The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man… Thomas Robert MALTHUS

All About Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel(4)…

Drive for English Channel…

Rommel, resuming his advance on 5 June, drove for the River Seine to secure the bridges near Rouen. Advancing 100 kilometres (62 mi) in two days, the Division reached Rouen only to find the bridges destroyed. On 10 June, Rommel reached the coast near Dieppe, sending his „Am at coast” signal to the German HQ.

On 15 June, 7th Panzer started advancing on Cherbourg. On 17 June, the Division advanced 35 kilometres (22 mi), capturing the town on the following day. The Division then proceeded towards Bordeaux but stopped when the armistice was signed on 21 June. In July, the Division was sent to the Paris area to start preparations for Operation Seelöwe, the planned invasion of Britain. The preparations were half-hearted, however, as it became clear that the Luftwaffe would not be able to secure air superiority over the Royal Air Force.

Ghost Division…

7. Panzer-Division was later nicknamed Gespenster-Division (the „Ghost Division”), because of the speed and surprise it was consistently able to achieve, to the point that even the German High Command at times lost track of its whereabouts. It also set the record for the longest thrust in one day by tanks up to that point, covering nearly 200 miles (320 km).

Rommel received both praise and criticism for his tactics during the French campaign. Many, such as General Georg Stumme, who had previously commanded 7th Panzer Division, were impressed with the speed and success of Rommel’s drive; however, others were more reserved, some out of envy, others because they felt Rommel took unnecessary risks. Hermann Hoth publicly expressed praise for Rommel’s achievements but had private reservations, saying in a confidential report that Rommel should not be given command over a corps unless he gained „greater experience and a better sense of judgment.” Hoth also accused Rommel of an unwillingness to acknowledge the contributions of others to his victories.

The Fourth Army commander, General Günther von Kluge, also criticised Rommel for falsely claiming all the glory for his achievements. Rommel did not, Kluge felt, acknowledge the contribution of the Luftwaffe, and Rommel’s manuscript describing his campaign in France misrepresented the advances of neighbouring units to elevate the achievements of his own dazzling advances. Kluge also cited the complaint by General Hartlieb that Rommel had misappropriated 5th Panzer’s bridging tackle on 14 May after his own supplies had run out in order to cross the Meuse, delaying 5th Panzer for several hours. Rommel had repeated this procedure on 27 May at the River Scarpe crossing.

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