who was the best Allied general?

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USA_Finn
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Re: Monte

Post by USA_Finn » 09 Jul 2004 17:30

Your conclusion: the denial of the possibility of a valid conclusion that Montgomery’s generalship cost lives because I have bought ‘completely into the Saving Private Ryan etc propaganda myth’ is fallacious. My conclusion may be incorrect but certainly is not because of brainwashing by Hollywood.

Lets dive into your points.

Monty was not Britain best commander of WWII - that was Slim but he was better than any US commander (with the possible exception of McArthur). Both had personaility traits that made them difficult to work with. Patton and Stillwell were not exactly well known for their engaging personalities either.

Agree that Field Marshal Smith was a great commander, worthy of our respect.

Napoleon, Grant and Sherman won and while personally insufferable. None of the personal characteristics are important if a commander can bring victory. Which unfortunately is not true of Montgomery. In his one allegedly great battle, El Alamein, he allowed Rommel’s vastly inferior and under-supplied troops to slip away uncaptured. In strategy, that is an unpardonable mistake.

The Germans knew they could count on Montgomery’s limitless caution. For Rommel says, “I was quite satisfied that Montgomery would never take the risk of following up boldly and overrunning us, as he could have done without any danger to himself. Indeed, such a course would have cost him far fewer losses in the long run than his methodical insistence on overwhelming superiority in each tactical action, which he could only obtain at the cost of his speed.”

Montgomery never advanced quickly because he insisted on having three times the necessary number of supplies and then moving forward “with caution.” “War requires the taking of risks,” as Patton said, “and Monty simply won’t take them.” Rommel commented, “Montgomery had an absolute mania for always bringing up adequate reserves behind his back and risking as little as possible.” Rommel had exploited Monty’s “mania” to the full.

Compare Rommel’s notes on Montgomery with his comments on Patton. “We had to wait until the Patton Army in France to see the most astonishing achievements in mobile warfare.” Clearly the Germans regarded Patton as a modern commander who fully understood the British-invented blitzkrieg, whereas Montgomery was an old-school WWI commander who would plod bloodily from battle to battle.

German and American and British battle doctrine held to the Clauswitz's dictum that the attack is the most effective means to destroy the enemy armies and bring about victory. The over cautous Monty cost lives through ignoring the very battle doctrine upon which his armies were built.

Kesselring also details the desperate state of the German African Army after El Alamein. Later in Italy, the German defense turned Monty’s battlefield timidity and predictability against the British Tommies. Kesselring attributed the steady rate of British casualties to Monty's "unispired obstinacy of his methods." Withdrawls were timed to extract maximum punishment to the Brits because the German's correctly read Monty's mind for his "prestige offensives." Kesselring nailed it. And Monty saved soldiers lives?

Montgomery abhorred the senseless slaughter of his men having been an eyewitness to the slaughter of WWI. You're talk of his "failure" to capture Caen is, I'm afraid, wrong. It was not "wide open" for capture at any time.


Who is in favor of the senseless slaugher of men? Haig nor French wanted their men butchered purposefully. Blaine their tactics.

General McClellan of the American Civil War was of like mind with Montgomery, overly cautious.

So how did you come to the your Caen conclusion?

The numbers speak for themselves. In Operation Goodwood, Montgomery had 1,500 tanks and 250,000 men attack the German defenses which, due to over a month of Monty’s inactivity, had hardened around Caen. 45,000 shells were dropped on the 2nd SS Panzer Corps alone. Over 800 fighter bomber missions flew to support Montgomery’s men while 1,800 RAF and RCAF squadrons flew against German tanks and artillery emplacements. At the end of the operation, Caen was still uncaptured and desperately needed for Bradley’s ever extending lines. Seven thousand tons of bombs had been dropped in the most elaborate bombing of enemy front-line positions ever accomplished and Montgomery had only managed to take seven miles!

