The first of eight volumes in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War covering the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres. After setting the political and military scene, the authors open the action with Italy’s declaration of war and France’s collapse in June 1940. Britain’s painful neutralisation of the French fleet at Oran and Alexandria is followed by the first blows against the Italian empire in East Africa, and Italy’s attacks on Egypt and Greece. The Fleet Air Arm’s triumphant attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto, masterminded by Admiral Cunningham, is trumped by General Wavell’s even more successful Battle of Sidi Barrani in December, when vast numbers of Italians were captured for negligible British losses. The victory was followed up by Britain’s capture of Bardia and Tobruk, and the founding of the Long Range Desert Group – the germ of the SAS. The mopping-up of Genertal Graziani’s forces in Cyrenaica, however, ominiously resulted in Germany’s decision to rescue their ally with General Rommel’s Afrika Korps. However, the volume concludes optimistically with the successful campaign against Italy in Ethiopia, in which General Orde Wingate’s irregular Gideon Force plays a prominent part. The military narrative is accompanied by descriptions of diplomatic developments and technological innovations such as the arrival of the Hurricane fighter plane, the Matilda tank and radar. The text is accompanied by ten appendices, 30 maps and diagrams and 43 photographs.
The second ot the eight volumes dealing with the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War, this book is largely concerned with the consequences of Germany’s decision to prop up its faltering Italian ally in North Africa in 1941. It opens with General Rommel reversing Britain’s conquest of Italian Cyrenaica, and increasing Axis air attacks on the fortress island of Malta. Britain’s naval victory against the Italians at Cape Matapan in March is swiftly followed by British reverses in the Balkans. A British-backed anti-Nazi coup d’etat in Yugoslavia results in April in Germany’.s occupation of that country and Britain’s retreat from Greece before a relentless German advance. Germany’s airbourne invasion of Crete sparks a fierce battle for the island, ending in a British evacuation. A pro-Axis coup in Iraq is followed by a successful British intervention, which deposes the pro-Nazi Rashid Ali regime in Baghdad. British and Free French forces also occupy Vichy French-ruled Syria. The book ends with more attacks on Malta, the building-up of Allied forces in the Middle East, and General Wavell’s replacement by General Auchinleck as British Commander in North Africa. The text is supported by 10 appendices, 29 maps and diagrams and 44 photographs.
This, the third of eight volumes in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War, dealing with the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres, describes the nadir of British fortunes in the region. Covering the year from September 1941 to September 1942, the book opens with the latest round in the ding-dong battle in North Africa with ‘Operation Crusader’, Britain’s bid to relieve the besieged port of Tobruk and chase Rommel from the western desert. The authors emphasise how Britain was hampered by obsolescent equpiment such as the Crusader tank. Despite this, British, Australian and South African forces relieved Tobruk and entered Benghazi on Christmas Day 1941 – only to evacuate it after Rommel’s swift recovery the following month. At sea, the Royal Navy suffered serious blows with the loss of ‘Ark Royal’ and ‘Barham’ and a daring Italian ‘human torpedo’ attack on British ships in Alexandria harbour. Axis air attacks on Malta and convoys supplying it reached their peak in April, and the island was awarded the George Cross for its gallant defence. Rommel counter-attacked in the desert in May, defeating the Eighth Army at Gazala, and on June 21st Tobruk was lost. But the Axis attempt to take Cairo was stalled at the battle of Alam el Halfa, and after General Auchinleck was replaced by General Montgomery, the Allies prepared to go back on the offensive. With 11 appendices, 40 maps and diagrams and 40 photographs.
This, the fourth in the eight volumes of the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War describing the war in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres, narrates the defeat of the Axis forces in North Africa in 1942-43. The survival of Malta against determined Axis assaults enabled the Allies to cripple supplies to Rommel’s Afrika Korps, while building up their own land, air and sea forces. The entry of America to the war in December 1941 had allowed the allies to co-ordinate a grand strategy for the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatre. In October 1942, after careful preparation and a massive artillery bombardment, General Montgomery launched the Eighth Army against the Afrika Korps in the Battle of El Alamein, while in November, ‘Operation Torch’ the Anglo-American amphibious landings in French -ruled North Africa, scored an almost bloodless success and proved a dry run for D-Day in 1944. Squeezed between the Allied nutcrackers to the west and east, the Germans offered stubborn resistance in the Tunisia campaign of 1943, at the battles of Kasserine Pass and the Mareth Line, but after suffering severe casualties, the Allies broke through and the Axis forces in North Africa surrendered in May 1943. The text is supported by 12 appendices, 40 maps and diagrams and 44 photographs.
