Did you know what happened to Rommel’s horse?

Field Marshal Montgomery riding the horse formerly owned by and named after his old adversary, Erwin Rommel
(Photo: Imperial War Museums)
Several famous World War II commanders have distinctive items associated with them: Patton’s (Read our earlier article) ivory-handled pistols, Montgomery’s tanker’s beret, or Walter Model’s (Read our earlier article) monocle. Gods and mythological heroes are often depicted with such personal objects or animals, called “attributes.” Today’s article is about a far lesser-known such attribute: General Erwin Rommel’s (Read our earlier article) white horse.
 
Rommel’s Afrika Korps launched an offensive against British forces led by General Montgomery, and pushed into western Egypt in the spring of 1941. The German and Italian forces had the upper hand for a long while, and victory seemed so inevitable that a victory parade was already being planned. This parade would have had Rommel ride a white horse in front of his army; in fact, a specific white Arabian stallion had already been chosen for the task.
Rommel in North Africa with another one of his distinctive “attributes:” a set of British Anti-gas goggles
(Photo: Bundesarchiv)
The fortunes or war, however, are fickle, and the British victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein had put an end to any Axis hope of victory in Africa. Rommel returned to Europe, became implicated in the July 20 Plot against Hitler (Read our earlier article), and was forced to commit suicide. His white horse, however, survived him, and was stabled in the Schleswig-Holstein region of North Germany. Coincidentally, the region was occupied by the forces of the same British commander who beat Rommel in Africa: Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. Montgomery took possession of the horse, named it Rommel, and was photographed riding it.
Montgomery and Prince Bernhard of Holland inspecting Rommel’s old horse
(Photo: Imperial War Museum)
Rommel proved just as spirited as his human namesake and refused to submit to his new owner. Montgomery decided to give him, and 11 other prize horses, to King George VI as a gift. Unfortunately, the horse remained untrainable and was put down in October 1947, only surviving his first distinguished owner by three years to the month.

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The logo of World Tourism Day in 2023
(Photo: UNWTO)
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