El Alamein

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tigre
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Lightfoot - Oct 1942 (2º part)

Post by tigre » 22 Mar 2006 17:24

Execution.

Despite Montgomery’s optimism, the actual execution of Lighfoot was far from an easy task.
“Some of the most acute problems to be solved for a night attack to a great-depth were to ensure that, despite casualties to key personnel the attack would be continued in the right direction, at the right pace and for the right distance, that information of progress would get back (not only to keep the formation and army commanders in the picture, but also to enable AT guns, tanks, ammunition and consolidation stores to be sent forward at the right time) and that vehicles and men to come forward later would get to the right place.”3

The 30 Corps infantry attacks had mixed results. Both Australian and New Zealand (NZ) attacks proceeded almost on schedule, with infantrymen arriving on their final objective line by almut midnight. The 51st Highland Division and South African Division were not able to achieve their objectives by dawn. In all four divisions, the supporting vehicles and tanks experienced significant delays because of mineclearing operations, bypassed enemy positions, poor navigation and unclear command and control procedures. This resulting backup of vehicles had dire effects on the 10 Corps’ formations.

The 1st Armored Division ( 1st AD) began its move from its rearward assembly area about 1930, to be refueled along the Springbok road well behind the British minefield. This road march was slowed significantly by poor visibility, caused by excessive dust, and the resulting accidents.
Yet by midnight, the lead elements of the 1st AD’s minefield task force were passing through the British minefield. On one lane, the task force was held up at the first enemy minefield until 0400, even though the minefield had been gapped by 0100. Delays were caused by enemy fires and mines. “By this time the whole area was enveloped in dust, there were masses of vehicles all over the place and the marking of the routes and gaps was very hard to see.”4 Elements of the 2d Armored Brigade did not reach the rear of the forward infantry elements until daylight.

As they attempted to move forward, they were hit by effective AT fire and were unable to disperse because of a new minefield. After rapidly losing more than 10 tanks, they withdrew behind the fiendly infantry defenses. The 1st AD units on the other two lanes were unable to link up with the attacking infantry division until several hours afier dawn.

The 10th AD experienced similar delays and problems as it moved forward of the start line. It was unable to reach the infantry positions until well after dawn. (The NZ infantry had been there since 2300.) As one tank regiment attempted to push forward of these infantrymen, German AT fire, artillery and mines immediately destroyed 16 tanks.

By (09:00 on 24 October, the 10 Corps attacks had been effectively stopped. The armored divisions were unable to get forward of the ridge and unable to get out of column into a combat formation to focus enough combat power to destroy the German defenses. The lack of a British combined arms capability made these German positions almost invulnerable to attack. Engineers could not survive forward of the ridge to clear enough lanes to mass the tanks for a charge forward.

Massed artillery was unavailable, being stuck in the long columns as far back as the rear assembly areas.
The congestion in the lanes was so bad that loth ADs second unit in the order of march, the 24th Armored Brigade, had reached only the entrance to the first British minefield at dawn. The final combat element, the 133d Lorried Infantry Brigade, was still in its initial rear assembly areas. Division troops, artillery supporting both 10 and 30 corps’attachments, NZ and l0th AD support vehicles, and broken vehicles sat bumper to bumper in the clogged lanes. Most of 30 Corps’ supporting AT guns, mortars and machineguns failed to arrive in time to be sited and dug in prior to daylight.
Daylight brought a universal desire to disperse to lessen the vulnerability to German air or artillery.
This dispersal in the restricted lanes created absolute chaos. Casualties were produced as vehicles moved into uncleared minefield or bumped into bypassed German defenders. The 10th AD dispersal “. . . had to be superimposed upon the dispersal on the tail of the NZ division and, more crucially, across the lines of communication and supply along which the NZ administration services were frantically trying to get food, water, ammunition and reinforcements to the heroic companies holding the forward and most exposed positions reached by the main assault.”5

Artillery units attempted to disperse to support the forward units, resulting in mine losses and confusion.
The forward combat area was just as clogged as the rearward routes. In the NZ sector, six NZ infantry battalions, two armored brigades and supporting vehicles were jammed along Miteirya Ridge.
“Dispersion as far as it was possible at all was a hazardous business. . . . The congestion was appalling and the confusion considerable. The whole area looked like a badly organized car park at an immense race meeting held in a dust bowl.”6

Dust, smoke and artillery fire added to the control problems. Along Miteirya Ridge, the NZ infantry laid out barbed wire and stakes to simulate minefield to keep friendly tanks from overrunning their foxholes and positions.
Montgomery ordered a resumption of 10 Corps’ attack the evening of 24 October to get his armored force through the Axis defense.
However, this attack also failed. The armored units were unable to get enough combat power deployed forward to break through these defenses.
Montgomery was forced to halt this failed operation and focus his efforts elsewhere.

