Biography of Rommel

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Jeremy Dixon
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Biography of Rommel

Post by Jeremy Dixon » 02 May 2005 17:03

Could I request a bullet point biography including promotions and awards of Erwin Rommel from someone. (similiar to the information on Michaels Millers Axis Bio Research-can't find Rommel)

Thanks

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USAF1986
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Post by USAF1986 » 03 May 2005 00:13

Hello! Here is my profile of GFM Rommel based on an amalgamation of the sources cited below. Please note, there are some differences in dates of command depending on what source you use, so I would welcome any inputs/corrections! In particular, I would welcome information on Rommel’s promotion dates including the sequence numbers.

I hope this proves useful!

Best regards,
Shawn

Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel

Born: 15 November 1891, Heidenheim
Suicide: 14 October 1944, Heerlingen

Religion: Evangelical

Family: Married Lucie Mollin in Danzig, 1916 – one son, Manfred (born 1928).

Promotions:
• Fahnenjunker: 19 July 1910
• Leutnant: 27 January 1912 – Patent 30 January 1910
• Oberleutnant: ? September 1915
• Hauptmann: 18 October 1918 (34)
• Major: ? April 1932
• Oberstleutnant: 1 March 1935
• Oberst: 1 August 1937
• Generalmajor: 1 August 1939 – RDA 1 June 1939
• Generalleutnant: 1 January 1941
• General der Panzertruppe: 1 July 1941
• Generaloberst: 30 January 1942
• Generalfeldmarschall: 22 June 1942

