"11 June 1940 - 4 February 1943: The Western Desert Campaign Begins" by Scott Lyons

The North African Campaign, spanned from June 1940 until May 1943, encapsulating a series of operations and battles that involved vast maneuvers across desert terrains by both Axis and Allied forces. This campaign was characterized by a series of strategic thrusts and counterthrusts over control of Libya and Egypt and is a testament to the tenacity and resourcefulness of the involved forces. 1940 Initiated on September 13, 1940, with the Italian advance on British-held Egypt, the campaign swiftly escalated. The subsequent Operation Compass—a British assault that launched in December 1940—yielded key victories at the Battle of Sidi Barrani and the Battle of Bardia. Continued Allied success led to the significant capture of Tobruk, signaling the first major surrender of Italian forces. The Western Desert Force (WDF), under the command of Lieutenant-General Richard O'Connor and consisting of approximately 36,000 men, initiated a daring advance from Mersa Matruh in Egypt. This operation…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 15

"19-24 February 1943: First Blood: The Battle of Kasserine Pass" by Scott Lyons

The Battle of Kasserine Pass in Tunisia was a significant moment during World War II as it marked the first major engagement between American and German forces. The Kasserine Pass was a critical point of convergence for the Allied supply lines, which were essential for the success of the North African campaign. The battle took place in Tunisia on 14 February 1943 and was a resounding defeat for the United States Army. The German offensive, led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, was a prelude to a series of clashes that became known as the Battle of Kasserine Pass, which lasted for one week. The battle was a sobering moment for the Allied forces, as it exposed the weaknesses in their strategy, chain of supply, and military tactics. The war in North Africa had been going well for the Allies until the Battle of Kasserine Pass. In November 1942, British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery defeated Rommel at the Second Battle of El Alamein and was chasing him out of Egypt and Libya. Around the…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 44

"17 January 1944: Fight Among the Ruins: The Battle of Monte Cassino Begins" by Scott Lyons

OVERVIEW OF THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN The Italian Campaign of World War II holds a significant place in the annals of military history, despite its long-standing overshadowing by the more famous Normandy invasion. The campaign was fought across multiple fronts in Italy, beginning with the invasion of Sicily and culminating in the capture of Rome and the eventual defeat of Axis forces in Italy. The campaign was a protracted and grueling fight, characterized by difficult terrain, extreme weather, and a tenacious German defense. However, the lessons learned on the Italian front proved to be invaluable tactical and logistical experience that would pay dividends for the Allies in later battles. The Italian Campaign began on 9 July 1943, with the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed "Operation Husky." The invasion was the second-largest amphibious assault in history, after the D-Day landing in Normandy, and marked the beginning of the Allied war against Germany in "Fortress Europe." The Sicily…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 47

"24 October 1942: End of the Axis in North Africa; The Second Battle of El Alamein" by Scott Lyons

Background to the Second Battle of El-Alamein The Axis forces had been continuously advancing since the start of the North African campaign in February 1941. The capture of Tobruk by the German-Italian forces in June 1942 resulted in the Axis armies being at the doorstep of the strategically important Suez Canal. However, this advancement stalled in July 1942 at the first Battle of El-Alamein where the British forces successfully blocked the Axis forces. This provided Britain with a much-needed breathing space to reinforce its North African front and prepare for an offensive. General Montgomery was put in charge of the British Eighth Army in August 1942 and was tasked with defeating the Axis forces. The First Battle of El Alamein and the Battle of Alam el Halfa had previously prevented the Axis powers from advancing into Egypt and marked a stalemate in the North African campaign. However, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, became impatient with the lack of progress in the…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 28

9 July 1943: Operation Mincemeat and its effect on the Invasion of Sicily

Above: Troops from 51st Highland Division unloading stores from tank landing craft on the opening day of the Allied invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Just after dawn, men of the Highland Division up to their waists in water unloading stores on a landing beach on the opening day of the invasion of Sicily. Meanwhile beach roads are being prepared for heavy and light traffic. Several landing craft tank can be seen just of the beach, including LCT 622. Source: Public Domain, click to enlarge. Operation Mincemeat was a vital component of the successful Allied Invasion of Sicily in July 1943. By deceiving the Axis powers, the operation was able to divert significant forces away from the invasion site, thereby enabling the Allies to gain a foothold on the island. The deception began with the acquisition of a tramp's body, which was dressed as an officer of the Royal Marines, complete with personal effects that supported the fictional identity of Captain William Martin. The body was then…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 21

"2 April 1943: Barriers Broken: The Tuskegee Airmen enter the War in Italy and Europe" by Scott Lyons