Battle Summary follows (last part). Cheers. Tigre.
Last edited by tigre on 23 Mar 2006 11:21, edited 2 times in total.

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Lightfoot - Oct 1942 (last part)

Post by tigre » 22 Mar 2006 17:33

Battle Summary.

Lightfoot failed for a variety of reasons, the most significant being the failure of the passage operation. The British forces were never able to master the activities required to clear the dispersal area at the end of the congested lanes out to direct-fire distances. This required a combined arms team that was highly proficient in the complex task of infantry armor teamwork. The reliance on a charge by tanks in columns at dug–in AT guns was a catastrophic error. It was identified as impossible prior to the battle by the armor commanders. Yet, they still tried to bull their way through these AT positions at a terrible cost.

In the lanes forward of the infantry positions and at their exit points, the British tanks were outnumbered and outgunned.
The intermingling of six divisions and two corps created an immense control problem that was never really resolved on the battlefield. As one historian claimed:
“The real cause of the breakdown lay in Montgomery’s own plan, whereby three armored divisions were asked to debouch in the face of antitank guns from nine cleared lanes, each only the width of a single tank through the German minefield and whereby the armored corps was superimposed in the same sector as the infantry corps which was to win the initial bridgeheads.”7

“With’ two different corps who were not on the best of terms anyway both trying to carry out the same task in the same area, it was chaotic.”8
Montgomery had seriously underestimated both the dificulty of the passage operation and the time required. “The essence of the operation was the mass breakout of the armor, formed up, organized and under unified control on the ground beyond the infmtry’s objective. It is doubtful whether by the employment and in the conditions met that this could have been achieved in the hours of darkness available.”9

The draft 30 Corps after-action report, dated 25 November 1942, claimed that”. . . an outstanding lesson of these operations is that the depth and frontage of the advance ordered for the night of 23/24 October and in one or two other instances was in fact too great against the opposition to be expected.” 10

Regards. Tigre.

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Post by fredleander » 13 May 2006 22:16

The above articles suggest that Monty's plan - and execution - at El Alamein, was not a success. That must surely be a wrong conclusion. Part of Monty's plan was exactly to have margins (reserves) for modifications as the battle developed. He was also well aware of the limitations of his newly established armoured corps - and therefore assigned them a less ambitious role, namely to go on the defensive after the breakthrough, thereafter to take the offensive. Which they did. Also, it can hardly be taken as a negative that he saw to to have superior numbers, or to use artillery extensively, before he sent his troops into the attack.

That his army was able to follow up its success also indicates that he did not spend his resources extensively.

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The Battle of El Alamein traced.

Post by tigre » 14 May 2006 04:23

Hello folks; I'll try to post here this battle recounted by several sources, mainly taking in account the protagonists' memoirs. Be patients with me.

The British side. (Montgomery, De Guingand)

The Plan of Attack.

The full moon was essential since there were not exposed flanks and we must breakthrough the enemy mine fields and crush the front during the night. The sooner we could carry out the offensive was the night from 23 to 24 october 1942.

The plan had to deal with three difficulties:

- to breach the enemy positions.
- to send an armoured corps through the breach
- to destroy the enemy positions.

Consecuently the idea was, in first place, to destroy metodically the enemy infantry divisions deployed over the defensive position. To do so the enemy armoured forces would be checked by our own armoured forces avoiding counterattacks while our assaults troops were attacking the enemy infantry.

The order issued on october 6, was as following: Three attacks carried out simultaneously.

In the north, main attack, the XXX Corps with four division should breach two corridors through the mine fields. The X Corps would advance through them.

