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  • Use this image under Non-Commercial licence.

    You can embed media or download low resolution images free of charge for private and non-commercial use under the IWM Non-Commercial Licence.

    By downloading or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM BU 497

    Accepted Non-commercial Use
    If you would like to use IWM collections materials in a way that is not covered above, require a commercial licence, high-resolution copies, or have manipulation requests, please contact the Media Sales & Licensing Team. Digital files of films and sound recordings are available at cost depending on intended use.
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When Italy declared war on 10 June 1940, the Italian Army in Libya threatened the vital Suez Canal in British-occupied Egypt. Italian forces attacked Egypt on 13 September. General O’Connor’s Western Desert Force was outnumbered, but his commander-in-chief, General Wavell, ordered a surprise attack at Sidi Barrani three days later.