The Battle for North Africa Author:John Strawson After the fall of France in 1940 the War's center of gravity shifted to the Middle East, and for the next three years Britain and her Allies learned how to wage war in North Africa and the Mediterranean. This theater of operations was not merely of critical strategic importance - it was the only one where the British could engage the Axis on lan... more »d. Early victories over Italian forces gave way to the ebb and flow of 8th Army's struggle with Rommel's Panzerarmee - a struggle finally ended by the surrender of all Axis forces in Tunisia.
Wiinston Churchill bombarded his desert commanders with telegrams urging them on to the offensive. Yet, despite all his prodding, the British were unable to finish the campaign quickly. Distractions in the Balkans and in the Far East robbed first Wavell, then Auchinleck of decisive victory. After the American involvement, only a combination of great material superiority and Montgomery's relentless advance finally routed Rommel's armies. By then the battle of supplies had been won, and the tiny fortress of Malta had played the key role in intercepting Axis shipping. Keeping Malta alive demanded heroic efforts by the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, and the island itself, and it often influenced the timing and purpose of 8th Army's offensives.
In showing how the nature and conduct of battles developed during the three-year desert campaign, John Strawson brings together the strategic considerations, the changing tactics, and the impressions of those who did the actual fighting. His exciting narrative is illustrated by numerous contemporary photographs and specially drawn maps, and by eye-witness accounts. The soldiers of many nations - Germans, Italians, Indians, New Zealanders, British tank crews, and Americans - all give their impressions of what the Battle for North Africa was like.« less