Field Marshal Erwin Rommel exerted an almost hypnotic influence not only over his own troops but also over the Allied soldiers of the Eighth Army in the Second World War. Even when the legend surrounding his invincibility was overturned at El Alamein, the aura surrounding Rommel himself remained unsullied.
In this classic study of the art of war Rommel analyses the tactics that lay behind his success. First published in 1937 it quickly became a highly regarded military textbook, and also brought its author to the attention of Adolph Hitler. Rommel was to subsequently advance through the ranks to the high command in the Second World War. As a leader of a small unit in the First World War, he proved himself an aggressive and versatile commander with a reputation for using the battleground terrain to his own advantage, for gathering intelligence, and for seeking out and exploiting enemy weaknesses.
Rommel graphically describes his own achievements, and those of his units, in the swift-moving battles on the Western Front, in the ensuing trench warfare, in the 1917 campaign in Romania, and in the pursuit across the Tagliamento and Piave rivers. This classic account seeks out the basis of his astonishing leadership skills, providing an indispensable guide to the art of war.
A fascinating account of Rommel’s fighting experiences in the Great War. This is not his chronological account of his service, but only of the periods when he was engaged in ‘active’ service. It begins at the start of the war when he is serving with a Jager regiment, fighting the French. As such, it is a fascinating description of mobile warfare, before both sides became bogged down in trenches. By 1917 he had been transferred to a Mountain Regiment serving on the Austro-Italian borders. He speaks highly of the fitness and determination of his soldiers. He commanded Rommel’s force, a unit of several companies. It describes a part of the war little known to English readers whose focus is on the Western Front.Blair Southerden
Rommel was a determined and aggressive officer whose instinct was to attack. Although the book was written some twenty years after the events in 1937 there is a freshness to the writing. My criticism of the edition I read was that the sketchmaps used to illustrate the different actions are small and lack a compass bearing; it is unclear whether the convention of north being uppermost was always followed. Tracing the movements via Google Maps illuminates one’s understanding.