North Africa

The North Africa campaign during World War II included major operations from early 1940 through the spring of 1943 as Allied forces fought Axis armies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. For the Allies, victory in North Africa was critical for control of the Mediterranean Sea and future offensive operations in Italy. Axis forces hoped to dominate the Mediterranean and seize British-held Egypt, the Suez Canal, and potentially the oil fields of the Middle East. The Allies were victorious in North Africa campaign, and the defeat of Axis forces at the Battle of El Alamein was a turning point during World War II.

Spitfire pilots are shown with their aircraft in Burma. Although commonly associated with the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire also saw service in British theaters of war around the globe in World War II.

North Africa

The Supermarine Spitfire and the Battle of Britain

by William F. Floyd Jr.

On March 5, 1936, the new Supermarine Type 300 took off from Southampton, England. The plane would soon be called the Spitfire, and along with the Hawker Hurricane it would become Great Britain’s first line of defense. Read more

North Africa

WWII Tanks: Italy’s Failed Iterations

by Arnold Blumberg

Although it suffered, like all combatants, from the costly stalemate and horrendous casualties of trench warfare during World War I, Italy never used tanks during that conflict. Read more

North Africa

Rommel’s Failed Gamble: The “Six Days’ Race”

By Arnold Blumberg

An old cliché admonishes, “Bad things always come in threes.” Whether it was thought of as a law of nature or merely coincidence, a rapid succession of events in North Africa during the summer of 1942 seemed to confirm this widely held notion among the officers and men of the British Eighth Army. Read more

North Africa

Debacle at Dakar

By David H. Lippman

The director flicked his finger, and General Charles de Gaulle began reading his address into the British Broadcasting Corporation’s microphone, speaking from London to his defeated countrymen across the English Channel, calling upon them to continue resistance in the face of overwhelming German supremacy. Read more

Major General Eric Dorman-Smith was an architect of the strategy that won the first battle of El Alamein in June 1942.

North Africa

Eric Dorman-Smith: Churchill’s Scapegoat in North Africa

By Jon Diamond

When one gazes upon the bookshelves in the Military History section of a well-endowed library, one cannot help but notice the number of volumes dedicated to the battles for North Africa during World War II and particularly to the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Read more