The Italian Invasion of Egypt was an Italian offensive action
against British, Commonwealth, and Free French forces during the
Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. Initially, the
goal of the offensive was to seize the Suez Canal. To accomplish
this, Italian forces from Libya would have to advance across
northern Egypt to the canal. After numerous delays, the goal of the
offensive was scaled back considerably. Ultimately, the goal was to
advance into Egypt and attack any forces confronting the advance.
While the Italians forces were able to advance about 65 miles into
Egypt during the invasion, they only made contact with the British
screening forces and never engaged the main British force. The
screening force consisted of one reinforced brigade of the 7th
Armoured Division. The main British force was at Mersa Matruh,
about 80 miles from the farthest Italian penetration, and was
composed of the remainder of the 7th Armoured Division and the 4th
Indian Infantry Division.
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