With Rommel still on sick leave, though due to return on the 25th, Montgomery has launched the Battle of El Alamein with a ferocious 1.000-gun bombardment of the German positions and minefields. followed by a night thrust by ten divisions and seven armoured brigades. This is aimed at driving corridors through the minefields so that the Allied tanks can get through to attack the German heavy armour. General Stumme has a mix of German and Italian troops manning the forward positions. At the outset Montgomery can boast a significant advantage in men and heavy armour and a theoretical supremacy in the air. He will use XXX Corps for this first thrust, and employ diversionary tactics to persuade 15th Panzer Division to stay south of a line from Kidney Ridge. Initial success is limited and X Corps' tanks fail to get through the minefield on time; the bottleneck of armoured vehicles becomes a target for the German guns. During the afternoon General Stumme has a heart attack and dies. Montgomery has more than 1.500 aircraft, mostly based in Egypt or Palestine, and hammers the Germans' deployment zone with more than 80 tons of bombs.