Tobruk Fortifications

In preparation for the attack on Tobruk, Division z.b.V. Africa issued a number of detailed drawings of the Tobruk fortifications to the assault troops, to help them in overcoming these.

I am not an expert, but the fortifications look quite substantial to me. They were built by the much-maligned Italians.

Diagram 1: Schematic outline of the fortification line in the breakthrough sector.


1. Concrete works at terrain level
2. With 1-2 AT guns and 2-4 MG
3. All round fortifications
4. Continous and anti-tank ditch in forward line
5. With partial wire obstacles and some minefields 

‘Angreifer’ = attacker

Diagram 2: Diagram of the AT ditch.


‘Querschnitt’ = cross section

‘betonierte Steilwand’ = concrete vertical wall

‘wechselnd’ = changing

Diagram 4: Combat position of the forward line.


‘Befestigungswerke in ebenem Gelände mit 3 M.G. Ständen’  = fortified works in flat terrain with 3 MG positions

‘Sockel fuer Fliegerbeschuss’ = fixation point for AA fire

‘M.G. Stand’ = MG fighting position

‘Treppe’ – stairs

‘Unterstand für Mannschaften u. Munition’ = covered position for men and ammunition

‘Breit’ = breadth

‘Lageplan’ = overview map

‘Masstab 1:200’ = 1:200 Scale

‘Unterstand fuer Bedienung und Munition’ = covered position for operators and ammunition

‘Wasserbehaelter’ = water tank

‘Zentraler Unterstand m. Eisenbetondecke 1m Stark’ = central covered position with reinforced concrete roof 1m thick

Diagram 4: Detail of work of the forward line.


‘hinteres drahthindernis’ = rear wire obstacle

‘betonierter Graben’ = concrete ditch

‘z. Tl. getarnt, oder mit Stacheldraht ueberdeckt’ = partially camouflaged or covered with wire

‘Übergang’ = crossing

‘durchlaufender Flandernzaun zwischen den Werken’ = continuous wire/fence installation between works.

‘Tiefe’ = depth

‘vorderes Drahthindernis (versenkt) vermutl. mit S-Minen versehen’ = forward wire obstacle, dug in, probably with added anti-personnel mines

‘Querschnitt des vorderen Drahthindernisses’ = cross section of forward wire obstacle

Diagram 5: Combat position of the rear line.


‘Befestigungwerke in ebenem Gelände mit 2 M.G. Ständen und 1 PAK Stand’ = fortification works in flat terrain with 2 MG and 1 AT gun fighting position

‘PAK – Stand’ = AT gun fighting positon

‘Wasser’ = water

‘Befehlsstelle’ = Command Post

‘Beobachtungsloch’ = Observation hole

‘Eingang zum Unterstand’ = Entrance to covered position

Others as forward line translations.

Diagram 5: Combat position with one MG fighting position.


‘Linke Stellung’  left fighting position

‘Verbindungsgraben’ = communication trench

Other translations as before

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