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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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anemone
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Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942-Questioned
Posted on: 10/2/2017 1:30:21 PM
Although the Allies famously won, El Alamein would take a very high toll. The fighting would result in more than 13,500 Allied casualties, of whom some 4,500 were killed.
The Allies lost nearly 500 tanks and 100 aircraft, as well as more than 100 pieces of artillery.

Despite these losses, El Alamein is regarded as a glorious chapter in the annals of British military history.

For Winston Churchill, the battle marked what he called the ‘turning of the Hinge of Fate’ — the pivotal point at which the fortunes of war finally went against the Axis powers. ‘It may almost be said,’ he wrote later, ‘before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat’.’

Churchill ordered church bells to ring out throughout Britain in celebration of the battle and the subsequent Allied landings in North Africa. For many, El Alamein ranks as a victory alongside those of Trafalgar, Waterloo and the Battle of Britain.

But today, 7.5 decades after the event, others dispute that El Alamen in really deserves its place in the pantheon of great British victories.

The detractors maintain it was a pointless battle in a pointless campaign, fought for political reasons to boost morale throughout the Empire, and not from any great strategic necessity. Agree/Disagree ????


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Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/2/2017 1:33:47 PM
Monty vrs Rommel!
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kaii
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/2/2017 2:01:58 PM

Quote:

The detractors maintain it was a pointless battle in a pointless campaign, fought for political reasons to boost morale throughout the Empire, and not from any great strategic necessity. Agree/Disagree ????

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Interesting post Jim. The North Africa campaign was certainly not critical, in the sense that the war would be won or lost there, so in that sense one could argue that it was a waste of resources and pointless.

On the other hand, had the Germans/Italians captured the Suez Canal, it could have been strategically significant. As it was they were never really close to achieving that, so it becomes pure speculation what would have happened.

It is always easy to sit years afterwards and discuss whether battles and campaigns were necessary or pointless, but at the time North Africa was seen as important enough forboth sides to commit significant forces there.

I also think that Monty tends to get too much focus/credit, and other commanders like O'Connor or Wavell too little when ww2 in North Africa is summed up.

K
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anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/2/2017 2:23:00 PM
Many thanks for your most learned reply K-I agree with much you have put down; but would argue that the Suez Canal was vital to GB at that time ie. the sea lane to India and the Far East--the latter fading fast via Japan's entry into the war; but we were going to have to fight them in Burma.

As to the pompous Monty -well -he planned well- ignored Winston's clamour for a start to the battle; and did win a long awaited victory;which in the ling run was the beginning of the ens and that victory consigned his predecessors to the shadows-most unfortunate I must agree.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 6:25:29 AM
An opportune moment to reflect on this battle : it's the seventy fifth anniversary in twenty days ; let's discuss it.

It was an expensive affair : 13,560 Eigth Army casualties, including 2,350 killed, 8,950 wounded and 2,260 missing. It's claimed that the missing were all dead, thereby raising the death toll to over 4,500. I've checked this against CWGC data, and it doesn't stand up . The total British Commonwealth deaths in Egypt for the period of El Alamein are in the order of 3,500, suggesting that half the missing survived ....forgive my quibble ; it's still true that the fighting was intense, the cost high. It seems that one quarter of the casualties were fatal.

The psychological effect of the battle was of immense importance. The British army needed to demonstrate that it could fight just that sort of attritional battle and prove itself fit for combat against the Axis. The fighting in Egypt and Libya had damaged the morale and reputation of the British army : too many defeats, too many prisoners captured, too many retreats.

Churchill's reaction to the fall of Tobruk said it all : complete dismay and a sense of shame, made all the more painful because the news was received in the presence of FDR, who was visibly moved by the sight of Winston's distress.

Defeat is one thing : disgrace another! the British PM blurted out.

So, in that sense, I would rate El Alamein as a crucial achievement, in so far as it endowed the British people with the necessary pride and confidence to cope with the following hard battles that lay ahead.

