Making Sense of the Tobruk Breakout

Making Sense of the Tobruk Breakout


I have written a few posts about the Tobruk breakout (see here, here, here, and here), and thought a map and a complete overview of the code names for the objectives maybe helpful. This is from 14 Brigade, 32 Army Tank Brigade, and Division z.b.V. war diaries, so about as good as it gets. Corrections welcome however.

The map

This is a second-stage map with the new code-names in black, and the old ones pencilled in. The line of red dots to the north-west are the fortifications of the perimeter. The double-lined road to thenorth-east is the road to Bardia. The road in the south-east corner, covered partially by the LEOPARD position, is the Axis by-pass road.

Click on the map to open it in full size.


Map of Tobruk Breakout Objectives, 4 R.T.R. war diary, 32 Army Tank Brigade, Tobfort. Collection.


Map showing Brigade Axis for the Breakout Operation, 21 November 1941. 14 Bde War Diary, 70 Division, TobFort. Collection.

The codenames

Note that for location, higher numbers are further east, and further north. The table below merges information from 14 Brigade war diary, the war diary of 32 Army Tank Brigade, the war diary of Division z.b.V., and a report on the actions of the Bologna division. The strongpoints are listed beginning in the west, and then moving in an arc to finish with the north-easternmost strongpoint. One item of note is that the relatively small size of the strongpoints on the British map was highly misleading. Judging by the German map it appears that the arc from west of TUGUN to BUTCH was almost continuous, and covered from the rear by artillery placed in rearward strongpoints.

There is some confusion about the Belhamed, which is clearly labelled as ‘LEOPARD’ by 14 Brigade, but called GIANT by 32 Army Tank Brigade. Also, I have previously not been aware of the new code name for Sidi Rezegh, OGRE.

Objective Name

Objective Name from 26 Nov.41





Axis Name



East- West North- South  

If known

PLONK SNOWHITE 413 419 n/k Italian, Pavia n/k
BONDI QUEEN 414 416 Walled Village Italian, Pavia n/k
TUGUN SLEEPY 418 418 Bir Bu Assatein Italian, Pavia Posns. 21, 13, 14
DALBY SQUARE DOC 418 414   Italian, Pavia Posn. 4
LION BASHFUL 421 415 Bir Ghersa   Posn. 10
CUB? CAT? 422 416     n/k
BUTCH DOPEY 422 420 Bir Suesi German, Div. z.b.V. Posn. 19
JILL n/a 422 418 Pt. 145 German, Div. z.b.V. and Bologna Posn. 15 (Bologna), 26, 18 (German)
TIGER SNEEZY 423 417   Italian, Bologna Posn. 3
JACK HAPPY 424 419 Pt. 146 German, Div. z.b.V. Posn. 11
WOLF GRUMPY 426 414 Carmuset Bel Udih Italian, Bologna Fico (Fig Tree)
  LEOPARD/ GIANT 428 413 Belhamed Italian, Bologna Belhamed
TOAST DWARF     Ed Duda German, Arko 104, Div. z.b.V. Ed Duda
  OGRE     Sidi Rezegh   Sidi Rezegh
  CHEERFUL 428 416   German, Div. z.b.V. 900
  FREDDIE 428 418   Italian, Bologna 6
  WALTER 428 420   German, Div. z.b.V. 5