8 Things You May Not Know About Erwin Rommel

8 Things You May Not Know About Erwin Rommel


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1. Rommel’s family lacked much of a military tradition.

Although Rommel would later become known for his bold battlefield tactics, his sister described him as a gentle and docile child. Developing an interest in mathematics and engineering, he co-built a full-size glider at age 14 and later disassembled and reassembled a motorcycle. Without good enough grades to attend university, he purportedly considered working at an airship factory near his hometown in southern Germany. But his father, the headmaster of a school, urged him to consider the military instead. After being rejected by the artillery and engineers, 18-year-old Rommel received acceptance to the infantry in 1910 as an officer cadet. He would remain in the military for the rest of his life—a far cry from his father and other male relatives, who left upon completing their mandatory service.

2. Rommel was injured multiple times in both world wars.

Taking part in dangerous raids and reconnaissance missions throughout World War I, his men supposedly joked, “Where Rommel is, there is the front.” But all of this fighting, including one 52-hour period in which his unit captured some 9,000 Italian prisoners, came with a price. In September 1914, for example, Rommel charged three French soldiers with a bayonet after running out of ammunition, only to be shot in the thigh so badly that a hole opened up as big as his fist. Three years later in Romania, he lost quite a bit of blood from a bullet to the arm, and he also continuously suffered from stomach ailments, fevers and exhaustion. More physical hardships came during World War II, from appendicitis to a face wound caused by a shell splinter. Then, in the wake of the D-Day invasion, Allied aircraft strafed his open-topped car as it rode through Normandy, France, causing it to somersault off the road. When the dust cleared, Rommel was unconscious, with multiple skull fractures and glass fragments in his face. In order to cover up the subsequent forced suicide of the popular general, Nazi officials told the public he had died as a result of those injuries. The truth didn’t come out until the conclusion of the conflict.

3. He was an early admirer of Hitler.

Following World War II, the Western Allies, now locked in an ideological struggle with the Soviet Union, made efforts to resuscitate Germany’s reputation. In so doing, they portrayed Rommel as a chivalrous combatant, pointing out, among other things, that he apparently never joined the Nazi Party. Yet his devotion to Hitler was incontrovertible. When Hitler took power, Rommel approved of his remilitarization plans, calling him the “unifier of the nation.” Later on, as the two men became better acquainted in the lead-up to the invasion of Poland, Rommel wrote to his wife that “the führer knows what is right for us.” He also attended Nazi indoctrination courses and signed his letters “Heil Hitler!” Hitler even gave him an autographed copy of “Mein Kampf.” Only later did Rommel grow disillusioned, believing that Germany must negotiate with the Allies rather than fight to the bitter end.

4. Rommel disobeyed some of Hitler’s direct orders.

After leading a tank division in the 1940 blitzkrieg of France, Rommel was transferred to North Africa in order to help the struggling Italians fight the British. Almost immediately he reversed the tide, pushing the British back hundreds of miles in a series of audacious assaults, for which he received his “Desert Fox” nickname, along with a promotion to field marshal. Finally, in October 1942, the numerically superior British halted his advance near El Alamein, Egypt. Running low on tanks, ammunition and fuel, Rommel prepared to retreat. But Hitler sent a letter telling him not to yield “even a yard of ground.” “As to your troops,” the führer added, “you can show them no other road than that to victory or death.” Despite his reverence for Hitler, Rommel disobeyed for fear his force would be completely annihilated. He also disregarded an order directing German generals to execute Allied commandos caught behind enemy lines. In the end, Rommel fled all the way to Tunisia, winning a tank battle there against the Americans—and losing one against the British—before returning to Europe in March 1943. Two months later, the Allies kicked the Germans out of North Africa altogether, setting the stage for their invasion of Italy.

5. Rommel ramped up coastal defenses prior to D-Day.

With an Allied invasion of Western Europe imminent, Rommel was assigned in late 1943 to inspect Germany’s defenses along some 1,600 miles of Atlantic coastline. Despite Nazi propaganda to the contrary, he found the area highly vulnerable. Under his supervision, the Nazis built fortifications, flooded coastal lowlands to make them impassable and placed massive amounts of barbed wire, mines and steel girders on beaches and offshore waters. Rommel also wanted tanks at the ready to prevent the Allies from establishing a bridgehead, but his superiors overruled him, preferring to keep most of them inland.

6. He probably never knew of the plot to kill Hitler.

As Germany’s military situation deteriorated, a group of senior officials attempted to assassinate Hitler with a briefcase bomb, only to be thwarted at the last moment. Rommel was friends with some of the conspirators and certainly conversed with them about a post-Hitler future. Nonetheless, the full extent of his involvement in the plot remains unknown. (According to his widow, he opposed assassination but wanted Hitler to be arrested and brought to trial.) Whether innocent or not, his name came up during the subsequent Nazi dragnet, prompting Hitler to arrange for his death.

7. Rommel and Allied leaders didn’t hesitate to compliment each other.

During the height of Rommel’s success in North Africa, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sang his praises before the House of Commons. “We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us,” Churchill declared, “and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.” George Patton, Bernard Montgomery and other top Allied generals likewise expressed their respect for him, and Rommel responded in kind, saying of Patton that “we saw the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare,” and that “Montgomery never made a serious strategic mistake.”