I have a personal connection with this battle : Dad was there and got more than a taste of what it meant to be on the " Sharp End " of war.

Edit : A rough and ready breakdown of the 3,500 Commnwealth soldiers who were killed at El Alamein ....65% UK ; 17% Australian ; 10% New Zealand ; 6% South African ; 1% Indian. A convincing display of cosmopolitan effort and co-operation .

Regards, Phil

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anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 10:13:19 AM
Today's historians tend to give a more favourable assessment of General Montgomery than those 20 years ago, Stephen Hart says the victor of El Alamein still attracts far too much flak, particularly from the Americans.

Some of this may well be attributable to his legendary arrogance, but historian Hart believes this has been overrated. "Monty was very professional; and if he had been influenced solely by the need to grab glory he would have abandoned his cautious strategy when he got to Normandy and tried to break out earlier, just as his critics demanded.

Monty undoubtedly knew the capabilities of his side, and that of his enemy... The Americans did not work under the same constraints- because they had greater resources- so that they could be bold and risk big losses.

Put simply, if British forces had charged off into the sunset beyond the range of massive Allied artillery fire support they would have been exposing themselves to significant risk of defeat." Overcautious you say-No just playing it safe.

Coming off the high horse- hows about a look at his preparations for the epic battle that was El Alamein

Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 11:02:44 AM
The factors that had favoured the Eighth Army's defensive plan in the First Battle of El Alamein, the short front line and the secure flanks, now favoured the Axis defence.

Rommel, furthermore, had plenty of time to prepare his defensive positions and lay extensive minefields (laying approximately 500,000 mines) and barbed wire. Alexander and Montgomery were determined to establish a superiority of forces sufficient not only to achieve a breakthrough but also to exploit it and destroy Panzer Army Africa.The 8th Army was built up in strength to just under 200,000 men including a great number of sappers to clear minefields

In all the previous swings of the pendulum in the Western Desert Campaign since 1941, neither side had ever had the strength after achieving victory in an offensive battle to exploit it decisively: the losing side had always been able to withdraw and regroup closer to its main supply bases.This time it was quite different-the line would stretch from the sea to the inland Qatarra Depression-an inaccessible desert.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 11:31:59 AM
Stay on that high horse, please, Jim : you give a good account of yourself when you pontificate...so much more interesting than a narrative from a history website.

Regards, Phil
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 12:15:08 PM
Herbert Lumsden had only just arrived in theatre- he was promoted to commander of the new 10th Corps.

Lumsden suffered heavy losses in the battle at Kidney Hill (27th October - 4th November) but still managed to break through the lines of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and reached El Agheila.

Montgomery and Lumsden however disagreed vwehemently about the tactics being used in the Desert War on quite a number of occasions; and this led to several bitter arguments and confrontations-Monty would not take criticism from his subordinates under any circumstances; and he saw it as insubordination.After one such argument- Monty ordered Lumsden back to the front and obey his orders.Alec Gatehouse was never forgiven for backing Lumsden against Monty and his days too were numbered

On 13th December 1942 Montgomery sacked Lumsden and replaced him with Brian Horrocks. Afterwards Lumsden commented that "There just isn't room in the desert for two ----s like Montgomery and me.

NB.Noted historian Anthony Beevor said: "I believe he had high functioning Aspergers Syndrome. Montgomery was always very, very strange in his behaviour. He had no idea how people would react to him.


Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 1:49:49 PM
Beevor is not alone in attributing a form of autism to Monty's conduct.

To be a good professional soldier - as is the case in so many avenues of life which entail the practice of authority - it is much more important to be respected than liked.

The trouble is, Monty was so profoundly antagonistic that he has suffered in history.

I myself have failed to acknowledge just how good a general he was, because he was so thoroughly obnoxious .

It's a shame....he probably deserves more credit than he gets.

Editing : about fifty years ago, he was invited to my school as a special guest. He immediately singled out several of the adolescent boys - myself among them- and remarked that we should all have a hair cut !