Commands & Assignments:
• 19 July 1910-3 October 1915: Entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in the Infanterie-Regiment König Wilhelm I (6. Württembergisches) Nr.124.
• ?-November 1911: Detached to the Danzig War School.
• 1 March 1914-31 July 1914: Detached to the 1.Thüringisches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr.19.
• September 1914: Wounded by a bullet in the left thigh at Varennes/hospitalized.
• 13 January 1915: Returned to Infantry Regiment 124 in the field.
• July 1915: Wounded in the shin by shrapnel.
• 4 October 1915-10 January 1918: Transferred to the Württemberg Mountain Battalion.
• 10 August 1917: Wounded by a bullet in the left arm/treated at the front and remained with the troops.
• 11 January 1918-20 December 1918: Transferred to the General Command 64 (Württemberg).
• 29 July 1918-19 August 1918: Detached to the 4th Battery of Landwehr Field Artillery Regiment 6 of the 6th Bavarian Landwehr Division.
• 20 August 1918-8 September 1918: Detached to the 1st Landwehr Foot Artillery Battalion, XX Army Corps.
• 21 December 1918-24 June 1919: Returned to Infantry Regiment 124.
• 25 June 1919-31 December 1920: Transferred to Reichswehr Schützen-Regiment 25 of Reichswehr-Brigade 13.
• 1 January 1921-30 September 1929: Transferred to the 13th (Württemberg) Infantry Regiment upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or Transitional Army. [As of the 1 May 1926 Rangliste des Deutschen Reichsheeres, Hauptmann Rommel was Chief of the 4th (Machinegun) Company.]
• 1 October 1929-30 September 1933: Instructor at the Infantry School in Dresden.
• 1 October 1933-14 January 1935: Commander of the III. (Jäger) Battalion of the 17th Infantry Regiment, Goslar.
• 15-24 January 1935: Detached to the Reich Defense Ministry.
• 25 January 1935-14 October 1935: Commander of the III. (Jäger) Battalion of Infantry Regiment “Goslar.”
• 15 October 1935-9 November 1938: Instructor at the Potsdam War School.
• 1936: Detached to Hitler’s escort for the Nazi Party rally in Nürnberg.
• 1937: Published Infanterie Greift an.
• October 1938: Detached to command the Führer Headquarters during the occupation of the Czech Sudetenland.
• 10 November 1938-22 August 1939: Commander of the Wiener Neustadt War School.
• March 1939: Detached to command the Führer Headquarters during the occupation of Bohemia-Moravia and the annexation of Memel.
• 23 August 1939-14 February 1940: Commandant of the Führer Headquarters.
• 15 February 1940-14 February 1941: Commander of the 7th Panzer Division.
• 6-19 February 1941: Commander of the German Troops in Libya/Reconnaissance Staff “Rommel.”
• 19 February 1941-15 August 1941: Commanding General of the German Afrika Korps (DAK). [When Rommel was elevated to command of Panzer Group Afrika, Generalleutnant Ludwig Crüwell succeeded him to command of the DAK.]
• 15 August 1941-21 January 1942: Commander of Panzer Group Afrika.
• 22 January 1942-9 March 1942: Commander-in-Chief of Panzer Army Afrika.
• 9-19 March 1942: On sick leave. [In addition to retaining command of the DAK, General der Panzertruppe Ludwig Crüwell assumed temporary leadership of Panzer Army Afrika during Rommel’s absence.]
• 19 March 1942-22 September 1942: Again, Commander-in-Chief of Panzer Army Afrika.
• 22 September 1942: On sick leave in Germany. [General der Kavallerie Georg Stumme assumed temporary leadership of Panzer Army Afrika during Rommel’s absence.]
• 25 October 1942-23 February 1943: Recalled to North Africa due to the start of the Battle of El Alamein; again, Commander-in-Chief of Panzer Army Afrika (from 1 October 1942, also known as the German-Italian Panzer Army). [On 24 October 1942, the day before Rommel returned to North Africa, Stumme suffered a fatal heart attack and was succeeded by General der Panzertruppe Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma.]
• 23 February 1943-9 March 1943: Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Afrika.
• 9 March 1943: Health cure at Semmering and on leave in Wiener Neustadt. [Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim succeeded Rommel to command of Army Group Afrika. Rommel did not return to North Africa.]
• 14 May 1943-14 July 1943: Working Staff Rommel. Appointed to head the concentration of German military forces in southeastern France and Austria for possible intervention in northern Italy (cover name “Auffrischungs Stab München”). A skeleton army group staff, Working Staff Rommel was composed of officers who had served with him in Africa (including Generalleutnant Alfred Gause) and members of Army Group B which had been recently inactivated in Russia. Rommel was tasked with Plan “Alarich,” a mission designed to gradually infiltrate additional German forces into northern Italy to defend against an Allied invasion on the assumption the Italians could not be relied upon to do it themselves.
• 15 July 1943-3 September 1944: Commander-in-Chief of Army Group B.
• 23 July 1943: Assigned to inspect the defenses of Greece.
• 25 July 1943: Rommel arrived in Salonika, Greece to consult with Generaloberst Alexander Löhr, the Commander-in-Chief Southeast and of Army Group E, and to begin his inspection. However, he was recalled to Rastenburg later that same day due to the situation in Italy.
• 15 August 1943: Flew to Bologna for conference.
• 17 August 1943: Formally assigned command of all German forces in northern Italy. Also effective this date, Army Group B officially dropped its cover name of Auffrischungs Stab München. Rommel’s headquarters staff was formally established at Lake Garda, Italy; however, he and his staff continued to remain in München until circa early September.
• 8 September 1943: Italy opted out of the war by concluding an armistice with the Allies. The German forces in Italy, including Army Group B, launched Operation “Achse” to take control of the country and disarm the Italian armed forces.
• Mid-September 1943: Hospitalized for an appendectomy.
• 21 November 1943: Previously the Commander-in-Chief South, Generalfeldmarschall Albert Keßelring was granted the dual appointment of Commander-in-Chief Southwest and Commander-in-Chief of Army Group C on this date. As such, he held overall command of the German military forces in Italy. Rommel’s Army Group B staff transferred to France under the command jurisdiction of the Commander-in-Chief West (Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt).
• 30 November 1943: Rommel began an extended inspection of the western coastal defenses.
• 15 January 1944: Army Group B assumed responsibility for defense of the Atlantic and Channel coasts north of the Loire.
• 9 March 1944: Army Group B headquarters established at La Roche-Guyon.
• 17 July 1944: Severely wounded (quadruple skull fracture) during an air attack on his staff car in Normandy/hospitalized/on convalescent leave. [Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge, the Commander-in-Chief West, succeeded Rommel to command of Army Group B on 19 July 1944.]
• 3 September 1944: Transferred to Army High Command Leader Reserve.
• 14 October 1944: Convinced of Rommel’s complicity in the assassination plot of 20 July 1944, Adolf Hitler instructed Generalleutnant Wilhelm Burgdorf, Chief of the Army Personnel Office, and Generalmajor Ernst Maisel, Chief of the Office Group for Officers’ Education and Welfare (P 2) of the Army Personnel Office, to meet the Field Marshal at his home in Heerlingen and offer him a choice: suicide and a hero’s state funeral or trial before the People’s Court. On 14 October 1944, Rommel opted for the former fate and took the cyanide provided by Burgdorf. That same day, Joseph Goebbels announced Rommel had died of a heart attack while recovering from his injuries. Hitler ordered national mourning and a state funeral for Rommel.
• 18 October 1944: State funeral at the Rathaus of Ulm. Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt represented Hitler and delivered the eulogy. Rommel’s body was cremated and the ashes interred in the cemetery in Heerlingen.

