23 July 1942

23 July 1942

23 July 1942



Eastern Front

Soviet positions on the east bank of the Don hold firm

The Battle of El Alamein begins

In June, the British had succeeded in driving Rommel into a defensive position in Libya. But Rommel repelled repeated air and tank attacks, delivering heavy losses to the armored strength of the British, and finally, using his panzer divisions, managed to force a British retreat𠅊 retreat so rapid that a huge quantity of supplies was left behind. In fact, Rommel managed to push the British into Egypt using mostly captured vehicles.

Rommel’s Afrika Korps was now in Egypt, in El Alamein, only 60 miles west of the British naval base in Alexandria. The Axis powers smelled blood. The Italian troops that had preceded Rommel’s German forces in North Africa, only to be beaten back by the British, then saved from complete defeat by the arrival of Rommel, were now back on the winning side, their dwindled numbers having fought alongside the Afrika Korps. Naturally, Benito Mussolini saw this as his opportunity to partake of the victors’ spoils. And Hitler anticipated adding Egypt to his empire.

But the Allies were not finished. Reinforced by American supplies, and reorganized and reinvigorated by British Generalꂾrnard Montgomery, British, Indian, South African and New Zealand troops battled Rommel, and his by now exhausted men, to a standstill in Egypt. Montgomeryꃞnied the Axis Egypt. Rommel was back on the defensive𠅊 definite turning point in the war in North Africa.

Battles of El-Alamein

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Battles of El-Alamein, (1–27 July 1942, 23 October—11 November 1942), World War II events. After the First Battle of El-Alamein, Egypt (150 miles west of Cairo), ended in a stalemate, the second one was decisive. It marked the beginning of the end for the Axis in North Africa. The charismatic Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was comprehensively defeated by the British Eighth Army, and Allied material superiority meant that he had little chance of rallying his broken forces.

After the British had inflicted severe defeats on the Italian forces in North Africa, the German general Erwin Rommel was chosen commander of Axis forces in Libya (February 1941). In January 1942 his forces started a new drive eastward along the North African coast to seize the Suez Canal. After losing Benghazi in January, the British held the Germans in check until May. Then the German and Italian forces were able to destroy most of the British tank force, take Tobruk, and move eastward into Egypt, reaching the British defenses at El-Alamein on June 30, 1942. Rommel attacked this line on July 1, but the next day the British commander, Gen. Claude Auchinleck, counterattacked, and a battle of attrition developed. By mid-July Rommel was still at El-Alamein, blocked, and had even been thrown on the defensive, thus ending the first battle. The British had stopped his drive to overrun Egypt and seize the canal. Allied losses for this first battle amounted to some 13,250 killed or wounded of 150,000 troops for the Axis, some 10,000 killed or wounded of 96,000 troops.

In the wake of this defensive success, Auchinleck was sacked, but his replacement was killed, paving the way for Bernard Montgomery to take command of Britain’s Eight Army in North Africa. With Rommel on the defensive, Montgomery took this time to build up a sizeable army in preparation for a new offensive, the Second Battle of El-Alamein.

The British had built a defensive line at El-Alamein because the Qattara Depression to the south was impassable to mechanized forces. A narrow choke point prevented the German panzers from operating on their preferred southern flank with open terrain. Now that the British had moved over to the offensive, the proposed battlefield also suited the British Eighth Army, whose main strength lay in its artillery and infantry formations.

By mid-October 1942, Montgomery could deploy approximately double the number of men and tanks available to Rommel’s German-Italian army. The British also enjoyed the invaluable advantage of air superiority over the battlefield. Aware that an attack was imminent, Rommel had prepared his defenses as best he could, sowing hundreds of thousands of antitank and antipersonnel mines along his front to slow any British advance. Rommel returned to Germany to recuperate from illness shortly before the British offensive was launched, command passing to a subordinate.

Montgomery’s plan comprised a diversionary attack to the south, spearheaded by Free French troops, while the main attack would come in the northern sector, close to the coast. The British would break into the Axis line and force them to counterattack. In the process, the British would wear down the enemy’s offensive capability.

On the night of 23–24 October a barrage from more than 800 guns heralded the offensive British sappers, followed by infantry and tanks, advanced to clear paths through the minefields. Although the Axis commanders were taken aback at the violence of the assault, the Eighth Army’s progress was painfully slow, the British armor failing to get to grips with the enemy. Rommel, meanwhile, mounted spirited counterattacks.

For a while it seemed that the Axis might bring the British offensive to a halt. The German minefields and accurate antitank fire produced a mounting toll of knocked-out British tanks. But progress by the infantry, especially the Australian and New Zealand Divisions, opened up corridors through the Axis defenses that the British could exploit. On 2 November Rommel signaled to Hitler that the battle was lost. Although initially refused permission to retreat, Rommel began the withdrawal of his German units, leaving his Italian allies—who lacked motor transport—to be mopped up by the British. By 4 November the motorized elements of the Axis were in full retreat, and because of the sluggish British follow-up they were allowed to escape virtually unscathed. But this was of limited strategic importance because the British victory at El-Alamein was confirmed by Operation Torch, the Anglo-American landings in North Africa on 8 November. The Axis forces were now being squeezed in the Allied vice, and their expulsion from North Africa was only a question of time.

Losses in second battle: Axis, 9,000 dead, 15,000 wounded, and 30,000 captured of 110,000 troops Allied, 4,800 dead, 9,000 wounded of 195,000 troops.

23 July 1942 - History

Memorial at Treblinka today

Treblinka was one of the three death camps that were part of "Operation Reinhard".
It was built as the place of execution for the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and its surroundings. It was located near Malkinia, about 80 kilometers north-east of Warsaw. Malkinia was a station on the main Warsaw-Bialystok railroad line in a densely populated area and hidden among deep woods. Jewish and Polish prisoners worked in a punishment camp called Treblinka 1 built as early as 1941. When the extermination camp was built in 1942, the railroad line was extended into it.
“Operation Reinhard" was the code name for “the final solution to the Jewish question” (the extermination of all the Jews) in the areas in Poland under the jurisdiction of the General Gouvernment in the Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka camps. Several months after work began, the name was suggested in memory of Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SD (The Security Police of the SS) and one of the architects of the "final solution to the Jewish question", who was shot to death by Czech Underground fighters in May of 1942.
The camp was built in the shape of a polygon, 400 x 600 meters. It had a double barbed wire fence. The inner fence was entwined with branches designed to hide the camp and what was happening there. There were 8 meter high guard towers in each corner and all along the fences. It was divided into three areas:

The living quarters which included those of the staff (Germans and Ukrainians), offices, the infirmary, storage buildings and workshops. A separate fenced-in area housed the Jewish prisoners' barracks, sewing shops, a shoemaker and a carpentry shop.
The reception area included the train platform and tracks for shipments, two huts in a fenced-in area where the victims were ordered to undress, and two buildings where the victims' possessions were kept and sorted.
The extermination area (the upper camp) was small, only 200 x 250 meters, with a white building which held three gas chambers. There was a diesel motor housed in a building nearby. The victims were executed by carbon monoxide gas that was forced into the chambers through a pipe connected to the roof and into regular shower heads, in order to sustain the illusion of a real shower.
One hundred and fifty yards away to the east, were large pits for burying the victims.
Between the "reception area" and the "extermination area" there was a narrow path surrounded by wire and intertwined with branches, called "the Pipe," or "The Way to Heaven", used by the staff and prisoners ("Himmelfahrtstrasse") [Map K-7]. The naked victims were led along here from the undressing huts into the gas chambers.

There were 20-30 SS guards in positions of command and organization and about 90-120 Ukrainians. These were Soviet prisoners of war who volunteered to serve the Germans. They acted as guards and assisted in operating the gas chambers.
The 700-1,000 Jewish prisoners did all the work in the camp. They were divided into work groups or "Kommandos". The uniforms of each Kommando unit had a stripe of a designated color which distinguished them from one another.
The exterminations began on July 23, 1942 and continued until April 1943.
From the spring of 1943 only a few transports arrived and then began the burning of the bodies that had been buried in mass graves.
Hundreds tried to escape from the trains, most of whom were murdered by the guards. In the early years, before stringent guarding arrangements were established, a few Jews managed to escape from the camp. From time to time there were incidents of Jewish uprisings and from early 1943, an underground existed comprised of prisoners from all parts of the camp. There was an uprising on August 2,1943, when the last of the bodies had been burned and the camp destroyed, indicating that soon the remaining prisoners would be executed.

During the uprising most of the camp burned. The remaining prisoners were ordered to take the buildings and fences apart and try to erase signs of the crimes committed there. When the work was done, everyone was shot. The camp was plowed over, and trees were planted. A farm was established and Ukrainians settled there.
About 70 of those who managed to escape from the camp during the uprising survived until the end of the war. 800,000 people were murdered at Treblinka 2000 of them were Gypsies and most of the rest were Jews. The Jews came from Warsaw, Bialystok, Grodno, Radom, Czenstochowa and even Lublin.
Jews from Theresienstadt, from Thrace, which became part of Bulgaria, Greece and Jugoslavian Macedonia were also executed there.
As the Red Army approached, even the farm that had been established on the camp site was plowed over.

Atlantic Ocean – July 23, 1942

On July 23, 1942, a flight of U.S. Navy Kingfisher aircraft were on a training flight over the Atlantic off the coast of Rhode Island when they encountered what the navy termed “extremely bad weather”. As the planes continued on visibility dropped to near zero.

One of the planes was piloted by Ensign Harold W. Gray. Upon entering the weather system, the flight leader signaled to Gray close in tighter which he did, taking a position to the leader’s right. The leader wanted Gray to be able to keep him n sight as visibility dropped. The flight leader went on instrument flight shortly afterwards, and at this time the planes were only 500 feet above the water.

The leader began a shallow turn to the right, and as he did so, Gray elected to slide his aircraft up and over the tail of the leader to take a new position on the leader’s left. Gray’s aircraft disappeared into the scud and was never seen again.

According to the naval investigation report, it was the opinion of naval investigators that Gray, “lost sight of the leader and being in an unusual position and finding himself with no reference point, due to vertigo, he was unable to orient himself on instruments in time to avoid crashing into the water.”

Also lost in the accident was Lt. Jg. William Boddie Bartels of Memphis, Tenn.

The aircraft was an OS2U-3 Kingfisher, Bu. No. 09404, assigned to Quonset Point Naval Air Station, VB-9.

U.S. Navy Accident Investigation Brief #43-4537

Woonsocket Call, “Navy Airmen Lost On Patrol Flight”, July 24, 1942, Pg. 1

23 July 1942 - History

Timeline of Events


December 7, 1941 - Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawaii also attack the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway.
December 8, 1941 - U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan. Japanese land near Singapore and enter Thailand.
December 9, 1941 - China declares war on Japan.
December 10, 1941 - Japanese invade the Philippines and also seize Guam.
December 11, 1941 - Japanese invade Burma.
December 15, 1941 - First Japanese merchant ship sunk by a U.S. submarine.
December 16, 1941 - Japanese invade British Borneo.
December 18, 1941 - Japanese invade Hong Kong.
December 22, 1941 - Japanese invade Luzon in the Philippines.
December 23, 1941 - General Douglas MacArthur begins a withdrawal from Manila to Bataan Japanese take Wake Island.
December 25, 1941 - British surrender at Hong Kong.
December 26, 1941 - Manila declared an open city.
December 27, 1941 - Japanese bomb Manila.


Map of the Japanese Empire at its peak in 1942.

