first battle of el alamein

The 18th Indian Brigade was deployed on the western part of the ridge, at Deir el Shein. This left the 69th Brigade without support and they were decimated (Connell, 1959, p 682). Elsewhere the XIII Corps attack quickly fizzled out. However, during this battle, the British commander in the Middle East and of the Eighth Army, General C J E Auchinleck, succeeded in stopping the advance of Rommel's forces and laid the foundation for his later defeat. This was of vital importance to the Allied war effort, as it enabled the British forces, in cooperation with their American allies, to drive the Axis forces from North Africa. A modified plan was adopted, in which one Australian brigade and the 69th Infantry Brigade would carry out the attack. Unlike most of the other positions fought over in North Africa it couldn’t be outflanked to the south. The South Africans were more directly involved in the last operation of the battle, Operation 'Manhood'. Rommel's final attack began on 11 June, and by 14 June General Ritchie, then commander of the Eighth Army, was forced to order a full scale retreat from the Gazala Line. He was a desert correspondent from 1940 and, by 1942, he was tiring. XIII Corps would pull out of its southern positions and move them onto the Alam Nayil ridge, in order to concentrate his artillery more closely. Its 3rd South African Brigade was given the task of defending the western side of the fortifications. What is less well known is that South African forces played a more important role in the so-called First Battle of El Alamein, 1-30 July 1942, a battle that could have cost the British Empire the war in North Africa. British officers did not always understand this. The Northern Front would only be threatened by the Axis powers if their forces in the Soviet Union could break through in the Caucusus region and advance south. That evening Auchinleck decided to call the newly arrived 9th Australian Division up from the Delta to join his army. Between them the Germans and Italians had 500 guns, but only 29 of the precious 88mms. Despatch by General Sir Claude J E Auchinleck, Commander in Chief, Middle East Forces to the Secretary of State for War on 27 January 1943. This was rather badly bodged, and by 28 June X Corps ended up trapped at Mersa Matruh. The British response was also affected by the sandstorm. On 15 August he resigned as C-in-C Middle East and commander of the Eighth Army, and returned to the Indian Army (Alexander and Montgomery were already in Egypt by that date). Auchinleck's concentrated artillery fire was proving to be very effective. Tobruk harbour could only handle a limited quantity of Rommel's supply needs and the only other two suitable harbours, Tripoli and Benghazi, were respectively 2 080km and 1 280km from the front at El Alamein. The sacrifices were worth it, as Rommel's forces were again prevented from enveloping the El Alamein Box. He then went back and covered it up until the moment that Churchill sacked the commanders in Egypt … Thus, on the eve of the battle, Rommel had little information regarding the strength and deployment of the Eighth Army. The Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 11 November 1942) was a battle of the Second World War that took place near the Egyptian railway halt of El Alamein.The First Battle of El Alamein and the Battle of Alam el Halfa had prevented the Axis from advancing further into Egypt.. During the afternoon of 1 July, the 1st British Armoured Division arrived at Ruweisat Ridge, thus diminishing Rommel's best chance to break through the El Alamein line (Playfair, 1960, pp 339-41 ). However, the Axis forces were far from beaten and Auchinleck decided to transfer the 9th Australian Division from the Nile Delta to capture Tell el Eisa to put Rommel's forces under more pressure. He joined the SADF in 1973 and served as an armour officer at 1 Special Service Battalion in Bloemfontein. The first Battle of El Alamein occurred between July 1-27, 1942. In August 1942, General … Rommel was forced to commit his last German troops to the front line. Map showing British Eighth Army positions on 30 June 1942. Both sides were now exhausted, but the British were able to recover quicker than Rommel. The Afrika Korps was down to 55 tanks and 500 infantry, the 90th Light Division had 1,500 infantry, and the three Italian corps had 30 tanks and 5,500 infantry. Apart from the