The Eighth Army in North Africa...


...from Pen and Sword



Title: The Eighth Army in North Africa

Author: Simon Forty

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52672-379-6

I admit to something of a fascination for books on the war in North Africa. The first image on opening the book is one of the Africa Star, awarded to the Allied servicemen who served in the theatre between 1940 and 1943. I have my father's, along with its' 8th Army Bar. He is no longer with us but I always remember that whenever I made a model or read a book about the war in North Africa, he always showed an interest that he didn't share with his time in Italy and North West Europe.

This new one from author Simon Forty looks at the whole period of the war, from early in 1940 through to the final surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia in mid-1943. It is divided into 7 chapters in order to tell the story, each one with some interesting text to introduce it, and then a set of archive photos to support each topic. After an Introduction, the chapters cover Setting the Scene: The Opposing Forces: The Desert: Operation 'Crusader': Rommel's Second Offensive: Monty Takes Command and all rounded off with First Victory.

The many photos show the men and the equipment which took part in the fighting, from both sides. As well as fighting the enemy, both sides had to fight with the living conditions of the desert heat and with issues of supply. Strangely enough there is another photo at the back of the book which reminded me of my father. The picture shows a couple of officers and some civilians at the end in Tunisia, standing around a captured German Zundapp KS 750 motorcycle combination. I recall my father telling me of how he kept one of these for his own use in the final weeks of the fighting in Tunisia, though he had to leave it behind when he shipped out to land at Salerno.

Well written text and some excellent photos which I am sure many modellers will enjoy for their detail.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.