Rommel's Lieutenants: The Men who Served the Desert Fox, France, 1940, Issue 7

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 - History - 202 pages
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Perhaps the most famous soldier to fight in World War II was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who achieved immortality as "the Desert Fox." He is also one of the most admired. Rommel's first field command during the war was the 7th Panzer Division, also known as the Ghost Division, which he led in France in 1940. During this campaign, the 7th Panzer suffered more casualties than any other division in the German Army, at the same time inflicting a disproportionate number of casualties upon the enemy. It took 97,486 prisoners, captured 458 tanks and armored vehicles, 277 field guns, 64 anti-tank guns and 4,000 to 5,000 trucks, and destroyed dozens of others in each category. It captured or destroyed hundreds of tons of other military equipment, shot down 52 aircraft, destroyed 15 more on the ground, and captured 12 more. It destroyed the French 1st Armored Division and the 4th North African Division, punched through the Maginot Line extension near Sivry, and checked the largest Allied counteroffensive of the campaign at Arras. When France surrendered, the Ghost Division was within 200 miles of the Spanish border. No doubt about it--Rommel had proven himself a great military leader who was capable of greater things. His next command, in fact, would be the Afrika Korps, where the legend of the Desert Fox was born. Rommel had a great deal of help in France-- much more than his published papers suggest. His staff officers and company, battalion and regimental commanders were an extremely capable collection of military leaders that included 12 future generals (two of them SS), and two colonels who briefly commanded panzer divisions but never reached general rank. They also included Colonel Erich von Unger, who would no doubt have become a general had he not been killed in action while commanding a motorized rifle brigade on the Eastern Front in 1941, as well as Karl Hanke, a Nazi gauleiter who later succeeded Heinrich Himmler as the last Reichsfuehrer-SS. No historian has ever before recognized the talented cast of characters who supported the Desert Fox in 1940. No one has ever attempted to tell their stories. This book remedies that oversight.
  

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Contents

Figure 12 Major Cities of the Third Reich 1937
4
Figure 13 Europe 192038
6
Figure 14 The Wehrkreise 1939
8
Hero of Two Wars
21
Figure 21 The German Invasion of Poland 1939
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The Scapegoat
27
Figure 31 Major Battles of Encirclement Eastern Front 1941
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Figure 32 The Stalingrad Encirclement 1942
34
Figure 102 The Battle of the Gazala Line Phase 1
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Figure 103 The Cauldron Dawn June 5 1942
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Figure 104 Rommels Plan of Attack Tobruk June 20 1942
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The Second in Command
103
The Motorcycle Commander
107
The Heavy Artillery Commander
109
The War Criminal
113
Figure 141 The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket 1945
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Figure 33 The German Retreat to the Gustav Line 194344
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Figure 34 The Battle of Berlin 1945
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Nazi Politician
43
The Supply Officer
59
The Medical Officer
63
The Charming Aristocrat
65
Figure 71 The Eastern Front
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Figure 72 Northwest Europe 1944
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Figure 73 Western Front September 5 1944
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The SS General
81
The Saxon Gunner
85
The Prussian Junker
91
Figure 101 The North African Battlegrounds 194143
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The Snobbish Aristocrat
123
Figure 151 Northern Italy 194445
135
The Chief of Staff
137
The Austrian Mountaineer
147
Table of Comparative Ranks
153
German Staff Positions
155
Characteristics of Selected German and Allied Tanks of World War II
157
Notes
159
Bibliography
189
Index of Military Units
193
General Index
197
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., is the author of more than twenty books on World War II. He lives in Louisiana.

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