I can honestly say that I can summon up a bit of personal experience when I make comments about the man.

Regards, Phil



---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 2:17:54 PM
Sadly it has been said that El Alamein was won not by tactical skill, they add, but simply because the Allies had more men and machinery at their disposal.This of course is absolute drivel stated by brain dead but vicious morons morons.

So-OK- what is the truth? Was it the pivotal battle of the war? Or was El Alamein and the North Africa campaign an Imperial indulgence that needlessly cost thousands of lives? Of course it was-it was the pivotal battle for GB thus far

However let us look further at why the Allies were in North Africa in the first place.Although some bright sparks thought that the best way to defeat Hitler was simply to advance from London to Berlin in as straight a line as possible. JHC!! Were they bloody brain dead too.???

Thank Goodness Churchill and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir Alan Brooke, understood the situation was much more complex than merely attempting to smash through France and the Low Countries en route to storming the German capital.They saw much further ahead and firstly prevent any take over of the Suez Canal- then win the war against the Axis in North Africa -bring America into the war and strike at the soft under belly of Europe-ITALY

Regards

Jim


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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/3/2017 5:02:34 PM
Jim,

You ask why the Allies were in North Africa in the first place.

Perhaps it might be more a question of why the Germans went there.

To rescue the Italians ?

That's one of the intriguing facets of the war....the way Mussolini seemed to cast a spell over Hitler, even to the extent that precious German resources were diverted to the Mediterranean theatre when Barbarossa beckoned.

But then , I wonder, did the Germans seek to secure the southern flank of their advance into Russia by dint of victory in the Med and the Balkans ?

I don't think El Alamein was a battle won without skill.

Sure, Monty amassed a material superiority....but he still had to grasp some very nasty nettles and take a significant risk.

Advancing over minefields and carrying the fight to an enemy in position was no picnic.

The Germans put up a stiff fight, and so, it must be said, did the Italians , too.

It was a sticky business , and I reckon Monty deserves credit for keeping his nerve in a situation that would have tested the mettle of some other commanders.

Sad to say, Monty did not handle success well : it went to his head.

Britain desperately needed a victory. Churchill, above all, felt bereft when he saw the US triumph at Midway and the Soviets make their heroic stand on the Volga at Stalingrad. El Alamein was, in his eyes, a vindication of British Imperial status...note that he still spoke and wrote in terms of Empire rather than Commonwealth.

Regards, Phil


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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 3:51:26 AM
The notion that the Germans sought to secure a left flank to Soviet Russia is pretty sound; but I found no mention of that angle-do you know something I don't??? I do know that when Stalin released the Polish Carpathian Brigade they came to NA that way vis Persia
.
The British Army was in Egypt to protect the Suez Canal. The use of this canal allowed a vast amount of time to be cut for journeys taken from Europe to the Far East. If Britain controlled the Suez then Nazi Germany and the other Axis powers could not use it.The control of Suez was an Italian objective

The British wanted to build bases in North Africa because there was always the potential to launch an attack on what Churchill called the “soft underbelly of Europe” – Italy or Yugoslavia. Hitler also feared this.

By 1941, the Italian army had been all but beaten; and Hitler had to send German troops to North Africa to force out the British. The German force (DAK( was lead by Erwin Rommel – one of the finest generals of the war.By 1942 the Axis were breathing down our necks-so great was their combined edge.So Churchill sent Montgomery to command 8th Army virtually on the border of Egypt at a place called El Alamein.

Operation Supercharge was not without significant difficulties The intensity and the destruction in Supercharge were greater than anything witnessed so far during this battle. The objective of this operation was Tel el Aqqaqir, the base of the Axis defence roughly 3 mi (4.8 km) north-west of the Kidney feature and situated on the Rahman lateral track.This was where Lumsden got stuck and left his command to confront Monty; but was brusquely ordered back.

