Thursday, April 9, 2009
Rommel's Nightmare is a historic game on the only Allied counterattack at Arras during the Battle of France. This attack, conducted by French and British armor began on May 21. The British, with two tank battalions over 60 tanks and many Matilda II tanks, caused the SS to flee when the shells from their weapons simply bounced off the thick armor. Rommel's 7th Panzer Division was just arriving and caught in the confused battle. The German panzers were clearly inferior in armor and guns and the British tanks advanced with impunity. Rommel was shakened, he called his superiors in a frantic and tried to maintain cohesion. The counterattack shook not only Rommel himself but his superiors in the German High Command, so much so, that on the 22nd, the panzer spearhead heading for the coast was halted and some were recalled. The battle lasted six hours and only ended when Rommel, in desperation, ordered his 88mm antiaircraft guns to lower their barrels and aim at the tanks approaching. The four 88mm guns easily penetrated the British armor. From this battle, the reputation of the "dreaded 88" as an antitank weapon was born and would last past WW2.