• i am also fascinated by Rommel (but let me clarify i do not aspire to be like him for he was our enemy in WW2 and i would have no problem dropping the hammer on the fellow but there is much to be learned from him) but i dont know much at all about him or even the Wehrmacht. can anyone here recommend any books about either subject.


  • Looks like you came to the right place. (Honestly, I wouldn’t mind beating Rommel in a fair game of Axis and Allies 😉)

    But for books, I suggest:

    The Desert Fox in Normandy : Rommel’s Defense of Fortress Europe (a personal fav of mine. Good, short read)

    The Rommel Paers (Goes into the inner mind of Rommel [haven’t read])

    Triumphant Fox (Rommel doing his thing in North Africa, again, very good read)


  • @F_alk:

    @EmuGod:

    Stalingrad is near the Caucasus region, but I don’t believe it is part of it. Hitler didn’t need to attack Leningrad nor the Caucasus. His generals were right when they predicted that the Soviets would do everything to protect Moscow, as they were doing. They had given up large quantities of supplies as they retreated to the capital.

    Well, i didn’t say Stalingrad’s part of the Caucasus, i said it’s kind of a gate to the south. It was a major railway city, connecting the oil fields in the south to the rest of the USSR.
    So, besides the name (which was valuable for propaganda) it was the oil that they were for, and oil was and is extremely important.
    For Leningrad: It is the second largest city, and taking it would have had (a) a major psychological effect, especially that early in the war (Leningrad was the about the first city not to fall into german hands directly, they showed that you can “hold out”).
    (b) it would have secured the connection to the finnish allies and german troops there, without the “thorn” in the back.

    I think going for moscow was not that smart, because the soviets would do everything to defend it, and even taking it doesn’t bring the russians down…. Napoleon did capture moscow, and still lost the war.

    Hitler wasn’t really after the oil in the Caucasus as must as the Lebensraum (living space for you non-German speakers) and for the wheat fields there. He has oil from the Ploesti fields in Romania.

    Moscow was a great idea because it would have made the Soviets lose even more precious equipment and men in their fight to hold it, which most likely would have been futile during a full scale blitakrieg. Remember that the Finns were helping the Germans in order to regain their lost lands from the Russo-Finnish War in 1939. Napoleon lost because he was not prepared for the harsh winter, something the Germans could have prepared for.


  • Napoleon lost because the Russian tactic of Slash and Burn starved his army to death. They actually had decent winter gear.


  • I don’t think that the Germans could even have taken Moscow if they had invaded in Spring 1941 instead of Summer.


  • @EmuGod:

    Hitler wasn’t really after the oil in the Caucasus as must as the Lebensraum (living space for you non-German speakers) and for the wheat fields there. He has oil from the Ploesti fields in Romania.

    and where did the russian get their oil from?

    Moscow was a great idea because it would have made the Soviets lose even more precious equipment and men in their fight to hold it, which most likely would have been futile during a full scale blitakrieg. Remember that the Finns were helping the Germans in order to regain their lost lands from the Russo-Finnish War in 1939. Napoleon lost because he was not prepared for the harsh winter, something the Germans could have prepared for.

    For the winter:
    @F_alk:

    I think the major point for failure was the late beginning of the campaign due to the the help the italians needed in the balkans.

    The germans were not prepared for the winter, they were overconfident.
    The support of the Finns was neglectable, as Leningrad was never taken.
    The support of Hungary, Italy and Romania was neglectable, as their troops were even worse equipped, and “it wasn’t their war”, so their morale was worse.

    The equipment was “more precious” for the germans, so they couldn’t afford a huge losses unless they would have brought down the soviets with that battle. Something they thought they had achieved…. and waited for the soviet government to collapse every day…which it didn’t. Taking moscow wouldn’t have done a bit.
    The russians had huge losses in the first blitzkrieg phase of Babarossa, but being able to trade space for time that didn’t matter that much.
    “More losses” wouldn’t have brought them down, IMO, but the battle needed for that would have weakened the germans quite a bit.


  • eyeless_9mm

    Try to find “Rommel, The Desert Fox” by (British) Brigadier General Desmond Young. Originally published in 1950 and renewed in 1978, this biography on Rommel is an excellent early account of his life investigated by the British after the war.

    One of the best is “Knight’s Cross, A life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel” by David Fraser 1994 (USA). This biography goes into great detail due to it’s more recent publication (more information available).

    Another good read is “Infantry Attacks” by Rommel himself. He chronicles his experiences in WWI with great and exciting detail.

    After reading these three books, you will realize what a great hero and patriot he was. I rarely can find what I consider a “role model” for myself. Trust me - he’s it…


  • SUD, I would have to disagree with you. I think that Rommel was a much more competent General than you make him out to be. First Rommel was not that reckless; he did plan his campaigns. He often analyzed battles and then shared his thoughts with his staff. Unlike those who have portrayed him as a bold and mindless adventurer, the men of the Afrika Korps knew him as a cool, steady commander.

    You also talk about supply lines, which you believe Rommel was responsible for. However, Rommel was well aware of problem deriving from an extended maritime supply line that was vulnerable to airstrikes. He worried about the situation continually, but could do little to stop the ceaseless Allied air attacks from Malta and elsewhere (after playing Campaign for North Africa, you realize how much a burden supply lines were for the Axis). Rather than allow himself to become stymied by the lack of adequate supplies, Rommel choose to use what little materiel he had to go on the offensive. While the decision to act swiftly and decisively occasionally resulted in defeat, more often than not it translated into victory after victory. If there is any blame, it is better aimed at Rommel’s superiors who regarded North Africa as more of a secondary theater and rarely fullfilled Rommel’s demands for supplies and reinforcements.

    As you mentioned before, Rommel often had to go up against superior numbers, and with the odds he oftened faced, even a “adequate” general like Rommel might not fared so well against “ignorant” British commanders. To make matters worse, Rommel did not always have the best weapons or equipment. In fact, the British often had superior tanks and a lot more of it. Rommel was able to concentrate on one enemy formation, neutralize it, and move on.

    Now it’s true that he made mistakes, but he learned quickly from them and rationally applied principles that often brought success against a numerically superior, better equipped army enemy.


  • Yeah, poor British commanders (often poked fun at by the Germans).
    What I will say is that Patton would’ve probably kicked the snot out of him. He was esp. geared toward countering Rommel’s tactics.


  • That’s why the British sent Montgomery down to Africa, isn’t it?


  • Monty was overrated.


  • SUD - But that was part of his “magic”. He always tried to read the enemies’ intentions and weaknesses. He never claimed to be always correct in any tactical situation, and clearly was wrong at times. A good example was his obsession with Tobruk. Your point is perhaps his most visited critique (along with his insistence with being up at the front hampering communications). But the equation mostly worked out in his favor…

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