OPERATIONS IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST 1939-1942:


OPERATIONS IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST 1939-1942:

JOHN GREHAN & MARTIN MACE    Book Number: 89343    Product format: Hardback

The Middle East Command in WWII covered a vast area, stretching across Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus, Sudan, Eritrea, Syria and Iraq and at one point also oversaw operations in Greece, Kenya and Somaliland - a total of 1,000 miles from the River Jordan to the Horn of Africa, and 40 different languages. Initially commanded by General Sir Archibald Wavell, MEC's early actions were in contending with Italian forces in Libya and East Africa, but soon had to deal with the German invasion of Greece and Crete. Thus distracted, the Italians were able to consolidate their positions in Africa and even receive reinforcements from Rommel's Afrikakorps. Wavell's despatches detail all these early campaigns up to July 1941, when he was succeeded by General Claude Auchinleck. "The Auk" firstly had to oversee the Anglo-Free French invasion of Vichy French-held Syria and Lebanon and the Iraqi uprising, but far more pressing was stopping the momentum of the Desert Fox, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, as he swept through Libya and on to Egypt. Rommel's men were eventually halted at El Alamein in the autumn of 1942 and marked the turning point of the war in North Africa - it also marked a turning point for Auchinleck, who was sacked in between the two battles of El Alamein. Both Wavell and Auchinleck (and Rommel too) were subject to great deal of political interference which made a very difficult job all but impossible. The despatches presented here form a unique collection of original reports from the commanding officers, the first time they have been brought together in one volume. They are, as one would expect for unabridged despatches, extremely detailed and wide-ranging, and interestingly they also convey much of the character of each commander. Churchill never got on with The Auk, and has subsequently been criticised by historians for his treatment of his commander, and there are some delightfully nuanced, oblique references to interference from above to be found here. Compelling military history, as it happened. 312pp, b/w plates.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £8.00


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ISBN 9781783462179
Browse this category: War & Militaria

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