The battles of El Alamein occurred between 1 July
and 4 November 1942 and were a major turning point in the Second World
War. Prior to this, General Rommel, commanding the German and Italian
(axis) forces had advanced from Tobruk and appeared poised to capture
Alexandria. A final 60km defensive position was established at El
Alamein by a multinational force led by the British high command.
During July (Ruweisat Ridge) and august (Alam El Halfa Ridge) Rommel's
forces tried to break this position but they were repulsed and lost
ground in particular to the Australians around Tel El Eisa. The allies
(under Lt-Gen Montgomery) gradually built-up a two to one superiority
over Rommel's forces in men, tanks and materials. The armies
strengthened their defences with kilometres of trenches and land mines,
in anticipation of the final conflict.
The main battle commenced on 23 October along a 10 km front (refer map).
The allies gradually advanced but fierce fighting persisted for 12 days
during which thousands died on both sides.
On 3 November British tanks finally broke through near tell El Aqqaqir
and the axis forces retreated ending one of history's great battles.
For generations to come the sacrifices made by the men who fought here
will stand as their eternal memorial.
After bitter fighting with the Italians, Hill 33 was captured by the
Australians on 10 July 1942 and it then became part of the front line
until November. The hill, strategically important in the campaign now
provides an elevated position on which the Italian war memorial and
ossuary are sited.
Since the war, as Italian migration to Australia has progressed, a new
and peaceful relationship has developed between the people of these two
nations. The Italian community has brought with it a rich and enhancing
culture that has added much to the Australian way of life.
This plaque commemorates the courage and the sacrifice of the Italian
and the Australian men who fought at El Alamein.