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North African Campaign, 1940-1942

North African Campaign, 1940-1942


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North African Campaign, 1940-1942

This clickable map shows the overall course of the Northern African campaign from 1940 until 1942, following the series of Allied and Axis victories that saw the armies advance and retreat across Libya and Egypt five times in two years.


North African Campaign: 1940-1942

The British campaign in North Africa in 1940-1942 against the Italians and ultimately the German Afrika Korps, became crucial as a prelude to the eventual "second front" in the European Theater of World War II. If North Africa had been lost, D-Day would have been delayed at least and Germany could have focused on defeating the Soviet Union, with disasterous consequences for the Allies.


Tank from Rommel's Afrika Korps mired in a desert flash flood, North Africa, 1942.


Italy and the British in North Africa


North African Campaign Regional Map, 1940-1942.

At midnight on 10 June 1940, in a blatant attempt to capitalize on German successes, Italy declared war on both England and France. On 13 September 1940, Italian Marshall Rodolfo Graziani began an eastward advance from Libya into Egypt with five divisions headed for the British controlled Suez Canal, but was halted at Mersa Matruh by British defenses, 300 miles west of the canal.

In Greece, the British repulsed Italian attacks and occupied airfields there and in Crete. These moves put British planes within striking distance of Germany's oil sources in Ploesti, Romania, reason enough for Hitler to launch an operation against Greece in April 1941. The British were forced to retreat to the island of Crete where they were attacked and defeated by German forces in June 1941.

In North Africa, the Italians did poorly against the British. A British counter-offensive on 9 December 1940 pushed the Italians back more than 500 miles to El Agheila, half way to Tripoli, as British troops moved westward along the North African coast. On 22 January 1941, they captured the port of Tobruk in Libya from the Italians.


Contents

In May 1941, Admiral François Darlan, on behalf of Vichy France signed the Paris Protocols, an agreement with the Germans, which granted Germany access to military facilities in Vichy-controlled Syria. [4] The protocols remained unratified, but Charles Huntziger, the Vichy Minister of War, sent orders to Henri Dentz, the High Commissioner for the Levant, to allow aircraft of the German Luftwaffe and the Italian Regia Aeronautica to refuel in Syria. Marked as Iraqi aircraft, Axis aircraft under Fliegerführer Irak landed in Syria en route to the Kingdom of Iraq during the Anglo-Iraqi War. Darlan, a confirmed Anglophobe, allowed the German and Italian aircraft to use Syrian airfields partly because of attacks on Vichy French ships by the British. He calculated that since July 1940, 167 French ships had been seized by British forces. [5] Under the Paris Protocols, an agreement was also made for the French to launch an offensive against the British-held Iraqi oilfields, a proposal put forward by Darlan. [6] As well as the use of Syrian airfields, the Germans also requested permission from the Vichy authorities to use Syrian railways to send armaments to Iraqi nationalists in Mosul. In return for Darlan's enthusiastic pro-Axis gestures, the Germans released 7,000 French prisoners of war, many of whom were professional officers and non-commissioned officers. [7] General Archibald Percival Wavell, the Commander-in-Chief of Middle East Command, was reluctant to intervene in Syria despite government prodding, because of the situation in the Western Desert, the imminent German attack on Crete and doubts about the Free French pretensions. [8]

Vichy Syria Edit

Dentz was Commander in Chief of the Armée du Levant (Army of the Levant), which had regular metropolitan colonial troops and troupes spéciales (special troops, indigenous Syrian and Lebanese soldiers). [9] There were seven infantry battalions of regular French troops at his disposal, which included the 6th Foreign Infantry Regiment of the French Foreign Legion, the 24th Colonial Infantry Regiment and eleven infantry battalions of "special troops", including at least 5,000 cavalry in horsed and motorized units, two artillery groups and supporting units. [9] The Army had 35,000 troops with 35,000 regulars including 8,000 French and 25,000 Syrian and Lebanese infantry. The French had 90 tanks (according to British estimates), the Armée de l'air had 90 aircraft (increasing to 289 aircraft after reinforcement) and the Marine nationale (French Navy) had two destroyers, Guépard and Valmy as well as one Sloop, the Élan and three submarines. [10] [11]

On 14 May 1941, a Royal Air Force (RAF) Bristol Blenheim bomber crew flying a reconnaissance mission over Palmyra, in central Syria, spotted a Junkers Ju 90 transport taking off, with more German and Italian aircraft seen later that day. An attack on the airfield was authorised later that evening. [12] Attacks against German and Italian aircraft staging through Syria continued, and the British claimed six Axis aircraft destroyed by 8 June. Vichy French forces shot down a Blenheim on 28 May, killing the crew, and forced down another on 2 June. [13] French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighters also escorted German Junkers Ju 52 aircraft into Iraq on 28 May. [14] The RAF shot down a Vichy Martin 167F bomber over the British Mandate of Palestine on 6 June. [15] While German interest in the French mandates of Syria and Lebanon was limited, Adolf Hitler permitted reinforcement of the French troops by allowing French aircraft en route from Algeria to Syria to fly over Axis-controlled territory and refuel at the German-controlled Eleusina air base in Greece. [16] The activity of German aircraft based in Greece and the Dodecanese Islands was interpreted by the British as support for Vichy troops, but although Dentz briefly considered accepting German assistance, he rejected the offer on 13 June. [17] By the end of the Anglo-Iraqi War, all 14 of the original German Messerschmitt Bf 110 aircraft sent to Syria and five Heinkel He 111 and a large number of transport aircraft had been destroyed by the British. [18]

