I came across a pocket guide to North Africa which was given to military personnel serving in North Africa during WWII and printed by the War and Navy Departments, I thought it interesting and a handy guide for writers.
YOU are to do duty in North Africa as a soldier of the United States, and this guidebook has been prepared to assist you in serving in a strange country as well as to give you a more complete understanding of why you are fighting there and to make your service a more worthwhile personal experience.
No other American force has been given a more important mission. After the close of the First World War, one of the great strategists of Europe predicted that the great war would be won in North Africa. He foresaw such a rise in air power as would make the Mediterranean Sea virtually a defile for all shipping. If their enemies were to come into complete possession of the Mediterranean shores, an almost insupportable strain would be put upon the nations dependent on sea power. On the other hand, if the North African coast could be held by the sea-power nations—Great Britain and the United States—its air and sea bases would become the springboard to the reconquest of Europe and the final defeat of the forces dominating that continent.
THREE YEARS OF STRUGGLE
FOR more than three years, events have sustained this prophecy, and the armed forces of the United Nations and of the Axis have been locked in a tremendous struggle for North Africa. One campaign has followed another across its desert spaces. None was finally successful. For a time it seemed as if the whole of the Mediterranean and the land which surrounded it would be lost to our side. Fighting against tremendous odds and handicapped by shortages of air power and the necessity for deploying their war vessels over most of the waters of the globe, the British had to cease convoying through the Mediterranean except in cases of extreme emergency. Our supply had to make the 13,000-mile journey around the Cape of Good Hope to sustain the Allied forces in the Middle East and Egypt.
But while the Mediterranean lifeline was strained almost to the snapping point in those difficult years, it never broke. At the eastern end the British rallied around the defense of Alexandria and the Suez. At the western end of the sea the great fortress of Gibraltar held. In the center, menacing the German-Italian supply line to Africa, the island of Malta maintained one of the most heroic stands of the war supported by convoy moving in at times from either end of the Mediterranean3/17/2011 #1
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