The desert wastelands of North Africa provided the settings for some of the toughest fighting of the Second World War. The soaring desert temperatures, lack of water, swarms of flies, blinding sand storms and featureless rocky terrain all conspired to ensure the soldiers' lot was not a happy one. And yet, it was here that Britain and her Commonwealth Allies found their early successes, first against the legions of Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini and then against the fabled Afrika Korps of Erwin Rommel. The lifting of the siege of Tobruk, the longest in British military history was a source of great celebration, coming at a time when the war was going badly for Britain. Victory at El Alamein in November 1942 is regarded as the turning point of the war. In conjunction with the amphibious landings in Tunisia and French Algiers, the way was paved for complete victory in North Africa some six months later.