British forces in Libya had been roundly defeated by Rommel in mid-1942, and a reshuffle saw Bernard Montgomery take over the 8th Army dangerously close to Alexandria. Some essentials for success had been put in place by his predecessor, but Montgomery’s refusal to attack until he was ready, careful briefings, pep talks to troops and coordination of land and air power all strengthened his hand.

The battle began with a huge artillery bombardment on October 23, and owed much to Montgomery’s belief that, wherever possible, metal, not flesh, should do the work.

There was hard fighting in the middle phase as British and Dominion troops clawed through the German and Italian defences.

It’s easy to say that Monty, with over 200,000 troops to Rommel’s 100,000, should have won, but previously defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory.

Alamein paved the way for Allied victory in North Africa, and Churchill was right to hail it as a turning point



Leave a Reply