of The Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, and the powers back in both Berlin and Britain.
"Tobruk" narrates the taking of Tobruk as part of a general thrust in North Africa by Allied forces. A panicked Winston Churchill wrote: "Tobruk seems to be the place to be held to the death without thought of retirement...nothing must hamper the capture of Tobruk".
In the dark heart of World War II, when Hitler turned his attentions to conquering North Africa, a distracted and far-flung Allied force could not give its all to the defence of the key city of Tobruk in Libya.
So the job was left to the roughest, toughest bunch they could muster. "Tobruk" is the story of an incredible battle in excruciating desert heat through nine long months, against the might of Adolf Hitler's formidable Afrika Korps. This force's defence of Tobruk against the Afrika Korps' armoured division is one of the great battles of all time, yet rarely talked about.
Drawing on extensive source material - including diaries and letters, some never published before - this extraordinary book is the definitive account of this remarkable battle.
While Peter Fitzsimons is a celebrated historian, his popularity stems from his fantastic storytelling."Tobruk" is written in a narrative style, putting the reader next to men such as General Leslie Morshead as he decides the fate of his men, next to men such as Jack Harris, as he stands in the blood of an injured mate. While detailed and well researched, "Tobruk" reads like a novel.