North African Campaign

1940–1943 military campaign of World War II

The North African Campaign was part of the Second World War. It took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. The campaign in North Africa included fighting in the Egyptian and Libyan Deserts (the Desert War), and in Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch) and Tunisia (Tunisia Campaign).

Australian troops advance towards an Italian position in north Africa, 1941
A British tank retreats before the fall of a north African position

There was a see-saw series of battles for the control of Libya and parts of Egypt. The Siege of Tobruk in 1941 was one of the turning points. In the Second Battle of El Alamein British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant general Bernard Montgomery decisively defeated the Afrika Korps and other Axis forces and pushed them back to Tunisia.

The late 1942 Allied landings in Operation Torch in North-West Africa was done to mop up the remaining enemy forces. There were battles against Vichy France forces which then changed sides. The Allies suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. Later, they defeated the Axis forces in southern Tunisia (battle of Mareth[1]), then encircled the remaining Italian & German troops in northern Tunisia and finally forced them to surrender.

After the fall of Tunis, the last troops to surrender were the Italians of general Messe on May 13, 1943 in the northern Tunisian peninsula of Cape Bon.

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  1. Young Italians in the Battle of Mareth