FM Erwin E. J. Rommel (1891-1944)

Discussion in 'General' started by Field Marshal Rommel, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Field Marshal Rommel

    Field Marshal Rommel Junior Member

    The reason why the Allies got off relativly easy was because of the damned Eastern front generals and Hitler. By not allowing the to place all there forces on the beaches was a major blunder. They thought keeping them far back would allow easier mobility to react to any landing area. By doing so it not only took time to move them but they were also subjected to Allied air superiority which many Eastern front vets were not famliar with. Oh and leaving a bunch of troops at Calais. Damn you Hitler, why didn;t you listen to Rommel!!!!!
     
  2. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Field Marshal Rommel@Jun 27 2005, 04:14 PM
    Damn you Hitler, why didn;t you listen to Rommel!!!!!
    [post=35893]Quoted post[/post]

    Sounds like you wish the Germans had won. Well, you won't find many to agree with you here.

    And personally I have a very low opinion of Rommel as a higher commander. He never did understand the operational art and he had been over-promoted by Hitler for propaganda reasons after some minor tactical victories in the desert.
     
  3. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    By not allowing the to place all there forces on the beaches was a major blunder.

    No, it was not. The more tanks and the closer you send tanks to the beaches, the more tanks are simply blown up to the skies by naval gunfire.

    What could 60-ton 'Tigers' with their 88 mm guns had done against 9 40.000-ton battleships with their 15-16" guns? And, of course, against the many cruisers, destroyers and 16.000 planes… :rolleyes:

    The answer is simple: Salerno, Anzio, Courland, East Prussia…
     
  4. Field Marshal Rommel

    Field Marshal Rommel Junior Member

    Originally posted by angie999+Jun 27 2005, 10:23 AM-->(angie999 @ Jun 27 2005, 10:23 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Field Marshal Rommel@Jun 27 2005, 04:14 PM
    Damn you Hitler, why didn;t you listen to Rommel!!!!!
    [post=35893]Quoted post[/post]
    He never did understand the operational art and he had been over-promoted by Hitler for propaganda reasons after some minor tactical victories in the desert.
    [post=35897]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b]

    Heh, well I suppose the lack of petrol, armor, and everything in general he had makes them minor victories.
     
  5. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    They were MINOR victories, except for the fall of Tobrouk, which gave him 20.000 POWs (less than his 7th Panzer division took in France) and his field marshal batton. Also, it gave him a port that could have improved his pathetic logistic system, but, of course, he had better things to think about… who cares about supplies anyways? :rolleyes:

    But what other major victories did he have? Did he destroy any major British units? No. Did he take any vital strategic British positions, other than Tobrouk (and that after a long siege and a bloody nose)? No. Did he, at any time, improved the Axis' general strategic position and its chances to win the war? No.
     
  6. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    The greatest thing about Rommel was that he was able to keep an entire British Army tied up with two Panzer divisions, some miscellaneous Italian units, and a fragile supply line. His use of mobility to make up for lack of numbers and drive his opponents nuts, combined with his front-line appearances in front-line uniforms, made him the visible and public embodiment of the wartime German general. Certainly Guderian and Manstein were outstanding figures, but Rommel still has an impact on the popular culture outside of people who know about World War II. He's kind of a symbol of the German war effort.

    I would not go as far as to say he is "overrated." He had a lot of abilities, but he also had major weaknesses -- he was not good at logistics, and his grasp of strategy was not outstanding. Re-supplying at Tobruk, he dashed off to Egypt when the Germans should have put their energies into taking Malta. But he's still worthy of respect.
     
  7. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Kiwiwriter@Jun 29 2005, 08:59 PM
    he was not good at logistics, and his grasp of strategy was not outstanding. [post=36006]Quoted post[/post]

    Not good in one who holds the highest military rank.

    My view is that with the right corps commander he was good at leading a division, but that he was not so hot as a corps commander and a bit of a failure as an army and army group commander, because he could not raise his game above the tactical level.

    Worthy of respect yes, but not unqualified praise.

    All od which has taken us a long way from Omaha Beach.
     
  8. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    Originally posted by angie999@Jun 30 2005, 09:28 AM
    but not unqualified praise.
    [post=36026]Quoted post[/post]

    house of commons in January 1942;

    " we have a very daring and skillful oppenent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.."

    This speech was made by a very person who leads nations to win the war.

    Regards
     
  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Originally posted by GUMALANGI+Jun 30 2005, 09:52 AM-->(GUMALANGI @ Jun 30 2005, 09:52 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-angie999@Jun 30 2005, 09:28 AM
    but not unqualified praise.
    [post=36026]Quoted post[/post]

    house of commons in January 1942;

    " we have a very daring and skillful oppenent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.."

    This speech was made by a very person who leads nations to win the war.

