This exciting new series opens with "The Desert Fox," the most famous German field marshall in World War II, Erwin Rommel. A hero of the people of the Third Reich and widely respected by his opponents, Rommel proved himself highly adept at Blitzkrieg warfare. Both in France and North Africa he consistently outwitted his adversaries through his ability to sense the weak spot in his enemy's deployment and the pace at which he conducted his operations. Rommel's serious wounding in France came just three days before the aborted attempt on Hitler's life. Rommel subsequently came under suspicion of being involved in the plot and, under pressure, he committed suicide. Rommel displayed an outstanding ability to seize the initiative and retain it, and here, Charles Messenger draws on the skills behind this ability for the benefit of modern day leaders.
General Erwin Rommel. His battlefield manner was authoritative, his courage proven in the trenches of World War I when he was awarded the Blue Max. He was a front line soldier who led by example from the turrets of his Panzers. Appointed to command Adolf Hitler’s personal security detail, Rommel had nothing for contempt for the atrocities perpetrated by the Reich. His role in the Führer’s assassination attempt led to his downfall.
Except for a brief confrontation in North Africa, these two legendary titans never met in combat. Patton and Rommel is the first single-volume study to deal with the parallel lives of two generals who earned not only the loyalty and admiration of their own men, but the respect of their enemies, and the enmity of the leaders they swore to obey. From the origins of their military prowess, forged on the battlefields of World War I, to their rise through the ranks, to their inevitable clashes with political authority, military historian Dennis Showalter presents a riveting portrait of two men whose battle strategies changed the face of warfare and continue to be studied in military academies around the globe.
The lessons learned from the campaign provide a perspective of battle at the operational level of war. The factors leading to Manstein’s success are discussed and include: superior generalship at the operational level; superior tactical maturity of the Germans; and German tactical and operational agility. The study describes the transition from the operational defensive to the operational offensive and how a defender can have the initiative. Manstein’s use of depth is explained. The concepts of center of gravity and operational art as they pertain to this campaign are also described.
The study concludes with the implications of the lessons learned for a NATO-Soviet conflict in a central European scenario. The study points out that Manstein demonstrated that victory is possible even when forced to react to the enemy’s plan. The ability of NATO to replicate, today, the agility of Manstein’s forces and the synchronization achieved by his commanders is questioned. The implications of NATO’s lack of operational depth, in contrast to Manstein, are described. The impact of changes in force design since World War II are also explained.