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Auchinleck, known to his men as "The Auk," was born to a Scots-Irish military family. Educated at Wellington and Sandhurst, he was commissioned in the Indian Army and fought against the Turks during the First World War, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. He continued to serve in India, commanding units of Punjabi troops, except for brief periods attending the Imperial Defense College and teaching at various staff colleges. He was involved in operations against Afghani tribesmen in 1936.
Auchinleck was brought to England to command the
expeditionary force against Narvik, but returned to India after the
evacuation of Allied forces
in Norway. In June 1941 he was selected as commander in chief in the
Middle East, but eventually lost Churchill's confidence
for failing to attack. Auchinleck apparently felt that he lacked both
adequate resources and a capable field commander for 8 Army. Following
the fall of Tobruk and the First Battle of El Alamein, he was relieved
and returned to India in July 1942.
Auchinleck became commander in chief in
India in June 1943 and was promoted to field marshal in 1946. He
attempted to appease Indian
nationalists by pardoning four former
officers of the Indian National Army who had been convicted of treason.
He was opposed to the plan to partition India.
Auchinleck is described by Boatner as "Tall,
athletic, notoriously monosyllabic, but with a highly original military
mind." He was a strong proponent of the use of combined arms. Slim said of him that "the 14th Army, from its
birth to its final victory, owed much to his unselfish support and
never-failing understanding. Without him and what he and the Army in
India did for us we could not have existed, let alone conquered"
||Born in Ulster
||Commissioned in 62 Punjab
||Commander, Peshawar Brigade
||Chief of staff, India
||Commander, Meerut District
||Commander, 4 Corps
||Commander, Northern Norway
||Commander, 5 Corps
|Commander, Southern Command
||Commander, Middle East
||Dies in Marrakech
Dupuy et.al. (1992)
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