This Battle, a ‘set piece’ attack by the Eight Army, ended with the rout of the German-Italian forces and was the turning point of the war in North Africa.
The Honour is borne on the Guidon of the 3rd Hussars.
In the first phase of El Alamein, the 3rd Hussars helped break through Rommel’s defences but in the second phase, it was given the crucial task of forcing a gap through the remaining defences to enable the armoured reserves to breakthrough.
At the time of the Battle of El Alamein, the main threat to tanks was the anti-tank gun.
There is no better illustration of the struggle between the tank and an anti-tank gun than the attack of the 3rd Hussars on the Afrika Korps 88mm gun line at the Battle of El Alamein.
Silhouetted against the rising sun the 3rd Hussars had many tanks hit but gradually the surviving tanks, using their high explosive 75mm shells and their machine guns got the upper hand over the unprotected German anti-tank guns.
The courage and discipline of the Hussars in the face of horrendous odds were outstanding. On hearing the plan for the attack, their Commanding Officer, Sir Peter Farquhar Bt. exclaimed,
“This is just suicide for my Regiment!” Montgomery replied, “It’s got to be done and, if necessary, I am prepared to accept 100% casualties in both personnel and tanks.”
After this Sir Peter remarked, “There was, of course, no more to be said.”
In the event the Regiment fulfilled their task of breaking through but, in the whole battle, had 47 of their 51 tanks destroyed.
Their casualties were horrific with 21 Officers and 90 Other Ranks killed, wounded or missing – over 80% of the tank crews.
So devastated was the Regiment that it was unable to join the pursuit. General Freyburg granted The 3rd Hussars the honour of wearing the Fern Leaf on their vehicles because of their participation with the New Zealand Division during the battle.