January 2, 1942 - Manila and U.S. Naval base at Cavite captured by the Japanese.
January 7, 1942 - Japanese attack Bataan in the Philippines.
January 11, 1942 - Japanese invade Dutch East Indies and Dutch Borneo.
January 16, 1942 - Japanese begin an advance into Burma.
January 18, 1942 - German-Japanese-Italian military agreement signed in Berlin.
January 19, 1942 - Japanese take North Borneo.
January 23, 1942 - Japanese take Rabaul on New Britain in the Solomon Islands and also invade Bougainville, the largest island.
January 27, 1942 - First Japanese warship sunk by a U.S. submarine.
January 30/31 - The British withdraw into Singapore. The siege of Singapore then begins.
February 1, 1942 - First U.S. aircraft carrier offensive of the war as YORKTOWN and ENTERPRISE conduct air raids on Japanese bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.
February 2, 1942 - Japanese invade Java in the Dutch East Indies.
February 8/9 - Japanese invade Singapore.
February 14, 1942 - Japanese invade Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies.
February 15, 1942 - British surrender at Singapore.
February 19, 1942 - Largest Japanese air raid since Pearl Harbor occurs against Darwin, Australia Japanese invade Bali.
February 20, 1942 - First U.S. fighter ace of the war, Lt. Edward O'Hare from the LEXINGTON in action off Rabaul.
February 22, 1942 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders General MacArthur out of the Philippines.
February 23, 1942 - First Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland as a submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.
February 24, 1942 - ENTERPRISE attacks Japanese on Wake Island.
February 26, 1942 - First U.S. carrier, the LANGLEY, is sunk by Japanese bombers.
February 27- March 1 - Japanese naval victory in the Battle of the Java Sea as the largest U.S. warship in the Far East, the HOUSTON, is sunk.
March 4, 1942 - Two Japanese flying boats bomb Pearl Harbor ENTERPRISE attacks Marcus Island, just 1000 miles from Japan.
March 7, 1942 - British evacuate Rangoon in Burma Japanese invade Salamaua and Lae on New Guinea.
March 8, 1942 - The Dutch on Java surrender to Japanese.
March 11, 1942 - Gen. MacArthur leaves Corregidor and is flown to Australia. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright becomes the new U.S. commander.
March 18, 1942 - Gen. MacArthur appointed commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater by President Roosevelt.
March 18, 1942 - War Relocation Authority established in the U.S. which eventually will round up 120,000 Japanese-Americans and transport them to barb-wired relocation centers. Despite the internment, over 17,000 Japanese-Americans sign up and fight for the U.S. in World War II in Europe, including the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit in U.S. history.
March 23, 1942 - Japanese invade the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
March 24, 1942 - Admiral Chester Nimitz appointed as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific theater.
April 3, 1942 - Japanese attack U.S. and Filipino troops at Bataan.
April 6, 1942 - First U.S. troops arrive in Australia.
April 9, 1942 - U.S. forces on Bataan surrender unconditionally to the Japanese.
April 10, 1942 - Bataan Death March begins as 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans are forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water toward a new POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths.
April 18, 1942 - Surprise U.S. 'Doolittle' B-25 air raid from the HORNET against Tokyo boosts Allied morale.
April 29, 1942 - Japanese take central Burma.
May 1, 1942 - Japanese occupy Mandalay in Burma.
May 3, 1942 - Japanese take Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.
May 5, 1942 - Japanese prepare to invade Midway and the Aleutian Islands.
May 6, 1942 - Japanese take Corregidor as Gen. Wainwright unconditionally surrenders all U.S. And Filipino forces in the Philippines.
May 7-8, 1942 - Japan suffers its first defeat of the war during the Battle of the Coral Sea off New Guinea - the first time in history that two opposing carrier forces fought only using aircraft without the opposing ships ever sighting each other.
May 12, 1942 - The last U.S. Troops holding out in the Philippines surrender on Mindanao.
May 20, 1942 - Japanese complete the capture of Burma and reach India.
June 4-5, 1942 - Turning point in the war occurs with a decisive victory for the U.S. against Japan in the Battle of Midway as squadrons of U.S. torpedo planes and dive bombers from ENTERPRISE, HORNET, and YORKTOWN attack and destroy four Japanese carriers, a cruiser, and damage another cruiser and two destroyers. U.S. loses YORKTOWN.
June 7, 1942 - Japanese invade the Aleutian Islands.
June 9, 1942 - Japanese postpone further plans to take Midway.
July 21, 1942 - Japanese land troops near Gona on New Guinea.
August 7, 1942 - The first U.S. amphibious landing of the Pacific War occurs as 1st Marine Division invades Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
August 8, 1942 - U.S. Marines take the unfinished airfield on Guadalcanal and name it Henderson Field after Maj. Lofton Henderson, a hero of Midway.
August 8/9 - A major U.S. naval disaster off Savo Island, north of Guadalcanal, as eight Japanese warships wage a night attack and sink three U.S. heavy cruisers, an Australian cruiser, and one U.S. destroyer, all in less than an hour. Another U.S. cruiser and two destroyers are damaged. Over 1,500 Allied crewmen are lost.
August 17, 1942 - 122 U.S. Marine raiders, transported by submarine, attack Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.
August 21, 1942 - U.S. Marines repulse first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal.
August 24, 1942 - U.S. And Japanese carriers meet in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons resulting in a Japanese defeat.
August 29, 1942 - The Red Cross announces Japan refuses to allow safe passage of ships containing supplies for U.S. POWs.
August 30, 1942 - U.S. Troops invade Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands.
September 9/10 - A Japanese floatplane flies two missions dropping incendiary bombs on U.S. forests in the state of Oregon - the only bombing of the continental U.S. during the war. Newspapers in the U.S. voluntarily withhold this information.
September 12-14 - Battle of Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal.
September 15, 1942 - A Japanese submarine torpedo attack near the Solomon Islands results in the sinking of the Carrier WASP, Destroyer O'BRIEN and damage to the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA.
September 27, 1942 - British offensive in Burma.
October 11/12 - U.S. cruisers and destroyers defeat a Japanese task force in the Battle of Cape Esperance off Guadalcanal.
October 13, 1942 - The first U.S. Army troops, the 164th Infantry Regiment, land on Guadalcanal.
October 14/15 - Japanese bombard Henderson Field at night from warships then send troops ashore onto Guadalcanal in the morning as U.S. planes attack.
October 15/17 - Japanese bombard Henderson Field at night again from warships.
October 18, 1942 - Vice Admiral William F. Halsey named as the new commander of the South Pacific Area, in charge of the Solomons-New Guinea campaign.
October 26, 1942 - Battle of Santa Cruz off Guadalcanal between U.S. And Japanese warships results in the loss of the Carrier HORNET.
November 14/15 - U.S. And Japanese warships clash again off Guadalcanal resulting in the sinking of the U.S. Cruiser JUNEAU and the deaths of the five Sullivan brothers.
November 23/24 - Japanese air raid on Darwin, Australia.
November 30 - Battle of Tasafaronga off Guadalcanal.
December 2, 1942 - Enrico Fermi conducts the world's first nuclear chain reaction test at the University of Chicago.
December 20-24 - Japanese air raids on Calcutta, India.
December 31, 1942 - Emperor Hirohito of Japan gives permission to his troops to withdraw from Guadalcanal after five months of bloody fighting against U.S. Forces


January 2, 1943 - Allies take Buna in New Guinea.
January 22, 1943 - Allies defeat Japanese at Sanananda on New Guinea.
February 1, 1943 - Japanese begin evacuation of Guadalcanal.
February 8, 1943 - British-Indian forces begin guerrilla operations against Japanese in Burma.
February 9, 1943 - Japanese resistance on Guadalcanal ends.
March 2-4 - U.S. victory over Japanese in the Battle of Bismarck Sea.
April 18, 1943 - U.S. code breakers pinpoint the location of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto flying in a Japanese bomber near Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. Eighteen P-38 fighters then locate and shoot down Yamamoto.
April 21, 1943 - President Roosevelt announces the Japanese have executed several airmen from the Doolittle Raid.
April 22, 1943 - Japan announces captured Allied pilots will be given "one way tickets to hell."
May 10, 1943 - U.S. Troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands.
May 14, 1943 - A Japanese submarine sinks the Australian hospital ship CENTAUR resulting in 299 dead.
May 31, 1943 - Japanese end their occupation of the Aleutian Islands as the U.S. completes the capture of Attu.
June 1, 1943 - U.S. begins submarine warfare against Japanese shipping.
June 21, 1943 - Allies advance to New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
July 8, 1943 - B-24 Liberators flying from Midway bomb Japanese on Wake Island.
August 1/2 - A group of 15 U.S. PT-boats attempt to block Japanese convoys south of Kolombangra Island in the Solomon Islands. PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, is rammed and sunk by the Japanese Cruiser AMAGIRI, killing two and badly injuring others. The crew survives as Kennedy aids one badly injured man by towing him to a nearby atoll.
August 6/7, 1943 - Battle of Vella Gulf in the Solomon Islands.
August 25, 1943 - Allies complete the occupation of New Georgia.
September 4, 1943 - Allies recapture Lae-Salamaua, New Guinea.
October 7, 1943 - Japanese execute approximately 100 American POWs on Wake Island.
October 26, 1943 - Emperor Hirohito states his country's situation is now "truly grave."
November 1, 1943 - U.S. Marines invade Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
November 2, 1943 - Battle of Empress Augusta Bay.
November 20, 1943 - U.S. Troops invade Makin and Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.
November 23, 1943 - Japanese end resistance on Makin and Tarawa.
December 15, 1943 - U.S. Troops land on the Arawe Peninsula of New Britain in the Solomon Islands.
December 26, 1943 - Full Allied assault on New Britain as 1st Division Marines invade Cape Gloucester.


January 9, 1944 - British and Indian troops recapture Maungdaw in Burma.
January 31, 1944 - U.S. Troops invade Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.
February 1-7, 1944 - U.S. Troops capture Kwajalein and Majura Atolls in the Marshall Islands.
February 17/18 - U.S. Carrier-based planes destroy the Japanese naval base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.
February 20, 1944 - U.S. Carrier-based and land-based planes destroy the Japanese base at Rabaul.
February 23, 1944 - U.S. Carrier-based planes attack the Mariana Islands.
February 24, 1944 - Merrill's Marauders begin a ground campaign in northern Burma.
March 5, 1944 - Gen. Wingate's groups begin operations behind Japanese lines in Burma.
March 15, 1944 - Japanese begin offensive toward Imphal and Kohima.
April 17, 1944 - Japanese begin their last offensive in China, attacking U.S. air bases in eastern China.
April 22, 1944 - Allies invade Aitape and Hollandia in New Guinea.
May 27, 1944 - Allies invade Biak Island, New Guinea.
June 5, 1944 - The first mission by B-29 Superfortress bombers occurs as 77 planes bomb Japanese railway facilities at Bangkok, Thailand.
June 15, 1944 - U.S. Marines invade Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
June 15/16 - The first bombing raid on Japan since the Doolittle raid of April 1942, as 47 B-29s based in Bengel, India, target the steel works at Yawata.
June 19, 1944 - The "Marianas Turkey Shoot" occurs as U.S. Carrier-based fighters shoot down 220 Japanese planes, while only 20 American planes are lost.
July 8, 1944 - Japanese withdraw from Imphal.
July 19, 1944 - U.S. Marines invade Guam in the Marianas.
July 24, 1944 - U.S. Marines invade Tinian.
July 27, 1944 - American troops complete the liberation of Guam.
August 3, 1944 - U.S. And Chinese troops take Myitkyina after a two month siege.
August 8, 1944 - American troops complete the capture of the Mariana Islands.
September 15, 1944 - U.S. Troops invade Morotai and the Paulaus.
October 11, 1944 - U.S. Air raids against Okinawa.
October 18, 1944 - Fourteen B-29s based on the Marianas attack the Japanese base at Truk.
October 20, 1944 - U.S. Sixth Army invades Leyte in the Philippines.
October 23-26 - Battle of Leyte Gulf results in a decisive U.S. Naval victory.
October 25, 1944 - The first suicide air (Kamikaze) attacks occur against U.S. warships in Leyte Gulf. By the end of the war, Japan will have sent an estimated 2,257 aircraft. "The only weapon I feared in the war," Adm. Halsey will say later.
November 11, 1944 - Iwo Jima bombarded by the U.S. Navy.
November 24, 1944 - Twenty four B-29s bomb the Nakajima aircraft factory near Tokyo.
December 15, 1944 - U.S. Troops invade Mindoro in the Philippines.
December 17, 1944 - The U.S. Army Air Force begins preparations for dropping the Atomic Bomb by establishing the 509th Composite Group to operate the B-29s that will deliver the bomb.


January 3, 1945 - Gen. MacArthur is placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and Adm. Nimitz in command of all naval forces in preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan itself.
January 4, 1945 - British occupy Akyab in Burma.
January 9, 1945 - U.S. Sixth Army invades Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippines.
January 11, 1945 - Air raid against Japanese bases in Indochina by U.S. Carrier-based planes.
January 28, 1945 - The Burma road is reopened.
February 3, 1945 - U.S. Sixth Army attacks Japanese in Manila.
February 16, 1945 - U.S. Troops recapture Bataan in the Philippines.
February 19, 1945 - U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima.
March 1, 1945 - A U.S. submarine sinks a Japanese merchant ship loaded with supplies for Allied POWs, resulting in a court martial for the captain of the submarine, since the ship had been granted safe passage by the U.S. Government.
March 2, 1945 - U.S. airborne troops recapture Corregidor in the Philippines.
March 3, 1945 - U.S. And Filipino troops take Manila.
March 9/10 - Fifteen square miles of Tokyo erupts in flames after it is fire bombed by 279 B-29s.
March 10, 1945 - U.S. Eighth Army invades Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao in the Philippines.
March 20, 1945 - British troops liberate Mandalay, Burma.
March 27, 1945 - B-29s lay mines in Japan's Shimonoseki Strait to interrupt shipping.
April 1, 1945 - The final amphibious landing of the war occurs as the U.S. Tenth Army invades Okinawa.
April 7, 1945 - B-29s fly their first fighter-escorted mission against Japan with P-51 Mustangs based on Iwo Jima U.S. Carrier-based fighters sink the super battleship YAMATO and several escort vessels which planned to attack U.S. Forces at Okinawa.
April 12, 1945 - President Roosevelt dies, succeeded by Harry S. Truman.
May 8, 1945 - Victory in Europe Day.
May 20, 1945 - Japanese begin withdrawal from China.
May 25, 1945 - U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff approve Operation Olympic, the invasion of Japan, scheduled for November 1.
June 9, 1945 - Japanese Premier Suzuki announces Japan will fight to the very end rather than accept unconditional surrender.
June 18, 1945 - Japanese resistance ends on Mindanao in the Philippines.
June 22, 1945 - Japanese resistance ends on Okinawa as the U.S. Tenth Army completes its capture.
June 28, 1945 - MacArthur's headquarters announces the end of all Japanese resistance in the Philippines.
July 5, 1945 - Liberation of Philippines declared.
July 10, 1945 - 1,000 bomber raids against Japan begin.
July 14, 1945 - The first U.S. Naval bombardment of Japanese home islands.
July 16, 1945 - First Atomic Bomb is successfully tested in the U.S.
July 26, 1945 - Components of the Atomic Bomb "Little Boy" are unloaded at Tinian Island in the South Pacific.
July 29, 1945 - A Japanese submarine sinks the Cruiser INDIANAPOLIS resulting in the loss of 881 crewmen. The ship sinks before a radio message can be sent out leaving survivors adrift for two days.
August 6, 1945 - First Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima from a B-29 flown by Col. Paul Tibbets.
August 8, 1945 - U.S.S.R. declares war on Japan then invades Manchuria.
August 9, 1945 - Second Atomic Bomb is dropped on Nagasaki from a B-29 flown by Maj. Charles Sweeney -- Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki then decide to seek an immediate peace with the Allies.
August 14, 1945 - Japanese accept unconditional surrender Gen. MacArthur is appointed to head the occupation forces in Japan.
August 16, 1945 - Gen. Wainwright, a POW since May 6, 1942, is released from a POW camp in Manchuria.
August 27, 1945 - B-29s drop supplies to Allied POWs in China.
August 29, 1945 - The Soviets shoot down a B-29 dropping supplies to POWs in Korea U.S. Troops land near Tokyo to begin the occupation of Japan.
August 30, 1945 - The British reoccupy Hong Kong.
September 2, 1945 - Formal Japanese surrender ceremony on board the MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay as 1,000 carrier-based planes fly overhead President Truman declares VJ Day.
September 3, 1945 - The Japanese commander in the Philippines, Gen. Yamashita, surrenders to Gen. Wainwright at Baguio.
September 4, 1945 - Japanese troops on Wake Island surrender.
September 5, 1945 - British land in Singapore.
September 8, 1945 - MacArthur enters Tokyo.
September 9, 1945 - Japanese in Korea surrender.
September 13, 1945 - Japanese in Burma surrender.
October 24, 1945 - United Nations is born.

