who was the best Allied general?

Discussions on the Allies and the Neutral States in general and the countries that does not have sections of their own.
Posts: 787
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Aber » 14 Sep 2011 19:43

Many thanks for truly enlightening posts.

Kudos to the unknown German progandist:
"Montgomery found no defense lines, the Americans somewhat bewildered, no reserves on hand and supply lines cut. He took over the scattered American forces, planned his action and stopped the German drive. The Battle of the Ardennes can now be practically written off thanks to Montgomery."
Sounds like Montgomery and arguably close to truth.

Bradley's statement is resonably measured except the assertion that the German offensive was a diversionary one to stop the US First Army attacks.

The highlight from the press reports is "With his tactical skill, clear in-sight, decision and unfaltering determination, he not only made rapid counter-attacks to insure the integrity of key points of his position but eventually withstood the furious attacks of the main portion of the hostile forces and seriously disrupted the hostile plan of attack." - makes you suspect the journalists were well-entertained.

Michael Kenny
Posts: 6213
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Montgomery Statement Jan 7th 1945

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Sep 2011 07:41

Source for the last 3 articles i posted here is The New York Times.

Jan. 7 the text of Marshal Montgomery's statement: ,

When Rundstedt attacked on Dec 16 he obtained a tactical surprise. He drove a deep wedge into the center of the United States First Army and the split might have become awkward: the Germans had broken right through a weak spot, and were heading for the Meuse. As soon as I saw what was happening I took. certain steps myself to insure that if the Germans got to the Meuse they would certainly not get over the river. I carried out certain movements so as to provide balanced dispositions to meet the threatened danger. These were, at the time, merely precautions-that is, I was thinking ahead. Then the situation began to deteriorate. But the whole Allied team rallied to meet the danger; national considerations were thrown overboard. General Eisenhower placed me in command of the whole northern front.
I employed the whole available power of the British group of armies: this power was brought into play very gradually and in such a way that it would not interfere with the American lines of‘ cumminication; Finally it was put into battle with a bang and today British divisions are fighting hard on the right flank of the United States First Army. You thus have the picture of British troops fighting on both sides of American forces who have suffered a hard blow. This is a fine Allied picture.

Battle "Most Interesting"
The battle has been most interesting-I think possibly one of the most interesting and tricky battles I have ever handled,`with great issues at stake. The first thing to be done was to "head off" the enemy from the tender spots and vital places. Having done that successfully, the next thing was to "seal him off"—that is to rope him in and make quite certain that he could not get to places he wanted, and also that he was slowly but surely removed away from those places.
He was therefore "headed off" and then "sealed off." He is now being "written off." and heavy toll is being taken of his divisions by ground and air action. You must not imagine that the battle is over yet. It is by no means over and a great deal still remains to be done.
The battle has some similarity to the battle that began on Aug. 31, 1942, when Rommel made his last bid to capture Egypt and was "sealed off" by the Eighth Army. But actually all battles are different because the problem is different.
What was Rundstedt trying to achieve? No one can tell for certain.
The only guide we have is the message he issued to his soldiers before the battle began. He told them it was the last great effort to try to win the war; that everything depended on it; that they must go "all out." On the map you see his gains- that will not win the war. He is likely slowly but surely to lose it all. He must have scraped together every reserve he could lay his hands on for this job, and he has not achieved a great deal.

Says Von Rundstedt Failed
One must admit that he has dealt us a sharp blow and he sent us reeling back. But we recovered. He has been unable to gain any great advantage from his lnitial success.
He has therefore failed in his strategic purpose. unless the prize was smaller than his men were told.
He has now turned to the defensive on the ground. and he is faced by forces properly balanced to utilize the initiative that he has lost. , Another reason for his failure is that his air force, although still capable of pulling a fast one, can not protect his army. For that army our tactical air forces are the greatest terror.
But when all is said and done. I shall always feel that Rundstedt was really beaten by the good fighting qualities of the American soldier and by the team-work of the Alllies.
I would like to say a word about these two points
I first saw the American soldier in battle in Sicily and formed then a very high oplnion of him. I knew him agaln in Italy. And I have seen a very great deal of him in this campaign. I want to take this opportunity to pay a public trlbute to him. He is a brave fighting man, steady under fire and with the tenacity in battle that stamps the first class soldier. All these qualities have been shown in a marked degree during the present battle.

Says Americans Stopped Foe
He[the US Soldier] is responsible really—he is basicaly responsible for Rundstedt not doing what he wanted to do and when the inner history is told you will find that because he held out in three places the Germans could not take advantage of their initial success.
The first was in the Elsenborn salient south of Monschau, which had to bear full the blow of almost a whole Panzer army and the Panzer army recoiled. They could not do it. With this great. blow, hitting the center of the American Army, Rundstedt did overrun a considerable number of American formations and around St, Vith and south of it there were a great many American troops cut off and unable to get away. When I was brought into the party that was the situation. The American troops isolated and cut off were fighting and holding on to centers of road communication making it extremely difficult for the Germans to move and flow through the gap they had made.
I have spent my military career with the British soldier and I have come to love him with a great love. I have now formed a very great affection and admiration for the American soldier. I salute the brave fighting men of America I never want to fight alongslde better soldiers.
Just now I am seelng a great deal of the American soldier. I have tried to feel that I am almost an American soldier myself so that I might take no unsuitable action or offend them in any way.
I have been given an American identity card. I am thus identified in the Army of the United States —by fingerprints being registered in the War Department at Washington-which is far preferable to having them registered at Scotland Yard. And now I come to my last point.