Palestine and Iraq Edit

The British-led invasion of Syria and Lebanon aimed at preventing Germany from using the Mandatory Syrian Republic and Greater Lebanon, controlled by Vichy France, for attacks on Egypt as the British fought the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) against Axis forces in North Africa. In September 1936, the French in had ceded autonomy to Syria but it retained rights to maintain some armed forces and two airfields in the territory. The British were concerned about potential attacks by Nazi Germany from Syria and Lebanon, or that the Germans might gain access to airfields there. An additional concern related to the possibility of German troops on the Eastern Front linking up with Vichy forces if Germany defeated Russia, by advancing south through the Caucasus. Both contingencies were unlikely, but would have exposed Allied forces in Egypt to a northern front at a time when all available resources were needed to halt German advances from the west. [19] From 1 April 1941, after a coup d'état, Iraq, on the eastern border of Syria, came under the control of nationalists led by Rashid Ali who were willing to appeal for German support. The Anglo-Iraqi War (2–31 May 1941) led to the installation of a pro-British government. [20]

British forces to the south of Syria in Mandate Palestine were under the command of General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson and consisted of the 7th Australian Division (minus the 18th Brigade, which was in North Africa, besieged at the siege of Tobruk), Gentforce with two Free French brigades of the 1st Free French Division (including two battalions of the 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade attached to the 1st Free French Brigade) and the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade (4th Indian Infantry Division) with artillery, engineers and other support services attached to form the 5th Indian Brigade Group. In northern and central Syria, Iraq Command (Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Quinan) was used in the campaign to attack from the east, consisting of the 10th Indian Infantry Division, elements of the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade (8th Indian Infantry Division) and Habforce, the 4th Cavalry Brigade and the Arab Legion, under John Glubb (Glubb Pasha). [21] Commando and raiding operations were undertaken by No. 11 (Scottish) Commando from Cyprus, [22] as well as Palmach paramilitary and Mista'arvim squads from Mandatory Palestine. [23]

Air support was provided by squadrons from the RAF and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Ground forces on the coast were supported by bombardments from Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) units of the Mediterranean Fleet. At the beginning, Air Commodore L. O. Brown, the Air officer commanding (AOC) HQ RAF Palestine and Transjordan had the understrength 11 Squadron (Blenheim Mk IV), 80 Squadron, re-equipping with Hawker Hurricanes, 3 Squadron RAAF, converting to Curtiss Tomahawks, 208 (Army Co-operation) Squadron with a flight of Hurricanes and X Flight (Gloster Gladiators). A detachment of Fleet Air Arm (FAA) 815 Naval Air Squadron (Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers) in Cyprus and 84 Squadron (Blenheims) in Iraq were to co-operate. [24]

British forces in reserve included the 6th Infantry Division (with the Czechoslovak 11th Infantry Battalion–East attached to the 23rd Infantry Brigade) and the 17th Australian Brigade. [25] In mid-June, the division with its two infantry brigades came into the line as reinforcements, mainly on the Damascus front, and the southern force was placed under the command of the 1st Australian Corps on 19 June. [26] [27] [28] At the beginning of Operation Exporter, the British and Commonwealth force consisted of about 34,000 men (18,000 Australians, 9,000 British, 2,000 Indian and 5,000 Free French troops) . [29] The RAF and RAAF had about 50 aircraft, and the navy contributed the landing ship HMS Glengyle, five cruisers and eight destroyers. [30]

British plan of attack Edit

The British plan of attack devised by Wilson called for four lines of invasion, in Damascus and Beirut, in Palestine, in northern Syria and Palmyra, in central Syria, from Iraq, and in Tripoli (in northern Lebanon) also from Iraq. [31] [32] The 5th Indian Brigade Group (Brigadier Wilfrid Lewis Lloyd) was ordered to cross the Syrian border from Palestine and take Quneitra and Deraa. That was anticipated to would open the way for the 1st Free French Division to advance to Damascus. Four days after the commencement of the operation, the force was brought under unified command and was named Gentforce after its French commander, Major-General Paul Louis Le Gentilhomme. [33] The 7th Australian Division (Major-General John Lavarack, succeeded by Major-General Arthur "Tubby" Allen on 18 June when Lavarack took over Australian I Corps) advanced from Palestine along the coastal road from Haifa towards Beirut. [34] The Australian 21st Brigade was to take Beirut, advancing along the coast from Tyre, over the Litani River towards Sidon. [35] The Australian 25th Brigade was to attack the large Vichy French airbase at Rayak by advancing along a route further inland from the 21st Brigade. [36] The operation was also to include a supporting commando landing from Cyprus at the south of the Litani River. [37]

