The War against Rommel's Supply Lines, 1942-1943

The War against Rommel's Supply Lines, 1942-1943

The War against Rommel's Supply Lines, 1942-1943

The War against Rommel's Supply Lines, 1942-1943

Synopsis

An exciting account of a little-known, yet vital part of World War II, the Allied effort to blockade Axis forces in North Africa with a relatively small number of planes and submarines included some of the war's most spectacular air battles, and opened the way to the attack on Fortress Europe from the south. This is the first book-length treatment of the crucial struggle to cut Axis supply lines in the Tunisian campaign of 1942-1943, a battle often ignored or played down even by official historians. The campaign marked the first big U.S. victory against the Axis powers and served as a proving ground for several top Allied commanders. This study fills an important gap in the history of the war, reevaluating the development of Allied airpower and the role of Italy in the campaign.

Excerpt

This book is an account of a major yet relatively neglected campaign of World War II, the efforts of Allied air and naval forces in the Mediterranean to cut off the supplies of the Axis forces in Northwest Africa during 1942 and 1943. Its success led to a relatively cheap triumph over a large enemy force on land, with a major impact on the subsequent campaigns in Europe. Its naval phase was one of only two successful submarine campaigns ever fought. Its aerial aspects included the first major success of the American air force over the European enemy and involved several of the great air commanders of World War II, notably Carl Spaatz, James Doolittle, and Sir Arthur Tedder. To win the Allies had to overcome major difficulties. In Northwest Africa, the U.S. Army Air Force (AAF) got past its growing pains. Although it was a "tactical" air campaign aimed at "interdicting" supplies to an enemy field army, it had more affinities than most "tactical" air campaigns with strategic bombing--among other things, the AAF's heavy bombers played an important role in the battle. As an interdiction campaign, it was one of the most spectacularly successful in history, involving many attacks on ships at sea, comparable to those in the Pacific theater. Thus it is of considerable interest, from the point of view of those seeking comparisons, to those interested in the bombing of Germany on the one hand and to those interested in the Pacific campaigns on the other. As we shall see, contrary to what is often supposed, this campaign was a difficult one, not a walkover by immensely superior forces, and it involved concerting several different arms and forms of attack. The weather and other difficulties made it difficult for the Allies to apply their superior strength. The distance between the enemy-held shores of the Mediterranean was . . .

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