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Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.

Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Carl Schwamberger on 19 Feb 2013 18:18

canambridge wrote:
Aber wrote:September 2nd from D'Este's biography, but cannot find references re day to day activities after that


Thanks, I'm about 7,000 miles away from my books. I am surprised that there is so little about this on-line.


I am no longer suprised. In the past few years I've become aware of just how poorly studied the events surrounding the end of Op Overlord are.
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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 19 Feb 2013 19:33

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
canambridge wrote:
Aber wrote:September 2nd from D'Este's biography, but cannot find references re day to day activities after that


Thanks, I'm about 7,000 miles away from my books. I am surprised that there is so little about this on-line.


I am no longer suprised. In the past few years I've become aware of just how poorly studied the events surrounding the end of Op Overlord are.


The answer probably lies here: From Michael Kenny's post:
You can ask the people at the Eisenhower Foundation (eisenhowerfoundation@nara.gov) and they will send you copies of the relevant days in Eisenhower's desk Diary kept by Summersby.
I did it once and they sent me everything for free.


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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby uhu on 19 Feb 2013 21:33

Most likely to discuss Brest.
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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 19 Feb 2013 21:44

Aber wrote:Except that it was engine failure on the B-25 that put him on the light plane on 2nd September!


Yes a cracked muffler, caused an emergency landing IIRC. I think they probably would fix that or get a new plane, there were plenty to choose from.

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 19 Feb 2013 23:58

To all,

All information that follows comes from Carlo D'Estes biography on Eisenhower.
10 August Eisenhower wrenched his knee in England (pg 604)
2 September at Chartres to visit Bradley and Patton (pg 604)
2 September wrenched his knee again while helping to push a light observation plane off the beach (pg 604)
3 September doctor flown in from England to look at knee, doctor orders bed rest (pg 605)
5 September Eisenhower resumes traveling (pg 605)
10 September Eisenhower meets with Monty
11 September Admiral Ramsay visited Eisenhower at Granville (pg 608)

Will type in more dates as I come across them while reading.

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 20 Feb 2013 12:42

To all,

Just sent an e-mail to, eisenhowerfoundation@nara.gov, asking them for the details of the meeting on 9 September 1944.

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Carl Schwamberger on 20 Feb 2013 20:22

Delta Tank wrote:
Aber wrote:..... or get a new plane, there were plenty to choose from.


The WRONG answer would be; "Sorry, every plane we have here is assigned to somebody. I've got none to spare."
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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 20 Feb 2013 20:39

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
Delta Tank wrote:
Aber wrote:..... or get a new plane, there were plenty to choose from.


The WRONG answer would be; "Sorry, every plane we have here is assigned to somebody. I've got none to spare."


Carl,

I put that in because long time ago I was the aide to a division and post commander and our helicopter was in for maintenance and so I said to the division chief of staff: "What helicopter are we going to use tomorrow?' And the chief said "they all belong to him!" (I can't remember how many we had, but something north of 50? counting all UH, AH and CH helicopters).

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Carl Schwamberger on 23 Feb 2013 01:45

Ya, & I am sure you can visualize some clueless aircraft unit assistant ops officer telling the Generals aide on the phone: "Sorry Lt, we cant give you one they are all scheduled. Dont you understand these things need to be requested in advance. " :lol:
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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 01 May 2013 16:21

Delta Tank wrote:To all,

Just sent an e-mail to, eisenhowerfoundation@nara.gov, asking them for the details of the meeting on 9 September 1944.

Mike


I have not received a response yet. . I assume I will not receive a response.

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Tom from Cornwall on 24 Jul 2013 21:53

Hi,

I've just been reading another account [Beetle by D.K.R. Crosswell] which states that poor old Eisenhower's leg kept him from visiting Montgomery before 10 September and then forced him to meet in the plane as he was so lame...

Strange for a sprightly General who managed to get to Paris with no problem on 8 September and to see Middleton on 9 September! :lol: It seems that he could get in a staff car on 9 September but was plane-bound in Brussels on 10 September! Did he have something against the Belgians??

I'm still looking for a photo of the 8 September Paris celebration - I'd love to see proof to back up the suggestion that Eisenhower was spotted standing on the running board of his staff car waving to the crowd.

Anyway, if the Supreme Commander couldn't be bothered to go and see his subordinate despite the collapse of his communications, perhaps he could have sent his Chief of Staff? :idea:

Regards

Tom
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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 11 Aug 2013 16:18

Tom,

Tom wrote:
Strange for a sprightly General who managed to get to Paris with no problem on 8 September and to see Middleton on 9 September! :lol: It seems that he could get in a staff car on 9 September but was plane-bound in Brussels on 10 September! Did he have something against the Belgians??


That is an odd statement?? You are implying that he was faking it?? Since I have a bad knee, almost a complete tear of my posterior cruciate ligament in my left knee (I was beat up by an M-1 tank in 1982), if I over do it on Monday, I am not able to do much on Tuesday, Wednesday and sometimes for a week afterwards, it all depends. Hell, I can up out of a chair wrong and be in pain for a week!

