Southern Rhodesia in World War II - Wikipedia
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The Italians took the city and completed their conquest of British Somaliland a day later. The British forces in East Africa adopted the doctrine of "mobile defence" that was already being used in the Western Desert in North Africa—units embarked on long, constant patrols to guard wells and deny water supplies to the Italians. The British evacuated their north forward position at Buna in Septemberand expected an attack on Wajir soon after, but the Italians never attempted an assault.
Boosted considerably by the arrival of three South African brigades during the last months ofthe Commonwealth forces in Kenya had expanded to three divisions by the end of the year. The Italians retreated to the interior. One of the Rhodesian Hardys was shot down near Keren on 7 February with the loss of both occupants. Two days later, five Italian fighters attacked a group of grounded Rhodesian aircraft at Agordat in western Eritrea, and wrecked two Hardys and two Lysanders.
After the Italians retreated and surrendered, the Rhodesian squadron moved forward to Asmara on 6 April, whence it embarked on bombing sorties on the port of Massawa.
The viceroy surrendered on 18 Mayeffectively ending the war in East Africa. Benghazi is to the north-west, Tobruk is on the coast near the map's centre, and El Alamein is to the east. Rommel led a strong counter-offensive in March—April that forced a general Allied withdrawal towards Egypt.
German and Italian forces surrounded Tobruk but failed to take the largely Australian-garrisoned city, leading to the lengthy Siege of Tobruk. Initially made up of New Zealanders, the unit's first British and Rhodesian members joined in November S1 and S2 Patrols, B Squadron. Each vehicle bore a Rhodesian place-name starting with "S" on the bonnet, such as "Salisbury" or " Sabi ". For the next four months they lived in near-total isolation from the outside world, an exception coming in July when they and a group of airmen from No.
The British XXX Corpsled by the 7th Armoured Division "the Desert Rats" with its Rhodesian platoons, would form the main body of attack, advancing west from Mersa Matruhthen sweeping around in a north-westerly direction towards Tobruk.
When signalled the Tobruk garrison would break out and move south-east towards the advancing Allied forces. The Rhodesians of the LRDG took part in raids on Axis rear areas during the operation, ambushing Axis convoys, destroying Axis aircraft and pulling down telegraph poles and wires.
The LRDG set up a watch post about 8 kilometres 5. This information was relayed back to the British commanders in Cairo. The Axis soon thereafter captured Tobruk.
John Plagisa Rhodesian airman of Greek ancestryjoined the multinational group of Allied airmen defending the strategically important island in late March and on 1 April achieved four aerial victories in an afternoon, thereby becoming the siege's first Spitfire flying ace. By the time of his withdrawal in July he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice.
This choice was motivated by a combination of strategic concerns and geopolitical manoeuvring. Apart from considering South Africa a more appropriate partner in geographical, logistical and cultural terms, Huggins feared that the alternative—joining the British East Africa Command —might detract from the autonomous nature of Southern Rhodesia's war effort, with possible constitutional implications.
A shift in the deployment of the colony's troops duly occurred. For the rest of the war the majority of Rhodesian servicemen went into the field integrated into South African formations, prominently the 6th Armoured Division. The fighting around "Thompson's Post" between 1 and 3 November was some of the fiercest Rhodesians took part in during the war. Hoping to knock out the Allied anti-tank guns before counter-attacking, the Germans concentrated intense artillery fire on the Australian and Rhodesian guns before advancing 12 Panzer IV tanks towards the weakest point of the Australian line.
The Australian six-pounders had been largely disabled by the bombardment but most of the Rhodesian guns remained operational.
The Rhodesian gunners disabled two Panzers and seriously damaged two more, compelling an Axis retreat, and held their position until being relieved on 3 November. One Rhodesian officer and seven other ranks were killed and more than double that number were wounded. They patrolled around the Axis right flank until being withdrawn to Timimi in December. Expecting an imminent attack by the Axis, the Eighth Army mustered every anti-tank gun it could from Egypt and Libya.
The Germans and Italians assaulted Medinine the next day, but failed to make much progress and abandoned their attack by the evening. The Rhodesian gunners, held in reserve, did not take part in the engagement but were attacked from the air. The Allies advanced at first but the weather and terrain prevented the tanks and guns from moving forward, allowing the 15th Panzer Division to counter-attack successfully. A flanking movement by the 2nd New Zealand Division around the right of the German forces, through the Tebaga Gapcompelled an Axis withdrawal on 27 March.
