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Corgi WWII War Under The Sun Series: June 1940 - May 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Corgi WWII War Under The Sun Series: June 1940 - May 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The North African campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from June 10th, 1940 to May 13th, 1943. 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), as well as Tunisia (Tunisia Campaign).

The campaign was fought between the Allies and the Axis Powers. The Allied war effort was dominated by the British Commonwealth and exiles from German-occupied Europe. The United States officially entered the war in December 1941 and began direct military assistance in North Africa on May 11th, 1942.

Fighting in North Africa started with the Italian declaration of war on June 10th, 1940. On June 14th, the British Army's 11th Hussars (assisted by elements of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 1st RTR) crossed the border from Egypt into Libya and captured the Italian Fort Capuzzo. This was followed by an Italian counter-offensive into Egypt and the capture of Sidi Barrani in September and its recapture by the British in December following a British Commonwealth counteroffensive, Operation Compass. During Operation Compass, the Italian 10th Army was destroyed and the German Afrika Korps -- commanded by Erwin Rommel, who later became known as "The Desert Fox" -- was dispatched to North Africa in February 1941 during Operation Sonnenblume to reinforce Italian forces in order to prevent a complete Axis defeat.

A fluctuating series of battles for control of Libya and regions of Egypt followed, reaching a climax in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 when British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery inflicted a decisive defeat on Rommel's Afrika Korps and forced its remnants into Tunisia. After the Anglo-American landings (Operation Torch) in North-West Africa in November 1942, and subsequent battles against Vichy France forces (who then changed sides), the Allies encircled several hundred thousand German and Italian personnel in northern Tunisia and finally forced their surrender in May 1943.

Information gleaned via British Ultra code-breaking intelligence proved critical to Allied success in North Africa. Victory for the Allies in this campaign immediately led to the Italian Campaign, which culminated in the downfall of the fascist government in Italy and the elimination of Germany's main European ally.

The North Africa campaign was often labeled a "war without hate," a pure military clash in the desert without the partisan roundups and ethnic cleansing happening in Europe. This view has been challenged by recent historians, given that there were indeed many civilians who lived in the region, and the campaign was marked by numerous atrocities and abuses by both German and Italian forces towards prisoners of war and local Jewish, Berber, and Arab populations. They were often motivated by racism, including antisemitism.

#AA38511 - German Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 (Trop) Destroyer - Zerstorergeschwader 26 "Horst Wessel", Sirte, Libya, 1941 (1:72 Scale)
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German Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (Trop) "Gustav" Fighter - "Red 1", Hpt. Werner Schroer, 8./Jagdgeschwader 27 "Afrika", Rhodes, Greece, 1942 German Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (Trop) "Gustav" Fighter - "Red 1", Hpt. Werner Schroer, 8./Jagdgeschwader 27 "Afrika", Rhodes, Greece, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 (Trop) Destroyer - Zerstorergeschwader 26 "Horst Wessel",  Derna Airfield, Libya, 1941 German Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 (Trop) Destroyer - Zerstorergeschwader 26 "Horst Wessel", Derna Airfield, Libya, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was an aircraft of very mixed fortunes. It has often been criticized for its failure during the Battle of Britain, while its successes in other fields have been largely ignored. Despite not living up to the Luftwaffe's expectations it did manage to serve Germany throughout the Second World War in the long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, ground attack and night fighter roles.

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