The fifth and largest volume of the eight books in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War describing the war in the Mediterranean and Middle East, this narrates the campaigns in Sicily and Italy from July 1943 to March 1944. The Allies, under General Alexander, selected the harsh mountain terrain of Sicily as the site of their return to Europe after being chased from the continent in 1940/1. The July landings were successful and within a month the Germans had evacuated the island. The allies were now faced with the tough prospect of clearing the Germans from the whole Italian peninsula. In September they landed at Salerno, and despite determined counter-attacks, consolidated their beachhead. In October 1943, after the Badoglio Government, which had overthrown Mussolini in July, surrendered, Hitler ordered the occupation and in-depth defence of Italy. This tied down large numbers of German trooops, but made for a protracted and bitter winter campaign, characterised by set-piece Allied attacks against a series of strong German defensive positions along the Bernhardt and Gustav Lines and the Sangro, Garigliano and Rapido rivers. In January 1944 the Allies attempted to outflank the Germans and rush to Rome with another seaborne landing at Anzio. Although the landing was successful, German defence was stubborn, solidifying around the monastery of Monte Cassino, which held out against repeated Allied attacks. With 6 appendices, 43 maps and diagrams and 46 photographs.
VOLUME VI; PART I
The sixth in the eight volumes describing the Mediterranean a Middle Eastern theatres in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War narrates the campaign in Italy from March to June 1944. After the Allies bogged down at Anzio and Monte Cassino, General Alexander determined on a Spring offensive – Operation Diadem – to take Monte Cassino, break the German defences of the Gustav Line, and capture Rome. The Line was successfully breached by the British Eighth and the US Fifth Armies within days of the offensive’s opening and the subsidiary ‘Hitler Line’ was also broken. As a follow-up, American, Canadian and French forces broke out of the Anzio bridgehead where they had been bottled up since January. After heavy fighting, the Caesar Line, the last defence before the Italian capital, was broken and the Allies occupied Rome on 4th June. Elsewhere in the Mediterranean theatre, British special forces missions supported Marshal Tito’s partisans in attacking the German occupying forces in Yugoslavia. There are chapters on Allied strategic disagreements; the war at sea, and the allied administration of Italy. The text has two appendices, and 20 maps and diagrams.
VOLUME VI; Part II
The penultimate volume in the eight books of the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War on the war in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres, this work describes the Italian campaign from June to October 1944. This gruelling summer campaign, Operation Dragoon, cleared central Italy of German forces, pushing their Army Group C back on the Gothic Line, which ran across the Italian peninsula from Lucca on the western coast to Pesaro on the Adriatic. But after the Line was breached, the Allied advance bogged down again, despite strenuous attempts in the early autumn to break into the strategically vital Po valley. In the face of continued German resistance, and worsening allied morale, General Alexander in October decided on a second winter in Italy, limiting his objectives to capturing Ravenna and Bologna. He was constrained by the demands of simultaneous campaigns in Normandy and southern France. Meanwhile, as the Germans, hard-pressed on other fronts, began to withdraw from the Greek islands, British forces moved in to fill the vacuum. With three appendices, and 29 maps and diagrams.
