THE POLISH CONNECTION TO TOBRUK
In May of 1941 Polish SBSK (Samodzielna Brygada Strzelcow Karpackich) Brigade became a part of the Marsa Matruh fortress defence contingent. Then in mid August (19th-28th ) of 1941 after R&R near Alexandria (Egypt), the Brigade was transported via the sea to the besieged fortress of Tobruk. Brigade was put on the toughest part of the defenses ,the so called "western section " near the hill of Ras el-Medauar. From the 3rd of October onwards after being reinforced by the Czech and Australian Battalions, SBSK was to defending the longest single strech of the front from the seacoast deep into the desert. In the early December (night of 9/10th) Brigade together with other units of fortress Tobruk counter-attacked against Axis. 2nd and 3rd battalions quickly took the hill of Medauar while 1st battalion captured the White Knoll hill. The siege of Tobruk was over. Allied units of the 8th Army started to pursue withdrawing enemy. On 15th and 16th of December SBSK attacked in the area of El-Adena, on the 17th the Brigade reached the road to Derna. The Battle of Ghazala begun. Within few days it was over, 59 officers and 1634 Axis soldiers have been captured and the road to Cyrenaica was opened. Since the disaster of the September 1939 , Battle of Ghazala was the first noticable victory of Polish troops against German forces. From January to March 17th 1942 SBSK was defending Ghazala while its Artillery Regiment was supporting 2nd South African Division during it's offensive towards Bardia. Soon after that the Brigade was transported back to Egypt where it was reorganized into a Division (3DSK).
During the Libyan Campaign Brigade lost 7 officers and 132 soldiers killed in action. Almost all of them are buried at the Allied Cemetery in Tobruk.
SBSK patrol in Tobruk (1941).
Polish troops marching toward the frontlines.
SBSK Anti-aircraft position.
SBSK Carrier on patrol near Ghazala.
Port of Tobruk in 1941.
Polish troops examine captured munitions.(Tobruk 1941)
This is how close German "88's" got to Tobruk.
Gen. Sikorski (Commander in Chief of the Polish Forces) in a comemorative photo from his visit to SBSK in Tobruk.
Aerial view of Tobruk and its port.
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