Bookshop: Second World War in North Africa

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Second World War: North Africa

Books - Second World War - North Africa

General Works

Operation Agreement - Jewish Commandos and the Raid on Tobruk, John Sadler. Looks at a disastrous raid on Tobruk carried out just before the battle of El Alamein in an attempt to disrupt Rommel’s supply lines, but that ended as a total failure, with the loss of most of the troops that got into combat, as well as two destroyers and a cruiser. Provides a good case study of how not to mount a Special Forces operation, starting with not basing your plans on wishful thinking and not over-complicating things!(Read Full Review)
The Italian Folgore Parachute Division – Operations in North Africa 1940-43, Paolo Morisi. A history of an elite Italian paratrooper division that was trained for the invasion of Malta, but used as normal infantry on the El Alamein front and in Tunisia, where it was almost wiped out. Covers the units formation, training, the extensive preparations for the invasion of Malta, and its short combat career at Alam Halfa and 2nd Alamein, where the original division was almost wiped out, and the final days in Tunisia where the survivors fought under a parent division [read full review]
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Long Range Desert Group - Behind Enemy Lines on North Africa, W.B. Kennedy Shaw. A thrilling history of the Long Range Desert Group, one of the most famous of the many Special Forces that popped up in the British Army in the Middle East during the Second World War, although it is often seen in the background of other stories. Written in 1943 by the Group's Intelligence Officer, this book brings the exploits of the LRDG to life, and brings it into a justified foreground position. [read full review]
Tobruk Commando - The Raid to Destroy Rommel's Base, Gordon Landsborough. An early history of Operation Agreement (first published in 1956), one of the more disastrous British Special Operations of the Second War, which evolved from a simple raid on Tobruk into a full scale combined operations attempt to temporarily capture and destroy the port. Mainly follows the mission from the point of view of the special forces groups operating on land and the commanders of the warships [read full review]
Images of War: Armoured Warfare in the North African Campaign, Anthony Tucker-Jones. Covers the entire period from the early Anglo-Italian clashes through the famous battles with Rommel and on to Operation Torch and the Tunisian campaign. Some unusual pictures, supported by informative captions. [read full review]
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Images of War: Rommel's Army in the Desert, Alistair Smith. A selection of photographs from three anonymous photo albums taken by members of Rommel's army in North Africa, mainly looking at life on the road in North Africa, but with some unusual photos that show a different side of life in the German army in the desert. [read full review]
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The Mareth Line 1943: The End in Africa, Ken Ford. Looks at the final battles between Montgomery and Rommel, from the retreat after El Alamein, through the various short-lived delaying battles to the fight for the Mareth Line and the final collapse of the Axis position in North Africa, including the battle for the Mareth Line. Clearly written and well illustrated, this covers a period in North Africa that is often skipped over. [read full review]
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British Paratroop vs Fallschirmjäger: Mediterranean 1942-43, David Greentree. Focuses on three direct clashes between British and German paratroops in North Africa and Sicily, a period when the Germans were already battle hardened while their British opponents were learning their craft. Combines a brief history of both forces with more detailed examinations of the three clashes and an examination of the lessons both sides learnt from them. [read full review]
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He Who Dared and Died: The Life and Death of an SAS Original, Sergeant Chris O'Dowd MM, Gearóid O'Dowd. The story of an Irish volunteer in the British Army who became an early member of the SAS and fought with them in North Africa and on Sicily before being killed during the invasion of Italy. [read full review]
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El Alamein, The Battle that Turned the Tide of the Second World War, Bryn Hammond. Looks at the four months the Allies and Axis armies spent fighting over the Alamein position, including Rommel's two attacks on the Allied positions and the eventual Allied victory at the Second Battle of Alamein. [read full review]
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Wavell - Soldier and Statesman, Victoria Schofield. A major biography of a heavy-weight figure, Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East in 1940-41, in the Far East during the early Japanese victories, and Viceroy of India at a crucial period in the run-up to independence. Schofield paints a picture of a hard working, capable but modest commander, who often did a good job with very limited resources, but who was never really appreciated by Churchill. [read full review]
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Monty and Patton: Two Paths to Victory, Michael Reynolds. Twin biographies of two of the best known Allied generals of the Second World War, looking at how their early careers moulded their later commands, the difficult relationship between the two men and their individual styles of command.  [read full review]
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Afrikakorps Soldier 1941-43, Pier Paolo Battistelli. A look at the recruitment, training, equipment and daily life of the soldiers of the Afrikakorps, with useful details on how things changed over the life of the Korps, as the nature of the desert war changed and the Axis powers went onto the defensive [read full review]
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Images of War Malta GC: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives, Jon Sutherland & Diane Canwell. A photographic look at Malta during the Second World War, covering the war in the air, the ground defences of the island, the Blitz, relations between the Maltese and the garrison, the convoys that brought essential supplies to the besieged island, and the victory celebrations that followed the end of the campaign in North Africa and the end of the siege [read full review]
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Hitler's Gulf War - The Fight for Iraq 1941, Barrie G James. A compelling account of one of the more obscure but important campaigns of the Second World War, presented from the point of view of the British, Iraqi and German participants in the Iraqi revolt that threatened to hand the Germans a commanding position in the Middle East. [read full review]