8. Rommel is still celebrated in Germany.

Unlike other prominent World War II-era Germans, Rommel has escaped mass vilification. In fact, his name still graces two military bases and several streets in Germany, and a monument in his hometown praises him as “chivalrous,” “brave” and a “victim of tyranny.” Yet detractors remain, including a German historian who recently called him a “deeply convinced Nazi” and “an anti-Semite” who used North African Jews as slave laborers. At the very least, most historians agree, Rommel likely cared more for his career than he did about Nazi atrocities.


Rommel vs Monty - History bibliographies - in Harvard style

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2013. Rommel and Montgomery: The Fathers Fight, the Sons Make Peace. [online] WAR HISTORY ONLINE. Available at: <https://m.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/rommel-montgomery-fathers-fight-sons-make-peace.html> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Anonymous

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

In-text: (Anonymous, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2015. Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Montgomery,_1st_Viscount_Montgomery_of_Alamein> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Anonymous

Erwin Rommel

In-text: (Anonymous, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2015. Erwin Rommel. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Rommel> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Anonymous

Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery - History Learning Site

In-text: (Anonymous, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2015. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery - History Learning Site. [online] History Learning Site. Available at: <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/military-commanders-of-world-war-two/field-marshal-bernard-montgomery/> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Anonymous

Masters Of Battle: Monty, Patton and Rommel at War

In-text: (Anonymous, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2015. Masters Of Battle: Monty, Patton and Rommel at War. [online] Mastersofbattle.co.uk. Available at: <http://www.mastersofbattle.co.uk/prologue.htm> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Anonymous

The Battle of El Alamein - History Learning Site

In-text: (Anonymous, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2015. The Battle of El Alamein - History Learning Site. [online] History Learning Site. Available at: <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/war-in-north-africa/the-battle-of-el-alamein/> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Anonymous

8 Things You May Not Know About Erwin Rommel - History in the Headlines

In-text: (Anonymous, 2014)

Your Bibliography: Anonymous, 2014. 8 Things You May Not Know About Erwin Rommel - History in the Headlines. [online] HISTORY.com. Available at: <http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-erwin-rommel> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Gelb, N.

Ike and Monty

1994 - W. Morrow - New York

In-text: (Gelb, 1994)

Your Bibliography: Gelb, N., 1994. Ike and Monty. New York: W. Morrow.

Greene, J. and Massignani, A.

Rommel's North Africa campaign

1994 - Combined Books - Conshohocken, PA

In-text: (Greene and Massignani, 1994)

Your Bibliography: Greene, J. and Massignani, A., 1994. Rommel's North Africa campaign. Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books.

Keegan, J.

Churchill's Generals

1991 - Weidenfeld & Nicolson - London

In-text: (Keegan, 1991)

Your Bibliography: Keegan, J., 1991. Churchill's Generals. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

McMahon, T. L.

Operational Principles

In-text: (McMahon, n.d.)

Your Bibliography: McMahon, T., n.d. Operational Principles.

Pimlott, J.

Rommel and His Art of War

1985 - Greenhill Books - London

In-text: (Pimlott, 1985)

Your Bibliography: Pimlott, J., 1985. Rommel and His Art of War. London: Greenhill Books.

Unknown

Second Battle of El Alamein

In-text: (Unknown, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Unknown, 2015. Second Battle of El Alamein. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_El_Alamein> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

First Battle of El Alamein

In-text: (First Battle of El Alamein, 2015)

Your Bibliography: Wikipedia. 2015. First Battle of El Alamein. [online] Available at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_El_Alamein> [Accessed 2 November 2015].

Young, D.

Rommel, the desert fox

1951 - Harper - New York

In-text: (Young, 1951)

Your Bibliography: Young, D., 1951. Rommel, the desert fox. New York: Harper.


When you think about it, Erwin Rommel was an artist and a creative genius in his own way. Rommel was respected and feared in the same time, and his enemies gave him the nickname “Desert Fox” for his intelligence, wittiness, innovative strategy and military genius. His medium was his tank, and his tactics and strategy with tanks and flanking made him famous. His aggressiveness on the field conveniently obscured his humanity and his human decency. There are things few people know about Rommel, as most people around the world cherish his military tactics only.

His Family lacked military tradition

Most generals and commanders back in the days came from military families, where they were bred with military tactics since they were babies. Rommel, on the other hand, was different. His sister described him as a docile and gentle child. As a child, Rommel showed affection for mathematics and engineering, and he co-built a glider when he was 14. During his teen years, Rommel learned how to dissemble and then reassemble a motorcycle. It was his father who pushed him to go into military. Rommel wanted to work at an airship factory. Erwin first enrolled into the infantry in 1910 as an officer cadet. And unlike his relatives and his father, Rommel remained in the military for his entire life.

During First and Second World War, the men in the German military famously joked “Where Rommel is, there is the front”. Rommel was always at the front of the battles. And all that fighting was bound to result with few injuries. In fact, Rommel was injured during both wars. His first serious injury came in September 1914, when he was shot in the thigh by French soldiers. Rommel charged the soldiers with a bayonet, but after he run out of ammunition, he was shot in the thigh. Three years later he was injured in the arm by a bullet, and he lost so much blood that he suffered from fever, exhaustion and stomach ailments for the next few days.

