Author Topic: Rommel's Apogee  (Read 832 times)

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Offline PzLdr

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Rommel's Apogee
« on: June 20, 2014, 12:00:47 AM »
On the morning of June 20th, 1942, General der Panzetruppen Erwin Rommel observed the outer defenses of Tobruk, in Libya from the southeast of the port. Rommel had spent most of 1941 either attacking Tobruk, or laying siege to it. He had been waging a two front war, at Tobruk, and on the Egyptian border for months, but the 9th Australian Division showed no signs of cracking, and the British Eighth Army continued to launch offensives. The one in November, bolstered by a sally by the Aussies, and helped by Rommel's lack of supply and reinforcements, led to the then Afrika Korps, and its Italian allies being driven back to the 1941 start point of El Agheila.

At that point, Rommel got some badly needed fuel and a few tanks, and Winston Churchill, for the second time in less than a year, stuck his nose into operations, and pulled a bunch of his veteran formations out of Africa, sending them to Singapore, so they could surrender to the Japanese. Facing a thin screen oif green or tired troops, Rommel struck. And within four months, he had recaptured Benghazi, and stood at the Gazala line. There, in a series of offensive/defensive battles, Rommel turned the British position, virtually annihilated the British armor [destroying some 800 tanks - far more than Rommel possessed], and drove the Eighth Army into a retreat that carried them into Egypt. Having isolated Tobruk, now manned by the south Africans, Rommel turned to attack.

The Stukas went in at first light. By nine the Panzers were rolling through the outer defenses. By noon, it was basically over. The Panzerarmee captured 33,000 prisoners, and enough fuel, food and equipment to continue the drive into Egypt. And Erwin Rommel was promoted to Field Marshal, the then youngest in the German Army.

It was the high point of an illustrious career, and except for the bluff at Mersa Matruh, and the victory the next Spring against the Americans at Kasserine Pass, Rommel's last battlefield victory. El Alamein loomed before him, as did the retreat from Egypt to Tunisia, the command in Normandy and a forced suicide in October 14th, 1944. But on June 20th, 1942, Rommel enjoyed his greatest day in the sun.
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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 12:40:31 AM »
If I recall Tobruk changed hands several times. It seems that the flies were the biggest enemy. Also the jerrycan made its debut.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 12:42:43 AM by Trigger »

Offline PzLdr

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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 08:37:23 AM »
If I recall Tobruk changed hands several times. It seems that the flies were the biggest enemy. Also the jerrycan made its debut.

And the 88 sealed its reputation as the baddest ass gun on ANY battlefield.
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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 04:31:52 PM »
And the 88 sealed its reputation as the baddest ass gun on ANY battlefield.

The Krupp was used as both an anti aircraft gun and a field artillery gun, This cannon was designed in 1930 and built in 1933, During the Normandy landings it was feared that the Allied guns were not sufficient enough against the 88 mm guns. Krupp had always an excellent reputation on field artillery.

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 05:14:57 PM »
The Krupp was used as both an anti aircraft gun and a field artillery gun, This cannon was designed in 1930 and built in 1933, During the Normandy landings it was feared that the Allied guns were not sufficient enough against the 88 mm guns. Krupp had always an excellent reputation on field artillery.

Have you read William Manchester's excellent "The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty That Armed Germany at War"??  Manchester is one of my favorite authors, and he traces House Krupp from the 1400's up through the end of the Dynasty in the 1960's.  It's a great read and it is impressive how much scientific research went into weapons development by Krupp.  They used to finance new weapons projects for the Kaiser by selling lots of lesser grade gear to the Ottomans who had a real need for heavy guns to put down the many Arab uprisings in the Levant over the Centuries....


Offline GourmetDan

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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2014, 05:26:54 PM »

They used to finance new weapons projects for the Kaiser by selling lots of lesser grade gear to the Ottomans who had a real need for heavy guns to put down the many Arab uprisings in the Levant over the Centuries....


Moslem uprisings by chance?

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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 05:29:54 PM »
Have you read William Manchester's excellent "The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty That Armed Germany at War"??  Manchester is one of my favorite authors, and he traces House Krupp from the 1400's up through the end of the Dynasty in the 1960's.  It's a great read and it is impressive how much scientific research went into weapons development by Krupp.  They used to finance new weapons projects for the Kaiser by selling lots of lesser grade gear to the Ottomans who had a real need for heavy guns to put down the many Arab uprisings in the Levant over the Centuries....

Now that you mention it I have to buy the book. Krupp is no doubt the best artillery maker in all of history. But what tarnished their name was the use of slave labor during the Second World War.

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 05:53:32 PM »
Now that you mention it I have to buy the book. Krupp is no doubt the best artillery maker in all of history. But what tarnished their name was the use of slave labor during the Second World War.

That is certainly true, but there were quite a number of odd Krupps affiliated with the First and Second Reichs as well, and some of the senior military officers surrounding the Kaiser, all friends and associates of several generations of the Krupps, had a taste for....well....some odd amusements at formal dinner gatherings...one showing up in a formal ballet tutu, performing an elaborate interpretive dance for his colleagues, and then dropping dead of a massive coronary immediately afterward right in front of his Kaiser.  One of the actual Krupp sons was busted for his taste for partying with underaged boys on the beaches of Capri....

Interesting family.....

 :beer:

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Re: Rommel's Apogee
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 11:42:35 PM »
That is certainly true, but there were quite a number of odd Krupps affiliated with the First and Second Reichs as well, and some of the senior military officers surrounding the Kaiser, all friends and associates of several generations of the Krupps, had a taste for....well....some odd amusements at formal dinner gatherings...one showing up in a formal ballet tutu, performing an elaborate interpretive dance for his colleagues, and then dropping dead of a massive coronary immediately afterward right in front of his Kaiser.  One of the actual Krupp sons was busted for his taste for partying with underaged boys on the beaches of Capri....

Interesting family.....

 :beer:

I certainly agree.


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