- historical event:
- Hitler's famous field marshal became a hero back in World War I (the Great War), long before the Fuhrer became famous. In recognition of his heroic act, Rommel was awarded the highest Prussian military decoration, the Pour le Mérite, popularly known as the Blue Max (pictured below Rommel's Iron Cross).
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is widely known as one of the (if not the) most capable among Hitler’s military commanders in World War II. Fewer people know that he became a hero back in World War I (the Great War). Namely, on this day Erwin Rommel achieved a great victory on the Italian Front, where the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) were locked in a bitter struggle against the Italians and their Entente allies.
The Battle of Caporetto was one of the most important battles of World War I. During the battle, Rommel executed a brilliant move. At the head of only 100 German soldiers, he faced a force of roughly 7,000 Italians near mount Matajur on the Slovenian-Italian border. Rommel’s forces achieved victory and managed to capture an entire Italian division. In recognition of his heroic act, Rommel was awarded the highest Prussian military decoration, the Pour le Mérite, popularly known as the Blue Max. The award was introduced by Prussian king Frederick the Great, and was received by many famous fighter aces (the Red Baron, Herman Goering, etc.).
The Battle of Caporetto was one of the greatest successes of the Central Powers during World War I. The Italians were so thoroughly defeated that they had to retreat almost all the way to Venice, around 100 km from the Alps. The name “Caporetto” became a synonym for a humiliating defeat in Italy.
It is interesting that the young Ernest Hemingway served as an ambulance driver on the Italian Front, and he described the aftermath of the Battle of Caporetto in his famous novel, A Farewell to Arms.