|Elevation||16 ft (5 m)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|License Plate Code||14|
Tobruk or Tobruck ( /, -/ ; Ancient Greek : Ἀντίπυργος, Antipyrgos; Latin : Antipyrgus; Italian : Tobruch; Arabic : طبرق, romanized: Ṭubruq; also transliterated as Tobruch and Tubruk) is a port city on Libya's eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border with Egypt. It is the capital of the Butnan District (formerly Tobruk District) and has a population of 120,000 (2011 est.).
Tobruk was the site of an ancient Greek colony and, later, of a Roman fortress guarding the frontier of Cyrenaica.Over the centuries, Tobruk also served as a waystation along the coastal caravan route. By 1911, Tobruk had become an Italian military post, but during World War II, Allied forces, mainly the Australian 6th Division, took Tobruk on 22 January 1941. The Australian 9th Division ("The Rats of Tobruk") pulled back to Tobruk to avoid encirclement after actions at Er Regima and Mechili and reached Tobruk on 9 April 1941 where prolonged fighting against German and Italian forces followed.
Although the siege was lifted by Operation Crusader in November 1941, a renewed offensive by Axis forces under Erwin Rommel the following year resulted in Tobruk being captured in June 1942 and held by the Axis forces until November 1942, when it was recaptured by the Allies. Rebuilt after World War II, Tobruk was later expanded during the 1960s to include a port terminal linked by an oil pipeline to the Sarir oil field.
King Idris of Libya had his palace at Bab Zaytun. Tobruk was traditionally a stronghold of the Senussi royal dynasty and one of the first to rebel against Muammar Gaddafi in the Arab Spring.
Tobruk has a strong, naturally protected deep harbour. It is probably the best natural port in northern Africa,[ citation needed ] although due to the lack of important nearby land sites it is certainly not the most popular. The city is effectively surrounded by a desert lightly populated with nomadic herdsmen who travel from oasis to oasis.
There are many escarpments (cliffs) to the south of Tobruk, as is common across Cyrenaica, the eastern half of Libya. These escarpments generally have their high sides to the south and their low sides (dip slopes) to the north. This constitutes a substantial physical barrier between the north and south of Libya in the Tobruk area.
Previously, Tobruk was some 470 km (290 mi) from Benghazi through the Libyan Coastal Highway, but this distance was shortened to 450 km (280 mi) after the construction of the Charruba–Timimi Road between the years 1975 and 1985. Construction of the Tobruk–Ajdabiya Road reduced the distance between those two cities from 620 km (390 mi) to about 410 km (250 mi).
Because it is approximately 150 km (93 mi) away from Egypt by land, Tobruk is also an important hub for merchants from both Egypt and Libya, and for travellers between the two countries as well as those from Bayda and Derna.
Tobruk suffers a serious saltwater intrusion problem. A factory for the desalination of sea water has been built there.[ citation needed ]
Tobruk features a hot desert climate (BWh according to the Köppen climate classification.) However, its maritime location allows it to receive significantly more precipitation than areas further inland in the Sahara desert.
|Climate data for Tobruk (Sunshine 1996–2015)|
|Record high °C (°F)||25.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||16.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.2|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||2.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||38|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||8||6||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||2||3||7||32|
|Average relative humidity (%)||66||64||65||64||69||72||74||73||71||67||67||65||68|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||232.5||299.5||288.3||246.0||306.9||348.0||350.3||331.7||288.0||257.3||285.0||179.8||3,413.3|
|Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
|Source 2: Weather Online|
An Ancient Greek agricultural colony, Antipyrgus (Ancient Greek : Ἀντίπυργος, Antipyrgos) was once on the site of modern Tobruk, and the ancient name is still occasionally in use. The name roughly meant "across from Pyrgos", referring to a location in Crete across the Mediterranean Sea from Antipyrgos. In the Roman era, the town became a Roman fortress guarding the Cyrenaican frontier. With the spread of Christianity, Antipyrgus became an episcopal see. Only one of its ancient bishops is known by name: Aemilianus, who took part in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. No longer a residential bishopric, Antipyrgus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. Later the site became a way station on the caravan route that ran along the coast.
