World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF EGYPT: Rommel Rolls

Around fallen Tobruk the man-made sandstorms, kicked up by tanks scouring the desert, died down in little dunes beside the gridded tracks. Torn barbed wire marked the silent graves of Knightsbridge, El Adem, Acroma. Germany's Erwin Rommel was 200 miles to the east, rolling into Matrûh.

Tobruk was full of grinning, jabbering Italians. Rommel was cleverly using Italians to occupy captured ports, for salvage work, to count prisoners and booty—thus saving valuable German manpower for his thrust at the stepping-stones to Suez.

Terrible tales were told by the handful of British who escaped by sea from Tobruk: how swarming Stukas silenced the...

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