In a bid to secure Egypt and overcome Axis forces in North Africa, Montgomery (‘Monty’) had carefully built up his 8th Army to maximize chances of success. El Alamein was a two-part process, beginning with Operation Lightfoot and ending with Operation Supercharge a few days later. On the night of 23–24 October, British and Allied forces unleashed a powerful ground and air bombardment. A strong advance followed this, from British XXX Corps in the north and XIII in the south, aiming to clear the way for X Corps. However, the planned X Corps breakthrough was not achieved, and Monty was forced to fight Rommel’s army from fortified positions instead. He called this ‘crumbling’, targeting attacks at enemy defences and overcoming Axis counterattacks. Despite heavy ground fighting between the armies, Rommel’s forces began to weaken. Monty saw the chance to launch the next phase – Operation Supercharge – and achieve final victory over the Axis forces.
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