The History Place - World War II in the Pacific - Selected Battle Photos

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23 July 1942 - History

Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies, World War 2
Researched & compiled by Don Kindell, all rights reserved

1st - 31st JULY 1942 - in date, ship/unit & name order

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net


(1) Casualty information in order - Surname, First name, Initial(s), Rank and part of the Service other than RN (RNR, RNVR, RFR etc), Service Number (ratings only, also if Dominion or Indian Navies), (on the books of another ship/shore establishment, O/P &ndash on passage), Fate

(2) Click for abbreviations

(3) L ink to Commonwealth War Graves Commission

(4) More information may be found in the Name Lists

Background Events - June-October 1942
Malta, Atlantic & Russian convoy battles, Raid on Dieppe, Battles of Midway, Alamein, and for Guadalcanal

1 July 1942

Eaglet, illness

BROWN, Arthur E E, Act/Leading Stoker, P/KX 108546, died

King Alfred, illness

MILLER, Charles I, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 304496, died

Marilyse Moller, steamship

FRANCIS, John C, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 313720, (President III, O/P), MPK

NICHOLAS, William A, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 222019, (President III, O/P), MPK

PEACH, Albert, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 289346, (President III, O/P), MPK

VERNON, Jack, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 275045, (President III, O/P), MPK

(Montevideo Maru), Japanese steamship, as POW

LAMONT, Stephen, Chief Yeoman of Signals, PM 1325 (RANR), MPK

MITCHELL, Eric H F, Sub Lieutenant, RANVR, MPK

2 July 1942

Alaunia, illness

DAVIDSON, Thomas S, Assistant Storekeeper, NAP 965779, died

Illustrious , illness

ELLIS, Glyn, Able Seaman, D/JX 161647, died


SMITH, Dick, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 180426, killed

Melville (RAN), accident

HOLMES, Reuben R, Stoker, PA 2587 (RANR), killed

Nile, road accident

RUDMAN, Percy W, Able Seaman, P/JX 212118, killed

Royal Indian Navy

AJIT, Singh, Ordinary Telegraphist, 8029 (RIN), killed

Saker II, illness

SENIOR, Ronald, Musician, RMB/X 1525, died

Wallsend, steamship, illness

HUMPHRIES, Charles H, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 240879, died

4 July 1942

3/2 Maritime Regt, RA

CARVER, John T, Gunner, RA, 5120289, killed

KIRK, Frederick C, Lance Bombardier, RA, 5120404, killed

7/4 Maritime Regt, RA

SCOTT, Victor, Gunner, RA, 1512271, killed

British Courage, steamship, illness

JAMES, William H, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 221846, died


FOLEY, George H, Chief Steward, C/SP/R 238093, died

Saker II, rail accident

MUNRO, William R, Act/Baker, NAP R 198421, killed

Vernon, illness

DUNNAWAY, Ernest A, Lieutenant, Rtd, died

5 July 1942

1/1 Maritime Regt, RA

CRAIG, John, Gunner, RA, 1590942, killed

FROST, Kenneth M, Gunner, RA, 5889784, killed

2/1 Maritime Regt, RA

WESTERBY, William, Bombardier, RA, 2081780, killed

3/2 Maritime Regt, RA

HOWARD, Arthur, Gunner, RA, 13007057, killed

JONES, William E, Lance Bombardier, RA, 4467279, killed

Avila Star, steamship

RICHARDSON, Henry P, Ty/Act/Sergeant, RM, CH/19985, (President III, O/P), MPK

Dalhousie (RIN)

IYYASWAMI, M (initial only), Ordinary Seaman, 10125 (RIN), killed

Empire Byron, steamship

BINKLEY, George W, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 334101, (President III, O/P), MPK

BINNS, Alan T, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 290906, (President III, O/P), MPK

GREEN, Robert L, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 312796, (President III, O/P), MPK

Hoperidge, steamship, illness

SHAKESPEARE, Stanley N, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 196554, died


PITSAL, Mihkel, Boatswain, Merchant Navy, (survivor of River Sefton), MPK

River Afton, steamship

BANHAM, John A, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 312889, (President III, O/P), MPK

BROOK, Kenneth, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 333861, (President III, O/P), MPK

HOLDING, Allan, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 186811, (President III, O/P), MPK

JESSOP, Fred, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 261485, (President III, O/P), MPK

LEAF, John, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 333869, (President III, O/P), MPK

WALLACE, William C, Convoy Telegraphist, V/17063 (RCNVR), (President III, O/P), MPK

WALTON, Christopher, Convoy Signalman, C/JX 226593, (Pembroke, O/P), MPK

WATERSTON, John H, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, (President III, O/P), MPK

WILLIAMS, James L, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 268183, (President III, O/P), MPK


REDWOOD, Percy J, Able Seaman, D/JX 208525, died

Southern Princess, illness

GWYNNE, Alban L, Commander, Rtd, died

Victory, illness

BUCKLE, Blanche T, Chief WRNS, P/WRNS 13698, died

6 July 1942

1/1 Maritime Regt, RA

OWEN, Edward, Gunner, RA, 3717710, killed

Cerberus (RAN), illness

WISHER, Walter, Act/Leading Seaman, E 11898 (RANR), died

Dorinda, accident

TUCKER, Alex M, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 125015, DOW

Drake, illness

CARPENTER, Ralph, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 163311, died

Formidable , illness

SANDERSON, James F, Able Seaman, P/JX 149479, died

Hero, steamship

BREAREY, Herbert, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 290005, (President III, O/P), MPK

Niger , ship loss

ALLEN, Eric C, Steward, C/LX 25311, MPK

ATTWELL, Ernest W, Stoker 1c, C/KX 100701, MPK

BANKS, Clifton J, Petty Officer, D/J 108986, MPK

BARLOW, Eric E, Ty/Leading Supply Assistant, C/MX 63709, MPK

BARRY, Patrick J, Able Seaman, C/SSX 29892, MPK

BATH, James W, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 285226, MPK

BECK, Harold J, Stoker 1c, C/KX 126703, MPK

BETHELL, Francis B, Stoker Petty Officer, C/K 64072, MPK

BROWN, John, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 278524, MPK

BROWN, Reginald J, Ty/Leading Seaman, C/JX 144880, MPK

BROWN, Victor G, Stoker 1c, C/KX 112512, MPK

BROWN, William S, Act/Engine Room Artificer 4c, C/MX 62928, MPK

BUCHANAN, John W McL, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

CAIRNS, Thomas, Stoker 1c, D/KX 105483, MPK

CARPENTER, James, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/K 62770, MPK

CARR, Charles A, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 111994, MPK

CHARD, Frank E, Stoker Petty Officer, C/KX 79826, MPK

CHILES, Kenneth J, Coder, C/JX 216156, MPK

CHURCHILL, Reginald A J, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 171902, MPK

CLARK, Thomas, Able Seaman, D/JX 206026, MPK

CLEGG, Percy, Ordinary Telegraphist, C/JX 211835, MPK

CODLING, Walter E, Chief Petty Officer Stoker (Pens), C/K 25016, MPK

COULSON, George A, Steward, C/LX 23378, MPK

CRUIKSHANKS, John M, Stoker 1c, C/KX 96024, MPK

CUBISON, Arthur J, Commander, MPK

DANIELS, Frederick R, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 271572, MPK

DAVIDSON, Joseph, Signalman, RFR, C/J 34786, MPK

DEAN, Arthur, Canteen Manager, NAAFI, MPK

DEARSON, Ernest W, Stoker Petty Officer, C/K 64567, MPK

DEVEREESE, Cecil J, Stoker 1c, C/KX 108810, MPK

DEWAR, Hugh R, Able Seaman, C/JX 191831, MPK

DIVERS, Jack L, Petty Officer Telegraphist, C/J 114732, MPK

DONALDSON, William C, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/KX 99296, MPK

DORES, William McL, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 223640, MPK

EAMES, Frederick J, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 323567, MPK

EASON, Denys O, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 170183, MPK

ENGLISH, James, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/K 63123, MPK

FAIRALL, William J, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 211653, MPK

FARRANT, Charles V, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 199941, MPK

FARRIER, Ernest C, Stoker Petty Officer (Pens), C/K 41354, MPK

FAULKNER, Frederick W, Able Seaman, P/JX 285027, MPK

FAWCETT, Harry, Steward, C/LX 26167, MPK

FLETCHER, Douglas A, Ordinary Coder, D/JX 293595, MPK

FORD, Alexander, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 166431, MPK

FRASER, Duncan R, Stoker 1c, C/KX 114284, MPK

FRASER, Thomas A S, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, (President, O/P), MPK

GERMON, Francis, Able Seaman, D/JX 161969, MPK

GOURLAY, Robert, Steward, RNSR, C/SR 74064, MPK

GRALL, Laurence, Able Seaman, D/JX 164597, MPK

GRIER, James F, Stoker 1c, C/KX 105301, MPK

GRIFFIN, Edward J, Stoker Petty Officer (Pens), C/K 61576, MPK

GRINHAM, Walter G, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/KX 99794, MPK

HAGGERTY, Harry E, Act/Shipwright 4c, C/MX 56156, MPK

HAINES, William C S, Leading Steward, C/LX 22171, MPK

HALE, Kenneth R, Ty/Act/Petty Officer, C/JX 144448, MPK

HANLEY, Daniel, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 175172, MPK

HARGATE, George H, Stoker 1c, C/KX 108920, MPK

HARLAND, Frederick, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 124924, MPK

HARRIS, Robert P, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 170148, MPK

HARVEY, Hubert, Chief Engine Room Artificer (Pens), C/M 7099, MPK

HARWOOD, Edward J, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 287701, MPK

HAWTHORN, Robert, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 118520, MPK

HAYES, Reginald R, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 314138, MPK

HAYWOOD, James J H, Ty/Electrical Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

HEAD, John, Act/Able Seaman, RNR, C/SSX 13345, MPK

HIGH, William P, Chief Petty Officer (Pens), C/J 29145, MPK

HILL, Arthur, Able Seaman, C/SSX 26610, MPK

HORNBY, William S, Able Seaman, C/JX 217094, MPK

HORTON, James, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 35195, MPK

HOWARD, Victor A C, Supply Chief Petty Officer, D/MX 47152, MPK

HOWARD, William E, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 74809, MPK

HUTCHINGS, Samuel H, Engine Room Artificer 1c (Pens), C/M 21215, MPK

JOHNSTON, Thomas B, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

JOHNSTON, William S, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 270204, MPK

KEABLE, William C, Ty/Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 66185, MPK

KENNING, Harry M, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 304268, MPK

KNELL, Edwin J, Able Seaman, C/JX 128628, MPK

KNIGHT, George H, Warrant Engineer, (Edinburgh, O/P), MPK

LAKE, Richard L, Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 65329, MPK

LAKE, William R, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 259608, MPK

LAMB, Harold, Able Seaman, C/SSX 24422, MPK

LANDERYOU, Charles E, Ty/Leading Cook, C/MX 85749, MPK

LEONARD, Ivor, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 240627, killed

LEWIS, Alfred L, Act/Chief Petty Officer Coxswain, C/JX 129553, MPK

LEWIS, Walter J, Able Seaman, D/JX 203099, MPK

LYNCH, John E, Ty/Leading Cook (S), D/MX 63234, MPK

MCCALL, Charles S, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 217783, MPK

MCTAGGART, Robert, Stoker 1c, C/SS 119054, MPK

MORRIS, Sydney H, Able Seaman, C/JX 125789, MPK

MUMFORD, Sydney L, Leading Cook, RFR, C/MX 62714, MPK

NEICHO, Leslie R, Ty/Petty Officer, RFR, C/J 98436, MPK

NELSON, Samuel, Ty/Stoker Petty Officer, C/K 87768, MPK

NEWTON, Edward, Ty/Act/Leading Signalman, C/SSX 21483, MPK

NICHOLLS, William, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, C/KX 75239, MPK

NICHOLSON, George, Yeoman of Signals, C/JX 140069, MPK

NORRIS, Alfred J, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 248572, MPK

O'GRADY, William P, Stoker 1c, D/KX 134194, MPK

PALMER, Frank, Able Seaman, C/SSX 27176, MPK

PARKER, Leonard E J, Leading Telegraphist, C/JX 139889, MPK

PEGLER, Henry J, Commissioned Engineer, MPK

PERRY, James W, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 313241, MPK

PHILLIPS, William, Ty/Surgeon Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

PITT, George F, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 94886, MPK

PORTEOUS, George, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 291666, MPK

PRESTON, Ronald W, Cook (O), C/MX 65166, MPK

PRICE, David, Able Seaman, RNVR, P/68529 (SA), MPK

PULLAR, George, Petty Officer, D/J 110148, MPK

PURDY, Charles V, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/K 55387, MPK

RATHMEL, Thomas, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 287428, MPK

READ, Henry, Stoker 1c, C/KX 91070, MPK

RENSHAW, Harold A, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 162848, MPK

RILEY, James, Able Seaman, C/JX 269274, MPK

ROBERTSON, Archibald, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 255078, MPK

RUDD, Reginald A, Leading Stoker, C/KX 90124, MPK

RUDLING, Claude, Stoker Petty Officer (Pens), C/K 30092, MPK

SHEPHERD, Victor H, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, C/KX 79457, MPK

SHINGLETON, Ronald, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 167932, MPK

SINGFIELD, Frederick A, Ty/Act/Petty Officer, RFR, C/J 111551, MPK

SMETHURST, Harold, Ordnance Artificer 4c, RNSR, C/SR 16015, MPK

SMITH, Harold J, Act/Able Seaman, D/SSX 27818, MPK

SMITH, James, Able Seaman, P/JX 274477, MPK

SMITH, Stanley, Signalman, C/SSX 30609, MPK

STAINES, Charles W G, Able Seaman, C/JX 145375, MPK

STANNARD, Thomas E, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 89853, MPK

STANTON, William L, Engine Room Artificer 1c, D/M 34614, MPK

STUCKEY, Ronald, Leading Steward, D/LX 21873, MPK

STURMAN, Harold W, Able Seaman, C/JX 239871, MPK

TAYLOR, Edward J, Ty/Act/Leading Seaman, C/SSX 29110, MPK

TAYLOR, Frank R, Motor Mechanic, P/MX 69119, MPK

TAYLOR, James, Ty/Act/Leading Seaman, D/SSX 27593, MPK

TONKIN, Eric S, Able Seaman, C/JX 184958, MPK

TRIPNEY, John G, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 258362, MPK

TURNER, James, Engine Room Artificer 3c, C/MX 49835, MPK

VARLEY, William, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/K 64142, MPK

