There is no more evocative phrase to emerge from World War II than “Afrika Korps.” The name conjures up a unique theater of war, a hauntingly beautiful empty quarter where armies could roam free, liberated from towns and hills, choke points and blocking positions, and especially those pesky civilians. It calls forth a war of near-absolute mobility, where tanks could operate like ships at sea, “sailing” where they wished, setting out on bold voyages hundreds of miles into the deep desert, then looping around the enemy flank and emerging like pirates of old to deal devastating blows to an unsuspecting foe. Finally, it implies a dauntless hero, in this case Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, a noble commander who fought the good fight, who hated Adolf Hitler and everything he stood for, and who couldn’t have been further from our stereotype of the Nazi fanatic. Everything about the Desert Fox attracts us—the manly poses, the out-of-central-casting good looks, even the goggles perched just so. Placing Rommel and his elite Afrika Korps at the fore allows us to view the desert war as a clean fight against a morally worthy opponent. It was war, yes, but almost uniquely in World War II, it was a “war without hate,” as Rommel famously called it in his memoirs. It’s an attractive image all around. Unfortunately, practically all of it is a fabrication. The desert was hardly a haven of beauty or romance. The fighting was a nightmare for both sides. Far from letting the respective tank fleets roam free, the desert chained them
irresistibly to their supply lines, and a single failed convoy or a lost column of trucks could stop a whole offensive dead in its tracks. Contrary to the dreamed mobility of desert warfare, both sides would spend far more time in static defensive positions, often quite elaborate, than they would launching tank charges. This posting will be short on words, and simply about the photos as this particular project was used as a demonstration and painting tutorial showcasing the new (at the time) Afrika Korps acrylic colors from AK Interactive. The subject is the very nice Pz. III kit from DML, built straight from the box as it was about the paint – not the construction. As you can see my demonstration went well past a simple demonstration only of the acrylics, but continued through the weathering steps and completion.