Call for Allied Solidarity
It is team work that pulls you through dangerous times; lt is team work that wins battles; it is victories in battle than win wars. I want to put in a strong plea for Allied solidarity at this vital stage of the war-and you can all help in this greatly.
Nothing must be done by anyone that tends to break down the team spirit of our Allied team: If you try to "get at" the captain of the team you are liable to induce a loss of confidence. and this may spread and have disastrous results.
I would say that anyone who tries to break up the team spirit of the Allies is definitely helping the enemy.
Let me tell you that the captain of our team is General Eisenhower. I am absolutely devoted to Ike. We are the greatest of friends. It grieves me when I see uncomplimentary articles about him in the British press. He bears a great burden, he needs our fullest support, he has a right to expect it and it is up to all of us to see that he gets it.
And so I would ask all of you to lend a hand to stop that sort of thing. Let us all rally round the captain of the team and so help to win the match.
No one objects to healthy and constructive criticism. It is good for us.
But let us have done with destructive criticism that aims a blow at Alliéd solidarity, that tends to break up our team spirit and that therefore helps the enemy.
I want you to weigh in with me and rally round the captain of the team. We must frown on any destructive criticism. Ike is a very great friend of mine. My own airplane was damaged the other day. I cried to Ike, "Can you lend me another plane?"
He sent me his own at once- wonderful. There is no doubt about it, he is a great chap; I am very distressed when I see anything uncomplimentary about Ike.

Gives Military Philosophy
This is my military philosophy. A fundamental point is shaping the battle to your design. I always maintain that you have got to decide what your design of battle is going to be before you start the battle and so you fight it your way and not anybody else’s way and make the enemy dance to your tune. I maintain that is the way to fight battles.
Now, if you’re going to fight battles that way, you've got to have balance of poise — so balanced that whatever the enemy may do, there will never be any need for you to react to him. That is the fundamental point in my military philsophy. If you've not got balance obviously you are easily pushed off by the other chap.
So I frequently examine my battle area and say to myself, "Now I am balanced for anything the enemy may do?"
If he put in a hard bang I have to be ready for him., That is terrifically important in this battle fighting. I learned it in Africa.
You learn all`these things by hard experience.
When Rundstedt put in his hard blow and parted the American Army, it was automatic that the battle area must be untidy. Therefore, the first thing I did when I was brought in and told to take over was to busy myself in getting the battle area tidy-getting it sorted out.

Regroups Allied Armies
I got reserves into the right places and got balanced and you know what happened. .I regrouped the American and British Armies—a question of grouping is another important point mixed up with battle winning,
One of the things I had to do was to position an army corps in what I thought was going to be the line of approach of the German left hook toward Namur and Dinant. It looked to me as if Rundstedt was trying to do a big left hook to the River Meuse. There was not much there-there was damn little there so I collected here and there, pulled in divisions and formed an army corps under that very fine American General [J. Lawton] Collins.
It was that corps, which I had formed for offensive action, that eventually took the full blow of Rundstedt’s left hook.
It took a knock.-I said "Dear me, this can’t go on. It's being swallowed up in the battle"
I set to work and managed to form the corps again.
Once more pressure was such that it began to disappear in a defensive battle.
I said: "Come, come," and formed it again and it was put in offensively by General [Courtney H.] Hodges after we had consulted together and that is his present job.
It is a question of getting balanced and putting reserves in such places that you don't mind what the enemy does because you have grouped forces to meet the problem.

Opposes Hasty Action
And you must not hurry. You have a well-balanced, tidy show when you are mixed up in a dog- fight.
You can’t do it nohow-I do not think that word is English-you can't win the big victory without a tidy show.
It is very interesting to see both sides—the Germans and the Allies—use their airborne troops in land battles, not having dropped them from the sky. They use them with great advantage. The danger with an airborne force is that it is kept out behind somewhere. All their thought and training and philosophy is built up in flying over to the battle and ·landing there.
That is the approach to battle. It is what happens when they get on the ground that is difficult.
The Americans have two air-borne divisions, the 101st`and the Eighty-second, fighting on the ground and we have got the Sixth Airborne Division
It is OK to mention them. because I realize Germans have captured some of their wounded in Bure It was the Sixth Airborne Division that dropped in the Caen sector in Normandy. They came down on the eastern or left flank of the ‘invaslon around the vital bridges over the Orne.
I said; "Get that division out" but it was not relieved until a long time after.
It ls now fighting on the right flank of the northern battle and it is, fighting very well. In the use of airborne troops what really matters is how they fight on the ground, The Germans use their paratroops divisions too. The airborne men are jolly good chaps, all picked.

