The North Africa Campaign (COMIC: The Instruments of War) was a theatre of the Second World War fought throughout various territories in North Africa. It acted as a sort of extension of the Western Front in Europe after that theatre was swiftly closed, involving many of the same nations.
The campaign was largely predicated by the imperial ambitions of Italy. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia) After the conclusion of hostilities in Africa brought about by the defeat of the Axis, the Allies launched a followup campaign in Italy, (PROSE: Deadly Reunion) shattering the nation's ambitions (PROSE: The Dying Days) and effectively breaking her alliance with Germany. (COMIC: Treasure Trail, PROSE: The Turing Test)
Nazi Germany launched the Blitzkrieg against Western Europe in May 1940. Within a month, France and her continental allies surrendered, leaving Germany in control of much of the continent. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) The Nazis established the Vichy regime, a puppet government based in southern France in the town of Vichy. (AUDIO: Resistance) In practice, the Germans maintained proper control over all French territories, including France's colonies in North Africa such as French Guinea (PROSE: The Turing Test) and the city of Casablanca. (COMIC: As Time Goes By)
Although the fall of France effectively closed down the Western Front, Germany's failure to defeat Britain led the latter to carry on the struggle, and she engaged the Axis forces present in Africa. (COMIC: The Instruments of War) The continent was of particular interest to Benito Mussolini, the leader of Hitler's primary ally, fascist Italy. Holding a romantic view of the proud imperial history of ancient Rome, Mussolini wanted to rebuild an Italian empire across the African continent. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia)
The fighting in Africa Edit
Opening clashes Edit
The Germans led the Axis effort in Africa, with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and Albert Kesselring leading the Afrika Korps. (COMIC: The Instruments of War) Alongside them were the Italians (PROSE: The Dying Days) and the local tribesmen of the Tuareg led by Bhaki, (COMIC: The Instruments of War) as well as the obedient administrators of Vichy France. (PROSE: The Turing Test, COMIC: As Time Goes By) They were opposed by British and Australian forces (COMIC: The Instruments of War) together with French forces under Charles de Gaulle. (PROSE: The Dying Days) Much of the fighting took place in the Sahara Desert, Libya in the region of Cyrenaica. Tanks and aircraft were deployed by both sides during the campaign. (COMIC: The Instruments of War)
Naval operations continued in the wider Mediterranean, which became closed to peacetime shipping. Convoys bound for Egypt or North Africa had to travel via the Atlantic Ocean and the West African Coast. Freetown in Sierra Leone became the main port of call, although the area became endangered after de Gaulle's assault on Dakar. (PROSE: The Turing Test)
The Warsong Edit
In November 1941, British forces in raided the German headquarters in an attempt to assassinate Rommel. They were unsuccessful but a lull in the fighting followed as winter drew in. Some of the Germans remained conscious of their own security arrangements.
In December, the German command was infiltrated by a Rutan spy disguised as German war hero Heinz Bruckner, while searching for the Sontarans' lost superweapon, the Warsong. The Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald fell in with Rommel and Kesselring's men. Winning favour with Rommel, the Doctor was introduced to Bhaki and the Tuareg. During the meeting, the Doctor encountered Kygon Brox's forces of the Eighth Sontaran Battle Fleet, who were trying to hunt down the Rutan.
When "Bruckner" discovered the Warsong, he activated it in order to transform Earth into a weapon that could be used in the Sontaran-Rutan War. The Doctor contacted Winston Churchill to explain the urgency of the situation, which resulted in a temporary truce between the Axis and Allied forces. Tanks and aircraft attacked the Warsong with the help of the Sontarans to buy Rommel and the Doctor time, although many were easily destroyed. Rommel killed Bruckner in a fight, after which Kygon Brox tried to utilise the Warsong against the Rutans. Yet he died of wounds sustained and the Doctor destroyed the Warsong from within to prevent anyone using it in the future. After its destruction, the truce ended and the fighting in Africa subsequently resumed. (COMIC: The Instruments of War)
Silurian activity in Casablanca Edit
On 7 December, the United States of America entered the war after the naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. (PROSE: Only Connect) The alliance with Britain (PROSE: Loving the Alien) led to preparations to deploy American troops in North Africa. (PROSE: Autumn Mist)
In the same month, before the end of 1941, the Germans increased their presence in Casablanca. Concurrently, the Silurians infiltrated the French police force in Casablanca using the war as cover in a bid to reclaim the Earth from humanity. The plan was to turn the city into the epicentre of a massive earthquake to create a planet-sized tidal wave, thereby flooding humanity to extinction.