    Regards
    [post=36028]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b]We should also take into account that the British tended to view Rommel with rose tinted glasses, having led them a merry dance in the Desert for over a year at that point.
     
  10. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    Originally posted by Gotthard Heinrici@Jun 30 2005, 10:29 AM
    We should also take into account that the British tended to view Rommel with rose tinted glasses, having led them a merry dance in the Desert for over a year at that point.
    [post=36030]Quoted post[/post]

    It is understood, nobody wants to be beaten by incompetent,.. they are plenty of remarks,..

    " because of this fine unit/soldiers/army/general that we have to surrender/lost or whatssoever.." .........

    sounds familiar?

    but for Rommel's case, Churchil was quite consistent on his praises towards him,.

    Churchil hardly praised Yamashita over the fall of Singapore or those Japs pilots who sunk, overly confident, brits fleet near Malaya peninsula. and these two name too few of other mishap adventure that Churchill praise no one for the defeat.

    Regards
     
  11. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Originally posted by GUMALANGI+Jun 30 2005, 10:50 AM-->(GUMALANGI @ Jun 30 2005, 10:50 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Gotthard Heinrici@Jun 30 2005, 10:29 AM
    We should also take into account that the British tended to view Rommel with rose tinted glasses, having led them a merry dance in the Desert for over a year at that point.
    [post=36030]Quoted post[/post]

    It is understood, nobody wants to be beaten by incompetent,.. they are plenty of remarks,..

    " because of this fine unit/soldiers/army/general that we have to surrender/lost or whatssoever.." .........

    sounds familiar?

    but for Rommel's case, Churchil was quite consistent on his praises towards him,.

    Churchil hardly praised Yamashita over the fall of Singapore or those Japs pilots who sunk, overly confident, brits fleet near Malaya peninsula. and these two name too few of other mishap adventure that Churchill praise no one for the defeat.

    Regards
    [post=36031]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b]I do take your point Gumalangi and its one well made. But the west has tended to play up the talents of Rommel quite a bit. His desert campaigns were legendary and fascinating but I always feel that he was overrated.
     
  12. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Gotthard Heinrici+Jun 30 2005, 11:43 AM-->(Gotthard Heinrici @ Jun 30 2005, 11:43 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'>
    Originally posted by GUMALANGI@Jun 30 2005, 10:50 AM
    <!--QuoteBegin-Gotthard Heinrici@Jun 30 2005, 10:29 AM
    We should also take into account that the British tended to view Rommel with rose tinted glasses, having led them a merry dance in the Desert for over a year at that point.
    [post=36030]Quoted post[/post]



    It is understood, nobody wants to be beaten by incompetent,.. they are plenty of remarks,..

    " because of this fine unit/soldiers/army/general that we have to surrender/lost or whatssoever.." .........

    sounds familiar?

    but for Rommel's case, Churchil was quite consistent on his praises towards him,.

    Churchil hardly praised Yamashita over the fall of Singapore or those Japs pilots who sunk, overly confident, brits fleet near Malaya peninsula. and these two name too few of other mishap adventure that Churchill praise no one for the defeat.

    Regards
    [post=36031]Quoted post[/post]

    I do take your point Gumalangi and its one well made. But the west has tended to play up the talents of Rommel quite a bit. His desert campaigns were legendary and fascinating but I always feel that he was overrated.
    [post=36037]Quoted post[/post]

    [/b]


    What aided Rommel in the early days was the fact that the Germans had cracked the American Diplomatic codes and were reading messages from the military attache which gave away lots of secrets.

    Later, the foot was on the other foot as Bletchley Park had cracked the engima settings covering most the Africa Corp signals.
     
  13. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    I hate to spoil the fun, but this thread started with someone asking a question about Omaha Beach. Do you think we should have a separate Rommel thread?
     
  14. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    I'd say we should… but then lots of Rommel fans would show up to say how Monty beat him by throwing supplies at him and then we, sophist blokes, should stand up and tell these guys that great generals don't just lead their armies withs hining sabres and nice horses, giving good speeches… :rolleyes:
     
  15. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by angie999@Jun 30 2005, 05:41 PM
    I hate to spoil the fun, but this thread started with someone asking a question about Omaha Beach. Do you think we should have a separate Rommel thread?
    [post=36055]Quoted post[/post]

    I have suggested that.
     
  16. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    DONE. And as it is not my forum, from now on, I wash my hands of this…

    Now, let's disgust the most over-rated general of the century. :rolleyes:
     
  17. halfyank

    halfyank Member

    Now, let's disgust the most over-rated general of the century.

    I thought we were going to discuss Rommel, not Douglas MacArthur? :D
     
  18. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    I had written this as an introduction to a new thread but it seems to have been created!

    There has been of late, with the sub thread of Omaha beach discussion on the relative merits of Rommel.

