25 SEPTEMBER 1942, Page 2

The Tobruk Raid

The raid on Tobruk on the night of September 13th may in some respects be compared with the raid on Dieppe, though doubt- less it was on a much smaller scale. It was a combined operation against a strongly fortified port, in which the Navy, the R.A.F., and a landing force played their respective parts. But we may deduce from a report by Reuter's special correspondent, who was on one of the two destroyers which were sunk, that the role of the Air Force was almost completed with the long, heavy bom- bardment which preceded the landing. There was no fighter pro- tection such as was so conspicuous at Dieppe. Of the two destroyers lost in this engagement, the ' Zulu ' was sunk by dive-bombers, and the ' Sikh,' crippled and in flames, but firing to the last, was 'destroyed by shore batteries. But the task, which was to land troops and destroy shore installations, fuel and ammunition dumps, had been accomplished. Such damage on the harbour itself could be done far more effectually by a landing party than by bombing alone. Of all the ports along Rommel's supply line Tobruk is far the most important. A raid such as this accomplishes the two- fold purpose of damaging the harbour itself and the stores there, and also of compelling the enemy to detach a strong force to protect it against similar attacks. It has been most valuably supple- mented by the land raids on Benghazi, Barce and Jialo.