Sunday, September 09, 2007

British versus German command

After the situation appeared to have stabilized in early February 1942, General Godwin-Austen asked to be relieved as 13th Corps commander. The basis was General Rithchie's lack of confidence in him, and disregard of his advice. The Official History wryly notes that General Godwin-Austen's "reading of the situation, unwelcome though it undoubtedly was, had at least been realistic". General Ritchie's tendency to operate from a position of wishful thinking an lack of knowledge would lead to the near loss of the campaign in the late spring and summer of 1942.

On the German side, Rommel was definitely in charge of Axis army, and especially, the German forces. Rommel, at his best, operated from a position of knowledge and energy. He also would lead from the front, when he felt it necessary. He managed to escape capture or injury in the process. While his subordinate commanders might have been miffed, on many occasions, the Official History points out that his operational mode gave an energy and purpose to German forces that gave them an edge over British forces that were commanded by Generals in the rear, who were out of touch with what was happening on the ground.

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