What Is the Battle of El Alamein?
Battle of El Alamein was one of the decisive battles of the Second World War. There were two battles of El Alamein in World War II, both fought in 1942. The Battles occurred in North Africa in Egypt in and around an area named after a railway stop called El Alamein.
The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, fought on the northern coast of Egypt between Axis forces (Germany and Italy) of the Panzer Army Africa (Panzerarmee Afrika) (also known as the Africa Corps) commanded by Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) Erwin Rommel nicknamed “The Desert Fox” and Allied (specifically British Imperial) forces (Britain, British India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) of the Eighth Army, commanded by General Claude Auchinleck. The British prevented a second advance by the Axis forces into Egypt.
Axis positions near El Alamein, only 66 mi (106 km) from Alexandria, were dangerously close to the ports and cities of Egypt, the base facilities of the Commonwealth forces and the Suez Canal and the Axis forces were too far from their base at Tripoli in Libya, to remain at El Alamein indefinitely, which led both sides to accumulate supplies for more offensives, against the constraints of time and distance. At the battles of Battle of Alam el Halfa (30 August – 5 September) and the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October–11 November), the Axis army was defeated and driven out of Egypt for good.
The Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 11 November 1942) took place near the Egyptian coastal city of El Alamein. With the Allies victorious, it marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. It followed the First Battle of El Alamein, which had stalled the Axis advance into Egypt, after which, in August 1942, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery had taken command of the British Eighth Army from General Claude Auchinleck.
This victory turned the tide in the North African Campaign and ended the Axis threat to Egypt, the Suez Canal, and of gaining access to the Middle Eastern and Persian oil fields via North Africa. From a psychological perspective, Second El Alamein revived the morale of the Allies, being the first major offensive against the Axis since the start of the European war in 1939 in which the Western Allies had achieved a decisive victory.
The battle coincided with the Allied invasion of French North Africa in Operation Torch, which started 8 November. The operation is also considered to be the end of the 200 days of dread of the Yishuv in the British Mandate of Palestine.