During the early morning hours of May 27, 1942, the men of the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade braced themselves for another mundane assignment in the broiling heat of the Libyan Desert. Positioned to the south of the Gazala Line, the British Eighth Army’s defensive stronghold, the Indians were tasked with providing a measure of flank security against a potential Axis attack. Although German forces were known to be on the move farther to the north, the Indians had enjoyed a quiet night in their sector. Bedlam erupted shortly after 6 am. To the west, the telltale dust cloud of an enemy column blurred the horizon, and as the troops squinted for a better look, they were greeted with an unwelcome sight. Storming out of the dust were scores of panzers deployed in assault formations. They were heading straight for the Indian position. The superior numbers of panzers overwhelmed the men of the Motor Brigade within a matter of minutes. The Motor Brigade’s headquarters sent out a desperate plea for reinforcements. The plea noted the arrival of an entire division of enemy panzers. The hapless troops of the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade faced the spearhead of Generaloberst Erwin Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika, which was opening what was destined to be one of the most storied armored clashes of World War II. Ironically, Germany initially had no interest in the contest for North Africa. Following the stunning German victories in France during the spring of 1940, Italian dictator Benito Mussolin


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