Praises U. S. Air Troops
The American soldiers of the United States Seventh Armored Division and the 106th Infantry Division stuck it out and put up a very fine performance. By jove. they stuck it out, those chaps,
And there was the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne who held out magnificently. The places where these men fought were, I maintain, terrifically important.
I consulted with General Hodges of the United States First Army and there came a day about the 20th or 21st [.December], I said to Hodges: "I think we ought to get these chaps back if we can. They will be swamped. They will disappear. They have done their stuff. They are great fighting men."
During this time the Eighty-second Airborne Division had been moving slowly forward to try to get contact with cut off elements. We pulled them back, then withdrew the Eighty-second Airborne Division to a more secure line. They didn't want to come. They protested vigorously.
I said to Lieut. Gen. Omar N. Bradley: "They can come back with all honor." They came back to the more secure positions. They put up a wonderful show.
Rundstedt hit us a sharp blow but he was prevented from turning it in fullest gain and getting the maximum advantage from it because of the first-class fighting qualities of the American soldier. I take my hat off to him. I salute him willingly. It was a very remarkable thing to see how, at the moment of danger the complete Allied team rallied to the call. The writing-off process is going on now. I am prepared to say the initiative has passed from Rundstedt to us, and he is fighting on the ground now defensively and against troops who have recovered their balance and are properly poised to use the initiative the enemy has lost.

Cites Heavy German Loss
We have captured thousands of prisoners and we are killing a lot of Germans. One American armored division in a battle with the Second Panzer Division between Dlnant and Ciney inflicted the heaviest losses. Down in the Ciney area you can see eighty one knocked out tanks, about seventy-five guns and between 400 and 500 vehicles.
The Second Panzer Division cannot be feeling very well, and this American division was helped by the British in the Dinant area.
What about the German soldier? I think the German is a first-class professional soldier. I have always said that I never underrated him and this man Rundstedt is extremely good. I used to think that Rommel was good, but my opinion is that , Rundstedt would have hit him for six. Rundstedt is the best German general I have come up against in this war. He is very ·good. He knows his stuff.
I am not prepared to say that for the moment the Germans have wrested the initiative from the Allies in this war. The initiative lies with the Allies.
I would very much like to get myself into Rundstedt’s brain for a couple of minutes. I have a picture of him in my room. I wanted a picture of Rundstedt very badly. The other day I was given one by Arthur Christiansen of the Daily Express. I am jolly glad to have it. It is extremely good.

Michael Kenny
Posts: 6213
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Sep 2011 20:21

More Newspaper articles.

Allied Expeditionary Force.
Paris, Jan 5
Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery has been commanding the United States First and Ninth Armies and all forces north of the German bulge into Belgium for more for more than two weeks, with Lieut. Gen. Omar N. Bradley commanding forces only on the southern flank, Supreme Headquarters disclosed today.
The quick change of commands was ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower when the German offensive threatened to split the allies in two
Colorful, confident Marshal .Montgomery personally took command in the north at midnight Dec. 20, and rushed to the front to direct the American blows that halted the German plunge toward Liége and now are hitting southward at the German salient, a field dispatch from Wes Gallagher, Associated Press correspondent, said. The British Second and Canadian First Armies already were under his direction, so Marshal Montgomery now is leading four armies. General Bradley, whose Twelfth Army Group had included the American First, Ninth and Third Armies, took the southern command, directing the Third Army’s assault northward against the German penetration. General Bradley’s new command also includes one Division of the United States Seventh Army.
Two American air groups also come under Marshal Montgomery’s command by the shift. He and General Bradley are still directly responsible to General Eisenhower.
While Mr. Gallagher said Marshal Montgomery took over on Dec. 20- 21 during the most critical stage, Gen. George C. Marshall, United States Army Chief of Staff, in Washington said the British leader assumed charge on the second night of the German offensive, which was launched Dec. 16. Supreme Headquarter's announcement said simply: When the German penetration through the Ardennes created two fronts, one substantially facing north and the other south, by instant agreement of all concerned that portion of the front facing south was placed under
command of Field Marshal Montgomery and that facing north under command of General Bradley. By this change, there still would be coordinated self-contained armies in the north and south if the Germans had won a complete break-through, it was explained.
Marshal Montgomery has raced about the front, personally giving instructions, visiting Lieut. Gen. Courtney Hodges of the First Army and Lieut. Gen. William H. Simpson of the Ninth Army and all corps commanders, fixing the northern defenses to his own tastes and planning counterblows. He was well received by American troops and officers. Some Ninth Army divisions helped oppose the German push at the start. Some British forces were thrown in as long as a week ago. It was the first time since the burst out of Normandy, when General Bradley assumed equal status with Marshal Montgomery as an Army Group Commander
that the Briton, who won a brilliant reputation in Libya, has had any sizable American forces under his direction.

