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Encyclopedia > Second Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
Part of World War II, North African Campaign

October 24, 1942. This photograph, showing Australian soldiers "attacking", was staged by British Army photographer Sgt Len Chetwyn.
Date October 23November 4, 1942
Location El Alamein, Egypt
Result Decisive Allied victory
Belligerents
Flag of Australia Australia
Flag of France Free French
Greece
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand
Flag of South Africa South Africa
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Flag of Germany Germany
Flag of Italy Italy
Commanders
Flag of the United Kingdom Harold Alexander
Flag of the United Kingdom Bernard Montgomery
Flag of Germany Erwin Rommel
Flag of Germany Georg Stumme
Flag of Italy Ettore Bastico
Strength
220,000 men
1,029 tanks[1]
750 aircraft (530 serviceable)
900 medium and field artillery guns[2]
1,401 Anti Tank Guns[3]
116,000 men[4]
249 German tanks and 298 Italian tanks [5]
275 German (150) and 400 Italian (200) aircraft
225 (130 serviceable) German medium bombers based in Italy and Greece[6]
496 Anti Tank Guns[7]
Casualties and losses
2,350 dead [8]
8,950 wounded[8]
2,260 missing[8]
500 tanks destroyed[9] (300 repaired[8])
97 aircraft [8]
111 guns [8]
Total: 13,560[10]
German: 1,149 dead[11]
3,886 wounded[11]
8,050 captured[11]
64 aircraft[8]
Italian: 1,200 dead [12]
1,600 wounded [12]
22,071 captured[8]
20 aircraft[8]
Total: 37,956

259-450 tanks[13][14]
254guns[13] Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (699x655, 56 KB) Description: El Alamein 1942: British infantry advances through the dust and smoke of the battle Source: IWMCollections IWM Photo No. ... is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 308th day of the year (309th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... El Alamein is a town in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea coast. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Free_France_1940-1944. ... Flag De Jure territory Capital Paris Capital-in-exile London, Algiers Government Republic Leader Charles de Gaulle Historical era World War II  - de Gaulles appeal June 18, 1940  - Liberation of Paris August, 1944 The Free French Forces (French: , FFL) were French fighters in World War II, who decided to... Image File history File links Flag_of_New_Zealand. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_South_Africa_1928-1994. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Image File history File links British_Raj_Red_Ensign. ... Anthem God Save The King-Emperor The British Indian Empire, 1909 Capital Calcutta (1858 - 1912) New Delhi (1912 - 1947) Language(s) Hindustani, English and many others Government Monarchy Emperor of India  - 1858-1901 Victoria¹  - 1901-1910 Edward VII  - 1910-1936 George V  - 1936 Edward VIII  - 1936-1947 George VI Viceroy... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946). ... Anthem Marcia Reale dOrdinanza (Royal March of Ordinance)¹ The Kingdom of Italy at the height of its power in 1940. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, KG, OM, GCB, GCSI, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, MC, LL.D, PC (10 December 1891 - 16 June 1969) was a British military commander and field marshal, notably during the Second World War as the commander of the 15th Army... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (IPA: ; 17 November 1887 â€“ 24 March 1976), often referred to as Monty, was an Anglo-Irish British Army officer. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Georg Stumme (1886-1942) was a World War Two German general most remembered for his brief command of the German-Italian forces during the Second Battle of El Alamein. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Ettore Bastico Ettore Bastico (April 9, 1876 - December 2, 1972) was an Italian soldier. ...

External images
The Second Battle of El Alamein
Battle of El Alamein: map of the battlefield dynamics
Battle of El Alamein: map of initial dispositions

The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a significant turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. The battle lasted from October 23 to November 5, 1942. Following the First Battle of El Alamein, which had stalled the Axis advance, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery took command of the British Eighth Army from General Claude Auchinleck in August 1942. Combatants  Australia Free France  New Zealand  Poland South Africa  United Kingdom India Italy Germany Commanders to June 22 1941: Archibald Wavell to August 8 1942: Claude Auchinleck to February 1943: Harold Alexander Ugo Cavallero Rodolfo Graziani Erwin Rommel The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War was the... Combatants Western Desert Force United Kingdom Indian Empire Australia Italian Tenth Army Commanders Richard OConnor Rodolfo Graziani Pietro Maletti † Annibale Bergonzoli Strength 31,000 soldiers(december 1940 250,000)[1] 120 artillery pieces 275 tanks 60 Armoured cars 150,000 soldiers 1,600 guns 600 tanks Casualties 500 dead... During World War II. Operation Sonnenblume (German for sunflower) was the deployment of German troops (the “Afrika Korps”) to the North African Campaign in February, 1941. ... Combatants Australia United Kingdom South Africa Poland Czechoslovakia Germany Italy Commanders Leslie Morshead Erwin Rommel Strength 14,000 35,000? Casualties Britain: 9009 killed 941 captured estimated 12,000 total 8,000 The Siege of Tobruk was a lengthy confrontation between Axis and Allied forces, mostly Australian, in the North... Combatants Germany Italy  United Kingdom Commanders Erwin Rommel Archibald Wavell Noel Beresford-Peirse Strength Afrika Korps: German 5th Light Division German 15th Panzer Division Italian 132nd Armored Division Ariete Italian 27 Infantry Division Brescia Italian 102 Motorised Division Trento XIII Corps: British 7th Armoured Division Indian 4th Infantry Division 20... Combatants Panzer Army Africa British XIII Corps Commanders Erwin Rommel Archibald Wavell Noel Beresford-Peirse Strength 13,000 infantry 150-200 tanks[1] 20,000+ infantry[2] 200 tanks[3] Casualties 685 Germans, 592 Italians[4] 12 tanks[5] 10 aircraft[6] 960 (122 killed[7]) 91 tanks[8] 36... Combatants United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Poland Germany Italy Commanders Claude Auchinleck Alan Gordon Cunningham Neil Ritchie Erwin Rommel Ludwig Crüwell Strength 8th Army comprising XIII Corps, XXX Corps and 70th Division. ... Combatants Panzer Army Afrika Italian Army Eighth Army Commanders Erwin Rommel Claude Auchinleck Neil Ritchie Strength 80,000 390 tanks 175,000 949 tanks Casualties 32,000 dead, wounded, or captured 114 tanks destroyed 98,000 dead, wounded, or captured 540 tanks destroyed The Battle of Gazala was an important... Combatants Free French Forces Afrika Korps Commanders Marie Pierre Koenig Erwin Rommel Strength 3703  ? Casualties 140 Dead, 229 Wounded, 814 Captured 3300 Dead and Wounded, 277 Captured The Battle of Bir Hakeim (May 26, 1942 - June 11, 1942) is a World War II battle following the Afrika Korps 1942 campaign. ... Combatants Allies (mostly British Empire forces) Axis Commanders Claude Auchinleck Erwin Rommel Strength 150,000 troops in 3 army corps, 7 infantry and 3 armoured divisions 1,114 tanks, over 1,000 artillery and over 1,500 planes 96,000 troops (including 56,000 Italians) 8 infantry and 4 armoured... Combatants Allies: United Kingdom New Zealand Axis: Germany Italy Commanders Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Strength XIII Corps (Eighth Army): 4 Divisions Panzer Armee Afrika: 6 Divisions Casualties 1750 killed, wounded or captured 67 tanks 67 aircraft[1] 2930 killed, wounded or captured 49 tanks 36 aircraft 395 other vehicles The... During World War II, Operation Agreement consisted of ground and amphibious attacks by British, Rhodesian and New Zealand forces on German- and Italian-held Tobruk (Operation Daffodil), Benghazi (Operation Snowdrop), Jalo oasis (Operation Tulip) and Barce (Operation Hyacinth) launched on 13 September 1942. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Nuvola_apps_xmag. ... Image File history File links Nuvola_apps_xmag. ... El Alamein is a town in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea coast. ... Combatants  Australia Free France  New Zealand  Poland South Africa  United Kingdom India Italy Germany Commanders to June 22 1941: Archibald Wavell to August 8 1942: Claude Auchinleck to February 1943: Harold Alexander Ugo Cavallero Rodolfo Graziani Erwin Rommel The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War was the... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Allies (mostly British Empire forces) Axis Commanders Claude Auchinleck Erwin Rommel Strength 150,000 troops in 3 army corps, 7 infantry and 3 armoured divisions 1,114 tanks, over 1,000 artillery and over 1,500 planes 96,000 troops (including 56,000 Italians) 8 infantry and 4 armoured... Blue: Axis powers, co-belligerents and controlled areas Capital Not applicable Political structure Military alliance Historical era World War II  - Tripartite Pact September 27, 1940  - Anti-Comintern Pact November 25, 1936  - Pact of Steel May 22, 1939  - Dissolved 1945 This article is about the independent countries (states) that comprised the... Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. ... Bernard Law Montgomery Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (November 17, 1887 - March 24, 1976) was a British military officer during World War II often referred to as Monty. ... The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations in World War II, fighting in the campaigns in North Africa and Italy. ... Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, OBE (June 21, 1884 - March 23, 1981), nicknamed The Auk, was a British army commander during World War II. // Born in Aldershot, he grew up in impoverished circumstances, but was able through hard work and scholarships to graduate from...


