Since I am South-African, I thought I would post this, I never realised that my country actually played a fairly big role in the African theatre. Just some general information for you. Political choices at outbreak of war On the eve of World War II the Union of South Africa found itself in a unique political and military quandary. While it was closely allied with Great Britain, being a co-equal Dominion under the 1931 Statute of Westminster with its head of state being the British king, the South African Prime Minister on September 1, 1939 was none other than Barry Herzog - the leader of the pro-Afrikaner and anti-British National party that had joined in a unity government as the United Party. Herzog's problem was that South Africa was constitutionally obligated to support Great Britain against Nazi Germany. The Polish-British Common Defence Pact obligated Britain, and in turn its dominions, to help Poland if attacked by the Nazis. After Hitler's forces attacked Poland on the night of August 31, 1939, Britain declared war on Germany within a few days. A short but furious debate unfolded in South Africa, especially in the halls of power in the Parliament of South Africa. It pitted those who sought to enter the war on Britain's side - led by the pro-Allied/pro-British African General (later Field Marshal) and former Prime Minister Jan Smuts - against Herzog, who wished to keep South Africa "neutral", if not actually pro-Axis. Declaration of war against the Axis On September 4, 1939, the United Party caucus refused to accept Hertzog's stance of neutrality in World War II and deposed him in favor of Smuts. Upon becoming Prime Minister of South Africa, he declared South Africa officially at war with Germany and the Axis. Smuts immediately set about fortifying South Africa against any possible German sea invasion because of South Africa's global strategic importance controlling the long sea route around the Cape of Good Hope. John Vorster and other members of Ossewabrandwag strongly objected to South Africa's participation in World War II and actively carried out sabotage against Jan Smuts' government. Smuts took severe action against the pro-Nazi South African Ossewabrandwag movement and jailed its leaders - including Vorster - for the duration of the war. Military contributions and casualties in World War II South Africa and its military forces contributed in many theaters of war. South Africa's contribution consisted mainly of supplying troops, airmen and material for the North African campaign (the Desert War) and the Italian Campaign as well as to Allied ships that docked at its crucial ports adjoining the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean that converge at the tip of Southern Africa. Numerous volunteers also flew for the Royal Air Force. (See: South African Army in World War II; South African Air Force in World War II; South African Navy in World War II.) The South African Army and Air Force played a major role in defeating the Italian forces of Benito Mussolini during the 1940/1941 East African Campaign. The converted Junkers Ju 86s of 12 Squadron, South African Air Force, carried out the first bombing raid of the campaign on a concentration of tanks at Moyale at 8am on 11 June 1940, mere hours after Italy's declaration of war. Another important victory that the South Africans participated in was the liberation of Malagasy (now known as Madagascar) from the control of the Vichy French who were allies of the Nazis. British troops aided by South African soldiers, staged their attack from South Africa, landing on the strategic island on 4 May 1942 to preclude its seizure by the Japanese. The South African 1st Infantry Division took part in several actions in North Africa in 1941 and 1942, including the Battle of El Alamein, before being withdrawn to South Africa to be re-constituted as an armoured division. The South African 2nd Infantry Division also took part in a number of actions in North Africa during 1942, but on 21 June 1942 two complete infantry brigades of the division as well as most of the supporting units were captured at the fall of Tobruk. The South African 3rd Infantry Division never took an active part in any battles but instead organised and trained the South African home defence forces, performed garrison duties and supplied replacements for the South African 1st Infantry Division and the South African 2nd Infantry Division. However, one of this division's constituent brigades - 7 SA Motorised Brigade - did take part in the invasion of Madagascar in 1942. The South African 6th Armoured Division fought in numerous actions in Italy from 1944 to 1945. The South African Air Force (SAAF) made a significant contribution to the air war in East Africa, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, the Balkans and even as far east as bombing missions aimed at the Romanian oilfields in Ploiesti, supply missions in support of the Warsaw uprising and reconnaissance missions ahead of the Russian advances in the Lvov-Cracow area. Numerous South African airmen also volunteered serivce to the RAF, some serving with distinction. South Africa contributed to the war effort against Japan, supplying men and manning ships in naval engagements against the Japanese. Of the 334,000 men volunteered for full time service in the South African Army during the war (including some 211,000 whites, 77,000 blacks and 46,000 "coloureds" and Asians), nearly 9,000 were killed in action. If you would like to aquire more information on SA's contribution to the war, here is a site where there are sections speaking about SA's operations in WWII, also some lists of the fighter pilots and aces of the country. http://samilitaryhistory.org/ From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_South_Africa PS: Sorry if this kind of information was already posted here, I haven't really searched that well.