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Rommel never commanded the DAK

Discussion in 'North Africa and the Mediterranean' started by yan taylor, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    Hello, I was flicking through an old book the other day called ‘’The Afrika Korps’’ by Bruce Quarrie (Airfix Magazine Guide 12), and he says that Rommel was not the commander of the Afrika Korps, and that Generals Cruewell, Nehring and Von Thorma in turn commanded the Afrika Korps. Now I was led to believe that Rommel had command of the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] Light Division when it landed in Africa and in turn took command of the 21[SUP]st[/SUP] (5[SUP]th[/SUP] Light Div re-named) and the 15[SUP]th[/SUP] Panzer Divisions, but Quarrie says no, Rommel was command of the Panzer Armee Afrika.

    Any thoughts chaps.

  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    May 9, 2010
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    Yes and no. Officially the book was probably correct, Rommel commanded the combined German and Italian mobile forces, of which the DAK was part. Effectively however because of his command style he was the defacto commander of the DAK. More than a few German officers serving there was not entirely happy with this, but for the most part he got great success out of it.

    It is often overlooked that most of his troops were Italian, yet in popular perception it remains the Afrika Korps.
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Sep 14, 2008
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    That's not 100% correct, while most of the forces present were Italian initially Rommel didn't have command of of them, officially DAK was subordinate to the Italian command, which is one of the reasons it was "upgraded" to an Army to put Rommel on a par with the Italian Army commander, even if it remained corps sized until late 1942. IIRC even as late as Gazala he oficially only directly controlled the XX Italian Corps made up of Armoured division Ariete and Motorized division Trieste, the unit was also known as CAM (Corpo d'Armata di Manovra) around this time, not the whole of the Italian forces, the overall theater commander was still the Italian general Bastico. .I think he did command the original Afrika Korps (5th Light and 15th panzer) but never 5th Light , the commander of 5th Light (later 21st Panzer) was Johannes Streich not Rommel but as the Korps before the arrival of 15th Panzer was made up initially of only 5th Light he probably had Erwin of his back 100% of the time.
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Feb 17, 2010
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    Rommel commanded the DAK until July 31, 1941, when Panzer Group Afrika was established to control the DAK and the Italian X and XX Corps. At that point Cruwell took over the DAK.

    PG Afrika later became Panzer Armee Afrika January 30, 1942. This was shortly after the four panzer groups in Russia had been redesignated armies.

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