During World War II, he got even more severe injuries. Rommel suffered the most severe injury during D-Day invasion, when an allied aircraft bombed his car in Normandy. Rommel was found unconscious with skull fractures and glass fragments in his face when the dust settled.

Rommel was one of the few commanders to disobey Hitler’s direct order

Disobeying a direct order by Hitler is not a common thing during World War II. Truth be told, there were few people that had the guts and courage to disobey a direct order from the Fuhrer. Rommel was one of those commanders. The Desert Fox disobeyed a direct order in 1942, when he was outnumbered in Egypt. Rommel was facing a situation in which he was running low on ammunition and tanks. Prepared for retreat, Erwin received an order from Hitler to stand firm and “not to yield even a yard of ground”. In his order, Hitler said that Rommel can say to his troops that “you can show them no other road than that to victory or death”. Fearing his army would be completely annihilated, Rommel disobeyed the order and sound the alarm for retreat.

Rommel respected and complemented allied generals

There was a mutual admiration between Rommel and the allied generals during the World War II and especially during the battles in North Africa. For example, Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, speaking about Rommel and his success in North Africa, said that “We have a very daring an skillful opponent against us”. Rommel, on the other hand, admired generals George Patton and Bernard Montgomery and their skill on the battlefield. Speaking on Patton, the Desert Fox noted that “we saw the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare”. As for General Montgomery, Rommel said that “Montgomery never made a serious strategic mistake.”

Rommel was a great writer

Rommel was very handy with the pen, as much as he was handy with his sword and tanks. In between the first and second world war, Rommel wrote and published two books. The first book written by Erwin Rommel is called “Infantry Attacks”. It is a tactics manual that Rommel wrote when he instructor at the Dresden Infantry School. When Germany invaded Poland, Rommel was working on his third book, with the topic being “armored combat”. Sadly, he didn’t got a chance to finish the book.

Many people know Rommel for his aggressive style and his ferociousness, but few know that he was a great altruist. Rommel was known in between troops as one to never squander the lives of the people carelessly. One of the comments Rommel frequently used was that “his men are just as valuable to Germany in peacetime as in war”. But his sense for humanity and his altruistic approach go further and deeper than just his own men. Erwin was one of the few German generals that made sure to provide food, water and medical attention to wounded Allied troops. Even more, he buried Allied troops with military honors and defied orders to execute captured commandos.


13 funniest military memes for the week of Oct. 21

Posted On February 05, 2020 19:03:33

Alright, everyone. Remember to pace and budget yourselves. Next weekend is Halloween weekend, so don’t blow your entire savings account and get an Article 15.

You do that next weekend. In the meantime, check out these 13 funny military memes:

1. When your commander goes into the fine detail of each policy letter on day one:

Don’t even fight it. Just make it worth it.

2. This is why they do sustained airborne training before every jump (via Air Force Nation)

Because this would be a horrible time not to remember what to do next.

SEE ALSO: This Coast Guard reservist saved an Army-Navy convoy in world War II

3. Hey, at least he actually managed to get a signal out (via Military Memes)

He’s using none of the proper radio protocol, but still. Got a signal.

4. Just apply the fundamentals the same way, and these site adjustments will put you dead center (via Team Non-Rec).

Except you know that the trigger puller is going to change their site picture.

5. Only gets an 8 out of 10 because he has no ammo (via Military Memes)

That shirtless look becomes much less cool when the armor starts to chafe.

6. If it’s on the list, you better have it (via Devil Dog Nation)

I like the idea of ancient knights with PT mats.

7. Really didn’t think the Coast Guard would have the bootiest boots who ever booted, but there you go (via Coast Guard Memes)

8. And that’s when things got serious (via Air Force amn/nco/snco)

How often do security forces use their radar guns to check passing planes? Better be constantly.

9. How the Air Force feels whenever one of the surface branches wants to make fun of them:

They get much quieter when you challenge them to anything physical.

10. “So, want to walk close enough that one grenade could kill everyone?” (via Military Memes)

11. Seriously, admin. Why can you not keep track of this for more than 10 minutes?

There’s no way it’s that hard to not lose sheets of paper.

13. Sweepers, sweepers, time to do our sweepers.

12. The time to prep for a tornado is not during the tornado (via The Salty Soldier).

That poor CQ NCO is going to have some uncomfortable talks with the sergeant major.

Articles

While Europe was busy obsessing with who was in charge of everyone else, in China, Jurchen raiders from the north were having their way with the Song Dynasty and running off with its emperor. That’s when a general named Yue Fei had enough. He crushed the Jurchens in fight after fight, trying to win back the emperor.

You pay when you f*ck with Yue Fei.

Then, Qin Hui convinced the replacement emperor that a Yue Fei victory meant a much shorter time on the throne. Yue is recalled and eventually executed for treason. Predictably, losing their best general also meant losing their dynasty.

Yue Fei was exonerated after death. These days, the region where Fei was buried houses statues of Qin and his wife, bound and on their knees, so people can throw things at them for eternity.

Which, let’s be honest, is the greatest idea ever.


6 surprising things that are against the laws of war

Posted On September 08, 2020 12:44:05

They may seem like they’re tying troops’ hands behind their backs — especially given that today’s wars are very different from those when the former laws of war were written — but there’s a good reason why certain rules have been imposed to protect troops in combat.