This article may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies.(October 2020)
At the beginning of World War II, Libya was an Italian colony and Tobruk became the site of important battles between the Allies and Axis powers. Tobruk was strategically important to the conquest of Eastern Libya, then the province of Cyrenaica, for several reasons.
Tobruk had a deep, natural, and protected harbour, which meant that even if the port were bombed, ships would still be able to anchor there and be safe from squalls, so the port could never be rendered wholly useless regardless of military bombardment. This was of critical importance, as it made Tobruk an excellent place to supply a desert warfare campaign. It was also heavily fortified by the Italians prior to their invasion of Egypt in November 1940.
In addition to these prepared fortifications, there were a number of escarpments and cliffs to the south of Tobruk, providing substantial physical barriers to any advance on the port over land. Tobruk was also on a peninsula, allowing it to be defended by a minimal number of troops, which the Allies used to their advantage when the port was under siege. An attacker could not simply bypass the defenders, for if they did, the besieged would sally forth and cut off the nearby supply lines of the attacker, spoiling their advance.
But Tobruk was also strategically significant, due to its location with regard to the remainder of Cyrenaica. Attackers from the east who had secured Tobruk could then advance through the desert to Benghazi, cutting off all enemy troops along the coast, such as those at Derna. This advance would be protected from counterattack, due to escarpments that were quite difficult for a military force to climb, running generally from Tobruk to Suluq. Due to the importance of maintaining supply in the desert, getting cut off in this area was disastrous. Therefore, whoever held both Suluq and Tobruk controlled the majority of Cyrenaica.
Finally, 24 km (15 mi) south of the port was the largest airfield in eastern Libya. This was significant due to the importance of air power in desert warfare.
Italian forces (and their native Libyan allies—about two divisions of the latter) invaded Egypt in early September 1940 but halted their advance after a week and dug in at Sidi Barrani. In early December, British Empire forces—an armoured division and two infantry divisions—launched a counterstrike codenamed Operation Compass. The Italians had previously invaded Albania and occupied part of the south of France, and had now made a military incursion into a British protectorate.
The counterstrike involved the British pocketing two of the Italian camps against the Mediterranean, forcing their surrender. This led to a general Italian retreat to El Agheila. Tobruk was captured by British, Australian and Indian forces on 22 January 1941.
Italy called on her German ally, which sent an army corps, under the name Deutsches Afrika Korps (DAK). Italy also sent several more divisions to Libya. These forces, under Lieutenant-General Erwin Rommel, drove the Allies back across Cyrenaica to the Egyptian border, leaving Tobruk isolated and under siege. The defenders of the fortress consisted of the Australian 9th Division, the Australian 18th Brigade and some British tanks and artillery. They were later reinforced and replaced by the British 70th Infantry Division, Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade, a Czechoslovak battalion and a British tank brigade. The siege lasted until December, when Operation Crusader pushed the DAK and Italians back out of Cyrenaica.
Rommel's second offensive took place in May and June 1942. Tobruk was taken in an outflanking attack on 21 June 1942, capturing the largest number of British Commonwealth troops after the fall of Singapore earlier in the year, where over 80,000 were captured. Rommel was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall, shortly thereafter and was the youngest in the Wehrmacht Heer to achieve this rank. The following units were deployed in Tobruk on 20 June 1942, and most of them were captured by the Axis forces:
A British raid on Tobruk on 13–14 September 1942, codenamed Operation Agreement, intended to destroy port facilities and stores being used to support the Axis forces further west. Special forces approached from across the desert while Commandos attacked from the sea. A preparatory air raid by RAF heavy bombers served only to alert the Italian and German defenders. The special forces were unable to silence the coastal artillery batteries and the seaborne assault had to be abandoned after some of the Commandos had been landed in the wrong place. The retiring vessels were then attacked from the air. The British sustained almost 800 casualties, together with a cruiser, two destroyers and several smaller ships and boats.
