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Thread: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

  1. #1
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    Default The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    I was watching a documentary on Rommel the other night, one of the statements made said that the DAK was somewhat substandard. They were not equal to the troops stationed in Europe. Is there some truth to that? BTW, this is my first time posting, so please be patient.

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    Quote Originally Posted by garm1and View Post
    I was watching a documentary on Rommel the other night, one of the statements made said that the DAK was somewhat substandard. They were not equal to the troops stationed in Europe. Is there some truth to that? BTW, this is my first time posting, so please be patient.
    hmm...
    I'ld love to understand what they mean with "substandard"?
    What I do know about armoured material in DAK is somewhat comparable to Europe. The types of panzers shipped to the DAK was about the same. The balance of the types was about the same. The main spearhead was formed with Pz III and this shifted towards Pz IV with high velocity 75mm gun, which was delivered almost at the same time in the east. The Tiger tank actually fought itself succesfully into legend the first time in Tunesia, not Russia (where it slowly gained succes). Tiger tanks were not thrown everywhere for free....
    The "ad hoc" tactics and adaption of foreign material was about the same. Many tanks of the enemy on different fronts were not regarded as useable. Many enemy guns were pressed into service. Rommel favoured a captured British command vehicle. etc etc....
    It is nice to have big heavy tanks, it is even nicer not to need them

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    The show did not really specify what it meant by substandard. I assume it meant both troops and equipment. I found that remark somewhat surprising since I always believed the Afrika Corps to be a very worthy adversary. I understand that it wasn't the elite element of the German Armed forces, but it seems to me they distinguished themselves quite well, despite the Allies choking off their supply lines.

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    The DAK was outside the influence of the Waffen SS and the Gestapo , there were no atrocities and the treatment of pow's on both side was relatively decent .

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    The best equipment went to the Russian front for sure, but the quality of the DAK troops would on average have been at least as good, if not better.

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    Quote Originally Posted by garm1and View Post
    I was watching a documentary on Rommel the other night, one of the statements made said that the DAK was somewhat substandard. They were not equal to the troops stationed in Europe. Is there some truth to that? BTW, this is my first time posting, so please be patient.
    Perhaps I'm being a bit lazy and will check tomorrow morning, but I've been rereading part of Rick Atkinson's "Liberation Trilogy." In his first book about Operation Torch and North Africa, An Army At Dawn, Atkinson mentions a German general officer, a Fischer IIRC, that was transferred to the AfrikaKorp shortly after the invasion of Vichy North Africa by Anglo-American forces. He had been training in France for a command on the Eastern Front but was hastily sent to shore up forces in North Africa due to senior officer casualties. He had recorded in his war diary that he felt the German infantry in North Africa tended to be hesitant and under-trained and he often personally led infantry in attacks even though he was a panzer commander because they lacked the killer instinct to follow through and press home attacks. Fischer was killed by an American riflemen shortly before the Battle of the Kasserine Pass...

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    Quote Originally Posted by chumpo View Post
    The DAK was outside the influence of the Waffen SS and the Gestapo , there were no atrocities and the treatment of pow's on both side was relatively decent .
    True. But keep in mind that both sides could be quite ruthless and competent, so the actual combat was often very bloody and men still died even if they perhaps wanted to surrender in the heat of combat...

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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    Thanks for the input, that puts a new light on the subject.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Deutsche Afrika Corps

    Tales from locals who observed and associated with DAK POWs in our area describe them as "robust cream of the crop" types.

    They did some farm work and forestry stuff.

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