El Alamein was two hours old and progress was slow. The divisional commander, Maj Gen Alex Gatehouse.10th Armourd Division was on a land line to Lt Gen Bernard Montgomery. He said: "But we can't go on; we can't go on."

Montgomery was urging him to make faster progress. Gatehouse eventually succeeded in getting some armoured units on a forward facing slope opposite the enemy.
At first light, these units were destroyed by the guns of the Afrika Corps.

Montgomery's next move was to relieve Gatehouse of his command. Military historians have debated the wisdom of this decision over the years, and the general opinion is that Montgomery was wrong.I think he was right -this battle was crucial and there had to be no holding back.

Regards

Jim


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anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 7:14:19 AM
For Information Only-see previous post first

BTW-
Quote:
Before the war the Alamein line, which stretched for 38 miles, had been recognized as a possible site for a position from which to defend the Nile River Delta. As a result, in early 1941 the British had laid out a defense line consisting of three fortified boxes across the Alamein chokepoint.

The most important box was constructed as a 15-mile semicircle around the rail center designed to hold an infantry division. Halfway down the desert another box was laid out at Bab el Qattara. Farther south the Naqb Abu Dweiss box commanded the approaches leading to the depression itself.

The boxes were 15 miles apart and, therefore, were out of mutual supporting distance. As a result, they could never be held independently.


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Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 8:48:57 AM
Jim,

Operation Supercharge was the culminating phase of the El Alamein fighting , and was launched on 2 November, when the battle had been raging for ten days or so.

It was a success, albeit purchased at high cost : more than one fifth of all the Commonwealth deaths in the battle were attributable to the period 2-4 November.

Dad was a participant in this action, and always claimed with some pride that the " we " were the fellas that captured the German General Von Toma.

Monty was not Churchill's first choice to command : Gott had been the initial choice, bu he died in horrific circumstances when his plane was intercepted by German fighters. He burned to death.

Rommel had been on sick leave when the Battle of El Alamein had started ; he rushed back and tried to salvage the situation and one has to wonder how he perceived things. I'll take a look at his papers and see.

Regards, Phil


---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

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Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 9:22:28 AM
After an 800 artillery barrage-OPeration Lightfoot commenced.The Royal Engineers set about clearing mines. Their task was very dangerous as one mine was inter-connected with others via wires and if one mines was set off, many others could be.

The stretch of cleared land for the tanks proved to be Montgomery’s Achilles heel. Just one non-moving tank could hold up all the tanks that were behind it.

The ensuing traffic jams made the tanks easy targets for the German gunners using the feared 88mm gun in an anti tank role. The plan to get the tanks through in one night failed. The infantry had also not got as far as Montgomery had planned. They had to dig in.

The second night of the attack was also unsuccessful. ‘Monty’ blamed his chief of tanks, Lumsden. He was given a simple ultimatum – move forward – or be replaced by someone more energetic.

But the rate of attrition of the Allied tank forces was taking its toll. Operation Lightfoot was called off and Montgomery, not Lumsden, withdrew his tanks. When he received the news, Churchill was furious as he believed that Montgomery was letting victory go.But he had not
However, Rommel and the Afrika Korps had also been suffering. He only had 300 tanks left to the Allies 900+.

‘Monty’ next planned to make a move to the Mediterranean. Australian units attacked the Germans by the Mediterranean and Rommel had to move his tanks north to cover this. The Australians took many casualties but their attack was to change the course of the battle.Then Monty launched Operation Supercharge.which started with a seven-hour aerial bombardment focused on Tel el Aqqaqir and Sidi Abd el Rahman, followed by a four and a half hour barrage of 360 guns firing 15,000 shells.

The two assault brigades started their attack at 01:05 on 2 November and gained most of their objectives to schedule and with moderate losses.


Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 10:09:33 AM
Up to that point in time -the launch of Supercharge- Montgomery has not had it easy; but he had kept his nerve-he was after all- a soldier of some experience and self belief.The problems which had beset him- like the decimation of his armour in the lanes through the minefields-he had called Operation Lightfoot and replanned his next move-despite a livid Churchill- who had figured him wrongly.

I can well understand the sackings of Lumsden and Gatehouse-this was a time fraught with danger and he could well do without those subordinate commanders who wanted to chuck the towel in as soon as things got sticky.The battle was far from over and he had lost a lot of men and materiel; but that had not shaken his resolve -he was going to win this battle come "Hell or High Water"

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 10:10:28 AM
What's your take on Monty's generalship in the battle, Jim ?

Was he someone who brought tactical flare to the business of battle, or did he exemplify the more straightforward but equally important quality of " grip" : that is, the necessary firmness of resolve and control that renders command effective ?

There is a school of thought that there was a systematic recalcitrance in the Eigth Army, a kind of demarcation culture - a trade union mentality, if you like - which prevented armour, artillery and infantry acting in proper concert. Some insist that Monty's principal achievement was his willingness and ability to overcome this syndrome ; and that El Alamein was the demonstration of this.

There wasn't scope for much subtlety in this battle : it was head to head, full on frontal stuff in a battlefield that was confined by the sea on one flank and a salt swamp on the other. To win, Monty had to impose a ghastly task on an army that was in some sense rendered fragile by previous experience .

The trouble with my British boys he is supposed to have confided is that they are not born killers .

I think that this lament is very revealing.

Regards, Phil
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Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 10:40:43 AM
I think that I have already said this in my last post.I thought that Montgomery acquitted himself well- in this his first major battle- where held command. Despite the difficulties, Montgomery held his nerve. He pressed home the attrition of the enemy forces and launching a diversionary attack to draw in scarce Axis reserves was a mark of his ability.No I don't suppose the British soldier is a natural killer- certainly not with a bayonet

He then paused and regrouped before launching his final attack, code named Operation Supercharge, on the night of 1-2 November. After several more days of severe fighting which were not without risk- the British achieved a decisive breakthrough on 4th November and kept a going. Monty had beat the Desert Fox and he was full of himself.
The chagrin that he felt when his 8th Army were pinned down at the last hurdle at Enfidaville was palpable-I gather he wept in sheer frustration. The calumny he heaped on poor General Anderson (GOC 1st Army) was indeed shameful.

NB.
Quote:
Montgomery envisioned the battle as an attrition operation, similar to those fought in World War I and correctly predicted the length of the battle and the number of Allied casualties.

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.



Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/4/2017 12:36:13 PM
Casualties


Quote:
According to the official history of the Italian Army, Axis losses during the battle were 4,000 to 5,000 killed or missing, 7,000 to 8,000 wounded and 17,000 prisoners; during the retreat the losses rose to 9,000 killed or missing, 15,000 wounded and 35,000 prisoners.

According to the writings of General Giuseppe Rizzo, total Axis casualties included 25,000 men killed or wounded (including 5,920 Italians killed) and 30,000 prisoners (20,000 Italians and 10,724 Germans), as well as 510 tanks and 2,000 field guns, anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft guns. Axis tank losses were c. 500; on 4 November, only 36 German tanks were left out of the 249 at the beginning of the battle.

About half of the 278 Italian tanks had been lost and most of the remainder were knocked out on the next day by the 7th Armoured Division. About 254 Axis guns were lost, along with 64 German and 20 Italian aircraft.

The Eighth Army had 13,560 casualties, of whom 2,350 men had been killed, 8,950 wounded and 2,260 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 332–500 tanks, although by the end of the battle, 300 had already been repaired.[136] The artillery lost 111 guns and the DAF lost 77 British and 20 American aircraft.
Wikipedia

Regards

Jim
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/5/2017 12:22:39 PM
Postscript--An Opinion

With Bernard Montgomery what you saw- was what you got; there was not the slightest pretence to the man.

He spoke his mind, always forcefully and with little thought of whether or not it was politically correct.