However, the plans were delayed by the Silurian who was to become the new emperor; the British, French, Americans and resistance movements standing up against Nazi tyranny convinced him humanity was capable of good. He assisted the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams in thwarting the genocidal ambitions of his brethren. The Doctor turned the Silurians' flood against them but was able to spared them. He warned them not to return to the surface again unless they did so with peaceful intent. (COMIC: As Time Goes By)
The Markebo incident Edit
- Main article: Markebo incident
In 1942, British agent and novelist Graham Greene was posted to Freetown in Sierra Leone, helping to provide Allied agents with money, cover stories and means of communication. Any information the agents reported was returned by Greene to London. Sierra Leone was considered a potentially valuable strategic position because its ran along the border of Vichy French Guinea; it appeared to be a possibility that the Allies could conduct an invasion of North Africa from the region. Because of this advantage, Greene frequently ran and met agents in the remoter parts of the country. He ran around 50 agents in total but later looked back on the post with disappointment over how little the network had actually achieved.
In June, a group of aliens identified simply as the "strangers" arrived on Earth in the Sierra Leone border village of Markebo. Their arrival produced a bright light in the sky which startled the locals and the village was evacuated. Greene investigated Markebo and found only the strangers, though learned little about them. One of Greene's agents, Cray, contacted a French armoured brigade in the area whose commanding officer confirmed the phenomenon had nothing to do with them. The French thought it was an English weapon, while others suggested it was one of Germany's V2 rockets, which were then rumoured to be in development.
Cray reported his findings to Greene in the village of D'nalyel the next day. The meeting was interrupted by Luetnant "Franz Schubert" and his Waffen-SS squad, who were really the strangers in disguise after killing a real SS squad sent to the area. A confused struggle developed between figures Greene was unable to identify and the strangers secretly fled to Vienna. Greene gave his report back in Freetown but omitted any direct mention of the strangers. He lost Cray as an agent shortly after, suspecting that he had defected to the French.
Other engagements Edit
Among the other battlefronts in North Africa were Gazala, Tobruk and El Alamein. Sam Bishop's great-grandfather fought with the Eighth Army through all these engagements. (AUDIO: Earthfall) At some stage in 1942, The Times reported that Rommel was making an advance along a railway line. (AUDIO: I Was Churchill's Double)
El Alamein stood out in particular as a number of notable figures were involved in the action. Captain Jack Harkness was present at El Alamein, (PROSE: Risk Assessment) as was the Doctor during one of his first five incarnations. (PROSE: The King of Terror) The Third Doctor once claimed he had been wounded in the leg at El Alamein, but misremembered if it had been during the Crimean War or the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War instead. (TV: The Sea Devils) The Eighth Doctor claimed he had driven an ambulance there. (PROSE: Autumn Mist) Major Dakar recalled that the British executed "traitors and cowards" at El Alamein. (PROSE: Ghosts of India)
After a long struggle throughout the campaign, the Eighth Army was finally able to defeat Rommel and the Afrika Korps. The victory proved highly satisfying to some of the troops. (PROSE: Deadly Reunion)
The Americans sent to the West arrived in North Africa. (PROSE: Autumn Mist) The resulting invasion wrested control of North Africa from Vichy France, thereby removing any semblance of power it ever had. By January 1943, it was clear that the Axis would not be able to hold on to Africa. Graham Greene served his last week in North Africa that month. Before he departed, he met with the Eighth Doctor, who had been arrested in Sierra Leone for trying to sneak across the border without a passport. The Doctor questioned Greene about the Markebo incident. He was released and the two conducted a short search of the area. Greene provided the Doctor with some ID and they both headed back to England, but went separate ways. Greene performed more work in the intelligence department while the Doctor continued his investigation. (PROSE: The Turing Test)
Once the fighting in North Africa was ended, the Allies turned their attention towards Italy. The Americans (PROSE: Autumn Mist) and the British landed in Sicily later in 1943, signalling the start of the Invasion of Italy (PROSE: Deadly Reunion) which brought down Mussolini (PROSE: The Dying Days) and knocked Italy out of the Axis. (PROSE: The Turing Test) With their alliance strained, the Germans occupied the north of Italy to lead the defence themselves. (PROSE: Treasure Trail) They also fully occupied southern France, taking back control from the Vichy regime. (AUDIO: Resistance)
Parallel universes Edit
- Main article: Germania
On Germania V, one of the Known Worlds in which the Nazis won the war and defeated the British in the Battle for London, the Italians successfully gained control of North Africa. Other Nazi worlds experienced similar outcomes. On Germania I, the Terra Optimus, much of the Mediterranean islands fell under the control of the Nazi Empire rather than the Italians. While exploring these worlds, Marcus Americanius Scriptor noted that Mussolini was merely a subservient "shadow of Hitler". Any success the Italians made in Africa on any Germania was ultimately undone when the Empire of Empires concluded its crusade against the Greater German Reich. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia)
Behind the scenes Edit
- Given that the novel takes place in March 1941, the mention of the "Fall of Tobruk" in Just War likely refers to the capture of Tobruk by the British from the Italians in January 1941. The more infamous battle, better known as the Fall of Tobruk, occurred in June 1942 when the Axis powers recaptured the port following their victory at the Battle of Gazala.