Desert Armour

David Fletcher reports on some of The Tank Museum’s most prized possessions – tanks used to great effect by both Allied and Axis powers during the Second Battle of El Alamein

One of the most reliable British tanks made in the war, the Valentine was beloved by its crew

The Second Battle of El Alamein fought from October 23 to November 11 1942 was a pivotal juncture in World War Two. Smashing against the defences of Rommel’s Panzerarmee, the Allied powers would ultimately sign the death throes of the Axis foray into North Africa. As Winston Churchill would quote, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat”.

This critical clash of arms, above all else, was marked by its abundant use of tanks – both sides deploying a vast and impressive array of armoured vehicles. Above all else, except perhaps the tenacity and fighting spirit of the foot-slogging infantry, the British and their allies owed much in their victory to its ‘flotilla’ of Valentines, Crusaders, and American-made armour.

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