While the British defense of Crete in May 1941 was considered a military failure, it altered Hitler’s future tactics.

Bernard Freyberg

Beyond All Praise: British Defense of Crete

By Jon Diamond

Brigadier Eric Dorman-Smith, serving as a liaison to Lt. Gen. Richard O’Connor during Operation Compass, the Western Desert campaign, traveled to General Archibald Wavell’s Middle East Command headquarters in Cairo on February 12, 1941, to seek permission to advance British XIII Corps farther west to Tripoli after the total victory over the Italian Xth Army at Beda Fomm, which gave Britain and her Commonwealth Allies control of the Cyrenaican half of Libya. Read more

German airborne troops finally secured the island Crete following a pitched battle for Maelem airfield.

Bernard Freyberg

ANZACs at Maleme

By David H. Lippman

“Maleme. 20th May, 1941. Usual Mediterranean summer day. Cloudless sky, no wind, extreme visibility; e.g., details on mountains 20 miles to the southeast easily discernible.” Read more

Bernard Freyberg

The Afrika Korps at El Alamein: Beginning of the End

By John Brown

Tobruk, the vital Libyan seaport on the coast of Cyrenaica, fell to General Erwin Rommel and his victorious Afrika Korps in less than 24 hours after an unexpected and devastating air, armor, and infantry attack on June 21, 1942. Read more

At the end of 1943 the Allied armies battling their way north in Italy came up against the German Gustav Line and ground to a halt.

Bernard Freyberg

Barrier at Monte Cassino

By John Brown

The Gustav Line, stretching across Italy at its narrowest part between Gaeta and Ortona, was a formidable system of defenses, some of it in coastal marshes but mainly in mountainous country through which ran fast-flowing rivers. Read more