The siege of Tobruk was the longest in British military history. The coastal fortress and vital deep-water port of Tobruk was of crucial importance for the battle for North Africa as the key that would unlock the way to Egypt and the Suez Canal. For over a year the isolated garrison held out against all attempts to take it. For both sides it assumed a propaganda role that outweighed even its great strategic value. Goebbels referred to its defenders as 'rats', which in characteristic British fashion the whole army proudly adopted as their title, thus 'Desert Rats', and the port became a symbol of resistance when the war was going badly for Britain. When it fell and 25,000 men surrendered to an armoured assault on 21 June 1942, Churchill said it was 'one of the heaviest blows I can recall during the war'. William F. Buckingham's startling new account, drawing extensively on first-hand testimony from veterans on both sides, is the most comprehensive history of the epic battle and is sure to become the standard work on the subject.
The History Press
The Great Seige 1941-2