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Australia 2016-P World War II 75th Anniversary #2 - The Rats of Tobruk - WWII Desert Siege of Tobruk Second World War $1 Pure Silver Proof

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70496
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Get the second coin in this series commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II! Two Allied soldiers, the Desert Rats, defend their North African outpost while under bombardment and halt the Nazi blitzkrieg of Rommel's Afrika Korps during the Siege of Tobruk in 1941 on this military-themed, pure silver dollar!

In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Second World War, Talisman Coins and the Perth Mint (Australia's precious metals experts) are proud to bring you this military-themed World War II silver dollar! Each one troy ounce, pure silver dollar highlights the valor and sacrifices of the Allied soldiers who opposed Nazi aggression in the North African desert. The year 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk, one of the first major battles of World War II. A small town on the Libyan coast, Tobruk was central to much of the fighting that took place in the Western Desert. The town became a key naval outpost due to its location on a sheltered, deep water harbor.

The Siege of Tobruk took place between April and December 1941. Australian troops made up more than half of the Allied force, with more than 14,000 men from the Australian 9th Division and the 18th Brigade of the Australian 7th Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead. Tobruk marked the first time that an advance of German Panzers had been brought to a halt.

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Rats of Tobruk Outer Box The Battle of Tobruk, during the North African Campaign of the World War II, started in April 1941, when Tobruk was attacked by an Italian-German force under German General Erwin Rommel, the famed "Desert Fox". It continued for 8 months. The siege was only a couple of months old when the traitorous, renegade Lord Haw Haw, broadcasting from Berlin, said the Allied soldiers at Tobruk were "caught like rats in a trap". The British and Commonwealth infantry accepted this title and won renown as the "Rats of Tobruk". The Allied troops endured intense bombing raids but held their ground, defying the seemingly unstoppable blitzkrieg of the German war machine. The coin’s obverse portrays two Allied soldiers defending their North African outpost while under heavy bombardment in the Libyan desert.

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The "Desert Rats" vs. The "Desert Fox"
Australian Desert Rats of Trobruk parade around in captured Italian tanks, marked with kangaroo insignias, in Tobruk in 1941.The Siege of Tobruk was a confrontation that lasted 240 days (8  months) between Axis and Allied forces in North Africa during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The siege started on 11 April 1941, when Tobruk was attacked by an Italian–German force under Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel and his vaunted (and hitherto undefeated) Afrika Korps, and continued until December, when it was relieved by the Allied Eighth Army during Operation Crusader.

For much of the siege, Tobruk was defended by the reinforced Australian 9th Division under Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead. General Archibald Wavell, Commander-in-Chief of British Middle East Command, instructed Morshead to hold the fortress for eight weeks, but the 9th Australian Division held it for over five months before being gradually withdrawn during September! The Aussie 9th was replaced by the British 70th Infantry Division, the Polish Carpathian Brigade and Czechoslovak 11th Infantry Battalion (East) under the overall command of Major-General Ronald Scobie. The fresh defenders continued to hold Tobruk until they were able to link with the advancing Eighth Army at the end of November during Operation Crusader.

Australian troops of the 48th Battalion, otherwise known as the The "Tobruk Ferry Service", made up of Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy warships, played an important role in Tobruk's defense, providing gunfire support, supplies, fresh troops, and ferrying out the wounded.

Maintaining control of Tobruk was crucial to the Allied war effort. Tobruk was home to the only other major port on the African coast between Tripoli and Alexandria (besides Benghazi). Had the Allies lost it, the German and Italian supply lines would have been drastically shortened. Moreover, Rommel was in no position to attack across the Egyptian border towards Cairo and Alexandria while the Tobruk garrison threatened the supply lines of his front-line units.

Tobruk marked the first time that an advance of German Panzers had been brought to a halt. Following Operation Crusader the siege of Tobruk was lifted in December, 1941.

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Please note, the mint images of this beautiful proof coin do not do it justice. The fields are deeply mirrored and the relief devices are white-frosted cameo!

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Obverse
Two Allied soldiers defending their North African outpost while under heavy bombardment in the Libyan desert. The legends THE RATS OF TOBRUK and 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF WWII denotes the theme. The legend 1 OZ 999 SILVER guarantees the weight and purity. The Perth Mint's "P" mint mark is also present.

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Australia 2016 Rats of Tobruk Silver $1 in Box Reverse
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in crowned profile facing right. This portrait, featuring Her Majesty wearing a tiara and pearl earrings, was executed by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. The legend ELIZABETH II, the date and the denomination also appear.

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Packaging
The coin is encapsulated inside a handsome taupe leatherette, clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and satin, and protected by a full-color outer box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

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Specifications
Country Australia
Mint Perth Mint of Australia
Year of Issue 2016
   
Face Value One Dollar
Weight 31.135 g
Diameter 40.60 mm
Gauge (Thickness)    4.00 mm
Mintage Limit 5,000
   
Finish Proof
Composition .999 Fine (Pure) Silver
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
   
Artist Jennifer McKenna (obverse)
Ian Rank-Broadley (reverse)
Certificate Included

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