Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

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rcocean
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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 23 Mar 2019 23:00

Having just read some more Bradly Biographies, let me say this. The reason there's so little interest in Bradley is NOT because he was unimportant. Its because he was so boring. Besides being personally dull, Bradley really only did one interesting thing, he was commander of first army in combat, and later head of 12th Army Group from June 1944- May 1945. The rest of his life and career is astoundingly dull.

Graduated from West Point 1915, never served in France, spent 1919-1941, as a teacher/student/clerk. Trained two divisions in 1942. Served under Patton March to September 1943. Helped plan Invasion under Ike and Monty. After war, was head of VA, then Army CoS 1948, then Chairman JCS 1949-1953. However, since Marshall was DoD secretary during the most important part of Korean War, Bradley was just a "yes man" during that most important period. After 1953, said and did nothing of interest.

Even when he was 12th army group commander, its hard to tell how much of military decisions were his, and how much was Hodges or Patton or Ike. The guy made some BIG mistakes - and there's little evidence of any genius. Its almost impossible to point to anything and say: "Bradley really made a difference here. without him things would've been much worse"

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Aber » 23 Mar 2019 23:36

rcocean wrote:
23 Mar 2019 23:00
Even when he was 12th army group commander, its hard to tell how much of military decisions were his, and how much was Hodges or Patton or Ike. The guy made some BIG mistakes - and there's little evidence of any genius. Its almost impossible to point to anything and say: "Bradley really made a difference here. without him things would've been much worse"
I suppose the one thing he might get credit for is Operation Cobra.

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 23 Mar 2019 23:45

I suppose the one thing he might get credit for is Operation Cobra.
Yep. You're right about that. So, there's ONE.

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Mar 2019 00:37

More than that. The attack by US II Corps he directed in Tunisa was well done. Instead of attacking along the valley corridors, where most Allied and Axis commanders went, and where the Germans expected his attack, it started into the high ground. Once there the infantry battalions dominated and outflanked the defense positions focus on the highway corridors on the valley plains. He also allowed the artillery to do what it did best & set the pace for the opening of the battle, rather than let the infantry or armor do so. This made more sense given the terrain, the enemy positions, and the need to methodically break some relatively strong positions. There were several other battles where US forces under Bradleys influence organized their initial attacks round what the fire support could do best. The use of artillery in Op COBRA (but not air) showed this trend. The December counter attacks the German forces in the Ardennes had this element, and more so in the January offensive.
rcocean wrote:
22 Mar 2019 00:23
... Later, he and Ike demanded Devers "clean up" the Colmar pocket. ...
Never noticed this demand from Bradley. It would have been a bit overbearing since Devers commanded the separate 6th Army Group and was not subordinate to Bradley. Devers reported to Ike.
rcocean wrote:
22 Mar 2019 23:57
...

I've always found Mark Clark's RELATIVE fall from grace a bit of a puzzle. This is a guy who was given command of the Corps in England in 1942 at the age of 46, he was Ike's big pal and was Deputy Torch Commander and made 5th Army Commander in January 1943. Even as late as June 1943, Ike was giving him a Sky-high rating and he was given command of the Salerno landing. And then, instead of going to ETO and commanding the Invasion, Bradley is given the job. Clark eventually became an Army Group commander in Italy, and Military Governor of the US Zone in Austria, but you sorta wonder why Bradley passed him by. After all he was Army Commander in Feb 1943, and Bradley had just arrived at N. Africa as an "observer".
Often puzzled me too. Clark had helped plan Op TORCH, HUSKY, and commanded AVALANCHE and SHINGLE, four major amphibious operations. Back in the US he'd been the point man in planning & executing at least one other Army amphib op, of the 3rd Division in January 1940. As far as I can tell Bradleys back ground in littoral operations was a five day familiarization exercise commanding the 28th Div in its remedial work up, and his role as II Corps commander n Op Husky. Guess who got the US Army command for Op NEPTUNE/OVERLORD? The guy with 2-3 times the experience? What was Ike thinking? Was there a more important consideration at work here?

