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Operation Battleaxe was a British operation that hoped to push Axis forces out of Cyrenaica which in turn would have ended the siege of Tobruk. It began on the 15th of June 1941 and ended on the 17th of June 1941 with an Axis victory. This resulted in the loss of 91 British tanks and the replacement of British General Archibald Wavell.
In late March 1941, soon after the arrival of German forces (the Afrika Korps) in Tripoli, Libya, to reinforce the Italians, their commander (General Erwin Rommel)—although ordered to remain on the defensive—quickly captured the British front line position at El Agheila. He then went on an offensive which, by mid-April, had reached as far as Sallum, Egypt. The sole remaining Allied position in Libya was the heavily fortified port of Tobruk, which Rommel had surrounded and placed under siege. The Allied response was restricted primarily to harassment by the Royal Air Force.