Success in the battle turned the tide in the North African Campaign. Allied victory at El Alamein ended Axis hopes of occupying Egypt, controlling access to the Suez Canal, and gaining access to the Middle Eastern oil fields. The defeat at El Alamein marked the end of Axis expansion in Africa. During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... For other uses, see Suez (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Prelude

Further information: Second Battle of El Alamein order of battle

By July 1942, after its success at the Battle of Gazala, the Panzer Army Africa, comprising German and Italian infantry and mechanized units under General Rommel, had struck deep into Egypt, threatening the British Commonwealth forces' vital supply line across the Suez Canal. General Auchinleck withdrew the Eighth Army to within 50 miles of Alexandria to a point where the Qattara Depression came to within 40 miles of El Alamein on the coast. This gave the defenders secure flanks, because the depression was impassable by tanks, and a relatively short front to defend. Here the Axis advance was halted in the First Battle of El Alamein during the beginning of July. Second Battle of El Alamein Order of Battle is a listing of the significant formations that were involved in the battle, 23 October – 3 November 1942. ... Combatants Panzer Army Afrika Italian Army Eighth Army Commanders Erwin Rommel Claude Auchinleck Neil Ritchie Strength 80,000 390 tanks 175,000 949 tanks Casualties 32,000 dead, wounded, or captured 114 tanks destroyed 98,000 dead, wounded, or captured 540 tanks destroyed The Battle of Gazala was an important... As the number of German armed forces committed to the North Africa Campaign of World War II grew from the initial commitment of a small corps the Germans developed a more elaborate command structure and placed the now larger Afrika Korps, with Italian units under this new German command structure... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged... The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2007 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Appointed 24 November 2007 Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total... This article is about the city in Egypt. ... The Qattara Depression (local: Munkhafad al-Qattarah) is a desert basin within the Libyan Desert of north-western Egypt. ...


Eighth Army counter-offensives during July were unsuccessful as Rommel decided to dig in to allow his exhausted troops to regroup. At the end of July, Auchinleck called off all offensive action with a view of rebuilding his army’s strength. In early August during a visit to Cairo by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Sir Alan Brooke, the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Auchinleck was replaced as Eighth Army commander by Lieutenant-General Montgomery (Lieutenant-General William Gott was the original choice; however, he was killed soon after being chosen, when the transport plane he was on was shot down by Luftwaffe fighters) and as C-in-C Middle East Command by General Sir Harold Alexander. For other uses, see Cairo (disambiguation). ... Churchill redirects here. ... Statue of Field Marshal The Viscount Alanbrooke, MoD Building, Whitehall, London Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO (July 23, 1883 - June 17, 1963) was a British Field Marshal during World War II. He also served as Lord High Constable during the coronation of... Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) was the title of the professional head of the British Army from 1908 to 1964. ... Gott being addressed by Major General Ritchie during the Battle of Gazala. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... During World War II The British Middle East Command was based in Cairo with responsibility for the Middle East theatre which included North Africa, East Africa, Persia, the Middle East, and the British forces in the Balkans and Greece. ... Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (December 10, 1891 - June 16, 1969) was a British military commander and Field Marshal, notably during World War II as the commander of the 15th Army Group. ...


Faced with overextended supply lines and a relative lack of reinforcements, yet well aware of massive allied reinforcements in men and material due to arrive, Rommel decided to strike at the Allies while their build-up was still not complete. This attack spearheaded by the two armoured divisions of the Afrika Korps on 30 August 1942 at Alam Halfa failed; expecting a counter-attack by Montgomery's Eighth Army, the Panzer Army Africa dug in. The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ... is the 242nd day of the year (243rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Battle of Alam Halfa Conflict World War II Date August 30–September 6, 1942 Place El Alamein, Egypt Result Allied strategic victory Axis tactical victory The Battle of Alam el Halfa took place between August 30 and September 6, 1942 during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. The...


The factors, which favoured the Eighth Army defensive plan in the First Battle of El Alamein, the short front line and the secure flanks, now favoured the German-Italian defenders. Furthermore, Rommel had plenty of time to prepare his defensive positions and lay extensive minefields and barbed wire. Eighth Army would have to make a frontal attack against well prepared positions and Alexander and Montgomery were determined first to establish a superiority of forces sufficient not only to achieve a breakthrough but also to exploit it and destroy the Panzer Army Africa. In all the previous swings of the pendulum in the Western Desert since 1941 neither side had ever had the strength after achieving victory in an offensive battle to exploit it decisively: the losing side had always been able to withdraw and regroup closer to their main supply bases.


After six more weeks of building up their forces the Eighth Army was ready to strike. 220,000 men and 1,100 tanks under Montgomery made their move against the 115,000 men and 559 tanks of the Panzer Army Africa.


