Rommel was but a lieutenant in 1917, assigned to one of the German
mountain units sent to Italy for the new offensive. As the German
and Austrian troops launched their surprise attack at Caporetto,
Rommel often found himself in command of many times the number of
troops normally led by one of his rank. Rommel led mountain
infantry and machine-gunners in many daring advances over some of
the world's roughest terrain, on one occasion taking 9,000
prisoners in a single day. Rommel came away from the campaign with
Germany's most coveted decoration, and had laid the foundation of a
John and Eileen Wilks have been studying the Caporetto campaign
for many years, and have drawn upon official records to reveal the
influential early days of one of history's greatest military
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