World War: Fall of D

Four days after Tobruch, Dérna fell. The British and Australians had expected duck soup at Dérna, but they found the toughest meat of the Libyan campaign.

The situation was not at all like that at Sidi Barrani, Bardia and Tobruch. There were no rigid, prepared defenses around Dérna (see map), no circles of wire and ditch. But the natural defense was rugged: a deep, wide wadi, the eroded path of an ancient stream. With more spunk than they had shown in seven weeks' war, 10,000 Italians fought to keep many more attackers from swarming into the wadi. Italian aircraft were active,...

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