Tuesday, July 29, 2008

[Image] Tobruk's Anti-Aircraft Guns welcome the Luftwaffe

Tobruk, Libya, 1941.

With powerful searchlights lighting up the night sky the Anti-Aircraft batteries of Tobruk Garrison open up with a barrage of flak and tracers to lay a protective blanket above the besieged city.

At the time of the siege, Tobruk was one of the most well defended cities from air attack in the world yet at the same time one of the most bombed. The immense cloud of splintered metal flak bursting at bombing altitude made accurate targetting of the harbour and city area as difficult as possible for the Luftwaffe, the German Air-Force.

Just as the Luftwaffe did significant damage to the city with their bombing sorties the besieged allied forces inside the defenses shot down their fair share of attacking planes. The fighters of the R.A.F. when available would also account for German losses.

German planes brought down inside the perimeter were high profile targets for the scavengers and souvenir hunters of the 9th Division. Within no time the Australians would strip a downed plane of anything of military value and have the captured guns working against the next bombing sortie to fly over.

Metal, especially aluminium, was in short supply and anything that fell to earth was quickly scrutinised for what value it could add to the defense. crash sites were also popular spots for those lucky enough to have access to a camera to take happy snaps for the folks back home.

image p00150.001 Australian War Memorial.

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