The Italian fortifications around Bardia and Tobruk were well-planned. Barbed wire, minefields and anti-tank ditches encircled the two towns. Behind the wire were two lines of mutually supporting posts. The front line posts consisted of three concrete lined nests, or Tobruk Pits, each encircled by barbed wire and a shallow ditch.
When the Australians took Tobruk they inherited these fortified posts. The posts' firepower and obstacles were used to blunt the German attacks. Timely counterattacks from their reserves, and fire from secondary gun lines, were used to deal with breakthroughs.
The Germans developed fortified positions to defend the frontier between Libya and Egypt. A Stützpunkt, or strongpoint, was designed for all-round defence and could hold even if outflanked. It was manned by infantry and anti-tank guns (including 8.8cm FlaK36 guns) and reinforced by artillery. A Stützpunkt would wear down the enemy before counterattacks were launched by panzer troops.