Erwin Rommel “The Desert Fox” German Commander Rommel was born in Heidenheim, Germany on November 15th 1891. He joined German Army at 1910 and fought in the First World War as a Second Lieutenant in France the Romanian campaign and the Italian campaign. During the Battle of Caporetto in 1917, Rommel used his pioneering infiltration tactics taking advantage of the terrain against the Italian Forces. Rommel was always up close in the think of the action and was wounded many times. At the end of the war for his efforts he had reached the rank of Captain. During the interwar years Rommel served as an army instructor and wrote a military textbook called infantry tactics which was published in 1937. In 1938 Rommel was assigned to the War Academy at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. When World War II began Rommel at the rank of Major General was given command of Hitler’s personal bodyguard and he became known to the Fuhrer who recognizing his talents appointed Rommel as chief for personal security. In February 1940 was appointed commander of the 7th Panzer-Division during the Battle of France. During the battle of the division earned the nickname is the Ghost Division. Because it could penetrate the Allied lines without infantry support and with such great speed and suprise that it was difficult to track. Rommel swiftly proved his talents and mechanized an armoured warfare in February 1941. When he was made commander of the Africa Corps and sent to Libya, North Africa to support the weakened Italian forces there. He would also be promoted to Lieutenant General. During this time Rommel would acquire the nickname The Desert Fox idolized for his spontaneous and swift aggressive attacks on the enemy. He was also frequently seen close to the action leading from the front as he had done in the First World War which inspired the troops under his command. Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels would also establish Rommel as a hero to the German public back home. In the North African campaign there would be problems of logistics because supplies had to be delivered over vast distances across the desert. But this didn’t stop Rommel from taking swift action on the enemy. Fighting against the British
forces Rommel pushed them back across Cyrenaica and into Egypt. Rommel lay siege to the port city of Tobruk from April 1941 but could not capture it. Following his success in Operation Battleaxe. Rommel now made a new attempt to capture Tobruk and captured the city in June 1941. Earning the promotion of Field Marshal from Hitler. British commander of the Eighth Army Desert Rats Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery would become Rommels main adversary in the desert. He had taken over from Lieutenant General William got after his death in 1942. In November 1942 Rommel and the Africa Corps were defeated at the Second Battle of El Alamein by overwhelming British forces. Rommel was then recalled to Europe in March 1943 when the war in North Africa was lost. In 1944, Rommel as commander of Army Group B was assigned to reinforce the Atlantic Wall the French Channel Coast defenses against an anticipated Allied invasion. On D-Day Rommel’s Army Group B defended itself strongly against the Normandy landings. Rommel’s defensive preparations were well planned, however he was refused by Hitler to allow his tanks to oppose the landings on the beaches. Instead, Hitler ordered him to hold his armor back and reserve for a counter-attack. Germany’s defeat in the war was looking inevitable and Rommel had become increasingly disillusioned with Hitler. Questioning his decisions even directly. Rommel had not followed Nazi ideology throughout the war. And he wanted to negotiate a peace with the Allies. During this time people suggested to him that he could take over as leader if Hitler was overthrown. Unaware to Rommel these people were planning to assassinate Hitler. On July 17, 1944 Rommel was injured in his staff car by a British fighter plane and was sent to hospital. On July 20th an assassination attempt known as the July plot was made on Hitler’s life during a meeting, but failed. When the conspirators were tortured Rommel’s name was brought up. Hitler had to have Rommel executed but he did not want the popular general put on trial for treason publicly. Two officers visited Rommel’s home in October while he was on sick leave and gave him the choice of defending himself to Hitler commit suicide or go on to trial for high treason where he would be given a death sentence and his family would suffer retribution. Rommel opted for suicide by taking a cyanide capsule. The Field Marshal was then given a full state funeral where Nazi propaganda had stated that he had died as a result of the attack on his staff car. Subscribe and click the notification bell for more history videos. Get your copy of Simple History World War II today! Hey Simple History Fans! Thanks for watching. If you’re looking for a way to support the channel and help us create more epic content consider checking out our Patreon page. You can see upcoming episode before anyone else and continue feed your hunger for history. Thank you for being part of this amazing community.