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Battle of El Alamein Timeline

Authored By Dan Alex | Last Updated: 5/5/2014

The Allies held firm against Rommel and his Panzers, only to enact a counter-offensive that delivered Axis forces from North Africa.

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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 Adolph Hitler.


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There are a total of 17 Battle of El Alamein Timeline Events. Entries are listed below by date of occurrence.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st - July 22nd

The First Battle of El Alamein takes place with Erwin Rommel hoping to put a dent in the Allied defense near El Alamain. Rommel's forces consist of his Afrika Corps and three Italian troop corps.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st

German General Erwin Rommel attempts to break through the Allied defensive perimeter at El Alamein.

1942
Friday
July 3rd

The Allies put up a stubborn defense, repelling Rommel's offensive.

1942
Saturday
August 1st - August 30th

British Prime Minister relieves General Auchinleck with General Harold Alexander as Commander-in-Chief, Middle East.

1942
Saturday
August 1st - August 30th

German forces are strengthened by the arrival of another Italian division, a German parachute brigade and more tanks.

1942
Saturday
August 1st - August 30th

Churchill replaces 8th Army leader Major-General Neil Ritchie with General Bernard Montgomery.

1942
Sunday
August 30th

Rommel begins a new offensive starting from Bab el Qattara that becomes the Battle of Alam Halfa near El Alamein. The objective is the high ridge at Alam Halfa some 13 miles through the Allied defensive perimeter in the south.

1942
Wednesday
September 2

Rommel's assault is thwarted, his tank forces suffering high losses in the attack - and his army is pushed back to Bab el Qattara.

1942
Thursday
September 3rd - October 23rd

General Montgomery decides to make El Alamein a war of numbers and stockpiles his supplies to eventually try to overwhelm the Germans.

1942
Friday
October 23rd

The Allied counter-offensive begins through Operation Lightfoot, a massive artillery bombardment of dug-in German forces.

1942
Friday
October 23rd

At 10:00PM, British XIII Corps hits the German 21st Panzer Division and Italian Brescia and Folgore Divisions in the south of the German defensive wall as a diversion to its north-bound actions.

1942
Friday
October 23rd

XXX and X Corps begin their assault on Axis nothern positions.

1942
Sunday
October 25th

Allied mine-clearing operations begin while combat continues

1942
Sunday
October 25th

Four Allied brigades have managed to break through the German defensive lines.

1942
Sunday
October 25th

Montgomery enacts Operation Supercharge and pulls some diversionary forces from his southern attacks to reinforce the north where losses continue to mount.

1942
Monday
November 2nd

As more and more Allied armor crosses through the German perimeter, Rommel orders his battle-weary forces on an eastward retreat, keeping his forces within easy access to the North African coast.

1942
Wednesday
November 4th

British X Corps makes a substantial gain in capturing Tel el Aqqaqir, running straight through the beleagured Axis lines, effectively ending the Battle of El Alamain in favor of the Allies. The victory is a major one for the Germans are in full retreat throughout North Africa. The action officially ends all Axis presence on the continent.