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  • South Africans vs Rommel

    Stackpole publishers will be releasing my book on South Africa's Desert War 1941-1942 on 15 September 2017. The book is available for pre-order at $29.95 from Amazon and other online booksellers. It deals with the mixed fortunes of the Union Defence Force and incorporates the battles of Sidi Rezegh, Tobruk and Alamein. The book examines the evolution of South African military doctrine, tracing its roots back to the Boer Republics beyond. Revisiting old and uncovering new documents reveals new insights into the trials and tribulations of the South Africans who faced a first class army led by the legendary Rommel.



    Book Description


    After bitter debate, South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire at the time, declared war on Germany five days after the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Thrust by the British into the campaign against Erwin Rommelís German Afrika Korps in North Africa, the South Africans fought a see-saw war of defeats followed by successes, culminating in the Battle of El Alamein, where South African soldiers made a significant contribution to halting the Desert Foxís advance into Egypt. This is the story of an army committed somewhat reluctantly to a war it didnít fully support, ill-prepared for the battles it was tasked with fighting, and sent into action on the orders of its senior alliance partner. At its heart, however, this is the story of men at war.


    About Katz, David Brock


    David Brock Katz is a veteran of the modern-day South African Army and holds a masterís degree in military history from Stellenbosch University. He has published articles in academic journals. This is his first book.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by dkatz; 10 Apr 17, 02:58.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum!
    Your book received a post in our "New and Upcoming World War Two Books" thread : http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...&postcount=233

    Looks interesting!

    Comment


    • #3
      Join date April 2005 ?
      And it's your first post ?
      Something strange here...
      That rug really tied the room together

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dkatz View Post
        Stackpole publishers will be releasing my book on South Africa's Desert War 1941-1942 on 15 September 2017. The book is available for pre-order at $29.95 from Amazon and other online booksellers. It deals with the mixed fortunes of the Union Defence Force and incorporates the battles of Sidi Rezegh, Tobruk and Alamein. The book examines the evolution of South African military doctrine, tracing its roots back to the Boer Republics beyond. Revisiting old and uncovering new documents reveals new insights into the trails and tribulations of the South Africans who faced a first class army led by the legendary Rommel.



        Book Description


        After bitter debate, South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire at the time, declared war on Germany five days after the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Thrust by the British into the campaign against Erwin Rommelís German Afrika Korps in North Africa, the South Africans fought a see-saw war of defeats followed by successes, culminating in the Battle of El Alamein, where South African soldiers made a significant contribution to halting the Desert Foxís advance into Egypt. This is the story of an army committed somewhat reluctantly to a war it didnít fully support, ill-prepared for the battles it was tasked with fighting, and sent into action on the orders of its senior alliance partner. At its heart, however, this is the story of men at war.


        About Katz, David Brock


        David Brock Katz is a veteran of the modern-day South African Army and holds a masterís degree in military history from Stellenbosch University. He has published articles in academic journals. This is his first book.
        "Thrust by the British into the campaign".
        But that was the way of it. Either you're in a war or you're not. How can you conduct operations within a policy of limited liability ?
        The Dominion forces, for better or worse, became part of ,and subordinate to, the British command system in North Africa. Therefore ,commanders from the Dominions were ,at times, torn between their immediate commanders on the one hand and the requirements of the home governments on the other.
        Last edited by BELGRAVE; 09 Apr 17, 21:33.
        "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
        Samuel Johnson.

        Comment


        • #5
          To be fair, Rommel and his band of merry men savaged the British Army, too! Arguably the British lost quite a few divisions and Brigades. There was a problem where the British High Command wanted to use Commonwealth troops like British units! The Manpower shortages were hitting South Africa, Australia and New Zealand before it hit the UK. It would seem that you can't keep throwing men and equipment into an expanding Navy and Air Force AND keep up replacements in an active theater.

