Rommel - the most overrated general since Alexander the Grea

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Jon G.
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Postby Jon G. » 05 Mar 2007 19:45

Trower44 and imad, also see these threads:

Italian war priorities
viewtopic.php?t=63008&start=0
Axis shipping in the Mediterranean
viewtopic.php?t=93416&start=0
How important was Malta?
viewtopic.php?t=102636&start=0

Trower44
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Postby Trower44 » 05 Mar 2007 21:57

Cheers Jon, I had scanned those threads before and don't feel they contradict Van Creveld's analysis vis-a-vis Rommel's supply problems whilst campaigning deep in Egypt. :) That said I could do with spending more time (if I had more time that is) taking the links and doing some extra reading. :)

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Imad
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Postby Imad » 05 Mar 2007 23:27

Trower44, which book of Van Creveld's are you referring to?

Jon G.
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Postby Jon G. » 22 Mar 2007 00:36

Two posts by Jim Eagle Feather which didn't add anything to the discussion were removed. Jim Eagle Feather, if you want to be part of this forum, please read the forum rules viewtopic.php?t=6 and make an effort to abide by them or you will soon find yourself banned from this forum.

If you're looking for a place to post your unsourced, two-cent opinion unopposed go to the newsgroups or start your own blog. Do not waste time and bandwidth by making your pointless posts here.

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Postby GeeGee » 24 Mar 2007 00:49

I would have to say that Rommel gets a lot of publicity that others Heer generals dont, but there's a reason for that.

He was given the DAK command and told to hold the position. But in truth, Hitler wanted the Allies out of Cairo. Rommel wasnt going to sit there in the open desert when he knew that the Allies had superior materiel, fuel and aircraft to decimate his formations. So he did what any good general would - try to harass the enemy. He often made split second decisions on the limited intelligence available - and it worked - often whole enemy formations were cut off and surrendered.

If you have studied land warfare tactics at any level you will realise that momentum is very important. Rommel had that ability. He couldn't strategize in the same way that the OKW could - he had very little choice about materiel.

What he achieved was a great deal more bogging down of the Allies than otherwise would have occurred had a more cautious general been given that command.

You have to understand that he was not given priority when it came to equipment. The effort in Stalingrad was given priority at the time.

You also should remember who the OKW wanted to command the troops charged with protecting against the possible D Day invasions. Again, Rommel wanted to counterattack the Allies as they landed and have the Panzers forward - that idea was largely opposed by von Rundstedt and the rest. The units that made an impact were the ones that were forward. Rommel was correct on this. Hitler wouldnt let him use the reserves, fearing that Normandy was just a diversion.

There was a good reason why he was made Marshal in 1944. Rommel without doubt had proved that he could do a lot to soak up enemy materiel - whether he was making gains or just defending - and he could do a lot with only a little. That's all Germany had in Afrika, and thats all it had in the west in 1944. Perhaps others with experience in the east could have done this too, but they were all commanders of corps that were flanked by friendly formations up and down the eastern front from latvia down to the balkans - Rommel had proven capable of doing this on his own.

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Imad
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Postby Imad » 24 Mar 2007 07:37

Rommel was correct on this. Hitler wouldnt let him use the reserves, fearing that Normandy was just a diversion.

It's a little difficult to say for sure who was correct there. Neither Rommel nor Rundstedt and Geyr were allowed to have their own way. What resulted was a compromise situation that nobody was happy with - and produced disastrous results as well.
And actually Hitler was one of the first to intuit a Normandy landing, as opposed to the rest of his generals (including Rommel) who were convinced about the landing in Calais.

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Postby Andreas » 24 Mar 2007 09:40

GeeGee wrote:There was a good reason why he was made Marshal in 1944.


I don't think there was any good reason for that, considering he was promoted to that rank on 22 June 1942 for the capture of Tobruk.

http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/ ... index.html

All the best

Andreas

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Qvist
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Postby Qvist » 24 Mar 2007 10:41

Rommel was correct on this. Hitler wouldnt let him use the reserves, fearing that Normandy was just a diversion.


Actually, it was Rommel who was convinced there'd be a second landing and who wanted to keep strong reserves at Calais, while Hitler did not think so.

cheers

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Imad
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Postby Imad » 24 Mar 2007 20:37

Interestingly enough, I did read a while back that one person besides Hitler who was convinced about a Normandy landing was no other than Jodl! The author of the book that I read (cannot remember the title) did also quote his source for that and to my lasting regret I did not pen it down.
I wonder if anyone else can confirm this?

Jon G.
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Postby Jon G. » 25 Mar 2007 19:12

Also see this post by DrG:

viewtopic.php?p=434040#434040

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Bronsky
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Postby Bronsky » 28 Mar 2007 18:59

Trower44 wrote:Cheers Jon, I had scanned those threads before and don't feel they contradict Van Creveld's analysis vis-a-vis Rommel's supply problems whilst campaigning deep in Egypt. :) That said I could do with spending more time (if I had more time that is) taking the links and doing some extra reading. :)


I flatter myself with the idea that I have rather debunked the notion that Malta was unimportant in the appropriate thread :wink:

Regarding Rommel's mission, it was hardly possible to keep Tripolitania with Benghazi under enemy control anyway, so he was right to seize that particular opportunity. Advancing all the way to the Egyptian border, on the other hand, was clearly one port too far.

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Kim Sung
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Re: Rommel - the most overrated general since Alexander the

Postby Kim Sung » 26 Apr 2007 15:03

drommarnas wrote:Reasons why he is overrated:

1. German propaganda
2. British propaganda (easiest way to explain failure is the overrating of the opponent)
3. Simplifying of common people


According to the documentary below on Rommel, we have add one more reason.

Rommel's self-advertisement

http://www.pandora.tv/my.yjk316/4320686

alkankizil@tr.net
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Postby alkankizil@tr.net » 27 Apr 2007 11:50

Here is the considered opinion of a professional soldier, not an armchair strategist, who actually participated (!) in the North African Campaign opposing Rommel: " Had a proportion of the troops and equipment used against the Russians been sent to Africa , and particularly armoured divisons, it is reasonable to presume that the Germans would have gained Egypt, the Suez Canal and possibly established a stronghold in the Middle East..." Need one say more ? :
A Concise History of Warfare - Lord Montgomery - Wordworth Military Library

Andreas
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Postby Andreas » 27 Apr 2007 12:42

alkankizil@tr.net wrote:Here is the considered opinion of a professional soldier, not an armchair strategist, who actually participated (!) in the North African Campaign opposing Rommel: " Had a proportion of the troops and equipment used against the Russians been sent to Africa , and particularly armoured divisons, it is reasonable to presume that the Germans would have gained Egypt, the Suez Canal and possibly established a stronghold in the Middle East..." Need one say more ? :
A Concise History of Warfare - Lord Montgomery - Wordworth Military Library


That appears to be a general comment about priorities, not one about how Rommel was the best thing since sliced cakes.

All the best

Andreas
Last edited by Andreas on 28 Apr 2007 09:29, edited 1 time in total.

alkankizil@tr.net
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Postby alkankizil@tr.net » 28 Apr 2007 06:38

Andreas,

I tend to treat the Forum as a serious discussion platform. Expressions like " sliced cakes" are lowering the proper tone.You should express your views, if any, in a more appropriate way...
Regards+
,
Alkan Kizildel


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