In the south, the XIII Corps would carry out two attacks; one against Himeimat and the ridge of Taqa, another against the areas of Gabel Klakh and Qaret el Khadim. These attacks would deceive the enemy avoiding the use of its reserves against the XXX Corps.

Both Corps (XXX and XIII) should destroy the enemy deployed on the advance positions (Main line of resistance) when breaching it.

The X Corps should deploy without interrupt the operation of the XXX Corps and its final objective would be the enemy armour.

The attack would be started during the night with full moon.

The screen plan.

Was made ready during the months of august and september on the basis of maintain constantly the vehicles density all over the operations area (making fake vehicles Mainly). The depots were concealed carefully with camouflage and the stuff were piled up looking like vehicles when them were seen from the air. Also at the end of september a fake oil pipeline was constructed running towards the south. Fake depots and unloading terminals were built (mainly in the south). The 8th Armoured division HQ was used to broadcast fake messages to deceive the enemy with regard to the movement of the armoured forces toward south. An amphibious demonstration was planned behind the enemy lines, it would take place three hours after the real operation has been launched.

On 19 and 20 october Montgomery explained the Operation “Lightfoot” to all the seniors officers of the XXX, XIII and X Corps, up to Lt Colonel included.

The lower ranks soldiers knew about it on 21 and 22 october so from then onwards the leaves were forbidden.

The artillery plan was made ready very carefuly. We could count with a powerful artillery. The numbers of guns and tanks gathered by the 8th Army were as follows:

25 lbs : 832 guns.
4,5 : 32 guns.
5,5 : 20 guns.
6 lbs : 753 guns (antitank).
2 lbs . 105 guns (antitank).
2 lbs : 416 guns (antitank).
105 mm: 24 guns.

Shermans: 267 tanks.
Grants : 128 tanks.
Stewarts : 128 tanks.
Crusaders: 105 tanks (6 lbs.).
Crusaders: 255 tanks (2 lbs).
Crusaders: 35 tanks (direct support).
Valentines: 196 tanks.

The aerial plan was very good. Coningham had been exhausting the enemy's aerial power. We could count with:

Fighters: 500 planes.
Bombers: 200 planes.

Sources: “El Alamein to the River Sangro”. Mariscal de Campo Vizconde B. L. Montgomery. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Noviembre 1949.
“Operación Victoria”. Major general sir F. De Guingand. Tomo I. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Junio 1948.

The german side. (Rommel, Westphal, Esebeck).

The Plan of defense.

The El Alamein line ran from the cost to the Quattara deep, which was impassable by vehicles. The line’s situation avoided the surprise whenever it was firmly defended by the infantry.

We could not based our defense upon mobile operations because the following:

Our own motorized elements could not match those of the enemy.

The RAF had local air superiority; this hampered the tactical use of motorized formations.

We were almost run out of fuel. This handicaped a mobile defensive action.

So we should establish our defense by means of a fortified line strongly defended by the infantry. It means the English should try the breakthrough.

We should avoid at all cost the break of our front due to we could not carried out a mobile warfare.

We reached then the following conclusions:

To stand fast at all cost.
Whenever the line was piercing we should carry out a counterattack inmediately in order to avoid any irruption or at least to check it.

The defensive position was disposed as follows:

The mine fields in front of the no man’s land were supported by advanced posts, the main line of resistance was placed 1000 or 2000 meters to the west and was about 200 or 300 meters thick. The Pz divisions were located behind in order to furnish support with its guns and to counterattacks any piercing.

Roughly 500.000 mines were placed including british ones. The infantry was placed in all-round defensive positions; the Italians and germans troops were intercalated. Dogs were used in the advanced posts as early warning. Yet the situation was unfavourable for us.

The numbers of the Pz Armee Afrika were:

15. Pz D: 3.940 men.
21. Pz D: 3.972 men.
90. Le D: 2.827 men.
164 LeD: 6.343 men.
FJ Br : 3.376 men (Br Ramcke).
Others : 2.331 men (artillery formations, etc.)
19 LwD: 4.384 men (antiaircraft artillery).

Total: 24.173 men (fighting men).

