The Port of Bardia
|Elevation||85 ft (26 m)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
In Roman times the town was known as Petras Maior.
During World War II, it was the site of a major Italian fortification, invested by the XXIII Corps under the command of General Annibale Bergonzoli. On 21 June 1940, the town was bombarded by the 7th Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet. The bombardment force consisted of the French battleship Lorraine, British cruisers HMS Orion and HMS Neptune, the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, and the destroyers HMS Dainty, Decoy, Hasty, and HMAS Stuart. However the bombardment is reported to have only caused minimal damage. The town was taken during Operation Compass by Commonwealth forces consisting mainly of the Australian 6th Division in fighting over 3–5 January 1941 at the Battle of Bardia.
The Axis later reoccupied the town and set up a prisoner of war camp there. On 2 January 1942, Bardia was re-taken by the South African 2nd Infantry Division, led by 1st Battalion, Royal Durban Light Infantry, supported by the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry Regiment and also the South African 2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade (Light Anti-Aircraft). The South Africans lost approximately 160 men, and the operation freed about 1,150 Allied prisoners of war (including 650 New Zealanders) and took some 8,500 Axis prisoners (German and Italian).
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- Personal account of battle by Ron Myburgh's (as yet unpublished) memoirs.
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- Agar-Hamilton, J. A. I. and L. C. F. Turner. The Sidi Rezegh Battles, 1941. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1957.
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