Battle of Gondar

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Battle of Gondar
Part of the East African Campaign of World War II
The Battle of Gondar (1941).jpeg
Ethiopian painting of the battle
Date 13–27 November 1941
Location Gondar, Ethiopia
Result Decisive Allied victory
 Italy  United Kingdom
  • United Kingdom Commonwealth troops
  • Kenya Kenya Armoured Car Regiment

Ethiopia Ethiopian irregulars

Commanders and leaders
Italy Guglielmo Nasi United Kingdom William Platt
United Kingdom Charles Fowkes
40,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
4,000 killed
(300 Italian & 3.700 Ascari)
8,400 wounded or sick
Rest captured[1]

The Battle of Gondar was the last stand of the Italian forces in Italian East Africa during the Second World War.[2] The battle took place in November 1941, during the East African Campaign.[2] The Italian garrison of 40,000 was commanded by Generale Guglielmo Nasi.[2]


After the defeat of the Italian forces at Keren on 1 April 1941, many of the remaining Italians withdrew to three strongholds: Amba Alagi, Jimma, and Gondar. Amba Alagi fell in May and Jimma fell in July.


On 13 November, a mixed force from the British 12th (African) Division under Major-General Charles Fowkes—supported by Ethiopian irregular troops—attacked the key defensive position of Kulkaber and were repelled. However, a renewed attack a week later on Kulkaber was successful.[3]

Mountain passes captured[edit]

There were two mountain passes that overlooked the town which were controlled by the Italian troops.[2] They were invested by the two brigades of the British 12th (African) Division[2] and the two Italian groups in the passes were cut off and were forced to surrender when their supplies ran out.[2]

Gondar town surrenders[edit]

Once the Allied troops had taken the passes, they gained control of the heights overlooking the town, and the Italian garrison under Generale Nasi in the town itself was attacked on 27 November and surrendered[3] after the Kenya Armoured Car Regiment had penetrated the outskirts of the town.[2]

See also[edit]


  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. pp. 544 pages. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. 
  • Shireff, David (1995, reprint 2009). Bare Feet and Bandoliers: Wingate, Sandford, the Patriots and the Liberation of Ethiopia. Pen & Sword Military. pp. 336 pages. ISBN 978-1-84884-029-4. 


  1. ^ Maravigna, Pietro Come abbiamo perduto la guerra in Africa, Tosi, 1949; pg 191 (Italian)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "BATTLE OF GONDAR". The Probert Encyclopaedia. Retrieved October 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Mead (2007), p. 142