El Alamein

El Alamein

El Alamein

This article is about a battlefield during World War II.

El Alamein which in Arabic means two flags, is a city in the Matruh Governorate, northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea,106 kmwest of Alexandria and240 kmnorth of Cairo. The population was 5,788 inhabitants according to the 1996 census.

Until the late twentieth century the town was primarily a port used for the transportation of oil. Then, with the tourist development that has affected the entire northern coast of Egypt, even at El Alamein arose the hotel buildings and equipment for tourism, including the resort of Marina El Alamein (Arabic: مارينا العلمين), which faces of11 kmof beach and is flanked by a marina, built in 2005, can accommodate up to 500 boats.


El Alamein, the symbol of resistance to the Royal Italian Army inAfrica, was a historically important role during World War II. In fact it was at the north end of an east-west corridor of about60 kmwide, bounded on the south by the Qattara Depression, which was an impenetrable barrier to military means, was the British with Bedouin troops to cross theQattara Depressionand destroy an Italian outpost, killing all unconditional surrender. This corridor had become an essential element of the defensive line British in North Africa and marked the point of maximum penetration to the east of the Axis forces inEgypt.

The area was the scene of two important battles:

British tank

British tank

The FirstBattleofEl Alamein(July 1 – July 27, 1942)

On July 1, Erwin Rommel attacked the British line of defense but resisted, though weakened. The next day, the British commander, General Claude Auchinleck, counterattacked but without success. They therefore developed a stalemate which followed a period of attrition between the attacks and counterattacks, none of which really decisive, which lasted until the end of July with no clear winner. But Rommel had not lost on the field. Even if blocked atEl Alamein, his tactics of war were held in check an opponent superior in men and means, as long as stocks in the second battle.

The second battle ofEl Alamein(23 October-4 November 1942)

On October 23, 1942 British troops under the command of General Bernard Montgomery launched a heavy attack onEl Alamein. Rommel’s forces, much lower number (2 Axis nations against more than 7 countries of the Commonwealth), initially managed to contain the British attacks. The clever arrangement of the German minefields “The Devil’s Gardens” when he had to call them that meant that Rommel corridors free from weapons were not straight, but sinuous and ending just in front of Germanic anti-tank guns. In the days that followed there were many attacks and counterattacks that led to significant results. However, as a result of these attacks and the extreme length of the logistic lines betweenItalyandGermany, Rommel’s forces were severely thinned due to lack of supplies and supplies, so that by the end of October, the effective force of tanks available Axis was reduced to only 102 units. The second phase of the offensive was along the English coast. The attack began November 2, 1942. On November 3, Rommel now had only 35 operational tanks, great for the support of the infantry, according to his careful tactical plans. On November 4, he had to order the withdrawal. On November 6 the Axis forces began a retreat that marked a turning point of the war. Winston Churchill said: “Now, this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end. But is this the end of the beginning”. Still Churchill paid tribute to the value shown by the Italian soldiers in the Commons by declaring:

“We must bow before the remains of what were the lions of the Thunderbolt.”


From the point of view of tourism El Alamein offers the classic beach tourism which sees in that village of Marina El Alamein on your point of attraction, next to this village several American and European hotel chains have established various hotels and tourist villages along the Mediterranean coast from El Alamein goes to Alexandria. In addition to marine tourism, tourist numbers are linked to historical events of World War II: nearEl Alamein, several memorials were built to remember those who died during the battles fought in those places.

The main shrines are three:

Italian Military Shrine of El Alamein, which houses the remains of 5,200 fallen Italian and Libyan Ascari.

TheCommonwealthCemetery, with graves of soldiers from various countries who fought the British side. There are monuments commemorating the Australian forces, South African, Greek andNew Zealand. The Commonwealth cemetery, like many other similar cemeteries, consists of parallel rows of headstones, each engraved with the emblem of the unity of the deceased soldier, his name and an epitaph. Wherever there is an “Unknown Soldier” (and there are many in this British cemetery) there is the inscription “Known to God.”

Shrine German, an ossuary containing the remains of 4,200 German soldiers was built in the style of a medieval fortress.

In addition to these cemeteries, El Alamein is a museum of local World War II that displays various types of tanks, armored vehicles, guns and aircraft used in the battles ofNorth Africaby the various armies fighting.

Archaeological excavations

In the years 1987/88 anecropolis of Egyptian Late Period was excavated near the ancient settlement. The remains of the ancient settlement are located about6 kmeast of the city ofMarina El Alamein, 800 meters from the coast.

Nearby, reflecting the great diversity of forms of burial, there is the city cemetery.

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