Once the two southern prongs were well engaged, a third force if formations drawn from Iraq Command, was planned to invade Syria. The bulk of the 10th Indian Infantry Division (Major-General William "Bill" Slim) was to advance north-west, up the Euphrates River from Haditha in Iraq (upstream from Baghdad), toward Deir ez Zor and thence to Raqqa and Aleppo. The manoeuvre was intended to threaten the communication and supply lines of Vichy forces defending Beirut from the Australians advancing from the south, particularly the railway line running northwards through Aleppo to Turkey, which was thought by some British strategists to be sympathetic to Vichy and Germany. [38] A group of two infantry battalions from the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade (10th Indian Division) and two from the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade (8th Indian Infantry Division) would operate independently to capture all the territory in north-eastern Syria. The 20th Indian Infantry Brigade were to make a feint from Mosul, and the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade would advance into the Bec du Canard (Duck's Bill) region, through which a railway from Aleppo ran eastward to Mosul and Baghdad. [39] [40] Habforce was in Iraq attached to Iraq Command because it had struck across the desert from the Transjordan border as part of the relief of RAF Habbaniya during the Anglo-Iraqi War. [41] Habforce consisted of the 4th Cavalry Brigade, the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment and the Arab Legion Mechanized Regiment supported by field, anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery units, to gather in western Iraq between Rutbah and the Transjordan border. [42] As the thrust up the Euphrates took place, Habforce would meanwhile advance north-westerly to take Palmyra, Syria, and secure the oil pipeline from Haditha to Tripoli. [41]


The Story Behind Mussolini's Disastrous North African Campaign

Was the Italian Army simply a poor fighting force or doomed from the start by circumstance?

Here's What You Need to Know: When most people think of the Italian Army in North Africa during World War II, they tend to believe that the average Italian soldier offered little resistance to the Allies before surrendering. Many believe the Italian Army, as a whole, performed in a cowardly manner in North Africa.

The reality is not so simple. The question remains as to whether the Italians were really cowards or actually victims of circumstance. While the Italian soldier’s commitment to the war was not as great as that of the German soldier, many Italians fought bravely. The Italian Littorio and Ariete Divisions earned Allied admiration at Tobruk, Gazala, and El Alamein. The Italian Army played a significant role as part of the German Afrika Korps and made up a large portion of the Axis combat power in North Africa during 1941 and 1942. In the interest of determining how the Italian Army earned the reputation that it did, it is necessary to analyze why and how the Italians fought.

Mussolini’s Campaign in Africa

In 1940, it appeared that German successes in Poland, France, and Norway would end the war. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was concerned that Italy might lose its share of the spoils. On June 10, 1940, he declared war on Britain and France. He was sure that France and Britain would soon surrender and did not believe Italy would have to do much fighting.

Mussolini wanted to occupy the French and British colonies in Africa and seize control of the Suez Canal from the British. In August 1940, he ordered attacks on British positions in East Africa and Egypt. Troops from the Italian colony of Ethiopia invaded British Somaliland and quickly overran its garrison made up of mostly conscripted natives.

At the same time, other Italian troops began to move westward from Ethiopia into Sudan to seize the upper Nile Valley. They quickly captured Kassala and Gallabat, while more Italian troops moved south to capture Moyale, in the northern part of the British colony of Kenya.

Buoyed by their successes, the Italians prepared to march from Libya across northern Egypt to seize the Suez Canal. The youngest elements of the Italian Army were indoctrinated to consider themselves invincible because they were Italians and Fascists. They were taught that their enemies were inferior and would be easily defeated. Mussolini repeatedly refused offers of assistance from Hitler during this period, convinced that his forces could vanquish the British.

Operation Compass: a Crushing Counterattack

On September 13, 1940, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, commander of the Italian Army in North Africa, began his advance into Egypt, hoping to make a quick dash to the Suez Canal. He commanded a 236,000-strong army supported by a powerful air force. Yet, behind the overwhelming numbers facing the British were glaring weaknesses that not even Graziani’s Fascist confidence could overcome.

The Italian Tenth and Fifth Armies in Libya marched on foot, while the British rode in trucks. Two of the six Italian divisions were Black Shirt militia outfits, clad in fancy black uniforms, but poorly trained soldiers. The main characteristic of Italian tactics was a lack of flexibility. They had remained attached to one principle, which consisted of the concentration of the greatest mass possible for whatever task lay ahead of them.

In addition, Italian divisions were reduced from three regiments to two. This created more Italian divisions but weakened their strength. Further, the Italian forces relied on poor, obsollete equipment. Armored cars dated back to 1909. The L3 tank mounted only two Breda machine guns. The underpowered and thinly armored M11 tank was no better. Its 37mm gun could not traverse. The heavyweight M13 tank packed a 47mm gun but crawled along at nine miles per hour. None could match the British Matilda tank with its 50mm armor and 40mm gun. Italian troops were short of antitank guns, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, and radio sets. Artillery was light and ancient.

Italian infantrymen carried the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, an 1881 model, which suffered from low muzzle velocity. Their Breda machine guns were clumsy to operate and jammed easily. On the other hand, the British troops used the reliable .303-caliber Lee-Enfield rifle and the very good Bren and Vickers machine guns. The Italians also had problems in the air. While they could sortie 84 modern bombers and 114 fighters, backed up by 113 obsolete aircraft, they were completely outclassed by the British Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. Furthermore, the British Army, which had trained for years in the Egyptian desert, was much better at maintaining its equipment under the extremes of the arid climate.

