#OTD – 2/13th Battalion awarded Battle Honour ‘Tobruk’
On the 18th of November 1941, the 2/13th Infantry Battalion (also known as the ‘Devils Own’) was awarded the Battle Honour ‘Defence of Tobruk’ for their part in the defence of the encircled city.
The Battalion’s involvement with the city commenced on the 9th of April 1941, and it was the only Battalion to see out the entirety of the Siege of Tobruk, remaining in the city for eight long months.
Plans to evacuate in October were delayed when their convoy was forced to turn back from an enemy air attack, resulting in the Battalion being forced to remain in Tobruk until the siege was lifted in December following Operation Crusader.
During this period, the Battalion assisted in repelling two major German attacks. For this period, Tobruk remained the final bulwark between Rommel and Egypt. The defiance of the defenders of Tobruk raised morale in the Commonwealth and their nickname, the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ was worn with pride by those who served.
Following their relief in December, the Battalion saw action in Palestine, Syria and North Africa, including the pivotal Battle of El Alamein. The Battalion would return to Australian in 1943 where it then took part in the campaigns against the Japanese in New Guinea and Borneo until the end of the war.
Lest We Forget.