    Erwin Rommel, born of Swabian descent entered the Army in July 1910 and thirty five year later, as a Field Marshall, he took his own life by poison.

    By the time he died, he had entered into legend as being one the greatest fighting generals in history. His winning the "Blue max” in WW1, involved a masterly stroke of tactics.

    Post WW1, Rommel remained as part of the Reichwehr and until he was noticed by Hitler and made Commanding Officer of Hitler’s Bodyguard and Chief instructor to the Hitler Youth, he was bound for a normal officers progression to retirement.

    At the outbreak of WW2, Rommel was Commandant of the Field HQ of the Supreme Commander of the German Armed forces, there he entered the war not as a Commander of troops but of staff personnel. After the completion of the Polish campaign the Supreme HQ was disbanded and Rommel was left waiting around for a new command.

    In February 1940, Rommel was appointed Commander of the 7th Panzer Division based at Bad Godesberg. it could be argued that Rommel had now found his true mettle as he had shown his ability at manoeuvring forces during WW1 and now combined with the firepower and rapid mobility of the Panzers, as well as, his knowledge and belief in the technology made a winning combination.

    From the time he took over the 7th PZ, Rommel utilized the time to both train the Troops under his command but also to gain a useful knowledge of their strengths and weakness.

    On May 10th 1940, Rommel formally entered into fighting of WW2. The 7th PZ, aided by strong close air support and a magnificent ground organization, Soon earned the nickname of "The Ghost Division" for their ability to appear from nowhere! There is one important point about the campaign in France and that was Hitler had not taken complete control of the Army and so, Commanders such as Rommel and Guderian were able to respond to the situation as they developed without "recourse to orders from above" which so often happened later on in the war.

    His victories brought him to the note of both the German people but also, and most importantly the propaganda Ministry. The latter gave Rommel the publicity he desired.

    Hitler choose his next command as being the Afrika Corp, which when he took over consisted of one division of Panzers and one light division. And it was with the Afrika Corp that Rommel achieved the height of his fame. Initially to support the Italians, he soon proved himself on the desert battlefields.

    By a combination of skill on the battlefield and of what is now known as man-management" he led his troops to a series of victories against the might of the British Empire.

    he was aided as mentioned before by signals intelligence from American sources, of the allies intentions and strengths, he made good use of this in planning his campaigns.

    It led to the famous notice to British Commanders,

    To : ALL COMMANDERS AND CHIEFS OF STAFF FROM : HEADQUARTERS, B.T.E. AND M.E.F.
    There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magician or bogey-man to our troops, who are talking far too much about him. He is by no means a superman, although he is undoubtedly very energetic and able. Even if he were a superman, it would still be highly undesirable that our men should credit him with supernatural powers. I wish you to dispel by all possible means the idea that Rommel represents something more than an ordinary German general. The important thing now is to see to it that we do not always talk of Rommel when we mean the enemy in Libya. We must refer to “the Germans “or” the Axis powers " or " the enemy” and not always keep harping on Rommel. Please ensure that this order is put into immediate effect, and impress upon all Commanders that, from a psychological point of view, it is a matter of the highest importance.
    (Signed) C. J. AUCHINLECK,
    GENERAL, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, M.E.F.*




    Rommel was always hampered by the lack of supplies. His supplies had to come either by air or by sea from italy, this meant that British forces based on Malta could launch attacks against the convoys. The Italian navy proved to totally useless since they refused to engage the Royal Navy.

    Operation Pedestal lifted the siege of Malta and allowed the British to build up forces on the island; this put more pressure on the supply routes.

    Denied access to supplies, the Afrika in an action which was mirrored in the Ardennes offensive, became experts in using discarded allies supplies.

    Mention has been made on another thread mention was made of the argument that Monty won because of his massive supplies. That is true; Monty built up both his men and material before launching his attack. Since Monty had both massive stocks of men and supplies then the fact that Rommel despite his lack of the same, still managed to keep on fighting for longer than was expected.

    After being defeated in North Africa, Rommel was appointed to command the forces in Normandy. This was a post which suited him down to the ground, as he had the chance to rearrange the defences to meet the threat he felt was coming over the water in Britain.

    he moved troops and established defences in order to stop any invasion on the beaches, to some extent he was aided by troops who had been transferred from the eastern front and in many places placed defences in the same way they had in Russia.

    What he could not change was Hitler's refusal to allow the Panzer reserves to be used to as a form of fire brigade. it was this which cause so many problems on D-day.

    He was not present on D-day as he was at home for his wife’s birthday, however he rushed backed and began at once to reorganize his forces. However, it is now known that Spiedal his chief of staff and a major conspirator against Hitler had refused to move forces in order to counter the invasion; this hindered Rommel’s attempt at stabilising the front in an attempt to force back the invasion forces at a very crucial point.

