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World War II in Africa Timeline: June 1940

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World War II in Africa: North Africa June 1940
World War II in Africa Timeline: June 1940

1940, 10 June
British forces in North and East Africa are on alert as Italy declares war on Britain and France.

1940, 11 June
British planes raid Italian targets in Libya following Italy's declaration of war against Britain and France on the 10th. It is evident that Italian forces in Libya were unprepared for Mussolini's declaration of war. Churchill writes: "Within twenty-four hours of the outbreak of the war the 11 Hussars [the Cherry Pickers] crossed the frontier, took Italians, who had not heard that war had been declared, by surprise, and captured prisoners."

1940, 12 June
A further 62 Italian soldiers are taken prisoner during the first major skirmish on the Libya-Egypt border.

1940, 14 June
Italian frontier forts of Capuzzo and Maddalena are captured by the 7th Hussars and a company of the 60th Rifles, 220 Italians are taken prisoner. Whilst continuing to patrol the Egypt-Libya border, Britain prepares a defensive line at Mersa Matruh, roughly 300 miles to the west of the Suez Canal.

1940 14 June
To pre-empt an Italian invasion Spain occupies Tangiers, Morocco's international zone.

1940, 16 June
Naval War begins in the Mediterranean as British submarines Grapus and Orpheus are sunk.

1940, 28 June
Italo Balbo, the Italian governor-general of Libya is shot down by friendly fire whilst surveying Tobruk.

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