June 16, 2014
Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives
by Caddick-Adams, Peter
Britain’s Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and Germany’s Erwin Rommel fought each other during World War II in France 1940, North Africa 1942-43, and France 1944. Each cultivated good press relations, and was popular in his own country, but they had quite different reputations. “Monty” was meticulous in preparation and deliberate in execution, while Rommel was a fast-moving, risk-taking improviser. These different approaches to combat reflected their experiences a generation earlier when they fought (heroically) as junior officers in the First World War.
Monty’s WWI unit was overrun and dispersed amid great confusion, requiring exhaustive marching with little food or water, fueling his later obsession with physical fitness, careful planning, and thorough briefing of all subordinates. Rommel’s successes as a young officer all derived from flexible thinking and risky exploitation of enemy weaknesses. Both officers spent the inter-war years thinking, training, teaching, writing, and becoming outstanding practitioners of their craft.
--Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Library