By the light of the waning moon Rommel made his last-minute preparations. As dawn cracked over the desert, he attacked. It looked at last like the offensive for which the British had waited.

The Long Wait. For more than two months General Sir Harold Alexander's British had crouched along the 35-mile front stretching from the Qattara Depression to the sea. Daily they had made sorties and feints, lashing at Rommel's advance posts, scuttling back to their own lines to bind their wounds and bat the flies. The flies were the worst. They swarmed over the unburied dead. They swarmed over the...

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