VEITCH, Michael J, Coder, C/JX 251690, MPK

WARD, Albert J, Able Seaman, C/JX 128993, MPK

WARD, George C, Ty/Act/Stoker Petty Officer, C/KX 85631, MPK

WEST, William J, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 254920, MPK

WHITTAKER, Albert, Ordinary Telegraphist, C/JX 212369, MPK

WILDE, Israel, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 118553, MPK

WILSON, John, Engine Room Artificer 3c, C/MX 54709, MPK

WOOLGAR, George S, Ty/Petty Officer, C/J 102540, MPK

WRIGHT, Ronald V, Able Seaman, C/SSX 28158, MPK

YALLOP, Cecil H, Ty/Leading Sick Berth Attendant, C/MX 64637, MPK

YOUNG, Thomas G, Able Seaman, D/SSX 18494, MPK

YOUNG, William J, Leading Stoker, C/KX 86170, MPK

Pan Atlantic, steamship

BLINCOE, Thomas, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 267369, (President III, O/P), MPK

7 July 1942

Cerberus (RAN), illness

UNDERDOWN, Thomas, Able Seaman, 22437 (RAN), died


HAMLYN, Albert E, Able Seaman, D/J 83065, DOW

FAA, 755/756 Sqn, Kestrel, air crash

BRODIE, Anthony D, Ty/Lieutenant (A), RNVR, killed

NEWELL, Raymond L, Ty/Act/Leading Airman, FAA/FX 91011, killed

TANSLEY, Pamela A, Leading WRNS (S), WRNS, killed

Hartlebury, steamship

BALDWIN, George, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 250087, (President III, O/P), MPK

CLIFFORD, John J, Gunner, RA, 4544392, (3/2 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

HARRIS, Sydney D, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 268411, (President III, O/P), MPK

JENNINGS, Jack, Convoy Leading Signalmam, C/JX 185139, (Pembroke, O/P), MPK

LAND, Magnus T, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 267878, (President III, O/P), MPK

LITTLE, Andrew P, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 267871, (President III, O/P), MPK

PARSONS, Harry J, Gunner, RA, 5575238, (6/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

TAYLOR, George N, Convoy Signalmam, C/JX 172061, (Pembroke, O/P), MPK

TURLEY, Derek T, Convoy Ordinary Signalmam, C/JX 234078, (Pembroke, O/P), MPK

WELSH, Philip, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 333519, (President III, O/P), MPK

Hero, steamship

NEWELL, Walter G A, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 277933, (President III, O/P), MPK

Lanka, illness

FOSTER, Gilbert, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 303647, died

Niger , ship loss

BLOOMFIELD, Herbert T, Able Seaman, RFR, C/JX 133017, MPK

Pembroke, illness

WHITING, Ronald R, Able Seaman, C/J 91700, died

Princess Josephine Charlotte, steamship

MITCHELL, James, Greaser, T.124 X, killed

Queen Elizabeth , illness

GLOVER, John, Stoker 2c, P/KX 133815, died

Royal Indian Navy

MULLINS, K (initial only) F, Motor Engineer 1c, 74126 (RIN), died

Thrasher, illness

DODWELL, Alfred K, Cook, D/MX 63149, died

8 July 1942

Cerberus (RAN)

MUNRO, Daniel, Assistant Cook, T.124 (RNZN), died

Tamar, as POW

MITCHELL, Donald McA, Signal Boatswain, died

9 July 1942

4/2 Maritime Regt, RA

NORTON, John W, Gunner, RA, 4695371, killed

Barbara Robb, illness

WEIR, John, Stoker 1c, R/KX 125605, died

Bokn, steamship

DAVIS, Charles F H, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 333292, MPK

HEZELGRAVE, Daniel, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 263494, (President III, O/P), killed

Drake, illness

RUXTON, James R, Petty Officer, D/J 103156, died

FAA, 771 Sqn, Tern, air crash

CORNES, Noel J, Ty/Act/Lieutenant, RNVR, killed

JONES, Alexander G, Act/Leading Airman, FAA/JX 229991, killed

Forth, illness

HOOK, William J, Act/Petty Officer Telegraphist, C/J 66746, died

Kongshang, steamship

TREVORROW, William B, Convoy Signalman, C/JX 171121, (Pembroke, O/P), MPK

Kongshaug, steamship

HEALEY, Claude W J, Convoy Signalman, C/JX 232566, (Pembroke, O/P), MPK

Manor, ship loss

BEESLEY, Timothy S, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 106913, MPK

BOWLES, Albert J, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 317336, MPK

BRYAN, Raymond F, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 240935, MPK

BUNTING, Frederick R, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 265179, MPK

CATO, William A, Assistant Cook, RNPS, LT/MX 93622, MPK

DAVIDSON, Roland, Ordinary Signalman, P/JX 259735, MPK

EMMITT, Walter L, Leading Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 173084, MPK

EVANS, David A, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 265189, MPK

EVANS, Lewis G, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 271902, MPK

FORMAN, Frederick C, Ordinary Signalman, C/JX 210319, MPK

GRAY, James, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 131031, MPK

GREENHEDGE, Alfred, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 184216, MPK

GULLIFORD, Charles, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 167334, MPK

HARLEY, Peter, Cook, RNPS, LT/MX 83221, MPK

HARRISON, Laurence V, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 191604, MPK

HARVEY, Edward, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 206536, MPK

JAQUES, Joseph, Ty/Skipper, RNR, MPK

LINES, Albert, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 116384, MPK

MARVEN, Nino W, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 280063, MPK

MORTON, John, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 104372, MPK

PILE, Benjamin, Skipper, RNR, MPK

REDDY, Francis J, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 185758, MPK

RICHES, Arthur F, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 218527, MPK

ROUT, Kennth W, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 305823, MPK

TAYLOR, Charles W G, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 280872, MPK

THOMAS, Sydney, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 116085, MPK

WALKER, Andrew R, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 101843, MPK

WOOD, John, Skipper, RNR, MPK

WREN, Cyril C, Telegraphist, RNV(W)R, P/WRX 369, MPK

Pamela, steamship

BALL, Robert, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 313577, (President III, O/P), killed

Porpoise, illness

KERRY, Lewis L, Leading Telegraphist, P/JX 155610, died

Rosten, steamship

GRAHAM, Albert, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 290984, (President III, O/P), MPK

Triglav, steamship

DEWAR, Roderick R, Able Seaman, A/525 (RCNR), died

Tunisian, ship loss

ALLDRED, Frank W, Stoker 1c (Pens), R/KX 98856, killed

BAILEY, Thomas, Ordinary Seaman, R/JX 244051, killed

BROOK, Fred, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 222038, killed

BROUGHTON, Arthur E, Stoker Petty Officer (Pens), R/K 19548, killed

CUNNINGHAM, Richard H, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 222047, killed

DALTON, Herbert, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 210483, killed

DOUGAN, Peter, Rigger's Mate, R/JX 179956, killed

EATON, Maxwell G W, Act/Leading Seaman, R/JX 209387, killed

GOLDSTRAW, Ernest, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 182870, killed

IBBOTSON, George A F, Petty Officer, RFR, R/J 97555, killed

ISAACS, Alfred, Able Seaman, R/JX 268900, killed

KEEGAN, George, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 210487, killed

KIDD, Ernest J, Cook, P/MX 64221, killed

KIRVAN, Harold N, Stoker 1c, R/KX 102281, killed

LIVINGS, Charles V, Stoker 1c, R/KX 101989, killed

MATTHEWS, Thomas D, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 209399, killed

MAYERS, Roy, Able Seaman, R/JX 216924, killed

MEADOWS, Henry J W, Stoker 1c, R/KX 112064, killed

MULFORD, Walter H A, Able Seaman, R/JX 222160, killed

PATTISON, Thomas H, Ty/Boom Skipper, RNR, killed

PILBRO, Frederick G, Steward, R/LX 23289, killed

RACKHAM, Frederick J, Chief Petty Officer Stoker (Pens), R/K 12068, killed

RANDALL, Charles A M, Ordinary Seaman, R/JX 244027, killed

ROBINSON, Ernest, Act/Stoker Petty Officer, R/KX 101972, killed

SHARPE, William T, Stoker 1c, R/KX 118644, killed

SLATER, Percy D, Rigger, R/JX 166538, killed

WENMOUTH, William, Able Seaman, R/JX 182999, killed

WEST, Arthur W, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 229847, killed

WHITING, Alec W, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 180048, killed

Victory, road accident

RICH, Percy A M, Ty/Lieutenant (E), RNVR, killed

10 July 1942

FAA, 753 Sqn, Condor, air crash

DIAMOND, John E, Ty/Lieutenant, RCNVR, MPK

MARKLAND, Ronald W, Act/Leading Airman, FAA/FX 88404, MPK

MCCALLUM, William, Act/Leading Airman, FAA/X 101915, MPK

FAA, 821 Sqn, Grebe, air crash 4 July 1942

ATKIN, Arthur E, Act/Leading Airman, FAA/FX 79443, DOW

Forward, illness

JORDAN, George, Chief Petty Officer Stoker, P/K 3207, died

President III, illness

HOLTON, Jack, Act/Able Seaman (DEMS), C/JX 237905, died

RM Signal Division, accident

CREMER, Thomas E, Ty/Lieutenant, RM, killed

11 July 1942

Bedouin, ship loss, as POW

BRADLEY, John, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 267498, DOW

Cortona, steamship

POWELL, Hubert R, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 248627, (President III, O/P), MPK

Drake IV

MACDONALD, John, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 257993, MPK

MATHEWS, Albert E, Stoker 2c, D/KX 115307, MPK

Port Arthur, steamship

YEARSLEY, Edwin J, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 268143, (President III, O/P), MPK

Port Hunter, steamship

BINGE, George R, Gunner, RA, 4625119, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

BROWN, George H, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 191247, (President III, O/P), MPK

BURSTON, Richard St E E, Paymaster Commander, (Achilles, O/P), MPK

CARNEY, Thomas, Lance Bombardier, RA, 1545614, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

GAME, George W, Gunner, RA, 1543557, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

KENTON, Richard J, Bombardier, RA, 1598414, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

LOWE, Arthur, Gunner, RA, 1570818, (5/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

PEACHAM, Alfred, Gunner, RA, 1601944, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

RIDGE, Harold T, Gunner, RA, 1531205, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

ROSE, Edward W, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 289226, (President III, O/P), MPK

ROSE, William G, Gunner, RA, 1736519, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

SLATER, Leslie H, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 334457, (President III, O/P), MPK

SPIRES, Herbert, Gunner, RA, 1777672, (4/2 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

WILSON, Robert E, Gunner, RA, 1674931, (5/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

Vernon, illness

AYLETT, Leonard C A, Electrical Artificer 1c, D/M 31076, died

12 July 1942

Cheshire, rail accident

CONNELLY, John, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 311258, killed

FAA, 783 Sqn, Condor, air crash

DENNISON, Maurice R, Ty/Midshipman (A) DOW

Fernie, illness

SAMBLES, William L, Leading Stoker, D/KX 98345, died


ALLAN, David G B, Chief Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 97919, killed

Minos II

JENKINSON, John, 2nd Hand, RNPS, LT/JX 200715, killed

Naden (RCN)

DAVIES, Allan M K, Petty Officer Writer, V/15145 (RCNVR), died

Nile, illness

PRICHARD, Pamela I, 3rd Officer, WRNS, died

Phoebe , illness

BROWN, Kenneth, Marine, CH/X 3175, died

President III, accident

BROMLEY, Percy J, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 209860, DOWS

Royal Indian Navy

BURNES, Ernest, Motor Engineer 3c, 74441 (RIN), died

Sultan, as POW

WEAVER, Jack, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 162188, died

13 July 1942

Chasseur No.8

PAYNE, Bert K, Telegraphist, P/JX 223195, MPK

RYAN, Arthur M, Signalman, P/JX 176290, MPK

FAA, 825 Sqn, Daedalus, air crash

BOWICK, Joseph G, Leading Air Mechanic (A), FAA/FX 81285, killed

DEAKIN, Reginald W, Air Mechanic (O) 1c, FAA/FX 83763, killed

WOOD, James H, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, killed

Illustrious , drowning

JONES, George, Marine, PLY/X 103260, died


BEWICK, Joseph G, Petty Officer Air Mechanic, FAA/FX 81285 , accident, killed

EASTWICK, Arthur J, Air Fitter, FAA/FX 85615 , illness , died

Victory II, accident

HARRIS, Alfred C H, Engine Room Artificer 4c, P/MX 76347, killed

14 July 1942

British Yeoman, steamship

BRYAN, Raymond O, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 311837, (President III, O/P), MPK

KIMBER, Albert R, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 201087, (President III, O/P), MPK

LE CRAS, Frederick R, Gunner, RA, 5119771, (3/2 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

MILLS, Arthur W, Gunner, RA, 5119777, (3/2 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

PEARCE, Charles J, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 334340, (President III, O/P), MPK

RICHARDSON, Frederick T, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 266303, (President III, O/P), MPK

SHAW, William, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 334511, (President III, O/P), MPK


WELCHMAN, Ernest G, Lieutenant Commander, died


LITCHFIELD-RAWSTRON, Humphrey StG, Ty/Lieutenant, RNR, died

Lulworth, cutter, following attack on Italian submarine Pietro Calvi

NORTH, Frederick W, Ty/Lieutenant (E), boarded the submarine and lost when she was scuttled, MPK

Pembroke, drowning

NOTLEY, Arthur F, Petty Officer Skipper, C/ST 27, died

15 July 1942

Empire Attendant, steamship

BOWLEY, Charles, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 334735, (President III, O/P), MPK

DOWNEY, Richard, Gunner, RA, 1732578, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

GALE, William A, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 204505, (President III, O/P), MPK

HARVEY, Jack, Gunner, RA, 1735726, (3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

OLIVER, James E, Gunner, RA, 1735327, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

PAGE, Walter, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 238970, (President III, O/P), MPK

RICKETTS, Harold F, Gunner, RA, 1595186, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

ROACH, Albert E, Gunner, RA, 1714417, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

SEARCEY, Horace, Bombardier, RA, 1479965, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

Hochelaga II (RCN)

BUCZOUSKI, Peter M, Stoker 2c, V/16331 (RCNVR), died


COMBES, Alfred J, Able Seaman, P/JX 157909, DOW


CRAWFORD, William L, Ty/Sub Lieutenant, RNZNVR, killed

Pembroke, illness

BEDFORD, John H C, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 238547, died


