El Alamein Travel Blog› entry 18 of 22 › view all entries
Close to Mersa Mutrah is Rommels Cave, which during the war
housed Rommel’s headquarters for a time during the North Africa
campaign. The cave has now been converted into a small museum
dedicated to the ‘Desert Fox’.
After visiting the cave we
continue on to El Alamein, a tiny village made famous by the pivotal tank
battle that raged around it for eleven days in October 1942. Although
Winston Churchill’s comment that ‘before Alamein we never had a
victory; after Alamein we never had a defeat’ is not completely accurate,
it is true that Alamein became a turning point in World War II, as the
relentless progress of Germany’s Afrika Korps towards British Egypt and
the strategically important Suez Canal was finally halted by the Allied
Eighth Army at Alamein.
Soon afterwards the Axis armies of Germany
and Italy were forced to evacuate from Tunisia, leaving the Allies in full
control of North Africa. We visit the war graves of the British
and Commonwealth Cemetery, where 7,000 white headstones
commemorate the dead, and also visit the small El Alamein museum – a
chance to learn more about the battle and strategic importance. Then it
is on to Alexandria.