Most of Montgomery’s operations were more like Goodwood. Tons of supplies wasted, little captured. An extreme example of the flaw in his strategy, though, must be Operation Market Garden. The casualties of this doomed escapade were higher than those from the assault on Normandy on D Day. Montgomery’s Market Garden reaped a staggering 17,000 in killed, missing and wounded during the 9 day venture behind enemy lines. Montgomery did not heed the warnings his Intelligence Corps and the Dutch underground had given him. He chose to believe that the area would offer no resistance. In fact, the 2nd SS Panzer Corps was resting in that very area. The Allied soldiers had fought well, but they could not capture all the bridges that were required for the operation to be a success (this was a basic flaw in Monty’s plan). After 13,226 of his British troops had died, Montgomery decided to pull out and labeled the mission a “success.” This time he had captured nothing.

An estimated 10,000 Dutch civilians who had cooperated with the Allied forces perished that winter after Monty pulled out. Montgomery saves lives? Bernhard, the Prince of the Netherlands at that time, seems to sum it up. It was he who said, “My country can never again afford the luxury of another Montgomery success.”

If you want to talk about taking wide open towns, talk about Clark's obsession with taking Rome rather than taking Germans prisoner. At least Montgomery's caution was to protect the lives of his troops and not to seek personal glory.


Agreed on Clark.

How did you come to your Montgomery did not seek personal glory? Your is the only account of this type I have read.

Montgomery was a pure egotist. Montgomery always turned the spotlight of the press upon himself alone. In NorthAfrica, Montgomery only gave credit of victory to his army – the Eighth – even though there were many other British armies fighting along side him.

Alexander, his superior in Africa and in Italy, once remarked that, “Monty has a lot of personal charm – I always like him best when I am with him. Yet he is unwise, I think, to take all the credit for his great success as a commander entirely to himself. His prestige, which is very high, could be higher still if he had given a little credit to those who had made his victories possible, and there are those besides his own fighting men to whom he owes something.”

Montgomery’s behavior was a source of embarrassment many times. Churchill once said that Monty was, “In defeat, indomitable, in victory, insufferable.”

On January 7, 1945, to a group of reporters, Monty played loose with facts and truth, and in essence, claims credit for saving the Allies in the Bulge. Galling were the facts that Americans alone, not the British, stopped the German advance. Infuriating is the knowledge that once Montgomery has temporary command, true to form, he gets in the way and botches American counter-attacks through his meddling and overly cautious set-piece style.

This time, Eisenhower reaches the end of his patience. Ike trumps Monty by going directly to Churchill, not General Alexander, with the demand: Either Montgomery goes or he Ike resigns Montgomery is redressed by Churchill and the British Chief of Staff Alexander and told to go and patch up his differences with Ike or else, be sacked.

On January 18, Churchill addressed Parliament and announced, in no uncertain terms, the truth. The "Bulge" was an American battle and an American victory. A humiliated but, history proves, an unrepentant Montgomery begs forgiveness from Ike.

The strategy of Hitler’s last gamble, Nordwind, is to divide the allies. Montgomery was a pawn to this strategy. And Montgomery saved lives?

If you'd been a soldier in an allied army in Normandy, you'd want to be under Montgomery's cautious command rather than the gung-ho antics of Bradley who ignored the advice of his own army's experts on the need for shore bombardment and support armour in amphibious operations.


Agreed on being under Monty. And were I were King during the war, also with perfect hindsight, Montgomery would take be relieved of command and made a token symbolhead, as my ‘Geroge Marshal’ in London, without command.

You want to talk about useless slaughter of men? Talk about Omaha beach!


Let me understand your pont here. Why was this a useless slaughter? Since Montgomery was the Senior planner of Overlord is he not accountable?

How you get your "millions" is a mystery; Montgomery SAVED lives not squandered them. He conserved effort and he was right - Eisenhower's political fudge of a braoad advance prolonged the war - there is where your countless (though not millions) lives lie.


The claim is defendable.

