Thursday, August 21, 2008

[Image] Tobruk's Anti Tank Ditch

1941. Tobruk, Libya.

The Red Line's Anti-Tank Ditch.

QX6167 Lieutenant William Spencer Beaney of the 9th Division Signals examines a stretch of the anti-tank ditch in the forward lines of the 2/48th Battalion positions. This ditch was originally constructed by the Italians in the 1930's but was never entirely completed.

Some sections of the ditch were over 15 feet deep yet other parts the ditch was as shallow as a couple of feet. The Australians completed what work they could with limited manpower and tools. The fact that the ditch was in the forward Red Line meant that it was also within range of the enemy. If any work was done on the ditch it was likely done at night under cover of darkness and out of the heat of the day.

This photo is great for not only the view of the ditch but the cross section of the wall of the ditch gives a great indication of what the land was like. Hard rock is visible all the way to the bottom of the ditch and this shows that digging anything in Tobruk was a hard slow process. I also love the vast flatness of the landscape here. You can see why strategic points like Hill 209 were so important to the outcome of the battles there.

image 020094 Australian War Memorial.

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