The campaign in North Africa during World War Two was one of the most important of the conflict. The allies fought for control of North Africa against the German Afrika Korps led by Rommel. But the part played by Mussolini's Italian troops, and in particular the armored divisions, in support of the Germans is not so well known.
|Publisher:||The Crowood Press UK|
|Edition description:||Revised ed.|
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.75(d)|
About the Author
Ian W. Walker is a Civil Servant in the Scottish Office, but his great passion is history. He is also the author of Mercia and the making of England and Harold: The Last Anglo-Saxon King, which was shortlisted for the History Today Book of the Year prize.
What People are Saying About This
Military Vehicles Magazine, April 2006
"Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts sheds considerable light on a much neglected facet of the history of armored warfare."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When I was a child I remember Johnny Carson doing one of his famous "Tonight Show" monologues in which he made reference to a new chess strategy called "The Italian Defence." He went on to describe the strategy by explaining that after the opponent makes his opening move, all the players pieces turn and move off the board. It got a pretty good laugh, and also highlighted how, 25 years (at that time) after the debacle of how Mussolini's military ambitions in WWII brought defeat and destruction to Italy, the Italian military heritage continued under a shadow of incompetence and lack of valour. While all sane people recognize that Italian fascism (or any fascism) is inherently wrong, both morally and economically, it is still a hard pill to swallow (for Italians and others of Italian descent) that the only desire of Italian fighting men during WWII was to surrender at the earliest opportunity. Now, thanks to the interest and meticulous research of Ian W. Walker, a more complete picture of Italian fighting prowess during that conflict can be presented. It seems that there were in fact several elite Italian fighting units in North Africa, and that a careful inquiry into the record of that conflict reveals how Italian mechanized forces in particular distinguished themselves in several different engagements, despite inferior equipment and often uninspired leadership. This interesting and well written book chronicles the development of armour and motorized forces in Italy between the two world wars, and the history of how these relatively elite formations conducted themselved in the epic struggle for the control of North Africa between 1940 and 1943. Mr. Walker demonstrates how Italy's tank units were not given their due respect by either the British Commonwealth forces that fought against them, or even by their own German allies in that conflict. Piecing together a clearer picture of events from both unit histories and personal accounts of the many battles fought in the desert, the author goes far in reestablishing the honour and valour of Italian arms during WWII without making overblown claims. His writing style is clear and compelling albeit a little dry at times especially for the non-historian. For anyone who has read other histories of the WWII battles in North Africa and has suspected that something less that "the whole story" was being presented, this book will be a welcome and refreshing discovery. Mr. Walker seems better balanced in his perspective on the campaign for North Africa and several other historians, and makes his arguments in a reasonable and credible manner. This is a "must read" for students of WWII military history or Italian military history for that matter. I highly recommend the book.