Saturday, December 12, 2009
The situation right before the 1st Battle of El Alamein
The navy had done a remarkable job, supplying the army at Mersa Matruh right up until the withdrawal took place. The situation rapidly shifted, as Rommel's intent was to roll over the British troops that were retreating to the east. That did not happen, first due to the core of the units remaining intact and the support of the air force and navy. The harbours at Sollum and Mersa Matruh were mined from the air on 23 June and 28 June 1942. The water storage facilities at Mersa Matruh were destroyed and the water was contaminated. The navy was prepared to do shore bombardment in support, as well, but the fighting took place too far inland for this to be useful. The action rapidly moved east to El Alamein, where Rommel was stopped from further advance. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.