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Tom from Cornwall on 12 Aug 2013 19:58

Mike,

No, I'm sure he didn't fake his injury, my point is rather that despite his injury he seems to have been able to get to Paris and Middleton before getting to talk face to face with Montgomery, which surely was the most important meeting that he needed to get done. To be honest, it does seem strange to me that at Brest he managed to get out of his plane and into a staff car, but that on 10 September he had to sit in his plane. Additionally, I've read accounts which say that Eisenhower was laid up between 2 and 10 Sep with his leg in plaster and therefore he couldn't go to see Montgomery until 10 Sep. But the evidence suggests that he could have gone on either 8 or 9 September, if not earlier, despite his leg injury. Why didn't he go sooner? Was he waiting for his staff to produce definitive evidence to face-down Montgomery with? Your guess is as good as mine... :)

The more I read about it, the more I think that the sooner that Eisenhower and his G-4 people went to see Montgomery and could then explain face to face what they thought COMZ could do to support 12 US Army Group the sooner the reality of the situation would have sunk home all round. It seems to me that at this time everyone was thinking in terms of achieving far reaching objectives (Brest, Channel Ports, Antwerp, Saar, Ruhr and then on to Berlin), but to take the correct operational decisions what was needed was a clear view of logistic reality. This appears to not have existed either at SHAEF. As logistic reality sunk home, the objectives set by SHAEF, 21 and 12 US AG began to shrink back to reach the Rhine, breach the West Wall, clear Antwerp, etc. This might have happened sooner if the G-4 situation had been clearer.

I've been to the Liddell Hart Archives and copied the SHAEF Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) General Gale's diary and it is clear that there was a lot of wasted effort at SHAEF in responding to Montgomery's 4 Sep signal. Much better for Eisenhower, or Tedder, or Beddel Smith to fly up immediately and talk to Montgomery face to face. Eisenhower (or Tedder or Smith) might then have understood Montgomery's ideas better and he might have realised how parlous the logistic situation was for 12 US Army Group and that it ruled out any "immediate" thrust to Berlin.

I hope you had a good time in Europe, I was in southern Italy in July looking at the mountains north of Naples and thinking how the hell did they get through them!! :)

Regards

Tom
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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Delta Tank on 12 Aug 2013 21:48

Tom,

All good points, but did you ever think the reason Ike did not want to go see him was because Monty was an insufferable ass? No smoking, Ike was addicted to tobacco, no drinking, a drink may of smoothed things over. Ike stated that "Monty was a good man to serve under, a difficult man to serve with, and an impossible man to serve over"! "Now, your punishment for being too keen about your profession is that you must eat breakfast with Montgomery for one week!" I read that in one of these books.

Now, was it that difficult for Monty to go see Ike????????? Yes, Yes, I know all about his rules about superiors going to visit his junior commanders. . . but when FM Brooke was going to attend a meeting than somehow Monty found a way to attend. I find that interesting!! Monty would not go see Ike because he refused, IMHO, to recognize publicly that Ike was his boss! I think the war in Europe would of gone better if Monty was in Burma or some other place. Every man can be replaced, the cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people, but somehow life goes on!

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Re: Eisenhower meeting with Middleton - 9 Sep 44

Postby Tom from Cornwall on 13 Aug 2013 18:30

Mike,

While I sympathise with the "Monty was an insufferable, egotistical ass" POV (which was quite widespread in the British Army as well :wink: ), that doesn't provide a good military excuse for not seeing him face to face and thrashing out exactly what was, and more importantly what wasn't, logistically possible for the Allies in Sep 44.

When Eisenhower and SHAEF received Montgomery's infamous "Berlin" signal of 4 Sep, they replied on 5 Sep: "While agreeing with your conception of a powerful and full-blooded thrust towards Berlin, I do not agree that it should be initiated at this moment to the exclusion of all other manoeuver. The bulk of the German Army that was in the West has now been destroyed. We must immediately exploit our success by promptly breaching the Siegfried Line, crossing the Rhine on a wide front, and seizing the SAAR and RUHR."

So was this an order to Montgomery to "immediately cross the Rhine and seize the RUHR? Did Montgomery have the logistics to do that? Did he have the forces required on his front? How much better would it have been for someone from SHAEF, if not Eisenhower then his Deputy or his Chief of Staff, to follow this up with a personal visit to make sure that this could be done with the resources on hand. BTW I don't see any evidence to say that Eisenhower thought that there was a large German reserve anywhere to worry about, rather the opposite in fact.

I think the war in Europe would of gone better if Monty was in Burma
. Perhaps, but shouldn't that really be in the "What if?" section. :lol: I'd love to see your reasoning for this thought...

There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that it was Montgomery's ruthless drive (call it military ambition, call it egotism, call it "making sure you are so strong that you are bound to win", call it "caution", call it what you like...) that enabled the COSSAC plan for the invasion of Normandy to be so quickly amended, despite opposition, despite the delay to ANVIL, despite the need for greater air and naval forces - many saw that the initial plan was too weak, not many had the prestige to drive through the requisite changes.

Montgomery made mistakes, who doesn't; Montgomery upset people, who doesn't! Anglo-American tensions wouldn't have disappeared overnight if Montgomery had disappeared to Burma (BLA - Burma Looms Ahead :lol: ) - cf the campaign in Italy, the campaign in the Far East, the pubs of Soho! Fortunately, the tensions were managed in all these theatres (not without alot of grinding and knashing of teeth, 'tis true). Unfortunately, just as today, what goes wrong makes better press than what goes right - imagine if all the general's wrote memoirs saying how much they admired their peers, how dull!! :lol:

Anyway, I'm back to looking for pictures of Eisenhower looking in pain in Paris on 8 Sep :)

Regards

Tom
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