The 'Myth' of the Afrika Korps ?

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Apologies if this Yanqi retrospective view has been dredged up elsewhere on Arrse.

Saw this and thought it might be of interest to old farts like me.

As a boy raised on 'Victor' and Commando comics ( 'eat lead Krauts!' ) whose view of WW2 was largely formed from Black & White heroics on a Sunday afternoon, I found this QI. Anyway, for interest to those who have not seen similar revisions:


Extract1
That leaves us with Rommel. Here, too, we should challenge the mythology. He was hardly apolitical. His entire career had been based on Hitler's favor, and we might reasonably describe his attitude toward the Führer as worshipful. He was Hitler's fair-haired boy, a young officer repeatedly promoted over more senior candidates. He was a media creation. Nazi propaganda painted him not only as a garden-variety hero, but as a model National Socialist and Aryan, a man who could overcome stronger enemies through the sheer force of his will. He was not merely a passive bystander to the hype; he was an active accomplice. He loved nothing better than having a camera crew along with him on campaign, and he would regularly order scenes to be reshot if his posture was insufficiently heroic or the lighting had not shown him to best advantage. As is often the case, his relationship to the media was both self-serving and self-destructive. During the years of victory, the German propaganda machine used him as an example to the nation. When things went sour, he became a diversion from the increasingly bad news on other fronts. Finally, when he was no longer useful for any purpose at all, the regime dropped him altogether and eventually killed him.

---------- ---------------- ------------------------- ------------------------
Extract 2

During the war, Rommel and the Afrika Korps acquired a reputation for invincibility. Article after article in the German press equated Rommel with the great Prussian- German captains of the past: Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Paul von Hindenburg.

We understand this process today, and it’s fair enough. Josef Goebbels and his propaganda machine had a job to do.

Nearly seventy years after the crushing German defeat at El Alamein, however, it is time to free ourselves from the grip of Dr. Goebbels.

While we all love our legends, we should admit that Rommel and the Afrika Korps came much closer to a decisive victory in fantasy than they did in fact.



The B&W films were .eg :
Enjoy for the shots of submarine cloak and dagger ops.
 
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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Do fook off darling - my last ASR said emphatically that I should never consider writing as a honest day's crust.

And having worked with (not for) DPR for six years the idea holds little attraction if I'm honest.
Anyway I wouldn't pass the e-sift.

Are you a time served old and bold ?
Or just another never served no-mark civvy mong-magnet? :-D

Bissous,
 
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Do fook off darling - my last ASR said emphatically that I should never consider writing as a honest day's crust.

And having worked with (not for) DPR for six years the idea holds little attraction if I'm honest. Anyway I wouldn't pass the e-sift.

Are you a time served old and bold ? or just another no-mark never served civvy mong-magnet? :-D

Bissous,
I'm old and bold, time-served and a mong magnet.
 
Finally, when he was no longer useful for any purpose at all, the regime dropped him altogether and eventually killed him.
Rommel was allegedly a bit too close to the 20th of July plotters and was told to either commit suicide, which the Third Reich favoured, or face an unfair trial and execution. His death was sold to the public as a result of war wounds and was maxed out for propaganda value.
 
Propaganda IS part of war and always will be. Take GW1 for example, the news cycle was driven by Pool Reporters fed video of 'bombs down the chimney', cruise missiles, gliding over Iraq, Schwarzkopf was an American Hero. CNN at one point had a reporter in Baghdad {his name escapes me at this point} he was taping the explosions and anti-aircraft fire and reporting on damage in the streets etc. All was going well until he reported a strike that hit a hospital, he took the Iraqi slant of 'big bad America', it ended his career. Move forward, 20, 30, 40, 50 years with every decision analyzed and dissected into woulda, coulda, shoulda, until ultimately the hero becomes a useless clueless a-hole.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Rommel, in common with many others at the top of the Wehrmacht pyramid, was a stone Nazi until, at a guess, von Paulus surrendered at Stalingrad, at which point a bracing dose of democracy and resistance to tyranny started blowing around the Stiefel-and-breeches-clad nether regions of many Generals and Admirals as they realised they were probably going to lose the war and that any outome short of an unconditional surrender was desirable.

The 20th July plot was pathetic - poorly planned and worse executed and not great for the German reputation for inspired staff work and good operational execution.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
I'm old and bold, time-served and a mong magnet.
Well as a mere REMF STAB with a barely visible rack, may I be the last to congratulate you and thank you for your service Your Grace.
 
