In the first Battle of El Alamein, beginning July 1st, 1942, German General Erwin Rommel tried in vain to attack the Allied defensive positions with his Afrika Corps (and Italian allies), yielding tremendous losses to his army forces in turn. The actions in the first campaign forced an end to the fighting by July 22nd. The Allied defensive perimeter near El Alamein held and that was that.
During the lull that followed, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made strategic leadership changes in the region, placing General Harold Alexander as Commander-in-Chief, Middle East (over Auchinleck) and General Bernard Law Montgomery as commander of 8th Army (over Major-General Neil Ritchie). Rommel was not resting on his laurels either for his army was reinforced by a fresh Italian division, a German parachute brigade and a number of all-important combat tanks.
With forces refreshed, Rommel enacted a "first-strike" mentality and attacked the Allied lines near El Alamein in an effort to take some strategic high ground behind the defensive perimeter. The assault was again repelled and Rommel was forced into a defensive position at Bab el Qattara - the starting point of his offensive. British General Bernard Montgomery then took the time to build up an impressive army made up of thousands of men, tanks and artillery systems.
On October 23rd, "Operation Lightfoot" was put into effect by Montgomery as his 800+ artillery guns opened fire on Axis positions. A two-pronged attack was then unleashed through a northern and southern force. The southern forces acted as a diversionary element meant to commit Axis resources to a second front. After two days, progress for the Allies was made though at a high cost, making for mixed results in the end. The Southern Allied forces were now committed to the north to help break the slow progress through "Operation Supercharge" and this, itself, yielded little result.
In the long run, the overall actions proved successful as the Italian and German fighters simply could not offer no more. Rommel ordered a general retreat westwards along the North African coast, putting all Axis forces in North Africa on the run for good.
The Battle of El Alamein went down as an Allied victory and proved turning point against German control of any part of the African continent, a position never recovered by the Axis for the duration of the war.The battle also went on to earn much prestige for British General Montgomery - and not so much prestige for German General Erwin Rommel in his homecoming visit with Adolf Hitler. ©www.SecondWorldWarHistory.com
There are a total of (17) entries in the Timeline of the Battle of El Alamein (July - November 5th, 1942). Entries are listed below by earliest date to latest date.