Rommel on his way to losing CRUSADER?

This is from NARA, but their caption reads it is from 24 January or November 1941 “General Rommel bei der 15. Panzer-Division zwischen Tobruk und Sidi Omar. General Rommel with the 15th Panzer Division between Tobruk and Sidi Omar. Libya, January or November 24,1941.: ca. 1946 – ca. 1946”.

Let’s assume they would mean 24 January 1942, not 41 (since 1941 is clearly not possible), and that they were not sure about the location, the context of the picture would change dramatically.  In the first case it would be Rommel off to one of the biggest mistakes he made in the war, the “dash to the wire” after winning the battle of Totensonntag on Sidi Rezegh airfield, while in the second it would be him off to pull victory from the teeth of defeat in the second conquest of Cyrenaica.

Of course, if the location is correct, it can only be 24 November 41.

It certainly looks like a winter picture, but which month is it? Does anyone know?

From US NARA Digital Archive Site

From US NARA Digital Archive Site

7 thoughts on “Rommel on his way to losing CRUSADER?

  1. Hello,
    This picture is a mystery as it is published in a lot of books or magazines with a really ioncredible variety of legend (date, location…). I found even one where this pictures was located in Tunisia in 43 !
    In my mind, the dash to the Wire was made by Rommel in his Mamuth vehicle, and not with 15 Panzer… Last word, the weather was not so cold in november, so the “hot”-dress must be december or january..
    In my mind (but I wasn’t there), there is two hypothesis :
    – in december during the second battle of Bir el Gobi (time was really cold, There was one PK there and some famous pictures were taken there.
    – in january, before or during the counter-stroke and teh reconquest of Cyrenaica. The use of the Horch, the cold-weather, and the fact that there was others pictures taken during these times are facts…

    So perhaps the 24th of january 42, of course not near Tobrouk nor Sidi Omar 😉 but near Antelat ? Agedabia ?

    Hope this will help, and congratulatiosn for your good work !

    CM

  2. Hi Cedric

    Thanks! Interesting idea about 2nd battle of Bir el Gobi, but while I have a lot of sympathy for that one I would tend to go with the idea that it was during the January counter-attack.

    All the best

    Andreas

  3. Some further research now indicates to me that this is indeed from 24 November. It was taken by propaganda company photographer Zwilling, and is linked to a whole series of pictures from the last week of November 1941.

    All the best

    Andreas

  4. Thanks a lot Andreas for the information.

    Happy to see that you are already “on the job”…

    I have others pictures of Rommel wearing the same clothes and in the same Horch.

    CM

  5. thanks.

    I lost you email adress so I can’t keep in touch with you.

    I have two books published since 2012 and another in project.

    Unfortunately in french 😉

    CM

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