Monty spoke as a soldier whose only concern in war was winning, a point lost on some military historians.

Such outspokenness earned him a great many enemies.

What separated Monty from the rest was that he was not only willing to accept the slings and arrows that come with his candour- but for the most part – he simply refused to back down when he believed he was right which ironically- was most of the time.

Regards

Jim
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/6/2017 2:43:11 AM
That's a good postscript, Jim.

You allude to what differentiated Monty from the rest .

Are you doing justice to the rest ?

Take Auchinlek, for example , the man who stabilised the El Alamein line in the first place.

He had attributes of good generalship, too, and deserves a lot of credit.

Monty was provided with resources that had not been available to the Auk.

Cometh the Hour, cometh the man......in this case, was it the hour, rather than the man, that made the big difference ?

Regards, Phil
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/6/2017 3:39:45 AM
As is known Monty's rise to fame was fortuitous -first choice (Churchill's) Gott was killed en route- thus it was Alanbrooke's choice Montgomery who got the the post. Auchinlech was a perfectly good commander- BUT Just not quick enough for the anxious Churchill=so he had to go.

Monty had no hand in his ultimate selection; but he did build on the Auk's good preparation at Alam el Halfa-and it was he who was in command of the Eighth Army, and it was a British victory that removed any chance of Rommel reaching Alexandria or the Suez Canal and set the scene for a "coup de grace" at El Alamein. This victory by the British
set the scene for the beginning of the end for Axis in North Africa.

However-what if Monty had failed ??????!! AND THERE WERE TIMES WHEN HE WAS SEVERELY TESTED eg. LIGHTFOOT

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/6/2017 6:33:51 AM
Monty was a choreographic general : everything had to be set up , properly marshalled and deployed .

What's wrong with that ?

That's how it should be....here comes the BUT :

How would he have fared dealing with the sudden shock of encounter battle, when things develop on a wing and a prayer ?

He criticised Lee for failing to excercise proper " grip " at Gettysburg. I couldn't help feeling a surge of resentment when I read that.

Had Monty been exposed to the test of battle that faced Lee, outnumbered and having to cope with crisis after crisis, without the luxury of preparation and dealing with battle coming at him at point blank range, I suspect he might have been out of his depth.

Regards , Phil

---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/6/2017 7:17:33 AM
He was completely stumped at Enfidaville in 1943-when he broke down in tears.Completely wrong about Arnhem and took no responsibility for this abject failure. He was wobbly at Falaise but blamed the Canadians and the Scheldt- where he again- quite wrongly- placed the blame on the Canadians-Ike ticked him off about his failure to act.

BUT he did come to rescue in the German Ardennes Offensive of December 1944; and then blew it by trumpeting his action to the press- to the absolute chagrin of the Americans-they shunned him thereafter. HE WAS INDEED FLAWED .

Regards

Jim
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redcoat
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/22/2017 11:34:26 PM

Quote:
Monty was a choreographic general : everything had to be set up , properly marshalled and deployed .

What's wrong with that ?

That's how it should be....here comes the BUT :

How would he have fared dealing with the sudden shock of encounter battle, when things develop on a wing and a prayer ?

Had Monty been exposed to the test of battle that faced Lee, outnumbered and having to cope with crisis after crisis, without the luxury of preparation and dealing with battle coming at him at point blank range, I suspect he might have been out of his depth
His handling of the 3rd Division during the retreat to Dunkirk suggests otherwise.

redcoat
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942-Questioned
Posted on: 10/22/2017 11:47:58 PM

Quote:

The Allies lost nearly 500 tanks
Not quite. The actual number of tanks lost if we use the same method as the Germans did, which was to only count those tanks totally destroyed, lost to the enemy, or requiring long term rebuild at a base depot was around 150. The 500 figure includes tanks that were repaired within 24 hours.

redcoat
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 12:04:09 AM

Quote:
Auchinlech was a perfectly good commander-
No he wasn't.
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gazala.

redcoat
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 12:08:31 AM

Quote:
Auchinlech was a perfectly good commander-

As for the first battle of El Alamein, he suffered a similar number of casualties as Monty did in the Second battle merely to hold Rommel, let alone totally rout his army as Monty did.
The Auk was an officer and gentlemen, trouble was he couldn't get his armour and infantry to fight as a team and he kept splitting up his artillery into penny packets diluting their effectiveness.

