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Rommel as Military Commander (Paperback)

Military WWII > Battles & Campaigns > North Africa

By Ronald Lewin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military Classics
Series: Military Classics
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781844150403
Published: 22nd July 2003
Last Released: 1st August 2007



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As the Germans wreaked havoc in Europe in the early 1940s, the war in Northern Africa seemed relatively insignificant. Yet a series of surprising victories by the Afrika Korps forced Winston Churchill to refocus his attention. In the desert, one of the war's most brilliant commanders was blooming - Commander Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel. In this provocative study, Ronald Lewin, prizewinning author of Slim: The Standardbearer and Ultra Goes to War charts the course of Rommel's military career. The Desert Fox, was a tactical genius - his personal leadership and ability to improvise on the battlefield with minimal resources were exemplary. Yet lapses in Rommel's judgment, combined with Churchill's heightened defences and Hitler's neglect, led to a crushing defeat for the Afrika Korps at Alamein in 1942. As Rommel's success waned, so did his relations with Hitler. Rommel was an exceptional commander - not only for his skills, but for the integrity with which he carried himself. This integrity, admired even by his adversaries, proved fatal. Unafraid to voice his objections to Hitler's military decisions, Rommel was associated with the 1944 plot to kill the dictator. In the wake of the plot's failure, Rommel was forced to take his own life.

This book should be read by all carrier militaries because it contains some important war lessons that can easily be applied in nowadays conflicts. The book recommends young officers to carefully study the art of war, to calmly judge every situation they are confronting with and make proper analyses and preparation of the battlefield before issuing orders.

Rommel's decision of using the 88 mm anti-aircraft gun in the African Autumn of 1942 against Allied Forces as anti-tank weapon proves his great imagination and witty character. The fact that he succeeded to overcome the Allies although they always had numeric advantage, is a statement that a well-prepared battle can sometimes be a decisive one.
I recommend that all military leaders use this book together with “Rommel Papers' and "The Life and Death of the Afrika Korps" in order to find out more about Rommel's ingeniozity and flexibility on the battlefield

Ronald Lewin says about his book: “anyone who writes about contemporary war must recognize the opportunity he had enjoyed of referring to those who were actually involved in the conflicts with which he is concerned' so, writing this book is more a duty for him as a historian.
Lewin is precise and concise in his description of Rommel's abilities as a commander, starting with France and going right through the desert to Normandy in 1944. Lewin's honesty and lack of side make this a truly excellent book, without the obsession to produce something sensational, concentrating more on a balanced presentation of the truth. The book shows us the victories and the defeats of a great military commander and does not hide any facts from the reader. It gives us a the perspective of what really happened and this analysis of Rommel's command abilities was presented with such honesty by a man who, during the war , was on the opposite side.

This book will teach young leaders the fundamentals of leadership and the importance of developing initiative into the battle. It contains outstanding descriptions of battlefields and tactics used in the Second World War. You will see here the development of Blitzkrieg type tactics being formulated and the basis for modern warfare used to this day.

Ganea Alin

About Ronald Lewin

Ronald Lewin is author of Rommel as Military Commander , Churchill as Warlord, The Life and Death of the Afrika Korps: A Biography, Slim: The Standardbearer. A Biography of Field-Marshal the Viscount Slim, The Chief: Field Marshal Lord Wavell, Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy, 1939-1947, Hitler's Mistakes.

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