The First Victory: The Second World War and the East Africa Campaign

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Yale University Press, 2016 - Feldzug - 308 pages
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 defense at Keren, one of the most bitterly fought battles of the entire war; the legacy of the campaign in East Africa; and much more.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER 1 STRATEGIC MISCALCULATION
1
CHAPTER 2 HOPING FOR THE BEST
21
CHAPTER 3 WAR COMES TO EAST AFRICA
48
CHAPTER 4 IMPERIAL DEFEAT
71
CHAPTER 5 PREPARING FOR THE COUNTER OFFENSIVE
95
CHAPTER 6 THE ADVANCE FROM KENYA
121
CHAPTER 7 SECOND FRONT
148
CHAPTER 8 TRIUMPH IN THE MOUNTAINS
165
CHAPTER 9 A THIRD FRONT
191
CHAPTER 10 WINNING THE WAR WORRYING ABOUT THE PEACE
204
CONCLUSION
232
BIBLIOGRAPHY
284
INDEX
293
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Andrew Stewart is reader in the defence studies department of King's College London, and codirector of the King's Second World War Research Group. He lives in Oxford, UK.

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