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The El Alamein line


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#1 yan taylor

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:28 AM

Hi, Having read more books then you could shake a stick at I have come to the conclusion that the British defences at El Alamein could not have been broken by the Axis in 1942, the more I look at maps of the area and it natural defences, it was a pretty good area to mount a last stand, I wonder if Rommel would have been re-enforced then with the 10th Panzer and the Herman Goring Division it would have done the trick ?, or would these forces along with his other re-enforcements (Ramcke Para Brigade & the 164th Light Division) come to grief against the British 6 pdrs, 25 pdrs and the Royal air force.
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#2 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:52 PM

You´re propably right on this, yan. The boxes they made surrounded by barbed wire and mines and the depth of the arrangement made it hard to break through. Except you had the artillery and airpower to do the job. But if you had this, you had to count on heavy losses for the well camouflaged bunkers where some of the Landsers told me that they where only to see in the moment you fell into one. Grandpa was with Ramcke at there but he said there was to less artillery and not enough ammo for the few ones they had.
Regards, Ulrich

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#3 belasar

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 09:50 PM

Any defence can be overcome with sufficant force, but enough force for Rommel to break though simply was not available to crack the El Alemein line, so in effect the line was unbreakable.
Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)

#4 freebird

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:05 PM

Any defence can be overcome with sufficant force, but enough force for Rommel to break though simply was not available to crack the El Alemein line, so in effect the line was unbreakable.


Well..... not exactly.
Rommel was probably hoping that the British would make an ill-advised hasty counter attack onto his defensive positions.
If the British had a commander with less experience than Monty it might have worked.
(But then most battles can be won or lost by a mistake or miscalculation of the enemy)
Regardless of how good your position the general can still screw things up.
;)

#5 Poppy

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:48 AM

Forgive my ignorance...Is it possible that if not for a heart attack, Stumme may have been able to alter the outcome of that battle for Germany?

#6 belasar

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:43 AM

Well..... not exactly.
Rommel was probably hoping that the British would make an ill-advised hasty counter attack onto his defensive positions.
If the British had a commander with less experience than Monty it might have worked.
(But then most battles can be won or lost by a mistake or miscalculation of the enemy)
Regardless of how good your position the general can still screw things up.
;)


The point being Montgomery was there and he made no serious defensive mistakes. The general who counts on the enemy to make mistakes to overcome the limitations of his own forces will win only when he gets lucky. Good generals make thier own luck.
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Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)

#7 freebird

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 02:06 AM

I wonder if Rommel would have been re-enforced then with the 10th Panzer and the Herman Goring Division it would have done the trick ?,


The Axis were short on fuel as it was, so the addition of 2 more mechanized divisions wouldn't help with the shortage of petrol

The general who counts on the enemy to make mistakes to overcome the limitations of his own forces will win only when he gets lucky. Good generals make thier own luck.


No, it's more like an experienced commander will see an oppertunity from a defensive lapse and take advantage of it. (sometimes he has laid the trap himself)
That's what happened in earlier battles, Rommel lured the British onto his AT guns.
A similar outcome was Manstein's operation in Kharkov in the spring of '43, he allowed the Russian tank forces to overextend themselves and then made them pay for it.

#8 belasar

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 02:27 AM

I am not a great fan of Montgomery as I feel he was over cautious, but I will give him this much credit, he had learned from previous mistakes and would not give Rommel an easy victory by thowing away his advantages. Yes a good commander will seek out enemy mistakes, that is what I meant by making thier own luck. The point being the only way Rommel was getting past the El Alemein line with the resources he had was if Montgomery made the type of tactical blunder that gets a man's head lopped off at the Tower of London. If you go into battle with the only hope for success is for the enemy to make the kind of mistake you would not, or to fall for the same trap you repeatedly sprung on his is unlikely bear fruit.
Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)

#9 yan taylor

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:25 AM

All valid points, do any of you think that general auchinleck should receive some praise for stopping Rommel ?. going back to the battle, British mine fields did a lot of damage in slowing up the Axis, why didnt Germany develope a mine exploding tank like the allies did, I know they tried various prototypes but they never thought of such an AFV (developed from a vehicle like a captured allied tanks which they had in abundance after 1940) to mass produce and equippe each panzer division with a platoon of such vehicles, it would have made abig difference when they come up against large mine fields like at El Alamein and later Kursk.