VOLUME VI:Part III
The last of eight volumes in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War dealing with the war in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres, this book tells the final stage of the story from November 1944 to May 1945. It details the end of the war in Greece and Yugoslavia, but concentrates on the stubborn struggle in northern Italy. The narrative opens with the aborting of Field-Marshal Alexander’s plan for a quick thrust to Vienna across north-eastern Italy, and describes poltical and other difficulties encountered in co-operating with Tito’s Yugoslav partisans. Tito’s fellow-Communist E.A.M/E.L.A.S partisans in Greece attempted to take power in Athens in December 1944. Churchill intervened personally with the British army to crush the revolt. In the new year of 1945, a carefully prepared final allied offensive in Italy, Operatioon Grapeshot, destroyed the German Army Group C on the River Po. In the final days of the war, with secret negotiations for the surrender of Field Marshal Kesselring’s German forces in Italy underway in Switzerland, Eighth Army crossed the Po and took Trieste. Kesselring surrendered on 2nd May. But as British forces moved in to occupy their alloted zone of Carinthia in southern Austria, they again found themselves clashing with Tito’s partisans. In an epilogue, the authors look back at the hard-slogging Italian campaign, concluding that it was justified as an important diversion of German forces. Allied losses were limited, they argue, by the judicious use of overwhelming air and artillery power to save lives. With 10 appendices and 20 maps and diagrams.
THE MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EAST HISTORY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR: UNITED KINGDOM MILITARY SERIES: OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN HISTORY The Full Eight Volume MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EAST SET
The Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre was a major theatre of operations during the Second World War. The vast size of the theatre saw interconnected naval, land, and air campaigns fought for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe. The fighting in this theatre lasted from 10 June 1940, when Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, until 2 May 1945 when all Axis forces in Italy surrendered. However, fighting would continue in Greece – where British troops had been dispatched to aid the Greek government during the early stages of the Greek Civil War.
This theatre of war had the longest duration of the Second World War, resulted in the destruction of the Italian Empire and altered the strategic position of Germany, resulting in German divisions being deployed to Africa and Italy and total German losses, including those captured upon final surrender, being over two million. Italian losses amounted to around 177,000 men with a further several hundred thousand captured during the process of the various campaigns. British losses amount to over 300,000 men killed, wounded, or captured, and total American losses in the region amounted to 130,000.
VOLUME I: The Early Successes against Italy (to May 1941)
N&M Press reprint (original pub 1954). SB. xxv + 506pp with 30 maps and diagrams and numerous contemporary photos.
Britain defeats Italy on land and sea in Africa and the Mediterranean in 1940.
VOLUME II: “The Germans Come to the Help of their Ally” (1941):
N&M Press reprint (original pub 1956). SB. xiv + 392pp with 29 maps and diagrams and numerous contemporary photos.
Rommel rides to Italy’s rescue, Malta is bombarded, Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete are lost, and Iraq and Syria are secured for the Allies.
VOLUME III (September 1941 to September 1942) British Fortunes reach their Lowest Ebb September 1941 to September 1942)
N&M Press reprint (original pub 1954). SB. xxii + 664pp with 43 maps and diagrams and numerous contemporary photos.
Britain’s’ darkest hour in North Africa and the Mediterranean, 1941-42.
VOLUME IV: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa
N&M Press reprint (original pub 1966). SB. xviii + 556pp with 40 maps and diagrams numerous contemporary photos
The battle of El Alamein and ‘Operation Torch’ bring the Allies victory in North Africa, 1942-43.
VOLUME V: THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943 AND THE CAMPAIGN IN ITALY 3rd Sepember 1943 TO 31st March 1944:
N&M Press reprint (original pub 1954). SB. xxii + 664pp with 43 maps and diagrams and numerous contemporary photos.
The Allies invade Sicily and Italy, but encounter determined German defence in 1943-44.
VOLUME VI; Victory in the Mediterranean PART I 1st April to 4th June1944
N&M Press reprint (of original pub). SB. xi + 520pp with 20 maps and diagrams and numerous contemporary photos.
The Allies breach the Gustav, Hitler and Caesar Lines and occupy Rome.
VOLUME VI; Victory in the Mediterranean Part II June to October 1944
N&M Press reprint (of original pub). SB. xiv + 536pp with 29 maps and diagrams. and numerous contemporary photos.
The 1944 Italian summer campaign breaches the Gothic Line but then bogs down again.
VOLUME VI: Victory in the Mediterranean Part III November 1944 to May 1945
N&M Press reprint (of original pub). SB. xii + 492pp with 20 maps and diagrams. and numerous contemporary photos.
The messy end of the war in Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia.