Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh

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Sir Geoffrey Cox described Sidi Rezegh, fought during Operation Crusader in Libya over November and December 1941, as ‘the forgotten battle of the Desert War’. The objective of Crusader was to retake Cyrenaica, the eastern region of Libya, and ultimately drive the Italians and Germans out of North Africa. The campaign also involved British and South African troops, and did achieve the badly needed relief of Tobruk.

Despite the New Zealand Division’s major role, and the importance of this campaign in achieving British victory in North Africa, it has largely been neglected by historians, failing to receive as much attention as Crete, El Alamein or Cassino. Yet more New Zealand soldiers were killed or taken prisoner during Crusader than in any other campaign fought by ‘the Div’ during the war.

SPECIFICATIONS: Paperback | 234 x 151 mm / 9 ¼ x 6 Inches | 240 Pages |

Peter Cox, whose father fought at Sidi Rezegh, draws on his experience of twice visiting the battlefield to tell the story of this complex and costly campaign. He sets the scene for the fighting in Libya, describes the unforgiving and inhospitable desert landscape, follows the stages of the action itself and recounts the often moving and heroic stories of the New Zealanders who fought there. Many never returned home.

Desert Rats, April 2017
“this book shows the campaign from the infantryman’s experience who had to fight under the burning hot sun, against frequent German attacks, hoping that his supplies would arrive for the next day. It uses both official records and what makes it very unique some personal accounts of the events of later 1941.  I recommend that anyone interested in this period of the war read this book as it will enhance their understanding of the campaign.”


Australian Defence Magazine, October 2015
“a compelling account of a battle long neglected by other historians”


Britain at War Magazine, July 2015
An accessible account which joins the Anzac Battles series…”


Radio New Zealand National, May 2015
“Comprehensive book about the battle … Nailed it on the head in what happened in the battles … bringing it to life.” – Listen to the review here

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