Erwin Rommel

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Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel (1891-1944) -- byname 'The Desert Fox' (Wüstenfuchs)

German field marshall and commander of the Afrika Korps in World War II.

During World War I he fought in Romania, Italy and France as an infantry lieutenant. In February 1940 he assumed command of the 7th Panzer Division and showed his strategic skills in driving the French Army back to the channel coast. As a reward he was appointed commander of the German troops which were sent to Libya to aid the defeated Italian troops. It was in Africa where Rommel achieved his greatest successes as a commander. He was finally stopped by the British Army in Egypt after the Battle of El-Alamein and had to withdraw back to Tunis. Ordered back home in 1943, Hitler made him commander responsible for defending the French coast against a possible Allied invasion. By then, however, he was already conviced that the war could not be won.

In 1944 his car was attacked by British bombers and Rommel had to be hospitalised with heavy head injuries. In the meantime, after the failed assassination of Hitler, Rommels connections with the conspiracy came to light. He commited suicide by taking poison on October 14th, 1944 and was buried with full military honours.