The Men of Five Nations.
During the Siege of Tobruk the Men of 5 Nations were all that stood between Rommel and the Middle Eastern oil fields. Holding out at Tobruk, under siege by the German Afrika Korps and the Italian Army, these men made the German High Command commit far more troops and supplies to the maintenance of the siege than they were comfortable with, far weakening the Axis thrust into Egypt. It also denied Rommel the means of transporting the immense amount of supplies needed to wage a desert war via ship.
Everything the Axis used had to be transported by land across the desert from Tripoli, over a 1,000 miles away. Holding out for the 8 months that they did allowed the Allies to conclude negotiations with the United States for the supply of war materials that would ultimately arrive in time for the Battle of El Alamein in October, 1942.
The men that held the Axis at Tobruk, the only men entitled to be called 'Rats of Tobruk' came from (from left to right) Poland, Britain, India, Australia and Czechoslovakia.
Whilst this blogs primary focus is on the Australian 9th Division's contribution to the war effort the author acknowledges the sacrifice made by the men of all of these nations and I will endeavour to feature them when I have suitable material and a bit more time.
images 041852 and 041853 Australian War Memorial.