In Africa

Africa was the theatre of desert warfare, where the Italian Empire opposed the British Army prior to the German intervention.

 

The Desert War

Africa was the theatre of what is now known as the Desert War. At first the Italian Empire opposed the British Army, but Axis alliances resulted in German intervention. By the end of the Desert War, the Allies were in control of North Africa.

Strengthened by the victories of 1936 in Ethiopia, Italy was further comforted by the success of the Duke d’Aoste who had conquered British Somalia, the Sudan and Kenya by July 1940. Italian forces then attacked British influenced Libya and Egypt in September 1940.

The British counter-attacked in December 1940, supported by Commonwealth forces and by the Free French men of Colonel Leclerc. The Italians were in great difficulty and required to be helped by the Germans, who sent Panzer divisions called the Afrika Korps under the command of Erwin Rommel.

 

Rommel en Afrique
Rommel en Afrique

El Alamein

The German army was victorious in Libya and advanced to a hundred kilometres from Alexandria.

It was only from 1942 that the Wehrmacht encountered its first defeats with the British winning the battles of El Alamein in July and October of 1942.

The landing of Allied troops in North Africa on 8th November 1942 was a success. In February 1943 the Afrika Korps won a last victory over the Americans at the battle of Kasserine (Tunisia). Henceforth the Allies began to dominate and the Germans were forced to capitulate on 12th May 1943.

 

With the contribution of Rémy Desquesnes
Historian