Though not every country ratified all of the protocols of the Geneva Convention, and fewer still signed the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, many still hold to the general provisions and restrictions.

The laws of war contain a lot of things that make sense. Don’t hurt civilians. Don’t attack places of worship or medical aid. They may seem small at first glance, but they are a line US troops cannot cross.

While the major laws of war are well known, there are some provisions that may surprise the average reader.

#1: Filing down your bullet. (The 1899 Hague Declaration IV,3 and Geneva Convention Protocol I Art. 35)

(Screen grab via YouTube)

There is always the loophole of “military necessity” — that’s why flamethrowers are okay, because they have an actual purpose if used on foliage and clearing tunnels.

So while hollow points are legal, filing down a bullet to make in improvised dum-dum round is a no no. The purpose of doing that is to cause unnecessary harm.

So that 5.56 round some jackass took a Multi-tool to to “make it hurt more” committed a serious offense.

#2: A chaplain picking up a weapon. (Geneva Convention Art. 24)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sean Campbell)

If troops become shipwrecked or parachute out of a destroyed aircraft, they now have non-combatant status. They’re technically out of the fight.

The most protected service member in the ranks is still the chaplain, who should never enter combatant status.

Regardless of their denomination, chaplains have a duty to uphold the spiritual, moral, and religious well-being of everyone on the battlefield. They will enter combat zones, but only to provide aid. To date, 419 U.S. Chaplains have died in war and eight Medals of Honor were bestowed to chaplains.

It is a part of their duty to never lose non-combatant status to help the needs of all. Picking up a weapon immediately revokes that status. If you ever wondered why armed chaplain assistants are so valuable, that’s why.

#3: Taking war trophies. (Fourth Geneva Convention. Art. 33-34)

There’s a fine line between taking a souvenir and pillaging.

Anything you take off the battlefield is pillaging — even if it belonged to an enemy combatant. It is subject to strict regulations after it’s turned over for inspection and clearance. If it’s a weapon, it must also be made unserviceable at the expense of whomever is taking it back.

Stashing it goes against tons of laws.

#4: Putting a large Red Cross on your equipment for combat operations. (Geneva Convention Protocol I Art. 85)

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. JD Sacharok, Operations Group, National Training Center)

The Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal, and Red Shield of David are all protected as the international symbol for medical aid. When it is painted on a vehicle or on an armband, it lets everyone know that they are only there to render aid. Like chaplains having protections, so too do medics if they are performing aid and evacuation.

If a combat medic takes up arms, they lose their status as a non-combatant, which has been the norm in modern conflicts. If they drop their weapon to give aid, they regain that status.

But the red cross symbol doesn’t give you noncombatant status. If the symbol is on a piece of equipment, such as a first aid kit or pack, it is only signifying that the contents are for first aid.

#5: Not protecting journalists. (Geneva Convention Protocol I Art. 79)

Legendary BBC War Corespondent, Robin Duff, on D-Day (Image via BBC)

War corespondents are just as protected as any other civilian on the battlefield. They must never pick up arms or else they losing their status. The difference between members of the press and other non-combatants is that they are required by their job to be in the middle of a firefight to report what is happening.

In the modern era, journalists have been easier and more valuable targets than ever. If one is embedded in a unit, no matter how pesky and nosy as they seem, they are valuable assets to the war effort and still must be protected.

#6: Insulting prisoners of war. (Third Geneva Convention. Arts. 13-16)

Writer’s Note: For the final point on this list, there will not be a photograph of a prisoner of war, regardless of nationality, in reference to their mistreatment.

One of the goals of the Hague and Geneva Convention was to protect the rights of prisoners of war. They must be given medical attention (Art. 15). They keep the civil capacities they had at the time of capture (Art. 14) and must always be treated humanely (Art. 13).

The definition of humane treatment covers no physical mutilation (including torture). This also means you must provide protection from acts of violence, intimidation, and verbal insults.

It doesn’t matter who the person is or what they did before they are captured, they are now a prisoner of war.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Strange weapons are afoot at a secretive Russian ‘doomsday’ weapons test base in the Arctic

Posted On July 09, 2020 14:05:20

KYIV, Ukraine — Residents of a northern Russian village were informed this week that they were living in a “danger zone” due to unspecified “work” being done a little more than 1 mile away at a secretive weapons testing site where the Russian military has been developing its new arsenal of so-called doomsday weapons.

An internet post advised the roughly 500 residents of the White Sea coastal village of Nyonoksa that five buses were ready to evacuate them as a precaution due to activity planned for July 7 to 8 at the nearby military weapons facility, which has been operational since the 1950s for the development and testing of sea- and land-based cruise missiles.

The warning paralleled another for mariners in the White Sea, issued by the port authorities of Arkhangelsk, which was to last from July 6 to 10. The maritime warning proscribed sea vessels from entering an area beginning off the coast of Nyonoksa and the nearby town of Severodvinsk and extending northeast.

A Russian Federation air force Su-27 fighter participates in Vigilant Eagle 13. Photo by Mary Kavanagh, Canadian Forces Artist Program/Released.

No further information was given regarding the exact nature of this week’s test. But the Nyonoksa weapons testing facility has seen extraordinary activity in recent years — including some high-profile accidents that put civilian lives at risk.