Note on Army Group B: Per Die deutsche Wehrmacht 1939-1945: Führung und Truppe by Kurt Mehner, from 16 November 1943-1944, Army Group B was also known as “Heeresgruppe z.b.V.” and then “Inspekteur Dänemark.”

Decorations & Awards:
• Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross: 27 May 1940, Generalmajor, Commander of the 7th Panzer Division.
• Oakleaves (No. 10): 20 March 1941, Generalleutnant, Commander of the 7th Panzer Division.
• Swords (No. 6): 20 January 1942, General der Panzertruppe, Commander of Panzer Group Afrika.
• Diamonds (No. 6): 11 March 1943, Generalfeldmarschall, Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Afrika.
• Prussian Pour le Mérite Order: 10 December 1917, Oberleutnant, Commander of a Battle Group of the Württemberg Mountain Battalion. [Awarded in recognition of outstanding leadership and distinguished military planning and successful operations during the battle of Caporetto (12th Battle of the Isonzo). Between 24 October 1917, when the Württemberg Mountain Battalion led the attack on Colovrat Ridge, and December 1917, Oberleutnant Rommel’s unit captured 150 Italian officers, 9,000 soldiers along with 81 artillery pieces and numerous machineguns. During a night attack on 7-8 November 1917, Rommel led his troops successfully in capturing Clautana pass from the Italians. On 9 November 1917, he was responsible for the capture of a second pass. By 10 November 1917, Rommel had reached the Piave River and with only five companies of soldiers, crossed the river to pursue the retreating Italians. By the time Rommel and his troops had reached Longarone, they had captured 8,000 more Italian soldiers.]
• Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 22 March 1915.
• Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 30 September 1914.
• 1939 Clasp to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 21 May 1940.
• 1939 Clasp to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 17 May 1940.
• Württemberg Military Merit Order, Knight’s Cross: 8 April 1915. [On 25 February 1915, Rommel was awarded the Württemberg Gold Military Merit Medal. However, upon award of the Knight’s Cross of the Württemberg Military Merit Order and in accordance with the Kingdom’s award regulations, he was no longer entitled to display the latter medal and it was stricken from his records.]
• Württemberg Friedrich Order, Knight 1st Class with Swords
• Bavarian Military Merit Order, 4th Class with Swords
• Austrian Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration
• Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
• Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
• Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
• Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938 with Prague Castle Clasp
• Commemorative Medal for the Return of the Memel District
• Wound Badge in Silver – World War I award
• Wound Badge in Gold – World War II award: 7 August 1944 (for sixth wound received on 17 July 1944)
• Panzer Assault Badge in Silver
• Luftwaffe Combined Pilot/Observer in Gold with Diamonds
• “FÜHRERHAUPTQUARTIER” Cuff-Title – Worn only while Rommel served as commandant of Hitler’s military escort.
• “AFRIKA” Campaign Cuff-Title
• Italian Military Order of Savoy, Grand Officer (Ordine Militare di Savoia, Grande Ufficiale). [In The Rommel Papers, he notes receiving the Italian Military Silver Bravery Medal on 22 April 1941. The next day, Rommel wrote to his wife about receiving this medal and noted that he was supposed to soon be getting the Italian “Pour le Mérite.” He was clearly referring to the Italian Military Order of Savoy. Photographic evidence suggests he received this order shortly thereafter. Rommel prominently displayed the neck badge and breast star of the Grand Officer of the Italian Military Order of Savoy as well as the ribbon of the Italian Military Silver Bravery Medal during his formal promotion ceremony to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall in Berlin on 30 September 1942.]
• Colonial Order of the Star of Italy, Grand Cordon (Ordine Coloniale della Stella d’Italia, Gran Cordone) – Presented by Generale d’Armata Ettore Bastico on 28 April 1942 (The Rommel Papers).
• Italian Military Silver Bravery Medal (Medaglia d’Argento al Valore Militare) – Presented by Generale d’Armata Italo Gariboldi on 22 April 1941 (The Rommel Papers; see also page 102 of Horrido! by Raymond F. Toliver & Trevor J. Constable). Note: Rommel wrote to his wife that he heard that Mussolini had intended to award him the Italian Military Gold Bravery Medal (Medaglia d’Oro al Valore Militare) during his visit to Rome on 9 March 1943. Rommel mused that Mussolini “…held his hand, apparently annoyed by my ‘defeatist’ attitude.” Only two Germans, both Luftwaffe fighter pilots, were awarded the Italian Military Gold Bravery Medal: Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille and Major Joachim Müncheberg.
• Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 2nd and 3rd Classes: 12 July 1944 (Royal Decree No. 1297).