The Legacy of Excellence: The Tuskegee Airmen in World War II Defying the backdrop of racial segregation and the dawn of World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen emerged not just as aviators, but as symbols of valor, equality, and the indomitable spirit that defined the American armed forces. Here's a detailed look at the extraordinary journey of these daring pilots who soared through the skies and the barriers of discrimination. Pioneers in the Skies The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is one steeped in the history of American race relations and the struggle for civil rights. In 1941, the United States was drawn into the monumental conflict of World War II. This global engagement also provided an impetus for change within the U.S. military, a force still segregated on racial lines. The Tuskegee Airmen, named after the location where their history was forged in the crucible of war, became a beacon of hope for African American youth and a testament to the human potential to rise above adversity.…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 48

"8-16 November 1942: Operation Torch: The Allied Invasion of North Africa" by Scott Lyons

Initiated in November 1942, Operation Torch was conceived as a grand strategy to diminish Axis forces’ engagement on the Eastern Front, thereby alleviating the escalating pressure on the Soviet Union. This ambitious offensive represented a strategic compromise between the United States and Great Britain, with British authorities espousing apprehensions that a direct American-supported landing in Northern Europe would precipitate a premature and potentially catastrophic engagement. The operation was meticulously orchestrated to execute a pincer movement. Tasked with establishing bridgeheads on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts were the U.S. Western Task Force—targeting Safi, Fedala, and Mehdia–Port Lyautey in Morocco—and the Anglo-American Center and Eastern Task Forces—aiming for Oran and Algiers in Algeria, respectively. Complementing these efforts was a battalion-level airborne operation near Oran, designed to secure two strategic airfields. The overarching aim was to forge…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 35

1-27 July 1942: First Battle of El Alamein

Right: Field Marshal Erwin Rommel confers with his staff on the Libyan front, July 1942. Rommel was fighting the British in the First Battle of El Alamein. Photograph licensed to War History Network 2022. The First Battle of El Alamein pitted German Field Marshal Erin Rommel "The Desert Fox" and Italy's Ettore Bastco against British Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck. The 28-day-long battle--regarded as a 'stalemate'--resulted in 10,000 casaulties for Germany and Italy, while the U.K. and Allies suffered more than 13,000 casualties.   Left: British Valentine tank in North Africa, carrying British infantry. The United Kingdom fought with 150,000 ground troops, 179 tanks to start the battle and more than 1100 later, over 1000 artillery pieces, and over 1500 planes. Photograph in the Public Domain.  |  Video: First Battle of El Alamein  |  Video: Rommel versus Montgomery: The Battle for North Africa Above: EL ALAMEIN, EGYPT; 12 MAY, 2013 : Armoured tanks used during the desert campaign…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 29

Timeline: War in North Africa

1940

June 14–16: First Battle of Fort Capuzzo
June 17: Battle of Girba
September: Second Battle of Fort Capuzzo
September 9–16: Italian invasion of Egypt
December 9 – February 9, 1942: Operation Compass
December 8: Battle of the Camps
December 9: Battle of Nibeiwa
December 10: Third Battle of Fort Capuzzo
December 20–21 March 1941: Siege of Giarabub

1941

Operation Compass
January 3–5: First Battle of Bardia
January 9–26: First Battle of Tobruk
January 25: First Battle of Mechili
January 24–26: Battle of Derna
February 5: Fall of Benghazi
February 5–7: Battle of Beda Fomm

Operation Sunflower
March 21–23: Battle of the Oasis
March 24: First Battle of El Agheila
April 6–8: Second Battle of Mechili
April 10 – November 27: Siege of Tobruk
April 12: Second Battle of Bardia
April 12: First Battle of Sollum
April 12: Fourth Battle of Fort Capuzzo
April 30: First Battle of Halfaya Pass

Operation Brevity
May 15: Second Battle of Halfaya Pass
May 15–16: Fifth Battle of Fort Capuzzo


Operation Skorpion
May 27: Third Battle of Halfaya Pass

Operation Battleaxe
June 15–17: Fourth Battle of Halfaya Pass
June 15: Battle for Point 206
June 15–16: Battle for Hafid Ridge
June 15–16: Sixth Battle of Fort Capuzzo
June 16: Battle of Sidi Omar
June 17: Battle of Sidi Suleiman

