afrika korps defined in 1939 yearafrika korps - Afrika Korps;
afrika korps - German army corps of the Second Great War. Erwin Rommel, after playing an important role on Hitler's staff in the Polish campaign of 1939 and commanding a division in France in 1940, was entrusted with one of Hitler's most ambitious military experimentsâ€” the formation of a body of soldiers to serve in North Africa. The men, specially selected by Rommel for this purpose, underwent an extremely arduous training at a camp near Hamburg, where they were subjected to the rigours of desert warfare in artificially created conditions approximating as closely as possible to those existing in Libya and Egypt.
In March, 1941, almost simultaneously with the German attack on Greece, Rommel struck at Wavell's imperial army in Western Cyrenaica, reinforcing the shattered Italian forces with the highly mechanised divisions of the Afrika Korps at El Agheila, 130. m. S.W. of Benghazi. Developing an extremely powerful weight of armour, the Afrika Korps used the ports of Tunis and Tripoli as landing-bases for its Libyan campaigns, and the speed with which supplies were landed doubtless contributed to the success of Rommel's men as they struck against the British, driving Wavell's troops back across Libya to the Egyptian border. After the fluctuating desert campaigns of 1941-42. the Afrika Korps was eventually held, and then routed, by the British 8th Army at El Alamein. In the British offensive that opened on Oct. 23, 1942, Rommel's defensive lines were smashed. Within 15 days he lost half his great tank force, and the remnants of the once powerful Afrika Korps fled across Libya towards Tripolitania and Tunisia, defeated and broken. See Alamein; North Africa Campaigns.
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