The East African Campaign (also known as the Abyssinian Campaign) was fought in East Africa during World War II by Allied forces, mainly from the British Empire, against Axis forces, primarily from Italy of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI), between June 1940 and November 1941. Forces of the British Middle East Command, including units from the United Kingdom and the colonies of British East Africa, British Somaliland, British West Africa, the Indian Empire, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Mandatory Palestine, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Sudan participated in the campaign. Ethiopian irregulars, the Free French and Belgian troops of the Force Publique also participated.
The AOI was defended by Italian forces of the Comando Forze Armate dell'Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East African Armed Forces Command), with units from the Regio Esercito (Italian army), Regia Aeronautica (air force) and Regia Marina (navy), about 200,000 Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali from Italian-occupied Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, led by Italian officers and NCOs, 70,000 Italian regulars and reservists. The Compagnia Autocarrata Tedesca (German Motorised Company) fought under Italian command.
Hostilities began on 13 June 1940, with an Italian air raid on the base of 1 Squadron Southern Rhodesian Air Force (237 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF) at Wajir in the East Africa Protectorate (Kenya) and continued until Italian forces had been pushed back from Kenya and Sudan, through Somaliland Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1940 and early-1941. The remnants of the Italian forces in the AOI surrendered after the Battle of Gondar in November 1941, except for groups that fought the Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia against the British until the Armistice of Cassibile (3 September 1943) ended hostilities between Italy and the Allies. The East African Campaign was the first Allied strategic victory in the war but was overshadowed by the British defeats in Greece and Crete.