Four Italian divisions and an armored group under General Annibale Bergonzoli advanced slowly toward Egypt, across a hostile landscape in temperatures of up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. They succeeded in covering only 12 miles a day. Historically, the Italian Army was structured for deployment in the mountainous terrain found in Italy and its immediate neighbors. Graziani’s army as a whole was not trained for desert warfare, and the heat and sand took a toll on men and equipment.

British General Archibald Wavell’s forces, which where distracted in French West Africa, offered little resistance, and the 23 March Black Shirt Division occupied Sidi Barrani on September 16. The Italians were now 60 miles inside the Egyptian border. Despite the superior Italian strength, the British attacked on December 9. General Richard O’Connor led two divisions, the 7th Armored and 4th Indian, in the attack, supported by the 7th Royal Tank Regiment.

The Italians could not stop the British Matilda tanks. They quickly found a gap in the Italian defenses. Taking advantage of the rigid Italian tactics, poor leadership, and equipment deficiencies, they dashed through, surprising Graziani. The main British force raced for the coast at Sidi Barrani, while detachments slashed at the rear of the Italian units.

The Italians did not have the flexibility to deviate from their formations. While individual soldiers fought bravely, within two days nearly 40,000 Italians surrendered. The rest of Graziani’s force retreated westward toward Libya. The average Italian soldier began to have serious doubts as to his army’s invincibility, and a lack of confidence in Italian leadership reached crisis level.

The devastating British offensive of December 1940 had led to a series of severe reversals. Therefore, the Italian high command requested German assistance. The Luftwaffe’s X Fliegerkorps was ordered to Italy from Norway and arrived in Sicily in late December 1940. The Germans operated against Allied shipping and patrolled the sea-lanes between Italy and Libya. However, by mid-February 1941, having not yet received the ground support he requested, Graziani’s Italian forces were overrun and 115,000 men surrendered.

The Afrika Korps Arrives

In the wake of the Italian defeats, Hitler decided to send a German Army formation to Libya. The intervention was code-named Operation Sunflower and included the 5th Light and 15th Panzer Divisions. Forward elements of the German force began to arrive in Tripoli on February 14, 1941. The Deutsches Afrika Korps was formed five days later. General Erwin Rommel commanded German forces in North Africa and, for the sake of diplomacy, was directed to serve under General Italo Gariboldi, who had succeeded the defeated Marshal Graziani as the Italian commander in North Africa.

Immediately after his arrival at Tripoli on February 12, 1941, Rommel began organizing the defense of Tripolitania, in western Libya, and making plans for offensive actions. The Italian Ariete and Trento armored divisions arrived from Italy. The Ariete was composed of 6,949 men, 163 tanks, 36 field guns, and 61 antitank guns. Motorized infantry consisted of the 101st Trieste Division and the 102nd Trento Division. The semi-motorized infantry contingent included the 17th Pavia Division, 25th Bologna Division, and the 27th Brescia Division. Like the motorized formations, these units had two regiments of infantry. The infantry divisions consisted of the 55th Savona and the 60th Sabartha.

The Italians introduced the more modern M-13/40 tanks, grouped in motorized units and not thrown together like Graziani’s tanks during his offensive. They also utilized their first company of armored cars. To erase the poor performance of some obsolete artillery, the Italians introduced the use of self-propelled guns in close support and in antitank attacks by “massing” the artillery. The Ariete Division began to use the 90/53 antiaircraft gun, which was capable of piercing 100mm of armor at 1,000 yards. Rommel had at his disposal 100,000 Italian soldiers, 7,000 Italian trucks, 1,000 Italian guns, and 151 Italian aircraft.

Rommel Goes on the Offensive

Rommel’s orders were to assume a defensive posture and hold the front line. Finding that the British defenses were thin, he quickly defeated the Allied forces at El Agheila on March 24. He then launched an offensive which, by April 15, had pushed the British back to Salum, capturing all but Tobruk, which was encircled and besieged. During this drive, he also managed to capture two British generals, Richard O’Connor and Sir Philip Neame.

Gariboldi tried to restrain Rommel, insisting that any further moves would be in direct violation of orders. Rommel ignored him, stating, “I decided to stay on the heels of the retreating enemy and make a bid to seize the whole of Cyrenaica at one stroke.”


The US Invasion of North Africa

As the "Hinge of Fate" was turning across the globe, Operation Torch became the US military's first step toward defeat of Nazi Germany in Europe.

Days after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war, and the United States was confronted not only with a war on two fronts in Europe and Asia, but also hostilities and problems of grand strategy on a truly global scale. Savage fighting was taking place far away in the Soviet Union and China that could decisively affect our ability to win the war. But with our full industrial mobilization only beginning and those battlefields so remote, the United States could make little immediate impact on the global situation. In addition, our enemies held the initiative. For the first half of 1942, the Japanese swept from victory to victory across Southeast Asia and the Pacific. On the other side of the world, Britain survived, but had not inflicted a major military defeat on Nazi Germany. Likewise, although the Soviet Union survived to halt the Germans at the gates of Moscow in December 1941, a fierce and renewed German offensive was coming. There were fears that a nightmare scenario might arise if the Germans thrust through the Caucasus region into the Middle East while the Japanese knifed through India, allowing them to link up and control Eurasia from one end to the other.