The matter of his relief of Alan from command of 1st ID is a confusing thing. I note that Patton encouraged Bradley when first approached on the action, and endorsed it after the action was taken. In reviewing Alans last performance evaluation as written by Bradley Patton gives the negative document a straight forward endorsement. Not counter argument or mitigating language. Bradley further fuzzies up the matter through his explanations in his biographies and post war interviews. However, a few years ago I rad Atkinsons take on it in his 'Day of Battle'. That explanation makes it look like Alan got off easy. Specifically: The attack plan of II Corps called for one infantry regiment of Alans 1st ID to be Corps reserve. It was to be used to exploit a breakthrough created by the attack of 1st ID, or other use as the Corps ordered. According the Atkinson Alan incorporated the designated regiment into the divisions attack. Leaving unavailable as Corps reserve, and out of position for any exploitation. This took me aback, & I spent some time reviewing Atckinsons text and studying the map of this attack (in Sicilly). Aggravating this Alans 1st Div HQ failed to inform II Corps of the effective remove of the regiment from Corps reserve. Bradley discovered when after ordering the hoped for exploitation.

If Atkinsons description is accurate Alans relief was justified. In the environment I served my active service in he'd been certainly had judicial action taken and been at high risk of losing rank or his commission for that stunt. Maybe rereading Bradleys post war description will reveal something I'd missed. AFAIK Patton left nothing beyond his endorsement on the performance evaluation. Perhaps Eisenhower or some staff officer left a opinion on this?

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by genstab » 24 Mar 2019 12:38

Nobody's mentioned one big mistake Clark made. He defied Alexander's orders which would have meant the destruction of German 10th Army to take Rome instead. He should have been relieved of command (then there's the Rapido incident which almost destroyed 36th Infantry Division) but he was Ike's boy and therefore probably Marshall's also.
Best,
Bill.

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Aber » 24 Mar 2019 13:28

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
24 Mar 2019 00:37
What was Ike thinking? Was there a more important consideration at work here?
I think there were a couple of points in play.

US Army needed to retain some experienced combat commanders in the Mediterranean theatre. Given that in the autumn of 1943 Patton was in the doghouse, 2 Corps commanders had failed and been replaced, and 2 others had limited experience, the choice was Bradley or Clark.

Even after Bradley had gone back to the UK, there was an expectation that Clark would lead Anvil (in April) and so eventually get an Army command in the ETO.

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Mar 2019 22:01

genstab wrote:
24 Mar 2019 12:38
Nobody's mentioned one big mistake Clark made. He defied Alexander's orders which would have meant the destruction of German 10th Army to take Rome instead. He should have been relieved of command (then there's the Rapido incident which almost destroyed 36th Infantry Division) but he was Ike's boy and therefore probably Marshall's also.
Best,
Bill.
In one sense Clark did OK. The Italian campaign benefited the war effort by attracting Germans troops to a side show away from the invasion area. In the big scheme of things it did not matter when or even whether the allies captured Rome. What mattered was that there were 20+ German divisions in that theatre.

In other senses he was clearly weaker than Bradley. Bradly got Mid C20th warfare and could plan and organised operations within the capabilities of his army. Clark planned over ambitious dispersed operations beyond the capabilities of his troops. He appeared to have little of what the Germans called fingertip feel for the battle. Worse still his personal objectives and prejudices got in the way of winning the war. The February and March Cassino battles were staged by the 2nd NZ Division and 4th Indian Divisions pretending to be an Army Corps because Clark would not accept a second British Army Corps HQ because he feared it would no longer be a US army... He did not like commanding allied troops. there is a story (by Truscot?) that Clark formed an honor guard for Marshall from the range of nationalities to demonstrate the impossibility of his command. Marshall ignored this and congratulated him on his diplomatic skill.

