In 1941, serving for the last time under the inspirational command of the "Desert Fox" Colonel-General Erwin Rommel, the Panzer Army Afrika launched a daring strike at the British armour in the rear of the Allied defences at Gazala near the Libyan City of Tobruk.
Fox on the Volga By Ed and Scott PalterWith the Eighth Army retreating into Egypt, Hitler decided the time was right to pull Rommel out of the Western Desert Campaign. His replacement Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus obeyed orders by halting the advance at the Egyptian border, a cautious decision which ultimately set-up Operation Hercules for success, enabling Kesselring to take Malta.
Instead of chasing the Desert Rats into Egypt, Rommel was to deploy his prodigious talents in a theater of far greater strategic importance to the Third Reich. And rather than face the British General Wavell, his new adversary was the altogether more impressive Russian military genius Marshal Zhukov. Nevertheless he prevailed, defeating Zhukov at Mars.
The prize for this latest success was a new mission of epic proportions. To mastermind Operation Winter Storm instead of the brilliant, but out of favour Prussian General Erich Von Manstein. The relief of Stalingrad.