Operation Crusader
November 19: First Action at Bir el Gubi
November 19 - December 1: Battle of Sidi Rezegh
November 21 – December 7: Second Battle of Tobruk
November 21: Battle of Bir el Haiad
November 22: Battle of Bir Ghirba
November 22: Second Battle of Sidi Omar
November 27: Battle of Bir el Chleta
November 29 - December 4: Battle of Ed Dedu
November 29 - December 1: Battle of Belhamed
December 1: Battle of Zaafran
December 2: Battle of Belhamed Road
December 3–7: Second Action at Bir el Gubi
December 11–27: First Battle of Cyrenaica Line
December 13: Battle of Alem Hamza
December 13–14: Battle of Point 204
December 23: Battle of Antelat
December 23: Second Battle of Beda Fomm

1942

Operation Crusader
January 2: Battle of Bardia
January 12: Third Battle of Sollum

Operation Theseus
January 21: Second Battle of El Agheila
January 23: Second Battle of Cyrenaica Line
January 28: Second Battle of Benghazi

Battle of Gazal
May 27: Battle of Retma Box
Battle of the Cauldron
May 27 – June 12: Battle of El Adem
May 28 – June 10: Battle of Bir Hakeim
May 31: Battle of the 150th Brigade Box
June 13: Battle of Knightsbridge
June 15: Battle of Point 650
June 20: Fall of Tobruk

Operation Aida
June 26–28: Battle of Mersa Matruh
June 28: Battle of Fuka
June 30: Battle of the El Alamein Box
July 1-27: First Battle of El Alamein
July 1–2: First Battle of the Coast Road
July 1: Battle of Deir el Shein
July 2: First Battle of Ruweisat Ridge
July 3–5: Battle of the Qattara box
July 10: First Battle of Tel el Eisa
July 14: Second Battle of Ruweisat Ridge
July 14: Second Battle of Tel el Eisa
July 22: Third Battle of Ruweisat Ridge
July 27: Third Battle of Tel el Eisa
July 27: Battle of Miteiriya Ridge
August 30 – September 2: Battle of Alam el Halfa
September 2: Battle of Himeimat

Second Battle of El Alamein
October 23–28: Operation Lightfoot
October 23–25: Battle of the Oxalic Line
October 23: Fourth Battle of Ruweisat Ridge
October 24–26: Battle of Kidney Ridge
October 25: Fourth Battle of Tell el Eisa
October 25–26: Battle of Point 29
October 26–28: The German Counter Attack
October 27: Battle of Position Snipe
October 28 - November 1: Battle of Thompson's Post
November 1–2: Operation Supercharge
November 2: Battle of Tell el Aqqaqir
November 2–4: Battle of Sidi Abdel Rahman
November 2: Battle of Himeimat

Operation Torch
November 8–16 Battle of Casablanca
November 8–10: Operation Blackstone
November 8–10: Operation Brushwood
November 8–10: Operation Goalpost
November 8: Battle of Arzew
November 8: Operation Reservist
November 8: Battle of Tafarquay Airfield
November 8: Battle of Youk-Les-Bains Airfield
November 8: Battle of Algiers
November 8: Operation Terminal

Operation Supercharge
November 7: Battle of Marsa Matruh
November 9: Battle of Sidi Barrani
November 9: Third Battle of Halfaya Pass
November 13:Battle of Agedabia
November 13: Third Battle of Torbuk
November 17–26: Battle of Djebel Abiod
November 20: Second Battle of Benghazi
December 12: Second Battle of the Coast Road
December 14–16: Second Battle of El Agheila
December 15: Battle of Wadi Zem Zem
December 25: Battle of Sirte

Tunisia campaign
November 24: First Battle of Medjez
November 24: First Battle of Djedeida Airfield
November 26: Battle of Djebel Abiod
November 27: Second Battle of Medjez
November 28: Second Battle of Djedeida Airfield
December 1: First Battle of Tebourba
December 2–3: First Battle of Faid Pass
December 16–17: Battle of Maknassy
December 22–23: First Battle of Longstop Hill
December 22–25: Second Battle of Tebourba

1943

Eighth Army Offensive
Jan. 23: Battle of Tripoli

Tunisian campaign
January 14: Battle of Faïd Pass
February 14–17: Battle of Sidi Bou Zid
February 19–24: Battle of Kasserine Pass
February 26 - March 4: Operation Ochsenkopf
March 6: Operation Capri
March 6: Battle of Medenine
March 16–27: Operation Pugilist
March 16–23: Battle of Mareth[10]
March 23 – April 7: Battle of El Guettar
March 26–28: Operation Supercharge II
March 26: Battle of Tebaga Gap
April 6: Battle of Wadi Akarit
April 22 – May 6: Operation Vulcan
April 22–23: Second Battle of Longstop Hill
May 6–13: Operation Strike