British armour entered Tunis on 7 May The Axis forces in North Africa—overGermans and Italians, including 26 generals—surrendered a week later. The Rhodesian Anti-Tank Battery retraced many of the movements it had taken during the campaign as it returned to Egypt.
It gave me a queer feeling to look back and think how many of us are missing. After retraining for mountain operations in Lebanon, the LRDG moved in late September to the Dodecanese island of Kalymnosnorth-west of Kos and south-east of Lerosoff the coast of south-west Turkey. In the fall-out from the Armistice of Cassibile between Italy and the Allies, which had been concluded in the first week of September, the Allies were attempting to capture the Dodecanese so the islands could be used as bases against the German-occupied Balkans.
Most of the Italian forces had changed sides; the LRDG found itself in an infantry role, acting as a mobile reserve for Italian troops. Without fighter support, the islands' defence was soon precarious; the LRDG and the rest of the troops on Kalymnos were withdrawn to Leros on 4 October after the Germans won the Battle of Kos.
German air assaults on Leros intensified during late October, and at dawn on 12 November the Germans attacked Leros by sea and air.
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They held that position for three more days, during which they learned that the Germans were winning the battle. On 16 November, Olivey decided that holding the point any longer was pointless and ordered his men to split up, escape by any means possible and re-assemble in Cairo. Over half of the unit reached Egypt. He broke with Congress and tried to form a military alliance with Germany or Japan to gain independence.
With German reversals in andBose and the Legion's officers were transported by U boat to Japanese territory to continue his plans. Bose also headed the Provisional Government of Free Indiaa government-in-exile based in Singapore.
It controlled no Indian territory and was used only to raise troops for Japan. It took in volunteers and by was the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 2. The Middle East and African theatre[ edit ] Main articles: India also geared up to produce essential goods such as food and uniforms.
Pre-Independence India provided the largest volunteer force 2. In addition, the 18th Brigade of the 8th Indian Division fought at Alamein. Earlier, the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions took part in the East African campaign against the Italians in SomalilandEritrea and Abyssinia capturing the mountain fortress of Keren.
In the Battle of Bir HacheimIndian gunners played an important role by using guns in the anti tank role and destroying tanks of Rommel's panzer divisions.
India in World War II
He was awarded the DSO for his act of bravery. Later he became the Chief of Army Staff of independent India in The Royal Indian Air force's first assault mission was carried out against Japanese troops stationed in Burma.
The British Indian Army was key to breaking the siege of Imphal when the westward advance of Imperial Japan came to a halt. These troops, popularly known as Chinditsplayed a crucial role in halting the Japanese advance into South Asia.
Japan gave nominal control of the islands to the Provisional Government of Free India on 21 Octoberand in the following March, the Indian National Army with the help of Japan crossed into India and advanced as far as Kohima in Nagaland. This advance on the mainland of South Asia reached its farthest point on India territory, retreating from the Battle of Kohima in June and from that of Imphal on 3 July As its Imphal offensive failed, harsh weather and disease and withdrawal of air cover due to more pressing needs in the Pacific also took its toll on the Japanese and remnants of the INA and the Burma National Army.
World War II - Wikipedia
In springa resurgent British army recaptured the occupied lands. Photo circa May Indian forces played a role in liberating Italy from Nazi control.
India contributed the 3rd largest Allied contingent in the Italian campaign after US and British forces. They fought on the Gothic Line in and Collaboration with the Axis powers[ edit ] See also: Indian National ArmyIndische Legionand Battaglione Azad Hindoustan Several leaders of the radical revolutionary Indian independence movement broke away from the main Congress and went to war against Britain.
Subhas Chandra Boseonce a prominent leader of Congress, volunteered to help Germany and Japan; he said Britain's opposition to Nazism and Fascism as "hypocrisy" since it was itself violating human rights and denying individual liberties in India. Bose then approached Tokyo which gave him control of Indian forces it had organised. Later, after it was reorganised under Subhas Chandra Bose, it drew civilian volunteers from Malaya and Burma.
Ultimately, a force of under 40, was formed, although only two divisions ever participated in battle. Intelligence and special services groups from the INA were instrumental in destabilising the British Indian Army in the early stages of the Arakan offensive. It was during this time that the British Military Intelligence began propaganda work to shield the true numbers who joined the INA, and also described stories of Japanese brutalities that indicated INA involvement.