‘the Only Reason the Axis Powers Were Defeated in North Africa Was Because of Supply Problems’. How Far Do You Agree? Essay

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The Axis powers did certainly encounter supply problems with their campaign in North Africa. Especially towards the end of the campaign, they were experiencing serious difficulties in this sphere. Fuel, troops and ammunition were running out at such a rate that it was becoming increasingly difficult to replace it and Rommel’s pleas to Germany were being ignored. However there were certainly two more important factors that contributed to the Axis power’s defeat. These were Hitler’s, and to a lesser extent Rommel’s, poor grasp of strategical and logistical warfare in the North African area as well as the superiority of Allied naval and air power with the welcome introduction of American forces after 1941. After an unsuccessful Italian campaign in Egypt, Mussolini requested help from their German ally, and the Italian Commando Supremo sent motorized and armoured forces to protect their colonies in North Africa. The Germans hastily put together a motorized force, whose lead elements arrived in Tripoli in February 1941. Thus the rush to support the ailing Italian forces also played a part in the defeat of the Axis powers in North Africa as Germany certainly viewed North Africa as a peripheral area. The force, termed the Afrika Korps by Hitler, was placed under the command of Erwin Rommel. In April of the same year Rommel launched a series of attacks on Tobruk, the heavily garrisoned port fortress manned by an Australian infantry division. However when he failed in his attempts at its capture, the first supply problems for Rommel were in evidence which contributed to the Axis power’s defeat in the long term in North Africa. His front line positions at Sollum were at the end of an extended supply chain that stretched back to Tripoli and had to bypass the coast road at Tobruk. His forward units were particularly badly affected through lack of petrol meaning their

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