6 OCTOBER 2007, Page 20

Rommel's beating

Sir: Taki writes with his usual humour and light touch (High life, 22 September). On the subject of Rommel, however, he is wrong to state that no British general 'could match (him) in panache and military acumen'. In fact, two British generals gave him a beating at the First Battle of El Alamein in June–July 1942 and, on all fronts, out-generalled him to such an extent that on 17 July Rommel wrote to his wife: Dearest Lu, Things are going downright badly for me at the moment, at any rate, in the military sense. The enemy is using his superiority, especially in infantry, to destroy the Italian formations one by one, and the German formations are much too weak to stand alone. It's enough to make one weep.

These two generals were General Sir Claude Auchinleck and his chief of staff Major-General E.E. Dorman-Smith MC. The rewards that these two generals received for this achievement were to be sacked on 6 August 1942 and thereafter denigrated. Christopher Dorman-O'Gowan Northumberland