Desert Prelude "Operation Compass"

Published: April 22nd, 2011     
Front cover
Front cover
Author: Hakan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo
Reviewed by: Michael Novosad - IPMS# 36721
Company: MMP Books
ISBN #: 978-8361421184
Price: $59.00
Product / Stock #: White Series 9113
Product provided by: Mushroom Model Publications


This paperback publication contains 196 8.25" x 11.75" pages, and includes more than 120 black and white photos, scale plans, maps and several color profiles. This is the second volume in this series that addresses the war in North Africa from December 9, 1940 - February 7, 1941 before the Germans became involved to save their Italian allies. I personally have always been interested in the North African combat theater, especially the Afrika Korps, but this publications offer some insight into the battles before the DAK became involved.


Sample profiles

There are numerous photographs of aircraft, mostly Italian, and the pilots, again mostly Italian. There are several color profiles of Italian aircraft and two maps of the area at the back of the publication.

The book follows the battles from day-to-day, and each day is broken down to "Movements" and "Operations". Often every pilot's name and rank along with aircraft numbers are noted for several operations. I found this information to be a bit distracting and usually skipped over those paragraphs. A few engagements are offered in some detail that gives the reader some idea of what the combatants were up against, but generally each day's activities are offered from what appear to be daily combat reports. In all honesty I did not read every one of the days' activities.


Readers interested in detailed historical narratives may find this publication interesting and of some value. Had more photos been included of the aircraft and vehicles (both Allied and Italian) this book may have greater appeal to modelers.

The summary and conclusion offered from pages 170 through 182 I found to be the most interesting part of the book. While personalities of the various leaders are not addressed in any detail, tactics, weapons and support were analyzed in some detail. This I found interesting.

Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this fine publication.

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