Wednesday, June 09, 2010

2 July to 3 July 1942 at El Alamein

Even though the British armour, backed by their artillery and New Zealand and 7th Motor Brigade columns, were left in possession of the ground, Rommel considered the fight on 2 July to have been indecisive. Rommel intended to attack the next day, although the German tank strength was down to 26 runners. The Italian 10th Corps would hold El Mreir, while the 20th Corps would more forward in the south.

The British mounted heavy air attacks all night, including one where the attacking Wellington was destroyed by the blast on the ground. The Axis ground forces did not receive the force of the attack, however, which was directed against the supply dumps near the coast.

General Auchinleck also intended to continue with his current plan. He made a few adjustments, as he placed the 1st Armoured Division under 30th Corps command. He ordered the 13th Corps to turn the enemy flank and attack their rear. The British armour actually absorbed the Axis attack in place, fighting a sharp action near Ruweisat Ridge. As we heard, the Germans started 3 July with 26 tanks while the 4th Armoured Brigade had 18 Grants, 22 Stuarts, and 12 Valentines. The 22nd Armoured Brigade had a further 20 Grants, 28 Stuarts, and 8 mixed cruisers, probably mostly Crusaders. The Official History, in Vol.III., upon which this account is based, says that at the end of the tank battle, the German troops were at the breaking point.

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