RAE, John, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, C/KX 93931, illness, DOWS

Stadacona (RCN)

TREMAINE, Leonard R, Leading Telegraphist, V/25009 (RCNVR), died

Tana, illness

CLARK, Harold, Chief Petty Officer Cook, D/M 7502, died

16 July 1942

FAA, 768 Sqn, Argus , air crash

ADAMS, George J, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, killed


WATSON, Alexander, Ty/Skipper, RNR, died

Gulf Stream, launch, explosion

BAXTER, Noel E L, Ty/Act/Lieutenant, RNVR, (Nile, O/P), killed

HORNCASTLE, William, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 284047, killed

PEARSON, Victor L, Leading Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 221498, killed

WALTON, Henry J, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 253180, killed

YOUNG, John C, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 111487, killed

Hursley, drowning

LENNON, Bernard J, Able Seaman, C/JX 183913, died

MGB.77, surface action

BAKER, Reginald C, Able Seaman, C/JX 146127, DOW


YOUNGS, John C, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 111487, died

Northern Duke, drowning

PRATT, Benjamin, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 124819, DOWS

Penguin (RAN), illness

TIER, Vincent L, Ty/Engineer Lieutenant, RANR (S), died

RM Chatham Division

BROOKS, William T, Colour Sergeant, RM, CH/X 1950, died

17 July 1942

Athene, accident

JONES, Reginald W, Captain, RNR, killed

Ben Akat, steamship, illness

HAYNES, William J, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 243211, died

Liverpool , accident

MILLS, Alfred E, Coder, C/JX 230076, DOI

St George, illness

ANNALS, Albert E, Boy 2c, JX 292841, died

18 July 1942


BALCHIN, Arthur E, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 280575, killed

Lavington Court, steamship

DAVIDSON, William A, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 335147, (President III, O/P), MPK

President III

POWNALL, Herbert, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 290928, MPK

Sultan, as POW

WILLIAMS, John P M, Engine Room Artificer 3c, D/M 52566, (ex-Prince of Wales), died

Vernon, road accident

PATRICK, William N, Electrical Artificer 5c, P/MX 98436, killed

Wildfire, illness

O'HARA, Michael, Ordinary Seaman, R/JX 326685, died

19 July 1942

Dalhousie (RIN)

IBRAHIM, Taj-Ud-Din, Stoker 1c, 2103 (RIN), killed

Devonshire, illness

MCRAE, George A, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 255042, died

Empire Hawksbill, steamship

BARRIE, Peter A, Gunner, RA, 1820195, (6/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

CLARKE, William, Gunner, RA, 5109395, (6/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

MCKENZIE, Henry, Gunner, RA, 1784775, (6/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

MORGAN, Edward M, Lance Bombardier, RA, 1820226, (6/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

MORGAN, Walter J, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 335158, (President III, O/P), MPK

NICHOLAS, Harold G, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 291607, (President III, O/P), MPK

POLLARD, Gerald L, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 178604, (President III, O/P), MPK

Hawkins , illness

BACKHOUSE, William F, Gunner (T), died

Saunders, drowning

SMITH, Eric, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX198328, died

Tamar, as POW

BEVAN, Granville A M, Ordinary Coder, D/JX 216195, died

20 July 1942

Afrikander IV, illness

WEBB, George D, Chief Petty Officer Stoker, P/K 59517, died

Indus, steamship

MASON, John F, Marine, RFR, CH/22355, (President III, O/P), MPK

Westralia (RAN), drowning

FORD, Errol H, Stoker, S 3024 (RANR), died

21 July 1942

Donavania, steamship

HEWITT, Sydney H, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 248965, (President III, O/P), MPK

Douglas, illness

SHUTE, Stanley H, Supply Assistant, RNVR, P/PD/X 172, died

MGB.322, surface action

GINN, Thomas E, Able Seaman, P/JX 273926, killed

HAMILTON, John W, Able Seaman, C/JX 190685, killed

MGB.328, ship loss

COBB, Henry P, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, killed

HIGGINBOTTOM, Eric, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 345332, killed

MCNULTY, Andrew D, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 284879, MPK

TO, MPKINS, Raymond E, Act/Chief Motor Mechanic 4c, C/MX 67405, killed

WALKER, Richard L, Ty/Sub Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

YATES, William A, Stoker 1c, P/KX 134142, MPK

MGB.601, ship loss

LACEY, Alfred J, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 276150, DOW

Moreton (RAN)

PAGE, Cornelius L, Sub Lieutenant, RANVR, MPK


PICKETT, Arthur L, Sick Berth Attendant, C/MX 83891, died

South African Naval Force

RUITERS, Walter, Stoker, CN/72081 (SANF), died

22 July 1942

FAA, 826 Sqn, Grebe, air operations

MCKENZIE, William L, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, missing

SHEPHERD, Richard H W, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, missing

Garmula, steamship

CANHAM, William J, Marine, CH/24017, (President III, O/P), MPK

Lookout, accident

ROCCA, Joseph, Coder, D/JX 240165, DOI

Malines, ship loss

BURNS, Robert E, Donkeyman, T.124 X, killed

COUGHLIN, William M, Ordinary Telegraphist, C/JX 214479, MPK

HOGAN, John, Fireman, T.124 X, killed

HORTON, Harold R, Stoker 2c, P/KX 136622, MPK

MCGINTY, Thomas, Fireman, T.124 X, MPK

SPENCER, Thomas G, Stoker 1c, C/KX 127889, MPK

SPIERS, John M, Stoker 2c, P/KX 131880, MPK

WILLIAMS, Albert A, Greaser, T.124 X, killed

ML.187, drowning

BARNES, Victor P, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 345408, died

Resource , illness

BUHAGIAR, Emmanuelle, Ordinary Seaman, E/JX 283654, died

RM 8th Battalion, road accident

BURTON, Frank, Marine, PLY/X 103454, killed

23 July 1942

Campbell, illness

YOUNG, Harold B, Leading Telegraphist, C/JX 144899, died

Exeter, as POW

PHILP, David C, Ty/Leading Stoker, D/KX 88912, died

FAA, 785/786 Sqn, Jackdaw, air crash

BREWIS, Geoffrey, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, killed

FAA, 815 Sqn, Grebe, air operations

DIXON, Oliver, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, missing

NEWBOLD, Harold G, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, missing

WAY, William E, Ty/Act/Leading Airman, FAA/JX 223661, missing

FAA, 817 Sqn, Sparrowhawk, air crash

HOWARD, George W, Ty/Act/Leading Airman, FAA/JX 236066, MPK

Forte, illness

WEARNE, William A, Able Seaman, D/JX 283080, died

Ganges, illness

JONES, Irene E, WRNS Cook, C/WRNS 4373, died

Malines, ship loss

ROBSON, Clarence, Fireman, T.124 X, DOW

Tamar, as POW

DAVIES, Kenneth V, Supply Assistant, D/MX 82684, died

24 July 1942

Carlisle , illness

OSBORNE, William F, Corporal, RM, PLY/20205, died

FAA, 826 Sqn, Grebe, air crash

LOWE, Frederick R R, Leading Airman, FAA/FX 79410, missing

NUNNERLEY, John D, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, killed

WHITTLE, Michael G A, Act/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNR, killed

John Stephen, accident

WILSON, Wallace F, Skipper, RNR, died

Lady Shirley, NZ Police Launch, drowning

FORSYTHE, Eric W, Able Seaman, W/3354 (RNZN), died

Maitland (RAN), illness

GOLDING, William C, Lieutenant, RANR (S), died

MGB.601, ship loss

POTHECARY, Arthur J, Stoker 2c, D/KX 127172, killed

Ranchi, illness

NICOL, Edward, Painter, NAP R 323944, died


BROWN, Cecil T, Ty/Brigadier, RM, killed


LINDMOEN, Erling, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 113471, MPK

25 July 1942

Decoy, road accident

ROWSE, Harry, Able Seaman, D/JX 193649, killed

Ferret, illness

HOUNSELL, Herbert C A, Stoker 1c, D/K 18449, died

Laertes, ship loss

ALLEN, George P, Act/Chief Engineman, RNR (PS), LT/X 363 ET, MPK

BROWN, Ronald A, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 124680, MPK

DOUTHWAITE, Walter H, Stoker 1c, RNPS, LT/KX 100314, MPK

JEROME, Henry J, Stoker, RNPS, LT/SR 55740, MPK

JOHNSTON, Archie, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 215779, MPK

JONES, Eugene G, Ordinary Signalman, D/JX 232974, MPK

KEY, Stanley G, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 108562, MPK

LAWRENCE, Alexander, Skipper, RNR, MPK

MCGRATH, Stephen, Assistant Cook, RNPS, LT/MX 84379, MPK

OSBORNE, William J, Stoker 1c, RNPS, LT/KX 106551, MPK

PAGE, Jack, Leading Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 183079, MPK

PALMER, Norman W, Steward, RNPS, LT/LX 27518, MPK

QUINLAN, Patrick J, Act/Skipper Lieutenant, RNR, MPK

REID, James, Ty/Skipper, RNR, MPK

RICHES, Charles L, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 281707, MPK

ROGERSON, Thomas, 2nd Hand, RNPS, LT/JX 205218, MPK

WHITEHALL, Edward F J, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 240308, MPK

WILKINSON, Harold, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 309494, MPK

WILLIAMSON, Roy, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 295618, MPK


COSTAIN, Eric, Act/Chief Motor Mechanic, P/MX 89573, DOWS

Sphinx, illness

JENSEN, Sigurd, Chief Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 117653, died

26 July 1942


ROSE, Charles F, Petty Officer Steward, P/L 14976, died

Nile, illness

FORSTER, Kenneth, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 205530, died

Pembroke, accident

WILLIAMS, Harry, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 353815, killed


MCGUIGAN, Richard P, Cook, D/MX 613163, killed

27 July 1942

FAA, 789 Sqn, Afrikander, air crash

SMITH, Richard V, Lieutenant, RNR, MPK

Grebe, illness

SHORROCKS, Edward, Able Seaman, D/SSX 20443, died

Leikanger, steamship

PUNTER, Cyril H, Gunner, RA, 1807313, (6/3 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

Melita, steamship

STANSFIELD, Eric, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 268070, (President III, O/P), killed

RM MNBDO, road accident

COCKBURN, George B, Marine, PO/X 102376, DOI

Rockrose, illness

DIXON, Gordon, Petty Officer, D/JX 141400, DOWS

28 July 1942

Drake, road accident

BREWER, Herbert E, Ty/Sub Lieutenant, RNVR, killed

Drake, illness

DAVIES, Gwilym P, Able Seaman, D/JX 175328, died

Keren, illness

MATTHEW, John P, Ty/Lieutenant Commander (E), RNR, died

RAF, air crash

BUSH, Ronald F, Act/Leading Airman, FAA/FX 88783, killed

29 July 1942

MGB.67, surface action

LANGLEY, William F, Able Seaman, P/SSX 23335, killed

WILSON, Walter T, Ty/Sub Lieutenant, RNVR, killed

30 July 1942

1/1 Maritime Regt, RA

WELCH, John, Gunner, RA, 4268877, killed


SWIFT, Laurence, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/K 65857, DOWS

Nelson, illness

CONNELL, Albert E, Able Seaman, P/J 89209, DOWS


ALLIBONE, Walter M, Chief Petty Officer, D/J 8801, died

Skirmisher, illness

DUNNE, James, Able Seaman, R/JX 180765, died

31 July 1942

Chinampa (RAN), shore gunfire

HENDERSON, Frederick J, Warrant Officer, RANR, killed

Emerald , accident

STENNING, Charles, Plumber 4c, P/MX 78066, killed

MGB.332, surface action

MILLS, William H, Stoker 2c, P/KX 151841, killed

SHEPHARD, Samuel, Able Seaman, D/JX 284952, killed

Naden (RCN)

KEAYS, Albert L, Able Seaman, V/15175 (RCNVR), died


PARKER, Donald, Able Seaman, D/JX 213637, died

RM 3rd Battalion, accident

NOKES, Charles J, Marine, CH/X 104984, killed

Tulip, illness

WATKINS, Sidney, Telegraphist, P/JX 233353, died


By the spring of 1942, the German Operation Barbarossa did not defeat the Soviet Union. The war was still going well for the Germans: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. [18] :p.522

In the east, they had captured land including Leningrad in the north and Rostov in the south. There were a number of places where Soviet attacks had pushed the Germans back (to the northwest of Moscow and south of Kharkov) but this did not threaten the Germans. Hitler was confident that he could beat the Red Army after the winter of 1941. Even though Army Group Centre had heavy losses near Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not fought and had been rested and given new equipment. Army Groups North and South had also not had a hard time over the winter. [19] Stalin was expecting German summer attacks to again be directed against Moscow.

The Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The Germans wanted to destroy Stalingrad's industries. The Germans also wanted to block the Volga River. The river was a route between the Caspian Sea and northern Russia. Capturing the river would make it hard for the Soviets to use the river to transport goods.

The German operations were initially very successful. On July 23, 1942, Hitler changed the goals for the 1942 attack. He made occupying Stalingrad one of the goals. The city was important, because it was named after Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union. The Germans thought that if they captured Stalingrad, it would help the northern and western parts of the German armies to attack Baku. The Germans wanted to capture Baku because it had a lot of oil. [18]

The Soviets were aware of the German plan to attack. The Soviets ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. [20]

Approaching this place, [Stalingrad], soldiers used to say: "We are entering hell." And after spending one or two days here, they say: "No, this isn't hell, this is ten times worse than hell." [21]

On the 23 of August the 6th Army reached the edge of Stalingrad. They were following the 62nd and 64th Armies, which had gone back into the city. Kleist later said after the war: [22]

The capture of Stalingrad was [a place] where we could block an attack. by Russian forces coming from the east. [22]

The Soviets had enough warning of the German attack to move all the city's grain, cattle, and railway cars across the Volga. But most civilian residents stayed in the city. The city lacked food even before the German attack. The Luftwaffe air attacks made the Soviets unable to use the River Volga to bring supplies into the city. Between 25 and 31 July, 32 Soviet ships were sunk in the River Volga. [23] :p.69

The battle began with the heavy bombing of the city by Luftflotte 4. A 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped. [2] :p.122 Much of the city turned to rubble. Some factories continued to produce goods.

