Battle of Tobruk (1911)
Battle of Tobruk or Nadura Hill Battle was a small engagement in the Italo-Turkish War
Italo-Turkish War
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912.As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan, and...

. It is famous due to the involvement of Kemal Ataturk.


Tobruk or Tubruq is a city, seaport, and peninsula on Libya's eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border with Egypt. It is the capital of the Butnan District and has a population of 120,000 ....

 was a port with strategic importance. Georg August Schweinfurth
Georg August Schweinfurth
Georg August Schweinfurth was a Baltic German botanist, traveller in East Central Africa and ethnologist....

 declared in 1883: "A nation that possesses Tobruk will dominate the eastern Mediterranean Sea." The First Fleet of the Italian naval forces, commanded by vice-admiral Augusto Aubry
Augusto Aubry
Augusto Aubry was an Italian naval officer and politician. Part of the naval fortifications at Taranto were later named after him.-Life:...

, approached Tobruk on October 3, 1911 and invaded the city the next day without encountering any serious opposition.

Turkish and Libyan forces were organized by Enver Bey
Ismail Enver
Enver Pasha or Ismail Enver Pasha , title was changed with his military ranks such as Enver Efendi , Enver Bey , Enver Pasha, higher than Mirliva) was an Ottoman military officer and a leader of the Young Turk revolution...

 (later Enver Pasha) after trivial clashes on November 9, 1911. The leader of the Libyan-Arabian forces was Sheik Muberra, who was backed by his "Meryem" tribe.

Active stage

In the first week of December 1911 nearly 2000 Italian soldiers against 200 Turco-Arab volunteers had captured the Nadura Hill in Mureyra Valley and were busy with reinforcements and digging trenches.

Captain Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) was then in command of Tobruk region and foresaw the jeopardizing consolidation of Italian forces. He ordered Sheik Muberra to attack as soon as possible to overcome the further reinforcement of the Italians on the strategic Nadura Hill. Under approval of Ethem Pasha
Ethem Pasha
Edhem Pasha was an Ottoman commander. He was the deputy of Gazi Osman Pasha during the siege of Plevna in 1877. He was the leading commander of the Ottoman army that defeated Greeks in Thessaly in the Greco-Turkish War...

, 12 Turkish soldiers, Lieutenant Necip Efendi and 120 Libyan volunteers were ordered to capture the hill, defended by 200 Italian soldiers. The Turco-Arabian forces approached Nadura Hill just before dawn and besieged the hill, followed by heavy fire and an all-out attack. Italian soldiers were surprised and responded in a disorganized fashion without the surveillance of cannon fire. Italian positions were captured in two hours and the Italian Bersaglieri
The Bersaglieri are a corps of the Italian Army originally created by General Alessandro La Marmora on 18 June 1836 to serve in the Piedmontese Army, later to become the Royal Italian Army...

retreated to Tobruk while leaving 3 machine guns, among other munitions.

Meanwhile, one thousand Turco-Arabian soldiers began the destruction of Italian reinforcements, backing Italian forces near the hill and attacking. Sheik Muberra was shot and killed along with 10 Libyan volunteers. After five hours of fighting, the Italian attack was repulsed and forced to retreat to Tobruk.


Casualties among the Italian soldiers were approximately 200, along with the equipment, rifles and ammunition abandoned by the Bersaglieri. This was an important but secondary step for hindering the Italian advance into Tobruk in December 1911. However, the Italians later re-invaded these strategical sites with superior forces in January 1912 and since then occupied the area of Tobruk until their final victory .

See also

  • Balkan Wars
    Balkan Wars
    The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.By the early 20th century, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, the countries of the Balkan League, had achieved their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large parts of their ethnic...

Libya°N conflict=yes°W
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