Devers’ Group Not Changed
Lieut. Gen. Jacob L. Devers’ Sixth Army Group farther south, which includes the American Seventh Army and the French First Army, remained unchanged in this shuffle. The high tide of German reconquest began to recede the day after Marshal Montgomery took charge on the north. He mapped out the counterblows. He is used to planning operations in detail, leaving little to the judgment of Army commanders or other subordinates and he followed this policy in directing his enlarged command. Prime Minister Churchill, General Eisenhower and Gen. Charles de Gaulle conferred at Supreme Headquarters last Wednesday, in a session that presumably determined greater participation by the French Army on the Western Front. Mr. Churchill and General Eisenhower were said to have assured General de Gaulle that the French would be helped to form a large army. No details were disclosed officially by London or Supreme Headquarters. The German Christmas onslaught carried the gravest threat to Allied communications. By the change, putting the First and Ninth Armies under Marshal Montgomery, there still would have been a coordinated force in northern Belgium and the Netherlands even if the Germans had smashed on to the Channel. It would have been supplied through Antwerp.
In the south the Third Army of Lieut. Gen. George S. Patton-—the only army left under General Bradley’s former command-—also was a self-contained unit, linked with General Devers’ Sixth Army Group on its flank. Had the Germans achieved complete success, General Eisenhower still would have had three self-contained forces ready to continue the fight. For the same tactical reasons, the United States Twenty-ninth and Ninth Tactical Air Commands, which supported the Ninth and First Armies, were placed under control of the British Second Tactical Air Force, which operates with Marshal Montgomery’s British-Canadian Armies. The Twenty ninth and Ninth Tactical Air Commands are two or three fighter·bomber components of the United States Ninth Tactical Air Force. The Nineteenth Tactical Air Command of the Ninth Air Force supports the United States Third Army. Marshal Montgomery had control of American Armies on the Western Front until August, when he relinquished control to General Bradley, when Americans began considerably to outnumber British forces on the Western Front. Since then small force of one or two American divisions have been under British Second Army or Canadian First Army control for short periods in cases of emergency. Some British units, particularly flame-throwers, have been working for months with American infantry and armor on the Western Front.

Jan. 5—President Roosevelt made it clear today that Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery’s new command over American troops was no infringement on Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Supreme Command, and Gen. George C. Marshall backed this up by asserting that it was a “normal" action necessitated by the battle crisis in the west.
In addition to these on-the-record statements by the Commander in Chief and the Chief of Staff of the Army, it was authoritatively learned that the official view of the War Department concerning the transfer of the major part of Lieut. Gen. Omar N. Bradley’s command to the British leader can be summed up in four words: "Don’t sell out Bradley." There was a strong implication in War Department circles that inall probability the reduction
of General Bradley’s command would be temporary rather than permanent. At least, that is what responsible sources here profess to think. There also was a reassertion of the War Department atti- tude that any British effort to lessen General Eisenhower’s command would meet with strong opposition.
At his news conference President Roosevelt was questioned about the transfer of command of the American Ninth Army and the major portion of the First Army north of the German Ardennes salient to Marshal Montgomery. The switch, the President asserted, does not mean that Marshal Montgomery has become Deputy Commander to Eisenhower. The appointment of a British Deputy Commander to assist General Eisenhower in carrying out his tremendous responsibilities has been the subject of considerable agitation in Britain. British sources have suggested that Field Marshal Sir Harold L. G. Alexander, who was second in command to General Eisenhower in the North African campaign, with the then General Montgomery as third man in the successful triumvirate, be moved up to a similar position in the European campaign.

Eisenhower Directed Shift
President Roosevelt went on to say that General Eisenhower had directed the transfer, and that it was a regular field operation. Asked if it should be considered a promotion for Marshal Montgomery, he replied in the negative. Then the President said that he was in Washington, not in Europe, and that further information should come from General Eisenhower’s headquarters. General Marshall was at the White House to attend a medal presentation and later to confer with the President. He disclosed that the transfer of command took place on the night of Dec. 17, the second day of the German offensive. Announcement had been withheld, he stated, because "we did not want to convey to the Ger- mans" what had taken place.
Neither President Rossevelt nor General Marshall discussed General Bradley’ status, but other sources said that the War Department did not view the command shift as a slap at him.- It was suggested that General Bradley organized the details neccessary to back up General Patton's smash into the German salient at Bastogne and that he was engaged in protecting the flanks of General Patton’s spearhead. It was asserted that the War Department view was that General Bradley would not diminish in stature.

London Press Hails ‘Monty’
Saturday, Jan. 6-
The news that Marshal Montgomery had received command of all Allied forces, including two American armies north of the bulge created in the Western Front by Marshal von Rundstedt’s offensive was hailed joyously by the London press. At the same time the papers expressed regret because the official announcement that British troops were helping Americans destroy the German salient under the Field Marshal’s command was held up until after its premature publication in the United States and broad hints from the German radio that that was what the "regrouping" meant.
The British press has been giving some broad hints in the past few days. There have been stories from correspondents at the front suggesting that the defensive tactics being employed against Marshal von Rundstedt had the “Monty touch" and there have been many editorials declaring that what General Eisenhower should do in the crisis was to call on the hero of El Alamein for aid and advice.
The Daily Mail, praising General Eisenhower for the "moral courage" he showed in giving the British field marshal such vast authority at such a crucial time, said it was "perhaps a little unfortunate that the change had to be made at a time when signs are not lacking of nerves on edge between Britain and America" But it expressed confidence that the American people, with characteristic "justice and common sense," would approve.

