Academic journal article Military Review

Rommel's Greatest Victory: The Desert Fox and the Fall of Tobruk, Spring 1942

Academic journal article Military Review

Rommel's Greatest Victory: The Desert Fox and the Fall of Tobruk, Spring 1942

Article excerpt

ROMMEL'S GREATEST VICTORY, The Desert Fox and the Fall of Tobruk, Spring 1942, by Samuel W Mitcham Jr. 243 pages. Presidio Press, Novato, CA. 1998. $27.95.

Field Marshal Erik Rommel's Afrika Corps' successes in 1941 won him the reputation of battlefield invincibility and the nom de guerre "The Desert Fox." His successes were tactical in the grand scheme of things because although he had surprised and defeated the British 8th Army in several fights, he could not dislodge Commonwealth forces and failed to reach the Suez Canal. Re could not achieve the strategic aim of conquering Egypt and denying the canal to Axis enemies.

In Rommel's Greatest Victory, Samual W. Mitcham Jr. ably describes events leading to the Tobruk garrison's capitulation on the morning of 22 June 1942. The battle, which lasted 29 days, had begun when Rommel's forces reached the fortresses' outer defenses on 10 April 1941. Mitcham's balanced treatment of both combatants describes a closely run battle for each side.

As is frequently the case in mobile warfare, Rommel eventually prevailed because of skill, audacity and luck. …

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