During the North African campaign of World War II, the Allies plan to destroy the German oil reserves of Erwin Rommel in the titular city of Tobruk, Libya. The endeavour is tasked to Major Donald Craig (Hudson) and Captain Kurt Bergman (Peppard).
This film features examples of:
- Artistic License History: The film is loosely based on the British attacks on German and Italian forces at Tobruk codenamed "Operation Agreement". The film depicts the operation as being successful, but in reality Operation Agreement was a disastrous failure.
- Desert Warfare: The fighting takes place during the North African campaign in 1942. As such, there's the usual problems of getting lost in the desert while also having the risk of engaging Afrika Korps patrols.
- Fake in the Hole: Maj. Donald Craig, and his British squad mates used this and Insert Grenade Here to steal a Nazi tank.
- Insert Grenade Here: The film cleverly put this together with Fake in the Hole for an ingenius German tank heist. Maj. Donald Craig and his British squadmates empty a hand grenade for use against an approaching Nazi Panzer. Then, they approach the vehicle, kill its machinegunner, popped the hatch open and tossed the dud grenade in. In panic, the rest of the Panzer's crew climbed out of the hatch, only to meet the waiting submachineguns of Craig and company.
- One-Word Title: The film is simply titled Tobruk.
- The Place: The film's title comes from the city in Libya where the operation that drives the plot takes place.