Monday, October 21, 2019

The 9th Australian Division was very strong and Montgomery's plan was very detailed for the 2nd El Alamein battle

Montgomery's plan had a very detailed artillery fire plan for the 9th Australian Division. We are left with the impression, right or wrong, that the plan expected to advance the infantry units faster than would actually prove possible. The plan divided up the enemy territory into areas that could be fired on by artillery. The small areas were named so that they could be called out by name. They could call the guns to fire on the areas by name (such as Fremantle). When the call went out, several field regiments would start firing on the named area.

The engineers were to enable the infantry to pass through mined areas. Engineer companies were assigned to support the infantry brigades. The engineers worked prior to the attack to clear mines from the areas that lay east of the attack.

The Australians now had a much stronger anti-tank gun inventory. The 2/3rd Anti-Tank Regiment now was armed with as many as 64 6-pdr anti-tank guns. The 2pdr anti-tank guns were pushed down to arm the anti-tank platoons in the infantry battalions. There were also a large supply of "Hawkins anti-tank mines". The 9th Australian Division cavalry was now exceptionally well-equipped. They had Crusader tanks, some 15 in number, and five American Stuart tanks, as well as a collection of 52 carriers.

The infantry now had machine-gun platoons. The Australians were also equipped with Italian weapons.

The plan was laid out for the men prior to the battle. The plan was meant to achieve success and bring and end to the war in North Africa. The goal of the presentations was to inspire confidence in the men. The Corps commander had wanted to advance the start time to 9:30pm, but General Morshead wanted to keep it at 10pm, which it was kept. The men spent October 23 in slit trenches, bothered by the heat and flies.

The men were having trouble staying in place, waiting for the action. As the men waited for 10pm, they could hear the approach of the British bomber aircraft. Everyone was waiting for the battle to start. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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