“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”
-John F. Kennedy
The raid on Tobruk was almost completely finished by mid-day of the 14th. The Italians and Germans would conduct final sweeps throughout the day over land, air and water to ensure any stragglers were rounded up and that no further threats loomed. The tally of losses suffered illustrate the truly one-sided nature of the confrontation; the British led forces suffered nearly 800 casualties, lost a cruiser, two destroyers, and several other smaller vessels. The Axis accomplished this for the loss of less then 70 men and 30 aircraft.
As in previous joint military undertakings between the Italians and Germans, each sides “official” version of the events surrounding Agreement differed slightly. Both parties were perhaps guilty of diminishing the contributions put forth by the other, while likewise playing up their own accomplishments. What cannot be denied is that the airmen, sailors, marines, and soldiers of both Axis militaries acted swiftly and decisively to smash the British attack, and protected two of their most critical supply points in the North African theater. The victory obtained during Agreement would be one of only a handful remaining for the Axis in North Africa, but served to prove there was still plenty of fight left in their ranks. For the Allies to claim victory in this theater, they would have to give a much better showing of themselves in the months to come, and would have to defeat on the battlefield some of the best soldiers that Germany and Italy produced throughout the War.
NOTE: Special thanks to Dennis Hussey for editing the article. I appreciate the time and work you put into reviewing, and could not have completed the article without you.
Massacre at Tobruk: The British Assault on Rommel,1942: Peter C. Smith
Desert Raiders: Axis and Allied Special Forces 1940-43: Andrea Molinari