Battle of Alamein

Friday, 23 October, 1942 - Wednesday, 4 November, 1942

At 2140 hours on 23 October 1942, a 15-minute artillery barrage opened the Allied attack against the German and Italian (Axis) forces in western Egypt. It was the beginning of the (Second) Battle of El Alamein and at 2200 hours, General Montgomery's Eighth Army advanced into the Axis defensive positions. In the months prior to the attack, Montgomery had been building and developing his Army's strength in both manpower and materiel, while also building a dummy army to the south in a deception operation. Critical in his build up of forces were the Sherman tanks and at the moment chosen to attack, he had an overall advantage in resources of some 2:1. He was also aware that Rommel was on sick leave in Austria recuperating from jaundice. Montgomery had achieved full tactical surprise, especially when he attacked along the coastal route and not from further south as the 'dummy' army had led the Germans to believe. After a 12-day battle, the Eight Army broke through the enemy defensive line on 4 November 1942.