It is against this historical backdrop that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced a decision: How could the United States most decisively deploy its limited military resources to influence the current balance of forces and the ultimate outcome of the war? The Soviets made clear that a cross-channel invasion of northern Europe, as soon as possible, was their expectation. This prescription for ultimate victory was also agreed upon by the top three American military planners: Henry Stimson, George Marshall, and Dwight Eisenhower. “If we’re to keep Russia in, save the Middle East, India, and Burma, we’ve got to begin slugging by air at West Europe, to be followed by a land attack as soon as possible,” Eisenhower contended. While in agreement with the American military leaders that a buildup of forces in England was essential to mounting a continental invasion, British military and political leaders were far more cautious and skeptical of the timing of an operation. The political consequences of a premature, failed military invasion would likely be fatal to the Allied cause.

American soldiers standing on a wing of a wrecked German plans in North Africa, 1943. Gift of Vincent Yannetti.

As the Allies debated their course of action, the heavy realities of war and defeat fell onto the scales. On June 21, 1942, General George Marshall delivered to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, literally beside President Roosevelt in the Oval Office, news of British defeat at Tobruk at the hands of General Erwin Rommel, who had vowed to continue to Suez. Roosevelt asked Churchill at that moment, “What can we do to help?”

Despite further Allied negotiations on what to do, the invasion of North Africa now gathered steam for Roosevelt as the first step in American military operations towards the defeat of Nazi Germany in Europe. In July, Roosevelt stated, “It is of the highest importance that US ground troops be brought into action against the enemy in 1942,” before finally declaring to his lieutenants on July 30 at the White House that his decision as Commander in Chief was final, and that the invasion of North Africa should go forward at the earliest opportunity. On August 13, Eisenhower was selected as commander of Operation Torch. “The President had made the most profound American strategic decision of the European war in direct contravention of his generals and admirals,” historian Rick Atkinson would later write, “and he had based his fiat on instinct and a political calculation that the time was ripe.”

From the global perspective, Roosevelt’s calculation that the time was ripe proved prescient. On August 7, 1942, American forces landed on Guadalcanal, the first landed steps on the long road to Tokyo. On August 23, German forces reached the banks of the Volga River, and the monumental battle at Stalingrad commenced. In late October, Rommel and his forces received their first taste of decisive defeat at the hands of the British at El Alamein. The Americans joined the fight in North Africa with the successful landings on November 8. In the brutal Naval Battle of Guadalcanal fought over November 12–15, the Americans succeeded in isolating the Japanese forces remaining on the island, while at virtually the same time on November 19 the Soviets under General Zhukov successfully surrounded over 250,000 German troops of the Sixth Army. The Germans at Stalingrad and the Japanese on Guadalcanal starved, until the German surrender and Japanese evacuation that both took place in the first week of February 1943. Winston Churchill would later title his account of these six months as the “Hinge of Fate” that changed the Allied fortunes, and eventually sent us in the direction of ultimate victory in World War II.

This article, by Senior Director of Research and History Keith Huxen, PhD, first appeared in the winter 2017 issue of V-Mail, the Museum’s quarterly Member newsletter.

Kasserine Pass Symposium

The 75th Anniversary of The Battle of Kasserine Pass Symposium, taking place February 24 at the Museum, will look at the key lessons of the battle and explain ways in which the setback in Tunisia produced a hardened US Army that would march on to victory.


Military History of Gibraltar During World War II - North African Campaign: 1942

Plans for the Allied counter offensive after the attack on Pearl Harbor were ongoing by mid-1942. An invasion of Europe in 1943 would be unworkable, but the allies could attack the "soft underbelly of Europe" through the Mediterranean, as Prime Minister Winston Churchill put it. Devised by President Franklin Roosevelt and Churchill and code named Operation Torch, the plan was to occupy French North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. From these French colonies, attacks could be launched that would drive Italy out of the war.

In July 1942, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed Allied Commander-in-Chief of Operation Torch. Churchill placed Gibraltar under the command of General Eisenhower as the temporary headquarters for this, the first large-scale Anglo-American operation of the war. He arrived in Gibraltar on 5 November 1942 to take over, not just command of Operation Torch itself, but also military command of Gibraltar.

General Eisenhower stayed at The Convent, the official Governor's residence, but his operational headquarters were in a small chamber in a tunnel in the heart of the Rock. In his memoirs General Eisenhower wrote:

The subterranean passages under the Rock provided the sole available office space, and in them was located the signal equipment by which we expected to keep in touch with the commanders of the three assault forces. The eternal darkness of the tunnels was here and there partially pierced by feeble electric bulbs. Damp, cold air in block-long passages was heavy with stagnation and did not noticeably respond to the clattering efforts of electric fans. Through the arched ceilings came a constant drip, drip, drip of surface water that faithfully but drearily ticked off the seconds of the interminable, almost unendurable, wait which always occurs between completion of a military plan and the moment action begins.

One hundred thousand soldiers on the high seas in a multitude of transports converged on Gibraltar. More than 400 aircraft of all types were crammed into the dispersal areas around the Gibraltar runway. Fighters had been shipped in crates and assembled on the airfield. Every available area of storage was taken up with ammunition, fuel, and other essential supplies. 168 American pilots were housed in the RAF messes at North Front.

