Panzer Greift An
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Panzer greift an (known as Tank Attacks in English) is an unfinished book on armoured tactics and warfare by Erwin Rommel. It was to be the follow-up and companion work to his earlier and highly successful Infantry Attacks.
It is believed he started writing it while commandant of the War Academy at Wiener Neustadt (Theresian Military Academy) in 1938, though he may have started earlier during his time as an instructor at the Potsdam War Academy (1935–37). His career as a military theorist and instructor, however, was preempted by his duties as a commander and soldier during World War II. For the next several years he was too busy as a practitioner of armored warfare to write about it.
Following the end of the North African Campaign in 1943, he again started work on it, drawing upon his, by then, extensive experience and notes. But once more war, along with ill health, interfered as he was put in charge of the defense of the whole Atlantic wall, including Normandy in 1944. After his staff car was strafed by an RCAF Spitfire fighter on July 17 of that year, he again started on the work while recuperating from his injuries. But he was soon implicated in the July 20 Plot against Adolf Hitler and asked to commit suicide on October 14.
The Tank In Attack exists only in the form of scattered manuscripts and notes, but due to the fame of its author, it has achieved legendary status as a work of military literature. Most of what was to be in The Tank in Attack can be found in the book The Rommel Papers, which is made from notes and diary entries by Field Marshal Rommel during the Africa campaign.
In the film Patton, a book with this title is on the nightstand when he is awakened by his aides who inform him that Rommel is about to attack his army. When the battle is over, Patton exclaims "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" This, of course, never could have occurred, as Rommel never completed The Tank In Attack; although Patton may very well have read Rommel's earlier Infantry Attacks.
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