“There was a little stir among the Germans and another appeared. It was Rommel. He sent for me. I bowed to him. He stood looking at me coldly. Through an interpreter he expressed his displeasure that I had not saluted him. I replied that I intended no discourtesy, but was in the habit of saluting only my seniors in our own allied armies. I was in the wrong, of course, but had to stick to my point. It did not prevent him from congratulating me on the fighting quality of my men.
“They fight well,” he said.
“Yes, they fight well,” I replied, “but your tanks were too powerful for us.”
“But you also have tanks.”
“Yes, but not here, as you can see.”
“Perhaps my men are superior to yours.”
“You know that is not correct.”
Although he had been fighting for over a week and was traveling in a tank, he was neat and clean, and I noticed that he had shaved before entering the battle that morning.”
-Brigadier James Hargest, 5th New Zealand Infantry Brigade. July 1941
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.