The war in the Western Desert began as a sideshow but steadily escalated into one of the most important campaigns of the Second World War, with essential oil supplies and the strategically vital Suez Canal at its heart. As the campaign grew in stature the names of the 8th Army, the Afrika Korps and their respective commanders Montgomery and Rommel became legendary and, at El Alamein in October 1942, the entire course of the war would change.
After an initially successful invasion bid by the Italians in the Winter of 1940, they were comprehensively crushed in a surprise attack by the British Western Desert Force. British Forces then swept West to seize the fortified ports of Bardia, Tobruk and Benghazi. As the Italian 10th Army began to surrender en masse, a more serious challenge was disembarking in Tripoli. The German Afrika Korps had arrived.
Now the British were driven back. Tobruk came under siege - but the line held. Then,
strengthened by reinforcements, a second offensive by Rommel rolled the British back to El Alamein. Montgomery took charge of the British 8th Army and the scene was set for a clash of epic proportions between two of the greatest commanders of the Second World War.
This is the definitive film record of the war in the Western Desert focusing on the battles and campaigns fought by British and Commonwealth forces from 1940 to the fall of Tunis and comprising almost entirely of front line footage. Along with rare captured Axis film, also included are never before seen film rushes and Movietone newsreel outtakes. The entire land campaign is covered in considerable detail, along with the air war and Mediterranean convoys.
Included are exclusive interviews with surviving British veterans, as well as Viscount David Montgomery and Manfred Rommel, the sons of the legendary commanders, expert analysis by Brigadier Frank Steer MBE, coverage of the last visit of the Desert Rats to Tobruk in 2001 and much more.