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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Summer at Alamein

Summer at Alamein

After the July battles a lull of static warfare settled over the Alamein line. The New Zealand Division was deployed over the central ridges—not really ridges but the higher ground of smooth or rolling desert interspersed with sandy wadis and depressions. The whole area was covered with the litter of war—burnt-out tanks and vehicles, rough crosses or a steel helmet on a stick to mark the graves of friend or foe, demolished field guns, abandoned gunpits and sangars, spent ammunition, shell cases, and equipment.

Both sides wired and mined their front in depth. Our patrols went out almost every night seeking information and raiding, salvaging vehicles, and burying the dead. At dawn both sides lobbed shells at the other until the sunshine and dust began to create mirage effects and targets became blurred. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. quietness usually settled over the battlefront, broken only by occasional shell-fire and bombing raids, the latter decreasing as the RAF began to gain superiority over the Luftwaffe. In the late afternoon and during the night the guns became active again.

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