Fake ‘BBC’ Hails Montgomery
LONDON, Jan. 12 -The fake German "BBC station" was back on the air tonight praising Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery for "behaving wonderfully" during the uproar that the false station created earlier this weék when it pretended to be the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Michael Kenny
Posts: 6213
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Sep 2011 21:09

British Suggestion to Make A Him Deputy Commander Called lnadvisable SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, Allied Expeditionary Force, Paris, Jan. 5.
The major question of command arising from the general German offensive on the western front is whether or not it is now necessary to create a post of deputy commander for the ground forces in this theatre. The placing of the American First and Ninth Armies under the command of Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery and the assignment of the Twenty-ninth and Ninth Tactical Air commands of the Ninth Air Force to the command of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham of the British Second Tactical Air Force are temporary measures, necessitated by the splitting of the Twelfth Army Group by Field Marshal Gen. Karl von Rundstedt’s northern offensive. Once the situation is restored in Belgium the two American armies and the two tactical air commands will revert. to Lieut. Gen. Omar N. Bradley and Maj. Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg.
The suggestion made in London that Marshal Montgomery should assume strategic control of the field armies in the west is not the solution of the present difficulties, in the opinion of this correspondent. The real solution probably can be found in adopting one of two courses. Either relieve Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower of some of his political and administrative duties and allow him more time to control and direct the armies in the field or appoint some general other than Marshal Montgomery to coordinate and direct the moves of these armies, giving the commander chosen the power of decisive action in an emergency.

Points. to Disadvantages

Two factors militate against the choice of Marshal Montgomery for such a post. The first is his tremendous personal popularity among all ranks of the Twenty- first Army Group, a popularity whose inspiring effect would be lost if he withdrew from the intimate leadership of these armies. The second is that Marshal Montgomery is a tactician rather than a strategist, a soldier who has shown great ability as commander, first of an army, then of an army group, but who has not the temperament to assume the role of deputy to General Eisenhower. As it is at present, Marshal Montgomery exercises relative autonomy in his army group. Anyone who knows the marshal and understands his approach to a problem of command cannot conceive of his being happy or successful as deputy ground commander, should the Anglo-American Chief of Staff’s committee decide to create such a post.
One objection to the appointment of a British general as Deputy Commander that has been raised is that with the ground forces made up so largely of American troops it would be unwise to place a British general in that post.
When someone complained to President Lincoln about General McClellan, the President replied: "If McClellan wins, I will gladly hold his horse."
If this correspondent is any judge the men who are doing the fighting would gladly wash the jeep of any general—American, British or Eskimo-who would speed the day of victory.

Eisenhower Highly Praised

The course that this correspondent believes will be tried is that of relieving General Eisenhower of some of his political and administrative duties and giving his undoubted talents as a field commander full play. General Eisenhower, most modest of men, in the past has been prone to accept responsibility for reverses while giving credit for victory to his field commanders.
The fact is that many of the most successful decisions of the war in the west have been made by General Eisenhower. The Supreme Commander was directly responsible for the success of the drive westward from Brittany last summer, a thrust that he ordered over the protests of the more cautious who thought the seizure of Breton ports more important than the destruction of German field armies. The breaking up of the,German Seventh Army in the Argentan pocket, the liberation of Paris and the swift advance to the German frontier all were the results of this decision, one of the most important of the war.
General Eisenhower, as he did after the Kasserine battle, takes full responsibility for what happened in December in Luxembourg and eastern Belgium. It is only fair that credit be given for his tremendous strategic decisions of the past that have done so much to speed the victory. Too often one is prone to ascribe to others, especially Marshal Montgomery or General Bradley, strategic decisions of great importance and which produced decisive results, when as a matter of fact, they were the work of the Supreme Commander.
The point is, however, that if the Supreme Commander is to devote his energies to a continuous supervision of his field generals and tactical as well as strategic direction of the war, he must be relieved of some of his duties, especially those that bear on the political and supply problems. General Eisenhower is the hardest worker this correspondent has ever met, but if he attempts to extend his tactical direction of the war while retaining his other duties even his iron constitution will be placed in jeapordy. This would be a more serious loss to the American and British peoples than any amount of ground on Western Front.

User avatar
Steen Ammentorp
Posts: 3180
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 12:48
Location: Denmark

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Steen Ammentorp » 15 Sep 2011 21:25

Michael - thank you for posting these articles. However it would be useful if you would source them.
Kind Regards
Steen Ammentorp
The Generals of World War Two

Michael Kenny
Posts: 6213
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Sep 2011 21:41

Steen Ammentorp wrote:Michael - thank you for posting these articles. However it would be useful if you would source them.
They are all from the New York Times and you can only get access by signing up to their digital library subscription service.
I have mentioned it twice in earlier posts.
They seem to be AP & UP feeds so they will appear in other papers as well.

Anyone who has had to OCR an old fuzzy newspaper clipping and then correct all the mistakes knows my pain...........
or how you have to trawl through reams of dross to find the gold!

