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The Battle Of Marsa Matruh

This battle was fought from 26 June to 29 June 1942. It would be the last major victory of the Afrika Korps under Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, following Operation Venezia and the capture of Tobruk on 21 June of the same year.

The battle started when the German 90th Light Division overran the British Durham Light Infantry before pursuing and trapping the British-officered 29th Indian Infantry Brigade at Fuka.

Rommel had planned to encircle and destroy Lieutenant-General William Holmes’ 10th Corps defending Marsa Matruh, but the bulk of the British Commonwealth forces were able to escape under the cover of darkness on the night of 28-29 June.

Nevertheless, the remaining Marsa Matruh defences were breached on the morning of 29 June and 6,500 British Commonwealth troops (including soldiers from the Durham Light Infantry that fought earlier on) were captured, as well as 1,600 Indian soldiers that had retreated to Fuka.

In the advance to Marsa Matruh and Fuka, another 2,000 Commonwealth troops fell into Axis hands[1][2], including 1,000 New Zealand stranded near Minqar Qaim.