Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The period from November 1941 to September 1942
Volume Three of the Official History (The Mediterranean and Middle East) covers the period of November 1941 until September 1942. The volume started with the Crusader battle and ended with the Battle of Alam el Halfa. At the beginning, General Auchinleck was forced to intervene in the battle and defeat Rommel's forces. At the end, he was no longer theater commander, being replaced by Harold Alexander, and the 8th Army commander was now Bernard Law Montgomery. The advantage of having Montgomery was that he knew how to win battles and how to find them in very static, very confined battle fields, such as was the situation at El Alamein. Montgomery closed out this volume with a victory, where his plans were based on those of Auchinleck, and where dug-in British tanks, mostly Grants, outfought the Germans. The pace of change in the Desert was very great by September 1942. A great deal of new equipment was arriving and there were fresh units and reinforcements arriving in time for the next battle. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.