Michael Kenny
Posts: 6213
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Sep 2011 02:01

Allied tensions as reported in The New York Times

The Economist Lays Rifts to ChurchiII’s Appeasiog of Both Roosevelt and Stalin

LONDON, Jan. 4--Most of the troubles besetting the Grand Alliance-both political and military- are attributed to Prime Minister Churchill’s acceptane of American ideas on how to fight a global war and Moscow’s dictates on post-war policies in Europe in an article to be published tomorrow by The London Economist.
It was that same authoritative weekly that last week published ian attack on American politicians Wand publicists for lecturing Britain on international morality.
The thesis of this week’s article, which must be taken as a sequel to last week’s, is that the time has come for Britain to take strong steps to disassociate herself from plans to dismember Germany and to serve notice on the United States that full-scale war against Japan must wait until Germany is beaten. The article even goes so far as to suggest that if the United States would not agree to a revision of the allocations of military strength, determined by Mr. Churchill
and President Roosevelt at Quebec in 1943 and 1944, when the British agreed to accept a greater share of the burden of the Pacific war, the British Government would "be justified in rediverting all the resources at its own disposal to the task of defeating Germany"

Military Situation a Factor

That the military direction of the war, as well as its political course, is in for review seems indicated. The News Chronicle’s columnist, A. J. Cummings, will say tomorrow that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower is too busy with "administrative routine" to be able to spare much time for tactical or strategic planning and that Field Marshal Montgomery “is the ideal man" to plan a "riposte to von Rundstedt's gamble and should be appointed Deputy Supreme Commander." Subscribers to The Daily Mail will read tomorrow, on the other hand, that "nobody in this country has ever hinted that Eisenhower should go or should exercise divided authority." According to the picture presented by The Economist, which adroitly skirts around some inconvenient facts, Mr. Churchill was presented not as the tough, practical politician and defender of the empire that he is but as a "perpetual mediator and go-between," always yielding to Premier Joseph Stalin and Mr. Roosevelt rather than cause trouble by insisting on the protection of British interests.
The Economist was not the first British publication to find fault with American strategy and foreign policy, but before it published last week‘s angry protests against American twisting of the "lion’s tail," comment generally had been restrained and somewhat obscure.
But the influential weekly, which deals authoritatively with subjects of a more general nature than its name implies, has once again proved to be the bellwether of Fleet Street. One by one, a majority of British popular papers, both metropolitan and provincial, have taken up the thesis that the United States should put up or shut up.

Cartoon Typifies Criticism
The outpouring of criticism against the United States has not raised American stock in British eyes. The criticism is not abating but, on the contrary, it seems to be increasing and spreading down to , levels where the masses of people are affected.
Tonight's Evening Standard, owned by Lord Beaverbrook, published a cartoon by David Low which showed a shirt-sleeved American snoozing on a·couch among rumpled newspapers with headlines saying: ' "It must be Britain's fault." "It must be Russia’s fault," and "It must be China’s fault." The sleeper was labeled "American democracy." Guarding his slumbers was United States Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius Jr. holding behind him a volume entitled "The Facts of Life," and saying, "Ssh" . to Soviet Foreign Commissar Vyachcoslaff M. Molotoff, and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden entering the room with documents labeled "Dumbarton Oaks" and "Teheran."
Nor has criticism of American policy been confined to diplomatic indecisiveness. There has been an undercurrent of criticism of the Allied High Command headed by Gen. Eisenhower. When it was first suggested that Allied intelligence had fallen down somehow, a large part of the British press hastened to declare that if anyone was to be blamed in the recent German breakthrough he should be found "higher up," and there has been a tendency to suggest that if Field Marshall Sir Bernard L. Montgomery had been in supreme command it might not have happened at all.
Here The Economist enters the discussion again by leveling some of the fault for recent reverses on the American held front on General Eisenhowefs strategy since the Avranches break-through last August, but holding that the ultimate responsibility, while going higher still, rests on American shoulders for forcing Mr. Churchill to accept the idea that two wars could be fought at once, resulting in the denuding of the Western Front of reserves needed last autumn to exploit the German rout in France to the fullest degree.
Without mentioning the fact that before the British troops under Field Marshal Montgomery succeeded in opening Antwerp to Allied convoys the supply line to the troops at the German frontier was longer than the Burma Road, or that American troops were continuing to fight against disorganized Germens with captured gasoline, artillery and shells last fall, The Economist attributes the deadlock in the West to three main factors.
These are:
(1) That General Eisenhower’s strategy- "the strategy of the elephant leaning on an obstacle to crush it"erred in that he chose to wait until he had all his armies drawn up on a line against Germany instead of massing forces at one point and crashing through.
(2) That in the vacuum of official silence regarding the meaning of "unconditional surrender," unofficial spokesmen were permitted to broadcast plans for dismemberment of Germany, thus stiffening enemy resistance.
(3) That at the crucial moment when Germany could have been- overwhelmed, Allied military leaders were impotent to take advantage of the opportunity because the reserves they needed were just not there.

Reserve Situation Analyzed The most obvious reason for insufficient reserves on the Western Front, The Economist says, "can be found in the two conferences at Quebec, and adds: "In 1943 President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill decided to put greater emphasis on the war with Japan and in 1944 a decision appears to have been taken to wage the two wars with equal energy."
This "diversion" to the Far East, The Economist asserts, "may well have made the difference this autumn between complete victory and the long-drawn-out fighting which seems to threaten now" although the magazine does not allege that any British ground forces that might have been used in the West have been transferred to the Pacific, nor does it explain how British naval. units, now reported in Far Eastern waters, could have changed the balance of force in Belgium, Luxembourg or the Netherlands. Nor is it alleged that there was any lack of air support in the West.
Some other British publications have remarked that British troops engaged in the Greek civil war could be used more advantageously fighting Germans in Crete and elsewhere.

