A riveting new account of the long-overlooked achievement of British-led forces who, against all odds, scored the first major Allied victory of the Second World War. Surprisingly neglected in accounts of Allied wartime triumphs, in 1941 British and Commonwealth forces completed a stunning and important victory in East Africa against an overwhelmingly superior Italian opponent. A hastily formed British-led force, never larger than 70,000 strong, advanced along two fronts to defeat nearly 300,000 Italian and colonial troops. This compelling book draws on an array of previously unseen documents to provide both a detailed campaign history and a fresh appreciation of the first significant Allied success of the war. Andrew Stewart investigates such topics as Britain's African wartime strategy; how the fighting forces were assembled (most from British colonies, none from the U.S.); General Archibald Wavell's command abilities and his difficult relationship with Winston Churchill; the resolute Italian defence at Keren, one of the most bitterly fought battles of the entire war; the legacy of the campaign in East Africa; and much more.
- Andrew Stewart
I am going to start straight off by saying that this is a good book, from the quality paper and font that is easy on the eyes to read right through the depth and detail of this really forgotten campaign. Personally I hadn't heard of the East African campaign apart from the fact that the British drove the italians from Ethiopia and reinstated Haile Sellasie on to the throne . My only thoughts of an African campaign were from the First World War and even that was mostly fueled by the movie Murphy's War.
So it was interesting to discover that most of the diplomatic and military records ended up being disposed of and mostly ended up in the bazzars being sold for tobacco paper. Andrew Steward had to delve and dig the archives to expose the detail of this brilliant ( almost ) campaign where the first Commonwealth Victoria Cross was won, oh, and the second. Apart from the fact that the British and commonwealth troops were so outnumbered the most striking thing for me was Stewart's descriptions of the various logistical obstacles that had to be overcome and which ultimately lead to a successful conclusion.
This book is easy to read, it flows well and is very informative, well done to Stewart for bringing up this previously little recorded part of our history, I highly recommend it to you troops, it's an eye opener.
Five well deserved mushroom heads.