On 8 November 1942, 466 aircraft from Gibraltar landed on captured North African airfields.

From their headquarters in Gibraltar, General Eisenhower and Admiral Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham directed Operation Torch, the first major combined combat operation during World War II involving American and British forces.

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Libyan map during ww2 | Libyan maps خرائط ليبيا | Pinterest | Maps and Westerns from s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com 1941 somwhere in northren africa, lybia. Ww2 map europe and north africa. Map of africa during ww2. Gaming ww2 in north africa part two. Allied gains north africa or northern africa is the northernmost region of the african continent, linked by the sahara to the map center team as a consequence provides the new pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map in high definition and best setting that can be. It included campaigns fought in the libyan and egyptian deserts. > use ctrl + scroll to zoom the map. The wife is giving permission to turn the garage into a man cave so i get to have some fun with it.

I am looking for some ww2 maps, would prefer allied.

The east african campaign (also known as the abyssinian campaign) was fought in east africa during the second world war by allies of world war ii, mainly from the british empire. Yet the war also spurred rapid technological development, hastened the end of colonialism, and laid the foundation for institutions like the united nations and the european union. Stop with maps of finland, belgium, and italy fell afoul of the new german leadership in the 60s. Maps maps faq map room guide world africa americas asia australia/pacific europe middle east polar/oceans russia/republics u.s. Controllable map of world war ii in europe (end of august 1939 to end of december 1942). This wonderful map by redditor whiplashoo21 shows how the scramble for africa divided the dark continent. I create this map for flans mod only with the ww2 content pack. Map description history map of wwii: Tobruk, ain el gazala, sidi suleiman, bengasi, bardia, the libyan desert, algiers, morocco, oran, casablanca, cyrenaica, tunis, el daba el alamein, algeria/morocco/tunisia, egypt, northern tunisia. Map africa 1940 the railway map of south africa from 1912 crossed the sahara via morocco algeria & niger returned for 3 weeks in the european union in an alternate timeline 2nd alternate map of eu by magnificate world modities map africa mapsontheweb. Anyone one know where i can get some orginals for a good price or well done repos? It's about one of the most devastating wars fought globally by the world war ii europe map shows the locations of europe countries where some of the most crucial battles were fought in the european theater of the. The world at war (wwi and wwii).

Controllable map of world war ii in europe (end of august 1939 to end of december 1942). This map quiz will help you explore some of the most important locations of the war. The north africa campaigns were a series of world war ii battles for control of the suez canal, a vital lifeline for britain's colonial empire, and the oil resources of the middle east. Ww2 in europe and north africa map has a variety pictures that linked to locate out the most recent pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map here, and with you can get the pictures through our best ww2 in europe and north africa map. The wife is giving permission to turn the garage into a man cave so i get to have some fun with it.

Education - Classroom Decor - Geography - History - This World War II Europe Wall Map displays . from i.pinimg.com Arrows map of east africa ww2 countries in europe and north africa ww2 map. Tobruk, ain el gazala, sidi suleiman, bengasi, bardia, the libyan desert, algiers, morocco, oran, casablanca, cyrenaica, tunis, el daba el alamein, algeria/morocco/tunisia, egypt, northern tunisia. Controllable map of world war ii in europe (end of august 1939 to end of december 1942). This wonderful map by redditor whiplashoo21 shows how the scramble for africa divided the dark continent. This map quiz will help you explore some of the most important locations of the war. Yet the war also spurred rapid technological development, hastened the end of colonialism, and laid the foundation for institutions like the united nations and the european union. The north african campaign of the second world war took place in north africa from 10 june 1940 to 13 may 1943. 1941 operation torch nov 7, 1942 the beginning of the invasion of north if huge.

Allied gains north africa or northern africa is the northernmost region of the african continent, linked by the sahara to the map center team as a consequence provides the new pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map in high definition and best setting that can be.

Allied gains north africa or northern africa is the northernmost region of the african continent, linked by the sahara to the map center team as a consequence provides the new pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map in high definition and best setting that can be. Map of africa during ww2. This map quiz will help you explore some of the most important locations of the war. Map africa 1940 the railway map of south africa from 1912 crossed the sahara via morocco algeria & niger returned for 3 weeks in the european union in an alternate timeline 2nd alternate map of eu by magnificate world modities map africa mapsontheweb. > use ctrl + scroll to zoom the map. The north africa campaigns were a series of world war ii battles for control of the suez canal, a vital lifeline for britain's colonial empire, and the oil resources of the middle east. In europe, there was the battle of berlin, for example, one of the last major allied offensives in the european theatre. Rainier (washington), american demolition teams blowing up the golden gate bridge as they retreated. Stop with maps of finland, belgium, and italy fell afoul of the new german leadership in the 60s. Tobruk, ain el gazala, sidi suleiman, bengasi, bardia, the libyan desert, algiers, morocco, oran, casablanca, cyrenaica, tunis, el daba el alamein, algeria/morocco/tunisia, egypt, northern tunisia. 1941 operation torch nov 7, 1942 the beginning of the invasion of north if huge. Other sets by this creator. This is a map of africa if the axis won ww2.

