Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army
Volume III – Tobruk and El Alamein (1st edition, 1966)< Previous | Next > Digitised records > First World War Official Histories | Second World War Official Histories
Author: Maughan, Barton
This volume’s main theme is the 9th Australian Division’s contribution in 1941–42 to the defeat in North Africa of the German and Italian Army commanded by Field Marshal Rommel.
In March 1941, soon after its formation, the division was sent untrained and without its artillery to Cyrenaica as part of a garrison force which, within a few weeks, took the brunt of a surprise advance by Rommel’s newly–arrived armoured force. Retreaing to Tobruk the division withstood, with the support of British armoured, artillery and machine–gun units, several assaults and a long siege, and maintained a threat on the flank of Rommel’s long line of communications to the Egyptian frontier.
Before the siege ended the division was withdrawn by sea but in the succeeding year it was recalled to the front as Rommel’s forces were approaching the El Alamein defences, only 70 miles from Alexandria. In General Auchinleck’s counter–offensive in July 1942 it captured the Tel el Eisa ridges and other important positions near the coast and later under General Montgomery took a leading part in Rommel’s defeat in the battle of El Alamein.
As well as recording the exploits of Australian soldiers, the book examines the actions of the generals who successively commanded the Middle East Forces and the Eighth Army – Wavell, Auchinleck, Cunningham, Ritchie, Alexander and Montgomery. The inter–governmental differences concerning the 9th Division’s withdrawal from Tobruk and its later return to Australia are also related.
An appendix recounts the experiences of Australian prisoners of war in Europe.
- Contents, Illustrations, Maps, Sketch Maps and Diagrams, Preface, and List of events (502.28 KB PDF file) RCDIG1070052Pages i to xx
- Chapter 1 – The “Minimum Possible Force” Guards Cyrenaica (1.66 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070053Pages 1 to 23
- Chapter 2 – Defence Based on Mobility (1.95 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070054Pages 24 to 51
- Chapter 3 – The “Benghazi Handicap” (4.51 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070670Pages 52 to 110
- Chapter 4 – At Bay – The Easter Battle (3.76 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070055Pages 111 to 158
- Chapter 5 – Striking Back (2.54 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070056Pages 159 to 194
- Chapter 6 – Assault Withstood (3.17 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070057Pages 195 to 235
- Chapter 7 – Midsummer in the Fortress (5.34 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070058Pages 236 to 304
- Chapter 8 – Last Counter–attack and a Controversial Relief (5.73 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070059Pages 305 to 383
- Chapter 9 – Parting Shots and Farewell Salutes (2.59 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070083Pages 384 to 417
- Chapter 10 – Ed Duda (6.69 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070084Pages 418 to 513
- Chapter 11 – In Palestine, Syria and The Lebanon (2.04 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070085Pages 515 to 541
- Chapter 12 – At El Alamein Under Auchinleck (4.63 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070086Pages 542 to 602
- Chapter 13 – Alam el Halfa and “Bulimba” (3.06 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070087Pages 603 to 638
- Chapter 14 – Launching the Battle (2.92 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070088Pages 639 to 676
- Chapter 15 – The Dog Fight (6.37 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070089Pages 677 to 754
- Appendix 1 – Prisoners of the Germans and Italians (4.94 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070090Pages 755 to 822
- Appendix 2 – The Haifa–Beirut–Tripoli Railway (467.48 KB PDF file) RCDIG1070091Pages 823 to 829
- Appendix 3 – Abbreviations (86.93 KB PDF file) RCDIG1070092Pages 830 to 832
- Index (2.33 MB PDF file) RCDIG1070093Pages 833 to 854