Tobruk remained in Axis hands until 11 November 1942, when the Allies captured it after the Second Battle of El Alamein. It remained in Allied hands thereafter. Although not as much a reason for its strategic significance, the British built a rail line from El Alamein to Tobruk during the course of the war. This rail line was significant both for purposes of supply and as a sense of pride to the Allied troops, as the rail line was built through a little-populated, inhospitable desert.
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At the outset of the First Libyan Civil War, the city quickly came under the control of the NTC.In September 2014 the internationally recognized government of Libya relocated to a Greek car ferry in Tobruk harbor. A rival New General National Congress parliament continued to operate in Tripoli. In October 2014 they again re-located, to a hotel named Dar al-Salam also known as the Al Masira Hotel in Tobruk. In November 2014 that government was declared illegal by Libya's highest court.
Professor Omar El Barasi (b. 1951), who once managed the Libyan branch of Society of Petroleum Engineers, and later became a deputy of Libya PM Abdurrahim El-Keib [ citation needed ]is from Tobruk and gained his doctorate in petroleum engineering from Waseda University, Japan.
Eman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who was abused by the Gaddafi government during the First Libyan Civil War, is from Tobruk.
Omar Mukhtar was born in Zanjhur, near Tobruk.
The city is served by Tobruk Airport, with two major domestic airlines serving it.
Operation Compass was the first large British military operation of the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) during the Second World War. British, Empire and Commonwealth forces attacked Italian forces of the 10th Army in western Egypt and Cyrenaica, the eastern province of Libya, from December 1940 to February 1941.
Operation Sonnenblume was the name given to the dispatch of German troops to North Africa in February 1941, during the Second World War. The Italian 10th Army had been destroyed by the British, Commonwealth, Empire and Allied Western Desert Force attacks during Operation Compass (9 December 1940 – 9 February 1941). The first units of the new Deutsches Afrikakorps departed Naples for Africa and arrived on 11 February 1941. On 14 February, advanced units of the 5th Light Afrika Division, Aufklärungsbataillon 3 and Panzerjägerabteilung 39 arrived in Tripoli, Libya and were sent immediately to the front line east of Sirte.
Operation Battleaxe was a British Army offensive during the Second World War to raise the Siege of Tobruk and re-capture eastern Cyrenaica from German and Italian forces. It was the first time during the war that a significant German force fought on the defensive. The British lost over half of their tanks on the first day and only one of three attacks succeeded.
Operation Crusader was a military operation of the Western Desert Campaign during the Second World War by the British Eighth Army against the Axis forces in North Africa commanded by Generalleutnant (Lieutenant-General) Erwin Rommel. The operation was intended to bypass Axis defences on the Egyptian–Libyan frontier, defeat the Axis armoured forces near Tobruk, the Siege of Tobruk and re-occupy Cyrenaica.
The Siege of Tobruk took place between April 10 and November 27, 1941, when elements of the Allied Army were trapped and besieged in the North African port of Tobruk by German and Italian forces. The defenders quickly became known as the Rats of Tobruk.
The Western Desert campaign took place in the deserts of Egypt and Libya and was the main theatre in the North African campaign of the Second World War. Military operations began in June 1940 with the Italian declaration of war and the Italian invasion of Egypt from Libya in September. Operation Compass, a five-day raid by the British in December 1940, was so successful that it led to the destruction of the Italian 10th Army over the following two months. Benito Mussolini sought help from Adolf Hitler, who sent a small German force to Tripoli under Directive 22. The Afrika Korps was formally under Italian command, as Italy was the main Axis power in the Mediterranean and North Africa.
Operation Brevity was a limited offensive conducted in mid-May 1941, during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. Conceived by the commander-in-chief of the British Middle East Command, General Archibald Wavell, Brevity was intended to be a rapid blow against weak Axis front-line forces in the Sollum–Capuzzo–Bardia area of the border between Egypt and Libya. Although the operation got off to a promising start, throwing the Axis high command into confusion, most of its early gains were lost to local counter-attacks, and with German reinforcements being rushed to the front the operation was called off after one day.
The Battle of Gazala was fought during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, west of the port of Tobruk in Libya, from 26 May to 21 June 1942. Axis troops of the Panzerarmee Afrika consisting of German and Italian units fought the British Eighth Army composed mainly of British Commonwealth, Indian and Free French troops.