Pz: 230 tanks
XX Italian Corps: 300 tanks.
7 days of fuel and 3,8 days of ammunition.
Over the 12.194 vehicles (including motorbikes) of the AK, 4.081 were taken from the enemy and over the 3.189 Italians vehicles, 113 were english.

Materiel utilized in front of the 164 Le D.

10.300 antitank mines.
11.400 antipersonnel mines.
The ratio was one mine per meter of front.
6.000 rolls of barbed wire per company to build the side and fore wire fences.
There were 10 mines observed each 100 meters of front.

Sources: “Memorias del Mariscal Rommel”. Tomo II. B.H. Lidell Hart. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Marzo 1955.
“Rommel y el Afrika Korps”. H.G. von Esebeck. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Abril 1955.
“El Ejército Alemán bajo Hitler”. S. Westphal. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Marzo 1953.

To follow the attack 23 oct 1942. Regards. tigre.
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El Alamein

Post by UMachine » 19 May 2006 01:28

Was this,or was this not the first time that artillery,tanks,and the air force were united in battle?

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Post by JonS » 19 May 2006 01:37

not. By about 15 years.

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 19 May 2006 01:50

JonS wrote:not. By about 15 years.
Um, wanna make that 24 years?

Michael

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Post by Kingfish » 19 May 2006 02:04

Perhaps he means the Spanish Civil war?

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Post by Full Monty » 19 May 2006 02:15

One could argue that the degree of cooperation achieved between Montgomery and Coningham was unparallelled by anything that had come before. But the 1918 campaign in France, especially the British under Haig, established a model for all other armies to work from. :D

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Post by JonS » 19 May 2006 02:31

Michael Emrys wrote:
JonS wrote:not. By about 15 years.
Um, wanna make that 24 years?

Michael
Oops.

Meh, what's 10 years here or there, ... but yeah, make that about 25 years - quarter of a century.

As an aside, and to try and scramble a recovery, I'm currently reading The Generals War, about the 1990/91 Gulf War. Interesting book, and I'm enjoying reading it. Anyway, the book is liberally sprinkled with short bios on the various key players, almost all of which refer to how many tours they served in Vietnam. As I was reading these, it dawned on me that the 1990/91 Gulf war is about (roughly) as far removed from us in time as the Vietnam War was from those guys then.

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El Alamein

Post by UMachine » 20 May 2006 03:52

I've read that this was considered the first.Is it possible that more advanced comm allowed more directed attacks?This was 42,the difference 25 years.Mobile FM became viable in the 30's,was this used?

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The Battle of El Alamein traced.

Post by tigre » 21 May 2006 20:01

Hello folks. "Lightfoot".

The Battle. “Lightfoot” launched. 23 - 24 october 1942.

The British side.

The night of october 23 1942 was clear and quiet. At 21:40 hours with full moon the 8 Army’s artillery opened fire against the enemy’s batteries already detected. At 22:00 hours the artillery fire switched from counter-battery fire to the supporting concentrations for the infantry's advance and the attack of the XIII and XXX Corps went under way.

In the north the XXX Corps’ four division, from north to south 9. ID (australian) - 51. ID (scotish) - 2. ID (New zealand) with the 9. Armoured Brigade and 1. ID (South African) jumped out simultaneously, the front stretched out for about 10 to 12 kilometers from Tel Eisa in the north to Miteiriya hill in the south. The 9. ID (Australian) and the 51. ID, with the task of breach the northern corridor, carried out the assault towards the west from its positions located to the north of Miteiriya hill. The New Zealand and South African divisions attacked south-southwest towards the hill itself in order to establish the southern corridor. The 4. ID (indian) carried out one strong attack against the enemy positions located in the western part of Ruweisat hill. In the north end one australian brigade (24. Brigade) carried out one diversionary attack between the sea and Tel el Eisa against the german IR 125. At 3 a.m. the diversion ceased, and that it was very successful was clear at the time from the strong enemy reaction.

