Panzer Army Africa

As the number of German troops committed to the North African Campaign of World War II grew from the initial commitment of a small corps the Germans developed a more elaborate command structure and placed the enlarged Afrika Korps, with Italian units under this new German command and a succession of commands were created to manage Axis forces in Africa:

  • Panzer Group Africa, (Panzergruppe Afrika, Gruppo Corazzato Africa) August 1941 – January 1942; German-Italian force
  • Panzer Army Africa, (Panzerarmee Afrika, Armata Corazzata Africa) January–October 1942
  • German-Italian Panzer Army, (Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee, Armata Corazzata Italo-Tedesca) October 1942 – February 1943
  • Army Group Africa, (Heeresgruppe Afrika, Gruppo d'Armate Africa) February–May 1943

Panzer Group Africa[edit]

When the Afrika Korps was formed on 11 January 1941 it was subordinated to the Italian chain of command in Africa. In the middle of 1941 {{lang|de|Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, Armed Forces High Command) created a larger command structure in Africa, forming a new headquarters, Panzer Group Africa (Panzergruppe Afrika, Gruppo Corazzato Africa). On 15 August 1941, Panzer Group Africa was activated with newly promoted General der Panzertruppe Erwin Rommel in command. The Panzer Group controlled the Afrika Korps and other units that were sent to Africa (notably the 90th Light Infantry Division), and the Italian X Corps and XX Corps.

Panzer Army Africa[edit]

Panzer Group Africa was renamed Panzer Army Africa (Panzerarmee Afrika, Armata Corazzata Africa) on 30 January 1942. (A German Panzer group was an army-level headquarters. As the war progressed all of the Panzer groups were renamed Panzer Armies.)

German-Italian Panzer Army[edit]

Panzer Army Africa was renamed German-Italian Panzer Army' (Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee, Armata Corazzata Italo-Tedesca) in October 1942 during the long retreat after the defeat at the Second Battle of El Alamein during the Western Desert Campaign.

Army Group Africa[edit]

In February 1943, the headquarters was expanded and called Army Group Africa (Heeresgruppe Afrika, Gruppo d'Armate Africa) to manage the defence of Tunisia during the final stages of the North African Campaign. Army Group Africa included the German Fifth Panzer Army (5. Panzerarmee) and the Italian 1st Army. Command of the Army Group was turned over from Rommel to Hans-Jürgen von Arnim in March. He surrendered the Army Group on 13 May 1943, ending the Axis presence in Africa.

Order of battle[edit]

Throughout its existence, this headquarters controlled the Afrika Korps and for most of its life it controlled a number of other German and Italian units as well. Not all German units in Africa subordinate to the Afrika Korps, some were reserves for the Panzer Army and some were occasionally subordinated to Italian armies or corps. The following overview of its components is taken from lexikon-der-wehrmacht de, with dates corrected (see references).

Orders of battle[edit]

Panzer Group Africa (Rommel)[edit]

Panzer Army Africa (Rommel)[edit]

  • As of January 1942: (during Rommel's second push into the Western Desert)
  • As of April 1942: (before and during the Gazala battles and the Siege of Tobruk)
    • Afrika Korps
    • X Corpo
    • XX Corpo D'Armata di Manovra
    • XXI Corpo
    • German 90th Leichtes Afrika Division

German-Italian Panzer Army (Rommel)[edit]

Army Group Africa[edit]

From February 1943:

Commanders[edit]

No. Commander Took office Left office Time in office
1
Erwin Rommel
Rommel, ErwinGeneraloberst
Erwin Rommel
(1891–1944)
1 September 19419 March 1942189 days
2
Ludwig Crüwell
Crüwell, LudwigGeneral der Panzertruppe
Ludwig Crüwell
(1892–1958)
9 March 194219 March 194210 days
(1)
Erwin Rommel
Rommel, ErwinGeneralfeldmarschall
Erwin Rommel
(1891–1944)
19 March 194222 September 1942187 days
3
Georg Stumme
Stumme, GeorgGeneral der Panzertruppe
Georg Stumme
(1886–1942)
22 September 194224 October 1942 †32 days
-
Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma
Thoma, WilhelmGeneralleutnant
Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma
(1891–1948)
Acting
24 October 194225 October 19421 day
(1)
Erwin Rommel
Rommel, ErwinGeneralfeldmarschall
Erwin Rommel
(1891–1944)
25 October 194226 November 194232 days
4
Gustav Fehn
Fehn, GustavGeneral der Panzertruppe
Gustav Fehn
(1892–1945)
26 November 19422 December 19426 days
(1)
Erwin Rommel
Rommel, ErwinGeneralfeldmarschall
Erwin Rommel
(1891–1944)
2 December 194222 February 194382 days
5
Hans-Jürgen von Arnim
Arnim, HansGeneraloberst
Hans-Jürgen von Arnim
(1889–1962)
10 March 194313 May 194364 days

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]