Rommel's German-Italian Panzer Army was re-designated Italian First Army under General while Rommel assumed command of the new Army Group Africa, responsible for both fronts. X Corps Lumsden would pass through the gaps, take up defensive positions and defeat the inevitable Axis armoured counterattacks. Rommel's defensive plan mixed German and Italian troops, a process known as 'corseting' to the British. He reported to the that his three German divisions numbered just 1,200—1,500 men each and resupply was proving highly problematic because of enemy interference from the air. Elements of the German 164th Light Division and Italian arrived to plug the gap torn in the Axis defences. The initial night attack went well, with 736 prisoners taken, mostly from the Italian and motorised divisions. The emphasis here was on the tank battle, which would be followed by the destruction of the isolated Axis infantry.
Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts; Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa. Ritchie had decided not to hold the defenses on the Egyptian border, because the defensive plan there was for infantry to hold defended localities and a strong armored force behind them to meet any attempts to penetrate or outflank the fixed defenses. Moving divisions up from the south, Rommel quickly found that they lacked the fuel to withdraw, leaving them exposed in the open. Rommel was by this time suffering from the extended length of his supply lines. After ordering the counterattack General Stumme visited the 164th Infantry, on his left. Its second brigade, the 22nd, was transferred to the 7th Armoured Division before the battle.
Recovering and reinforcing, new leadership on the British side commenced planning an offensive to regain the initiative. His only hope now relied on the German forces fighting in the quickly defeating the Soviet forces and moving south through the and threatening Persia and the Middle East. By 4 November the motorized elements of the Axis were in full retreat, and because of the sluggish British follow-up they were allowed to escape virtually unscathed. Phase One — The Break In The first part of the battle was given the codename Operation Lightfoot, partly because it would be led by the infantry, who would be too light on their feet to trigger anti-tank mines. Click on any image for more information.
In addition, the division was to have British 9th Armoured Brigade under command. He decided instead to employ delaying tactics while withdrawing a further 100 mi 160 km or more east to a more defensible position near on the coast. Rommel kept his tanks behind a dug-in anti-tank screen, laced with the deadly 88mm. The Allied victory at El Alamein lead to the retreat of the Afrika Korps and the German surrender in North Africa in May 1943. On the coastal flank an Australian brigade from 9th Australian Division made a feint north of Tel el Eisa. As they dug in, they came under fire from a german sniper.
The battle forced and his Afrika Corps to retreat back to the former French fortifications in the Mareth Line in the border between and. The brigade was to have started its attack towards Tel el Aqqaqir at 05:45 behind a barrage; however, the attack was postponed for 30 minutes while the brigade regrouped on orders. In this interview he recalls his experience of 6 June 1944 seventy-five years on. The only alternate supply route would be via South Africa — which was not only longer but a lot more dangerous due to the vagaries of the weather. In his appreciation of 27 July, Auchinleck wrote that the Eighth Army would not be ready to attack again until mid-September at the earliest.
At the same time, the fresh reinforced the depleted Indian 5th Infantry Division. The 1st Armoured Division only commanded one armoured brigade, the 2nd, during the battle. The Australians were ordered to attack north, behind the Axis minefield, to cut off the troops in the salient. By 15:00, the 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment and part of 21st Panzer Division from the north and 33rd Reconnaissance Regiment and the Baade Group comprising elements from 15th Panzer Division from the south were in place under Lieutenant-General. Montgomery was quickly convinced, and the plan was modified accordingly. While—with help from mobile infantry and artillery columns from 7th Armoured Division—they pushed back the Axis probe with ease, they were prevented from advancing north to protect the New Zealand flank.
He showed an instant affinity for armoured warfare, which was well suited to his bold, decisive style. The plan was for the British forces to send infantry through the minefield, because they were too light to set off the anti-tank mines. The infantry had also not got as far as Montgomery had planned. Churchill, despite his status, faced the prospect of a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons if there was no forthcoming victory anywhere. Despite a great deal of muddle in the nighttime attack, the Australians broke through between the 164th Infantry and the Trento division. On the morning of 6 November, 2 New Zealand Division advanced toward Sidi Haneish while 10th Armoured Division's 8th Armoured Brigade had moved west from Galal to occupy the landing fields at Fuka and the escarpment. Its progress was checked at the Miteirya ridge and it was forced to withdraw that evening to the El Alamein box.
This phase of the battle began at 01:00 on 2 November, with the objective of destroying enemy armour, forcing the enemy to fight in the open, reducing the Axis stock of petrol, attacking and occupying enemy supply routes, and causing the disintegration of the enemy army. The area between Ruweisat Ridge and Munassib was covered by Brescia and two paratroop battalions recently arrived from Crete. On the night of 25-26 October the Australians began their new attack. As a consequence, the advance of 2nd Armoured Brigade was delayed. Significantly, the Germans were not able to draw out the British armour, which stayed safely behind the protection of the anti-tank screen. In early September, arrangements were made for him to return to Germany on sick leave and for Lieutenent-General General der Panzertruppe to transfer from the Russian front to take his place.
Montgomery's careful build-up also gave Rommel time to construct a strong defensive line from the coast to the Qattara Depression, secure in the knowledge that he couldn't be outflanked to the south. While both sides paused to rebuild their forces, arrived in Cairo and decided to make command changes. We hope to see you in there some day soon. Further south, 8th Armoured Brigade was held off by anti-tank units helped later by tanks of the arriving Ariete Division. Rommel was taken by surprise. Montgomery guessed that this would be the move of Rommel as Rommel had done it before. The cause of the Italian defeat had its roots in the whole Italian military state and system, in their poor armament and in the general lack of interest in the war by many Italians, both officers and statesmen.
The had stalled the advance. Significance El Alamein was a significant Allied victory and the most decisive in Africa with respect to closing of a war front, although Rommel did not lose hope until the end of the. Twice before, in early 1941 and early 1942, Allied forces had advanced to El Agheila but no further. When the attack resumed late in the afternoon, it was repulsed. Their aim wasn't to make a breakthrough, but to keep 21 Panzer pinned down in the south. Subsequent British counterattacks failed to dislodge the enemy and by late July a stalemate ensued. By 07:00, word was finally got to 2nd Armoured Brigade which started to move north west.