World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF THE DESERT: Rommel Marches On

For the British it was utter, humiliating defeat. Tobruk, the same battle-scarred port that last year held out for eight months against Axis besiegers, succumbed to one day's attack. Tobruk fell quickly, squashily, to the planes, tanks and guns of Germany's Erwin Rommel. The Axis announced that it took 28,000 Allied prisoners in the garrison, including "several generals." This was indirectly confirmed by a British report which said that Axis shelling prevented any substantial rescue by sea.

Rommel was well known to be a demoniac master of desert war, but neither the British nor the U.S. public was prepared for Tobruk's...

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