Is this a real Rommel quote?




 
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February 20th, 2006  
Intoxicated_Ant
 
 

Topic: Is this a real Rommel quote?


Hey guys, i saw this on another military foum website and was wondering if this was a true quote by Rommel. I'v done a bit of a search but can't find anything. Thanks for any help.

Quote:
Upon being asked why he was being pushed back by a "Commonwealth" division at El Alamein, Rommel replied,
"It is not a Commonwealth division, it is an Australian Division, why, give me 2 Australian Divisions and i will conquer the world for you!"

Edited - speeling
February 20th, 2006  
Redleg
 
 
Hm, the only reference I can find to that quote are a few forum signatures, and that's not the most reliable "proof of authenticity"

The closest I've come is this quote from the book "The Trail of the Fox" by David Irving
Quote:
He knew, however, that victory was a long way off. The air
force was doing what it could to destroy Tobruk’s water supply and prevent British supply ships from coming in. But he acknowledged that the Afrika Korps had met its match: “The Australian troops are fighting magnificently and their training is far superior to ours,” he privately told Lucie. “Tobruk can’t be taken by force, given our present means.”
February 20th, 2006  
Intoxicated_Ant
 
 
Yeah i've tried looking everywhere i can think but i can't find anything other then peoples signatures. Comparing this to other Rommel quotes it dosn't exactly 'sound' like him either if you get my drift.
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February 21st, 2006  
behemoth79
 
 
it does sound like him though. but i doubt he would say something like this when he knew that his own troops were one of if not, the, best trained troops. could go either way if u ask me
February 21st, 2006  
Chief Bones
 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redleg
Hm, the only reference I can find to that quote are a few forum signatures, and that's not the most reliable "proof of authenticity"

The closest I've come is this quote from the book "The Trail of the Fox" by David Irving
I agree - these seem to be the only places on the internet where this quote or a quote very near the same is posted.

If I had to make a guess, I believe someone else came up with a Rommelesqe quote, paraphrased from the many quotes Rommel supposedly made during the war. They then attributed the quote to Rommel and nobody called them on it.
February 22nd, 2006  
Intoxicated_Ant
 
 
Yes i agree. I just can't find anything at all to suggest it is a real quote.
November 17th, 2008  
herbie
 

Topic: Rommel


I have heard this quote before, while I cant verify this as a true account one that is by the historian of the Afrika Korp argued that the Australian 9th Division was " the first good enemy that the Germans had fought at length since the invasion of Poland. " and that fighting such a capable opponent at Tobruk did much to create espiit de corp in the Germans there.
Early in the seige, Rommel desribed the Australians as " fighting magnificently and showing remarkable tenacity"
In a well known passage he described a group of fifty Australian prisoners as "immensly big and powerful men. who without question represented the elite formation of the British Empire a fact that was also evident in battle"
Interesting to note is that Rommels biogapher said that while the desert fox rated individual Australian fighters highly he considered them "inclined to get out of hand"
So would he have wanted two whole divisions that were "incline to get out of hand" I think so.
November 17th, 2008  
MontyB
 
 
To be honest I think a lot of these quotes are a mixture of exaggerated statements and wishful thinking that have become even more influential because of the somewhat "romantic" image history has painted of Rommel, I dare say that every nation that faced Rommel's Afrika Korps can has similar Rommel quotes about their own troops.

For example one of the quotes we hear is "If I had to take hell, I would use the Australians to take it and the New Zealanders to hold it." but in reality there is no reliable way of proving he ever said it and it is more likely it is just a modified version of someone elses quote that has become an urban legend.

I have little doubt Rommel had opinions of the troops he encountered and in some cases it would have been favourable opinion but I have strong doubts that he would have let those opinions become public in such flowery prose as it would have had a detrimental effect on his own troops, I think it more likely he would have said "those guys are pretty good I wonder if we could swap them for the Italians" and through the years it developed into its current form through "Chinese whispers".
April 30th, 2009  
Hatchet
 
In answer to your question, I'm sure that it is. "Chinese Whispers" have a way of distorting quotes over a period of time. I have no way of proving it, but I get an indication, from your quote. I have heard that one before using the same words. The only difference being that he said they were not a "British Division."
From what I have read of the man, he was very intelligent and methodical in his dealings. He was called the "Desert Fox" for good reason, as he was the only one smart enough to know the difference between the British and the Aussies and therefore didn't take them lightly.
As far as not finding anything to say that he said this on the net goes. Well...what if you can't; does that mean he didn't say it?
People will always distort or forget things and then they become documented facts. I have lived long enough to see this happen a few times already.