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"Who They Are" from Intelligence Bulletin, October 1942

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following brief article on Rommel and Timoshenko was published in the Intelligence Bulletin, October 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN ROMMEL (born in 1891) is a native of Wurttemberg. Apart from an attachment to a field artillery regiment early in 1914, his regimental experience has been exclusively infantry; he won a captaincy in World War I and was decorated with the Pour le Merite order. Early in the 1920's he met Hitler, became a Nazi party organizer, and later headed Hitler's personal police, the Elite Guard.

By the time Hitler took office, Rommel was a strong believer in mechanized warfare. Several years before the outbreak of World War II, he toured North Africa for his "health," and returned to Germany to plan what later was to become the Afrika Korps (Africa Corps). In the first year of the war, he became famous as the commander of the 7th Armored Division, whose sudden and decisive appearances during the campaign in the West earned it the title of the "Ghost Division."

He is resourceful, makes decisions quickly, thrives on action, and gets the utmost out of his men. A captured German officer said recently, "The important thing about Rommel is that he even can teach the Royal Italian Army how to fight."

One of his contributions to blitzkrieg is his method of changing tactics on a large scale, often for no other reason than to confuse the opposition. He is always prepared for a lightning-like switch from defense to offense.

FIELD MARSHAL SEMYON TIMOSHENKO (born in 1895) was hardly known to the Soviet people outside army circles, until May 8, 1940, when Stalin appointed him People's Commissar for Defense.

Back in 1915, Timoshenko, a Ukrainian peasant, was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army. During the Revolution he joined a guerrilla detachment in the Crimea and the Caucasus. His rise in the Red Army was slow until Stalin began to retire a number of generals. Since then, Timoshenko has risen rapidly. His first great military success was in the cracking of the Mannerheim Line in Finland. After this, he was allowed to put into effect his "Disciplinary Code of the Red Army," to reorganize the army almost single-handed, and to supervise future training. O A battle sometimes decides everything; and sometimes the most trifling thing decides the fate of a battle. A battle sometimes decides everything; and sometimes the most trifling thing decides the fate of a battle.


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