Stalin moved troops to the east bank of the Volga. All the regular ferries were destroyed by the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe also attacked troop barges. Many civilians were moved out of the city across the Volga. [24] Stalin prevented most civilians from leaving the city because he thought that this would make the Soviet armies fight harder. [25] :p.106 Civilians, including women and children, were told to dig trenches. Massive German bombing on 23 August caused a firestorm. It killed thousands and turned Stalingrad into rubble and ruins. Between 23 and 26 August, 955 people were killed and another 1,181 wounded from the bombing. [2] :p.73 [26] :p.188–189 [Note 6]

The Soviet Air Force, the Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily (VVS), was destroyed by the Luftwaffe. The Soviets lost 201 aircraft between 23 and 31 August. They brought in another 100 aircraft in August. [2] :p.74 The Soviets continued to bring new planes into Stalingrad in late September, but they were destroyed by the Germans.

The city was briefly defended by the 1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, [25] :p.106 an all-women's regiment that was actually able to halt an entire German division due to their massive firepower. The Germans eventually swarmed and killed them, but were shocked to discover that this whole time they were being held back by young women that seemed fresh out of high school. [25] :p.108 [27] In the battle, the NKVD organized "Workers' militias" who were often sent into battle without rifles. [25] :p.109 [25] :p.110

By the end of August, Army Group South (B) had reached the Volga. By 1 September, the Soviets could only supply their forces in Stalingrad by crossing the Volga under constant bombing by artillery and aircraft.

On 5 September, the Soviet 24th and 66th Armies organized an attack against XIV Panzer Corps. The Luftwaffe helped stop the attack by attacking Soviet artillery and soldiers. The Soviets had to pull back. Of the 120 tanks the Soviets had sent into battle, 30 were lost to air attack. [2]

The Soviets were always being attacked by the Luftwaffe. On 18 September, the Soviet 1st Guards and 24th Army attacked VIII Army Corps . VIII. Fliegerkorps sent Stuka dive-bombers to prevent the Soviets from advancing. The Soviet attack was stopped. The Stukas destroyed 41 of the 106 Soviet tanks that were destroyed that morning. German Bf 109s destroyed 77 Soviet aircraft. [2] :p.80 In the wrecked city, the Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies, which included the Soviet 13th Guards Rifle Division, used houses and factories to hide in.

Fighting in city was very violent. Stalin's Order No. 227 of 27 July 1942 decreed that all commanders who retreated without being told to do so would have to go to a military tribunal. [28] 84-5 "Not a step back!" was the slogan. The Germans attacking Stalingrad had many dead and wounded.

Germany reaches the Volga Edit

After three months of slow advance, the Wermacht finally reached the river banks. The Germans captured 90% of the ruined city and split the Soviet forces into two parts. Ice on the Volga river made it impossible for the Soviets to bring in supplies by boat.

German troops were not ready for fighting during the winter of 1942. The Stavka did a number of attacks between November 19, 1942 and February 2, 1943. These operations started the Winter Campaign of 1942-1943 (19 November 1942 – 3 March 1943), which involved 15 armies.

Operation Uranus: the Soviet offensive Edit

In autumn, the Soviet generals Georgy Zhukov and Aleksandr Vasilevsky gathered their soldiers in the north and south of the city. The northern side was defended by Hungarian, and Romanian troops. The Don river had never been defended well by the German side. The Soviet plan was to attack and surround the German forces in the Stalingrad region.

The operation was code-named "Uran". It started with Operation Mars, aimed at Army Group Center. [29]

On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus. The attacking Soviet units under the command of Gen. Nikolay Vatutin consisted of three armies. This included a total of 18 infantry divisions, eight tank brigades, two motorized brigades, six cavalry divisions and one anti-tank brigade. The Soviets pushed past the Romanian Third Army. The response by the Wehrmacht was disorganized. Bad weather prevented air attacks against the Soviets.

On 20 November, a second Soviet offensive (two armies) was launched to the south of Stalingrad against the Romanian 4th Army Corps. The Romanians were overrun by large numbers of tanks. The Soviet forces moved west and made a ring around Stalingrad. [30] :p.926

About 265,000 German, Romanian, Italian soldiers, [31] the 369th (Croatian) Reinforced Infantry Regiment, and other troops including 40,000 Soviet volunteers fighting for the Germans. [28] were surrounded. There were 210,000 Germans on 19 November 1942. There were also around 10,000 Soviet civilians and several thousand Soviet soldiers the Germans had taken captive during the battle. Not all of the 6th Army was trapped 50,000 were not surrounded. Of the 210,000 Germans surrounded, 10,000 remained to fight, 105,000 surrendered, 35,000 left by air and the remaining 60,000 died.

The Red Army formed two defensive groups. Field Marshal Erich von Manstein told Hitler not to order the 6th Army to break out. Manstein thought that he could break through the Soviet troops and free the 6th Army. [32] p451 [33] After 1945, Manstein says he told Hitler that the 6th Army must break out. [31] The American historian Gerhard Weinberg said that Manstein lied. [32] p1045

Manstein was told to attack Stalingrad in Operation Winter Storm (Unternehmen Wintergewitter). He thought that this attack could work if the 6th Army was supplied through the air. [31] [32]

Adolf Hitler had said on 30 September 1942 that the German army would never leave the city. At a meeting shortly after the Soviets formed a ring around the Germans, the German army chiefs wanted to try to escape to the west of the Don. Hitler thought that the Luftwaffe could supply the 6th Army with an "air bridge". This would allow the Germans in the city to fight while a new force was assembled. A similar plan had been used a year earlier at the Demyansk Pocket.

The director of Luftflotte 4, Wolfram von Richthofen, tried to get this decision stopped. The forces under 6th Army were almost twice as large as a regular German army unit, plus there was also a corps of the 4th Panzer Army trapped in the city. The maximum 117.5 short tons (106.6 t) they could deliver a day was far less than the minimum 800 short tons (730 t) needed.

To add to the limited number of Junkers Ju 52 planes the Germans used other planes like the Heinkel He 177 . General Richthofen told Manstein on 27 November that the Luftwaffe could not supply 300 tons a day by air. Manstein now saw the problems of a supply by air. The next day he made a report which said that the supply by air would be impossible. He said the Sixth Army should try to escape. He said that giving up Stalingrad would be a difficult loss, but that it would keep the Sixth Army intact. [34] Hitler said that the Sixth Army would have to stay at Stalingrad and that the air force would supply it until the Germans could attack the Soviets.

The Luftwaffe was able to deliver an average of 94 short tons (85 t) of supplies per day. The most successful day, 19 December, delivered 289 short tons (262 t) of supplies in 154 flights. In the early parts of the operation, more fuel was shipped than food and ammunition because the Germans thought they could escape from the city. Transport airplanes also flew out sick or wounded men from the city. The German attack did not reach the 6th Army. The air supply operation continued. The 6th Army slowly starved. 160 German transport aircraft were destroyed and 328 were heavily damaged. Some 266 Junkers Ju 52s were destroyed.

Operation Winter Storm Edit

Soviet forces grouped together around Stalingrad. Violent fighting to attack the Germans began. Operation Winter Storm (Operation Wintergewitter), the German attempt to rescue the trapped army from the south, was at first successful. By 19 December, the German Army had pushed to within 48 km (30 mi) of Sixth Army's positions. Some German officers asked Paulus go against Hitler's orders and try to escape out of the Stalingrad. Paulus refused. On 23 December, Manstein's forces had to defend themselves from new Soviet attacks.

Operation Little Saturn Edit

On 16 December, the Soviets launched Operation Little Saturn. It attempted to make a hole through the Axis army (mainly Italians) on the Don and capture Rostov. The Germans set up a defence of small units. 15 Soviet divisions—supported by at least 100 tanks—attacked the Italian Cosseria and Ravenna Divisions. [35] The Soviets never got close to Rostov because of the Italian defence.

The German attempt to break through to Stalingrad was stopped and Army Group A was told to come back from the Caucasus.

The 6th Army could no longer hope to escape. The 6th Army did not have enough fuel. As well, the German soldiers have found it very hard to break through the Soviet lines on foot in the cold winter conditions.

Soviet victory Edit

The Germans retreated from the suburbs of Stalingrad to the city itself. The loss of the two airfields, at Pitomnik on 16 January 1943 and Gumrak on the night of 21/22 January, [36] meant an end to air supplies and to the flying out the wounded. [37] :p.98 The third and last runway was at the Stalingradskaja flight school, which had the last landings and takeoffs on the night of 22–23 January. [38] After that, there were no landings except for air drops of ammunition and food.

The Germans were now not only starving, but running out of ammunition. They continued to fight because they thought the Soviets would execute any Germans who surrendered. A Soviet group (Major Aleksandr Smyslov, Captain Nikolay Dyatlenko and a trumpeter) carried an offer to Paulus: if he surrendered within 24 hours, he would receive a guarantee of safety for all prisoners, medical care for the sick and wounded, prisoners allowed to keep their personal belongings, food rations, and be sent to any country they wanted after the war. Paulus was ordered not to surrender by Hitler, so he did not respond. [39] :p.283 [40]

On 30 January 1943, the 10th anniversary of Hitler coming to power, Goebbels said "The heroic struggle of our soldiers on the Volga should be a warning for everybody. " [41] Also on that day Hitler promoted Paulus to Generalfeldmarschall. Since no German Field Marshal had ever been taken prisoner, Hitler assumed that Paulus would fight on or kill himself.

The next day, the southern group in Stalingrad was defeated by the Soviets. Soviet forces reached the entrance to the German headquarters. General Schmidt surrendered the headquarters. Paulus said he had not surrendered and refused to order the remaining German forces to surrender.

Four Soviet armies attacked the remaining northern group. On 2 February, General Strecker surrendered. Around 91,000 tired, ill, wounded, and starving prisoners were taken, including 3,000 Romanians (the survivors of the 20th Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division and "Col. Voicu" Detachment). [42] The prisoners included 22 generals. Hitler was angry and said that Paulus should have killed himself, but instead "he prefers to go to Moscow." [43] Paulus was Roman Catholic and therefore did not.

The German public was not officially told of the loss until the end of January 1943, though positive media reports had stopped in the weeks before the announcement. [44] Stalingrad marked the first time that the Nazi government publicly admitted a failure in its war effort. It was a major defeat where German losses were almost equal to those of the Soviets. Prior losses of the Soviet Union were generally three times as high as the German ones. [44] On 31 January, German state radio played the Adagio movement from Anton Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, followed by the announcement of the defeat at Stalingrad. [44]

On 18 February, Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels gave the Sportpalast speech in Berlin, encouraging the Germans to accept a total war.

Out of the nearly 110,000 German prisoners captured in Stalingrad, only about 6,000 ever returned. They were sent to prisoner camps and later to labour camps all over the Soviet Union. Some 35,000 were eventually sent on transports, of which 17,000 did not survive. Some were kept in the city to help rebuild.

Some senior officers were taken to Moscow and used for propaganda purposes. Some of them joined the National Committee for a Free Germany. Some, including Paulus, signed anti-Hitler statements that were broadcast to German troops. Paulus testified for the prosecution during the Nuremberg Trials. [24] :p.401 He remained in the Soviet Union until 1952, then moved to Dresden in East Germany. [24] :p.280 General Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach offered to raise an anti-Hitler army from the Stalingrad survivors, but the Soviets did not accept. It was not until 1955 that the last of the 5-6,000 survivors were repatriated (to West Germany).

Orders of battle Edit

During the defence of Stalingrad, the Red Army used six armies (8th, 28th, 51st, 57th, 62nd and 64th Armies) in and around the city. An additional nine armies in the final attack on the Germans. [25] :435–438 The nine armies used for the final attack were the 24th Army, 65th Army, 66th Army and 16th Air Army from the north as part of the Don Front offensive and 1st Guards Army, 5th Tank, 21st Army, 2nd Air Army and 17th Air Army from the south as part of the Soviet Southwestern Front.

Casualties Edit

Counting how many people were killed and wounded in the battle of Stalingrad is hard. One way is to only count the fighting within the city and suburbs. Another way of counting is to count all the fighting on the southern part of the Soviet-German front from the spring of 1942 to the winter of 1943. Different scholars have made different estimates depending on how widely you consider the battle.

The Axis had from 500,000 to 850,000 casualties (killed, wounded, captured) among all branches of the German armed forces and its allies [45] :p.396 and only 5-6,000 returned to Germany by 1955. The remainder of the POWs died in Soviet captivity. [46] :p.196 [47] :p.36

On 2 February 1943, the fighting of Axis troops in Stalingrad stopped. Out of the 91,000 prisoners taken by the Soviets, 3,000 were Romanian.

The Red Army had a total of 1,129,619 total casualties [16] 478,741 men killed or missing and 650,878 wounded. These numbers are for the whole Don region in the city itself 750,000 were killed, captured, or wounded.

Anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing by Luftflotte 4 as the German 4th Panzer and 6th Armies got close to the city [48] the total number of civilians killed in the regions outside the city is unknown.

In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7-2 million Axis and Soviet casualties, making it possibly the bloodiest battle in all of human history.

Scope of the battle Edit

In the original 1942 plan, the occupation of Stalingrad had not been a goal. Based on the military successes of the Germans in the first month of the attacks, Hitler decided to expand the military goals. Hitler thought that the Soviet forces across the Don river were weak. The new goals included Stalingrad and even capturing the Volga.

Once the Armies began to fight in the for the city, both sides began to feel that it was very important to win. The Germans sent a lot of troops into the city. This meant that their side did not control the Don river and the Soviet bridges. The German side made steady progress in the fighting and eventually held about 90% of the city.

The German focus on the city made them not think of the weakness of their defenses along the Don and the massive buildup of Soviet forces on their sides. After the Soviet breakthrough, the Germans were very disorganized. The 6th Army was eventually reorganized in time for the Battle of Kursk, but was made up mostly of new soldiers and was never as strong as it had once been. [24] :p.386

Germany failed at Stalingrad because they expanded the goals in the second half of July. After one month of success, the Germans started believing they could win the battle. Hitler ordered too many goals and he did not think Soviet reserves were as strong as they were. To the south of Stalingrad, Army Group A was trying to capture the oilfields. Then its goals were expanded to include the whole of the Black Sea coast. [49]

Stalingrad was a turning point in the war. It also showed the discipline and determination of both the German Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army. The Soviets first defended Stalingrad against a strong German attack. Newly arrived Soviet soldiers often died in less than a day. Soviet officers often died in three days.

