Saturday, May 07, 2005
The British colonial army was at its best in East Africa
The British colonial army was in its element in East Africa, fighting the Italians. they weren't up to fighting Germans in North Africa, at least without relearning their craft, but they knew Africa and warfare there. General Alan Cunningham, whom Auchinleck mistakenly put in charge of mobile forces in the Western Desert, led the attack against Gondar. Vol.II of the British official history tells the story of the East African campaign in Chapter XVI. There was only a skeleton force left in East Africa to pursue the campaign to defeat the Italians. The high command needed the best troops for use in Greece and the Western Desert. The RAF was involved as well, flying an odd collection of largely antique aircraft. There were Hurricanes, Gladiators, Fairy Battles, Harbeests, and even the Vickers Wellesley. Throughout Auchinleck's theater, there were present almost all the different types produced in the 1930's.