Australian soldiers of the 2/17th Infantry battalion stand next to an abandoned German Panzer III Ausf.G tank destroyed during an attack on the eastern perimeter of Tobruk in Libya. - 14 September 1941
The initial capture of Tobruk on the 22nd of April in 1941 by Commonwealth forces was vital in disrupting Axis supply lines as it was one of only two available ports in Libya available. The capture of the port forced Axis supply lines to be rerouted through the port of Tripoli adding an extra 1500km's to travel to reach the front. This would later prove to be the downfall of the Afrika Korps.
After the Afrika Korps was founded and sent to assist the Italian forces in North Africa, Rommel, the commander of the German forces, set his eyes on Egypt and pressed forward as he had done many times before. He made swift victories taking back lost ground but quickly was halted when he reached the port of Tobruk where Allied forces had retreated to.
Knowing that if he would bypass the port, he would be without supplies and also need to leave a large number of soldiers to defend against any attacks from Tobruk, he decided to launch multiple major attacks, namely the Easter Battle, but was defeated. The Allied forces held the port and even though they were outnumbered and under-equipped, they stopped each and every attack, even turning German panzers; a first in the history of the Second World War.
The siege of Tobruk lasted 241 days, ending only after an Allied counter-attack against the Afrika Korps relieves the forces trapped inside. However, later in the war Tobruk would fall to the Afrika Korps before being captured once again by the Allies.
___ 📷 Source: Wikipedia Commons