In December 2015, an errant cruise missile from the facility hit an apartment block in Nyonoksa, starting a fire. There were no injuries, according to news reports at the time. And in August last year, the botched test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile off the coast of Nyonoksa killed five civilian and military specialists, injured others, and spiked radiation levels in nearby civilian settlements.

The explosion happened when a barge reportedly attempted to recover a nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile from the seabed. Those killed included members of a special nuclear reactor development team from Rosatom, Russia’s national nuclear energy corporation.

The 9M730 Burevestnik — known as the “Skyfall” among NATO militaries — is a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile with virtually unlimited range. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the experimental weapon in March 2018 along with several other “doomsday” weapons. A video presentation of one weapon system showed a simulated attack on Florida.

A U.S. F-22 Raptor intercepts a Russian bomber near Alaska on June 10. Photo courtesy of NORAD.

Putin, who touted Russia’s new weapons as “invincible,” warned the U.S. to take Russia’s military might seriously.

“You will have to assess that new reality and become convinced that what I said today isn’t a bluff,” the Russian president said. “It’s not a bluff, trust me.”

However, the Burevestnik has reportedly hit some snags, the August 2019 nuclear accident most notable among them. Moscow never confirmed that its Burevestnik cruise missile was behind last August’s accident. Yet, referring to the NATO name for the Russian weapon, in a tweet last year President Donald Trump cited the “failed missile explosion in Russia” as the “‘Skyfall’ explosion.”

Following the breakdown of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and Russia last year, and with Moscow and Washington increasingly at loggerheads over a broad gamut of geopolitical issues, Putin has embarked his country’s military on a crash-course program to develop new weapons.

Apart from the Burevestnik, in 2018 Putin unveiled other new weapons that he touted would be able to defeat U.S. missile defense systems. Among those was the Avangard hypersonic vehicle, supposedly capable of flying at Mach 27. The Avangard reportedly went operational in December.

Russia is also reportedly developing a nuclear-powered underwater drone — the “Poseidon” — that will creep up to an adversary’s coast, detonate a nuclear weapon, and create a 500-meter, or 1,640-foot, tsunami.

According to some scientific journal reports, Russia may also be resurrecting some Soviet-era antisatellite missile programs, particularly one missile known as Kontakt, which was meant to be fired from a MiG-31D fighter.

Whereas the Soviet-era Kontakt system comprised a kinetic weapon intended to literally smash into U.S. satellites to destroy them, the contemporary Russian program — incidentally, also named Burevestnik, although unrelated to the novel nuclear-powered cruise missile — will likely carry a payload of micro “interceptor” satellites that can effectively ambush enemy satellites.

Thus, with Russia’s many advanced weapons systems in development, this week’s so-called optional evacuation of Nyonoksa is not necessarily suggestive of any extraordinary development, experts say. However, the news also comes amid reports in late June that radiation levels across northern Europe were reading above normal — a phenomenon that some scientists attributed to likely weapons tests by Russia in the Arctic.

On June 23, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) reported that scientists in Sweden had detected unusually high levels of radiation. Weather patterns suggested northern Russia was the point of origin.

According to open-source radar satellite imagery, a Russian ship previously associated with testing of the Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone was off the coast of Nyonoksa on June 23. Some experts speculate that a failed test of the Poseidon could be the culprit behind the recent radiation spike.

Moscow denies that any such incident took place.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.


When Britain’s top tank slaughtered America’s

Posted On April 05, 2021 15:44:00

During the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War, the countries fought each other with arms purchased from their allies, namely the U.S. and Great Britain. Ultimately, this lead to battle after battle in which Britain’s top tank, the Centurion, mopped the floor with America’s top tank, the M48 Patton.

M48 Pattons were advanced and capable tanks during the Cold War. The M48s in this column in Vietnam were fitted with sandbags on the turrets to turn them into mobile pillboxes.
(U.S. Army)

To understand the war and its odd forces makeup, you have to go back to immediately post-World War II as the British Empire went through a controlled implosion. The longtime colony of India, which, prior to occupation, had been its own large but fractured nation, was granted independence in 1947. But, in an acknowledgement of the fact that India was filled with disparate peoples, the colony was split into two countries: India and Pakistan.

Pakistan was made up of the Muslim-majority areas of the former colony and India was made up of more secular and Hindi peoples, which had a large overlap. The big problem was that the Muslim-majority areas were on either side of the secular/Hindi area, and so Pakistan was split with almost all of northern India in the middle.

Fighting broke out in 1947 over which nation would get control of Kashmir, an area which adjoined both countries. U.N. mediation eventually resulted in splitting the administration of the area with both nations taking control of a section of the disputed area. Neither side was happy with the final line.

A Sherman tank in action against German troops in 1944. The Sherman was a mainstay of World War II, but was outdated by the 1965 when India drove them into combat against Pakistan.
(Sgt. Christie, No. 5 Army Film and Photographic Unit)

Both India and Pakistan were granted access to U.S. and British weapon stockpiles so they could defend themselves against larger neighbors, like China. Consequently, India ended up with a large number of Centurion tanks and Pakistan had a large number of Pattons. In 1965, the re-armed and still-hostile nations fought again over their shared border and India sent forces into Kashmir territory administrated by Pakistan.

