The desert west of Alexandria was the field of one of the decisive battles of World War II. In 1942, the British Eighth Army led by General Montgomery attacked the German Afrika Corps led by Field Marshal Rommel (the famous "Desert Fox") and sent them into a retreat, which would eventually clear Axis troops from the whole of North Africa.
Three carefully tended military grave sites hold the remains of Allied, Italian, and German soldiers—each with a suitably somber monument. The gardens of El Alamein museum display an array of military hardware used in the battle. Inside, the galleries offer background information on the forces involved and explain how the campaign in North Africa developed and how the decisive battle played out. However, the museum has collected a wealth of personal items, including letters and photographs from soldiers on all sides that layer a compelling human story on top of the military records. The sites are around an hour west of Alexandria along the coastal road. Renting a taxi for the morning would be the most convenient way to see the museum, monuments, and graveyards. Local tour companies also organize guides and transportation.