|June 28th, 1942|
Escape from Mersa. In the strategic seesaw of the war in the Western Desert, fortune was once more in favour of the Afrika Korps. With the advantage of having air supremacy Rommel unleashed his Panzer divisions and with military brilliance the Afrika Korps swept eastwards. Benghazi and Gazala were re-taken by the Germans, along with the seemingly impregnable bastion of defence of Tobruk on 21 June. When Tobruk capitulated on June 21, 1942, 30,000 British soldiers were taken prisoner, and large stores of fuel and supplies fell into Rommel's hands. It was now left for the fragments of the British XIII and XXX Corps to delay the Panzers' advance so that the shaken British forces could regroup. The British shielding force stood about 70 miles inside Egypt at Mersa Matruh, the one obstacle remaining between Rommel and the main British force at El Alamein. Inevitably, the British at Mersa Matruh were surrounded and cut off by Rommel's troops. In the darkness of June 28, 1942, the besieged British troops attempted their breakout.
This map was made by Lobo.