Europe 1942: Western Desert Campaign
In 1942 Rommel launched his greatest offensive against the British in North Africa, expelling them from Libya and invading Egypt. By the end of June, he was closing in on Alexandria, forcing the British to evacuate the Mediterranean Fleet to safer ports.
21 Jan–21 Jun 1942 Operations Theseus▲
The German and Italian forces of Panzerarmee Afrika, under Colonel-General Erwin Rommel, launched Operation Theseus—an attack on the British Eighth Army in Libya. The British retreated to the Gazala Line, west of Tobruk, which they held until June 13. Over the following four days, Rommel chased them from Libya, receiving the surrender of the isolated British garrison at Tobruk on the 21st.
4–7 Jun 1942 Battle of Midway▲
In an attempt to lure the US Pacific Fleet’s few remaining aircraft carriers into a trap, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an offensive against Midway Atoll. Warned of Japanese plans by its code-breakers, the US was prepared for the attack and successfully ambushed the Japanese force, sinking all four of its major aircraft carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu—and a heavy cruiser for the loss of just the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer.
23 Jun–1 Jul 1942 Operation Aïda▲
Panzerarmee Afrika, under Colonel-General Erwin Rommel, resumed its advance eastward into Egypt in Operation Aïda. After forcing the British Eighth Army to retreat from their defensive line at Mersa Matruh, Rommel reached El Alamein—close enough to Alexandria to prompt the British to evacuate the Mediterranean Fleet to Haifa, Port Said, and Beirut.