El Alamein Railway Stop
In any conflict, the provision of supplies to combatants is always a factor foremost in the mind of military leaders. Numerous military leaders throughout history, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Frederick the Great of Prussia, are credited with the saying that ‘an army marches on its stomach’. In other words, an army will only be able to move about a theatre of war if it can be supplied with, among other material, food for soldiers, fuel for vehicles, and ammunition for weapons. The same simple rule applied in the Western Desert Campaign during the Second World War. Long supply lines stretched from the key Mediterranean ports along the coast and through to the armies at the front. It is understandable then that the bulk of the fighting throughout this campaign took place at points along those major supply lines. Before the Second World War even began, the British army had identified the area around El Alamein as an important site to defend. Both the main railway and the main coastal road passed through the narrow land corridor between the Mediterranean Sea, and the Qattara Depression (a natural depression of land which is largely prohibitive of vehicular movement). As such, the British constructed a series of ‘boxes’ (defensive points) throughout the area, and after being pushed back by the Axis forces in mid-1942 they retreated to this valuable defensive area. The railway stop, seen in this image, was situated behind the Allied front lines and was subject to Axis aerial and artillery attack. The current building still shows signs of this damage.
Image: The El Alamein Railway Stop, El Alamein.
Creator: Christopher Karkyides