World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF EGYPT: Gott Trapped

His nickname was "Strafer." Built like a horse, at 44 one of the youngest officers to hold his rank, he commanded the British 13th Corps in Libya. His full name and title: Lieut. General William Henry Ewart Gott, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. World War I veterans who remembered the Germans' Gott strafe England gave him the nickname.

Strafer understood desert warfare. He was one of Auchinleck's pillars. Strafer almost understood the desert. Once he observed in his deceptively soft voice: "To him who knows it, the desert can be a fortress; to him who does not, it can be a deathtrap." From...