Opposes Reich Dismemberment

Turning to the political aspects of the war, The Economist holds that the policy of dismembering Germany had not been reached as a result of "sober examination," ,but was a "by-product" of the Russo-Polish dispute. Once the proposal was made to compensate Poland for her loss of her eastern territory with German territory to the Oder line, the magazine says, it was inevitable that France should return to demands for the Rhineland, rejected in 1919. ' According to The Economist. the British Government, if it had been ’"left to itself" never would have been caught short of reserves in the west nor permitted the threat of the destruction of the Reich to stiffen German resistance. The trouble was, according to the magazine, that Mr. Churchill saw Britain's role as that of the "honest broker" and yielded at one time to Washington and another time to Moscow to appease her two bigger Allies.
Having suggested that the remedy for the military mistakes of Quebec would lie in Britain's insistance upon disposing of her forces where they will do most to contribute to Germany’s early defeat, The Economist says that the resolution of the political problem is not so easy to find because the Prime Minister seems to have "committed himself to the senseless policy of dismemberment" which, the magazine says, was evolved in Moscow and enunciated in Paris.

Ask Policy Declaration
Yet it is an open secret, the article says, "that such a policy runs counter to the most expert thought and advice of the Foreign Office" and has no chance of commanding the support of the British people after wartime passions have cooled.
This being so, The Economist article says "there is a strong case for a public declaration from the British Government stating that it does not intend to pursue or support a policy that permanently deprives the German people of the possibility of leading a normal political and economic existence." Such a firm pronouncement by the British Government on the military and political aspects of the Grand Alliance, The Economist says, would undermine Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda and the hope for a negotiated peace through a schism among the Allies and "end the anomalous situation" whereby the policy of the alliance is worked is out in Moscow and Paris with the is British "feebly or apologetically", confirming decisions in which they have had no part.


London Press Says changes are Immenent-No official Confirmation Available
Dec 30th
-Reports that a reorganization of the Allies’ command on the western front was imminent were prominently displayed today by the London press. One military commentator declared that an official statement covering some aspects of the re-grouping of the Allies commands and armies was expected shortly. The reports, the publication of‘which coincided with a definite improvement of the Allies position on the western front, were without any official confirmation.
The London Evening News delclared that "important changes in lthe organization of the Allied Supreme Command on the western front are imminent". It listed the present commanders without speculating what the changes might be.
The Evening Standard reported that "the big regroup is on." It quoted a Reuter military correspondent as saying that "the second phase of Marshal Karl von Rundstedt’s offensive has reached the poker stage"
The report of changes in the command appeared on the front page of The Star under the head- line: "Allied Command: Statement Soon." The London press also carried reports from Washington that an American Major General had been recalled from France and demoted, but not because of the German countenoffensive. Despite the setback suffered by the Allies in Belgium, there appeared to be no disposition here to question Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s ability to control the situation. The Supreme Commander retains the prestige that he won in North Africa, Italy and the smashing success of the Normandy invasion.
G. Ward Price, Sunday Dispatch war correspondent just returned from the western front, declared that the setback "should bring about changes which, before it occurred, were already known to be necessary by those on the inside of Allied stategy. Eisenhower is genuinely popular with all his subordinate commanders, but his responsibilities are too depressed and widespread for him to direct operations of seven Armies his orders with the necessary de- tailed knowledge of the situation of each." Mr. Price recalled that during the Normandy campaign, when things went Well, Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery had been strategic Commander in Chief in the field, exercising powers conferred upon him by General Eisenhower, whose headquarters were then in England. Since September, when General Eisenhower went to France, Marshal Montgomery "has been but one of the army group commanders imder Eisenhower" Mr. Price said.
Those inside, Mr. Price added, have been disturbed by the Allied armies’ dispersing their strength instead of concentrating it. He said that one authority had told him: "If Montgomery’s advance into Nijmegen had been backed by ten United States divisions, we should have been in the Ruhr by now."
The Sunday Chronicle also published an article declaring that "Eisenhower’s burden should be eased. The old combination of Eisenhower [Field Marshal Sir Harold R. L. G.] Alexander and Montgomery had a non-stop run of success, Brig. J. G. Smyth said in a prominantly displayed article "might it not be repeated?" or must Alexander really stand by to quell riots in Greece

casper hileman
Posts: 5
Joined: 13 Jun 2012 03:32

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by casper hileman » 13 Jun 2012 04:02

How about Field Marshal William "Bill" Slim. Slim led a decimated force who was under equipped and under trained from as the title of his memoirs states "Defeat to Victory". Just because he was in what was called then a side show in the China-India-Burma theater does not mean he did not do a bang up job. Lets see the previously mentioned generals fight in the jungles of Burma and win.


