Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The replacements: August 1942
After General Gott's death, the CIGS tapped Lt-General Bernard Law Montgomery to command the Eighth Army with General Alexander as his theater commander. Churchill's instructions to Alexander were to "take or destroy" the Axis army. All other activities were to be subordinated to that task. The policy was "no more retreats" and that the army would fight with the divisions kept intact. Given the static situation that the British found themselves in at the El Alamein line, General Montgomery was the man they needed to fight the coming battle. Montgomery was the master of the static battle on a fixed front. He was not the man to fight the fluid, mobile battle. The plan was to wait to fight until all the preparations were made, at least if Rommel permitted that to happen. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.