Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

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Romani
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Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by Romani » 17 Apr 2008 16:29

Hello!

I am translating a book on the Normandy landings, and there's confusion about the name "Rommel spargel" (asparagus) I have always heard these were the poles put in fields to hamper paratrooper and glider landings, but some people say the name was used too for the anti landing craft obstacles on beaches, logs at the low tide , sometimes with mines on top.

I tried a search, but I didn't found exactly what i was looking for

Can anyone clear this up?

Thanks in advance

ducatim901
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by ducatim901 » 17 Apr 2008 16:57

Hi, the Rommelspargel were wooden poles made from trees (ehhh, seems logic.....;-)) but also from metal rails or concrete poles these were put in the ground so that landing gliders at least would be severely damaged and the soldiers hurt.
The poles or things that were created on the beaches had different names.
Greetings Jack.

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M19 MADMAL
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by M19 MADMAL » 17 Apr 2008 19:23

Hi,

Rommel's Asparagus were common on the Channel Islands from early 44. The tops of them would be conected to each other by wires in a 'Spiders web' design with the post in the centre of the 'web' having a teller mine or large shell head fitted to the top of it so if a paratrooper or glider landed on the wires, it would set off the explosive device by a pull fuze.

In Jersey they were normally placed about 2 metres above the ground so that cattle could safely graze below the wires without becoming mincemeat! 8O :lol:

Malcolm :wink:
Last edited by M19 MADMAL on 17 Apr 2008 21:26, edited 1 time in total.
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RichTO90
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by RichTO90 » 17 Apr 2008 20:21

Romani wrote:I am translating a book on the Normandy landings, and there's confusion about the name "Rommel spargel" (asparagus) I have always heard these were the poles put in fields to hamper paratrooper and glider landings, but some people say the name was used too for the anti landing craft obstacles on beaches, logs at the low tide , sometimes with mines on top.
What few references I can find to the beach obstacles call them Holzpfählen, so simply "wooden poles"?

The tripod-type wooden "ramps" often seen on the beaches were Hemmbalken, so "break beams"?

Hope that helps.

Romani
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by Romani » 17 Apr 2008 21:30

Yes, thank you for your replies, I should have said I am translating the book from english to spanish, is "The Victors" by Stephen Ambrose

The single logs obstacles didn't have a special name , they fell under the generic "K" for coastal, the other log obstacle, the "ram logs" set at a t 30 or 40 degrees angle were known as "hemmelbalker"

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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by jopaerya » 19 Apr 2008 10:17

Hello Romani

On plans the "Rommelspargel" is called "Luftlandehindernis"

Regards Jos

Romani
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by Romani » 20 Apr 2008 22:42

Jos, please, can you confirm that, you meant "plans" or "plains"? There's an annoying freak posting in my forum all ranting because he says "Rommelspargel" was the name for the logs driven into the beach, wich another poster from this forum has told me they were called "hochpfahlen", and that you meant "plains", no plans.

So to be fair to him, I am asking you what is your source, if you have seen the plans of the defenses and the name of said element. It's just an obscure technicism nobody cares about, but out of professional pride, I want to check it, to shut up him, or shut up myself.

So summing it up, I believe

Rommelspargel = Luftlandehindernis

and he says

Rommelspargel = holzpfähle

Danke!


EDIT: Forget it, I found out we were both right. Strictly speaking, the "rommelspargel" should be only the 3 meter poles planted in fields mentioned in the responses in this thread, but shorter logs were also planted wich were similar to the logs planted as the first line of beach obstacle, leading to the confusion. If it's in a field is a "spargel" if they are in the beach they are holzpfähle

This original german document, cortesy of AHF poster fortrees44 illustrates the different names for beach obstacles


http://img509.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... nesvi5.png

jopaerya
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by jopaerya » 21 Apr 2008 15:11

Hello Romani

This is the drawing I was talking about .

Drawing = Gen.Feldm. Rommel from H.Sakkers

Regards Jos

derlogi
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by derlogi » 19 Nov 2008 18:23

In Gunter Grass' novel "The Tin Drum" he describes an incident invloving Rommelsspargal on the beaces of Normandy in the chapter "Inspection of Concrete,or Barbaric,Mystical,Bored"

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Erik E
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Re: Rommel asparagus, what exactly they were?

Post by Erik E » 19 Nov 2008 23:57

Hallo

Here is a few lines from a US manual on German beach defences printed six months before Rommel took over the command of Heeresgruppe B.
As you see, allready in 1943 they use the term "Asparagus beds" describing only the the pattern of which different types of logs were placed, rather than a spesific type of obstacle!
So the Asparagus connection surely exsisted before Rommel even got close to the beaches ;-)

The adding of his name to this term, making it "Rommelsparges", in my eyes strongly indicates that it was a obstacle "invented" or atleast ordered specially by him, and as far as I know, that fits with the "Luftlandehindernis"?

Rgds
Erik E
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