Note: Rommel was one of the rare Pour le Mérite recipients who did not receive the Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Prussian Royal Hohenzollern House Order – the customary World War I “stepping stone” between the Iron Cross, 1st Class and the Pour le Mérite Order. Ferdinand Schörner was another recipient of the Pour le Mérite who never received the Hohenzollern.

Film Portrayals:
Five Graves to Cairo (1943), Eric von Stroheim.
The Desert Fox (1951), James Mason.
The Desert Rats (1953), James Mason.
Rommel ruft Kairo (1959), Paul Klinger.
Foxhole in Cairo (1961), Albert Lieven.
Hitler (1962), Gregory Gaye.
The Longest Day (1962), Werner Hinz.
Night of the Generals (1967), Christopher Plummer.
La Battaglia di El Alamein (1969), Robert Hossein.
L’Urlo dei giganti (1969), Manuel Collado.
Le Mur de l’Atlantique (1970), John Eppler.
Patton (1970), Karl Michael Vogler.
Raid on Rommel (1971), Wolfgang Preiss.
Operation Walküre (1971 TV), Friedrich Siemers.
O Agnostos polemos (1971 TV series), George Kyritsis.
The Key to Rebecca (1985 TV), Robert Culp.
War and Remembrance (1988 TV miniseries), Hardy Krüger.
Night of the Fox (1990 TV), Michael York.
The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990 TV), Helmut Griem.
D-Day (2004 TV), Albert Welling.

Sources:
• Bender, Roger James & Law, Richard D. Uniforms, Organization and History of the Afrika Korps. R. James Bender Publishing, San Jose, California, 1973 (1st Edition).
• Bradley, Dermot & Schulze-Kossens, Richard (editors). Tätigkeitsbericht des Chefs des Heerespersonalamtes General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt, 1.10.1942-29.10.1944. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1984.
• Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger Des Ritterkreuzes Des Eisernen Kreuzes, 1939-1945. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, Friedberg, Germany, 1993.
• Fraser, David. Knight’s Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York, 1993.
• Garland, Albert N. & Smyth, Howard McGaw. Sicily and the Surrender of Italy – The United States Army in World War II: The Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1965.
• Hamelman, William E. The History of the Prussian Pour le Mérite Order, Volume III: 1888-1918. Matthäus Publishers, Dallas, Texas, 1986.
• Irving, David. The Trail of the Fox. Avon Books, New York, New York, 1978 printing of 1977 edition.
• Keilig, Wolf. Die Generale des Heeres. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, Friedberg, Germany, 1983.
• Liddell-Hart, B. H. (editor). The Rommel Papers. Paul Findlay, translator. Da Capo Press, Inc., U.S.A., reprint of original 1953 edition.
• Marshall, Charles F. Discovering the Rommel Murder: The Life and Death of the Desert Fox. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 1994 (this book contains a copy of Rommel’s original Soldbuch).
• Mehner, Kurt. Die deutsche Wehrmacht 1939-1945: Führung und Truppe. Militair-Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, Germany, 1993.
• Rommel, Erwin. Attacks. Athena Press, Inc, Vienna, Virginia, 1979 (originally published in 1937 in Germany as Infanterie Greift An).
Rangliste des Deutschen Reichsheeres, 1 May 1926 & 1 May 1930.
Last edited by USAF1986 on 04 May 2005 23:36, edited 4 times in total.

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Michael Miller
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Post by Michael Miller » 03 May 2005 00:32

Magnificent job, Shawn! Thanks for sharing this incredibly detailed information.

Best wishes,
~ Mike

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USAF1986
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Post by USAF1986 » 03 May 2005 04:27

Mike,

I'm glad to share! BTW, a minor correction: Ettore Bastico was still a Generale d’Armata when he awarded Rommel the Colonial Order of the Star of Italy on 28 April 1942 (profile edited).

Best regards,
Shawn

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Miha Grcar
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Post by Miha Grcar » 03 May 2005 14:58

Just one nitpick! Rommel also had a doughter which was born even before he was married to Married Lucie Mollin! I will have to check what her name was...

best,
Miha / Nibelung
Last edited by Miha Grcar on 04 May 2005 20:51, edited 1 time in total.

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USAF1986
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Post by USAF1986 » 04 May 2005 00:33

Gentlemen,

After a careful review of The Rommel Papers and the attached photograph from the Greene and Massignami book cited below, I must revise the class of Rommel’s Colonial Order of the Star of Italy. He, in fact, received the Gran Cordone or Grand Cordon class of the order – NOT the Grande Ufficiale or Grand Officer as I previously stated.