Allied plan

With Operation Lightfoot, Montgomery hoped to cut two corridors through the Axis minefields in the north. Armour would then pass through and defeat the German armour. Diversionary attacks at Ruweisat Ridge in the centre and also the south of the line would keep the rest of the Axis forces from moving northwards. Montgomery expected a twelve-day battle in three stages: the break-in, the dog-fight and the final break of the enemy.[15]


For the first night of the offensive, Montgomery planned that four infantry divisions from Oliver Leese's XXX Corps would advance on a 16 miles (26 km) front to an objective codenamed the Oxalic Line, overrunning the forward Axis defences. Engineers would meanwhile clear and mark two lanes through the minefields, through which the armoured divisions from Herbert Lumsden's X Corps would pass to gain the Skinflint Report Line (where they would check and report their progress), and the Pierson Bound (where they would rally and temporarily consolidate their position) in the depths of the Axis defences until the infantry battle had been won.[15] Oliver Leese (right) with Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. ... The British XXX Corps was an armoured corps in the British Army during World War II. Its ensignia was a prancing lion. ... Lieutenant General Herbert Lumsden, CB, DSO, MC, (1897 - January 6, 1945) was a British Army general during World War II. Lumsden was widely praised for his command of an Armoured car regiment during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. ... The X Corps was a British Army formation in World War I and was later reformed in 1942 during the North African campaign of World War II as part of the Eighth Army. ...


The Commonwealth forces practised a number of deceptions in the months prior to the battle to wrong-foot the Axis command, not only as to the exact whereabouts of the forthcoming battle, but as to when the battle was likely to occur. This operation was codenamed Operation Bertram. In September, they dumped waste materials (discarded packing cases etc.) under camouflage nets in the northern sector, making them appear to be ammunition or ration dumps. The Axis naturally noticed these, but as no offensive action immediately followed and the "dumps" did not change in appearance over time, they subsequently ignored them. This allowed Eighth Army to build up supplies in the forward area unnoticed by the Axis, by replacing the rubbish with ammunition, petrol or rations at night. Meanwhile, a dummy pipeline was built, the construction of which would lead the Axis to believe the attack would occur much later than it in fact did, and much further south. To further the illusion, dummy tanks consisting of plywood frames placed over jeeps were constructed and deployed in the south. In a reverse feint, the tanks destined for battle in the north were disguised as supply lorries by placing removable plywood superstructures over them.[citation needed] Feints are maneuvers designed to distract or mislead. ...


Axis plan

Deployment of forces on the eve of battle
Deployment of forces on the eve of battle

With the failure of the Axis offensive at Alam Halfa, the Axis forces were seriously depleted. The German and Italian armies were over-stretched and exhausted and were relying on captured Allied supplies and equipment. In August, Rommel still had an advantage in men and materials but this was quickly turning against him as no major reinforcements were being sent to him and the British Commonwealth forces were being massively re-supplied with men and materials from the United Kingdom, India, Australia, and some tanks and trucks from the USA. Rommel continued to request equipment and supplies but the main focus of the German war machine was on the Eastern Front and very limited supplies reached North Africa. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 600 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,153 × 1,153 pixels, file size: 151 KB, MIME type: image/png) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 600 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,153 × 1,153 pixels, file size: 151 KB, MIME type: image/png) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ...


Rommel knew full well that the British Commonwealth Forces would soon be strong enough to launch an offensive against his army. His only hope now relied on the German forces fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad quickly defeating the Soviet forces and moving south through the Trans-Caucasus and threatening Persia (Iran) and the Middle East. Belligerents Germany Romania Italy Hungary Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Friedrich Paulus # Erich von Manstein Wolfram von Richthofen Petre Dumitrescu Constantin Constantinescu Italo Garibaldi Gusztáv Vitéz Jány Josef Stalin Vasiliy Chuikov Aleksandr Vasilyevskiy Georgiy Zhukov Semyon Timoshenko Konstantin Rokossovskiy Rodion Malinovskiy Andrei Yeremenko Strength Army Group B... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ...


This would require large numbers of British Commonwealth forces to be sent from the Egyptian front to reinforce British forces in Persia, leading to the postponement of any British Commonwealth offensive against his Army.


Using this pause Rommel could urge the German High Command to reinforce his forces for the eventual link-up between his Afrika Korps and German armies battling their way through southern Russia enabling them to finally defeat the British and Commonwealth armies in North Africa and the Middle East.  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ...


In the meantime, his forces were dug-in and waiting for the eventual attack by the British Commonwealth forces or the defeat of the Soviet Army in Stalingrad. They had laid around half a million anti-tank mines and within the main minefields laid smaller ones with anti-personnel mines (such as the S-mine), in what was called the Devil's gardens.[15] (Many of these mines were of British origin, captured at Tobruk). The German S-mine (Schrapnellmine in German), also known as the Bouncing Betty, is the best-known version of a class of mines known as bounding mines. ... The Devils gardens was the name given by Erwin Rommel, commander of the German Afrika Korps during World War II, to the defensive entanglements of land mines and barbed wire protecting his positions at El Alamein in late 1941. ...


Rommel alternated German and Italian infantry formations in the forward lines. Rommel's reserves consisted of two German Panzer divisions and one motor infantry division, and an Italian force of the same nominal size. Because the Allied deception measures had confused the Axis as to the point of attack, Rommel's defence plan spread his forces along the entire front in the belief that Montgomery would apply equal pressure along the whole front, probing for a weakness. He also believed that after this the main blow would come in the south. When the main thrust came, he believed he could manoeuvre his troops faster than the Allies to concentrate his defences at the battle's centre of gravity. However, having concentrated his defence, he would not be able to move his forces again because of lack of fuel.[16]


The Battle

The Battle of El Alamein is usually divided into five phases, consisting of the break-in (October 23-24), the crumbling (October 24-25), the counter (October 26-28), Operation Supercharge (November 1-2) and the breakout (November 3-7). No name is given to the period from October 29 to the 30th when the battle was at a standstill. is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 302nd day of the year (303rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Phase One: The Break-In

At 9.40p.m.[17] on a calm, clear evening under the bright sky of a full moon, Operation Lightfoot began but not with a 1000 gun barrage as in popular belief nor with all guns firing at the same time. The fire plan had been carefully planned so that all 882 guns from the Field and Medium batteries' first rounds would land across the entire 40 mile front at the same time[18]. After twenty minutes of heavy general bombardment, the guns switched to precision targets in support of the advancing infantry.[19]The shelling plan continued for five and a half hours, by the end of which each gun had fired about 600 rounds.


There was a reason for the name Operation Lightfoot; the infantry had to attack first. Many of the anti-tank mines would not be tripped by soldiers running over them since they were too light (hence the code-name). As the infantry advanced, engineers had to clear a path for the tanks coming up in the rear. Each stretch of land cleared of mines was to be 24 feet wide, which was just enough to get tanks through in single file. The engineers had to clear a five-mile route through the 'Devil’s Garden'. It was a difficult task and one that essentially failed because of the depth of the Axis minefields.


At 10 p.m., the four infantry divisions of XXX Corps began to move. The objective was an imaginary line in the desert where the strongest enemy defences were situated. Once the infantry reached the first minefields, the mine sweepers (sappers) moved in to create a passage for the armoured divisions of X Corps. At 2 a.m., the first of the 500 tanks crawled forward. By 4 a.m. the lead tanks were in the minefields, where they stirred up so much dust that there was no visibility at all, and traffic jams developed as the tanks got bogged down. A sapper, in the sense first used by the French military, was one who sapped (undermined) anothers fortifications. ...


