El-Alamein Military Museum; Memories of WW2 Desert War

    Every year the officials and citizens from the countries that involved in El-Alamein battle come to Egypt on October 23rd to visit their soldiers and loved ones who fell in battle and to commemorate them.

    El Alamein is the location known for being where the Allied forces (during WW II) won a decisive victory over the Axis forces. In addition to a few hotels and a beach resort, El Alamein also is home to a war museum with memorabilia from not only the Battle of El Alamein but many other North African battles.  Just outside of town are both Italian and German military cemeteries on Tell el-Eisa Hill.

    The museum is one of the best places to visit in order to achieve an understanding of the story of World War II in Egypt.

    El-Alamein العلمين-in Arabic‎ literally means “the two flags” is a town located in Matrouh governorate north-west of Egypt, 106 km west of Alexandria (my home city). It took me about an hour and a half driving to reach it.  If you are coming from further out, there is an international airport that is nearby if you are willing to visit it.

    This museum features items from  North African campaigns of WWII, including the Battle of El-Alamein itself between the Axis and the Allies in 1942 with their very famous leaders Erwin Rommel and Bernard Montgomery.

    Two important World War II battles were fought in the area:

    • At the First Battle of El Alamein (1 – 27 July 1942) the advance of Axis troops on Alexandria was blunted by the Allies, stopping the German Panzers who were trying to outflank the Allies’ position.
    • At the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 4 November 1942) Allied forces broke the Axis line and forced them all the way back to Tunisia. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister at the time, said of this victory: “Now this is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”  After the war, he wrote: “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat.”

    –source Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Alamein)

    The Allies chose this region while retreating to their defensive line in El Alamein for its important natural geo-position. Its north border is the Mediterranean Sea and from the south by the Qattara Depression which prevented the Axis from flanking the Allies sides. Egypt helped the Allied forces to defeat the Axis and chase them out of Egypt and in burying the casualties.

     

    The museum consists of main sections:

    • Collective Hall.
    • Egypt’s Hall.
    • Italy’s Hall.
    • Germans’ Hall.
    • England’s Hall.
    • Exposition Theatre and Control Centre.

    -source Egyptian Ministry of Defense website.

    The above was a brief introduction to the museum.  For those of you that cannot visit in person, I have  I taken a ton of pictures, starting from the outdoor show area (which consists of heavy weapons and equipment that have been used in the battle, including Tanks, Artillery and Anti-aircraft guns) and then I will go through the indoor showroom halls.  I did my best with the pictures–a number of the items were behind glass and came out a bit hazy.

    Italian Semovente da 75/13 , self propelled 75mm armored mortar

    Italian Cannone da 90/53 Anti Tank and Anti Aircraft 90mm gun

    Towed Artillery

    American Sherman Tank

    Remains of the British Crusader Tank

    Italian M13/40 Light Tank

    British Light Tank ‘on the tag’ but I’m not sure if its British or Italian

    German 57mm Anti Tank Gun

    German 55mm Anti Tank Gun

    British 6 pounder Anti Tank Gun

    German Flak-88

    20mm and 30mm Hispano-Suiza Anti-Aircraft

    German 15cm Anti Tank Gun

    Axis tanks and artillery ammunition shells

    Heavy ammunition shells from Rome – Berlin Axis

    A box of 37mm Anti-Aircraft ammunition

    50 rounds box of 20mm ammunition

    British field telephones

    Distance measurement / Range finder made by San Giorgio Co. – Italy

    Breda M37 Machine Gun – Italy

    Fiat-Ravelli Modello 1935 HMG – Italy

    Breda-Safat 7.7mm Machine Gun – Italy

    Breda M30 7.7mm LMG – Italy

    Beretta M38 9x19mm SMG – Italy

    A set of various Carcano rifles’ models – Italy

    Brixia M35 – 45mm mortar – Italy

    Lee-Enfield no.1 mk.3 bolt action rifle – Great Britain

    Lewis LMG – Great Britain

    Bren LMG – Great Britain

    Another Bren LMG with a loaded magazine – Great Britain

    Royal Navy soldier’s uniform with a Lanchester SMG – Great Britain

    Various Lee-Enfield rifles’ models and a Lanchester SMG – Great Britain

    BOYS Anti Tank Rifle – Great Britain

    MG15 Machinegun – Aircraft mounted version – Germany

    MG34 Machinegun mounted on a BMW motorbike – Germany

    G43 semiautomatic rifle with a Mauser K98 bolt-action rifle – Germany

    Aircraft mounted machineguns – Germany

    Panzerbusche 39 Anti Tank Rifle – Germany

    MG34 demonstrated in prone position

    Mauser C96 Broom-handle – Germany

    Dual barrel side-by-side flare gun – Germany

    Luftwaffe air dropping bomb – Germany

    Officers’ uniform – Italy

    Afrika Korps soldier with his Mauser K98 rifle

    British soldier with his Lee-Enfield rifle

    German Luftwaffe pilot

    Afrika Korps medics

    Royal Air Force pilot, Cheers mate…REST IN PEACE

     

    One of the disadvantages of the museum is sometimes the irrelevant and poor informative and wrong descriptions on the tags, which I’m not very tolerant of.  I really disliked that part of the museum.

    NO SIR, this can’t be a 30mm nor an ANTI-AIRCRAFT plus HISPANO-SUIZA is NOT written HAUSBANO-SUISSA,

    STG-44 in EL-ALAMEIN? NO WAY

    WHAT DOES A BERETTA 92 DOING THERE ANYWAY?

     

    At the end of the tour and regardless of the disadvantages, I was proud to stand where these brave men stood, fought and died for their countries, there are cemeteries nearby of the Commonwealth , German  Greek and Italian soldiers who have fallen in the battles of El-Alamein if you want to visit and honor them, and for their brave souls I’d like to stand and tell them; WE SALUTE YOU.

    Below is a “sneak peek” video taken by an Egyptian newspaper that can give you a panoramic view – credits of the video goes to Youm7 newspaper.

    Marawan Maklad

    Marawan Maklad is an Egyptian firearms and ammunition designer working for Turkish company specializing in the hunting and defense industries, and a dedicated researcher in asymmetric conflicts arms and tactics.


    Advertisement