Coming after years of frustrating setbacks, this was a boost to British morale. Choosing to take a defensive stance, Rommel fortified his position and placed over 500,000 mines, many of which were anti-tank types. After assaulting the Australians again with no success on November 1, Rommel began to concede that the battle was lost and began planning a retreat 50 miles west to Fuka. Major Daniel Hebditch is an engineer officer. [xiii], Counter attacks by 15th Armoured, which continued throughout the day, managed to stem further attacks and drive the enemy back into Box L, though losses were heavy: that evening 15th Armoured had only 31 serviceable tanks left.[xiv]. On the night of October 30, they succeeded in reaching road and repelled numerous enemy counterattacks. The Second Battle of El Alamein began on Oct. 23, 1942, 75 years ago, and ended less than a month later. The British had always had an interest in the Mediterranean, but after the opening of the Suez Canal, it became an obsession. To the rear, ready to conduct a forward passage of lines, was the armour of X Corps with two reinforced Armoured Divisions. The Germans tried to persuade the Spanish to enter the war, but they refused. In the south XIII Corps was to both hold the line and launch attacks to reinforce the deception that the main attack was to happen here. No one can conceive the extent of our anxiety during this period. Rommel could not reach Suez for logistical reasons. The British calculated that in due course the U.S. would enter the war either by choice or by enemy action. Montgomery resourced his Main Effort and allocated a commander he knew could see it through. Before he could take command, Gott was killed when the Luftwaffe shot down his transport. That option ended on Nov. 8, four days after British field marshal Bernard Montgomery defeated Rommel and forced him to retreat. The corps was able to fulfil its role and Montgomery took an appropriate risk in the light of the Axis’ logistical weakness to reinforce his main effort in the north. This used a wide range of methods and techniques to convince the Axis commanders the main threat was to be launched in the south of the line, rather than in the north as was actually the case. Germany already held Greece, and if it could take Suez, it would hold Egypt too. He has masters degrees in Military History and Defence Studies. ", that El Alamein and the Battle of Stalingrad make up the turning points of World War II. The U.S. used the invasion to familiarize its troops with war, and Rommel took advantage at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia. By 2:00 AM the armored advance began, however progress was slow and traffic jams developed. Our communication network was soon smashed by this drum-fire, and reports from the front virtually ceased. Focus all actions on the Enemy Centre of Gravity. But the Suez might be. Yet for all of its importance the battle is regarded as a notoriously attritional battle with General Montgomery unimaginatively converting his materiel superiority into victory. It was a major defeat for Rommel's Desert Army. It was preceded by just a few months by the First Battle of El Alamein, fought in Egypt without a decisive winner. Though their advance was bogged down, the British defeated these assaults and the first major tank engagement of the battle was fought. Inside an hour at about midday seven formations, each of 18 bombers, unloaded their bombs on my troops. Our counter-attacks early in the battle could not be made with a concentration of strength, as British assembly areas in the southern sector gave us good cause to fear that if we drew off all the motorised forces they would attack there as well. The victory ended the threat to the Suez Canal and provided a significant boost to Allied morale. He could have been fed false intelligence, misinterpreted good intelligence, or simply never received the intelligence needed to make war. It was now extremely difficult to obtain any clear picture of the situation, as all our communication lines had been shot to pieces and most of our wireless channels were being jammed by the enemy. Montgomery had fulfilled his plan to debouch into the open: he could now, by turning north and north-west, take the entire German–Italian Panzerarmee in the rear and unhinge the Alamein position.[xxiii]. The second battle didn’t end the North African Campaign of World War II, in which Allied and Axis powers competed for control of the region, but it made a German victory impossible. Now we really were up against it.[xx]. Somehow we needed a victory.". The Allies ruthlessly targeted the DAK’s ability to operate as a combined arms team. Worse for the Germans, while the bulk of their force was devoted to the Soviet Union, they divided that force into three separate thrusts. This came with a heavy cost to his armour, although the relative losses to the DAK were more significant. [xxi], The 21st and 15th Panzer Divisions – those parts of them that were not already committed in the front – were now put in from the north and south respectively to pinch out the enemy wedge. Western Europe had long since seemed fully in the control of the Germans. There are aspects of the battle that are undoubtedly attritionalist. A grinding battle that was similar to many fought during World War I, the Second Battle of El Alamein turned the tide in North Africa in favor of the Allies. Elle se déroule du 23 octobre 1942 au 3 novembre 1942, près d'El-Alamein en Égypte, et oppose la 8 e armée britannique dirigée par Bernard Montgomery au Deutsches Afrika Korps d'Erwin Rommel. El Alamein was the last hurrah for Britain as a country able to wage war on its own, and it was a great last hurrah. Yet does the battle deserve such a stolid reputation? Joined in North Africa by American troops, who had landed in Algeria and Morocco, Allied forces succeeded in evicting the Axis from North Africa on May 13, 1943 (Map). Correctly it referred only to the two Panzer Division occasionally joined by the motorised 90th Light Division. Significance Fought in the deserts of North Africa, El Alamein is viewed as a very critical battle of the war and significant turning point of the North African Campaign, albeit the Second World War. Two days later, Australian troops advanced northwest of Tel el Eisa towards Thompson's Post in an attempt to break through near the coast road. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. This disrupted both the Panzers and the Axis defensive plan. All rights reserved. A Primer. Having been driven east by Axis forces in 1942, the British had established a strong defensive line at El Alamein, Egypt.