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In Pursuit: Montgomery After Alamein
Individual study rept.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Battlefield victories are common in war. It is comparatively rare that a battlefield victory is followed with a vigorous pursuit. After the Battle of El Alamein, the British Eighth Army possessed overwhelming superiority on land, sea, and air over Rommels German-Italian Panzer Army. In addition, the British and the advantage of Ultra, the ability to decipher most German communications. Ultra gave not only a clear picture of Axis weakness, but also Rommels tactical and operational intentions. Despite this, the Axis forces were able to withdraw across 1350 miles of open desert, delaying British forces for three months, without suffering significant loss. This paper seeks to answer three question. 1 How did Rommels Army escape 2 Why did Eighth Army fail to capture or destroy the remaining enemy forces 3 What were the results and what can we learn from these events The consensus of the paper is that the failure lay in a combination of factors. The pursuit had neither been planned nor prepared for by the Eighth Army or its subordinate units. There was no strategic concept to end the campaign, only a series of tactical improvisations. Training in the Eighth Army was inadequate to conduct such a decentralized, highly fluid operation.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE