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India and World War IIWar, Armed Forces, and Society, 1939–45$
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Kaushik Roy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463534.001.0001

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The Indian Army in Africa and Italy

The Indian Army in Africa and Italy


(p.190) 5 The Indian Army in Africa and Italy
India and World War II

Kaushik Roy

Oxford University Press

The Indian Army defeated the Italians in Abyssinia and played a crucial role in containing Erwin Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika in Egypt–Libya in 1941–2. The Indian troops proved themselves masters of mountain warfare in the rolling hills of Abyssinia, in Tunisia, and also in Italy (1944). The pre-1939 Indian Army had a template of war which was geared for conducting Small War along the mountainous tracts of the North-West Frontier. Some of its elements were useful for the Indian units while fighting in the mountainous regions of Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Italy. However, in the course of the various campaigns, the Indian Army also absorbed certain new elements (such as cooperation with aircraft, anti-tank guns and tanks, use of concentrated artillery fire in fluid battlefield scenarios, etc.) for conducting conventional warfare. For instance, use of superior artillery and close air support in a quick and efficient manner at Second Alamein, Tunisia, and in Italy were some of the tactical techniques which functioned as force multipliers.

Keywords:   Abyssinia, Erwin Rommel, Panzerarmee Afrika, pre-1939 Indian Army, Small War, anti-tank guns and tanks, mountain warfare, close air support, Second Alamein, Tunisia, Afrika Korps

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