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.

North Africa

Leclerc and Liberation

By Michael D. Hull

After the humiliating fall of France in June 1940, two impassioned patriots—a general and an infantry captain—refused to accept defeat and determined, against all odds, to exact retribution from the German invaders. Read more

North Africa

Tactical Thunder: The Ninth Air Force

By Sam McGowan

As the landing craft carrying the invading Allied ground forces of Operation Overlord motored toward the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, they were protected and supported by the largest aerial armada the world has ever seen. Read more

North Africa

George C. Marshall: Architect of Victory

By Michael D. Hull

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was disturbed in the autumn of 1938 by the Munich agreement, at which the rights of Czechoslovakia were signed away, and by reports of mounting air strength in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Read more

North Africa

Officer Henri Laperrine

By John W. Osborn, Jr.

Compared to its sprawling British counterpart, the French colonial empire produced few notable heroes. One of these was Henri Laperrine, a talented but troubled officer who would help tame his part of the wilderness but, ultimately, would be destroyed by it. Read more

Located at Helwan, Egypt, the Middle East Command Camouflage Development and Training Center was a think tank and laboratory for the deception efforts of A Force. Taken in 1941, this photo shows a British tank with its sunshield split during vehicle servicing on the workshop floor.

North Africa

Magic in the Desert

By Jon Diamond

In July 1939, Archibald Wavell was named General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Middle East Command with the rank of full general in the British Army. Read more

North Africa

Daring Raid on Algiers Harbor

By Christopher Miskimon

In November 1942, the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch, caused a short but intense conflict with French forces loyal to the Vichy regime in power on the European mainland. Read more

North Africa

Battle at Bir el Gubi

By Arnold Blumberg

February 1941 saw the fortunes of war favor the British in the North African wasteland of Cyrenaica (modern Libya). Read more