The 21st Panzer Division was a German armoured division best known for its role in the battles of the North African Campaign from 1941–1943 during World War II when it was one of the two armoured divisions making up the Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK).
This is a timeline of the North African campaign.
The 132nd Armored Division "Ariete" was an armored division of the Royal Italian Army during World War II. It was formed in 1939 as the second armored division after the 131st Armored Division "Centauro". The division fought in the Western Desert Campaign until being destroyed during the Second Battle of El Alamein and declared lost due to wartime events on 8 December 1942.
El Agheila is a coastal city at the southern end of the Gulf of Sidra in far western Cyrenaica, Libya. In 1988 it was placed in Ajdabiya District; it was in that district until 1995. It was removed from Ajdabiya District in 1995 but in 2001 it was placed back into Ajdabiya District. In 2007, El Agheila was placed within the enlarged Al Wahat District.
The 70th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army that fought during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. What would become the 70th Division originated with the 7th Infantry Division, which was formed in 1938 to serve in the British Mandate of Palestine during the Arab Revolt. This division then transferred to Egypt on the outbreak of the Second World War and soon became the 6th Infantry Division, which went on to take part in the Battle of Crete and the Syria–Lebanon Campaign. On 10 October 1941, the 6th Division was re-created as the 70th Infantry Division, in an attempt to deceive Axis intelligence concerning the strength of British forces in the Middle East.
The 2nd Armoured Division was a division of the British Army that was active during the early stages of the Second World War. The division's creation had been discussed since the beginning of 1939, with the intent to form it by splitting the 1st Armoured Division. A lack of tanks delayed this until December 1939. For a short period after its creation, the division had no assigned units until the 1st Light Armoured Brigade was assigned to it from the 1st Armoured Division, and the 22nd Heavy Armoured Brigade from Southern Command.
The 27th Infantry Division "Brescia" was an infantry division of the Royal Italian Army during World War II. The Brescia was named after the city of Brescia in Lombardy. The Brescia was classified as an auto-transportable division, meaning it had some motorized transport, but not enough to move the entire division at once.
The Battle of Mersa Matruh was fought from 26 to 29 June 1942, following the defeat of the Eighth Army at the Battle of Gazala and was part of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle was fought with the German–Italian Panzer Army Afrika (Panzerarmee Afrika. The Eighth Army comprised X Corps and XIII Corps.
The 102nd Motorized Division "Trento" was a motorized infantry division of the Royal Italian Army during World War II. The division was formed in 1935 and named for the city of Trento, where its infantry and artillery regiments were based. The Trento served in the Western Desert Campaign and was destroyed in the Second Battle of El Alamein in November 1942.
The 17th Infantry Division "Pavia" was an infantry division of the Royal Italian Army during World War II. The Pavia was formed in on 27 April 1939 and named after the city of Pavia. The Pavia was classified as an auto-transportable division, meaning it had some motorized transport, but not enough to move the entire division at once. The Pavia had its recruiting area and regimental depots in the Romagna and its headquarters in Ravenna. Its two infantry regiments were based in Cesena (27th) and Ravenna (28th), with the division's artillery regiment based in Ravenna. Shortly after its formation the division was sent to Sabratha in Italian Libya. It participated in the Western Desert campaign and was destroyed during the Second Battle of El Alamein.
Operation Skorpion from 26 to 27 May 1941, was a military operation during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The operation was conducted by Axis forces under the command of Colonel Maximilian von Herff and British forces under Lieutenant-General William "Strafer" Gott. A counter-attack was made on British positions at Halfaya Pass in north-western Egypt, which had been captured during Operation Brevity (15–16 May).Unternehmen Skorpion was the second offensive operation commanded by Rommel in Africa.
The Axis capture of Tobruk, also known as the Fall of Tobruk and the Second Battle of Tobruk was part of the Western Desert campaign in Libya during the Second World War. The battle was fought by the Panzerarmee Afrika, a German–Italian military force in north Africa which included the Afrika Korps, against the British Eighth Army which comprised contingents from Britain, India, South Africa and other Allied nations.