Thursday, 2 February 2012

3R ~ Desert Fox : General Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel (1891~1944).

We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.
- Winston Churchill.

There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magical 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... [ending the memo with] I am not jealous of Rommel.
- British General Claude Auchinleck.

"thanks to propaganda, first by Goebbels, then by Montgomery, and finally, after he was poisoned (sic), by all former enemy powers, he has become a symbol of the best military traditions. ...Any public criticism of this legendary personality would damage the esteem in which the German soldier is held."
- Kircheim.

The Desert Fox by 3R, which if not mistaken, is affliliated to DiD Corp, (in) famous for their lineup of leading Nazi figures. Quality is usually a tad above the std. fare offered by DiD, which is already doing a great job for the price I am paying for a 1/6th figure nowadays. Always been attracted to this charismatic Nazi Field Marshall famous for his exploits in the North Africa Campaign during WW2.

Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944), popularly known as the Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs), was a German Field Marshal of World War II. Rommel was extraordinarily well known in his lifetime, not only by the German people, but also by his adversaries. Popular stories of his chivalry and tactical prowess earned him the respect of many opponents, including Claude Auchinleck, Winston Churchill, George S. Patton, and Bernard Montgomery. Rommel reciprocated their respect. Hitler counted Rommel among his favorite generals.
He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought. As one of the few generals who consistently fought the Western Allies (he was never assigned to the Eastern Front), Rommel is regarded as having been a humane and professional officer. His Afrikakorps was never accused of war crimes. Soldiers captured during his Africa campaign were reported to have been treated humanely. Furthermore, he ignored orders to kill captured commandos, Jewish soldiers and civilians in all theaters of his command. Rommel was among the few Axis commanders (others being Isoroku Yamamoto and Reinhard Heydrich) directly targeted for assassination by Allied planners. However, unlike the other two, the attempt on Rommel's life was a failure.

He was a highly decorated officer in World War I, and was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his exploits on the Italian front. Rommel held battalion commands and was an instructor at the Dresden Infantry School from 1929 to 1933. From 1935 to 1938, Rommel held commands at the Potsdam War Academy. In 1938 Rommel, now a colonel, was appointed Kommandant (commander) of the War Academy at Wiener Neustadt (Theresian Military Academy). Later, Rommel took command of Adolf Hitler's personal protection battalion (FührerBegleitbataillon), assigned to protect him in the special railway train (Führersonderzug) used during his visits to occupied Czechoslovakia and Memel. It was during this period that he met and befriended Joseph Goebbels, the Reich's minister of propaganda. Goebbels became a fervent admirer of Rommel and later ensured that Rommel's exploits were celebrated in the media. Rommel acted as commander of the Führerbegleithauptquartier (Führer escort headquarters) during the Poland campaign, often moving up close to the front in the Führersonderzug and seeing much of Hitler. After the Polish defeat, Rommel returned to Berlin to organize the Führer's victory parade, taking part himself as a member of Hitler's entourage.

In World War II, three months before the invasion of France, Rommel was given command of the 7th Panzer Division, for Fall Gelb ("Case Yellow"), the invasion of France and the Low Countries. Rommel further distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division, nicknamed Gespenster-Division (the "Ghost Division", because of the speed and surprise it was consistently able to achieve, to the point that even the German High Command at times lost track of its whereabouts. It also set the record for the longest thrust in one day by tanks up to that point, covering nearly 320 kilometres.) during the 1940 invasion of France. Rommel received both praise and criticism for his tactics during the French campaign.
However, it was his leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaign that established the legend of the Desert Fox. He is considered to have been one of the most skilled commanders of desert warfare in the conflict.
But some allege that he had little sense of logistics or military strategy.The allegation on Rommel little sense of logistics was based on his eagerness to drive for Egypt, when the necessary logistical support was lacking, meant that these drives ultimately failed with great losses. Rommel took great chances on several occasions, gambling entire battles on decisions made almost on the spur of the moment and with incomplete information. Contemporaries who had to work with him under adversity often had very few kind words to say about him and his abilities. His bold attacks often caused larger enemy formations to surrender but his aggressiveness did cause resentment among fellow officers, however, who felt he at times acted too recklessly and failed to keep his sub-commanders and colleague commanders properly informed of his intentions. He was also criticized for claiming too much of the glory himself, neglecting support from other elements of the Wehrmacht and downplaying other units' achievements.