The hard fight lasted all night but by 05:30 hours almost the final objectives were reached. Two corridors were opened and the support guns were advancing through them. Thus at dawn 9. ID (Australian) had one battalion in good strength on the objective and another weakened battalion slightly to the left rear. Three battalions were on the first objective in good order, ready to operate to north or west and, as Axis retaliation was relatively slight in the first few hours of daylight, the remaining Valentines and support weapons were able to consolidate the sector in strength. The position held by 7. Black Watch was the only portion of the final objective truly gained and held by 51 ID by dawn on the 24th; it later became apparent that the Highland Division was not within 1000 yards of the final objective except on the extreme left. In the New Zealand sector, therefore, at dawn on the 24th the infantry was practically on its objective, with its support weapons well enough organised to deal with an immediate counter-attack. By dawn, therefore, 1. ID (South African), in spite of initial setbacks, was well established on the final objective except on the right hand against the New Zealand Division.

The 1. AD and 10. AD (X Corps) moved forward at 02:00 hours (24 october 1942) toward the northern and southern corridor respectively; but the 1. AD was delayed due to the strong enemy resistance had stopped the 51. ID so at dawn on the 24th, therefore, 1 AD’s three columns had not got beyond the infantry's intermediate objective, the Red line. When the 10. AD reached the Miteiriya hill its advance was stopped by enemy anti tank fire. The 9. Armoured Brigade (2. New Zealand Division) also was halted in front of the hill.

To the south in the sector of the XIII Corps, the 7. AD and the 44. ID tried to open two gaps in the minefields located north of Himeimat but the attempt to breach the western minefield failed and the troops of the XIII Corps cleaned up the enemy’s posts between both minefields (eastern and western) during all day long of october 24. The 1. French Brigade attacked the Hunter’s plateau, reaching the objective but they were rejected by a german couter attack (Kampfgruppe Kiel) because its support guns were delayed due to the soft sand.

The situation of the Eighth Army as day dawned on the 24th was that, in the main area of operations, the infantry of XXX Corps had gained most of the desired objectives, but the armour had not yet broken out as planned, while the subsidiary action by XIII Corps had done little more than keep the enemy on the southern sector engaged and apprehensive of further assaults.

The first estimates of casualties received at Army Headquarters indicated that the Australian and South African divisions had each lost about 350 men, of whom about forty were known killed, the rest wounded or missing. The New Zealand estimated total was slightly higher, 420 wounded or missing and 41 killed, while the Highland Division offered a rough total of 1000, but this probably included several of the isolated groups and stragglers out of touch with their units. In 10 Corps, casualties were too light to have any effect on the armour's efficiency, and though some thirty to forty tanks were out of action through enemy fire, mines or mechanical troubles, most of these were easily recoverable and repairable. Casualties in 13 Corps, excluding the French, were under 400, almost equally shared by the armour and infantry, and of the total 71 were known killed and 50 reported missing.

On october 24 between 21:30 hours and 22:00 hours the 8. Army’s Commander (Montgomery) went to sleep but the CoS (De Guingand) stayed at the CP following the actions.

Sources: “El Alamein to the River Sangro”. Mariscal de Campo Vizconde B. L. Montgomery. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Noviembre 1949.
“Operación Victoria”. Major general sir F. De Guingand. Tomo I. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Junio 1948.
"El 9. Regimiento Real de Lanceros de la Reina, 1936-1945". Joan Bright. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires.
http://www.nzetc.org/etexts/WH2Alam/index.html

The German side.

The day of 23 october 1942 was one day more in the front at El Alamein but at 21:40 hours an artillery barrage smashed the line, specially in the north; Communications with the front-line positions and for some distance to the rear were badly disrupted by the shelling, and though some of the German battalions seem to have passed news back, no reliable information was received of the Italian front-line positions. Under the strong impact of that artillery fire parts of the Italian 62 IR/ Trento ID, left the line and started to retreat. At 01:00 hours (24 october 1942) the british troops rolled up our advance posts and broken in the main line of resistance breaching a gap of roughly 10 kilometers; sufficient information had come in during the night for Panzer Army headquarters to estimate that a broad penetration had been made in Mine-boxes J and L (which, with K to their south, covered the assault front of XXX Corps). Soon the enemy swept the remnants of the italian 62 IR and also two german battalions of the LeD 164 under Major-General Lungershausen (II. and III./IR 382, meanwhile the IR 433 appear to have fallen back in some sort of order) before they were halted at 02:00 hours in front of the III./Pz Gr 115 (former MG 2) by the II./Pz Reg 8 (Hauptmann Siemens) with the support of the Pz artillerie Reg 33. At dawn the I./Pz Reg 8 (Hauptmann stiefelmeyer) counter attacked the new zealanders before the minefield L and destroyed 27 tanks, 35 more blew up in the minefield.

