A study of Rommel's generalship in the context of the fateful Tunisian campaign, this book explores Rommel's generalship through the influential variables of battle, including logistics difficulties, weapons technology, and his relations with Hitler. The legend of the Desert Fox colors most battle accounts of North Africa in World War II, but this is the story of Rommel's performance in the face of defeat. After a detailed discussion of the Alamein battles, July through November 1942, and Rommel's retreat to Tunisia, ending in January 1943, Watson recounts the British and American invasion of North Africa and the confused web of Axis command that spawned the debacle at Medenine. The final three chapters cover selected variables of battle and of command to reveal the man behind the legend.
After his dramatic successes in North Africa, the Desert Fox would face a new challenge, the arrival of the Americans. Faced with a lack of logistical support and a steady erosion of weapons quality, a de-modernization of the front, Rommel planned to attack American bases in central Tunisia by advancing through Kasserine Pass. Unfortunately, a last minute alteration of the plan by the Italian high command would disperse his troops along three fronts. The attacks failed, and Rommel discovered that the relative independence he had enjoyed during earlier phases of the desert war no longer existed.