Battle of El Alamein (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of El Alamein pits British forces in the Middle East against the German Afrika Corps and results in a British victory.
Summary of Event
Declaration of war on the Allies by Italy in June, 1940, gave the British the opportunity of striking at Italy’s possessions in North Africa. Fighting alone against Germany and Italy, the British were in no position to mount an offensive on the European continent, and it was essential for them to hold the “Imperial Lifeline” of Gibraltar, Malta, and Suez. Victory in North Africa would not only help to maintain British control in the Mediterranean but would also weaken the enemy. Accordingly, Winston Churchill, the British prime minister, and General Sir Alan Brooke, chief of the Imperial General Staff, ordered General Sir Archibald Wavell, commander of Middle East Forces, to begin operations against the Italian army in North Africa.
Throughout 1940 and 1941, Wavell’s small but highly trained forces inflicted defeat after defeat on the Italian troops under the command of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, and drove them out of Libya and Ethiopia. Hundreds of thousands of Italians surrendered to the British. The campaign was an outstanding success as far as it went.
Adolph Hitler, chancellor and führer of Germany, began to be perturbed over his ally’s losses. Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, though officially commander of the German navy,...
(The entire section is 1287 words.)
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Battle of El Alamein (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in World War II. Result: The eviction of German forces from Egypt and their pursuit by the British into Libya.
General Bernard Law Montgomery built up a force of three armored and seven infantry divisions, many of which were concealed by imaginative camouflage and deception measures. After these careful preparations, the British attack began on October 23, 1942, with a heavy artillery bombardment, directed first at German batteries and then at the infantry. The British armor and infantry attacked on a front of four divisions, preventing the Germans, under the command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, from reinforcing from other sectors by means of raids and feints. After several days of heavy fighting, the key German position on Kidney Ridge fell. After two heavy German counterattacks were driven back on November 2, a breakthrough was achieved, and the British began a pursuit of the Germans across the open desert. Four German and eight Italian divisions were destroyed or captured, and after a long pursuit across Libya, most of the survivors were rounded up by the British.
The German defeat at El Alamein resulted in the expulsion of Axis power from Africa, giving the Allies a secure base from which to attack Italy across the Mediterranean.
Bates, Peter. Dance of War: The Story of the Battle of...
(The entire section is 277 words.)