The Panzergruppe Afrika was formed 1 September 1941. It controlled all German ground units in North Africa, as well as most of the Italian units present in North Africa, although some units moved in and out of its command. It prepared for the abortive operation to take Tobruk in November 1941 and fought the Commonwealth offensive CRUSADER which relieved the siege of Tobruk, in November-December 1941. Following the retreat necessitated by the defeat in CRUSADER, in January 1942 it conducted a successful counteroffensive against Commonwealth forces, recapturing Cyrenaica up to the Gazala Line. It was redesignated Panzerarmee Afrika on 30 January 1942 while this offensive was in progress.


Generaloberst Erwin Rommel (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)

Chiefs of Staff

Generalmajor Alfred Gause (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant i.G. Siegfried Westphal (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)

Intelligence Officer (Ic)

Major i.G. Friedrich von Mellenthin (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)

Area of operations

North Africa (Aug 1941 - Jan 1942)

Order of battle

German formations and units under command
- 15. Panzerdivision (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)
- 21. Panzerdivision (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)
- Division z.b.V. Afrika (1 Sep 1941 - 27 Nov 1941) renamed to:
- 90. leichte Afrika-Division (27 Nov 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)
Italian Formations under Command
- X Army Corps (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)
- XX Army Corps (1 Sep 1941 - 30 Jan 1942)
- 55th Infantry Division Savona (Oct 1941 - 17 Jan 1942)

Notable members

Erwin Rommel ("The Desert Fox", forced to committ suicide to avoid trial for involvement in the resistance against Hitler, the Bundeswehr barracks Generalfeldmarschall Rommel-Kaserne in Augustdorf was named in his honour 1961 and the Rommel-Kaserne in Dornstadt/Ulm in 1965 as was the Bundesmarine destroyer D187 Rommel)

In fiction

For easy reference the appearance of the German "African" Corps or higher units in fictional works are collected on the Deutsches Afrikakorps page.

Sources used

M. Montanari - Le Operazione in Africa Settentrionale, Tome II Tobruk and Le Operazione in Africa Settentrionale Tome III El Alamein, Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito, Rome
W.E. Murphy - The Relief of Tobruk, Chapter 5, Wellington, New Zealand, 1961
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945

Reference material on this unit

For easy reference all known reference books on the German "African" Corps or higher units are collected on the Deutsches Afrikakorps page.