Some of this stuff must have been known or suspected at the time. Putting personal limelight before the team, prickliness with the press and not gettign on with allies was probably negative attributes for ETO senior command

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 25 Mar 2019 02:02

Never noticed this demand from Bradley. It would have been a bit overbearing since Devers commanded the separate 6th Army Group and was not subordinate to Bradley. Devers reported to Ike.
Bad choice of words on my part. Ike demanded it. This "demand" occurred when Bradley and Ike visited Devers in November 1945 According to Devers it was basically 2 vs. 1, in a "Heated discussion" with Bradley stating (with Ike concurring) that the US Army needed to eject ALL of German army west of the Rhine before going further. While you're technically correct that Bradley did not "Order" Devers do anything, he was constantly advising Ike that the Colmar Pocket had to be liquidated. Eisenhower leaned heavily on Bradley for military advice. He disliked Devers and thought Monty too arrogant. In his letters to Brooke, Monty complains the lack of success on the Western Front was due to Ike leaning on Bradley for advice instead of himself. :D
The matter of his relief of Alan from command of 1st ID is a confusing thing. I note that Patton encouraged Bradley when first approached on the action, and endorsed it after the action was taken. In reviewing Alans last performance evaluation as written by Bradley Patton gives the negative document a straight forward endorsement. Not counter argument or mitigating language. Bradley further fuzzies up the matter through his explanations in his biographies and post war interviews. However, a few years ago I rad Atkinsons take on it in his 'Day of Battle'. That explanation makes it look like Alan got off easy. Specifically: The attack plan of II Corps called for one infantry regiment of Alans 1st ID to be Corps reserve. It was to be used to exploit a breakthrough created by the attack of 1st ID, or other use as the Corps ordered. According the Atkinson Alan incorporated the designated regiment into the divisions attack. Leaving unavailable as Corps reserve, and out of position for any exploitation. This took me aback, & I spent some time reviewing Atckinsons text and studying the map of this attack (in Sicilly). Aggravating this Alans 1st Div HQ failed to inform II Corps of the effective remove of the regiment from Corps reserve. Bradley discovered when after ordering the hoped for exploitation.
That's very interesting. Terry Allen was a great fighter, and later commanded another division in NW Europe. Eisenhower had offered him a Corps Command after Tunisia and Allen turned it down. After Allen was relieved, Ike told Marshall the relief was "without prejudice" and Allen was in bad health and needed a rest. According to D'este in "Bitter Victory" Bradley's claim in his autobiography that he - and he alone - was responsible for Allen's relief is unsupported by the historical records, including Patton and Eisenhower Papers, and the diaries of Bradley Aides.

Its possible that the use of the regiment against orders was just more confirmation that Allen was "Tired" and needed to go back the states and get a rest. The fact that Bradley would exaggerate his role in Allen's relief, makes you wonder what else in his book is "exaggerated".

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Delta Tank » 21 Apr 2021 21:42

Richard Anderson wrote:
22 Mar 2019 23:46
rcocean wrote:
22 Mar 2019 22:45
If you look at Eisenhower's rankings of his ETO Generals in 1945, this includes all the big hitters. Bradley was No. 1 on Ike's list, and Collins was No. 8 - the highest ranking Corps Commander. Ridgeway and Taylor were also surprisingly high on the list - given that Taylor wasn't a Corps Commander, and Ridgeway had little time in that position.
Um, so what happened to Smith, Patton (oh, he died), Clark, Truscott, and Gerow? Why not Patch then after Collins? I have a feeling that Ike's famous "ranking" had less effect later than the lesser known Marshall promotions list of October 1945.
MacArthur was overage for the Chief of Staff Position ( the "rule" was the CoS had to be at least 2-3 years away from the Mandatory Retirement age) and in any case Big Mac was ineligible since he'd already served as five years as CoS - 1930-1935.
Yep, I actually forgot about that...odd since I was just re-writing the section on the involvement of Mac and the tanks during the Bonus March.

