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

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

by Andrew Stewart


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300208559
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 11/22/2016
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 718,103
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Andrew Stewart is a reader in conflict and diplomacy in the Defence Studies Department at King's College London and codirector of the King's Second World War Research Group. He is the author of several books on the Second World War, including The King's Private Army and Caen Controversy. He lives in Oxford, England.

Michael Page has been recording audiobooks since the mid-1980s and now has nearly 500 titles to his credit. He has won two Audie Awards and several AudioFile Earphones Awards. A PhD and a professional actor, Michael is also a retired professor of theater.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Illustrations vi

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction: A Forgotten Campaign x

1 Strategic Miscalculation 1

2 Hoping for the Best 21

3 War Comes to East Africa 48

4 Imperial Defeat: The Surrender of British Somaliland 71

5 Preparing for the Counter-offensive 95

6 The Advance from Kenya 121

7 Second Front: Striking from the Sudan 148

8 Triumph in the Mountains: The Battle of Keren 165

9 A Third Front: The Patriots 191

10 Winning the War, Worrying about the Peace 204

Conclusion: The British Empire's First Victory 232

Notes 249

Bibliography 284

Index 293

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