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The Foxes of the Desert Mass Market Paperback – 1 Nov 1987


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Excellent saga of the Desert War - from the Axis perspective 4 April 2000
By Nilanjan Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Unlike most other books about the North African war, this book is a superb account from the German perspective. One wonders what might have been if Hitler hadn't been so stubborn, or if Malta had fallen. It gives the insider view of the famed Afrika Korps, and is a gripping tale ( just like a war thriller ) of the campaign. This is a must read for all enthusiasts of military non-fiction. One would also do well to reread The Destert Fox after reading this book - it would definately lend a new perspective to Rommel's biography.
Unfortunately the copy I have is old, and has started coming to pieces. The price of the hardcover edition is rather high. It would be good if a cheaper, softcover edition is available.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent North African Campaign Description 10 May 2003
By john m price, md - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This was the last of Carell's books for me to read, so finishing it was bittersweet. Once again Herr Carell has produced a masterful historical piece laced with many eyewitness accounts that keep it interesting to read. Overall coverage is good, especially from the german point of view. This campaign was always a relatively small time sideshow to the germans due to their preoccupation with the Ost Front. Logistics eventually won the campaign for the allies, though Afrika Korps fought with great daring and elan for over 2 years, giving the Brits the fits! Small unit actions are covered as well as the more strategic picture. I recommend this book to persons wanting a thourough review of this excing and exotic campaign and devotees of Herr Carell. It is,of course, somewhat slanted to the German point of view. This should not dissuade you from enjoying this wonderful African campaign overview.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gem of a book 19 Nov. 2011
By Karun Mukherji - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There is no dearth of books on Rommel and his legendary Deutsche Aftika Korps. Author is a doyen among World War II historians . The story narrated here is strictly from the German standpoint.

Desert was an ideal place to fight.From western frontier of Egypt there stretched westward to the Tunisian border `Great Sand Sea'. Flat open spaces of desert , punctuated a mass of sand dunes ,offered an ideal terrain for tanks to manoeuvre. Rommel called desert as `tactician's paradise and quarter master's hell'.He opened campaign with a bang which sent British forces reeling. British Supreme Commander in Middle East Lord Wavell - and in fact no one from Western Desert Force - anticipated such a quick resumption of hostilities after Italians were routed at Bedda Fomm. Unfortunately for British Rommel was not a text book `General'.His ways of waging war must be construed as unorthodox. He even chose not to disclose his intentions to German High Command. Had he done so English would have known thanks to their ability to read German Enigma ciphers.

Most Anglo Americans hold Rommel in awe though there were other exceptional leaders like Cruewell,Nehring ,Bayerlein. Respect stems from the fact Rommel openly courted danger and escaped death. Unlike British commanders who were often sulking behind Desert Fox led from the front. He shared dangers along with his fellow soldiers.So his stature grew. Author is an admirer of Rommel and makes no bones of this fact. According to Carrel, if not for shortage in supplies and bad luck Afrika Korps would have evicted British from Egypt and captured Middle East with its rich oil reserves.

Yes, Rommel carved fame in the `hall of war'. But we must view him objectively; bold and daring but impulsive and rash. Gazala battles could have turned into a disaster. Elite panzer divisions were stranded behind enemy lines and somehow Rommel managed to retrieve the situation by restoring line of communications. Biggest flaw in his strategy was inadequate appreciation of logistics in modern war. So much so when Afrika Korps reached El Alamein sector it had almost shot its bolt. Paucity of ammunition and fuel supplies constrained the ability of panzer units to manoeuvre besides it increasingly coming under attack from RAF based in Alexandria, Cairo. Correct course would have been revert to defensive posture after fall of Tobruk on June 21, 1942 as advocated by Marshal Albert Kesselring . Take Malta, build overwhelming strength and simultaneously cut British lines of supply before storming the final barrier which barred the road to victory in North Africa.

Rommel's reputation as great panzer tactician partially shaped by his access to Speicial Intelligence.His mobile, highly-efficient radio listening posts plucked almost everything British were transmitting in the ether ranging from casual battle field chat, tank to tank calls, HQ chat, supply depot reports. Then Rommel also read radio cipher messages sent to Washington by US military attache in Cairo intercepted and deciphered by Italian/German intelligence. Some reports were even better than Enigma decrypts.

Nonetheless,Rommel for nearly 2 years posed nightmare for the Allies. How can we explain his astonishing series of victories? It must be attributed to German superiority in combined arm tactics.

Some sections of the book look outdated .Author frequently refers to the work of a traitor. As a result Rommel's top secret operational plans became known to his opponents. The theme permeates through out the book. Failure of his first attempt to storm Tobruk ,frequent disruption of supples to Afrika Korps, defeat of Alam Halfa offensive ,failure of spoiling attack to stop Montgomery from piercing Mareth line have all been imputed to treason. Author argues some senior officers of Italian Navy were in touch with American intelligence.To butttress this point he has drawn information from Adm Ellis Zacharias book ` Secret Missions'. Today we know that no traitors were involved thanks to de classification of hitherto confidential archival material. Author did not have privilege to know Allies were reading German radio messages. Details about Allied World War II SIGINT remained classified for a long time.

Author has enlivened the account by giving facts on Abwehr's espionage mission in Egypt - Operation Condor - which involved a former officer of Austro Hungarian army Laslo von Almaszy. Germans had the foresight to realise soon they were bound to loose the ability to read cipher messages of US military attache. To plug this hole agents were infiltrated to serve as `eyes and ears of Afrika Korps. There was Fifth Column actively working to undermine British rule in Egypt. Some disgruntled members of Egyptian officer corps were prepared to welcome Germans with open arms. To add cream, the conspirators had in their ranks the famous belly dancer Hekmat Fahmi who was an important source of information for Abwehr. Details were sensational ,read for the first time .

The book is definitely a military classic, one of the earliest works on Desert War. Published in the late 50s still in print which means it has continued to retain popularity among readers. Ever since its publication there has been explosion in literature on North African campaign.Some new authors have been able to shed fresh light on the subject. Frontiers of knowledge always continue to expand. However passage of time has not diminished the lustre of this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the best books on the DAK 10 Nov. 2004
By Devl's Advocate - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book covers Rommel and the exploits of his Afrika Korps and Panzer Armee Afrika in Libya and Tunisia and is one of the best ever on the battles won and lost there.

The narrative is involving, and soldiers and generals come alive in Carrell's words.

A must buy.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Somehow dated. It's more a collection of personal stories. 23 May 2006
By Dimitrios - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is fine for the layman who wants to learn something about the North African campaign of 1941-43 it is not good for the scholars or anyone who wants to study the battles in that theater in greater depth. Carell uses many personal histories to color his account but he often loses the great picture. I would recommend instead Mitcham's book "Rommel's Greatest Victory", Heckmann's "Rommel's War in Africa", Irving's "The Trail of the Fox", Massignani's "Rommel's North Africa Campaign" or even the excellent Time-Life volume "Afrikakorps" from the "Third Reich" series.
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