El Alamein in October 1972 is a small, quiet, dusty little outpost in the Egyptian desert -- significant only for its massive war cemeteries.
El Alamein in October 1972 is a small, quiet, dusty little outpost in the Egyptian desert -- significant only for its massive war cemeteries. There lie the graves of thousands of British, Allied, German and Italian soldiers killed in the fierce twelve-day battle, which was to mark the turning-point of the war in North Africa. In contrast to today's quiet stillness, El Alamein in October 1942 was a seething mass of battling armies. Britain's General Montgomery and Air Vice Marshal Cunningham fought the Axis army of German and Italian troops commanded by Field-Marshal Rommel. The British Eighth Army counter-attack began on October 23, after it had stood defensively at El Alamein against Rommel's lightning attack during his push towards Cairo. The Allied Desert Air Force backed up the Eight Army with the biggest air support operation ever mounted in the desert. The pattern for victory was set after twelve day's of uncertainty -- and by May the following year, it was all over. Allied troops entered Tunis and Bizerta; the Axis forces laid down their arms; and the Mediterranean was opened to Allied shipping and the eventual invasion of Sicily and Italy.