Desert Fox Essay, Research Paper
Erwin Rommel was born in 1891. As field marshal he was known best for his capture of 9,000 allied forces during World War I. On the Germans invasion of France in 1940, Rommel commanded the well-known Ghost Division or otherwise known as the German 7th Panzer Division. Pushing every machine and every man to extreme limits, Rommel s forces moved 350 miles in six weeks. Never had tanks moved so far in such little time.
Rommel joined the German army in 1910. He won awards for his bravery in WWI. After he pushed to the English Channel in 1940, and received the many victories in the Ghost Division he was made lieutenant general and placed in command of the Africa Corps in North Africa, where he earned worldwide recognition.
Rommel was a popular military leader even though his tactics were unconventional to other leaders. Other than sit in command rooms located far from the battle field to direct the troops, he instead lead his troops from the front lines. He was also known to help the soldiers build a bridge or if the convoy was in trouble was there to give a helping hand.
In 1944 the Western front was the only area that hasn t had full allied assault. Hitler put Rommel in command of the defense of the western front. He then went to survey the coastal defense from the north to the Mediterranean, and was discouraged at the sight. The defense was widely scattered, none of which could withstand a full scaled allied attack. The infantry were in the worst condition. They included POWs and German soldiers exhausted from fighting with the Russians. The men were poorly trained, had hardly any artillery, and some even lacked the physical strength to endure military action. Although the situation seemed bleak, Rommel set out to bring order to the western front. Just the sight of Germany s great hero raised the spirits of the poorly trained forces. He organized the troops and set them to work. They fortified the western coast s defenses by constructing the Atlantic Wall. He inspected the progress of the wall daily, as he functioned as an architect, personally designing many of the obstacles for the wall. Minefields, concrete and steel obstructions, and military post sprung up all over the area in striking rates.
As construction continued on the wall, the German leadership debated on the best way to protect the western front. Rommel was aware of the strength of the allied forces and wanted all available men and material be positioned on the coast, but his immediate superior Gerd Von Rundstedt, argued that a small force be placed on the coast and a larger force be kept a ways inland in reserve so a piercing counterattack could be launched. Rommel disliked this idea saying the allies must be kept from building a beachhead on the coast and that they must be pushed back into the sea. Finally a compromise was reached, giving Rommel command of the army, but he had to place a small reserve of troops far from the battle. However this did not give Rommel complete control over the German armed forces. Unlike the Allies, who gave Eisenhower complete control over the army, navy, and air force, Rommel only had control of the army. The German Navy and Luftwaffe functioned on separate command. Effective organization was further hindered by Hitler s insistence that he approve all orders, making the formation of a single-minded defense plan for the coast impossible.
On June 6th 1944, the allies launched operation Overlord. Because of poor weather, Rommel figured an attack would not be launched. He then used that opportunity to travel to Germany and celebrate the birthday of his wife. When he heard of the attack he rushed back, arriving at 10:00 pm. Although his Wall inflicted large causalities on the allied forces the sheer number of men an equipment participating in the invasion and superiority of the allied air forces, far out weighed the effectiveness of the fortification. On D-day the Allies successfully put 8,000 planes in the air compared to Germany s three.
Realizing that the war was lost, Rommel went to Hitler to bring the severity of the situation to his attention. He proposed a defense line on the Seine, to secure The German Borders. Hitler rejected the idea, for France was to be defeated to the last man. Shocked by his lack of understanding of the situation, Rommel discussed with other officials the possibility of opening secret negotiations for peace with allied leaders. On July 17th 1944, the possibility of such negotiations of happening evaporated when Rommel was seriously injured in an attack by an allied plane.
When Hitler heard of the assassination plot against him and of Rommel s part in it Hitler sent officers to arrest him and his fellow conspirators. When the officers arrived at Rommel s door they gave him the choice to either take own life and be buried with full honors, or stand trial and put the future of his wife and his son in jeopardy. So Rommel went with the men and swallowed poison. Then was buried with full honors in 1944.
Source #1 World history book
Source #2 Internet http://www.isd.net/aswanson/ww2his/rommel.htm