December 1940 - British Attack Italians in Egypt

British Matilda Tank
British troops launched a surprise attack on Italian troops, which occupied parts of western Egypt. The British routed the Italians. On January 5th, the Italian garrison at Bardia– with 25,000 troops– surrendered.
By the end of January, the British captured Tobruk and, in early February, captured Bengasi and liberated Ethiopia. In April, German reinforcements, under the command of General Rommel, arrived in Africa and stopped the British advance. The British were forced to withdraws


The Italian Army under General Annibale Bergonzoli crossed the Egyptian border on September 9th and met limited British resistance initially. Both sides conducted air raids against each other. The British made strategic withdrawals along the coast road trying to inflict as many casualties on the Italians as possible. The Italians advanced as far Sidi Barrani on the coast and began to dig in.

On December 9th the British led by General Wavel launched an attack on Italian forces inEgypt. The Italian forces were routed and began a retreat. The British forces followed up and were soon inside Libya, where the allied forces soon captured Tobruk. The campaign was a total victory for the allies with the Italians losing 5,500 men killed, 10,00 wounded and 133,298 captured with 420 tanks and 845 heavy guns. The Allies lost 500 killed 55 missing and 1,373 wounded.