Alamein means 'two flags
' in Arabic
and so 'El Alamein' is an appropriate name for this town, which lies along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
, near the border between Egypt
Once a holiday resort (Sir Winston Churchill reckoned it had the perfect climate), 'El Alamein' is best known as the launching site of one of the most decisive battles of the North African Campaign of WWII:
On October 23rd, 1942 General Montgomery rallied the RAF and the Eight Army in an attack on the advancing Axis forces, led by the German Fieldmarshall Rommel, the 'Desert Fox'. Continuing his proven tactic of combining land forces and air power, the Allies engaged Rommel's numerically-inferior forces in a intense war of attrition. Rommel's armoured columns suffered great losses and began a retreat to Tripoli after suffering nearly two weeks of heavy artillery barrage and bombing.
After the crushing defeat at El Alamein, it wasn't long before the Axis forces were forced to retreat further, to Italy, with the Allies in hot pursuit.
Perhaps Sir Winston Churchill himself best summed up the stategic importance of the Allied victory at El Alamein when he wrote: "Before
Alamein we never had a victory. After
Alamein, we never had a defeat."