‘Churchill’s Desert War: The Road to El Alamein’

I just watched this BBC programme, and I was most surprised by how much I liked it. In general, I consider WWII to be done to death (excuse the pun, not really intended) and I didn’t have my hopes up high when I started it. And then I realized that very few WWII shows/books I’ve read actually concern themselves with the British participation (singularly) in the war, and if they do it is mostly about the Battle of Britain. This, however, takes a decent look at the Desert Campaign.

Indeed, despite my main interest of that period lying by far in the naval war (and thereby my interest in the Japanese exploits) this managed to pique that same interest that generally would allow the tanks to be left alone.

What we get is an overview of the Egyptian High Command (erm, maybe it shouldn’t be capitalized unless I mean to say the Middle East High Command?) and the Eighth Army under the leaderships of Wavell, Auchinleck, Gott (well, since he got shot down, he was only mentioned in one sentence), and lastly Montgomery to the final victory at El Alamein (Second).

What maybe impressed me even more was that I didn’t realize previous to this that El Alamein was the first British victory in a very long time in that war, and that Churchill was not in the best position politically (again, I would say that this results from most of my exposure to the war having come from US based stories which I would guess is the frequent truth for a number of us).

Overall, I enjoyed this short movie, and I think it achieved the aims it set for itself. Jonathan Dimbleby was an intriguing storyteller, and I much enjoyed his way of adding quotes from Churchill, and the generals as well as the soldiers to enliven the proceedings.

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