@al: The British Forces in Africa were seldom "weak" as some have said. They did have some operational and institutional hang-ups that made it hard for them to act in the cohesive manner that the German panzer forces did. But more often than not they were stronger than the German/Italian army facing them.
Signal intelligence is a great thing. Rommel benefitted from it certainly. We benefitted from it Alamein, El Guettar and Medinine. When you know your enemy's strength and dispositions for an attack, it's hard to lose.
Speaking of Medinine, had Rommel been in control of ALL of the Axis forces, there wouldn't have been a Medinine battle. Von Arnim wasn't exactly cooperative and denied Rommel certain forces when told to give them up by Kesselring. That delay short-circuited Rommel's plan at Kasserine by allowing the Allies time to recover their poise.
People tend to bash Rommel for not "not understanding logistics". Nothing could be farther from the truth. Logistics was on Rommel's mind every day. Also, in the German Army tradition, he was given a general staff trained officer as his chief of staff who made up for that deficiency. It's just that the German panzer generals pushed harder than Allied generals in this stage of the war. They did more with less.
I still feel that Rommel's plan for Normandy gave the Germans the best chance for success. Had a panzer corps (or more hit the beachheads on the afternoon of D-Day or perhaps the very early morning of D+1, major damage on the invaders could have been inflicted. Remember a battalion of panzers got between two of the landing beaches on Normandy on D-Day but pulled back. Rommel was right on the money when he said that if forces weren't close to the invasion area when the battle started, they wouldn't get to their jump-off points in time. In this, history proved him right.
During the war Rommel climbed from panzer division commander to army group command. Given what he had and what he faced, I feel he did a very credible job. Did he make errors-oh yes, but so did most generals. Going from a corps command which was a hands-on, lead-from-the-front type of job to army commander which was more of a desk job, he naturally had to make some adjustments, but after a bit, he did so.
Overall, Rommel's "genius" was in three areas: First, he could motivate troops. Secondly, he could innovate tactics when needed. Third, he could intuitively understand things that other high ranking officers could not. An example was that after his experience in N. Africa he understood that the war from then on was going to be different and sweeping armored attacks would probably not happen again. In fact, he understood that the essentially, the war was lost.
Edited by harolds, 18 June 2015 - 04:33 PM.