The Battle of El Alamein

Τhe North African campaign between the forces of the British Empire and the German-Italian army commanded in the field by Erwin Rommel in World War II. Having taken Tobruk in June 1942, Rommel advanced into Egypt but had been checked and beaten at Alam Halfa in September there after the initiative had passed.

Rommel mined and fortified a forty-mile line in considerable depth and strength–unusually, in a desert war, both flanks were sealed, by the Mediterranean in the north and by the Qattara Depression in the south. To break this line and destroy the Axis forces was the task of Bernard Montgomery, commanding the British imperial forces.

Montgomery had carefully built up his 8th Army to maximize chances of success. El Alamein was a two-part process, beginning with Operation Lightfoot and ending with Operation Supercharge a few days later.

October 1942, Montgomery had amassed an army of nearly 200,000 men, more than 1,000 tanks, around 1,000 artillery pieces and more than 500 aircraft
Deployment of forces on the eve of battle / Image: Wikipedia

On the night of 23–24 October, British and Allied forces unleashed a powerful ground and air bombardment. A strong advance followed this, from British XXX Corps in the north and XIII in the south, aiming to clear the way for X Corps. However, the planned X Corps breakthrough was not achieved, and Montgomery was forced to fight Rommel’s army from fortified positions instead. The Operation Supercharge was the final victory over the Axis forces.

British soldiers storm a German tank in El-Alamein in 1942 / Image: picture-alliance / United Archivdpa

Featured Image: Topham Picturepoin 2003

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