situation of the Axis forces, British reinforcements arrived at a steady pace and the British war cabinet assured Auchinleck that it would be a long time before the German forces in Russia would be able to reach the Middle East through the Caucasus. Colvocoressi, P and Wint, G, Total War. They had just arrived from Iraq and were placed in hastily prepared defensive positions. The attack also threatened the Panzerarmee HQ, which was only three miles to the north-west of Tell el Eisa, and an impromptu defensive position was set up. However, Auchinleck's attack pre-empted this action, forcing Rommel to rush his German forces to the north, where they launched several counterattacks against the Australians, preventing them from cutting his lines of communication, but failing to dislodge them from Tell el Eisa (Playfair, 1960, p 341). Point 63, at the western end of the ridge, overlooked the Panzerarmee's reserve artillery and a number of Axis headquarters, and the entire area was at the centre of Rommel's line. Hartshorne, E P, Avenge Tobruk (Cape Town, 1960). Rommel was confident of victory, but he had misread the British deployment. On the other side, Rommel concentrated his German formations to break through at Bab el Quattara. Only 20 tanks managed to reach their objective, but only to run into the Afrika Korp's only battery of 88mm guns. Auchinleck's third attack was timed to take advantage of the arrival of a new Armoured Brigade, equipped with the Valentine infantry. Armoured support came from the 22nd Armoured Brigade (1st Armoured Division), which was posted just to the south of Ruwesiat Ridge, and by the 4th Armoured Brigade (7th Armoured Division), which arrived just to the north of the 2nd South African Brigade on 1 July, just ahead of the Germans, after fighting a series of delaying actions further to the west. Compared to similar events during the war, this was not high, but the significance of their ability to withstand the panzer onslaught outweighed this. It was from here to the northern slope of the Ruweisat Ridge that the 1st South African South of this lay the Sahara Desert, also impassable for motor vehicles (Barucha, 1956, p 417). After the capture of the Tell el Eisa hill by the Australians on 10 July, the South Africans only played an active role on 13 July and again in Operation 'Manhood'. Map showing the Axis advance to El Alamein, 22-28 June 1942 He is currently writing two books that will be completed in 2005. Thus, Auchinleck's efforts were frustrated. However Auchinleck wouldn't remain in command to take advantage of that increased strength. At first this gamble appeared to be failing, as Rommel's advance ran out of steam and he ended up apparently trapped on the wrong side of the Gazala Line, but the British failed to take advantage of a good chance to defeat him. Following its defeat at the Battle of Gazala in Eastern Libya in June 1942, the British Eighth Army had retreated east from the Gazala line into northwestern Egypt as far as Mersa Matruh, roughly 100 mi (160 km) inside the border. Auchinleck expected Rommel to try and bypass the defended Alamein position, and these units were posted to provide defence in depth. The German move was detected by 1st Armoured Division at around 1400hours. Early on 26 June he decided not to defend Mersa Matruh, but instead retreat to the shorter El Alamein position if Rommel attacked. The 4th New Zealand Brigade had the hardest task, advancing north-west to Point 63. (Photo: by courtesy, For most of the day, the South Africans beat back the attacks, but by 16.10, German tanks, supported by dive bombers, advanced up to 300m from the South African positions. British Army Weapons and Theories of War, 1904-1945 (London, 1982). This attack would hit the Afrika Korps, which Rommel had been forced to deploy in the front line between El Mreir and the Ruweisat Ridge. Instead retreat to the east/ north-east of the Ridge was the victory of Ridge! The Box, 13 January 1948 7-8 July, but only to run the. And July 1942 South, had 50 tanks, six Armoured cars, six 88mms and ten anti-tank guns six., Official History of the precious 88mms anti-tank guns to exist as a fighting entity a. Too first battle of el alamein time to prepare, movement over unknown terrain, and the 69th infantry Brigade would be... He was a Desert correspondent from 1940 and, by 1942, 23 October—11 1942. 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