In the CP, nevertheless, General Stumme listening that hurricane of fire, was convinced that a major offensive had commenced, he felt constrained to order the own artillery to shell the british concentrations of troops due to the shortage of ammunition. At dawn 24 october 1942, General Stumme had received only a few reports and the situation was still dark so he decided to move to the front. The CoS, Colonel Westphal, tried to get some escort to him, but general Stumme rejected that and departed with his driver and Colonel Buechting toward the CP of the German Le D 90 in the area of El Daba, never was seen alive again. On 24 october 1942 by afternoon, Marshal Keitel called Rommel (he was at Semmering) and told him that the british were attacking at El Alamein and Stumme was MIA; also asked if he could come back to Africa again in order to reasume the command and the answer was yes. By night (24 october) called Hitler himself and told Rommel that Stumme was MIA yet and asked again about to come back to Africa, the answer was affirmative again.

Sources: “Memorias del Mariscal Rommel”. Tomo II. B.H. Lidell Hart. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Marzo 1955.
“Rommel y el Afrika Korps”. H.G. von Esebeck. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Abril 1955.
“El Ejército Alemán bajo Hitler”. S. Westphal. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Marzo 1953.
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... er/PR8.htm

Cheers. Tigre.

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The Battle of El Alamein traced.

Post by tigre » 11 Jun 2006 06:09

Hello to all.

The actions on 25 october.

The British side.

At dusk the rearward side of Miteiriya Ridge, already very crowded, became a scene of near confusion; men and vehicles filled almost every available yard of space between the minefields and at times completely blocked movement through the minefield gaps behind the front. During the night (24-25 october) the operation in the southern corridor got bogged down.

At 02:00 was obvious that the situation in the corridor south near the Miteiriya hill was not satisfactory so the CoS (De Guingand) summoned both the XXX Corps (Leese) and X Corps (Lumsden) to attent the Army headquarters at 3.30 hours for a conference. The Chief of Staff felt that this was one of the exceptions to the strict rule that the Army Commander's sleep was not to be disturbed woke Montgomery and put him in the picture. Montgomery listened the Corps commanders, talked by phone with the 10. AD’s commander (Gatehouse) and castigate him for leading his division from the rear. Thereafter at 04:00 hours (25 october) ordered the formations to advance at all cost. At 08:00 hours both Armoured brigades of the 10. AD had advanced beyond the enemy main line of resistance and the contact with the 1. AD was established. The 9. Armoured Brigade (2 NZ D) already surpassed the corridor and was advancing toward southeast according to the plan. Thus, at dawn on 25 October, there were seven regiments of tanks out in front of the New Zealand positions. On the right were 41 Royal Tanks which reported that other tanks, believed to be those of 2 Armoured Brigade, were in sight some two miles to the north. Next came 47 Royal Tanks, in visual contact with the squadrons of 8 and 9 Brigades further south.

At dawn on 25 october the Bays and the 9. Lancers moved forward but soon were checked by an antitank front established with great number of 88 guns. The Bays lost 6 tanks in six minutes and the 9. Royal Lancers 1 in the B squadron. Before we attacked again, the enemy attacked to us, but we (the Bays and 9. Royal Lancers) could drove back it with our crossing fire.
At dusk jumped off the 10. Husars, 7 shermans were lost, however the majority of the crews came back protected by smoke’s screen. As last effort in order to destroy the 88, the Gordon Highlanders and the Black Watch launched an assault against the hill but without success. (The Ninth Queen’s Royal Lancers, 1936-1945 by Joan Bright, OBE.)

During the day the German 15. Pz D launched several counterattacks, included one toward kidney hill with around 100 tanks but our own armoured formations were in position and repulsed all of them. Claims of tanks knocked out, all Italian, reached as high as twenty. German sources record that the attack was carried out by a tank battalion of Littorio Division aided by five German tanks, the Italians turning tail when their commander became a casualty.