Historians have talked about how much terror there was in the Red Army. Beevor noted the bravery of the Soviet soldiers. [25] :p.154–168 Richard Overy says that some people think that in the "summer of 1942 the Soviet army fought because it was forced to fight,” but he says this is not true [50] A historian talked to Soviet veterans about terror on the Eastern Front. Many soldiers said they were relieved at the order not to retreat. [51] Infantryman Lev Lvovich’s said he felt better. [52]

For the heroism of the Soviet defenders of Stalingrad, the city was awarded the title Hero City in 1945. Twenty-four years after the battle, in October 1967, [53] a monument, The Motherland Calls, was built on Mamayev Kurgan, the hill overlooking the city. The hill actually used to be much larger, but had been flattened due to constant artillery fire. The statue forms part of a war memorial that includes ruined walls from the battle. The Grain Silo, as well as Pavlov's House can still be visited.

Many women fought on the Soviet side, or were under fire. [54] At the beginning of the battle there were 75,000 women and girls from the Stalingrad area who had finished military or medical training, and all of whom were to serve in the battle. [55] Women staffed a great many of the anti-aircraft batteries that fought not only the Luftwaffe but German tanks. [56] Soviet nurses not only treated wounded men under fire but brought wounded soldiers back to the hospitals under enemy fire. [57] Many of the Soviet wireless and telephone operators were women who often suffered heavy injuries and deaths. [58] Though women were not usually trained as infantry, many Soviet women fought as machine gunners, mortar operators, and scouts. [59] Women were also snipers at Stalingrad. [60] Three air regiments at Stalingrad were entirely female. [59] At least three women won the title Hero of the Soviet Union while driving tanks at Stalingrad. [61]

The German Army showed a lot of discipline after being surrounded. Many German soldiers starved or froze to death. Yet, discipline was continued until the very end. General Friedrich Paulus obeyed Hitler's orders and did not attempt to escape out of the city. German ammunition, supplies, and food became scarce. Generals from both sides suffered from massive stress because of the battle and also because of the fact that they had to report to the most brutal leader in their nation's history. Many generals suffered health problems because of their stress.

Paulus followed his orders and fought to the very end. He asked for permission to surrender, but it was denied. Hitler promoted him to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. No German field marshal had ever surrendered, and the implication was clear. Hitler believed that Paulus would either fight to the last man or commit suicide. [62] Paulus was taken prisoner. [63] [Note 7]

After his capture, Paulus told the Soviets that he had not surrendered. He refused to issue an order for the Germans to surrender. [64] [65]

In popular culture Edit

The events of the battle for Stalingrad have been shown in several movies of German, Russian, [66] British and American origin.

The battle is described in many books.

In the novel The Book Thief, one character was presumed to have died or been captured in The Battle of Stalingrad.

In the 2011 video game Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, the game shows famous locations of the battle, such as Pavlov's House, the Red October Factory and Mamayev Kurgan, among others.

The 2013 game, Company of Heroes 2, showed the battle in certain missions. It was criticized by Russian players for being untrue [67] and on August 7 sales in Russia were stopped. [68]

The role of the 1st South African Division during the FIRST BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN, 1-30 JULY 1942

James Jacobs is currently the Resident Military Historian at the South African Army College. In this capacity he lectures in military history to different courses in the SANDF, such as the Army Officers' Formative Courses, Junior Command and Staff Courses and the Senior Command and Staff Programme at the South African National War College. He joined the SADF in 1973 and served as an armour officer at 1 Special Service Battalion in Bloemfontein. During the period 1977 to 1980, he served in various appointments in the operational areas of SWA and on the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia border. In 1983, he became a lecturer in military history at the Military Academy, Saldanha, and in 1989 became the head of the Department of Military History. He also served at the SANDF Documentation Services (Archives). His academic qualifications include the B Mil, University of Stellenbosch, 1976 BA Hons, Strategic Studies, UN/SA, 1981 Hons B Mil, Military History, University of Stellenbosch, 1984 MA, Cum Laude, History, University of Stellenbosch, 1988 and PHD, History, University of the Orange Free State, 1994. He is currently writing two books that will be completed in 2005. He is married to Sanet and they have two daughters, Tania (20) and Mari (18).

The Union of South Africa entered the Second World War on 6 September 1939. Prime Minister J C Smuts believed that the Union Defence Forces (UDF) had to make a major contribution in the Middle East, deemed to be the most important theatre of operations for the British Empire. The reason for this was that without the oil of the Persian Gulf and the use of the Suez Canal, its war effort would be crippled (Hancock, 1968, pp 366-7).

South African participation in the North African campaign is associated with names such as Sidi Rezegh, Taib el Essem, Tobruk and El Alamein. When South African ex-servicemen annually commemorate the last named event, they refer to the battle conducted during October and November 1942. This was the victory of the British Eighth Army under command of General Bernard Montgomery. What is less well known is that South African forces played a more important role in the so-called First Battle of El Alamein, 1-30 July 1942, a battle that could have cost the British Empire the war in North Africa. Thus, the South African participation in the campaign is also not generally seen in proper perspective.

Before Alamein, it seems as if the British commanders in the Western Desert would never find a way to defeat the Desert Fox, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. However, during this battle, the British commander in the Middle East and of the Eighth Army, General C J E Auchinleck, succeeded in stopping the advance of Rommel's forces and laid the foundation for his later defeat.

General Claude Auchinleck
(Photo: by courtesy,
SANDF Documentation Centre)

The aim of this study is to analyse the role of the South Africans during the First Battle of El Alamein with specific reference to the 1st South African Infantry Division. The activities of this division will be examined within the context of the battle design of the British Eighth Army, with specific focus on 30th Corps, under whose command the South Africans resorted.

The opposing forces and the terrain

The British forces in the Middle East had to defend on two fronts. The Northern Front consisted of Palestine, Trans Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran. In the Western Desert, the war encompassed Egypt and Italian Libya. The Northern Front would only be threatened by the Axis powers if their forces in the Soviet Union could break through in the Caucusus region and advance south. However, the biggest threat to the security of the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf oilfields were the Axis forces operating from Libya under the command of Rommel (Calvocoressi and Wint, 1973, pp 397-8).

From a British perspective, the situation in North Africa did not look good by July 1942. The Eighth Army evacuated the Gazala line west of Tobruk on 14 June and on 21 June disaster struck when the garrison of Tobruk surrendered and 33 000 men, mostly South Africans of the 2nd South African Division, went into captivity. Initially, the Eighth Army tried to defend Egypt in the vicinity of Mersa Matruh, but this town could easily be enveloped from the south. Thus, Auchinleck decided rather to withdraw to El Alamein, confirming a decision by the British General Staff that this would be the best position from which to defend Alexandria, Cairo and the Suez Canal (Auchinleck, January, 1948, p 328).

The so-called El Alamein Line was the last obstacle between Rommel and the Suez Canal. In contrast to the image of an impenetrable defensive line of fortifications, minefields and barbed wires, portrayed by the BBC and the British papers, it was not much more than a line on a map (Barnett, 1983, p 195). In addition, for weeks, the Eighth Army had only known defeat at the hands of Rommel (Dorman O'Gowan, 1967, p 1 068).

Map showing the Axis advance to El Alamein, 22-28 June 1942
(Source: M Wright (ed),
The World at Arms, Reader's Digest Illustrated History of World War II, p 90).

The defensive position was divided into three corps areas with 30th Corps near the coast and 13th Corps in the south. In the Nile Delta, 10 Corps was deployed in depth. In the north, near the small railway siding of El Alamein, a defensive position had been prepared in 1941 by the 2nd South African Division, but by now it was in a dilapidated state. It was from here to the northern slope of the Ruweisat Ridge that the 1st South African Division would be deployed by the end of June 1942 (Agar-Hamilton and Turner, 1952, p 271).

The 18th Indian Brigade was deployed on the western part of the ridge, at Deir el Shein. They had just arrived from Iraq and were placed in hastily prepared defensive positions. They had to cover a gap of twelve kilometres between the left flank of the South Africans and the right flank of 13th Corps. The 1st British Armoured Division was earmarked to deploy east of this position on the Ruweisat Ridge, but was still on its way from Mersa Matruh by 30 June. The tactical headquarters of the Eighth Army was situated to the east of this position on the Alam el Haifa Ridge (Dorman O'Gowan, 1967, p 1 062).

The British 13th Corps had to defend the area from the southern slope of the Ruweisat Ridge up to the Quattara Depression with weakened infantry while, by 30 June, the 7th British Armoured Division was also still on its way from Mersa Matruh. The Quattara Depression, more or less 60km south-west of El Alamein, constitutes an area of 200km 2 and consists mostly of salt lakes and soft sand so that even camels carrying a load could not navigate it. (Essame, 1976, p 36). South of this lay the Sahara Desert, also impassable for motor vehicles (Barucha, 1956, p 417). Thus the position could not be enveloped from the south.

Rommel's only chance of defeating the Eighth Army and capturing Alexandria and Cairo was to break through this thin defensive line and to destroy the British Armoured formations before they could recuperate. On the surface, it looked as if this would be easy to achieve. However, Rommel's forces had also been weakened by the continuous fighting since the start of the offensive at Gazala on 26 May. He had only 55 German tanks, 2 000 infantry and some artillery, supplemented by thirty obsolete Italian tanks, 5 500 infantry and 200 guns (War Diary DAK, 30 June 1942 Dorman O'Gowan, 1967, p 1 070). His biggest problem, however, was to keep this meagre force supplied along a long line of communication. Tobruk harbour could only handle a limited quantity of Rommel's supply needs and the only other two suitable harbours, Tripoli and Benghazi, were respectively 2 080km and 1 280km from the front at El Alamein. This situation was aggravated by the weak road and limited railway system along the coast. Also, from Tobruk eastward the Axis supply columns were within striking distance of the Royal and South African Air Forces deployed in the Nile Delta (Van Creveld, 1977, pp 194-7). Thus, everything depended on whether Rommel's forces could break through the El Alamein line and manoeuvre into a good position in the open terrain from there to the Nile Delta in order to destroy the British armoured formations before they were able to recuperate (Macksey, 1968, p 94).

Map showing British Eighth Army positions on 30 June 1942.
(Source: P Young (ed),
Atlas of the Second World War, p 47).

Auchinleck realised this and he restructured the control of firepower in the Eighth Army. At this stage, the British had more 6-pounder anti-tank guns available, the control of field artillery fire was more centralised and more extensive use of land mines could be made. Auchinleck realised that it was crucial to slow down the tempo of operations to win time and to allow the Eighth Army to build up strength for a counter-offensive (Playfair, 1960, p 333).

Still, the absence of British armour on 1 July was critical. Furthermore, although the British had 150 tanks left, most were no match for the German panzers and anti-tank gunners. Only twenty Grant medium tanks could match the German forces in a armoured showdown (Barnett, 1983, pp 189-99). Also, by 1 July, the Australian 9th Infantry Division had not yet reached the Nile Delta from Syria.

However, Rommel's situation was aggravated by the loss of reliable information about the Eighth Army. Before this stage of the campaign, a reliable source had existed in Cairo. Early in the war, Italian crypto-analysts had broken the code used by the American military attache in Cairo, Colonel Bonner Fellers. By radio, Fellers had submitted the order of battle of the Eighth Army to Washington on a daily basis, but in June 1942, the British had discovered this and, on 29 June, changed the code. Thus, on the eve of the battle, Rommel had little information regarding the strength and deployment of the Eighth Army.

During the battle, another blow would cripple the Axis. The Wireless Intercept Section under the command of Lieutenant Seebohm was wiped out on 10 July during an Australian counter-attack (Handel, 1990, p 286).

Consequently, without realising it, Rommel let an opportunity slip through his fingers. His tank forces had already arrived in the vicinity of El Alamein by 30 June, but he had too little information on the British forces and, believing the propaganda of the BBC on the strength of the El Alamein line, he decided to attack early on the following day (Liddell Hart, 1974, p 239).

This division, under the command of Major General D H (Dan) Pienaar, had participated in the fighting at Gazala and Mersa Matruh and was deployed in the vicinity of El Alamein on 25 June 1942. In line with Auchinleck's battle design to use infantry in a more mobile role, only the 3rd Brigade was deployed inside the El Alamein Box, while the 2nd and 1st Brigades were deployed in a southerly direction towards the Ruweisat Ridge. The concept was that these two brigades would serve as the mobile component supporting the 3rd Brigade and the 18th Indian Brigade (Divisional Documents, 68, File 64: Operational Report, 1st SA Division, El Alamein Defensive Battle, 29 June - 30 September 1942, p 2).

Lt Col C W M Norrie, corps commander, seen here with the commander
of the 1st South African Division at El Alamein, Maj Gen D H Pienaar.
(Photo: By courtesy, SANDF Documentation Centre).

The division was but a third of its normal strength as detachments to the 2nd Division had been lost in Tobruk and casualties suffered at Mersa Matruh had weakened its position. Thus, in total, the division had only between 3 000 and 4 000 men available. The South African field artillery also had only sixty 25-pounder guns available for the coming battle (Divisional Documents 88, File 1 Div 81/A2, Strengths June-October 1942). However, their fire-power was augmented by the detachment of 28 medium guns of the 7th British Medium Artillery Regiment for deployment in the El Alamein Box (Bidwell and Graham, 1982, p 239).

Rommel's first effort to break through

Early on 1 July, the German 90th Light Division tried to break through the line between the El Alamein Box and Ruweisat Ridge in an effort to reach the coast east of the South African position. At the same time, the Afrika Korps (21st and 15th Panzer Divisions) advanced south of the 90th Light with the aim of reaching a position east of the British 13th Corps. The rest of the Axis forces conducted fixing attacks against the rest of the Eighth Army. If a hole could be punched in the defensive line and if the El Alamein Box could be captured from the east, the whole Eighth Army position could be rolled up from north to south by defeating the British formations in detail (WD 403, File 34374/3: Report, Panzerarmee Afrika - Commander Southern Front, 1 July 1942).

Initially, a sandstorm aided the 90th Light Division in getting quite close to the El Alamein Box without being detected. However, as soon as the forces made contact, the South Africans beat off several attacks with ease. Thus, the attackers had to withdraw westward to regroup and to try to find another way further to the south. By this time, the sandstorm had cleared, making it easy for the South African and British artillery observers to direct fire onto them (WD 358, File A7/ME 52: War Diary, 3rd SA Brigade HQ, 1 July 1942). No South Africans were killed on 1 July (Div Docs 105, File 1 SAD/A2/2: Battle Casualties, June-July 1942).