#10 PzJgr

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:17 PM

Two major factors in the British favor. The inability of Rommel to out flank the British and Rommel's insistence on having the Luftwaffe give him support rather than complete Malta's bombing. Rommel suffered from supply issues as Kesselring predicted. You are correct, no way Rommel could have broken through.
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#11 yan taylor

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 07:14 PM

I bet his troops must have been exhausted after such a long campaign, and some pretty [FONT="]ferocious battles in a hot dusty climate with bad supplies and no chance of a break from the lines to rest. But the allies must have been in bad shape to after a long retreat, at least there supply line had gotten smaller and the British ability to re-enforce Brigades with troops from home. the commonwealth and other exlies from europe.
[/FONT]

#12 harolds

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 10:01 PM

As far as the line being very hard to break, nobody mentioned that it worked both ways. The Germans, with far less assets than the British, stopped several of Monty's attacks and inflicted about 13,000 casualties on the Brits. Therefore, it WOULD have been darned hard for Rommel to break through. I also don't think that anyone mentioned another factor: ULTRA. The Brits knew when and where he was going to attack before the second battle of El Alamain. Having said that, I have read somewhere that Rommel was working on a way to outflank the line through the Quattera Depression. I'm not sure if indeed there was a way, but I've read that the Germans discovered a route through that wastland that could be traversed by vehicles. Possibly it wasshown to them by friendly Arabs. The trouble? The discovered it too late.

#13 4th wilts

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 02:15 PM

How much information did Monty get from "ultra",during his time in the desert,and how quickly did he know about Axis intentions.?Did Wavell and Aucklineck get the same info.?One would assume they had some"ultra",because I read that N.Z.scrapper GEN.Freyberg had "ultra" during the disastrous German airborne attack on Crete. I think Crete was more of a disaster for the Germans because they were never allowed to drop in force again,which meant Malta was safe in it's unsinkable aircraft carrier capacity,and sub base.If Malta was safe from a/b attack,the north African campaign was never in doubt.And I don't think Mussolini 'could' or 'would'use the folgore without German assistance,IMO.cheers.
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#14 4th wilts

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 05:33 PM

You see,I have always wondered what'Exact' info the field commanders did receive ,?have you.?Are we to ever know.?.probably not i think,secrets and all.how much"ultra"do you use against an enemy general,before he smells a rat,think about that,? Lol.
"G-Garmans here.? I don't care much for Garmans .!"Thanks 4th wilts.:) !

#15 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:49 PM

So if Gen. Freyberg had "Ultra" than he wasn´t able to use the informations to his advantage. OK, he wasn´t the best General in the field but with the support of others....?
Regards, Ulrich

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"We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem!" LtGen. Chesty Puller.

#16 A-58

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 07:27 PM

Taking Malta at this point in the game would be a day late and a dollar short. When 2nd Alamein was winding down, the British and Americans were landing in Northwest Africa. Even if Rommel could have broken the line at Alamein and chased the 8th Army to the Nile, he would have been that much farther away from Tunisia and air cover from Sicily. And did he have sufficient bridging assets to cross the Nile? I don't think he had any at all. If the Axis did happen to take Malta, later on prior to Husky, it could have been by-passed as many Japanese strong holds were in the Pacific after having their air power neutralized. Just my theory here.

I think the Alamein Line was un-breakable to what Rommel had to through at it at the time. He was over-stretched and at the end of his logistical supply capability as the Japanese were at Guadalcanal.

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at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

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#17 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 07:35 PM

I think the Alamein Line was un-breakable to what Rommel had to through at it at the time. He was over-stretched and at the end of his logistical supply capability as the Japanese were at Guadalcanal.

Thats correct. He never had a chance to brake through under this circumstances.
Regards, Ulrich

Horrido!

"We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem!" LtGen. Chesty Puller.

#18 lwd

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:32 PM

When discussing the impact of ULTRA in the desert it's also worth bringing up the German equivalant. Early on Rommel was getting very good up todate info on the British.

#19 sonofacameron

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:18 PM

When discussing the impact of ULTRA in the desert it's also worth bringing up the German equivalant. Early on Rommel was getting very good up todate info on the British.


From the American codes.!!!

#20 lwd

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:22 PM

From the American codes.!!!

Indeed right from a US military attache from the Embassy in Egypt. From what I've read clear, consise, and up to date. And passed very quickly to Rommel if I'm not worng.

#21 4th wilts

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:53 PM

Was there not a German radio unit too.?So i understand.?

Edited by 4th wilts, 06 September 2011 - 04:56 PM.
Added paragraph

"G-Garmans here.? I don't care much for Garmans .!"Thanks 4th wilts.:) !

#22 4th wilts

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:41 PM

Hy lwd,up to what date did the Germans get their info.?does anyone know.?,cheers.
"G-Garmans here.? I don't care much for Garmans .!"Thanks 4th wilts.:) !

#23 urqh

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:09 PM

Colonel Bonner Fellers and recce unit 621 was German wireless unit you want?

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#24 lwd

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:32 PM

There is some info here: German Radio Intelligence by Lieutenant-General Albert Praun
but I didn't see any dates.
This has a fair amount more details on it
Intercepted Communications for Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
including:

Within an hour of their transmission from Cairo, the colonel's Black Code messages found their way to German cryptanalysts' desks. Another hour or two and they would be broken into readable text, ready to be retransmitted in a German code. Thus, a few hours after Fellers' messages were sent, the data would be in Rommel's hands.

According to page 3 of the above the conduit was cut on 29 June 1942

#25 4th wilts

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 11:58 AM

Thanks for the links gents.They made fascinating reading.:)
"G-Garmans here.? I don't care much for Garmans .!"Thanks 4th wilts.:) !




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