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Images of War - The Eighth Army in North Africa

Images of War - The Eighth Army in North Africa

Simon Forty
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
The Eighth Army in North Africa - images of war series by Simon Forty
rare photographs from wartime archives. ISBN 978 1 52672 379 6

This photographic history is the ideal introduction to probably one of the most celebrated Armies of the Second World War; The Eighth Army. They played such a decisive role in destroying the Axis forces in North Africa, that Hitler was forced to push men and materiel to Africa rather than where they were intended, to the Russian front!

These well-chosen photographs show the men, weapons and equipment of the Army during it's campaigns in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Legends were created following the battles fought in the hostile country of the Western Desert in 1941and 1942. Indeed , if that were not enough, the second battle of El-Alamein, where General Bernard Law Montgomery defeated General FeldMarschall Erwin Rommel's combined German and Italian forces; catapulted the Eighth Army to hero status.

The text takes the reader through the build up to the finale at El-Alamein with descriptions of the two poorly trained divisions that Rommel started with to the mighty Afrika Korps that became an elite unit; From the barely trained young men fresh from England, armed with slow, decrepit tanks to the troops that had belief in themselves and the equipment they were given. The geography of the region and it's inhabitants are shown to give the reader an authentic insight into the harsh and often hostile terrain in which many of these young men were expected to fight.

This book gives a clear insight into the fighting and the atrocious conditions faced by both protagonists. It also shows how a multi-national force, with it's various nationalities could be lead by a professional soldier of Montgomery's stature. Indeed, it was the varied nationalities that helped make the Eighth Army a success, for as well as Empire and Commonwealth troops, there were Free-French, Greeks and Poles.

The author, Simon Forty, is no stranger to literature. He has been involved in publishing since the mid-70's, as an editor and an author. His father George Forty was the celebrated military author and RAC Tank museum curator.

Overall, a riveting collection of photographs which gives readers a clear insight into the men of the Eighth Army, their struggles and ultimate victory under an enigmatic leader, unafraid to lead from the front.

I would recommend this book to any model-maker or historian.

Rating Five out of Five


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