During World War I, Rommel fought in France as well as in the Romanian and Italian Campaigns. He successfully employed the tactics of penetrating enemy lines with heavy covering fire coupled with rapid advances, as well as moving forward rapidly to a flanking position to arrive at the rear of hostile positions, to achieve tactical surprise. His first combat experience was on 22 August 1914 as a platoon commander near Verdun, when – catching a French garrison unprepared – Rommel and three men opened fire on them without ordering the rest of his platoon forward. The armies continued to skirmish in open engagements throughout September, as the static trench warfare typical of the First World War was still in the future. For his actions in September 1914 and January 1915, Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class. Rommel was promoted to Oberleutnant (first lieutenant) and transferred to the newly created Royal Wurttemberg Mountain Battalion of the Alpenkorps in September 1915, as a company commander. In November 1916 in Danzig, Rommel and Lucia married.
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