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  • Phoenix

Tobruk: Birth of a legend

Frank Harrison

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Cassell Military Paperba, Prose: non-fiction

The Desert Rats defeat Rommel: '...an impressive book...highly recommended.' John Pimlott, Militaty Illustrated

The siege of Tobruk in 1941 was the first time the British army succeeded in defeating a German army operation in WW2. Despite all the ingenuity of Erwin Rommel, the 'Desert Fox' and the bravery of his Afrika Corps, the outnumbered and outgunned British garrison held the port until a relief mission, 'Operation Battleaxe' drove back the German and Italian forces.

It was during this epic saga that 'Lord Haw Haw', the German propaganda broadcaster, coined the phrase 'desert rats'. He intended it as an insult, but the soldiers at Tobruk took a perverse pride in the name which became the nickname of the 8th Army in general and the 7th Armoured division in particular.

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