Operation Freeborn i

'Freeborn' (i) was a British undertaking to strengthen the defences along the north-western frontier of Egypt and thus provide greater assurance that, should they break though in the 'Battle of Gazala', the Axis forces under the command of General Erwin Rommel would not be able to penetrate deeper in Egypt to take Alexandria and the Suez Canal (June 1942).

The undertaking required the withdrawal of Major General W. H. Ramsden’s 50th Division and Major General D. H. Pienaar’s South African 1st Division, both of Lieutenant General C. W. M. Norrie’s British XXX Corps, from the 'Gazala Line', eastward through Tobruk and on toward the Egyptian frontier. In the event, after the British defeat in the 'Battle of Gazala', General Sir Claude Auchinleck, heading the Middle East Command and also leading the 8th Army, decided to pull back farther into Egypt to make his stand at El Alamein.