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Between July and November the future of the Middle East lay in the balance as German and Italian soldiers fought against soldiers from Britain, Australia.
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- For the Love of Zion
- El Alamein: Halting a Possible Holocaust in the Middle East PAPERBACK
They narrowly escaped encirclement, however, and escaped on wheels that evening to Mersa Matruh. On 7 November, poor ground conditions after the rain and lack of fuel saw 1st and 7th Armoured Divisions remaining quiet. By the end of the day on the 11th, the Egyptian border area was clear, but Montgomery was forced to order that the pursuit should—for the time being—be continued by armoured cars and artillery only because of the difficulty in supplying larger formations west of Bardia until the supply infrastructure could catch up.
Folgore Parachutist Division attacked from three directions: Allied forces break through: El Alamein was an Allied victory, although Rommel did not lose hope until the end of the Tunisia Campaign. It may almost be said, "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat". The Allies frequently had numerical superiority in the Western Desert but never had it been so complete in quantity and quality.
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With the arrival of Sherman tanks , 6-pounder anti-tank guns and Spitfires in the Western Desert, the Allies gained a comprehensive superiority. Allied artillery was superbly handled and Allied air support was excellent, in contrast to the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica , which offered little or no support to ground forces, preferring to engage in air-to-air combat.
Air supremacy had a huge effect on the battle and not only because of its physical impact. As Montgomery later wrote,. The moral effect of air action [on the enemy] is very great and out of all proportion to the material damage inflicted. In the reverse direction, the sight and sound of our own air forces operating against the enemy have an equally satisfactory effect on our own troops.
A combination of the two has a profound influence on the most important single factor in war—morale. Historians still debate on the reasons Rommel decided to advance into Egypt. According to Creveld, Rommel had been advised by the German and Italian staffs that his army could not properly be supplied so far from the ports of Tripoli and Benghazi.
Rommel pressed ahead with his advance to Alamein and as predicted, supply difficulties limited the attacking potential of the axis forces. Rommel had been very pessimistic, especially after the First El Alamein and knew that as US supplies were en route to Africa and Axis ships were being sunk in the Mediterranean, the Axis was losing a race against time. On 27 August, Kesselring promised Rommel that supplies would arrive in time but Westphal pointed out that such an expectation would be unrealistic and the offensive should not begin until they had arrived. After a conversation with Kesselring on 30 August, Rommel decided to attack, "the hardest [decision] in my life".
In , Barr wrote that the 36, Panzerarmee casualties, was an estimate because of the chaos of the Axis retreat.
British figures, based on Ultra intercepts, gave German casualties as 1, killed, 3, wounded and 8, men captured. Italian losses were dead, wounded and 15, men captured. By 11 November, the number of Axis prisoners had risen to 30, men. According to the official history of the Italian Army, Axis losses during the battle were 4, to 5, killed or missing, 7, to 8, wounded and 17, prisoners; during the retreat the losses rose to 9, killed or missing, 15, wounded and 35, prisoners. About half of the Italian tanks had been lost and most of the remainder were knocked out on the next day by the 7th Armoured Division.
About Axis guns were lost, along with 64 German and 20 Italian aircraft. The Eighth Army had 13, casualties, of whom 2, men had been killed, 8, wounded and 2, men were missing; 58 percent of the casualties were British, 22 percent Australian, 10 percent New Zealanders, 6 percent South African, 1 percent Indian and 3 percent were Allied forces. The Eighth Army lost from to tanks, although by the end of the battle, had already been repaired. The Eighth Army was surprised by Rommel's withdrawal and confusion caused by redeployments between the three corps meant they were slow in pursuit, failing to cut off Rommel at Fuka and Mersa Matruh.
Supply shortages and a belief that the Luftwaffe were about to get strong reinforcements, led the DAF to be cautious, reduce the number of offensive sorties on 5 November and protect the Eighth Army. Huge quantities of engineer stores had been collected to repair transport infrastructure and the railway line from El Alamein to Fort Capuzzo, despite having been blown up in over places, was quickly repaired.
Mindful of Axis counter-strokes from El Agheila, Montgomery paused for three weeks to concentrate his forces and prepare an assault.
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On 11 December, Montgomery launched the 51st Highland Division along the line of the coast road with 7th Armoured Division on the inland flank. On 12 December the 2nd New Zealand Division started a deeper flanking manoeuvre to cut the Axis line of retreat on coast road in the rear of the Mersa Brega position. Rommel's army had lost roughly 75, men, 1, guns and tanks since the Second battle of Alamein and withdrew.
