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Desert Victory (1943)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Conditions in the desert: intense heat and flies in the day, intense cold at nights. German General Rommel's Afrika Korps troops advance. Auchinleck's strategy is explained - deliberately falling back on Alamein. A map of British positions is displayed. Auchinleck is shown in personal command at the Front. The 8th Army prepares for battle, laying minefields, etc. Rommel directs his forces. The attack on Allied lines, anti-aircraft battery; the line is held.

Churchill visits the Front. As he gets out of his jeep, troops swarm to meet him; he gives a V (for Victory) sign. New commanders General Alexander and General Montgomery are seen walking with Churchill. Alexander's orders are to take or destroy Rommel's forces. Arrangements for battle are made in Britain. The United States: Sherman tanks leave factory destined for North Africa. Supplies arrive for the 8th Army.

Rommel attacks: his forces attempt to reach Cairo, but are foiled. The 8th Army is enlarged and reinforced, and commences a stringent training programme. Rommel builds up his supplies. The RAF bombs Rommel's supply lines, while the Navy attacks his shipping. A map of German and Allies' lines is shown. Rommel at a Press Conference in Berlin, meeting with Hitler, receives baton of Field Marshall. Rommel's plan of attack. General Alexander, General Harwood and Air-Marshall Tedder plan El Alamein joint operation. In the desert, Montgomery and Air Vice-Marshall Cunningham plan strategy.

Final preparations are made; the tanks advance. 23rd October, 1942, 10.00 pm: the barrage begins. First objectives are in Allied hands, and the advance is consolidated. Diversionary attacks are made in South. Rommel counter-attacks repeatedly. German fighter planes combat the RAF; Kidney Ridge is taken. Rommel's forces fight back unceasingly. Large numbers of German prisoners are taken.

Rommel confers with his generals. His counter moves are shown on a map. Rommel moves his troops up; the RAF tries to prevent them from concentrating. Montgomery assembles his army for a final thrust. November 1st: the 8th Army advances along the entire front, clashing with Rommel's forces. An Allied breakthrough - troops penetrate Rommel's lines. The entire 8th Army moves in to destroy Rommel. The German forces retreat. November 3rd: the heaviest armoured battle of the campaign, centered round Tel el Aqqaqir. A great tank battle takes place; the ridge captured, the enemy begins to crack.

BBC News from Cairo: Axis forces in the Western Desert are now in retreat. The 8th Army pursues retreating Germans. Italian forces are abandoned by Rommel and taken prisoner. Thousands of German prisoners are taken. The Allies relentlessly pursue retreating German forces through Sidi Barani and Ben Gazi. November 13th: Tobruk falls to the Allies. Rommel is still in retreat. The Allies press on to Tripoli. The surrender of Tripoli by the governor and mayor of the city. General Montgomery enters Tripoli in a jeep. General Alexander sends a message to Churchill: "Mission completed". Churchill takes the salute with Alexander and Montgomery. A march-past, and RAF fly-past celebrate the victory.