Rommel: Leadership Lessons from the Desert Fox (World Generals)

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Essay on The Great Strategist: Erwin Rommel -- The Fox of the Desert

Each volume will include a foreword by Wesley K. Clark, and be co-edited by a different foreign general who will write an afterword. A hero of the people of the Third Reich and widely respected by his opponents, Rommel proved himself highly adept at Blitzkrieg warfare. Both in France and North Africa he consistently outwitted his adversaries through his ability to sense the weak spot in his enemy's deployment and the pace at which he conducted his operations.

Rommel's serious wounding in France came just three days before the aborted attempt on Hitler's life. Rommel subsequently came under suspicion of being involved in the plot and, under pressure, he committed suicide. Rommel displayed an outstanding ability to seize the initiative and retain it, and here, Charles Messenger draws on the skills behind this ability for the benefit of modern day leaders. You May Also Like. More info Introduce a friend to Book Outlet and earn points.

Clark ; afterword by Klaus Naumann. Physical Description x, p. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 3. Naumann, Klaus, Edition 1st ed. Series World generals series World generals series. Subjects Rommel, Erwin, Rommel, Erwin. World War Generals. Military campaigns. World War, -- Biography.


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Generals -- Germany -- Biography. World War, -- Campaigns. Both in France and North Africa, he consistently outwitted his adversaries with the pace at which he conducted his operations and his ability to sense the weak spot in his enemy's deployment. Throughout his military career, Rommel displayed an outstanding ability to seize the initiative and retain it.

Essay on The Great Strategist: Erwin Rommel

Notes Formerly CIP. Includes bibliographical references and index. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? He then took his 6th Rifle Regiment and led it to join the tanks at the village of Wailly, four miles southwest of Arras.


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Just before he got there he became aware of one of his artillery batteries firing on tanks advancing from the north. What had in fact happened was that the British, perceiving the growing threat to Arras, had decided to launch a counterattack. While on paper Lord Gort, the British commander, had two infantry divisions available as part of his reserve, they were depleted and had been partially committed to the defense of Arras itself.

In terms of armor he only had the 1st Army Tank Brigade available. It consisted of slow-moving infantry support tanks, the majority armed with just machine guns.

Only the sixteen heavily armored Matildas, armed with a twopounder gun, were likely to have any effect on the situation, and it was these that the German guns had begun to engage. He restored order of sorts and then jumped into his armored car and drove up onto some high ground.

Erwin Rommel - The Desert Fox (Documentary)

From there he could see that one group of tanks was advancing from the west and another from the northwest. He returned to the antitank guns and succeeded in halting the British tanks. His own armor had already begun to move north, and Rommel now directed it to attack the British tanks in the flank. It was the end of the British attack, but on German side the reverberations would be felt at the very highest level.

Even though the British had a mere two tank battalions and two of infantry, their attack had been pressed home with greater determination than anything the Germans had so far experienced. It made Rundstedt halt the advance of his army group until the situation was cleared up, and he later called it the most critical moment of the whole campaign. There was, too, renewed concern over the increasing number of tanks succumbing to mechanical breakdown. This all reached the ears of Hitler, and he decided that the armor must be halted.

It needed to be conserved for Case Red, the plan for overrunning of the remainder of France. Thus on May 24 the panzers were ordered to halt, and Bock took the lead in reducing the now shrinking Allied pocket. Rommel had spent May 22 and 23 edging his way round the west side of Arras, fully expecting another attack on his flank. The 7th Panzer Division therefore came to rest in the Cuinchy area on the south side of the canal. On May 26 Hitler rescinded the halt order and on the same day the British set in motion the operation to evacuate the BEF from the beaches around Dunkirk.

For Rommel the day meant renewed honors. There was no time to celebrate, for that night the 7th Rifle Brigade managed to establish a bridgehead on the north bank of the canal. Rommel went up to see for himself early next morning and found the bridgehead was too shallow. Furthermore, no heavy weapons had made it across and British snipers were very active. As so often before, Rommel took control of the situation. He organized suppressive fire against the snipers and ordered the construction of a bridge strong enough for tanks.

Such was his progress that Hoth transferred the four tank battalions of the 5th Panzer Brigade from the 5th Panzer Division to his command.

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Rommel: Leadership Lessons from the Desert Fox

Rommel now advanced toward Lille, where there were sizable French forces. He gave orders to Rothenburg to establish a blocking position that night at Lomme on the northwest outskirts of the town, a move that would cut the one remaining westward escape route open to the French. This time Rommel did not accompany his tanks.

Remembering how they had become isolated in front of Le Cateau, he decided that he would be better employed ensuring that the remainder of the division followed up and that supplies got through to Rothenberg. The 25th Panzer Regiment duly established its block in the early hours on the twenty-eighth and Rommel immediately set out to join it with a supply column and his reconnaissance battalion.

The French did make a number of determined attempts to break out of Lille, but without success. During this contest Rommel had another narrow escape when a shell landed close to his signals vehicle, killed the commander of the reconnaissance battalion, and wounded several others.

It turned out to have been fired by a German gun in a neighboring division. On May 28 the Belgians surrendered. The evacuation from Dunkirk was now in full swing in spite of the efforts of the Luftwaffe to interdict it.

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The following day the 7th Panzer Division was withdrawn from the line to rest and refit. Then, on June 2, Hitler visited the division. The latter made frequent reference to the Ghost Division, as the 7th Panzer was now being called because it had proved so elusive. The evacuation was now over, and attention turned to the conquest of the rest of France. The 7th Panzer Division ended its rest on the same day and moved down to the Somme. There had been a major reorganization of forces.

To do this he was given three panzer corps, including that of Hoth. The French had learned some lessons and laid out their defenses in much more depth than hitherto, but Rommel noted that a railway and a road bridge crossed the canal and hoped to capture them intact. His assault on June 5 was preceded by an impressive artillery bombardment, and, sure enough, his riflemen managed to capture the bridges before they could be blown.