History-makers Part 12: The Desert Fox Rommel

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 November, 2009, 12:00am

Quick facts

Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel
Nickname: Desert Fox
Profession: soldier
Famous for: brilliant, military tactics
Born: November 15, 1891, in Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany
Died: October 14, 1944, in Herrlingen, Ulm, Germany
Married: Lucia Maria Mollin; one son; Manfred

From favourite to From favourite to fallen hero

Find words that mean: attack plan, beaten, mastermind, plan secretly

Erwin Rommel joined the army when he was 18 years old. During the first world war Rommel fought with the Alpenkorps, Germany?s most famous army unit. Rommel was wounded three times. He was captured once but he escaped and was back fighting within two weeks.

When the war finished, Rommel taught at military academies and wrote books on tactics. When the second world war began, Rommel was put in charge of a tank division.

At this time, tanks were quite new. Few military leaders knew how to use tanks effectively but Rommel was a genius. After winning battles in France, Hitler sent him to Africa.

Rommel won many battles but was eventually defeated. In 1943, Hitler told Rommel to come home. Rommel realised that Germany could not win the war. He also worried that Hitler had gone mad. When three of his friends plotted to remove Hitler, he promised to help.

Unfortunately for Rommel, he had a car accident. While he was in hospital, Hitler found out about the conspiracy.

As Rommel was very popular, Hitler didn?t want to arrest him. Hitler sent a message to Rommel, saying if he committed suicide, his family would be left in peace.

Rommel killed himself by taking a cyanide pill. Hitler announced Rommel died of a heart attack. Six months later, Hitler killed himself and Germany surrendered.

Defeat at El Alamein

Choose the correct alternative:

When Rommel went to North Africa in 1941, he pushed British troops out of Libya and all the qay to El Alamein, a little village just 96km from Cairo, Egypt.

However, at this point Rommel had a solution/problem. The British had their supplies in Egypt. Rommel's supplies had to travel a long way across the desert/grasslands.

Rommel didn't know the British commander, Bernard ?Monty? Montgomery, had a machine that could read Rommel's coded messages. Monty knew all of Rommel's peace/battles plans.

When the two armies fought on November 3, Rommel lost. As he fled, US soldiers began to arrive in Africa. At this point Rommel realized Germany could not win the war.

Amazing armoured tanks

Find the words that mean the opposite of: light, unarmed, safe, disappeared

In ancient times, warriors covered chariots with leather and metal shields. As these were heavy, armoured chariots were slow and hard to manoeuvre.

After the invention of the petrol engine, it became possible to build heavy vehicles that could move about easily.

The first tanks appeared in 1916 during the first world war. Early models had 1.3cm thick armour, and could travel at 5km/h.

Although tanks were slow, they could travel anywhere, and were not vulnerable to machine guns. The tanks carried supplies into dangerous areas, and were used to storm fortified enemy positions.

By 1942, Rommel was driving the Panther Tank. It had 12cm thick armour, and could travel at 55km/h.

True or false?
To test your memory, try answering without referring to the text. If you can't remember the details, read the piece again.

1. Rommel fought with the Commandos, Germany's most famous army unit.

2. During the second world war, Rommel commanded a tank division.

3. After winning battles in France, Rommel was sent to Africa.

4. Rommel was called back to Germany after winning the war in Africa.

5. Rommel committed suicide after being caught plotting against Hitler.