The inglorious end of the North African campaign meshed poorly with the Nazi propaganda machine's relentless portrayal of Rommel as an unbeatable military genius. This opened in Berlin the awkward question of precisely what use now to make of the erstwhile Desert Fox. Back in Germany he was for some time virtually "unemployed". He was eventually given command of Army Group B with responsibility of opposing potential Allied cross-channel invasion in Normandy. He ordered millions of mines laid and thousands of tank traps and obstacles set up on beaches and throughout the countryside, including in fields suitable for glider aircraft landings, the so-called Rommelspargel ("Rommel's asparagus").The Allies staged elaborate deceptions for D-Day, giving the impression that the landings would be at Calais. Rommel concentrated fortification building in the River Somme estuary and let the work in Normandy lag. By D-Day on 6 June 1944 the German command structure in France was in disarray. Rommel, and several other important officers were on leave. The absence of Rommel and continued confusion in the army and theater HQs led to hesitation in releasing the armoured reserves to Normandy. Rommel personally oversaw the bitter fighting around Caen. The Allies pushed ashore and expanded their beachhead despite the best efforts of Rommel's troops. By mid-July the German position was crumbling. On 17 July 1944, Rommel was being driven along a French road near the front in his staff car, a RCAF Spitfire strafed the car near Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery and Rommel was injured. He was hospitalised with major head injuries.

Late in the war, Rommel was linked to the conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler. Early in 1944, three of Rommel's closest friends — the Oberbürgermeister of Stuttgart, SA Brigadeführer Karl Strölin (who had served with Rommel in the First World War), Alexander von Falkenhausen and Carl Heinrich von Stülpnagel—began efforts to bring Rommel into the conspiracy. They felt that as by far the most popular officer in Germany, he would lend their cause badly needed credibility with the populace. Additionally, the conspirators felt they needed the support of a field marshal on active duty. Rommel, however, opposed assassinating Hitler. After the war, his widow—among others—maintained that Rommel believed an assassination attempt would spark civil war in Germany and Austria and Hitler would have become a martyr for a lasting cause. Instead, Rommel insisted that Hitler be arrested and brought to trial for his crimes. By the time of his head injuries, Rommel had made up his mind to do his part to get rid of Hitler. After the failed bomb attack of 20 July, many conspirators were arrested and the dragnet expanded to anyone even suspected of participating. Rommel was fairly perturbed at this development, telling Hans Speidel that Hitler's behavior after the attack proved that the dictator had "gone completely mad."

It did not take long, however, for Rommel's involvement to come to light. His name was first mentioned when Stülpnagel blurted it out after a botched suicide attempt. Later, another conspirator, Caesar von Hofacker, admitted under particularly severe Gestapo torture that Rommel was actively involved. Because Rommel was widely renowned, Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly; in trade for assurances his family would be spared, Rommel agreed to commit suicide. The truth behind Rommel's death did not come out until Field Marshal Keitel testified about it during the Nuremberg Trials.

The North African Campaign :
Italy aimed to challenge Britain for control of the Mediterranean and to move on Egypt and the Suez Canal, and the British colonies in East Africa. In addition to these threats, the British had to fight to counter German influence in the Middle East. Early in 1941, as Italian offensives collapsed, Germany was forced to come to the aid of its weaker ally.

