El Alamein campaign map, 1942

El Alamein campaign map, 1942

El Alamein campaign map, June-October 1942

On 28 June 1942 the New Zealand Division completes a famous 'breakout' at Minqar Qaim. Having been surrounded by German forces, the New Zealanders launch a ferocious night attack against the 21st Panzer Division to the east. The onslaught catches the Germans by surprise and the majority of the New Zealand Division is able to escape back to El Alamein.

In mid-July the New Zealand Division suffers heavy casualties at Ruweisat Ridge and El Mreir Depression. On both occasions, the New Zealanders achieve their objectives but are let down by a lack of armoured support. More than 1400 men are killed, wounded, or captured at Ruweisat; while another 900 are lost at El Mreir.

Two battles are fought at El Alamein in 1942. The first is not an Allied success, but the second in October is a decisive victory for the British 8th Army. German and Italian forces begin a headlong retreat westwards that ends with their surrender in Tunisia in May 1943.

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