This photograph, dated the 13th of August, 1941 shows Australian troops on the frontline in North Africa in the Second World War.
Some 14 000 Australian troops spent 241 days under attack from combined Nazi and Italian forces in the Siege of Tobruk, Libya. Control of the harbour town was crucial to Allied interests in the region.
Early in the twentieth century Italy took control of the North African nation of Libya. The country became known as Italian Libya after their victory in the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12. However the Italians, aligned with Nazi Germany, began to lose ground in Africa as they were pushed back by the Allied troops in the early 1940s.
Many Muslim Libyans chose to fight with Italy during the Second World War, but by February of 1943 the Axis powers were forced out of the country, ending decades of Italian control.
The photograph above is dated the 10th of March, and was taken by the Australian armed forces as they advanced on Axis territory. It shows wrecked Italian aircraft at the destroyed Castel Benito airport in the capital city, Tripoli.
The harbour town in Libya became the focus of a 241-day siege a few months later. 14 000 Australians – known as the Rats of Tobruk – fought a combined force of Nazis and Italians. Control of the town was crucial to Allied interests in North Africa.
This photograph shows Italian sailors arriving in Tripoli, the capital of the North African land of Libya, on the 5th of October, 1911.
Italy and Turkey fought a war in the region from late September, 1911 until October, 1912. The conflict resulted in an Italian victory, and the Kingdom of Italy captured what was to become known as Italian Libya.
Italy lost control of Libya in 1943, when losing ground to the Allies in the Second World War.