Friday, June 01, 2007

More Rommel vs. British

Rommel relished the fluid battle while Bernard Law Montgomery hated and feared them. He preferred set-piece battles where every aspect was under his control. Rommel had discovered the advantages of infiltration over the set-piece or frontal attack on the Italian front in the Great War. He cut his teeth and built his reputation there. He also set his pattern for war-fighting. Because Rommel commanded from the front, largely, in Cyrenaica, he was much more aware of what was happening in battle than his British counterparts who commanded from headquarters in the rear. The British commanders who beat the Italians in 1940 and into 1941 followed this style, as well. Richard O'Connor, and his commanders thrived in the mobile, fast-moving battle. They readily beat the Italians, who were tied to the coast road and were mostly formed from marching infantry divisions. The war might have progressed considerably better for the British if Richard O'Connor's health hadn't failed and then he hadn't been put into the bag in early 1941.

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