          The Union of South Africa had lots of Manpower. The trouble was most of it was the wrong Race. The powers that be did not mind putting the Blacks and Mixed Races in Labor units, but only let a few Cape Coloreds actually fight. The British had only let the 2nd South African Division to the Front so it could get some experience. Then Rommel spoiled the plan by breaking through the line!

          The two brigades of the 2nd SA found themselves in Tobruk with a Guards Brigade, remnants of an Armor Brigade and some Indian Army units. This time Rommel did not bypass and lay Tobruk under siege. He went around the perimeter and hit what could be called the back door of the position. There were no thick minefields like in the first siege.

          Suddenly there was no more 2nd SA and the British tried to get the Union to raise another division! All SA troops eventually went home and a new SA division was raised that could serve out of Africa. It was called the 6th SA and it was a Mixed Division. It went to Italy where the British almost immediately took away one Motor Rifle Brigade and put it in another division. They did attach other troops. I don't know why the SA Government allowed this. The war was almost over before the 2nd SA got its Brigade back.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

          Comment


          • #6
            South Africans vs Rommel

            Thank you so much for the plug. I think the book will add significantly to the body of knowledge but more importantly it will provoke debate.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
              Join date April 2005 ?
              And it's your first post ?
              Something strange here...

              Been too busy writing the book. hahah

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                "Thrust by the British into the campaign".
                But that was the way of it. Either you're in a war or you're not. How can you conduct operations within a policy of limited liability ?
                The Dominion forces, for better or worse, became part of ,and subordinate to, the British command system in North Africa. Therefore ,commanders from the Dominions were ,at times, torn between their immediate commanders on the one hand and the requirements of the home governments on the other.
                Interestingly the New Zealanders and the Australians forces in North Africa were subject to a charter whereby the commanding officers of these dominions had direct access and recourse to their governments should they not be happy with a British directive. The South Africans enjoyed no such charter and were obliged to obey British directives.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post

                  The Union of South Africa had lots of Manpower. The trouble was most of it was the wrong Race. The powers that be did not mind putting the Blacks and Mixed Races in Labor units, but only let a few Cape Coloreds actually fight. The British had only let the 2nd South African Division to the Front so it could get some experience. Then Rommel spoiled the plan by breaking through the line!

                  The two brigades of the 2nd SA found themselves in Tobruk with a Guards Brigade, remnants of an Armor Brigade and some Indian Army units. This time Rommel did not bypass and lay Tobruk under siege. He went around the perimeter and hit what could be called the back door of the position. There were no thick minefields like in the first siege.


                  Pruitt
                  You have raised two interesting points. Indeed South African manpower was hamstrung by its racial policy and those black troops who did enter the Union Defence Force did so as non-combatants. They acquitted themselves bravely, and some were decorated for bravery even as non-combatants.

                  On the second point, I have uncovered documents and testimony, including from General Klopper himself, that the minefields, barbed wire, anti-tank trenches were not in the state of disrepair as is commonly believed. The book examines other more significant factors that led to the fall of the Tobruk garrison.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So you are saying Rommel's troops went through anti-tank ditches, barbed wire and minefields? Looking at how fast the break-in was made, I am curious as to how they avoided them.

                    Pruitt
                    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dkatz View Post
                      Interestingly the New Zealanders and the Australians forces in North Africa were subject to a charter whereby the commanding officers of these dominions had direct access and recourse to their governments should they not be happy with a British directive. The South Africans enjoyed no such charter and were obliged to obey British directives.
                      That I didn't know.Thank you.
                      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                      Samuel Johnson.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                        So you are saying Rommel's troops went through anti-tank ditches, barbed wire and minefields? Looking at how fast the break-in was made, I am curious as to how they avoided them.

                        Pruitt
                        The attack opened up with a massive Axis air attack and according to the South African commander many mines exploded under the intense bombardment. Rommel then sent in his engineers under cover of his infantry to cut the wire, lift mines, and fill in the ditch for his tanks. The infantry secured the area for the tanks and using a combined arms approach of artillery, tanks, infantry and air assets he was able to overcome the first line of defenders and overwhelm them with superior local fire-power.

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