In march 1942, life magazine ran illustrations of japanese troops marching past mt. General sir claude auchinleck erwin rommel (the desert fox). Dollars and are approximate conversions to us. World war ii map of europe at mapsofworld.com is based on highly researched data. The world at war (wwi and wwii).

Dollars and are approximate conversions to us. 19 unique maps of north africa in several sizes and topographies showing specific regions. Axis concentration camps in yugoslavia in ww2. In europe, there was the battle of berlin, for example, one of the last major allied offensives in the european theatre. I am looking for some ww2 maps, would prefer allied.

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Maps maps faq map room guide world africa americas asia australia/pacific europe middle east polar/oceans russia/republics u.s. World war ii map of europe at mapsofworld.com is based on highly researched data. The east african campaign (also known as the abyssinian campaign) was fought in east africa during the second world war by allies of world war ii, mainly from the british empire. Other sets by this creator. In march 1942, life magazine ran illustrations of japanese troops marching past mt.

Source: mrfamhistory.weebly.com

I create this map for flans mod only with the ww2 content pack. Officially we were neutral, but in reality we supported the. This wonderful map by redditor whiplashoo21 shows how the scramble for africa divided the dark continent. Top suggestions for map of africa ww2. In march 1942, life magazine ran illustrations of japanese troops marching past mt.

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Map africa 1940 the railway map of south africa from 1912 crossed the sahara via morocco algeria & niger returned for 3 weeks in the european union in an alternate timeline 2nd alternate map of eu by magnificate world modities map africa mapsontheweb. Amounts shown in italicized text are for items listed in currency other than us. The wife is giving permission to turn the garage into a man cave so i get to have some fun with it. #167 world war ii in the balkans & north africa these pictures of this page are about:north africa world war 2 map. Please only submit maps of fictional worlds or situations.

Map description history map of wwii: Eto/north africa contents map of wwii north africa 1940/41 war maps war in north africa and italy | historical resources map of wwii north africa 1942/43 timeline of world war ii: Ww2 in europe and north africa map has a variety pictures that linked to locate out the most recent pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map here, and with you can get the pictures through our best ww2 in europe and north africa map. In march 1942, life magazine ran illustrations of japanese troops marching past mt. Dollars and are approximate conversions to us.

Home minecraft maps ww2 african town minecraft map. Stop with maps of finland, belgium, and italy fell afoul of the new german leadership in the 60s. It's about one of the most devastating wars fought globally by the world war ii europe map shows the locations of europe countries where some of the most crucial battles were fought in the european theater of the. The north africa campaigns were a series of world war ii battles for control of the suez canal, a vital lifeline for britain's colonial empire, and the oil resources of the middle east. Gaming ww2 in north africa part two.

Map of africa during ww2. Officially we were neutral, but in reality we supported the. This map quiz will help you explore some of the most important locations of the war. 1941 operation torch nov 7, 1942 the beginning of the invasion of north if huge. This is a map of africa if the axis won ww2.

The world at war (wwi and wwii). In march 1942, life magazine ran illustrations of japanese troops marching past mt. The east african campaign (also known as the abyssinian campaign) was fought in east africa during the second world war by allies of world war ii, mainly from the british empire. Ww2 africa map map of africa. Gaming ww2 in north africa part two.

Allied gains north africa or northern africa is the northernmost region of the african continent, linked by the sahara to the map center team as a consequence provides the new pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map in high definition and best setting that can be.

Source: vignette.wikia.nocookie.net

Southern front maps of world war ii.

Source: upload.wikimedia.org

The north africa campaigns were a series of world war ii battles for control of the suez canal, a vital lifeline for britain's colonial empire, and the oil resources of the middle east.

Source: pre13.deviantart.net

I create this map for flans mod only with the ww2 content pack.

Source: upload.wikimedia.org

World war ii was a great tragedy, claiming 60 million lives and throwing millions more into turmoil.

It included campaigns fought in the libyan and egyptian deserts.

The north africa campaigns were a series of world war ii battles for control of the suez canal, a vital lifeline for britain's colonial empire, and the oil resources of the middle east.

Map africa 1940 the railway map of south africa from 1912 crossed the sahara via morocco algeria & niger returned for 3 weeks in the european union in an alternate timeline 2nd alternate map of eu by magnificate world modities map africa mapsontheweb.

Anyone one know where i can get some orginals for a good price or well done repos?

1941 somwhere in northren africa, lybia.

Tobruk, ain el gazala, sidi suleiman, bengasi, bardia, the libyan desert, algiers, morocco, oran, casablanca, cyrenaica, tunis, el daba el alamein, algeria/morocco/tunisia, egypt, northern tunisia.

Ww2 in europe and north africa map has a variety pictures that linked to locate out the most recent pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map here, and with you can get the pictures through our best ww2 in europe and north africa map.

This is a map of africa if the axis won ww2.

World war ii (often abbreviated to wwii or ww2), also known as the second world war, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related.

Dollars and are approximate conversions to us.

Controllable map of world war ii in europe (end of august 1939 to end of december 1942).

Home minecraft maps ww2 african town minecraft map.

Source: images.beastsofwar.com

Ww2 africa map map of africa.

The east african campaign (also known as the abyssinian campaign) was fought in east africa during the second world war by allies of world war ii, mainly from the british empire.

