Documents World War II campaigns between the invasion of Egypt in 1940 and the surrender of Axis forces in 1943, profiling such figures as the "Desert Fox," Lieutenant General Montgomery, and Hungarian adventurer Laszlo Almasy. 25,000 first printing.
El Alamein was one of the pivotal battles of the Second World War, fought by armies and air forces on the cutting edge of military technology. Yet Alamein has always had a patchy reputation - with many commentators willing to knock its importance. This book explains just why El Alamein is such a controversial battle. Based on an intensive reading of the contemporary sources, in particular the extensive and recently declassified British bugging of Axis prisoners of war, military historian Simon Ball turns Alamein on its head, explaining it as a cultural defeat for Britain. Alamein is a military history of the battle - showing how different it looks stripped of later cultural excrescences. But it also shows how 'Alamein culture' saturated the post-war world, when archival sources mingled with film, novels, magazines, popular histories, and the rest of Alamein's footprint. Whether you are interested in the battle itself or its cultural afterlife, if you have an opinion about Alamein, you'll question it after reading this book.
El Alamein was the World War II land battle Britain had to win. By the summer of 1942 Rommel's German forces were threatening to sweep through the Western Desert and drive on to the Suez Canal, and Britain was in urgent need of military victory. Then, in October, after 12 days of attritional tank battle and artillery bombardment, Montgomery's Eighth Army, with Australians and New Zealanders playing crucial roles in a genuinely international Allied fighting force, broke through the German and Italian lines at El Alamein. It was a turning-point in the war after which, in Churchill's words, "we never had a defeat". Stephen Bungay's book is as much at home analysing the crucial logistics of keeping desert armies supplied with petrol and tank parts as it is reappraising the combat strategies of Montgomery and Rommel, and ranges widely from the domestic political pressures on Churchill to the aerial siege of Malta, key to the control of the Mediterranean. And in a chapter on "The Soldier's War", Bungay graphically evokes the phantasmagoric blur of thunderous cannonade and tormenting heat that was the lot of the individual men who actually fought and died in the desert.
Before the Battle of El Alamein in 1942, the British had never won a major battle on land against the Germans; nor indeed had anyone else. Drawing on a remarkable array of first-hand accounts, this book reveals the personal experiences of those on the frontline and provides fascinating details of how the war was actually fought. It also includes analysis of the strategic decisions made by the generals. El Alamein 1942 is the story of exactly how a seemingly beaten and demoralized army turned near-defeat into victory in a little over four months of protracted and bloody fighting in the harsh North African desert.