In the XIII Corps’s area, the 44 ID renewed its efforts in order to breach the enemy minefield with success establishing a little bridgehead. The 4. Light Armoured brigade passed through it but came up against scattered mines laid all over the ground and antitank fire. During the day Montgomery authorized the XIII Corps to stop the attack in order to keep the 7. AD’s striking force.

On the 25 october, the 50. ID launched an attack in the Munassib’s area but soon was halted in front of the enemy strong fences and the antipersonnel mines.


The situation on 25 october was as follows:

Our own armoured forces were deployed in good positions in order to met the enemy tanks and inflict great casualties.

In the south the XIII Corps could keep perfectly its threat.

The Montgomery’s attention focussed now on supressing the enemy infantry located in the north. Was evident that the attack toward southeast with the 2. NZD would be a costly enterprise so around midday (meeting held at NZD HQ) the main effort was shifted toward the australian’s sector. Montgomery ordered now that the 9. ID (Australian) should attack toward the sea in order to ‘crumble’ the enemy infantry in the defences that lay between the northern flank and the sea; altogether to cover this operation the 1. AD now comprising 2 and 24 Brigades, was to take up positions to the west of the Australian area and, if possible, bring the enemy armour to battle and threaten the main lateral supply route of the Panzer Army along the Rahman Track.

Sources: “El Alamein to the River Sangro”. Mariscal de Campo Vizconde B. L. Montgomery. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Noviembre 1949.
“Operación Victoria”. Major general sir F. De Guingand. Tomo I. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Junio 1948.
"El 9. Regimiento Real de Lanceros de la Reina, 1936-1945". Joan Bright. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires.
http://www.nzetc.org/etexts/WH2Alam/index.html

The German side.

Rommel’s plane took off toward Rome on the morning of 25 october, at 11:00 hours landed at Rome’s airport and met General v. Rintelen Militar Attache with the Italian armed Forces who informed Rommel about the last events in Africa. He told Rommel that after a strong artillery barrage the enemy had taken the sector south of point 31, sweeping out several german and italian battalions; Stumme was MIA yet and the Army in Africa had only 3 days of fuel (only 300 kilometers per vehicle), the “Desert Fox” flew into a rage.

Rommel crossed the Mediterranean and arrived at General HQ at dusk on october 25.

Meanwhile at noon the General Stumme’s corpse has been found and taken to Derna; it would seem that while moving up to the front the vehicle was shot by enemy troops from the point 21. The Colonel Buechting was mortally wounded in his head and Corporal Wolf (the driver) turned the car back at great speed and General Stumme was thrown from it and left behind, he died from a heart attack.

General v. Thoma and Colonel Westphal informed about events, the fuel’s ration hindered any important movement allowing only local counterattacks. The 15. Pz D formations carried out several counterattacks during the 24 and 25 of october suffering great casualties in doing so due to artillery fire and aerial attacks. By dusk on 25 october only 31 out 119 tanks were serviceable. The Luftwaffe was unable to impede the RAF attacks.

Sources: “Memorias del Mariscal Rommel”. Tomo II. B.H. Lidell Hart. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Marzo 1955.
“Rommel y el Afrika Korps”. H.G. von Esebeck. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Abril 1955.
“El Ejército Alemán bajo Hitler”. S. Westphal. Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires. Marzo 1953.
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... er/PR8.htm

Regards. Tigre.

Jon G.
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Joined: 17 Feb 2004 01:12
Location: Europe

Post by Jon G. » 11 Jun 2006 08:38

Great posts, tigre. Maybe they don't invite so much by way of comment, but they are very interesting reads.

Keep them coming, by all means :)

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Kingfish
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Re: The Battle of El Alamein traced.

Post by Kingfish » 13 Jun 2006 14:30

tigre wrote: Shermans: 267 tanks.
Grants : 128 tanks.
Stewarts : 128 tanks.
Crusaders: 105 tanks (6 lbs.).
Crusaders: 255 tanks (2 lbs).
Crusaders: 35 tanks (direct support).
Valentines: 196 tanks.
There were also 6 modified Churchill Mk IIIs in a special squadron, which saw action near Kidney Ridge and the village of Tel el Aqqaqir. Look here:

http://www.geocities.com/vqpvqp/nih/Articles/7.html

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