Who shot up Erwin Rommel's staff car that day in 1944

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by The Aviator, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. The Aviator

    The Aviator New Member

    Squadron Leader Le Roux of 602 Squadron was flying his Spitfire Mk 9 on a sweep through the French countryside that morning on the 17th July 1944.
    Seeing a German staff car on a lonely road in Normandy he immediately attacked.
    Later it was found to be Rommel's staff car and the attack and subsequent roll over left Rommel with multiple skull fractures.

    Name LE ROUX, Jacobus Johannes 'Chris'
    Number 42240
    Nationality South African
    Born South Africa, 1920
    Arrived England 9 December 1940

    Decorations DFC (1941), 1st Bar to DFC (1942), 2nd Bar to DFC (1943)
    Notes KIA 29 August 1944, whilst CO of 602 Sqdn.; remembered on Panel 200 of the Runnymede Memorial

    Chris le Roux took command of No.602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron in France in the summer of 1944, with Spitfire 9s, having received a second Bar to his DFC for his North African successes. He led this squadron through the fierce fighting of the invasion of Normandy, and moved it to French soil on 25th June. He shot down a FW 190 and a Me 109 on 15th July, 1944, and another FW 190 on 16th. On 17th he destroyed two Me 109s and damaged two more.

    Chris Le Roux nearly succeeded in killing the German Commanding General, Erwin Rommel. Diving on his car, he caused it to overturn near the village of Sainte Foy de Montgomerie, and Rommel was flung into a ditch and sustained a fractured skull. He survived, only to kill himself on 14th October, rather than stand trial for complicity in the plot against Hitler of 20th July.
    By 25th August, 1944, Paris had been liberated, and on 3rd September, five years after the outbreak of war, the Welsh Guards entered Brussels.

    Chris le Roux did not live to enjoy the fruits of the victory. Like so many gallant and brilliant fighter pilots, he was killed, not by enemy gunfire, but by an aircraft accident, on 19th September, 1944.
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  2. morse1001

    morse1001 Guest

    I seem to remember that Raymond Baxter was part of the flight that attacked the rommel car.
  3. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    The issue of who actually shoy up Rommel took an interesting twist earlier year, and I decided to contact someone who could make an informed decision.

    Back in 2004 an article appeared that disputed the the accepted claiment, and claimed that someone new had been found who really did the deed:

    History News Network

    This was followed in 2006 by:

    Canada's Air Force, News Room, News Articles

    The issue with both articles is that the claim has still, to date, not been backed up by hard evidence made available to the public. The proposed book is still not available as far as I can see.
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    I decided to write to the 602 Squadron Museum Association, and Roddy Macgregor, the Hon Sec, kindly wrote back with:

    Until hard evidence is produced to the public I'll stick to believing that it was indeed Le Roux
  5. The Aviator

    The Aviator New Member

    Starting to sound like who got Richthofen. I think that bigger guns than the humble Australian Lewis gunner wanted to be credited. Nationality comes into these things. So does rank. "How dare a mere army private or corporal make such a claim. And an uncouth Australian at that!"

    Now we have a South African, a Brit, a Frenchman, a Canadian and a New Zealander all saying they got Rommel. Fantastic isn't it?

    Well I put the post up from information on the net available. All any of us can do.
    Thanks for going to all that trouble to try and get varification Kyt.
  6. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I wonder if anyone has bothered to hunt down the German side of things? Is there any record/memories of where the car was found if it could not be moved?
  8. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    There are some commentaries from the German side but I can't find the references at the moment. But they don't answer the question of who the attackers were.
  9. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I was thinking they might have details as to what road they were on etc but, thinking about it further, there would be nothing to correlate with as the Spits wouldn't have been stopping to pinpoint exactly where they were! Ah well.
  10. John

    John Active Member

    It all sounds like ' Who shot down the Red Baron ' in WW1. Just about every man and his dog tried to claim that one

  11. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Who shot down the Red Baron? I thought everyone knew it was Snoopy.
  12. Brian S

    Brian S Guest

    To confuse the issue further ;
    A statement in T.N.A. made by 2nd Lt.Heins, of the 21st Panzer Division, who was travelling in a Kubelwagen behind Rommels two Staff cars; States that Rommels driver was hit by gunfire from a Typhoon 1ml from Livarot. As the car swerved from side to side Rommel jumped out and skidded 10yds along the road. Heins also relates that the car was brought under control and stopped about 200yds further on.

    According to the statement made by Lt Heins, Rommel wouldn't have been injured if he had stayed with the car as he wasn't hit and the car didn't go off the road.

  13. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I seem to remember something along these lines, Brian. I'll try to dredge it up! It's the kind of German reference I was hoping might be out there.

    If there's such a record, it makes you wonder why so many people are claiming to have been the pilot. I understand recognition of the aircraft might have been wrong but...
  14. John

    John Active Member

    Good one, Interrogator

    John :poster_oops::clapping:

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