Operation Snapper

This was a British unrealised undertaking to aid the exploitation by Lieutenant General B. L. Montgomery’s 8th Army in the forthcoming ‘Lightfoot’, otherwise the 2nd Battle of El Alamein (October/November 1942).

The Allied Air Headquarters, Middle East, schemed ‘Snapper’ as an undertaking to be executed as soon as the Axis front had been broken. A single squadron of 12 Curtiss Kittyhawk fighter-bombers was to be sent to an airstrip just behind the German lines, near Fort Maddalena, and from there was to attack German and Italian transport aircraft flying urgently needed petrol into airfields in the El Adem complex.

The Axis front broke on 2 November, and the following British advance was so rapid that within six days the 8th Army had reached Sidi Barrani, from which the El Adem airfields were within easy reach of British fighters, and ‘Snapper’ was therefore abandoned as superfluous. The concept was then developed further as ‘Chocolate’.