General Patch died 21 November 1945. So, it would be impossible for Patch to be Chief of Staff after General Collins. I got to meet General Collins in 1981 at VMI, he gave a very emotional speech at the George C Marshall Conference.

Mike
As for the other Pacific War generals - they were out of the running in 1948. Eichelberger was 62, and had already turned down the CoS deputy position under Ike. Krueger was retired. Buckner and Stillwell were dead. And of the four corps commanders under MacArthur in April 1945 - Every single one was retired, dead, or too old. The CoS had to come from the ETO.
Well, yeah, exactly. :D

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by LineDoggie » 21 Apr 2021 22:08

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
24 Mar 2019 00:37


The matter of his relief of Alan from command of 1st ID is a confusing thing. I note that Patton encouraged Bradley when first approached on the action, and endorsed it after the action was taken. In reviewing Alans last performance evaluation as written by Bradley Patton gives the negative document a straight forward endorsement. Not counter argument or mitigating language. Bradley further fuzzies up the matter through his explanations in his biographies and post war interviews. However, a few years ago I rad Atkinsons take on it in his 'Day of Battle'. That explanation makes it look like Alan got off easy. Specifically: The attack plan of II Corps called for one infantry regiment of Alans 1st ID to be Corps reserve. It was to be used to exploit a breakthrough created by the attack of 1st ID, or other use as the Corps ordered. According the Atkinson Alan incorporated the designated regiment into the divisions attack. Leaving unavailable as Corps reserve, and out of position for any exploitation. This took me aback, & I spent some time reviewing Atckinsons text and studying the map of this attack (in Sicilly). Aggravating this Alans 1st Div HQ failed to inform II Corps of the effective remove of the regiment from Corps reserve. Bradley discovered when after ordering the hoped for exploitation.

If Atkinsons description is accurate Alans relief was justified. In the environment I served my active service in he'd been certainly had judicial action taken and been at high risk of losing rank or his commission for that stunt. Maybe rereading Bradleys post war description will reveal something I'd missed. AFAIK Patton left nothing beyond his endorsement on the performance evaluation. Perhaps Eisenhower or some staff officer left a opinion on this?
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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Delta Tank » 21 Apr 2021 23:16

To All,

My Dad who was on active duty from June 1950 to sometime in 1958 he always referred to Bradley as “Stab in the back Bradley”! My Dad was a big history buff, so whether he read that in a book or that is what other officers called Bradley I don’t know.

Bradley taught math at West Point, he also took great pride that he mastered every small arms weapon when stationed at the Infantry School. But, instead of mastering small arm weapons he should of been studying operation art, military history, etc. not sight adjustments on an 03 Springfield!! I know he was in charge of the Small Arms Department at Fort Benning, but he was focused on the wrong level.

I thought he was a Dunce! Should of been behind a mule in Missouri plowing a field, calculating the most efficient number of rows of crops for this particular field.

Mike

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Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by LineDoggie » 22 Apr 2021 02:07

Delta Tank wrote:
21 Apr 2021 23:16
To All,

My Dad who was on active duty from June 1950 to sometime in 1958 he always referred to Bradley as “Stab in the back Bradley”! My Dad was a big history buff, so whether he read that in a book or that is what other officers called Bradley I don’t know.

Bradley taught math at West Point, he also took great pride that he mastered every small arms weapon when stationed at the Infantry School. But, instead of mastering small arm weapons he should of been studying operation art, military history, etc. not sight adjustments on an 03 Springfield!! I know he was in charge of the Small Arms Department at Fort Benning, but he was focused on the wrong level.

I thought he was a Dunce! Should of been behind a mule in Missouri plowing a field, calculating the most efficient number of rows of crops for this particular field.

Mike
Interestingly, when Ike, Brad and Churchill visited US 2AD before Normandy they got the chance to fire the M1 Carbine. IIRC Churchill outshot the 2 generals

Image
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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