User avatar
Posts: 8584
Joined: 21 Sep 2005 21:46
Location: Michigan

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by LWD » 13 Jun 2012 13:01

As has been mentioned in other threads and perhaps this one as well he was also able to get along with Stillwell.

casper hileman
Posts: 5
Joined: 13 Jun 2012 03:32

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by casper hileman » 14 Jun 2012 05:57

Very good point about Stillwell LWD. Stillwell was not a man who tolerated fools. Unfortunately he had a hard time playing well with others who were on a higher political plain than him.

Posts: 815
Joined: 13 Jul 2006 05:19
Location: Katy TX USA

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by HFK » 21 Jun 2012 19:41

I will agree with Casper and say Gen. William Slim was the best Allied general of WW2.
Regards, Harry

User avatar
Posts: 1422
Joined: 03 Feb 2012 03:44
Location: Calgary Alberta

Re: Best allied commander

Post by waldzee » 21 Jun 2012 19:53

Lawrence Tandy wrote:
Unteroffizier_Tyler wrote:THe best mustve been Ike or Zhukov. I dont believe monty was much better than the army slop they gave the soldiers. The british didnt do a whole lot after D-Day. They loafed their way all the way to the Elbe. Im sure they were good soldiers and were probably sick of the war but if their commanders wouldve committed them more things might be alittle different.
The 10 weeks of the Normandy Campaign cost Canadians more than 18000 casualties, 5000 + dead.
I don't know other British and Commonwealth casualties off hand but they were substantial.
To say that they loafed after D-Day is a grave insult.
NEVER feed the T- critters, Lawrence.. :lol:

User avatar
Posts: 1422
Joined: 03 Feb 2012 03:44
Location: Calgary Alberta

Re: Monte

Post by waldzee » 21 Jun 2012 20:05

Englander wrote:
USA_Finn wrote:is amoung the worse. To be frank, Monte cost millions of lives in Europe, Britian, the US, and yes in Germany. Monte prolonged the war through incompetence and egotism.

Just a sample of his abilities include: Monte stopped Patton with his half cooked Market Garden plan. Shame on Ike for saying yes. Monte let the Germans escape from Falaise. Monte failed to capture Caen when it was wide open to easy capture. Monte came very close to splitting the Allies, one of Hitler's Ardennes objectives (below).


I do admit to holding a deep dislike for the man.
What the hell are you talking about boy! ...For the love of christ, who's Monte?[/quote]
For the love of Our Saviour??
Thaht would be' Les sermonnes sur l'Monte..... ou L`monte des Beautudes' 8O

all odd expressions aside- probably Zhukov or Ivanov- Omar Badley close third

Clive Mortimore
Posts: 1264
Joined: 06 Jun 2009 22:38

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Clive Mortimore » 08 Jul 2012 21:38

The debate about Monty and Bradley during the battle of the Bluge is very interesting but I am going to back to the original question, who was the best Allied general?

One general I admire,and has been mentioned once on about page six, is Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis KG OM GCB GCMG CSI DSO MC PC PC CD. He must have been a man of great patience to put up with Patton, Montgomery and Mark Clark. :D

Armies have commanders who never get the praise they deserve, an example is Major General Sir Frendrick Pile of the British Army Anti Aircraft Command. Not only did he have to fight the Germans but also the ground army for resources. He never won a battle but his men and women fought very hard during the blitz and proved their worth during the V1 terror.

In the Monty, Bradley and Patton discussion there has been a few references to D Day.....all three would not got a shore if it was not for Admiral Bertram Ramsay and Air Chief Marshal Leigh Mallory. All were part of a winning team and like all winning teams there are players who have bad days as well as good days :D


Fatboy Coxy
Posts: 633
Joined: 26 Jul 2009 16:14
Location: Essex, UK

Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 11 Jul 2012 19:21

I guess when we mean General, we're not specfic about rank, and I see every rank from Brigadier General to Field Marshal mentioned.

Secondly we fail to specify the role of a General. Surely thats obvious... but is it?

Seems to me a Brigadier, Major and even a Lieutenant General are all capable of making Tactical directions on a battlefield, similar to the days of Napoleon and Wellington. However as a Corps, Army or Army Group commander the direction, for me, is Strategic.

So the weighing up of the ground the battle is fought on, levels of supplies, rate of reinforcement, morale of both their own and enemy troops, fighting abilities of both sets of troops becomes more or less important given their rank and level of command. The flexability of command given to the commander by his superior is also relevant, as well as the pressure the General is put under by his superiors, both Military or Political, as well as the battlefield situation.

To identify the "Best" general we have to be able to compare, but who would you compare Eisenhower with? and can Monty and Patton be fairly compared given their roles. Also we have to compare them within the capabilities their forces were capable of achieving. Percival is rightly criticised for his handling of the Malayan campaign, but who do we compare him with, well certainly Wainwright, he fits the criteria, but is it fair to use Monty as a comparator?

We should also be mindful of how these commanders were allowed to develop their skills. The likes of Leese and Horrocks were able to develop within a winning team, while Fredendall and Lucas were pitched in, "sink or swim". And lastly the benevolence of senior officers, prepared to suffer a commanders growing pains, and give them a second chance, as Brooke did with Richie.

I still vote for Messervy, as much for his wide experience of level of command, enemy he faced, and whether his side was in the acendancy or not.


Return to “The Allies and the Neutral States in general”