How Rommel got his reputation and how the British stopped him at Tobruk

In February 1941, Erwin Rommel arrived in Libya to save an Italian army in disarray. But instead of following orders to defend his position, Rommel attacked. Leading from the front, he pushed the understrength British and Commonwealth forces back to the Egyptian border. He had them on the run, but to advance any further Rommel needed more supplies and that meant capturing the port of Tobruk. The fate of the entire campaign rested on the town.

But despite multiple attacks, the British and Commonwealth garrison held firm and Rommel’s offensive was over.

John Delaney explores Rommel’s first campaign in the desert. How did he pull off such a stunning reversal? How did the British stop him at Tobruk? And is Rommel’s reputation deserved?

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