World: Historical Retreat

Erwin Rommel gained one distinction from the last Libyan campaign. He conducted one of the longest retreats in military history. By last week he had traversed 900 miles from his shattered line at El Alamein.

His flight compared with the weary, eight-month-long, 1,500-mile retreat of the "Ten Thousand Greeks" under Xenophon in 401 B.C.; the 1,000-mile retreat of Charles X of Sweden from Yaroslavl to Warsaw in 1656. Rommel had fought a moderately successful rear-guard action, covering his trail with anti-tank guns and mortars. He had also been lucky. Cyrenaica's rainy season had...

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