SOUTHERN THEATRE: Battle of the Marmarica

The moon set soon after midnight in a swirl of blowing sand. Everything was ready. The main body had sneaked up in a remarkable rush, from Matruh the day and night before, 60 miles in one haul, and now they settled down on the cold sands for a valuable nap. Mechanized forces had deployed earlier in a sharp curve to the south and west, using the moonlight to dodge scrub and big desert boulders.

In the stinging blown sand they lay, a polyglot army: Britons, Anzacs, Indians, even some Poles and Free Frenchmen,...