Tobruk had been the scene of significant fighting several times before Operation Agreement. Best known is the successful Allied defence of the port, followed by its embarrassingly easy fall to Rommel. As the front line stabilised at El Alamein, Tobruk became one of Rommel's most important supply bases.
Operation Agreement began as a simple plan for an overland attack on the fuel storage facilites at Tobruk, taking advantage of the skills of the Commandos and the Long Range Desert Group. As events would prove, this operation would have been entirely feasible, but the plan soon expanded to include a marine force landing from the sea, an attempt to make the port unusable, large diversionary air raids and even included a safe cracker. This larger mission quickly unravelled, and the attack ended as a near total disaster, with little achieved and a heavy cost.
This account of the mission was first published in 1956, and it has a certain immediacy that comes from being written when the events were still fresh in the mind of the survivors. Landsborough brings us in through the eyes of the Long Range Desert Group, and then expands the story as they discovered more. This is a very effective technique, and really draws us into the mission. As a result we feel its failure more deeply than is often the case. A splendid early history of a disastrous raid.
Chapters - untitled
Author: Gordon Landsborough
Year: 2015 edition of 1956 original