In the crazy back and forth fighting across the Libyan coastal plain, one battle was more static, but no less brutal. The port of Tobruk, taken from the Italians in January 1941 was subsequently besieged by Axis forces from April until December. At over 240 days it is the longest ever siege endured by British forces.
The models are all 15mm from Battlefront; mostly metal although some of the vehicles are resin.
All three armed services were critical to the successful defense of Tobruk. The Navy, RN and RAN, kept the garrison reinforced and supplied and allowed the evacuation of wounded soldiers. The RAF and RAAF, some based inside the perimeter, kept the Luftwaffe at bay and supported the troops. The bulk of the defenders were made up of the 9 Div AIF, who relieved the by then veteran 6 Div just before the German advance out of Tripoli triggered the Torbruk Handicap that led to the Great Siege.
This is a selection of my Western Desert force. While it could be used to represent many of the battles in 1940-41, it is motivated mostly by the 9 Div and supporting elements from the British 3rd RTR, 3rd Hussars, 51 Field Regiment RA and 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (a specialist machine gun unit).
Not sure when these will reach the table, but it is bonza to be close to finishing this army after so many years incomplete. Now I’m thinking I need an Axis force to oppose them, but there is always another project.
Apparently a stonk is a thing, and the way to get one delivered is to get your supporting artillery regiment on the telephone or radio. Before Montgomery made artillery essential to his battle plans, the Royal Artillery Regiment were honing their craft as part of the Western Desert Force. This battery of 8 guns from a field regiment will support my desert campaign Australians.
Field regiments were armed with 25 pounder guns, introduced early in the war and so successful they were used for many years after all around the world. I have included some some Italian guns. This is a nod to the bush artillery, a unit made up of support troops during the Tobruk siege in 1940-41 who used captured Italian guns. I suspect they provided more moral than actual support, given the highly technical game of arty, but it is a wonderful image and a terrific insight into the courage and tenacity of the garrison.
The RA regiments supporting the Australian divisions in North Africa were mostly British formations, pointing to the international nature of Western Desert Force (and later, the 8th Army). Australian artillery were mostly deployed for home defense and later in the Pacific.
It is a lot of models: 8 guns, with HQ, staff, FO and enough trucks and universal carriers to transport them all. This battery will make up a large part of any force they are included in, but they will also throw out a lot of firepower. Fun fact: the artillery were the largest component part of the British Army.