There was back-and-forth fighting, but Pakistani counterattacks were making good progress on the southern end of the battlefield. A full third of Pakistan’s entire armored force at the time, composed largely of American-made M4 Sherman tanks and cutting-edge M48 Patton tanks, conducted an armored thrust into the plains of Khem Karn.

Indian defenses in the area were limited. At the village of Assal Uttar, an Indian commander with three tank regiments totaling about 135 tanks faced a Pakistani force of six regiments and about 264 tanks.

The British Centurion tank could’ve been a top tank in World War II, but it was released just month after the conflict ended. Instead, it became a top-tier Cold War tank, but Indian Army Centurions often lacked the numerous, vital upgrades made tot he platform between 1946 and 1965.
(Library and Archives of Canada)

And while there is an argument to be made that the Centurion fielded by India was one of the best tanks at the time, India’s Centurions lacked important upgrades and were fielded next to outdated Shermans and weak AMX-13s. Pakistan, meanwhile, had Patton tanks with decent bells and whistles, meaning they had better armor and better armor penetration then their enemies.

But Indian officers had a plan. Pakistani forces parked for the night near a low-lying area surrounded by mature sugarcane fields. Indian forces slowly crept up through the large sugarcane stalks and other troops released stored water into the low-lying areas, turning them into a swamp overnight.

When dawn came on September 10, 1965, the Pakistani tanks continued their advance but quickly sunk into the mud, some of them sinking down to their turrets. The forward tanks were stuck, and the tanks behind them couldn’t maneuver well without abandoning their peers. And then the Indians attacked.

A military officer stands with a destroyed, American-made Sherman tank during the Indo-Pakistani War. At Assal Uttar, Indian Sherman and Centurion tanks took on American-made Patton tanks and annihilated them.
(Public Domain)

With the sugar stalks as concealment, the Indian Shermans and Centurions were able to fire first even though the Pattons had longer range weapons, and Pakistani tanks that were unable to maneuver couldn’t point their thicker front armor towards the threat, especially since shots were coming from three sides.

The Indian tanks poured their fire into the valley and were joined by infantry and artillery forces, quickly dismantling the Pakistani column. The destruction was so widespread that historians weren’t able to pinpoint the exact number of Pakistani tanks destroyed, but Pakistan acknowledged that over half of its tank losses in the war came from that battle. It’s estimated at 99 tanks or more were lost on that single day.

India lost 10 tanks, which is tragic for the crews and still expensive, but an outstanding outcome in a battle where the enemy lost approximately 10 times as many.


31 Images of Rommel & Some You Wouldn’t Have Seen Before?

Erwin Rommel, the man who was to become one of the greatest and most honoured of generals both by his enemies and his friend, was born on the 15th November 1891. He was a career soldier and graduated from the Danzig Officer’s School in 1911.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Rommel saw action in France, Roumania and Italy. It was in the hell that was the First World War, in which this intrepid warrior first displayed those battlefield virtues that would catapult him to worldwide fame and respect. His ability to take advantage of confusion in the enemy ranks, outstanding personal courage, and the willingness to risk much in the throw of a single tactical throw of the dice.

In February 1940, Rommel was given command of the 7th Panzer Division and in May of the same year, he participated in the invasion of France. It was in this French campaign that the training and battlefield tank maneuvers that Rommel had practiced with his mechanised units bore fruit.

Indeed, so rapid, confident and skilled was his advance across enemy terrain that his Panzer Division earned for itself the nickname of the Ghost Division on account of the fact that it was so regularly at the forefront of the German advance that neither friend nor foe could locate it or communicate with it. His personal bravery, drive and initiative, as well as his grasp of strategy, contributed greatly to the German victory over France.

Having gained a solid reputation as a military savant of the highest order, Rommel was promoted to Lieutenant General and placed in command of the newly formed Afrika Korps, which had been created with the intention of being sent to Libya to assist Italian troops struggling to cope with British advances into Axis territory in North Africa.

Ignoring orders to assume a defensive posture, Rommel immediately launched a flash of lightning like assault on the startled British forces and his Afrika Korps advanced forward rapidly, driving General Waverley out of his fortified position at Benghazi. In an attempt to take advantage of the confusion that resulted from the fall of Benghazi, Rommel continued to press forward, driving the British before him and finally enveloping the enemy within Tobruk. Rommel place Tobruk under siege but met with stiff and resolute resistance from British and Australian soldiers.

In June 1941, Wavell launched an Allied counterattack, Operation Battleaxe, but was severely mauled by Rommel’s Afrika Corp. After that, Rommel notched up a string of victories, more often than not against vastly superior forces, including Tobruk, Gazala, and El Alamein. In the process, he not only earned a formidable reputation for personal bravery and strategic genius but also for gallantry and mercy, as he amply demonstrated when he sent medical supplies to New Zealand forces within the Allied lines.

With a lack of reinforcements and supplies hampering his ability to complete a knockout blow to the Allied forces in North Afrika, Rommel was forced first to go on the defensive and then later pull out his remaining forces from the North African theatre.

In November 1943, Rommel assumed command of the defensive positions in France, in anticipation of the Allied invasion. He immediately set about reinforcing the Atlantic Wall defense line and boosting morale. Despite all of Rommel’s efforts, the Normandy landings on June 6th 1944 were a complete success.

