1-27 July 1942: First Battle of El Alamein


Right: Field Marshal Erwin Rommel confers with his staff on the Libyan front, July 1942.

Rommel was fighting the British in the First Battle of El Alamein. Photograph licensed to War History Network 2022. The First Battle of El Alamein pitted German Field Marshal Erin Rommel "The Desert Fox" and Italy's Ettore Bastco against British Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck. The 28-day-long battle--regarded as a 'stalemate'--resulted in 10,000 casaulties for Germany and Italy, while the U.K. and Allies suffered more than 13,000 casualties.  


Left: British Valentine tank in North Africa, carrying British infantry.

The United Kingdom fought with 150,000 ground troops, 179 tanks to start the battle and more than 1100 later, over 1000 artillery pieces, and over 1500 planes. Photograph in the Public Domain.  |  Video: First Battle of El Alamein  |  Video: Rommel versus Montgomery: The Battle for North Africa


Above: EL ALAMEIN, EGYPT; 12 MAY, 2013 : Armoured tanks used during the desert campaign on display at the El Alamein War Museum in northern Egypt. Photograph licensed to War History Network 2022.

Suggested reading: Top titles on the Battle of El Alamein and the War in North Africa include Together We Stand: North Africa 1942-1943: Turning the Tide in the West by James Holland, published in 2006 (paperback) by HarperCollins Publishers. Rick Atkinson's first book in his three-volume trilogy, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 was published in 2002 by Henry Holt and Company. Atkinson's An Army at Dawn was "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize." In 2002, Viking published The Battle of Alamein: Turning Point, World War II, by John Bierman and Colin Smith. Finally, The Desert War: The Classic Trilogy on the North Africa Campaign 1940-43 written by Alan Moorehead was first published by Aurum Press in 2009.

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