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 3:35:30 AM
It is a great pity redcoat- that you were unavailable during the running of this thread -you comments would have enriched it's flow--too late the hero I'm afraid in this case.However your comments are noted; but unfortunately cannot be woven into the thread

Regards

Jim
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BWilson

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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 4:28:15 AM
 Fear not, Jim. Good weaves are nice but hardly necessary. Look at the tattered fabric of society recently!

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

redcoat
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 5:06:03 AM

Quote:
It is a great pity redcoat- that you were unavailable during the running of this thread -you comments would have enriched it's flow--too late the hero I'm afraid in this case.However your comments are noted; but unfortunately cannot be woven into the thread

Regards

Jim
--anemone
Thank you for your opinion, but its never too late to dispel nonsense.
Strangely enough the reason I couldn't post was because I was holidaying in Egypt last week, but unfortunately while I was able to persuade Mrs Redcoat to visit Luxor and the pyramids in Cairo, the battlefield at El Alamein was pushing it too much.

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 5:06:19 AM
Twas not fear my friend; but disappointment that the comments were not more timely-redcoat makes well thought out replies- but late.I have in the past asked him yo work with me, but he seeming;y declined,

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 7:39:41 AM
Today of all days, being the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second Battle of El Alamein, we could do with the most expertise that MHO has to offer.

I recently downloaded a YouTube film in Italian, hoping to kill two birds with one stone : learn some of the language and appreciate how this battle looked form the other side of the hill.

El Alamein : A linha de fogo


I was captivated by what I've seen, but couldn't help thinking that those bastards were trying to kill my dad !

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Lightning
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 7:59:40 AM
My great-uncle Robert was killed in action just prior to El Alamein; aged 22/23, a gunner in the Royal Artillery.

My gran told me that before the war he worked for a baker as a delivery man; he used to 'lose' bread, cakes and pastries when on deliveries, namely by giving them out to the hungry weans of the south side of Glasgow who used to follow his van about. A loving kind lad, he died by result of direct counter-battery fire. He was sadly missed by all who knew him.

The battle has a special interest for me because of this. To me, El Alamein showed that the British Army was still able to fight a successful offensive battle; the number tragic retreats or last stands after this thankfully began to dry up.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 8:16:30 AM
Many thanks Colin for sharing your family story with us.KIA is always a a shocking tragedy.

PS Give us a look on the Verdun thread-always open to comments and viewpoints

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 10:43:52 AM
Hi Jim,

My rate of posting has slowed recently due to other projects, but rest assured I'm still reading as many threads as I can and enjoying the debates within. I'll try to chip in wherever I can.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

anemone
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/23/2017 11:04:36 AM
Looking forward to some new blood-this is not a rerun of Verdun per se rather the French successful counter offensive -which was a decider/

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/24/2017 10:21:10 AM
An opportune moment for me to make a move worthy of the Desert Fox himself 😜, and suggest that we amalgamate Verdun and El Alamein , and discuss Bir Hakeim !

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

scoucer
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Re: Battle of El Alamein -23 Oct.--7 Nov. 1942
Posted on: 10/28/2017 2:34:48 PM

Quote:
NB.Noted historian Anthony Beevor said: "I believe he had high functioning Aspergers Syndrome. Montgomery was always very, very strange in his behaviour. He had no idea how people would react to him.


Regards Jim--anemone


So the overblown journalist Mr. Beevor is proving that not only is he a lousy historian but a lousy psychologist as well

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

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