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To What Extent Was The British Commitment Of Massive Resources To The Campaign In North Africa And The Mediterranean, In The Years 1940 To 1944, A Strategic Mistake?

931 words - 4 pages

It is argued that the Mediterranean strategy was a strategic mistake and British resources would be better used elsewhere such as the Atlantic where over 3,500 merchant vessels and 175 warships were destroyed during the entire war, but it can be also argued that Churchill, who initiated the Mediterranean campaign was right to commit huge amounts of resources to a strategy believed to win the war. It can be argued that both the North African and Mediterranean campaign, whilst not perfect and had many flaws, was far from a strategic mistake.
Firstly, there are valid reasons for the land based battle of North Africa and may show to be a strategic mistake not to enter North Africa. The Suez ...view middle of the document...

This argument is strengthened by the nature of the campaign in Italy it took over a month to captured just Sicily and over 40,000 and Germans escaped. The landings for the Americans at Salerno was a disaster, it met fierce German opposition and struggled to maintain a foothold on the beach. In addition whilst some defenders of the Italian strategy claim it was good practice of American and British cooperation in fact the cooperation was virtually non-existent the two commanders Pattern and Montgomery did not get along and made everything a struggle. This is also where Churchills strategy of the Italian ‘soft underbelly’ is viciously attacked as the Allied forces became bogged down throughout 1943 and 1944 the mountain upper hand made Germans job of defence much easier and the defensive Gustav line held until the mid 1944 when Monte Cassino finally fell. The weather was against the Allies and air cover would have been useless in the mountainous terrain, all leading to a conclusion that the Mediterranean campaign was a strategic mistake and a huge waste of Allied resources.
However there is a positive side to the North African and Mediterranean campaigns. Whilst the argument that Pattern and Montgomery struggled to cooperate in Italy maybe valid, in North Africa Anglo-American cooperation contributes to the argument that this strategy was not a strategic mistake. In 1942, operation torch gave the Americans and British valuable practice at working together represented by when American troops suffering German resistance, they were...

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