|May 26th, 1942|
After the swift German counterattack following Operation Crusader, Rommel was held up at the Gazala line, some 50 miles west of Tobruk. Rommel, completely out of fuel and resources, dug in opposite the entrenched British forces. By the end of May 1942, Rommel launched yet another offensive, having been resupplied a short time ago. The Italians held the entire Gazala line, a defensive position ranging 30 miles inwards from the sea. Meanwhile, German armour and mechanized infantry divisions attacked the British southern flank, towards the fortress of Bir Hakeim. For 16 days, French forces at Bir Hakeim fought vigorously to defend the fortress. Because of their efforts, German forces were detained long enough to avoid an overwhelming Commonwealth defeat at the hands of The Desert Fox.