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Afrika Korps

The Afrika Korps was an expeditionary combat force of the German army ordered by Hitler and fought in North Africa during the Second World War from February 1941 to May 1943. Adolf Hitler ordered the creation of this force after the Italian defeats of Tobruk and Benghazi, at the request of the Italians. Originally known as Befehlshaber der deutschen Truppen in Libyen (Commander of German Troops in Libya), from 21 February 1941 the unit was renamed Deutsche Afrika-Korps. Hitler formed the Korps for strategic reasons, he feared losing the Mediterranean and planned a campaign against Greece.

The Afrika Korps was led by Erwin Rommel. Having commanded a panzer division in the successful French and German Low Countries campaigns, General Rommel was sent to Libya along with the new Afrika Korps to take control of the deteriorating situation. Until that time, Italian General Ettore Bastico was the overall commander of the Axis forces in North Africa, which included a German panzer division and the Italian armored division. Rommel was intended to command only his Afrika Korps and an Italian corps in Libya, but ended up leading the entire North African campaign.