1942 – the first Battle of El Alamein begins

The first battle of El Alamein lasted for 27 days, and was one of the key battles of World War Two. It took place in Egypt, only 66 miles short of Alexandria, where British and Commonwealth forces (Indians, New Zealanders, Australians and South Africans) had retreated and dug in to strong defensive positions with the intent of stopping the German advance across the North African coast.

The British gamble paid off. The battle (and its sequel, three months later) was one of the war’s turning points. At the first battle of El Alamein, the German advance was eventually halted. At the second battle of El Alamein, the German lines were broken and pushed back – and after this, and the near simultaneous battle of Stalingrad – the Axis forces in Europe and Africa fought a defensive war that ended the only way it could, with their defeat.

Referenced in:

All the Fine Young Men — Eric Bogle