Following Hitler’s refusal to allow German troops to retreat to a point where they could hold a shorter line of defense, Rommel realised that the German dictator was bent on fighting to the bitter end and dragging Germany down into ruin. He believed that Hitler should be arrested for war crimes and placed on trial, as assassinating the Fuhrer might lead to a civil war in Germany.

Nonetheless, after the failed bomb attempt on Hitler’s life in July 1944, Rommel was arrested and forced to commit suicide – a truly inglorious end to a noble and humanitarian war hero.

Today, Rommel’s legacy as one of the greatest military geniuses of all time remains intact, and he is revered as an outstanding tactician and a soldier of great personal courage and integrity.

In February 1940, Rommel was named commander of the 7th Panzer division. The following year, he was appointed commander of German troops (the Afrika Korps) in North Africa.Colonel General Rommel inspecting German defensive positions, North Africa, Jan 1942

Italian losses to the British in North Africa led Adolf Hitler to send Rommel to Libya, where he laid siege to the port city of Tobruk from April to December 1941. Repulsed by the British, he returned with the Afrika Korps in June 1942 and finally took the city this attack became known as the Battle of Gazala. Not long after, Rommel was promoted to field marshal by Hitler.

Rommel with his son Manfred and wife Lucie. Rommel’s son, Manfred, was 15 years old and served as part of an anti-aircraft crew near his home. On October 14th, 1944 Manfred was given leave to return to his home where his father continued to convalesce. The family was aware that Rommel was under suspicion and that his chief of staff and his commanding officer had both been executed. To protect his family and staff, Rommell would commit sucide and be given a hero’s burial.

In 1915, after recovering from his first wound, Rommel returned to the trenches in France’s Argonne forest. During the war he won Germany’ highest decoration by capturing a mountain and thousands of Italians stationed there.

Erwin Rommel, pictured with his Leica III rangefinder camera. Rommel is reported to have been given such a camera by his friend/patron, Joseph Goebbels, before the 1940 Western campaign many ‘photos of his authorship or probable authorship survive, and crop up with a fair degree of frequency in propaganda/publicity contexts.

A rare photo of General (later Field Marshal) Erwin Rommel wearing a forage cap. With men of the 7th Panzer Division, France 1940. Rommel almost always wore his peaked cap or Schirmmütze. This was a gesture of commonality that the men would understand, part of being an effective leader.

Rommel and Hitler (Federal archive)

Rommel’s handcrafted field marshal’s baton

This is a rather rare photo of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel carrying his Leica camera on the front (this photo was most likely shot during the campaign in France in the summer of 1940 when Rommel was still a genral). Rommel was an avid enthusiast photographer who must have amassed a significant number of WW2 photos, whose fate is still undetermined.

Rommel with his Afrika Korps men in North Africa 1942. This picture was taken by Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel with the 15th Panzer Div. in Libya, 24/11/41, probably with Rommel’s own camera

Rommel, Libyan desert, spring 1942

Colonel General Erwin Rommel and General Siegfried Westphal helping with pushing a stuck vehicle, North Africa, early 1941.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Lieutenant General Fritz Bayerlein, and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring in North Africa, Jan-Feb 1943.

France – Just before the invasion, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel with Field Marshal’s baton during an inspection of the coastal fortifications of the Atlantic Wall. KBZ OB West. 1944 spring.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel inspects the 21st Panzer Division in May 1944.

Erwin Rommel inspects the 21st Panzer Division in May 1944.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander of Army Group B in France

Erwin Rommel, commander of the German Afrika Korps, drinks out of a cup with an unidentified German officer as they are seated in a car during inspection of German troops dispatched to aid the Italian army in Libya in 1941.

Laying in state.

After the 1944 July Plot—an assassination attempt against Hitler that occurred on July 20, 1944—Rommel’s contact with the conspirators was revealed, thus implicating him in the plot to overthrow Hitler. Rommel was then offered the option of taking poison instead of going to trial, and Hitler’s generals brought him poison.

Rommel drank the poison, taking his own life, on October 14, 1944, at the age of 52, in Herrlingen, Germany. He was given a full military burial.

Rommel’s simple grave in Herrlingen, Blaustein, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany.


German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads daring mission in France

On January 29, 1915, in the Argonne region of France, German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads his company in the daring capture of four French block-houses, the structures used on the front to house artillery positions.

Rommel crept through the French wire first and then called for the rest of his company to follow him. When they hung back after he had repeatedly shouted his orders, Rommel crawled back, threatening to shoot the commander of his lead platoon if the other men did not follow him. The company finally advanced, capturing the block-houses and successfully combating an initial French counter-attack before they were surrounded, subjected to heavy fire and forced to withdraw.

Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, for his bravery in the Argonne he was the first officer of his regiment to be so honored. Where Rommel is, there is the front, became a popular slogan within his regiment. The bravery and ingenuity he displayed throughout the Great War, even in light of the eventual German defeat, led to Rommel’s promotion through the ranks of the army in the post-war years.

In May 1940, Erwin Rommel was at the head of the 7th Panzer Division that invaded France with devastating success at the beginning of the Second World War. Promoted to general and later to field marshal, he was sent to North Africa at the head of the German forces sent to aid Hitler’s ally, Benito Mussolini. Known as the Desert Fox, Rommel engineered impressive victories against Britain in Libya and Egypt before his troops were decisively defeated at El Alamein in Egypt in 1943 and forced to retreat from the region.

