North Africa

In Egypt – reinforced and retrained – the New Zealanders took part in the fighting in the Western Desert as part of the British Eighth Army, engaging the men of the Afrika Korps who were under the outstanding officer Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, dubbed the “Desert Fox”. This fighting flowed back and forth across the vast expanses of desert five times between 1940 and 1943, before General Montgomery built up enough weapons and supplies to finally force the Germans out of North Africa.

The New Zealand Division took prominent part in most major actions such as the relief of Tobruk, Minqar Qaim, defence of the El Alamein Line, the breakout at Alamein, the advance on Tripoli, and the Tunisian Campaign. As in WWI, the New Zealand Division became one of the elite formations and were called upon whenever a difficult task needed to be done.