12 February 1941 – Rommel arrives in North Africa

The below is from the war diary of the German Afrika Korps, No.1. It should be noted that nothing in this entry refers to a formal welcome or parade, and there are pictures on the internet of Rommel, Gariboldi and General Streich which are dated 12 February. These were almost certainly taken on 15 February, when the first parade actually took place.

Commanding General[1], Colonel Schmundt, and Chief[2] fly to Tripoli during the morning, leaving 09.45 hours, arriving 12.22 hours. About 13.00 hours reporting to General Gariboldi[3]. There first discussion of the situation. Mass of Italian troops positioned around Tripoli; weak forces in Oasis Socna and around Sirt as well as Homs[4]. German demand for forward disposition of defense is being most seriously considered.

Following air force elements moved to Tripoli:

2 Groups Stuka[5]
1 Group Destroyers[6]
1 Fighter Squadron[7]
1 Squadron He 111 during the course of 16 and 17 February

In Sicily remain:

Lehrgeschwader[8]
Mining Squadron
Long Range Reconnaissance
Night Fighter Squadron

During the afternoon reconnaissance flight of Commanding General with Colonel Schmundt to Sirt and return.

Detailed explanation of the situation by the Chief of the Italian High Command.

Evening discussions with General Gariboldi and Raotta[9], which by and large show agreement.

Accommodation of Commanding General, Colonel Schmundt, Chief and Major Grunow[10] in the Grand Hotel. Arrival of remainder of staff during the evening. Accommodation in the hotel Mehari.

During the night 13 February air attacks on Benghazi and the road.[11]

[1]Rommel
[2]Adjutant to Hitler, died of wounds received in the July 1944 assassination attempt and Chief of Staff Lieutenant Colonel Kreuzwendedich von dem Borne
[3]Commander of Ground Forces in North Africa, to whom Rommel had to report. On 25 March appointed to Governor General.
[4]Settlements in Libya, with Socna being far inland, while Sirt and Homs are on the coast east of Tripoli.
[5]A group consisted normally of three squadrons, with about 36 combat airplanes.
[6]Bf 110 twin-engined heavy fighters[7]Bf109E single-engine fighters
[8]A Ju88-equipped bomber wing with about 100 combat planes.
[9]Probably a typo in the original, referring to General Mario Roatta, then Deputy Chief of Staff of the Italian Army (see here and here).
[10]Liaison officer to the Luftwaffe
[11]By the Luftwaffe. The ‘road’ in question is the coastal road, known as Via Balbia

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