Meanwhile, 7th Armoured Division (with 1st Free French Brigade under command) from Brian Horrocks's XIII Corps made a feinting attack to the south, engaging and pinning the 21st Panzer Division and the Ariete Division and at Ruweisat Ridge Indian 4th Infantry Division similarly occupied the Italian "Bologna" Division. Composed of regular British Army units, the famous Desert Rats division was originally formed as the Mobile Division or Mobile Force (Egypt) and was one of two training commands used by the British before World War II to develop armoured warfare techniques. ... Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, (September 7, 1895 - January 4, 1985) was a British military officer. ... The Western Desert Force, during World War II, was a British Commonwealth Army unit stationed in Egypt. ... The 21st Panzer Division was a German armoured division best known for its role in the Battles of El Alamenein (1942) and Normandy (1944) during World War II. Created as 5th Light Division or 5th Light Afrika Division in Africa in early 1941, from an ad hoc collection of smaller... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Indian 4th Infantry Division a. ...


Phase Two: The Crumbling

The morning of Saturday 24 October brought disaster for the German headquarters. The accuracy of the barrage destroyed German communications and Georg Stumme, who commanded the Axis forces while Rommel was in Germany, died of a heart attack. Temporary command was given to General Ritter von Thoma. is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Georg Stumme (1886-1942) was a World War Two German general most remembered for his brief command of the German-Italian forces during the Second Battle of El Alamein. ... General Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma Wilhelm Josef Ritter von Thoma (November 11, 1891, Dachau – April 30, 1948, Dachau) was a German General der Panzertruppe during World War II. // Promotions Fahnenjunker: September 23, 1912 Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier: January 25, 1913 Fähnrich: May 20, 1913 Leutnant: August 1, 1914 Oberleutnant: December 14...


Meanwhile, XXX Corps had only dented the first minefields because of the depth of Rommel's defence[15]. Not enough of the minefields had been cleared to enable X Corps to pass through. The armour was held at Oxalic[15] and all day long artillery and the Allied Desert Air Force, making over 1,000 sorties, attacked Axis positions to aid the 'crumbling' of the Axis forces. The Desert Air Force (DAF), later known as the First Tactical Air Force, was an Allied tactical air force formed during World War II. The DAF was formed in North Africa to provide close air support to the Eighth Army. ...


Panzer units counter-attacked the 51st Highland Division just after sunrise, only to be stopped in their tracks. By 4:00 p.m. there was little progress. At dusk, with the sun at their backs, Axis tanks from the 15th Panzer Division and Italian Littorio Division swung out from Kidney Ridge to engage the 1st Armoured Division and the first major tank battle of El Alamein was joined. Over 100 tanks were involved in this battle and by dark, half were destroyed while neither position was altered. Panzer IV Ausf. ... For the First World War unit, see British 51st (Highland) Division (World War I). ... 33rd Infantry Division 15th Panzer Division 15th Panzergrenadier Division History This unit was created as the 33rd Infantry Division in 1936, and mobilized in 1939, but it did not take part in the invasion of Poland. ... The 1st Armoured Division is the title of an armoured division of the British Army. ...


D Plus 2: Sunday, October 25, 1942 The initial thrust had ended by Sunday. Both armies had been fighting non-stop for two days. The Allies had advanced through the minefields in the west to make a six mile wide and five mile deep inroad. They now sat atop Miteriya Ridge in the southeast, but at the same time the Axis forces were firmly entrenched in most of their original battle positions and the battle was at a standstill. Hence, Lieutenant-General Montgomery ordered an end to conflict in the south (releasing 7th Armoured Division to move north to join X Corps) and the evacuation of Miteriya Ridge. The battlefield would be concentrated at the Kidney and Tell el Eisa until a breakthrough occurred. It was to be a gruesome seven days.


By early morning, the Axis forces launched a series of attacks using the 15th Panzer and Littorio divisions. The Afrika Korps was probing for a weakness, but they found none. When the sun set, the Allied infantry went on the attack. Around midnight, the 51st Division launched three attacks, but no one knew exactly where they were. Pandemonium and carnage ensued, resulting in the loss of over 500 Allied troops, and leaving only one officer among the attacking forces.


While the 51st was operating around the Kidney, the Australians were attacking Point 29, a 20 foot high Axis artillery observation post southwest of Tell el Eisa, in an attempt to surround an Axis salient on the coast containing the German 164th Light Division and large numbers of Italian infantry.[20] This was the new northern thrust Montgomery had devised earlier in the day, and it was to be the scene of heated battle for days to come. The 26th Australian Brigade attacked at midnight. The air force dropped 115 tons of bombs and the Allies took the position and 240 prisoners. Fighting continued in this area for the next week, as the Axis tried to recover the small hill that was so vital to their defence.


Phase Three: The Counter

D Plus 3: Monday, October 26, 1942


Rommel returned to North Africa on the evening of 25 October and immediately assessed the battle. He found that the Italian Trento Division had lost half of its infantry, the 164 Light Division had lost two battalions, most other groups were under strength, all men were on half rations, a large number were sick, and the entire Axis army had only enough fuel for three days. is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The offensive was stalled. Churchill railed, "Is it really impossible to find a general who can win a battle?"[citation needed] A counterattack began at 3 p.m. against Point 29 near Tell el Eisa. Rommel was convinced by this time that the main assault would be in the north[21] and was determined to retake Point 29, moving all the tanks from around Kidney Ridge to the battle site. Air and ground power poured into the area as Rommel moved the 21st Panzer and Ariete Division up from the south along the Rahman Track. This turned out to be a mistake. The British held the position and Rommel's troops could not retire for lack of fuel, and were therefore stuck on open ground at the mercy of air attacks. The 21st Panzer Division was a German armoured division best known for its role in the Battles of El Alamenein (1942) and Normandy (1944) during World War II. Created as 5th Light Division or 5th Light Afrika Division in Africa in early 1941, from an ad hoc collection of smaller... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


However, back at Kidney Ridge, the British failed to take advantage of the missing tanks. Each time they tried to move forward they were stopped by anti-tank guns.


On a brighter note for the British, Beaufort torpedo bombers of No.42/47 Squadron Royal Air Force sank the tanker Proserpina at Tobruk, which was the last hope for resupplying Rommel's army. The Bristol Type 152 Beaufort was a large torpedo bomber designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and developed from the earlier Blenheim light bomber. ... No. ... Contents // Categories: Stub | Royal Air Force aircraft squadrons ... RAF redirects here. ... Tobruk is on the Mediterranean Sea in northeastern Libya. ...


D Plus 4: Tuesday, October 27, 1942


By this time, the main battle was concentrated around Tell el Aqqaqir and Kidney Ridge. The 2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, belonging to the 1st Armoured Division, was at a position codenamed Snipe, to the southwest of Kidney Ridge. The stand at Snipe is a legendary episode of the Battle of El Alamein. Lucas-Phillips, in his Alamein records that:[page # needed] The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consorts Own) was a regiment of the British Army. ...

"The desert was quivering with heat. The gun detachments and the platoons squatted in their pits and trenches, the sweat running in rivers down their dust-caked faces. There was a terrible stench. The flies swarmed in black clouds upon the dead bodies and excreta and tormented the wounded. The place was strewn with burning tanks and carriers, wrecked guns and vehicles, and over all drifted the smoke and the dust from bursting high explosives and from the blasts of guns."