It's fair enough to question and re-examine anything in history but I do wish people would refrain from hype, I'm sure the the squaddies captured or worse at the likes of Tobruk, Fort Capuzzo, Bardia, Bir Hakeim etc, would have been intrigued to hear their opponent's commander was a media creation.
I would have thought that being given overall command of the Afrika Korps, in a completely separate theatre of the war, would have separated Rommel's name from other Jerry generals anyway. Coming in like a wrecking ball after being briefed merely to shore up the Eyties in holding the line probably helped boost his fame.
Anyway, Loofkar senior, who was there, happens to be sitting next to me and I just posed the question to him. He replied that he doesn't know but to make sure I don't forget to use the available ground for cover.
 
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Well, I liked the bit where Rommel's tanks were offloaded from ships and the crews told to simply point themselves in the direction of the enemy, drive until they were almost out of fuel / supply trucks caught up with them and keep their enemy under fire or observation. Some of them got to 80 km from the port. The Italians, who were already ashore ahead of him, made about 35km and stopped to get the pasta going. When Rommel arrived up, as they were setting out their cutlery and white tablecloths, he enquired as to why they had stopped. "Oh, that's the farthest we've ever gone in one day!" "Well, havre I got news for you...." sez he...
 
Apologies if this Yanqi retrospective view has been dredged up elsewhere on Arrse.

Saw this and thought it might be of interest to old farts like me.

---------- ---------------- ------------------------- ------------------------
Extract 2

During the war, Rommel and the Afrika Korps acquired a reputation for invincibility. Article after article in the German press equated Rommel with the great Prussian- German captains of the past: Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Paul von Hindenburg.

We understand this process today, and it’s fair enough. Josef Goebbels and his propaganda machine had a job to do.

Nearly seventy years after the crushing German defeat at El Alamein, however, it is time to free ourselves from the grip of Dr. Goebbels.

While we all love our legends, we should admit that Rommel and the Afrika Korps came much closer to a decisive victory in fantasy than they did in fact.



The B&W films were .eg :
Enjoy for the shots of submarine cloak and dagger ops.
Yers. LRs dad had an affinity with Egypt. his first tour included it up until 1935 just as the Eyties started up and returned there in 41 just in time for Wavell’s defeat of them under Graziani When it was I believe still WDF not 8th army. It Wasn’t a crushing defeat for the Germans at second battle of Alamein,it was however notable in that Churchill said of it that “we never suffered a defeat after it.” Plain fact is that there were subsequently more German Soldiers in North Africa then there were at the height running up to Alamein, the reinforcing of which was a bit stupid. What Rommel achieved in the year or so up to the defeat was singularly impressive in terms of ground covered and logistics. But I would argue that Tobruk did for him far more than Alamein.
 
Well as a mere REMF STAB with a barely visible rack, may I be the last to congratulate you and thank you for your service Your Grace.
No need to thank me for putting my extreme bravery, superior intelligence, perfect physique, magnetic personality and virility to service for Queen and country.

You're not still resident in Scarborough are you? - only I go there sometimes.
Nope. It's a surname, not the town.
 
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Yers. LRs dad had an affinity with Egypt. his first tour included it up until 1935 just as the Eyties started up and returned there in 41 just in time for Wavell’s defeat of them under Graziani When it was I believe still WDF not 8th army. It Wasn’t a crushing defeat for the Germans at second battle of Alamein,it was however notable in that Churchill said of it that “we never suffered a defeat after it.” Plain fact is that there were subsequently more German Soldiers in North Africa then there were at the height running up to Alamein, the reinforcing of which was a bit stupid. What Rommel achieved in the year or so up to the defeat was singularly impressive in terms of ground covered and logistics. But I would argue that Tobruk did for him far more than Alamein.
As did Alam Halfa for the allies, rather than El Alamein
 
Apologies if this Yanqi retrospective view has been dredged up elsewhere on Arrse.

Saw this and thought it might be of interest to old farts like me.

As a boy raised on 'Victor' and Commando comics ( 'eat lead Krauts!' ) whose view of WW2 was largely formed from Black & White heroics on a Sunday afternoon, I found this QI. Anyway, for interest to those who have not seen similar revisions:


Extract1
That leaves us with Rommel. Here, too, we should challenge the mythology. He was hardly apolitical. His entire career had been based on Hitler's favor, and we might reasonably describe his attitude toward the Führer as worshipful. He was Hitler's fair-haired boy, a young officer repeatedly promoted over more senior candidates. He was a media creation. Nazi propaganda painted him not only as a garden-variety hero, but as a model National Socialist and Aryan, a man who could overcome stronger enemies through the sheer force of his will. He was not merely a passive bystander to the hype; he was an active accomplice. He loved nothing better than having a camera crew along with him on campaign, and he would regularly order scenes to be reshot if his posture was insufficiently heroic or the lighting had not shown him to best advantage. As is often the case, his relationship to the media was both self-serving and self-destructive. During the years of victory, the German propaganda machine used him as an example to the nation. When things went sour, he became a diversion from the increasingly bad news on other fronts. Finally, when he was no longer useful for any purpose at all, the regime dropped him altogether and eventually killed him.