Back in France to see the success of the Allied invasion in June and July 1944, Rommel warned Hitler that the end of the war was near. The unequal struggle is nearing its end, Rommel sent in a teletype message on July 15. I must ask you immediately to draw the necessary conclusions from this situation.

Suspected by Hitler of conspiring against him in the so-called July Plot, Rommel was presented with an ultimatum: suicide, with a state funeral and protection for his family, or trial for high treason. Rommel chose the former, taking poison pills on October 14, 1944. He was buried with full military honors.


Rommel and Montgomery: The Fathers Fight, the Sons Make Peace

Bernard Montgomery was one of the British top Generals during WWII — commander of the Eight Army known as the Desert Rats. Erwin Rommel was a German Field Marshal during that same era. Seen as one of the most able commanders of the enemy forces during WWII, he was greatly known as the Desert Fox.

Montgomery and Rommel were great adversaries in the WWII front lines their sons, on the other hand, David Bernard Montgomery and Manfred Rommel had developed a strong bond — a friendship that transcended even one of the world’s biggest wars.

“One of my father’s sadnesses was that he never met Rommel. Rommel was not a Nazi. He was a professional soldier. And he had much more in common with my father than the Nazi leadership,” ” stated the 2nd Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, recalling the past on the evening of this year’s Remembrance Day event.

The two WWII prominent warriors’ lives took on different turns — Montgomery’s acts during the war were very much celebrated and led him to become the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. Meanwhile, Rommel was severely wounded while marshaling Normandy’s defense against the attacks brought upon by D-Day. However, instead of receiving a hero’s welcome from his comrades, he was accused of treachery.

October 14, 1944 – While recovering from his wounds at his home in Herrlingten, southern Germany, two generals from Hitler’s headquarters came along with a bunch of soldiers which surrounded his home. Both the German warrior and his 15-year-old son who just came from a walk that day knew then and there that something was not right. But Rommel talked with the two Nazi officers alone and 45 minutes later, his father came to him and said goodbye. Manfred watched his father walking away from him.

Under suspicions of planning to assassinate Hitler, the German dictator wanted Rommel dead. But because the latter was a national hero, he had to kill him quietly – forcing him to commit suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill and in return, the soldier’s family would be left unharmed. After his death, Rommel was given a state funeral and his death was blamed on heart attack after a car crash.

Manfred knew the real reason for his father’s death. But it was only after more than 35 years that he was able to confide his story to a trusted friend – this friend was David Bernard Montgomery.

Montgomery and Rommel, WWII adversaries, may not have met face-to-face but their sons did. And more than that, the two became fast friends.

The Start of the Friendship

“We first met in 1979 when he came on an official visit to Britain. We were the same age, to within three months. We were the only sons of famous, opposing generals. We had a great deal in common,” Montgomery, 85, recalled. Manfred was mayor of Stuttgart at that time.

That first meeting was the start of over 30 years of friendship.

They often dropped on each other and maintained a constant correspondence which, Montgomery laughingly said, had to be in English since German wasn’t his “strongest suit”. When Montgomery had a chance to visit Rommel in his beautiful hillside home just outside of Stuttgart where the latter developed his liking for poetry and painting, he saw no obvious monument for the Generalfeldmarschall.

However, their military heritage held a significant positions in both men’s lives.

“Our fathers are ever present in our lives. Manfred was very thoughtful. He’d written a book about his father,” Montgomery stated.

Montogomery had, too — the book was entitled Monty, the Lonely Leader, adding:

“It is very lonely at the top. It’s like Truman said: ‘The buck stops here.’”

As their friendship developed, Rommel began to confide to lord Montgomery the account of what happened to his father October of 1944 – how his father was forced to chose suicide after a show trial.

“After Rommel was wounded in 1944, Manfred saw a lot of him. They had long conversations which Manfred told me about. Manfred must have known what was going to happen. A horrible experience,” Montgomery said.

Friendship that Transcended Beyond the Borders of War

Both Rommel and Montgomery turned towards building harmony and remembrance after the war. They attended Eight Army Association reunions held in Blackpool together. Any hints that that the son of the Desert Fox’s son would not be received in these gatherings were immediately dismissed.

As what Lord Montgomery put it:

“You see the desert war was quite different from other battles. It was conducted in a different way to other fronts. The reunion was a very popular event and well attended. Manfred greatly enjoyed it.”

The warmth which their friendship exuded started major observances for El Alamein. In 2002, both of them stood side by side in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the said event 60 years after the 12-day battle that spawned the desert war.

Lord Montgomery read from Isaiah 35:

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose…”

Rommel’s read passage was from Romans 12:

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…”

Sadly, Rommel was not be able to attend this year’s Remembrance Day this year and will not be able to in the years ahead.

For many years, Rommel suffered from Parkinson’s disease and a few days ago had succumbed to it – he passed away last November 7.

Now, he, too will be among those who will be remembered fondly. After all, he did serve during WWII – at age 14, he was pressed into manning an AA battery for the German Luftwaffe.

Most of all, he was a friend. That is how Lord Montgomery will always remember him — as his dear friend not a soldier and not even the son of his father’s wartime enemy in the battlefield.

“I’m so very sad he’s gone. He was a great friend. And a great man,” he states.


Watch the video: Need To Know About: Erwin Rommel - Full Documentary


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