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 Blitzkrieg: The Balkans and North Africa, 1941-1942, Will Fowler. Part four of a series looking at the Second World War campaigns of the German Army, this volume covers the fighting in the Balkans and in North Africa from the German intervention up to eve of El Alamein. Despite the overall theme this is a well balanced book, with good coverage of the Italian, Yugoslav, Greek and British forces involved. [see more]
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German Forces

Rommel's Desert Warriors 1941-42, Michael Olive & Robert Edwards. An excellent collection of wartime photos covering a wide range of topics in the period between Rommel's arrival in the desert and the retreat from El Alamein. Organised by topic rather than chronologically, this book provides a wide-ranging picture of Rommel's army during the two years that really made his name. [read full review]
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Panzers in the Sand: The History of Panzer-Regiment 5, Volume 2 1942-45, Bernd Hartmann. Part two of a history of the oldest panzer regiment in the German Army, following it to destruction in North Africa in 1942-43 and its partial revival in 1943 and deployment (and destruction) on the Eastern Front and its second revival and use in both Eastern and Western Fronts. [read full review]
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Panzers in the Sand: The History of Panzer-Regiment 5, Volume One 1934-41, Bernd Hartmann. A history of the first armoured unit to be formed in Germany after the First World War, tracing its history from its formation in 1933, through the campaigns in Poland and France and into North Africa, ending with the Axis powers on the back foot, having been forced to abandon the siege of Tobruk. [read full review]
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At Rommel's Side: The Lost Letters of Hans-Joachim Schraepler, ed. Hans-Albrecht Schraepler. A series of letters written by Rommel's adjutant in North Africa in 1941 and edited by his son and that provide an interesting new layer of information to our knowledge of the war in the desert.

[read full review]
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British Forces

The Long Range Desert Group in World War II, Gavin Mortimer. A history of the first of the British Special Forces, raised to gather intelligence behind enemy lines in North Africa, taking advantage of its members skill at crossing the desert. Perhaps most famous for supporting the SAS, the LRDG played an important role in the Allied victory in North Africa in its own right, and this book tells that fascinating story. Also followed the group out of the desert and into the Aegean, the Balkans and Italy, where attempts were found to find a use for their skills after the war in North Africa had been won (Read Full Review)
Fighting with the Desert Rats, Major H.P. Samwell MC. The memoirs of an infantry officer in the Desert Rats, written during the war and left unmodified after the author's death in combat in 1945. Gives a good idea of the chaos at the front and the very different atmosphere behind the lines. Also stands out for the author's interest in the views of other nationalities, and his interviews with representatives of the many different communities of North Africa. [read full review]
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Anti-Tank: The Story of a Desert Gunner in the Second World War, Mark Carter. The real life adventures of the commander of a 25pdr gun crew in North Africa, through the period of rapid advances and retreats and on to the final Allied advance after El Alamein. Focuses on the more dramatic episodes of Carter's career, producing an exciting account of his life during the ever-changing desert war. [read full review]
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The British Army 1939 45 (2) Middle East & Mediterranean, Brayley, Martin J., Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2002, Men-At-Arms Series No. 368. Part two of a three part look at the British Army during the Second World War, this book provides a good summary of the fighting around the Mediterranean, including North Africa and Italy, looks at the special uniforms needed in these theatres and includes an overview of the British Artillery. [see more]
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Aircraft and the Air War in North Africa

Spitfire Mark V Aces, 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price. A well written and nicely balanced look at the combat career of the Spitfire Mk V and of the men who flew it. The Spitfire V fought in more theatres than the more famous Mk I/II, including over France in 1941, on Malta, in North Africa and even in northern Australia. [see more]
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Curtis Warhawk Aces of MTO, Carl Molesworth (Aircraft of the Aces 43). The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was the main Allied frontline fighter for nearly a year in North Africa. As the war in desert reached its climax at El Alamein and with Operation Torch, American pilots arrived to join the RAF and commonwealth pilots with their Kittyhawks. [see more]
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Blenheim Squadrons of World War Two, Jon Lake. This book looks at the entire RAF service career of the Bristol Blenheim, from its debut as a promising fast bomber, through the deadly disillusionment of the blitzkrieg, on to its work in the Middle East and Mediterranean, where the aircraft found a new lease of life. Lake also looks at the use of the Blenheim as an interim fighter aircraft and its use by Coastal Command.
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 B-24 Liberator Units of the Fifteenth Air Force, Robert F. Dorr. The B-24 was most closely associated with the war in the Mediterranean. Although the Fifteenth Air Force only came into existence half way through the North African campaign, Dorr begins by looking at the role played by the B-24 before that date, before moving on to follow the Fifteenth from Africa to Italy, but the main focus is on the strategic bombing campaign waged over much of occupied Europe and southern Germany by the B-24s of the Fifteenth.
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