    However, Rommel had begun to change in his political views; he had expressed dissatisfaction with Hitler and this lead to brief contact with the German resistance. Unfortunately for him, after the bomb plot of 20th July, one of the conspirators mentioned Rommel’s name and so a case was drawn up against him, it ended with him being found guilty of high treason but was given the choice of death by poison or facing a show trail and death by piano wire. He took his own life in order to spare those he loved and cared for.

    I shall leave it to David Fraser to sum up the Rommel legend

    “Living legends, they project, each in his way, the classic image of the warrior: brave, vigorous, sharp of eye and mind, rapid in decision, alert in danger, faster and bolder in the fight than his enemies. Of this extraordinary brotherhood is Rommel - the brotherhood of Hector, of Rupert of the Rhine, of those who can only be described as heroes; and it is curious that so determinedly practical a modernist as Rommel - the least fanciful of men - should have joined a company so bonded by myth.”

    I beleive that the legend of Rommel is truly justified.
     
  19. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    To some extent Rommel was created by the Nazi party.Goebbels lavished praise and publicity on Rommel for his ability which the Wehrmacht generals were sceptical about.

    Rommel's end,wrapped up in the events of July 1944 were disguised by the Party to avoid embarrassment to the Party propaganda machine.Like a number of Hitler's generals he did take Hitler's money which will associate him in the politics of Nazi Germany.To his credit he was never criticised for the way he conducted battle against his opponents in North Africa but then he was the "boss on the spot" there and never had to deal with SS affiliations.

    According to the Wehrmacht generals Rommel was considered as a political general and a military upstart with showman like ambitions.Rommel rose from Colonel to Field Marshal in three years, based on, it was reported,from his standing in the Party.It was a weakness of Hitler's personality trait that he ravished promotions on his favourites when times were good as they were after the fall of France.

    Initially,Hitler had a special bond with Rommel,he was the type of commander that Hitler was drawn to in that he tended to act from instinct and not from reason.The military capability of both had been beliittled by the German General Staff but both had triumphed in their respectives roles to bring military success.

    His strengths were recognised as having an original mind and a keen practical sense together with a flair for personal leadership.Although not noted as being a great strategist,he had an excellent capacity for exploiting a tactical opportunity.

    His C in C West ,von Rundstedt was critical of his Atlantic Wall fortifications from his own experience in France in 1940.It was Rundstedt who bypassed the Maginot Line and broke through to the English Channel.The principles of his defence was to deal with any penitration or outflanking by the use of mobile reserves and not tie up manpower and resources in fixed defences.He was quoted as saying in 1944,"We Germans do not indulge in a tired Maginot spirit".

    Rommel having some influence with Hitler and Hitler hearing Rommel propose that the Atlantic Wall must be packed with every man and weapon and "The high water line must be the main fighting line" immediately ordered that von Rundstedt's plan be modified by Rommel.The idea that not a metre of territory would be given up appealed to Hitler and Rommel in February 1944 initiated the improvement in beach defences from Le Havre to Cherbourg. It was Rommel who planned the fixed heavy coastal batteries which he thought would be safe from air attacks and whose role was to destroy Allied shipping off shore and prevent landing craft from reaching the beach,a tactic which was to fail when put to the test.In determining the strategy for holding the Allies on the beaches with packed manpower,Rommel reduced the defence depth by utilising infantry that von Rundsedt had detailed as mobile reserve.

    Rommels reputation had been earnt in North Afirica.He was a credited battlefield performer when the battle was fluid.He had better tanks and antitanks and his capacity to utilise them at speed and initiative had the advantage over the early British commanders.His luck changed when he met an opponent who would not be thrown off balance to expose any weak spots and who would only pitch battle when the odds were against Rommel as the showdown at Alamein proved.Montgomery was a different opponent and his tactics almost 2 months before the Battle of Alamein at Alam Halfa with forces still inerior to Rommel in terms of firepower and armour inflicted a defeat on the Desert Fox.
     
  20. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    All well said and well explained,..

    just like to add,.. that it is not true that Rommel is logistic ignorant,.. he fully aware that in order to master the dessert, one has to master logistic as well, as no victory can be attain without a proper one,.. and the earlier stage of dessert war,.. and until the later part of his dessert campaign most of his manouvre were has to base on his supply availibility which mostly all about oil.
    he always personnally do some personal assesment on the lastest development of his stock and spare no effort to find a better ways of having his supplies efficiently reach his unit.

    And people do admire this gentlement is not only for his skills in the art of war, but also about his personality, a very symphatethic person who has high moral ground. He applied Krieg Ohne hass among his men and applied them truly to his enemy.
    like one brits lad said,..." Rommel is a hard bloke,.. but he plays it descently"

    Regards
     

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