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Sir Bernard Law Montgomery

Military Leader / World War II Figure

Born: 17 November 1887
Died: 25 March 1976
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: The Brit who beat Rommel in North Africa
British military commander Bernard Law Montgomery was the Allied hero during World War II who beat Germany's Erwin Rommel in the battle for North Africa (1942-43). A military man his entire life, Montgomery served in the infantry during World War I, distinguishing himself in battle and getting seriously wounded in the process. Between the World Wars he trained troops and served in Ireland, India, Egypt and Palestine. His victory over Rommel at El Alamein (1942) was the first major land victory for the Allies in the war and "Monty" became a national hero, knighted and promoted to general for his success. After driving Rommel's army all the way to Tunisia, Montgomery led the 8th Army in Sicily and Italy (1943), then joined American generals Omar Bradley and Dwight D. Eisenhower to plan the Allied invasion of Normandy (1944). A field marshal by the end of the war, he was made First Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1946), and later went on to be deputy supreme commander of NATO forces (1951-58). A successful military leader, he was popular with subordinates but considered difficult and egotistical by his peers and superiors. His big-sized ego led to strained relations with Bradley and General George S. Patton, Jr. during the war, and his 1958 Memoirs insulted Eisenhower and ended their association. Nonetheless, Monty's victory over Rommel secured his place in history as an Allied hero.

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