Source: msnikkijones.weebly.com

I create this map for flans mod only with the ww2 content pack.

World war ii (often abbreviated to wwii or ww2), also known as the second world war, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related.

Source: www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org

This map quiz will help you explore some of the most important locations of the war.

Source: upload.wikimedia.org

Controllable map of world war ii in europe (end of august 1939 to end of december 1942).

Allied gains north africa or northern africa is the northernmost region of the african continent, linked by the sahara to the map center team as a consequence provides the new pictures of ww2 in europe and north africa map in high definition and best setting that can be.


Hitler’s Options in the North African Campaign

As the winter of 1941-1942 approached, much of the German Luftflotte 2 had been transferred from the Ostfront to the Mediterranean. Luftflotte 2 began attacking Malta, reducing Axis shipping losses. As a result, new panzer units and replacement tanks were able to reach Rommel.

Italian supply vessel Pietro Querini, part of a convoy headed to Tripoli, sinks off of Tunisia after being torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Union.

While reinforcements raised Rommel’s strength to 10 divisions—three German and seven Italian—and accordingly increased his supply requirements to 100,000 tons, he was in fact receiving an average of only 60,000 tons during February to May 1942. This was less than received during the difficult days of June-October 1941, and yet it enabled Rommel, first to take the offensive and then to prepare another and even more spectacular advance.

The demand for 100,000 tons a month was somewhat exaggerated while it corresponded to the needs of 10 full-strength German divisions, the actual forces under Rommel were much smaller, given that his units were understrength and mostly Italian. Panzerarmee was also able to maintain itself at 900 miles from Tripoli because Benghazi, which had contributed little during the previous offensive, was now operating at full capacity. As a result, the distance to be covered by some one-third of his supplies was reduced to just 280 miles.

Logistics now dictated battlefield options. One course of action was for Rommel to stay where he was while preparations were made to capture Malta. Assuming that fuel could be found for the Italian Navy, and given the continued maintenance of the capacity of the port of Benghazi, this would have enabled Rommel to hold out for some time and to prepare a large-scale attack on Egypt.

By the first week of February 1942, the British had dug in on a line at Gazala, west of Tobruk, so Rommel halted Axis operations as well and took personal leave. Back in Berlin, he tried to persuade Hitler to let him have three more panzer divisions, but Hitler was focused on the Ostfront and agreed only to Operation Herakles (Hercules), the invasion of Malta. However, Hitler did not truly favor the operation, given the airborne losses suffered on Crete in 1941 and concerns about the quality of Italian naval support. But Malta was being sufficiently suppressed for the moment so that Axis forces in Libya were now well supplied.

During the first half of 1942, only six percent of the supplies dispatched were lost en route to Libya, thus supply problems were greatly eased in April and May. However, Rommel, fearing a British offensive before Malta was taken, decided to return to Africa and push forward with his own plans. If he succeeded in taking Tobruk, he would then wait until Malta was subdued before advancing into Egypt.

It is questionable whether an advance on Alexandria would have been practicable. Even if Hitler had the additional panzer forces available, bringing them to Africa would have increased Panzerarmee’s support requirements to a point beyond the combined capacity of Benghazi and Tripoli to support operations. This in turn would have made the accumulation of stores for an attack a hopeless task, while the number of vehicles required to transport stores was beyond the limited resources of the Wehrmacht. Perhaps the only way to solve the problem would have been to rid Panzerarmee of its hapless Italian ground forces as von Thoma had recommended in October 1940, but this was not a politically viable option.

German military vehicles are offloaded from cargo ships at the port of Tripoli, Libya, April 1, 1941. By disrupting the Axis supply line, the Allies gained a matériel advantage over the Germans and Italians in the North African Campaign.

As an alternative to the Axis logistics system, the nature of desert operations required the establishment of large supply dumps close behind the front, and a penetrating attack had a chance of capturing the supplies necessary to continue an advance. Thus Rommel would be able to pursue the British using captured fuel transported in captured trucks. But planning for this was a gamble.


Tunisian Campaign

Following the Operation Torch landings, the Germans and Italians initiated a buildup of troops in Tunisia to fill the vacuum left by Vichy troops who had withdrawn. During this period of weakness, the Allies decided against a rapid advance into Tunisia while they wrestled with the Vichy authorities. Many of the Allied soldiers were tied up in garrison duties because of the uncertain status and intentions of the Vichy forces.

By the beginning of March, the British Eighth Army—advancing westward along the North African coast—reached the Tunisian border. Rommel and von Arnim found themselves in an Allied “two army” pincer. They were outflanked, outmanned, and outgunned. The British Eighth Army bypassed the Axis defence on the Mareth Line in late March and First Army in central Tunisia launched their main offensive in mid-April to squeeze the Axis forces until their resistance in Africa collapsed. The Axis forces surrendered on May 13, 1943, yielding over 275,000 prisoners of war. The last Axis force to surrender in North Africa was the 1st Italian Army. This huge loss of experienced troops greatly reduced the military capacity of the Axis powers, although the largest percentage of Axis troops escaped Tunisia. This defeat in Africa led to all Italian colonies in Africa being captured.


Watch the video: Berlin zur Kaiserzeit - Glanz und Schatten einer Epoche ganzer Film in HD (July 2022).


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