El Alamein


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El Alamein:

see Alamein, ElAlamein, El
or Al Alamayn
, town, N Egypt, on the Mediterranean Sea. It was the site of a decisive British victory in World War II (see North Africa, campaigns in).
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, Egypt.

Alamein, El

(ĕl ăləmān`, älə–) or

Al Alamayn

(äl älămān`), town, N Egypt, on the Mediterranean Sea. It was the site of a decisive British victory in World War II (see North Africa, campaigns inNorth Africa, campaigns in,
series of military contests for control of North Africa during World War II. The desert war started in 1940 and for more than two years thereafter seesawed between NE Libya and NW Egypt.
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). In preparation for an attack by German Field Marshal Erwin RommelRommel, Erwin
, 1891–1944, German field marshal. He entered the army in 1910 and rose slowly through the ranks. In 1939, Adolf Hitler made him a general. Rommel brilliantly commanded an armored division in the attack (1940) on France. In Feb.
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 from Libya (begun May 26, 1942) the British forces retreated into Egypt and by June 30 had set up a defense line extending 35 mi (56 km) from Alamein S to the Qattara Depression, a badland which could neither be crossed nor flanked. If this position had fallen, the British might have lost Alexandria and been forced to withdraw from North Africa. In August, Gen. Bernard L. MontgomeryMontgomery, Bernard Law, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
, 1887–1976, British field marshal. Educated at Sandhurst, he entered the army in 1908 and served in World War I.
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 took command of the 8th Army. The British offensive opened on Oct. 23 with tremendous air and artillery bombardments. Montgomery's forces cleared the German minefields and on Nov. 1 and 2 burst through the German lines near the sea and forced a swift Axis retreat out of Egypt, across Libya, and into E Tunisia. Egypt was definitely saved, and with the landing on Nov. 7 and 8 of American troops in Algeria the Axis soon suffered (May, 1943) total defeat in North Africa. For his victory Montgomery was made a viscount with the title Montgomery of Alamein.

Bibliography

See studies by M. Carver (1962) and J. Latimer (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

El Alamein

 

(also al-Alamayn), a village in northern Egypt, 104 km west of Alexandria. During World War II, the British Eighth Army, commanded by General B. Montgomery, conducted an offensive operation west of El Alamein that lasted from Oct. 23 to Nov. 4, 1942. The offensive was carried out against the Italian-German tank army known as the Afrika Korps, which was under the command of the German field marshal E. Rommel.

Rommel’s troops were offering resistance west of El Alamein along a fortified line 60 km long. With 12 divisions that included two motorized divisions, four tank divisions, and one brigade, the Afrika Korps numbered approximately 80,000 men and had 540 tanks, 1,219 artillery pieces, and 350 aircraft. The Italian-German command was unable to reinforce this force during the operation, because the Soviet-German front was absorbing almost all reserves. The British Eighth Army, which consisted of ten divisions, including three tank divisions and four brigades, had been brought up to a strength of 230,000 men, 1,440 tanks, 2,311 artillery pieces, and 1,500 aircraft.

After beginning their attack late in the evening of October 23, the British forces attempted to break through along a 9-km sector of the front. With only 50 guns per kilometer of front, however, the British artillery was unable to neutralize the enemy’s fire system, and the British troops managed to drive only a small wedge into the enemy’s defenses during the night. After the British introduced three armored divisions they had been saving to exploit a tactical success, the enemy brought reserves up to the penetrated sector and launched a series of counterattacks. Consequently, the British troops penetrated to a depth of only 7 km by October 27, and the offensive was temporarily halted.

On November 2, the Eighth Army resumed its offensive under air and offshore-artillery support. Rommel attempted to thwart the Allied advance with counterstrikes from deep behind the lines. The attacks by the Italian-German tank divisions were repulsed, however, and Rommel’s forces sustained heavy losses.

The British Eighth Army advanced another 5 km in the direction of the main thrust, and, on the morning of November 4, mobile units achieved a breakthrough. Advancing rapidly to the west and the southwest, they threatened to outflank the Italian-German forces. Rommel began a hasty retreat to Libya.

The victory at El Alamein was a turning point for the Allies in the North African Campaigns of 1940–43. Having lost 55,000 men, 320 tanks, and approximately 1,000 guns, the Italian-German army was forced to abandon plans for offensive operations once and for all and to begin a general retreat.

REFERENCES

Istoriia vtoroi mirovoi voiny 1939–1945, vol. 6. Moscow, 1976.
Playfair, I.S.O., and C. J. C. Molony. The Mediterranean and Middle East, vol. 4. London, 1966.

N. M. CHEREPANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

El Alamein

“Desert Fox” outfoxed; Allies gained upper hand (1943). [Eur. Hist.: Fuller, III, 494–502]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

El Alamein

, Alamein
a village on the N coast of Egypt, about 112 km (70 miles) west of Alexandria: scene of a decisive Allied victory over the Axis forces (1942)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1942 during World War II, axis and allied forces met in a confrontation in El Alamein that eventually lead to the German surrender in North Africa in May 1943.
The New El Alamein City and The New Capital of Egypt projects will be among the event's highlights.
Victor was in his early 20s and serving with the 2nd Rifle Brigade at El Alamein, in Egypt, when he swore revenge after his best mate was sliced in half when his truck took a hit from a German shell.
As we got closer to the last battle of El Alamein, we would do sweeps over the El Alamein line, the 50 miles, and we'd go from one end to the other, and, as soon as you were attacked by [Messerschmitt Bf] 109s, you'd form what they called the "death circle." You'd go around, around.
Christopher Sandford's laudatory biographical article on Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery ("The Soldier's Soldier," Biography, October) concentrated mainly on Montgomery's victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. It does not mention that Britain's Eighth Army outnumbered the Axis forces almost two to one, 220,000 versus 115,000 troops, and 1,100 to 559 tanks.
Destiny In The Desert by Jonathan Dimbleby (Profile, PS25) Dimbleby makes the revelation that El Alamein - insignificant in the ultimate defeat of the Nazis - was a battle fought to preserve the Empire, putting forward a thought-provoking case that will open new debate for both amateur historians and academics.
El Alamein cost Rommel half his army of 100,000 men, killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
War veterans -- now primarily in the 90s -- gathered over the weekend at El Alamein, the battlefield in western Egypt, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the conflict the turned the tide in favor of the Allies during World War II.
In which country is the Second World War battleground of El Alamein?
Rommel and the Nazi leadership expected an easy time in El Alamein, to be followed by an unimpeded invasion of Palestine.
Bob Ainsworth told Legion magazine: "Unless you came all the way up with the Eighth Army from El Alamein and through Italy, you didn't do much more than lads are having to do now." Yesterday, a car bomb killed 17 people in Syria and three suicide bombers killed five police officers in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Trainer Sir Mark Prescott is the main provider of winners for Sanders, and the combination should click with Bee Eater and El Alamein.