North African Campaign - Ms. Gleason`s Classroom

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The North African
Campaign
June 10,1940 – May 16, 1943
Causes

Germany and Russia invaded Poland on
September 1, 1939 thus beginning World War
II

After defeating Poland, Germany turned to
the west and conquered France with some
assistance from Italy
German troops marching in Warsaw Poland.
Causes of North African Campaign

Mussolini envisioned the Mediterranean as an Italian
lake

He therefore sent an army to the Italian colony of Libya
to commence the attack on the Allies
Strategic Importance

Axis powers wanted control of Africa
Strike at the oil fields in Middle East
 Open a second front against the Soviet Union


Allies wanted to stop the Axis advance
Pull pressure off of the Soviet Union
 Allow for the opening of a second Euro. front

Armies

Primary Allied Forces
British 8th army
 6 American divisions


Primary Axis Forces
German Afrika Korps
 Miscellaneous Italian
forces

Allied Commanders



American General Dwight E. Eisenhower
American General George Patton
British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
General Eisenhower
General Patton
Field Marshal Montgomery
Axis Commander

The primary commander of Axis forces in
North Africa was Erwin Rommel

Rommel was ordered to assist the Italians
by Hitler (WWI)

Due to his stunning military victories he
was given the nickname the “Desert Fox”

Killed himself after being implicated in a
plot to kill Hitler

Even to this day, he is still remembered as
one of the greatest generals of all time
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Timeline

September 1940- Italians invade Egypt

February 1941- British offensive stops after pushing the
Italians back a third of the way into Libya

March 1941- Axis forces now under the command of
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel counterattack and reach
Egypt by April

November 1941- The British 8th army counterattacks
and once again reaches El Agheila by January 1942
Timeline

January 1942 - The Axis retaliation forces the British back and
the city of Tobruk, a British stronghold is captured on June 21

July - The Axis advance on Cairo is stopped at the First Battle of
El Alamein

October – November 4, 1942- British forces crush the Germans
and Italians at the Second Battle of El Alamein

November - Operation Torch begins

February 1943 - Rommel inflicts heavy casualties on the
Americans at the Battle of Kasserine Pass

May 1943 - Axis forces in Tunisia surrender, ending the
campaign
Victory!!

The Germans and Italians in North Africa
surrendered on May 13, 1943 resulting in over a
quarter of a million Prisoners of War being
taken

With allied sea and air power only about 600
Axis troops escaped
Consequences

The victory in North Africa resulted in the Suez
canal remaining in Allied hands and the oil fields
of the Middle East not falling into Axis hands

The victory in North Africa allowed for the
invasion of Italy which forced the Italian
surrender and pulled German troops away from
the Eastern front, helping the Soviet’s defense
against the Germans
First Strike

On the 13th of September 1940, the 200,000
soldiers of the Italian 10th army invaded BritishEgypt from Libya

The Italian army advanced into Egypt and
reached the town of Sidi Barrani, but halted due
to lack of intelligence about the British army
Allied Retaliation

After this, the British forces in
the area, although they were 1/6
of the Italians size retaliated
against the Italians in Operation
Compass

The British forced the surrender
of the entire 10th army and were
able to advance almost a third of
the way into Libya
The Coming of the Fox

Hitler sent the Afrika Korps under Field
Marshal Erwin Rommel to assist the Italians
against the British

Although ordered to prevent the British from
advancing any farther…
Rommel took his troops on the offensive
 Pushed the British back passed the Italian’s farthest
point of advance

We’re Back to Where We Started!

After reaching the city of Salum, both sides
stopped and waited
British to reorganize their forces into the 8th Army
 Rommel received few reinforcements


British counterattack and forced the Axis back
to the city of El Agheila once again
Rommel’s Finest Hour

An Axis convoy’s arrival allowed Rommel to
counterattack on January 21, 1942

En route to Egypt, the Afrika Korps finally recaptured
the city of Tobruk on June 21, 1942

Pushed the British back to the city of El Alamein and
coming close to capturing Cairo itself

Before the desperate British were able to halt them during the
month of July in the First battle of El Alamein
The Battle of El Alamein

The battle opened with 20 minutes of artillery bombardment by
about 900 guns

This was followed by infantry advance across the minefield to
clear lanes for the tanks

After the attack stalled out, a strike to the north front of that
resulted in huge casualties on both sides

As a result, the British launched Operation Supercharge that
decimated Rommel’s tank groups and forced them into retreat
Operation Torch

British advancing rapidly against Rommel after the
Battle of El Alamein

Allies conducted landings on the W. Coast of Africa to
surround the Axis

General Eisenhower was chosen to command the
invasion force

Casualties were relatively light due to eventual Vichy
French defection to the Allies
Map of Operation Torch
The Final Push




By November 1942, the Germans and Italians had been
pushed back to Tunisia
After Rommel defeated the American Second Corps
twice, George S. Patton was given command of the
Corps
Him and Montgomery: the Axis now had their backs to
the sea with no room to maneuver and few supplies
Rommel was able to still inflict heavy casualties on the
Americans at the Battle of Kasserine Pass while
receiving few in return
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