Hitler promotes Rommel to Field Marshal

Hitler with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

If Hitler’s relations with his Generals and his High Command had reached an all time low as a result of the situation on the Eastern Front, he still had confidence in the one man who had been single handedly driving the other main battlefront, in North Africa. Erwin Rommel had relinquished his command to return to Germany for medical treatment.

Hitler’s Luftwaffe Adjutant, Nicholas von Below recorded the meeting:

On 1 October, in a visibly heartfelt reunion, Hitler received Rommel and awarded him his Feldmarschall’s baton.

During a long conversation Hitler spoke of his doubts and worries. The inadequate supply of weapons and equipment was an especial headache. He feared that one day the British would arrive with a large, superior force and then he would have ‘difficulties’.

Rommel’s army was at El Alamein, which he had well fortified. He was still very confident. Hitler asked him about the reported, British air superiority. Rommel replied that the situation was not critical.

Afterwards both went into the Chancellery gardens, where an impressive display of new weapons, including assault guns and a Tiger tank, was on show. Rommel requested them for the front as soon as possible, which Hitler promised to see to.

I had the impression that he was beginning to deceive himself. He was underestimating the fighting strength of the Russians and also had the wrong idea about the British.

That same day he addressed the Gauleiters. I did not hear this speech but feared that it would be cast in too optimistic a vein. Over the next few days he had various talks about armaments before we returned to Winniza on 4 October.

See Nicolaus Von Below: At Hitler’s Side: The Memoirs of Hitler’s Luftwaffe Adjutant

The new Panzer VI – ‘Tiger I’ – seen in Tunisia in January 1943. As his difficulties mounted on all fronts Hitler increasingly believed that various super weapons would save him.

The mainstay of the Panzer armies continued to be the Panzer III and IV – the Panzer III production line in October 1942.

Rommel had returned to Germany for medical treatment. The new Commander of Panzerarmee Afrika from late September 1942 was General der Panzertruppe Georg Stumme.

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