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Commanders at War 

Generals at War (original title)
Important battles of World War II are examined with paired military specialists focusing on the opposing generals involved.
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1  
2009  

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Series cast summary:
...
 Narrator 2 episodes, 2009
Bob Podesta ...
 Himself - Expert 2 episodes, 2009
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Storyline

This exciting series takes a fresh approach to the great battles of World War Two. Each film tells the story of the head-to-head between two iconic generals. In a dramatic device, a war-time bunker becomes the setting for these epic conflicts. As the generals face off across a the battle map it comes alive in CGI: soldiers march across the table, tanks blast away at each other and planes fly overhead. As the action unfolds, two modern day military specialists - often generals themselves - get inside the heads of their historical counterparts to unpick their strengths and weaknesses. And a team of experts out in the field, including an army tank commander, a former Special Forces sniper and an enthusiastic explosives engineer - compare and contrast the hardware our generals had at their disposal. Written by Joe Myerscough

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9 February 2009 (USA)  »

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Commanders at War  »

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1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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British Victory in North Africa.
19 April 2015 | by See all my reviews

Like the others, this episode gives us the hypothetical personal views of the two chief adversaries, in this case the German Rommel and the British Montgomery. Basically, the conflict along the North African coast swung back and forth. Each time one side made an advance of any distance, it left a long supply line behind it.

That simple fact, along with others of less importance, led to Rommels' defeat.

There were few roads near the coast. South of them was an impassable depression of find sand that couldn't support heavy vehicles. Since the supply lines were restricted to one or two roads they were vulnerable to air attack and the Allies had air superiority.

The nearest British supply base was at Alexandria, close by. Rommel depended on shipments of fundamental necessities being shipped from Italy to his two ports, one at Benghazi and the other at Tripoli, far behind the usual front lines.

Logistics finally won the day. The episode deals with battles and the persons behind them so it doesn't mention the fact that the Brits had broken most of the Italian naval code. That meant that they knew virtually every ship that would leave Italy with supplies for the Germans. Rommel never relied on the fighting ability of his Italian allies. One of their generals, Ettore Bastico, Rommel referred to as "Bombastico." But the British Ultra was critical. It is estimated that 40% to 60% of Axis supply shipping was located and destroyed due to decrypted information. Rommel ran out of men, water, fuel, armor, and everything else. He was reduced to draining the fuel from some tanks in order to keep others running. By the time of the Second Battle of El Alamen, he was down to 35 tanks against several hundred of the Allies' and his men were vastly outnumbered. And so he lost.

He took what he had left and retreated west towards Tripoli, where he intended to withdraw his troops from North Africa, despite Hitler's orders to the contrary. There was evidently enough juice left in the Afrika Korps to give the green American troops a pounding before beginning his evacuation, which was only partly successful. Rommel himself was ill throughout much of the campaign and once hospitalized. His name came up during the investigation of the plot to kill Hitler, which Rommel knew nothing about, and he was forced to take poison.


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