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Britain’s Desert War in Egypt and Libya 1940–1942 (ePub)

‘The End of the Beginning’

Military WWII > Battles & Campaigns > El Alamein WWII > Battles & Campaigns > North Africa

By David Braddock, Foreword by Gen Nicholas Carter KCB CBE DSO
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 28.9 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526759795
Published: 5th June 2019


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The desert war in Libya and Egypt between 1940 and 1942 has deservedly attracted the attention of many historians. Fought in an unforgiving yet strategically important landscape, the fortunes of the implacable opponents swung wildly. While best remembered for the duel between Montgomery’s Eighth Army and Rommel’s Afrika Korps and the iconic battle of El Alamein, this fine account describes that there was much more to the story than that.

In addition to the role of Imperial and Italian troops, the cast of characters included the controversial Auchinleck, the long-suffering Alexander and many other gifted commanders. Gazala, Bir Hakeim, Alam Halfa and Tobruk battles were among the many fiercely fought battles.

The two sides employed weapons that have passed into immortality; Germany’s Tiger and Panther tanks and lethal 88mm anti-tank gun. The Messerschmitt BF109 fighter locked horns with desert-modified Spitfires and Hurricanes.

The author highlights the vital roles of the Royal Navy, disrupting enemy supplies, and the Royal Air Force, which eventually gained command of the air.

For a concise account of this decisive campaign, David Braddock’s authoritative yet highly readable history is unlikely to be surpassed.

This is an excellent overview of events and the many factors that led to the ebb and flow of German and British fortunes in North Africa.

Read the full review here

WW2 Today

Objectively written, with excellent maps and photographs, this is a textbook example of what high-quality military histories should look like.

Highly recommended.

The Aviation Historian, Issue 39

It was an enjoyable read, extremely illuminating regarding the main characters during this period and well worth reading if you have an interest in the desert campaigns of World War II.

Family and Community Historical Research Society

This is a very readable, single-volume account of the first years of the North African campaigns. It relates all the salient points of the fighting to the reader effectively, with an emphasis on the naval and air activities that supported the ground fighting; these important factors are often missing or underemphasized in other works. It is also well illustrated and contains simple, useful maps to help guide the reader through the action.

WWII History, Summer 2020

Excellent book taking the reader through the Desert War in meticulous detail. Recommend.

Amazon, Jonathan Nicholas - Author

"Britain's Desert War" is a reprint of an earlier study of the fighting in Egypt and Libya during 1940-42. Author David Braddock intended it as a primer on the subject for British Army professional officer training. His narrative manages to be blunt, concise, and reasonably comprehensive in a way that more detailed studies often cannot.

In North Africa, the British Army faced a highly professional German opponent with a well-integrated all-arms approach to battle. In addition, both sides faced huge challenges of leadership and logistics in a vast and austere environment. The suspense of the narrative is in how the British Army and its Commonwealth allies sought to overcome these challenges. The narrative is nicely supported with simple and easy to understand battle graphics. There is also a small selection of period photographs. The author's outstanding concluding chapter is not to be missed. Very well recommended as a concise treatment of the topic.

Amazon, HMS Warspite

David Braddock’s book was written with a serious purpose and it is a great pleasure to read. This book is superb and we highly recommend it.

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Clash of Steel

It is written for the professional military officer but is easy to read and will easily find a home in the collection of the amateur or professional historian alike, or anyone else with an interest in the campaign as a whole. It is informative, concise and well researched. It has certainly stimulated me to further research and reading. This is a must have on understanding the desert campaigns.

Highly Recommended.

March 2020, Model Military International – reviewed by Al Bowie

Britain’s Desert War in Egypt and Libya 1940-1942 offers many insights into the minds of commanders in history’s greatest conflict.

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Schopenhauer's Workshop

As featured in

Clwyd Family History Society

A well-written review of the Desert War by a military educationalist, first published in 1964. This book provides the best available concise account of the Desert War, 1940-1942, and the publisher is to be commended for republishing now – Most Highly Recommended

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I can completely understand why this book was written with the intention of providing British Army Officers who are studying for the Staff College and Promotion examinations as it is easy to pick up and read and unlike so much of the controversy that surrounds many of the battles of the North African Campaigns, as well as many other battles and campaigns of World War 2. I feel the book is written so that it is without much controversy and allowing you to make up your own mind about the outcomes making this as I have said earlier is so easy to pick up and read but hard to put down... Just, please go and read this book if you are interested in the North African Campaign as a modeller, or interested in military history, this is a must book.

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Featured in

East Yorkshire Family History Society

Featured in

East Yorkshire Family History Society

It is always pleasant as it is written to instruct British officers on the lessons of the war in the desert, lessons that are still relevant today, 45 years after the book was published and 79 years from the events.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

Further excellent accounts of Britain's war in the desert - I live in hope that one of these magnificent books will one day mention my undles - not in this one, though.

Books Monthly

Featured "On The Bookshelf" by Neil Smith for

Wargames Illustrated, June 2019

This concise work is an excellent primer for thoes intending to learn more about the complex desert war from the late author who was extremely knowledgeable of all that made up this momentous and critical period in our history.

Robert Bartlett, July 2019

A good book to gain a general understanding of events in the Western Desert.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About David Braddock

David Braddock was educated at Dartford Grammar School in Kent and attended Birmingham University gaining a 1st Class Honours Degree (BA) and in 1950 became a Research Scholar. In 1953 he joined the Royal Air Force in 1953 as an Education Officer. Retiring in 1958 he joined the University of Southampton’s Adult Education Department.
Before retiring, he worked for the British Army preparing officers for the Staff College entrance examination. Among those he taught was General Sir Nick Carter KCB, CBE, DSO, the current Chief of the Defence Staff, who has written the Foreword to the 2019 edition of Britain’s Desert War in Egypt and Libya 1940–1942.
Britain’s Desert War in Egypt and Libya 1940–1942 was originally published in 1964 as The Campaigns in Egypt & Libya 1940-1942.
In 2011 David was awarded the MBE for 40 years of voluntary service supporting educational development in Dorset. He lives near Weymouth.

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