David, thanks for your thoughts, on Rommel especially, and the desert camaraderie (if that’s not too strong a word). There must be a poignant diorama waiting to happen, based on the ‘cemeteries’ that combatants of different sides shared during the African campaigns. Rommel may have used a Storch to visit them I guess, or more likely ‘Greif’.
Rommel’s legend as the estimable ‘Desert Fox’, perpetuated by the British Army and press to ameliorate the defeats he had inflicted on the Allies, allowed for him to be viewed as an outstanding soldier by his enemy in his own time. That must be a rarity. And while it has been shown that he had his flaws, and wasn’t invincible on the battlefield (even though some key defeats obviously resulted from logistics, failings of others, and overwhelming material superiority in the Allies), his ‘redeeming features’ are compelling. That he ‘spoke truth to power’ before and after the shattering realisation that he’d swallowed the Big Lie, I guess, lead many to elevate him to a place above the Nazi regime he served. Ignoring Hitler’s monotonous ‘stand and fight to the death’ edicts, to regroup for strategically more valid rear-guard actions shows him to have been loyal to Germany perhaps more than the regime in the end. His scorn for The SS and Hitler’s sycophants also make it harder to paint him as a ‘willing executioner’, as does his empathy for those he fought and defeated. Protecting his family through his own demise is an heroic end. I’d need to read much more before professing to more than a grudging admiration, but his is surely one of the most compelling histories of soldiering.