In July 1942, German and Italian forces seemed to be at the point of sweeping away the remainder of British resistance in the Middle East and triumphantly overrunning Egypt. If this had happened, the disaster for the Allies would have been irretrievable. Instead, Rommel's victorious army was checked on the Alamein line in what became the first battle of Alamein. Two months later with Montgomery and Alexander as C in C Middle East, another Axis thrust was held in the second battle of Alamein at Alam El Halfa. On October 23rd the Allied forces were finally on the offensive and, after two long weeks of bitter fighting, Rommel's forces were in head-long retreat. The higher strategy of these battles has been well covered in other books, but this is about the men who fought in the tanks and minefields, in the sand dunes and behind the guns. Through a fascinating selection of first-hand accounts from battalion commanders and private soldiers alike, Philip Warner reveals the loyalty and chivalry, courage and hardship, humour and compassion behind these remarkable series of battles.
First Battle of El Alamein
1st July 1942
The First Battle of El Alamein (1st-27th July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of World War II, fought between Axis forces commanded by Erwin Rommel, and Allied forces commanded by Claude Auchinleck. The battle halted the furthest (and final) advance made by the Axis forces into Egypt, El Alamein being only just over 50 miles from Alexandria.
Second Battle of El Alamein
23rd October 1942
At El Alamein in northern Egypt, the British Eighth Army under Field Marshal Montgomery begin a critical offensive to expel the Axis armies from Egypt, never to return.