1. Why the Axes failed in the North African Campaign?
The main reason was the logistics problem. The Axes army could not get enough supplies of weapons and ammunitions and other materials. Because there was no land connection between North Africa and the continent of Europe, therefore all of the materials were supplied through sea transport. Italian Navy and Kriegsmarine were unable to obtain the sea control of the Mediterranean, resulting in their failure in North Africa owing to shortage in supplies. As to the Allies, although the transport line of the Allies was much longer than that of the Axes, the Allies had the sea control and thus the army got sufficient staff and material support. In the decisive Battle of El Alamein, the Axes troops led by Rommel were in seriously short of oil, ammunition and air support. Facing the offensive of the British Army, they were unable to resist efficiently. In areas where land transport was unavailable, military power at sea determined result of the war.
2. Was it possible that Italy won in the early stage of the war with overwhelming advantage in troop size?
North Africa was an area with poor resources and small population. Fighting in this area required extremely high-efficient logistics rather than number of people to win the war. At the early stage of the war, Italy deployed more than 200,000 people in North Africa and 250,000 in East Africa while facing more than 80,000 of the British army in total. But when Mussolini ordered the Italian troops to attack Egypt, front commander Marshal Graziani reckoned they wouldn’t be able to win. In the first large-scale battle in North Africa, nearly 200,000 people were defeated by 30,000 of British army in the west of Egypt and more than 100,000 were captured. Large troop size made it more difficult for the Italian army to get supplies. When the Italian army entered into Egypt, not only weapon and ammunition or even food or drinking water, all of these needed to be supplied from the rear. Mussolini did not realize that and he deemed they could win merely with advantage in troop size.
3. What steps could the Axes take to change the situation in North Africa?
The task of the first importance of the Axes was to attack and occupy Malta Island, a stronghold of the Allies in the middle of the Mediterranean. The occupation of the island could not only guarantee transport route of its own, but also substantially increase difficulty of the transportation of the Allies. But occupying the island required efficient cooperation capability. Since Germany needed to fight in several battlefields, therefore could not dispatch sufficient resources to occupy the island. Or we can say the Axes were not so determined to occupy Malta. It’s worth concentrating even more resources so long as this key battle could change the process of the war. This serious mistake resulted in instability of the Axes. Military reverse in North Africa led to withdrawal of Italy from the war. The Germans must dispatch the army to Italy to fight. Actually, from the experience of the Germans in occupying Crete Island, there was possibility that the Axes would occupy Malta and it should be less difficult than occupying Crete.
4. How did Rommel have an impact on the fighting in North Africa?
Although the Axes army was in short of necessary supplies, Rommel still led his troops to obtain many victories. As for tactics and command, Rommel did his best to use military force of the Axes. If without Rommel’s command, the Allies could have accelerated the process in North Africa and end the war of the area earlier.
5. Like the East African Campaign, the North African Campaign ended with the complete annihilation of the Axes. In the final Tunisia Campaign, over 230,000 people of the Axes army surrounded.
6. The North African Campaign lasted for almost 3 years. It was one of the longer campaigns during World War II. The Allies suffered from casualties of more than 260,000 while the Axes’ casualties and the captured totaled up to more than 600,000, which was produced on the condition that it was possible to deploy large-scale army due to the desert terrain.
7. Since North Africa had a small population, so the war brought less affects to common people. And the both sides respected war rules and no vicious massacre or execution happened.
8. Montgomery became the commander of the British Eighth Army because of an accident that the plane of William Gott, who just assumed the office of the commander of the Eighth Army, was hit by the Germans and William died.