Rommel conducted a text-book retreat, destroying all equipment and infrastructure left behind and peppering the land behind him with mines and booby traps. Mussolini replied on 19 December that the Panzer Army must resist to the last man at Buerat. On 15 January , General Montgomery launched the 51st Highland Division in a frontal attack while sending the 2nd New Zealand Division and the 7th Armoured Division around the inland flank of the Axis line.
Panzerarmee , Rommel conducted a fighting retreat. Rommel was by this time in contact with von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army, which had been fighting against the multi-national British First Army in northern Tunisia, since shortly after Operation Torch the previous autumn. Hitler was determined to retain hold of Tunisia and Rommel finally started to receive replacement men and materials. The Axis now faced a war in Africa on two fronts with Eighth Army approaching from the east and the British, French and Americans from the west.
The failure of British First Army forces in the run for Tunis in December led to a prolongation of the North African campaign which would not end until the Italian-German forces in North Africa capitulated in May From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Soldiers of the 9th Australian Infantry Division in a posed attack. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Second Battle of El Alamein order of battle. Axis counter-attack and attack by 9th Australian Division: Afternoon of 25 October. Operation Supercharge begins, 9th Australian fails to break through: Tank Battle of Tell el Aqqaqir: Battle of El Agheila.
World War II portal. There were approximately 77, Italians in North Africa who did not come under the Panzerarmee. There was a further serviceable German bombers in Italy and Greece. There were German and Italian transport aircraft not included in the total. There were replacement tanks and over 1, tanks were in various stages of repair, overhaul or being modified at workshops. Five hundred of these were issued to Eighth Army. The Bologna was returning on foot to the front line after the retreat order by Rommel had been cancelled.
When the attack by 2nd New Zealand Division achieved a breakthrough in the sector defended by the Trento Division, armoured cars and tanks were sent forward in the open desert and caught the exhausted and disorganised soldiers of the Bologna off guard. Mark 23 October Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Retrieved 15 April Statement issued by the German Government on 6 November ". Archived from the original on 30 April Retrieved 22 December The Story of an Argyll at War". Archived from the original on 22 June Retrieved 27 January Time Magazine 16 November Archived from the original on 26 September Retrieved 23 May Barr, Niall . The Three Battles of El Alamein. Bauer, Eddy . Bierman, John; Smith, Colin . The Desert Campaign of — Second Battle of El Alamein ]. Les grandes batailles de la Seconde Guerre mondiale: The Hinge of Fate.
The Second World War. Creveld, Martin van Supplying War; Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Greene, Jack; Massignani, Alessandro Rommel's North Africa Campaign: September — November British Intelligence in the Second World War: Its influence on Strategy and Operations. Latimer, Jon . Lucas, James Sydney War in the Desert: The Eighth Army at El Alamein. Maurer, Maurer . Office of Air Force History.
Le operazioni in Africa Settentrionale. Stato Maggiore dell'esercito, Ufficio Storico.
The Mediterranean and Middle East: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa. Remy, Maurice Philip Mythos Rommel in German. Rommel, Erwin ; Liddell Hart, Basil . Sillavengo, Paolo Caccia Dominioni de Translated by Chamberlin, Dennis. The Right of the Line: The Western Desert of Egypt: American University in Cairo Press. Alam Halfa and Alamein.
Watson, Bruce Allen . The Tunisian Campaign, — Axis and Axis-aligned leaders. Bengal famine of Chinese famine of —43 Greek Famine of Dutch famine of —45 Vietnamese Famine of Battle of Cambrai Battle of Asal Uttar Battle of Chawinda. Battle of Valley of Tears.
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El Alamein: Halting a Possible Holocaust in the Middle East PAPERBACK
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It also looks at the relationship between the Arab nationalist movement and its main spokesman, Haj Amin el-Husseini the Mufti of Jerusalem , with Hitler and Nazi Germany. There was, however, something much bigger at stake here than a mere military battle - the very survival of over half a million Jewish people, most of whom lived in British Mandated Palestine.
In January the Nazi leadership declared its intentions to annihilate all eleven million Jewish people in Europe. Nearly a million had already been murdered, mostly by murder squads known as Einsatzgruppen. Then in July , the Nazi leadership ordered the despatch to the Middle East of a specialised SS murder squad - The Einsatzkommando Egypt - which was to enlist local collaborators to help fulfil their allotted task. This book looks at the Middle East campaign of and how the Allied victory which culminated at El Alamein in November thwarted both the military objectives of the German-led army to capture the Suez Canal, and the possibility of the Holocaust entering into the Middle East.
It also looks at the relationship between the Arab nationalist movement and its main spokesman, Haj Amin el-Husseini the Mufti of Jerusalem , with Hitler and Nazi Germany.