10 June: The Kingdom of Italy declares war upon France and the United Kingdom.
14 June: British forces cross from Egypt into Libya and capture Fort Capuzzo.
16 June: The first tank battle of the North African Campaign takes place, the "Battle of Girba".
13 September: Italian forces invade Egypt from Libya.
16 September: Italian forces establish front east of Sidi Barrani.
9 December: British and Indian forces launch Operation Compass with the Battle of Marmarica (Battle of the camps).
9 December: Indian forces capture Nibeiwa with cover from British artillery.
9 December: British tanks and Indian troops overrun Tummar West followed by Tummar East.
10 December: Indian forces capture Sidi Barrani with support from British artillery.
11 December: British armoured forces arrived in Sofafi, but Libyan and Italian divisions had escaped.
16 December: Sollum captured by Allies.

5 January: Bardia captured by British and Australian force.
22 January: Tobruk captured by British and Australian force.
30 January: Australians capture Derna, Libya.
5 February: Beda Fomm captured by British.
6 February: Fall of Benghazi to the Western Desert Force. Lieutenant-General Erwin Rommel is appointed commander of German Africa Corps or Afrika Korps i.e. Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK).
7 February: Italian Tenth Army surrenders.
9 February: Churchill orders halt to British and Australian advance at El Agheila to allow withdrawal of troops to Greece.
14 February: First units of the Afrika Korps under Erwin Rommel start to arrive in Libya during Operation Sonnenblume.
24 March: Allied forces at El Agheila defeated; Erwin Rommel starts his advance.
4 April: Australian & British forces withdraw from Benghazi. Benghazi captured by Axis.
6 April: British 3rd Armored Brigade is captured in Derna.
8 April: British, Indian and Australian forces captured at Mechili.
10 April: Siege of Tobruk begins with Australian, British and Indian forces defending.
15 April: British forces are pushed back to Sollum on Egyptian border with Libya.
30 April: Australian forces lose a small part of their positions in Tobruk during the Battle of Salient, roughly a 6th of Tobruk is now held by Germans.
3 May: Australian forces counter attack in Tobruk unsuccessfully.
15 May: British troops launch Operation Brevity to gain more territory from which to launch Operation Battleaxe later in the year.
16 May: Italian forces attack Australian forces in Tobruk forcing them to withdraw.
16 May: Operation Brevity called off. Allied forces fall back onto the Halfaya Pass, captured the previous day
26 May: German forces launch Operation Skorpion and move up to Halfaya Pass
27 May: German forces recapture Halfaya Pass; British troops are forced to withdraw
15 June: British and Indian troops launch unsuccessful Operation Battleaxe
5 July: Auchinleck replaces Wavell as C-in-C Middle East Command
15 August: German Panzer Group Afrika activated with Rommel in Command.
1 October: 5th Light Division redesignated 21st Panzer Division.
18 November: Auchinleck's offensive (Operation Crusader) begins with British, Indian, South African and New Zealander forces.
21 November: British armored division defeated at Sidi Rezegh and withdraws.
22 November: New Zealand forces attack Bir Ghirba but are unsuccessful. Indian forces capture Sidi Omar.
23 November: New Zealand forces capitalize on Indian advances to wreck Afrika Korps HQ at Bir el Chleta.
23 November: Rommel launches Panzer attacks on the British XXX Corps, but face resistance from SA, NZ and British forces. British and NZ forces withdraw towards Bir el Gubi
25 November: Panzer attack on Indian forces at Sidi Omar is repulsed. In the second attack in the evening, Indian forces destroy the 5th Panzer Division.
26 November: Ritchie replaces Cunningham as commander Eighth Army.
27 November: New Zealand troops at Sidi Azeiz defeated by overwhelming advance of Panzers and German infantry.
28 November: 15th Panzer despite being outnumbered 2:1 force British tanks to retreat exposing the New Zealand forces at Ed Duda on the Tobruk by-pass.
1 December: New Zealand troops in Sidi Rezegh suffer heavy casualties by Panzers
3 December: German infantry suffers heavy defeat at the hand of New Zealand forces on the Bardia road near Menastir. German forces suffer losses against Indian forces and forced to withdraw at Capuzzo (Trigh Capuzzo)
4 December: NZ forces repulse German attack on Ed Duda. Indian forces face attrition in an uphill attempt to capture Point 174 against entrenched Italian forces without artillery support
7 December: Tobruk siege relieved by 8th Army consisting of British, Indian, New Zealander and South African forces.
13 December: 8th Army attacks Gazala line. NZ forces stopped at Alem Hamza. Indian forces take Point 204. Indian infantry face Afrika Korps and against heavy odds destroy 15 of 39 Panzers.
14 December: Indian troops repel repeated Panzer attacks on Point 204.
15 December: German advance overruns British forces en route to Point 204, but Indian forces at Point 204 hold on.
16 December: Rommel facing reduced Panzer numbers orders withdrawal from the Gazala line.
24 December: British forces capture Benghazi.
25 December: Agedabia reached by the Allies.
27 December: Rommel inflicts heavy damage on British armour who have to withdraw allowing Rommel to fall back to El Agheila.
31 December: Front lines return to El Agheila.