---------- ---------------- ------------------------- ------------------------
Extract 2

During the war, Rommel and the Afrika Korps acquired a reputation for invincibility. Article after article in the German press equated Rommel with the great Prussian- German captains of the past: Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Paul von Hindenburg.

We understand this process today, and it’s fair enough. Josef Goebbels and his propaganda machine had a job to do.

Nearly seventy years after the crushing German defeat at El Alamein, however, it is time to free ourselves from the grip of Dr. Goebbels.

While we all love our legends, we should admit that Rommel and the Afrika Korps came much closer to a decisive victory in fantasy than they did in fact.



The B&W films were .eg :
Enjoy for the shots of submarine cloak and dagger ops.


Yehaw...
 

Karamoja

Old-Salt
The 20th July plot was pathetic - poorly planned and worse executed and not great for the German reputation for inspired staff work and good operational execution.
Not sure about that, it very nearly succeeded and only failed because the bomb was put on the wrong side of a table leg.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Apologies if this Yanqi retrospective view has been dredged up elsewhere on Arrse.

Saw this and thought it might be of interest to old farts like me.

As a boy raised on 'Victor' and Commando comics ( 'eat lead Krauts!' ) whose view of WW2 was largely formed from Black & White heroics on a Sunday afternoon, I found this QI. Anyway, for interest to those who have not seen similar revisions:


Extract1
That leaves us with Rommel. Here, too, we should challenge the mythology. He was hardly apolitical. His entire career had been based on Hitler's favor, and we might reasonably describe his attitude toward the Führer as worshipful. He was Hitler's fair-haired boy, a young officer repeatedly promoted over more senior candidates. He was a media creation. Nazi propaganda painted him not only as a garden-variety hero, but as a model National Socialist and Aryan, a man who could overcome stronger enemies through the sheer force of his will. He was not merely a passive bystander to the hype; he was an active accomplice. He loved nothing better than having a camera crew along with him on campaign, and he would regularly order scenes to be reshot if his posture was insufficiently heroic or the lighting had not shown him to best advantage. As is often the case, his relationship to the media was both self-serving and self-destructive. During the years of victory, the German propaganda machine used him as an example to the nation. When things went sour, he became a diversion from the increasingly bad news on other fronts. Finally, when he was no longer useful for any purpose at all, the regime dropped him altogether and eventually killed him.

---------- ---------------- ------------------------- ------------------------
Extract 2

During the war, Rommel and the Afrika Korps acquired a reputation for invincibility. Article after article in the German press equated Rommel with the great Prussian- German captains of the past: Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Paul von Hindenburg.

We understand this process today, and it’s fair enough. Josef Goebbels and his propaganda machine had a job to do.

Nearly seventy years after the crushing German defeat at El Alamein, however, it is time to free ourselves from the grip of Dr. Goebbels.

While we all love our legends, we should admit that Rommel and the Afrika Korps came much closer to a decisive victory in fantasy than they did in fact.



The B&W films were .eg :
Enjoy for the shots of submarine cloak and dagger ops.
Massive topic but briefly I would say:

1. Rommel's MO was to go hard at an opponent, unsettle them and then roll up the chaos - something he learned against the Italians in WW1. This worked against inexperienced forces with dodgy doctrine and inexperienced commanders but it landed him in the dwang when he came up against a commander who couldn't be hustled (Auchinleck) or strong fixed defenses (Tobruk, before they were dismantled for the Gazala Line, and Alamein). The dash to the wire was pointless, causing chaos and loss, while the primary outcome of his chase to Alamein was to leave the Afrika Korps at the end of a hopelessly over-extended supply line. He was also fortunate not to come a cropper at the Battle of the Cauldron. His faults were well-known to his peers.
2. One day someone's going to write the unvarnished truth about the British Army for much of WW2 and it will make uncomfortable reading. Politically it suited Churchill to have Rommel as some sort of superman because it was an easier story to tell than the fact that British forces were poorly commanded, doctrinally baffled and seemingly incapable of inter-arm co-operation to the point of gross mis-trust. Montgomery kept 8th Army on a tight leash for Alam Halfa and 2nd Alamein for much the same reason.
3. Rommel can't escape his association with Hitler (and I came across something which quoted him as saying he would have been happy to fight on had Germany had nuclear weapons) but he had no hesitation in disobeying instructions such as Hitler's Commando Order and the conduct of German forces in Africa seems to have generally reflected Rommel's outlook. That's to his credit given what the Wehrmacht got up to elsewhere.
4. Despite his shortcomings as a commander, he showed the ability to learn, particularly with regard to the impact of airpower. D-Day might have gone differently had the Germans fought it as he wanted to, with his armour well forward.

Just my view but, overall, a decent soldier and a decent human being with flaws.
 
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