If it were in a movie, I wouldn’t believe it…

The below is from the H.Q. Tobruch Fortress Intelligence Summary No. 10, issued on 1 November 1941.

Own Ground Activity

(b) Patrols


The Polish Officer missing from a patrol night 30/31 Oct has returned. A full report has not been received. It seems that he posed as a GERMAN, and having previously bandaged his head, hailed a passing lorry and ordered the ITALIAN driver to take him to the hospital. During the day he took cover in a gun pit near the DERNA rd and spent the day observing. At dusk he returned by lorry, this time driven by a LIBYAN, and debussing in the MEDAUUAR, made his way successfully through to our lines. Details of the information gained will be given when available.

The report is contained in the next day’s intel summary No. 11, 2 November 1941, although it appears to me that the officer wasn’t Polish after all, going by the surname, unless it is an Anglicisation of the Polish name similar to the one in the picture below (a Polish speaker may have a view?).

A report has been received of the activities of 2/Lieut. RUSHILL who, as mentioned in yesterday’s summary, penetrated the ITALIAN lines on the night 30/31 Oct.

Whilst concealed in an arty pit near the DERNA Rd, he noted a considerable amount of movement West to East. He located 4 fd guns at 394433 on the left of the road, and 2 fd guns on the escarpment at about 39504315. He also noticed about 8 tanks dispersed near the escarpment.

The locations are about 10 km NNE of Acroma, within the Axis bypass road perimeter.

Large E 006037 1

Large E 006037 2



One thought on “If it were in a movie, I wouldn’t believe it…

  1. Story is well known in polish books – e.g Gen.Kopański’s war memoir. 2nd Lieutenant Antoni Ruschill was officer in 3rd battalion in Polish Independent Rifle Brigade. He led patrol in night 30/31 October 41 in White Knoll area. He decided to send back his men and penetrate enemy’s lines alone. Knowing german and italian language, wearing driver’s overall suit and having bandaged his head he pretended to be german and then italian soldier.

    Gen. Kopański punished him by several weeks suspened arrest and in the same order awarded him by Cross of Valour.
    Commander of Tobruk Fortress (Scobie?) awarded Lt. Ruschill by… bottle of beer. Legend has it that order made the greatest impression on polish officer.


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