The following report shows the Axis methods of clearing minefields during
the attack on the El Alamein front in August 1942.
a. During the Night
(1) Three or four men worked with spades, picking up mines to make one narrow
gap. Immediately behind each man was a mechanized vehicle covering him with
its weapons. As the digger moved a pace or two forward, the vehicle
followed. No lights were visible.
(2) Transport or mechanized vehicles were driven straight at the minefields
in an attempt to find at least one clear route through.
(3) It is not known whether or not this was successful, as the British
abandoned the first minefield before daylight. Mines were seen to
explode, however, and it is considered that several vehicles must
have been destroyed.
(1) Mechanized vehicles advanced about 50 yards apart on a front of
about 400 yards. In front of each vehicle were men picking up mines covered by
the weapons of the armor. Between the tanks, infantry advanced across the
minefield in line, about 3 yards apart, with bayonets fixed. In one
area, an infantry gun was seen being brought into position on the near
edge of the minefield, covering the advance.
(1) Artillery fire was concentrated on the far edge of the minefield before
the advance began. This fire appeared to be on areas selected for the
(2) No attempt was made to clear mines before the moon was up.