Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The start of the Second El Alamein battle

In the beginning, in the south, the 44th Division work to make gaps in the two British minefields left after Alam el Halfa. The gaps were needed to allow the 7th Armoured Division to move into the enemy rear areas. Montgomery's hope was that the 7th Armoured Division would keep the enemy armor in the south.

In the north, along the road, there was a large concentration of artillery. The area had sand dunes that helped to protect the artillery. The 1st South African Division was to attack the southern portion of the XXX Corps area. The 9th Australian Division had extra forces available to help the attack go well. They had a tank regiment, the 40th RTR and a British mortar company armed with 4.2in mortars. They also had extra artillery attached for a period of time. They had "six troops of field artillery, the 7th Medium Regiment, and a battery of the 64th Medium Regiment". Their task was to capture a large area of the enemy's defenses that was "about six thousand yards deep and 3,300 yards wide". The Australians needed to help X Corps move to the west and to form a line that faced north. The Australians needed to take an area that included land west of Point 23. They would probably not have seen any enemy positions east of that point. They Australians would have "fresh troops" available to cover the great distance that they had to cross.

The initial objectives would be taken by some battalions. New battalions would come forward and make the next attack. The first phase would use three battalions. The second phase would use two battalions. As companies took their objective, they would develop the area as a defensive position. The Australians would use two battalions of the 26th Brigade with the 20th Brigade on the left. The 24th Brigade would "continue to hold the existing front on the coast".

The 26th Brigade was provided with an ad hoc force that would protect the brigade's "open right flank". The ad hoc group had "a company of a machine gun battalion, a pioneer company, and a divisional cavalry squadron, and anti-tank guns.

26th Brigade would have to "form two fronts", one to the north, which would be long, and a front facing west. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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