Libya. Rommel unleashes a surprise attack on Tobruk beginning at 5.30 AM with artillery and a succession of bombing raids involving every German and Italian bomber in Libya plus some from Crete. 11th Indian Infantry Brigade cracks under the barrage, creating a gap on the Southeast corner of Tobruk’s perimeter which 100 German and Italian tanks pour through at 7 AM. By noon, Rommel is in view of the port. South African General Klopper does not rush reinforcements into the breach, so British and South African troops remain in their trenches and gun pits in other sectors or along the coast. German infantry fight their way into the town against shore-based British naval personnel and are in control of the port by 7 PM. British start destroying stocks of food, fuel and ammunition while an exodus of small boats leaves Tobruk harbour under heavy German artillery fire.
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