Rommel describes the order as such: “He [Bastico] presented me, in the name of the King, with the new Colonial Order. A large silver star, even bigger than the previous one [i.e. breast star of the Grand Officer of the Military Order of Savoy], plus a red sash with small order. This is really enough.”

Based on the photograph and a review of the classes of the Colonial Order of the Star of Italy (see link), he received the highest grade of the order: the Grand Cordon.

http://www.anticheopinioni.it/Insegnecoloniale.htm

Best regards,
Shawn

SOURCE: Greene, Jack & Massignani, Alessandro. Rommel’s North Africa Campaign: September 1940-November 1942. Da Capo Press, Inc., U.S.A., 1994 (1999 edition).
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 04 May 2005 07:09

29 July 1918-19 August 1918: Detached to the 4th Company of Reserve Field Artillery Regiment 6, Bavarian Reserve Division
Shawn,
Do you know which Division this was with?I assume it was in Alsace.All I can find is the Bavarian Landwehr Artillery Regiment 6 with the 6 Bavarian Landwehr Division in the region.

An excellent presentation.

Best regards,
Peter

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 04 May 2005 07:49

Does anyone know if Rommel ever picked up malaria,from either his WW1 service or from North Africa 1941-43?

Regards,
Peter

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Miha Grcar
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Post by Miha Grcar » 04 May 2005 20:50

I just got a hold of the book (e-book to be precise)... On 8th December 1913, three days after Rommel's father died, Walburga Stemmer gave birth to Erwin Rommel's doughter who they named Gertrud. She didn't get his surname, since he and her mother never got married.

The book is called:
Maurice Philip Remy - Mythos Rommel

best,
Miha / Nibelung

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Post by USAF1986 » 04 May 2005 23:13

Peter,

You are correct! The author of the source I consulted translated Landwehr as Reserve. I scanned and expanded Rommel’s Soldbuch entry from this source: it clearly states “4th Battery of Landwehr Field Artillery Regiment 6, Bavarian Landwehr Division.”

Profile edited again!

Best regards,
Shawn

SOURCE: Marshall, Charles F. Discovering the Rommel Murder: The Life and Death of the Desert Fox. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 1994.
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mulisch
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Post by mulisch » 07 May 2005 12:22

Hello Nibelung,

Do you perhaps know if this daughter of Erwin Rommel is still alive ????

Regards,

Mulisch

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Dieter Zinke
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Post by Dieter Zinke » 07 May 2005 12:26


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USAF1986
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Post by USAF1986 » 12 May 2005 23:38

Hello! Does anyone know Rommel’s exact promotion dates to these ranks? Thanks for any assistance!

• Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter: ? October 1910
• Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier: ? December 1910
• Fähnrich: ?

Here are two additions to Rommel’s biographical profile:

• 20 July 1961: The Bundeswehr barracks in Augustdorf was named “Generalfeldmarschall Rommel-Kaserne” in his honor.
• 1970: A U.S. built modified Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer was commissioned into the German Bundesmarine as the Rommel (D 187). The ship remained in service for 29 years until stricken on 30 June 1999.

Best regards,
Shawn

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Stauffenberg II
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Post by Stauffenberg II » 13 May 2005 07:15

Hi Shawn!
Major: ? April 1932


01.04.1932 (22)
as per as the 01.05.1932 Rangliste

Regards!

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Post by Dieter Zinke » 13 May 2005 14:35

USAF1986 wrote:Hello!
Here are two additions to Rommel’s biographical profile:
• 20 July 1961: The Bundeswehr barracks in Augustdorf was named “Generalfeldmarschall Rommel-Kaserne” in his honor.
• 1970: A U.S. built modified Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer was commissioned into the German Bundesmarine as the Rommel (D 187). The ship remained in service for 29 years until stricken on 30 June 1999.

Best regards,
Shawn
For Shawn and all other members:
12.06.1965 Die “Kaserne auf dem Lechfeld“ der Bundeswehr ("Panzerbrigade 28") erhält den Namen “Rommel“-Kaserne.“
GFM-Rommel-Kaserne im lippischen Augustdorf.
02.05.1970 Die Bundesmarine stellt den FK-Zerstörer “Rommel“ (NATO-Nummer D 187) in Dienst.
Taufrede durch den BMVtdg Dr.Gerhard Schröder (* 1910, + 1989), CDU, Taufe durch die Witwe des Feldmarschalls, Frau Lucie-Maria Rommel

Dieter
Last edited by Dieter Zinke on 14 May 2005 08:37, edited 1 time in total.

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