21 January: Rommel's second offensive begins. A lone He 111 of the Sonderkommando Blaich successfully bombs the Fort Lamy air field.
23 January: Agedabia captured by Axis forces.
29 January: Benghazi captured by Axis forces.
4 February: Front line established between Gazala and Bir Hakeim.
26 May: Axis forces assault the Gazala line, the Battle of Gazala and Battle of Bir Hakeim begins.
11 June: Axis forces begin offensive from "the Cauldron" position.
13 June: "Black Sunday". Axis inflicts heavy defeat on British armoured divisions.
21 June: Tobruk captured by Axis forces.
30 June: Axis reaches El Alamein and attack, the First Battle of El Alamein begins.
4 July: First Battle of El Alamein continues as Axis digs in and Eighth Army launch series of attacks.
31 July: Auchinleck calls off offensive activities to allow Eighth Army to regroup and resupply.
13 August: Alexander and Montgomery take command respectively of Middle East Command and Eighth Army.
30 August: Rommel launches unsuccessful Battle of Alam el Halfa.
23 October: Montgomery launches Operation Lightfoot starting the Second Battle of El Alamein.
5 November: Axis lines at El Alamein broken.
8 November: Operation Torch is launched under the command of General Eisenhower, Allied forces land in Morocco and Algeria.
9 November: Sidi Barani captured by Eighth Army.
13 November: Tobruk captured by Eighth Army.
15 November: British forces capture Derna.
17 November: First Army (Operation Torch's Eastern Task Force) and Axis meet at Djebel Abiod in Tunisia.
20 November: Benghazi captured by Eighth Army.
27 November: First Army advance halted between Terbourba and Djedeida, 12 miles from Tunis, by Axis counterattack.
10 December: First Army front line pushed back to defensive positions east of Medjez el Bab.
22 December: First Army starts three day offensive towards Tebourba which fails.
25 December: Sirte captured by Eighth Army.

23 January: Tripoli captured by British Eighth Army.
30 January: Axis forces capture Faïd pass in central Tunisia.
4 February: Axis forces in Libya retreat to Tunisian border south of the Mareth Line.
14 February: Axis advance from Faïd to launch Battle of Sidi Bou Zid and enter Sbeitla two days later.
19 February: Battle of Kasserine Pass launched by Axis forces.
6 March: Axis launch Operation Capri against Eighth Army at Medenine but lose 55 tanks.
9 March: Rommel leaves North Africa on sick leave; replaced by General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim.
19 March: Eighth Army launches Operation Pugilist.
16 March: Battle of Mareth begins.
23 March: U.S. II Corps emerge from Kasserine to match the Axis at Battle of El Guettar. Battle of Mareth ends.
26 March: Eighth Army launch Operation Supercharge II outflanking and making the Axis position at Mareth untenable. Battle of Tebaga Gap takes place.
6 April: Right wing of First Army links with Eighth Army. Battle of Wadi Akarit takes place.
22 April: Allied forces launch Operation Vulcan.
6 May: Allied forces launch Operation Strike.
7 May: British enter Tunis, Americans enter Bizerte.
13 May: Axis Powers surrender in Tunisia.

source : wikipedia.

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