The war in Africa and the Middle East fell naturally into three phases, each lasting twelve months. At first General Wavell had command from 1940 to 1941, and that was the year of tremendous experiments, of thrusting about in the dark; the year of bluff and quick movement when nobody knew what was going to happen. Whole armies and fleets were flung about from one place to another, and in its frantic efforts to find new equilibrium the Middle East erupted at half a dozen places at once.
Then General Auchinleck arrived to take command, and 1941-1942 became the year of set battles and eventual retreat. It was no longer the colonial warfare, but a war of modern European armies fighting out a decisive issue in Africa. This fighting was focused on the desert, and in that flat and limitless arena the war developed into a straight-out issue between man and man, army and army.
Then the final year, 1942-1943, the year of Eisenhower, Alexander and Montgomery, the year of success. As Montgomery struck from the desert, the Anglo-American forces landed in North Africa. The tumultuous and victorious meeting of the Eighth and the First Armies in Tunisia must go down as one of the greatest military strokes of history.
As each of these three separate years of battle ended in the Middle East, Alan Moorehead wrote a book describing the operations, the Mediterranean Front, A Year of Battle and The End in Africa. These three are now combined in this volume.
Author: Alan Moorehead