Originally Posted by MWM
His lack of concern for logistics left no evacuation route for German troops and they ended up surrendering 200,000 troops in Tunisia.
Rommel was acutley aware of the logistics situations in Africa. He had this to say about it, "Not only had no replacement material arrived, but with an almost unbelievable lack of appreication of the situation, the supply authorities had actually sent only three thousand tons to Africa during June, as compared with the real requirement is sixty thousand tons, a figure which was never in fact attained. "The Rommel Papers" BD Liddel-Heart. Harcourt Brace. 1951, pg 243.
I don't think you can lay the supply issues at Rommels feet when the Itallians failed to secure the Med. That said, he was at the helm when the entire Africa Korps was defeated/captured. His agressive "attack at all costs" approach with such a tenious supply route was ill-advised once the tide started to turn against them.
Patton also frequently pushed his forces past his supply chain also. "The Millitary 100" Michael Lee Lanning. Carol Publishing Group 1996. Pg 347
Originally Posted by MWM
His vaunted Atlantic Wall held up the Allies for all of a half day...I hope his wife had a happy birthday because his presence with her cost the Germans big time. So for the two most significant losses his troops experienced (round 2 of El Alamein and Normandy) he was absent. .
He was absent for the begining of El Alamein becuase he was ill and in Germany for medical treatment. "Atlas of World War II Battle Plans", Stephen Badsey, Helicon Publishing 2000. Pg 103. But his ill-timed trip away from the front in Normany was definatley a blunder. Wermacht command pegged the landing dates and locations and Rommel's reasoning for being gone (wife's birthday, hopeing to meet with Hitler to secure more troops, rough seas in the channel) ring flimsy to me.
As you pointed out MWM, maybe the outcome would have been the same, but the Normandy beaches where exactly where Rommels "attack, attack, attack" battle plan would have been best employed. (But thank God for our boys he wasn't there).
I don't think the quick defeat of the Atlantic wall can be laid soley at Rommel's feet. Heinz Guderian said, "the German Navy's costal mine-laying effort was still in a state of pronounced weakness...Reconnaissance by the Luftwaffe and Navy was completely inadequate and the reports from the intelligence serivce were of dubious character...The Navy had no patrol vessels at sea...As on many previous days the Luftwaffe did no conduct reconnaissance flights". From "Normandy to the Ruhr with the 116th Panzer Division" Heinz Guderian, Aberjone Press. 2001 Pg. 26. The lack of Navy and air cover were beyond Rommels control. The biggest failure IMO, was the lack of intelligence so they could better locate the landing sites instead of trying to defend the entire coast-line and thinning out their troops (again, thank God they did).
All in all, however, I agree with you MWM that a mythos has grown up about Rommel over the years. He experienced success early on with fresh supplies and against lesser opponents. He ran roughshod over the British in Africa early on but as supply issues and Hitlers idiocy reared their head he, IMO, failed to recogonize that attack at all costs would not work in the long run. Much like Lee, he won battles and bled his army dry in the process.
Paton, however, was able to acheive great success mostly against a weakened army and with non-stop supplies. Would he have been as successfull with dwindling supplies, useless allys and Hitler to deal with? I don't know. Additionaly, his mouth and ego cost him opportunities to use his tallents in more battles.
I think both are star-crossed figures who were both tallented and deeply flawed.