Mortar and shell fire was constant all day long. Around 4 p.m., British tanks accidentally opened fire against their own position causing casualties. At 5 p.m., Rommel launched his major attack. German and Italian tanks moved forward. With only four guns in operation, the Rifle Brigade was able to score continual broad-side hits against forty tanks of the 21st Panzer Division, knocking out thirty-seven of them. The remaining three withdrew and a new assault was launched. All but nine tanks in this assault were also destroyed. The Rifle Brigade was down to three guns with three rounds each, but the Germans had given up on this assault.[citation needed]


D Plus 5-6: Wednesday, Thursday, October 28-29, 1942


The Australians were to continue pushing northwest beyond Tell el Eisa to an enemy-held location south of the railway known as "Thompson's Post" in order to force a breakthrough along the coast road. The German 125th Regiment and a small battalion of the 7th Bersaglieri Regiment sent to reinforce the sector were attacked by Australian soldiers. Many of them were riding Valentines of the 46th Royal Tank Regiment, which mines and anti-tank guns soon brought to grief. The Australians suffered 200 casualties in that attack. [1]]Although the Italian anti-tank gunners fought fiercely all were killed or died of their wounds, except for 20 wounded men who were captured the following morning.[22] The German soldier has impressed the world, Rommel wrote in a plaque dedicated to the Bersaglieri. However the Italian Bersaglieri soldier has impressed the German soldier. [2] The 9th Division of the Australian Army was formed to serve in World War II, as part of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF). ...


By the end of the day, the British had 800 tanks still in operation, while the Axis had 148 German and 187 Italian tanks. With the tanker Luisiano sunk outside Tobruk harbor, Rommel told his commanders, "It will be quite impossible for us to disengage from the enemy. There is no gasoline for such a maneuver. We have only one choice and that is to fight to the end at Alamein."[citation needed]


D Plus 7-9: Friday-Sunday, October 30 - November 1, 1942


The night of October 30 saw a continuation of previous plans, with the Australians attacking. This was their third attempt to reach the paved road, which they took that night. On the 31 October Rommel launched four retaliatory attacks against "Thompson's Post". The fighting was intense and often hand to hand, but no ground was gained by the Axis forces. On Sunday, November 1 Rommel tried to dislodge the Australians once again, but the brutal, desperate fighting resulted in nothing but lost men and equipment. By now, it had become obvious to Rommel that the battle was lost. He began to plan the retreat and anticipated retiring to Fuka, a few miles west. Ironically, 1,200 tons of fuel arrived, but it was too late and had to be blown up.[citation needed] is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Phase Four: Operation Supercharge

This phase of the battle began on November 2 at 1 a.m., with the objective of destroying enemy armour, forcing the enemy to fight in the open, reducing the Axis stock of petrol, attacking and occupying enemy supply routes, and causing the disintegration of the enemy army. The intensity and the destruction in Supercharge were greater than anything witnessed so far during this battle. The objective of this operation was Tell el Aqqaqir along the Rahman Track, which was the base of the Axis defence. is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


This attack started with a seven hour aerial bombardment focused on Tell el Aqqaqir and Sidi Abdel Rahman, followed by a four and a half hour barrage of 360 guns firing 15,000 shells. The initial thrust of Supercharge was to be carried out by 151st and 152nd Infantry Brigades supported by British 9th Armoured Brigade all at the time attached to the New Zealand division. The New Zealand Division's commander, Freyburg, had tried to free his division of this chore, as they were under strength and weary, but that was not to be. Sidi Abdel Rahman is a town in Egypt. ... The 9th Armoured Brigade was a British Army brigade formed during the Second World War . ... Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg, VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO and three Bars (March 21, 1889 — July 4, 1963), arguably New Zealands most famous soldier and military commander, also served as Governor-General of New Zealand. ... The 2nd New Zealand Division was that countrys major land formation during much of World War II. Commanded for most of its existence by Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Freyberg. ...


The infantry gained most of their objectives, but as with Operation Lightfoot on the first day of the battle, lanes could not be cleared through the minefields until night was almost over.


9 Armoured Brigade started its approach march at 8pm from El Alamein train station on the 1st November with around 130 tanks; it arrived at its start line with only 94 tanks[23]. The 9th Armoured Brigade was a British Army brigade formed during the Second World War. ... El Alamein is a town in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea coast. ... (Redirected from 1st November) November 1 is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 60 days remaining. ...


The brigade was supposed to have started their attack towards Tell el Aqqaqir at 5.45a.m. behind a barrage; however, the attack was postponed for 30 minutes while the brigade regrouped on Currie's orders[24]. At 6.15 a.m., half an hour before dawn, the three regiments of the brigade charged forward towards the gunline[25] John Cecil Currie (born 1898; died 1944) was an officer in the British Army during World War II. As part of Iraqforce (or Paiforce in Persia), Brigadier Currie commanded the 9th Armored Brigade during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia. ...

We all realise that for armour to attack a wall of guns sounds like another Balaclava, it is properly an infantry job. But there are no more infantry available. So our armour must do it. For the poem about the charge, see The Charge of the Light Brigade (poem). ...

Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Freyburg[26]

Brigadier Currie had tried to get the brigade out of doing this job stating that he believed the brigade would be attacking on too wide a front with no reserves and that they will most likely take 50 percent losses.[26] Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg, VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO and three Bars (March 21, 1889 — July 4, 1963), arguably New Zealands most famous soldier and military commander, also served as Governor-General of New Zealand. ... John Cecil Currie (born 1898; died 1944) was an officer in the British Army during World War II. As part of Iraqforce (or Paiforce in Persia), Brigadier Currie commanded the 9th Armored Brigade during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia. ...


The reply came from Freyburg that Montgomery[26] Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg, VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO and three Bars (March 21, 1889 — July 4, 1963), arguably New Zealands most famous soldier and military commander, also served as Governor-General of New Zealand. ... Bernard Law Montgomery Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (November 17, 1887 - March 24, 1976) was a British military officer during World War II often referred to as Monty. ...

...was aware of the risk and has accepted the possibility of losing 100% casualties in 9 Armoured Brigade to make the break, but in view of the promise of immediate following through of 1 Armoured Division, the risk was not considered as great as all that. The 9th Armoured Brigade was a British Army brigade formed during the Second World War. ... The 1st Armoured Division is the title of an armoured division of the British Army. ...

The German and Italian anti tank guns (mostly made up of Pak 38 and Italian 47mm guns[27], along with 24 of the formidable 88mm flak guns[26]) opened fire upon the charging tanks silhouetted by the rising sun. German PaK 38 50 mm anti-tank gun The PaK 38 was a German anti-tank gun that fired a 50 mm calibre shell. ... The Cannone da 47/32 M35 was an Italian artillery piece used during World War II. It was used both as an infantry gun and an anti-tank gun. ... German 88 mm guns were used in anti-aircraft and anti-tank roles. ...


The Axis gun screen started to inflict a steady amount of damage upon the charging tanks but was unable to stop them; over the course of the next half an hour around 35 guns were destroyed and several hundred prisoners were taken.


