Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rommel based his tactics on WWI infiltration tactics

Rommel had learned the practice of infiltration tactics on the Italian front in WWI. A Frenchman had the idea, but the Germans developed and perfected infiltration tactics. There is a Wikipedia page on the subject. What the Germans did from the late 1930's was to take the infanty infiltration concept and apply that to armoured forces. The example which first got everyone's attention was in the Ardennes, in May 1940. That was when Rommel, commanding the 7th Panzer Division, along with others, slipped through the Ardennes, rather than attacking the Maginot Line, and threw the Allies into a panic. This was the opposite of what General Montgomery liked. He like set piece battles where he could assault a position. The earliest instance of the British using these tactics was in the Western Desert, when General O'Connor beat a much larger Italian army by moving small forces through empty spaces to surprise the Italians. They also slipped into the Italian camps with tanks and infantry, catching them by surprise. Rommel had written a book on the subject called Infanterie greift. That was the book that Patton read.

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