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Claude Auchinleck

Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, The Auk, (June 21, 1884 - 1981) was a British army commander during World War II.

Born in Aldershot and a graduate of Sandhurst he was a career soldier.

During World War II Auchinleck was given command of the Allied forces in Norway in May 1940. After the fall of Norway, in July 1940 he became briefly General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command and then Commander of the Indian Army. He succeeded Archibald Wavell as C-in-C of the Allied forces in the Middle East in July 1941. Initial success at to El Agheila (January 1942) was followed by defeat by Rommel at Bir Hacheim (June 1942), Auchinleck retreated his forces 400km back into Egypt and Tobruk[?] fell on June 21 but the German advance was halted at the First Battle of El Alamein by the Eighth Army. He was sacked by Churchill in August 1942 and replaced by William Gott, who was killed before he reached Egypt, and then Harold Alexander with Bernard Montgomery becoming commander of the Eighth Army. In 1943 he return to India to become C-in-C of the British forces there, he also helped prepare the future Indian and Pakistani armies. In 1946 he was promoted to field marshal. He retired in 1947.

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