The brigade had started the attack with 94 tanks and was reduced to only 24 runners (although many were recoverable[25]) and of the 400 tank crew involved in the attack 230 were killed, wounded or captured.[28]

If the British armour owed any debt to the infantry, the debt was paid by 9 Armoured in heroism and blood. The 9th Armoured Brigade was a British Army brigade formed during the Second World War. ...

Bernard Montgomery, referring to the British Armour's mistakes during the First Battle of El Alamein

[citation needed] Bernard Law Montgomery Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (November 17, 1887 - March 24, 1976) was a British military officer during World War II often referred to as Monty. ... Combatants Allies (mostly British Empire forces) Axis Commanders Claude Auchinleck Erwin Rommel Strength 150,000 troops in 3 army corps, 7 infantry and 3 armoured divisions 1,114 tanks, over 1,000 artillery and over 1,500 planes 96,000 troops (including 56,000 Italians) 8 infantry and 4 armoured...


After the Brigade's action, Brigadier Gentry of the 6th New Zealand Brigade went ahead to survey the scene. On seeing Brigadier Currie asleep on a stretcher, he approached him saying, "Sorry to wake you John, but I'd like to know where your tanks are?" Currie waved his hand at a group of tanks around him, replying "There they are". Gentry was puzzled. "I don't mean your headquarters tanks, I mean your armoured regiments. Where are they?" Currie waved his arm and again replied, "There are my armoured regiments, Bill" [29]. John Cecil Currie (born 1898; died 1944) was an officer in the British Army during World War II. As part of Iraqforce (or Paiforce in Persia), Brigadier Currie commanded the 9th Armored Brigade during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia. ... John Cecil Currie (born 1898; died 1944) was an officer in the British Army during World War II. As part of Iraqforce (or Paiforce in Persia), Brigadier Currie commanded the 9th Armored Brigade during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia. ...


The brigade had sacrificed itself upon the gun line and caused great damage but had failed to create the gap for the 1st Armoured Division to pass through; however, the attack as expected[25] brought down the weight of the German and Italian tank reserve. At 11a.m. on 2 November The remains of 15th Panzer, 21st Panzer and the Littorio Armoured Divisions counterattacked against 1st Armoured Division and the remains of the 9 Armoured Brigade which by that time dug in with a screen of anti-tank guns and artillery together with intensive air support. The counter-attack failed under a blanket of shells and bombs, resulting in a loss of some 100 tanks.[28] The 1st Armoured Division is the title of an armoured division of the British Army. ... is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The 1st Armoured Division is the title of an armoured division of the British Army. ... The 9th Armoured Brigade was a British Army brigade formed during the Second World War. ...


The resulting fighting was later termed, the "Hammering of the Panzers". Although tank losses were approximately equal, this represented only a portion of the total British armour, but most of Rommel's tanks. Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged...


Rommel called up Ariete from the south to join the defence around Tell el Aqqaqir in the last stand of the German army. By nightfall, the Axis had only thirty two tanks operating along the entire front. While the Afrika Korps was fighting for its life at Tell el Aqqaqir, Rommel began the withdrawal to Fuka. ARIETE Armoured Division was formed in MILAN on February 1939; marked by No. ... The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged...


Phase Five: The Break-Out

Erwin Rommel sent a message to Hitler explaining his untenable position and seeking permission to withdraw, but Rommel was told to stand fast. Von Thoma told him, "I've just been around the battlefield. 15th Panzer's got ten tanks left, 21st Panzer only fourteen and Littorio seventeen." Rommel read him Hitler's message, so he left to take command at the head of the Afrika Korps. Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged...


When 150 British tanks came after the remaining members of the nearly vanquished 15th and 21st Panzers, Von Thoma stood with his men. He was in the command tank at the spot where the two panzer units joined, and there he remained until the last tank was destroyed. At the end, when all was lost, Von Thoma stood alone beside his burning tank at the spot that was to become known as the "panzer graveyard".


Despite the desperate situation, Rommel's men stood their ground. Entire units were destroyed, but the remnants continued to fight. A 12 mile wide hole had been cut in the Axis line. "If we stay put here, the army won't last three days... If I do obey the Fuhrer's order, then there's the danger that my own troops won't obey me... My men come first!" Rommel ordered the massive retreat against Hitler's orders.


D Plus 12, November 4, 1942


On November 4, the final assaults were underway. The 1st , 7th and 10th Armoured Divisions passed through the German lines and were operating in the open desert. The Allies had won the battle. The Axis were in retreat. This day saw the liquidation of the Ariete Division, the Littorio Division and the Trieste Motorised Division. The Ariete Armoured Division under General Francesco Arena performed well at El Alamein effectively thwarting Allied plans to encircle and completely destroy the German forces. Berlin radio claimed that in this sector the "British were made to pay for their penetration with enormous losses in men and material. The Italians fought to the last man."[30] Having dismissed the Italians, Private Sid Martindale, 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, meanwhile noted that the 25th "Bologna" Infantry Division who had taken the full weight of the British armoured attack had fought bravely: is the 308th day of the year (309th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The British 1st Armoured Division is the title of an armoured division of the British Army. ... The 7th Armoured Division (known as the Desert Rats) of the British Army was the most famous unit of its type in British service during World War II. It was a regular division in the Middle East, designated the Mobile Division at first, renamed the Armoured Division (Egypt) in September... The 10th Armoured Divisionwas a British Army Second World War armoured division. ...

The more we advanced the more we realized that the Italians did not have much fight on them after putting up a strong resistance to our overwhelming advance and they started surrendering to our lead troops in droves. There was not much action to see but we came across lots of burnt out Italian tanks that had been destroyed by our tanks. I had never seen a battle field before and the site of so many dead was sickening.[31]

The "Bologna" and the remainder of the "Trento" Division, tried to fight their way out of Alamein and marched in the desert without water, food or transport before surrendering exhausted and dying from dehydration.[32]It was reported that Colonel Dall'Olio, commanding the "Bologna", surrendered saying, "We are not firing because we haven't the desire but because we have spent every round." In a symbolic act of final defiance no one in the "Bologna" raised their hands. Harry Zinder of Time magazine noted that the Italians fought better than had been expected, and commented that for the Italians

it was a terrific letdown by their German allies. They had fought a good fight. In the south, the famed Folgore parachute division fought to the last round of ammunition. Two armored divisions and a motorized division, which had been interspersed among the German Panzer army, thought they would be allowed to retire gracefully with Rommel's 21st, 15th and 19th [sic][33]light. But even that was denied them. When it became obvious to Rommel that there would be little chance to hold anything between Daba and the frontier, his Panzers dissolved, disintegrated and turned tail, leaving the Italians to fight a rear-guard action.[34]

Analysis of the battle

"It could almost be said, before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat."
– Winston Churchill.

[citation needed]


Montgomery had always envisioned the battle as being one of attrition, similar to those fought in the Great War and had correctly predicted both the length of the battle and the number of Allied casualties [35]. Commonwealth artillery was superbly handled but armoured tactics displayed the cavalry mentality that repeatedly cost Allied forces dearly as they attacked in open country in mass formation with insufficient infantry and air support. Commonwealth air support was therefore of limited use, but contrasted with the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica who offered little or no support to ground forces, preferring to engage in air-to-air combat. Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... Insignia applied with a decal on the tail of the Règia Aeronautica aircraft (reconstruction). ...


