‘It’s got to be done. If necessary I am prepared to accept one hundred per cent casualties in both personnel and tanks.’
General Bernard Montgomery
With the odds against them worsening by the hour, Rommel’s troops fought with rare resolve and, in some cases, a remarkable degree of self-delusion. Even on 1 November, a junior officer in the Ariete Armoured Division, Second Lieutenant Vincenzo Formica, was still convinced that victory was possible:
At 1300 we had two pieces of good news, the English had tried to break through but had lost entire detachments without any result. To the north during heavy fighting with the 21st Panzers around eighty tanks had been surrounded and destroyed. It seemed that the ...