June 1940 - The Italian Declaration of War. When night fell, 60 of the Italian tanks had been crippled, and the remaining 40 were found abandoned the following day; only 3 of the British tanks had been knocked out. North Africa campaigns, (1940–43), in World War II, series of battles for control of North Africa. The British, caught by surprise, fell back. Churchill’s disappointment and dissatisfaction were shown in his removal of Wavell to India. The sole exception was the garrison of Tobruk (dominated by the 9th Australian Division), which succeeded in repelling Rommel’s successive efforts to storm that fortress. September 1940 - The Italian Invasion of Egypt. On December 9 the Italian garrisons at Nibeiwa, Tummar West, and Tummar East were taken, and thousands of prisoners were captured, whereas the attackers suffered very light casualties. The British tank force included 50 heavily armoured Matilda IIs of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment, which proved impervious to most of the enemy’s antitank weapons. The 1930s consisted of many individual but significant events that bound the Axis powers and culminated in a World War. Stretching his supply lines to the maximum, Rommel continued his advance until the British had been pushed out of Libya, with the exception of Tobruk. 9 December 1940 - Operation Compass . Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? September 1939 . The British lacked the infantry necessary to capitalize on the Italians’ demoralization, however, and three weeks elapsed before the 6th Australian Division arrived from Palestine to aid with the British advance. A meticulously detailed war simulation that takes more than 40 days of play time. North Africa. Under pressure from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to open a second front, the Western Allies debated how they might best engage Germany. After being checked initially, a converging assault from both flanks—with two additional tank regiments sent back by the 7th Armoured Division—was launched in the afternoon, and the greater part of the Sīdī Barrānī position was overrun before the day ended. Against orders, Rommel advanced along the coast toward Benghazi. Though still at a significant numerical disadvantage, Wavell chose to seize the initiative with an operation that was planned not as a sustained offensive but rather as a large-scale raid. The Order of battle of the East African campaign shows the ground forces of both sides in East Africa on the date that the Italians declared war on Britain and France, 10 June 1940 and for the British and Commonwealth forces involved in the 1941 offensive. O’Connor was also supported by the Long Range Desert Group, a lightly armed reconnaissance unit whose activities behind enemy lines would provide valuable intelligence for the Allies throughout the North Africa campaigns. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts (Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War) and in Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch) and Tunisia (Tunisia Campaign).. The reserve brigade of the 7th Armoured Division was then brought up for a further enveloping attack to the west: it reached the coast beyond Buqbuq, intercepting a large column of retreating Italians. Black Friday Sale! This is a listing of World War II battles occurring Northern Africa and is sometimes known as the "Desert War". It nevertheless led to the destruction of Graziani’s forces and the near collapse of the Italians’ hold on North Africa. This is not a comprehensive list of all engagements and generally does not cover isolated skirmishes of units smaller than a Company in size. The strike force, under Maj. Gen. Richard Nugent O’Connor, consisted of only 30,000 men, against an opposing force of 80,000, but it had 275 tanks against 120 Italian tanks. On February 6, 1941, the very day that Graziani’s army was being wiped out at Beda Fomm, Gen. Erwin Rommel was ordered to take command of a small German mechanized force that was to be sent to the Italians’ rescue. It would consist of two under-strength divisions, the 5th Light and the 15th Panzer, but the transportation of the first unit could not be completed until mid-April, and the second would not be in place until the end of May. Australian soldiers during World War II standing with a Bren gun on which are painted a cigarette-smoking rat and the words “Rats to you!”—a reference to “Tobruk Rats,” the derisive term used by Nazi propagandist broadcaster William Joyce (“Lord Haw-Haw”) to refer to the forces who withstood German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's seven-month siege of Tobruk, Libya. On October 25, 1936, the Rome-Berlin Axis was proclaimed, but Italy, its strength depleted by the Ethiopian campaign and by its support for Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, was in no condition to support Germany during the first nine months of World War II. The Tunisian Campaign (8 November 1942-13 May 1943) was the final stage of the North African campaign, and saw a combined British, American and French army slowly eliminate the Axis bridgehead in Tunisia.