In the end the Allies' victory was all but total. Axis casualties of 37,000 amounted to over 30% of their total force. Allied casualties of 13,500 were by comparison a remarkably small proportion of their total force.[36] The effective strength of the Panzerarmee after the battle amounted to some 5,000 troops, 20 tanks, 20 anti-tank guns and 50 field guns.[36]


El Alamein was the first great offensive against the Germans in which the Allies were victorious. Winston Churchill famously summed up the battle on 10 November 1942 with the words, "Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."[37] It was Montgomery's greatest triumph; he took the title "Viscount Montgomery of Alamein" when he was raised to the peerage. Churchill redirects here. ... is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Peerage (disambiguation). ...


Aftermath

Rommel chased west of Sirte

Once again, the Axis made a fighting withdrawal to El Agheila. Twice before, in 1940 and 1941, British and Commonwealth forces had advanced to El Agheila but no further. On the first occasion Wavell's offensive in 1940 had failed when with his lines of supply overstretched, political decisions intervened to withdraw troops to fight in Greece and East Africa while his opponents were reinforced with the Afrika Korps. In 1941 Auchinleck and Ritchie's forces once again reached El Agheila with ragged supply lines and exhausted formations and were pushed back. This time, however, it was Rommel's troops which found themselves fought out and with few replacements while prior to the battle Montgomery had focused his planners intensely on the question of how to create supply lines to provide the Eighth Army with the 2,400 tonnes of supply it needed each day.[38] General Ritchie as commander of XII Corps in France General Sir Neil Ritchie GBE, KCB, DSO, MC (July 29, 1897 - December 11, 1983) was a British commanding officer during the Second World War. ...


Huge quantities of engineering materials and equipment had been collected to repair the destroyed transport infrastructure. This was so successful that the railway line between El Alamein and Fort Capuzzo, despite having been blown up in over 200 separate places, was quickly put into commission and in the month after Eighth Army reached Capuzzo carried 133,000 tons of supplies.[39] The port of Benghasi was handling 3,000 tons a day by the end of December when it had been thought that, after two years of almost constant destructive effort, its extreme capacity would be 800 tons.[39]


Mindful of Rommel's previous successful counter-strokes from El Agheila Montgomery paused in front of the Axis line for three weeks to concentrate his strung out forces and prepare an assault.[40] On 11 December Montgomery launched the 51st Highland Division along the line of the coast road with 7th Armoured Division on their left. On 12 December 2nd New Zealand Division started a deep flanking sweep around Rommel's flank in an attempt to cut off his line of retreat.[41] The Highland Division was severely damaged by skilfully designed defences while 7th Armoured met stiff resistance from the Ariete Combat Group (the remains of the Ariete Armoured Division). is the 345th day of the year (346th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 346th day of the year (347th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Rommel's army had lost roughly 75,000 men, a thousand guns and 500 tanks and needed time to re-form so he decided to husband what remained of his weakened forces and withdraw.[42] By 15 December the New Zealanders were on the coast road but the firm terrain allowed Rommel to break his forces into smaller units and withdraw off-road through the gaps between the New Zealanders' positions.[43] is the 349th day of the year (350th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Rommel conducted a text-book retreat, destroying all equipment and infrastructure left behind[44] and peppering the land behind him with mines and booby traps to keep the following Eighth Army at arm's length.[45] Eighth Army reached Sirte on 25 December but west of Sirte they were forced to pause once again to consolidate their strung out formations in order to deal with the defensive line Rommel had created at Wadi Zemzem near Buerat 230 miles (370 km) east of Tripoli.[46] Rommel, concerned that his army would be completely enveloped and destroyed if he once again halted to face the Eighth Army, had, with the agreement of Field Marshal Bastico, sent a request to the Italian Commando Supremo ("High Command") in Rome to withdraw all the way to Tunisia where the terrain would better suit a defensive action and where he could link with the Axis army forming there in response to the Operation Torch landings. However, Mussolini's reply on 19 December was that the Panzerarmee must resist to the last man at Buerat.[43] This article is about the municipality of Libya. ... is the 359th day of the year (360th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in... is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Tripoli falls to Eighth Army

On 15 January 1943 General Montgomery launched the 51st (Highland) Division against Rommel's defences while sending 2nd New Zealand Division and 7th Armoured Divisions around the inland flank of the Axis line. Weakened by the withdrawal of 21st Panzer Division to Tunisia to strengthen von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army[47], once again Rommel was forced to conduct a fighting retreat. Tripoli, some 150 miles (240 km) miles further on, with its major port facilities, was taken on 23 January as Rommel continued to withdraw to the French-built southern defenses of Tunisia, the Mareth Line. is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (IPA: ; 17 November 1887 â€“ 24 March 1976), often referred to as Monty, was an Anglo-Irish British Army officer. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged... The 2nd New Zealand Division was that countrys major land formation during much of World War II. Commanded for most of its existence by Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Freyberg. ... Composed of regular British Army units, the famous Desert Rats division was originally formed as the Mobile Division or Mobile Force (Egypt) and was one of two training commands used by the British before World War II to develop armoured warfare techniques. ... The 21st Panzer Division was a German armoured division best known for its role in the Battles of El Alamenein (1942) and Normandy (1944) during World War II. Created as 5th Light Division or 5th Light Afrika Division in Africa in early 1941, from an ad hoc collection of smaller... Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ... Also known as: Panzer Group West Panzer Group Eberbach The Fifth Panzer Army was a German panzer army which saw action in the Western and North African Fronts. ... Tripoli (Arabic: طرابلس Tarābulus) is the capital city of Libya. ... is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged... The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French near the coastal town of Medenine in southern Tunisia prior to World War II. It was designed to defend against attacks from the Italians in Libya, but following the fall of France it fell into Axis hands. ...


Rommel links with von Arnim in Tunisia

Rommel was by this time in contact with Hans-Jürgen von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army which had been fighting the Tunisia Campaign against the multi-national British First Army in northern Tunisia since shortly after Operation Torch the previous autumn. Hitler was determined to retain hold of Tunisia and Rommel finally started to receive replacement men and materials. The Axis now faced a war on two fronts with Eighth Army approaching from the east and the British, French and Americans of First Army from the west. Rommel's German-Italian Panzer Army was re-designated Italian First Army under General Giovanni Messe while Rommel assumed command of the new Army Group Africa, responsible for both fronts. Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ... Also known as: Panzer Group West Panzer Group Eberbach The Fifth Panzer Army was a German panzer army which saw action in the Western and North African Fronts. ... Combatants United Kingdom United States France Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Keneth Anderson Bernard Montgomery Albert Kesselring Erwin Rommel Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Giovanni Messe The Tunisia Campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia), was a series of World War II battles that took place... The British First Army was a field army that existed during the First and Second World Wars. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in... In military terminology, a two front war is a war that is waged on two separate fronts, usually opposite each other. ... Giovanni Messe Giovanni Messe (December 10, 1883 - December 19, 1968) was an Italian soldier, politician and quite possibly the most distinguished Italian Field Marshal. ...


