1942: The Allies finally won two key victories, beating Rommel at the Battle of El Alamein, and then landing in North Africa.
After so many retreats, they now had the upper hand and drove the Axis forces out of Africa in May 1943. The tide had finally turned, but the cost was high, with revenge attacks on civilians, the horrific treatment of prisoners of war, antiSemitic persecutions, and so on.
Far from a chivalrous confrontation, the Desert War was a bloody conflict in which thousands of soldiers battled in extreme conditions, during operations in which leaders like Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, and Rommel – who would each go on to have a bright future – distinguished themselves.
This full archive documentary looks back at the great military operations in North Africa, from the disasters in Tobruk and Kasserine to the triumph in Tunis. This was a little-known theater of operations, where a global conflict was fought and won.
Direction: Yvan Demeulandre
Written by: Olivier Wierviorka
Production: ZED for National Geographic & France Télévisions