The task facing the South Africans was made much easier by events to the south-west of their positions. Unintentionally, the Afrika Korps made contact with the 18th Indian Brigade at Deir el Shein. Although this brigade ceased to exist as a fighting entity as a result of the action that followed, the Germans also suffered losses. By the end of the day, Rommel had only 37 serviceable German tanks at his disposal and could not attack the South African position (UWH, 3224, UWH Draft Narratives: Radio message, 21st Panzer Division - Deutsches Afrika Korps, 05.40, 2 July 1942 Playfair, 1960, p 341). During the afternoon of 1 July, the 1st British Armoured Division arrived at Ruweisat Ridge, thus diminishing Rommel's best chance to break through the El Alamein line (Playfair, 1960, pp 339-41 ).

Rommel's Plan, 30 June 1942.
(Source: P Young (ed)
Atlas of the Second World War, p 47).

These events would also have a negative effect on relations between South African and British commanders. The perception already existed that the latter had an irresponsible attitude towards human losses. The 18th Indian Brigade was deployed outside the artillery range of other formations of the Eighth Army. Requests by Pienaar that the brigade be placed under his command and deployed closer to the South African formations had been turned down. Pienaar was determined that the same fate would not befall his own men (Hartshorne, Cape Town, pp 157-8 C L de W du Toit: Herinneringe, III, p 5).

By last light on 1 July, Rommel's forces had not progressed further east than Deir el Shein and the Eighth Army was still in control of the situation (Playfair, 1960, p 341). Thus, in retrospect, the South Africans had thwarted the key component of Rommel's plan. By holding on to the El Alamein Box, the pivot of the El Alamein line was kept intact at a critical stage when the British armour was still on its way from Mersa Matruh to El Alamein. Hence the El Alamein Box would become a thorn in the side of Rommel as the South Africans constantly harassed them with patrols and artillery fire until the end of the battle (Agar-Hamilton and Turner, 1952, p 271).

Rommel's second onslaught against the El Alamein line, 2-3 July 1942

The danger to the Eighth Army had not diminished completely. Rommel threw everything at the Eighth Army during the next two days. The main fighting occurred in the vicinity of the Ruweisat Ridge, involving the 1st British Armoured Division, but the South Africans did not escape unscathed. On 2 July, the 1st South African Brigade was in the brunt of the fighting, being hit by the left wing of attacks by the German panzers. Three officers and fourteen other ranks were wounded, including the brigade commander, Brigadier J P A Furstenburg (Div Docs. 105, File 1 SAD/A2/2, Battle Casualties, 2 July 1942). Also, the guns of the 7th Field Regiment were damaged to the extent that, by last light, they could not participate further in the battle (WD 403, File A15/ME 63: War Diary, 1st Field Regiment, SA Artillery, 2 July 1942).

The 'Desert Fox', Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
(Source: SANDF Documentation Centre).

The sacrifices were worth it, as Rommel's forces were again prevented from enveloping the El Alamein Box. However, Pienaar did not want the 1st South African Rommel forced to defend his Brigade to suffer the same fate as positions the 18th Indian Brigade. Also, if they could not hold on to their positions, the rest of the division would be enveloped from the south. His fears proved to be well founded as, by late afternoon on 2 July, it had become clear that the position could no longer be held. Without the support of artillery, the brigade would not be able to withstand another day's attacks. Also, the promised British column that was supposed to strengthen their position did not arrive! German artillery fire was very accurate and the possibility existed that the panzers could swing the axis of their advance to a more north-westerly direction and destroy the brigade, which had a severe shortage of anti-tank guns. At the same time, the 1st British Armoured Division tried to envelope the Germans, causing a gap between them and the 1st South African Brigade which made the brigade's southern flank even more vulnerable (WD 347, File A3/ME 37: War Diary, 1st SA Division HQ, 2 July 1942).

Pienaar decided that the only solution was to move the brigade to a safer position further east. This led to a serious clash with the corps commander, Lieutenant General C W M Norrie. Eventually Auchinleck was drawn into the argument during the night of 2/3 July and Pienaar got his way (Playfair, 1960, p 343). Pienaar's concern for his men was proved correct the next day, when a column of the British 50th Division (Accol) was driven out of the same position by a German attack with heavy losses, just as he had predicted (Hartshorne, Cape Town, p 158).

Rommel forced to defend his positions

By 4 July, it was clear that it was going to take a major Axis effort to break through the El Alamein line. Losses and exhaustion amongst his German forces forced Rommel to deploy more Italian troops in the front line. Auchinleck reciprocated by focussing his attacks on these Italian units, knowing that they were not of the same calibre as their allies. From 4 until 7 July, the Eighth Army conducted limited counter-attacks against Italian deployments and the South Africans had to despatch several patrols to determine their exact positions (WD 347, File A3/ME 37: War Diary, 1st SA Division HQ, 2 July 1942).

However, the Axis forces were far from beaten and Auchinleck decided to transfer the 9th Australian Division from the Nile Delta to capture Tell el Eisa to put Rommel's forces under more pressure. From this low lying hill west of the El Alamein Box, the Australians could threaten Rommel's line of communications along the coast. On the other side, Rommel concentrated his German formations to break through at Bab el Quattara. However, Auchinleck's attack pre-empted this action, forcing Rommel to rush his German forces to the north, where they launched several counterattacks against the Australians, preventing them from cutting his lines of communication, but failing to dislodge them from Tell el Eisa (Playfair, 1960, p 341). From their position in the El Alamein Box and to the south of it the South Africans provided constant artillery support to the Australians. During the main attack on 10 July the South African occupation of Tell el Makh Khad protected the southern flank of the Australians and retarded Rommel's efforts during the next two days to dislodge them from Tell el Eisa.(Playfair, 1960, p 341).

On 5 July, Lieutenant-General W H C Ramsden replaced Norrie as the corps commander and the 79th British Anti-Tank Regiment was detached to the South Africans (WD 347, File A3/ME 37: War Diary, 1st SA Division HQ, 5 July 1942). This appointment spelled disaster for relations with the corps headquarters. Pienaar and Ramsden had already been at loggerheads at Gazala in May because of Ramsden's callousness regarding human losses (Hartshorne, Cape Town, p 162).

British artillery fire plan, Northern Sector. (Source: S Bidwell, Gunners at War.)

On 11 July, Ramsden visited the divisional headquarters. He hinted that the South Africans had played far too passive a role in the battle and should be more directly involved in supporting the Australians. He wanted at least a South African brigade to attack the Miteirya Ridge to the south. Pienaar replied that, without armoured support, this would be suicide, but, against his better judgement, eventually gave in to the suggestion that a South African column of the 2nd Brigade, supported by seventeen British tanks, occupy part of the ridge with the aim of conducting raids to the south of it.

The operation was a fiasco. Too little time to prepare, movement over unknown terrain, and insufficient reconnaissance, doomed it from the start. Before the column had advanced one kilometre, three British tanks had become stuck in a minefield and were hit by anti-tank fire, while others experienced mechanical problems. The tanks advanced too early and could not be supported by the South African artillery. Luckily, Ramsden realised his mistake and withdrew the force. Apart from the damage to the British tanks, no losses were suffered (C L de W du Toit: Herinneringe, III, pp 8-9).

The German attack against the El Alamein Box, 13 July 1942

Rommel's attack on 13 July was a desperate effort to cut off the Australians from the main El Alamein positions and to disrupt the British defence system. The 21st Panzer Division was instructed to attack the El Alamein Box from a south-westerly position, supported by the 2nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment 104.

In the Box, the Royal Durban Light Infantry bore the brunt of the fighting. They did not have adequate anti-tank guns and the accuracy of the German artillery support cut the telephone cables of the South Africans, making field artillery support difficult. For most of the day, the South Africans beat back the attacks, but by 16.10, German tanks, supported by dive bombers, advanced up to 300m from the South African positions. The field artillery of the 9th Australian Division, as well as the 7th British Medium Regiment in the Box, had to help halt the German advance (WD 347, File A3/ME 37: War Diary, 1st SA Division HQ, 2 July 1942). By last light, the 79th British Anti-Tank Regiment was also deployed near the threatened point but, by that time, the German attack had lost its momentum (Tungay, Cape Town, pp 252-3).

South African losses on this day entailed nine dead and 42 wounded (Roll of Honour, 19391945 Div Docs 105, File 1 SAD/A2/ 2: Battle Casualties, 13 July 1942). Compared to similar events during the war, this was not high, but the significance of their ability to withstand the panzer onslaught outweighed this. The loss of the El Alamein Box would have ruptured the El Alamein line, cut off the Australians from the rest of the Eighth Army and probably forced a general retreat to the Nile Delta.

Auchinleck regains the initiative

The Axis attacks from 11 to 13 July exhausted Rommel's forces. Thus, Auchinleck decided to change over to an offensive posture. Apart from the situation of the Axis forces, British reinforcements arrived at a steady pace and the British war cabinet assured Auchinleck that it would be a long time before the German forces in Russia would be able to reach the Middle East through the Caucasus. Thus, he could use forces from Iraq and Persia to enable the Eighth Army to conduct offensive operations.

However, during the second half of July, Rommel proved not only to be a good commander during offensive operations, but also in defence. Thus, Auchinleck's efforts were frustrated. However, the effort was not wasted as the Eighth Army gained valuable experience in German defensive tactics. Rommel's extensive use of minefields, covered by infantry and small, mobile armoured forces, enabled him to thwart the British efforts that lacked proper coordination and cooperation between infantry, armour and artillery. Based on this experience, Montgomery, Auchinleck's replacement as commander of the Eighth Army, could later find suitable solutions to defeat Rommel at El Alamein (Dorman O'Gowan, 1967, pp 1 072-5).

Apart from this, the British commanders were too inflexible to adapt their tactics at critical junctions in the battle. Thus, Rommel's forces found time to recuperate and retain their positions, with heavy British losses. Before July 1942, British commanders repeatedly launched tank attacks, insufficiently supported by artillery and infantry, into Rommel's defensive positions, making them easy prey to crack German and Italian anti-tank gunners. During this battle, they were extremely hesitant to use their tanks once a weak point had been discovered in the Axis defensive positions. The El Alamein Box still constituted an important component of the British defensive line, but the operations from 14 to 23 July were conducted mainly in the vicinity of Ruweisat Ridge. (Playfair, 1960, pp 347-57). During these attacks, the South Africans played mainly a supportive role. The South Africans were more directly involved in the last operation of the battle, Operation 'Manhood'. The division was tasked to breach the first of two minefields of the Axis between the Miteiriya and Ruweisat ridges. The 69th British Infantry Brigade then had to move through the breach and breach the second minefield so that the British armour could exploit the breakthrough (WD 347, File A3/ME37: War Diary 1 SA Division HQ, Appendix, 30th Corps Operational Order No 68 of 26 July 1942, pp 1-2).

However, the operation failed mainly because the British armour could not move fast enough through the breaches in the minefields. When they eventually did, the element of surprise was lost and they were, as in the past, driven back by German anti-tank fire. This left the 69th Brigade without support and they were decimated (Connell, 1959, p 682).

Another problem was that the British' armour had not been ordered to advance through the minefields at a specific time and it was left to the discretion of their commander to decide when to do so. Realising what was at stake, Pienaar urged him to move his tanks, but both the tank commander and Ramsden wasted even more time because they wanted to personally inspect the breaches, mistrusting Pienaar. The result was that the tanks did not advance before first light, as was the intention, but only at 11.00, straight into killing zone of the waiting German anti-tank gunners (UWH Narratives and Reports, Middle East, Vol II, 1st SA Division, Tobruk to El Alamein, p 1, Interview with Colonel H F C Cilliers on 26 April 1949).

The destruction of the 69th British Brigade ought also to be blamed on the British generals. Apart from wasting valuable time, their planning also left much to be desired. Ramsden sent the infantry into unknown territory, without studying air photographs of the terrain that were available to him (C L de W du Toit: Herinneringe, III, p 10).

The Eighth Army on the defensive, 28 July 1942

By 28 July, Auchinleck decided that he would have to postpone the intended destruction of Panzerarmee Afrika. British losses were already high, while Rommel had by then received some reinforcements (Liddell Hart, 1974, p 300). At the same time, British reinforcements were arriving at such a slow rate that a large-scale offensive before September was out of the question. Therefore, the army headquarters issued instructions to the corps commanders to prepare to defend their positions, bringing the 1st Battle of El Alamein to an end (Playfair, 1960, p 359).

During July 1942, 12 700 officers and men of the Eighth Army were reported killed, wounded or missing in action (Auchinleck, January, 1948, p 330). Total South African losses, from 26 June to 30 July 1942, were 433 officers and other ranks of whom 164 were killed, 253 wounded, and eight taken prisoner of war, while eight received treatment for shell shock (Roll of Honour, World War 11,1939-1945 Div Docs 105, File1 SAD/A2/2: Battle Casualties, 1-30 July 1942). Thus, compared to the rest of the Eighth Army, the South African losses were relatively light. The reasons for this were that, only on 13 July did the German panzers attack them specifically, and Pienaar did everything in his power to prevent a repetition of Tobruk and Deir el Shein. Furthermore, concentrated artillery fire improved the fire power of the defending British forces, while making the attackers' task more difficult.

Owing to several reasons, conflict between British and South African officers was inevitable. South African commanders were extremely sensitive about high casualty rates, knowing that the population of the Union was small and the country was divided on the issue of participation in the war on the British side. Furthermore, the surrender at Tobruk had been a painful experience that nobody wanted to repeat. British officers did not always understand this.

It is clear that the South African division played a decisive role during the battle, but this must be seen in perspective. The division executed a very important function on 1 July, but their losses would have been higher without the action of the brave men of the 18th Indian Brigade at Deir el Shein. Without the help of the 1st British Armoured Division on Ruweisat Ridge and the British and Australian artillery, the South Africans would not, on their own, have been able to withstand the onslaught of the panzers on 13 July. After the capture of the Tell el Eisa hill by the Australians on 10 July, the South Africans only played an active role on 13 July and again in Operation 'Manhood'.

The importance of the South African contribution was that it was part of a team effort. Their contribution prevented Rommel's forces from capturing Alexandria, the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf oilfields. This was of vital importance to the Allied war effort, as it enabled the British forces, in cooperation with their American allies, to drive the Axis forces from North Africa.

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