18th Army Group formed under Alexander

Similarly the two Allied armies were placed under 18th Army Group with Harold Alexander in command. However, the hope of a rapid conclusion to the campaign against the Axis forces was thwarted at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass in the second half of February when Rommel struck a costly blow against the inexperienced U.S. II Corps and destroyed their ability to make an early thrust east to the coast to cut off the Italian First Army's line of supply from Tunis and isolate it from von Arnim's forces in the north. (Redirected from 18th Army Group) 18th Army Group was an Allied formation in World War II. It was formed in early 1943 when British Eighth Army advancing from the east and British First Army advancing from the west into Tunisia came close enough to effectively cooperate. ... Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (December 10, 1891 - June 16, 1969) was a British military commander and Field Marshal, notably during World War II as the commander of the 15th Army Group. ... Combatants Germany Italy United States United Kingdom Free France Commanders Erwin Rommel Lloyd Fredendall Strength 22,000 30,000 Casualties 2,000 10,000 (including 6,700 Americans) The Battle of Kasserine Pass took place in World War II during the Tunisia Campaign. ...


Significance

Rommel did not lose hope in Africa until the end of the Tunisia Campaign. Even so, El Alamein was a significant Allied victory and the most decisive with respect to closing of a war front. After three years the African theatre was cleared of Axis forces and the Allies could look northward to the Mediterranean. Combatants United Kingdom United States France Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Keneth Anderson Bernard Montgomery Albert Kesselring Erwin Rommel Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Giovanni Messe The Tunisia Campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia), was a series of World War II battles that took place...


See also

Timeline of the North African Campaign. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Playfair, p.9 - 1,029 tanks ready for action, consisting of: 170 M3 Grant, 252 M4 Sherman, 216 Crusader II, 78 Crusader III, 119 M3 Stuart (aka Honey), 194 Valentine. Playfair also notes that 200 tanks were available as replacements and over 1,000 tanks were in workshops being repaired, overhauled or modified.
  2. ^ Playfair, p.9
  3. ^ Playfair, p.9 - breaks down into 552 x 2-Pounders, 849 x 6-Pounders
  4. ^ Buffetaut, p.95
  5. ^ Playfair, pp.9-11 - broken down into 31 x Panzer II, 85 x Panzer III (short 50mm gun), 88 x Panzer III (long 50mm gun), 8 x Panzer IV (short 75mm gun), 30 x Panzer IV (long 75mm gun), 7 x Command tanks, 278 x M13/40 Variants, 20 x "light" tanks. Playfair notes that another 23 German tanks were under repair but these have been excluded from the above total
  6. ^ Playfair, p.3
  7. ^ Playfair, p.10 - 68 x 7.65cm, 290 x 5cm Pak 38, 138 x 88 Flak guns
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Playfair, p.78
  9. ^ Carver and Playfair state nearly 500 tanks taken out of action, while Barr claims at least 332
  10. ^ Playfair, p.78 - breaks the Allied casualties down: British Troops 58%, Australians 22%, New Zealanders 10%, South Afrians 6%, Indians 1%, Allies 3%
  11. ^ a b c Barr, Niall, p.404
  12. ^ a b Watson, p.27
  13. ^ a b Barr, p.404, he states these losses as Axis tanks and guns and does not break them down between German and Italian.
  14. ^ Watson, p.27, claims 450 Axis tanks were destroyed, but does not break them down between German and Italian.
  15. ^ a b c d e Dear (2005), p.254
  16. ^ Watson (2007), p.20
  17. ^ Mead, Richard, p.304
  18. ^ Barr, Niall, p.308
  19. ^ Clifford, Alexander, p.307
  20. ^ Clifford, Alexander p.308
  21. ^ Watson (2007), p.23
  22. ^ http://www.nato.int/kfor/chronicle/2006/chronicle_09/chronicle_09.pdf]
  23. ^ Playfair, p.66
  24. ^ Barr, Niall. p.387
  25. ^ a b c Playfair, p.67
  26. ^ a b c d Barr, Niall. p.386
  27. ^ Walker, Ronald p.395
  28. ^ a b Watson (2007), p.24
  29. ^ Lucas-Phillips (1962), p.358
  30. ^ Desert War, Note (11): Statement issued by the German Government on 6 November 1942. spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk. Retrieved on 2007-12-22.
  31. ^ Spirit, Martin; Martindale, Sid (2005). Sid's War: The Story of an Argyll at War. Retrieved on 2008-01-27.
  32. ^ Watson (2007), p.27
  33. ^ Presumably a confused reference to the 90th Light Division. There was no 19th Light Division on the German Order of Battle
  34. ^ Zinder, Harry. "A Pint of Water per Man". Time Magazine (16 November 1942). 
  35. ^ Hamilton, Nigel (2004). "Montgomery, Bernard Law", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 
  36. ^ a b Watson (2007), p.27
  37. ^ See Churchill Centre: Quotations of Churchill
  38. ^ Clifford, Alexander p.317
  39. ^ a b Clifford, Alexander p.318
  40. ^ Watson (2007), p.39
  41. ^ Watson (2007), p.42
  42. ^ Clifford, Alexander p.319
  43. ^ a b Watson (2007), p.43
  44. ^ Clifford, Alexander p.322
  45. ^ Clifford, Alexander p.320
  46. ^ Clifford, Alexander pp.325-327
  47. ^ Watson (2007), p.44

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Dictionary of National Biography (or DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history. ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ...

Sources

  • Barr, Niall [2004] (2005). Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1585677382. 
  • Bierman, John; Smith, Colin [2002] (2003). War without hate : the desert campaign of 1940-1943, New edition, New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0142003947. 
  • Buffetaut, Yves(1995);Operation Supercharge-La seconde bataille d'El Alamein; Histoire Et Collections
  • Carver, Field Marshal Lord [1962] (2000). El Alamein, New edition, Ware, Herts. UK: Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 978-1840222203. 
  • Clifford, Alexander (1943). Three against Rommel. London: George G. Harrap. 
  • Dear, I. C. B. (ed) [1995] (2005). The Oxford Companion to World War II. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280666-6. 
  • Latimer, Jon (2002). Alamein. London: John Murray. ISBN 978-0719562037. 
  • Lucas-Phillips, C.E. (1962). Alamein. London: Heinemann. OCLC 3510044. 
  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount, 544 pages. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. 
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; Brigadier C.J.C Molony, Captain F.C. Flynn, R.N. and Group Captain T.P. Gleave, C.B.E. [1966] (2004). History Of The Second World War: The Mediterranean and Middle East, volume 4: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-068-8. 
  • Rommel, Erwin; with Basil Liddell-Hart [1953] (1982). The Rommel Papers. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306801570. 
  • Walker, Ronald (1967). The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945: Alam Halfa and Alamein. Wellington, NZ: Historical Publications Branch. 
  • Watson, Bruce Allen [1999] (2007). Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942-43. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole. ISBN 0-81173-381-5. 

Field Marshal Richard Michael Power Carver, Baron Carver (April 24, 1915 - December 9, 2001) was a British soldier. ... Jon Latimer is a historian and writer based in Wales. ... The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was founded in 1967 and originally named the Ohio College Library Center. ... Ian Stanley Ord Playfair, CB, DSO, MC and bar, (10 April 1894 – 21 March 1972), was a soldier who rose to the rank of Major General in the British Army. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was perhaps the most famous German field marshal of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname The Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he waged... The military historian Basil Liddell Hart. ...

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