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Siege of Tobruk April 11, 1941 & The Movie ‘TOBRUK’ 1967

Siege of Tobruk

The siege of Tobruk was a confrontation that lasted 240 days between Axisand Allied forces in North Africa during the Western Desert Campaign of theSecond World War. The siege started on 11 April 1941, when Tobruk was attacked by an Italo–German force under Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel, and continued for 240 days up to 27 November 1941, when it was relieved by the Allied 8th Army during Operation Crusader.
Map of the Western Desert battle area

Rick West, a German Veteran of Rommel ‘s Afrika Korps who survived the actual 1942 attack, served as a technical adviser on this film.
In September 1942, with the troops of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel 90 miles (144 km) from the Suez Canal, the staff of the British Eighth Army approve a plan to destroy the German fuel bunkers at Tobruk.

The original author of the plan, Major Donald Craig (Rock Hudson) has been captured by Vichy French forces and is interned at the port of Algiers. Craig is a Canadian expert on desert topography, desert exploration, and has extensive practical knowledge of the Sahara, so he is considered essential to the success of the planned raid on Tobruk.

Craig is liberated by Captain Kurt Bergman (George Peppard) of the SIG and some of his men, who are German Jews. They then join up with the LRDG, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Harker (Nigel Green), at Kufra.
Colonel Harker explains that they have eight days to get to Tobruk and destroy the fuel depot and German field guns protecting the harbor, before a scheduled amphibious landing. The plan calls for the LRDG to pose as POWs being escorted by the SIG posing as German soldiers. Harker is antisemitic, which he makes known to Craig at several points (he warns Craig to not trust the SIG – “A little trust is alright, but there’s no point in overdoing it. Six years in Palestine taught me that,” Harker says to Craig), hardening Craig to sympathy for Bergman; Craig is noticeably frustrated at Bergman when the Captain seems to simply accept Harker’s bigotry and also his seeming disregard for the lives being risked – when Craig asks Bergman why he does not speak up in his own defense, Bergman’s reply (“‘Begin thinking of death and you’re no longer sure of your life.’ It’s a Hebrew proverb”) is rejected by Craig (“A dead martyr is just another corpse”).


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