Desert Rat 1940–43

British and Commonwealth troops in North Africa

Desert Rat 1940–43 cover

Desert Rat 1940–43

British and Commonwealth troops in North Africa

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Osprey's examination of the 'Desert Rats', a popular nickname used to describe first 7th Armoured Division and then all the mixed body of British Commonwealth troops - British, Australian, New Zealand and Indian - that fought against Axis forces in North Africa between 1940 and 1943. For a long period during the early years of World War II (1939-1945), this was the only theatre of war where the United Kingdom could strike back against the Axis powers, and the seesaw desert war fought out along the coast of the Mediterranean in Egypt, Libya and then Tunisia proved a harsh testing ground for British arms - in terms of organization, equipment and methods of waging war.

The distinctive dress, equipment and weapons developed and carried by the Desert Rats into battle will be examined as will the expansion, organization and training of the desert army. To illustrate the distinctive combat experience gained by the Desert Rats between 1940 and 1943, three representative operations will be examined in detail - Operation Compass in 1940, the battle of Gazala in May 1942 and finally the last phase of the decisive fighting at El Alamein in October-November 1942. Accompanied by full-color illustrations, this title will shed new light on these fascinating troops.

Table of Contents

Introduction /Chronology /Recruitment/Enlistment /Training /Appearance /Equipment /Conditions of Service /On Campaign /Belief and Belonging /Experience of Battle /The end of the war in North Africa and assessment of the Desert Rats /Collecting/Museums/Re-enactment /Bibliography /Glossary /Index

Product details

Published Nov 22 2011
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781849085014
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 30 b/w; 33 col
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Warrior
Short code WAR 160
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Tim Moreman

Tim Moreman is a freelance military historian livi…


Steve Noon

Steve Noon was born in Kent, UK, and attended art…


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