Sunday, April 04, 2010

Back to the desert to El Alamein

As June 1942 ended, Rommel was intent on blitzing on t0 the Nile Delta. He hoped to keep the British on the run and not allow them to block his forward progress. General Auchinleck, for his part, was intent on setting up a blocking line at the narrow point of El Alamein. A few troops were already there and there were men streaming back from Mersa Matruh. Other troops were in transit from Iraq and Palestine, headed for El Alamein.

In the end, Auchinleck was successful and Rommel failed. Rommel's task was made more difficult by the lack of transport and the unpreparedness of the Axis transport organization. They had been promised a six week pause to recover after Tobruk fell, but that never happened. The leading Axis forces reached El Alamein about the same time as the forces retreating from Mersa Matruh. General Auchinleck planned to hold strong points, rather than establish a complete line. He hoped to "channel" the Axis forces into positions where they could be successfully engaged. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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