Simon Wiesenthal Center estimates the civilian count at 10.8M for the war. This accounts for all European fatalities in German controlled areas as a direct result of Nazi racial policy alone. Another is the rate of Jewish only deaths in Nazi extermination camps. This varies greatly, but during the years 1943 – 1944, the average is around 200k per month. Another measure is an estimated 3.M Jews, targeted for death, that, against odds and time, survived the war while living under the National Socialist regime.

Tell me. How many lives were saved on account of the decisive victory at Midway in 1942? The number is without doubt immense. At Midway, unlike North African or Normandy, Nimitz and his commanders proceeded on the principle of the "calculated risk” and that the war would never be won by commanders who never took a chance. Just don't take foolish chances was Nimitz approach.

The just out MHQ: The Journal of Miltary History Summer 2004 magazine holds a must read article on Antwerp and the Sheldt fiasco.

The article goes on to make the case that the war could have been won in 1944 and thus saved many lives. An example used for lives saved is no Dresden bombing.

Eisenhower was a political go-between. A clerk, a political appointee with no grasp of tactics.


Eisnehower understood strategy well and had the difficult job of holding the Allies together. Eisenhower broad-front strategy was a safer means to victory and is worth of debate.
Montgomery’s continual criticism of Eisenhower is a surprise, considering how lenient Eisenhower was when he dealt with him.

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Post by Polynikes » 10 Jul 2004 05:48

USA_Finn

My conclusion may be incorrect but certainly is not because of brainwashing by Hollywood.

Well perhaps I may be wrong about the source of your disinformation, but inaccurate it is nevertheless.

Agree that Field Marshal Smith was a great commander, worthy of our respect.

You mean Slim.

Napoleon, Grant and Sherman won and while personally insufferable. None of the personal characteristics are important if a commander can bring victory. Which unfortunately is not true of Montgomery. In his one allegedly great battle, El Alamein, he allowed Rommel’s vastly inferior and under-supplied troops to slip away uncaptured. In strategy, that is an unpardonable mistake.

Napolean allowed Blucher to escape after Ligny - that was to bite him a few days later. Talk about unpardonable.

Few commanders are able to destroy an enemy in a battle.....the history of the Desert War was a series of long advances that outran logistics supply and then followed by a long retreat.

At Alamein, the Qattara Depression didn't allow a flanking attack - this was actually a virtue as it removed Rommel's most favoured tactic.

Rommel had a habit of being absent on big days...the two biggest days of his life should've been El Alamein and D-Day - he was on leave both times.
Anyway, when he returned shortly after the battle, he was angry that his subordinates had not counter-attacked. Montgomery had a high respect of the Afrika Korps.

Perhaps he could've charged headlong after the DAK but decided on a more cautious route - I wouldn't damn him too much for this. I would criticise him for not ordering XXX Corps in Market-Garden to force the pace more & attempt to reach the paras at Arnhem.

The Germans knew they could count on Montgomery’s limitless caution. For Rommel says, “I was quite satisfied that Montgomery would never take the risk of following up boldly and overrunning us, as he could have done without any danger to himself. Indeed, such a course would have cost him far fewer losses in the long run than his methodical insistence on overwhelming superiority in each tactical action, which he could only obtain at the cost of his speed.”

Well he said this in hindsight...what was his excuse for not being ready for Montgomery's assault at El Alamein?

“War requires the taking of risks,” as Patton said, “and Monty simply won’t take them.” Rommel commented, “Montgomery had an absolute mania for always bringing up adequate reserves behind his back and risking as little as possible.” Rommel had exploited Monty’s “mania” to the full.

Mongomery had an aversion to taking risks...I would disagree with Patton. Taking risks means just that - you might lose. After the failure of the 2 previous years, we needed to win in Africa to kick-start the war. Montgomery needed to be sure of success and BTW, a 3:1 superiority is generally thought to be a necessity on offensive operations.

After WWI, the British had had enough of bold, risky strokes.

German and American and British battle doctrine held to the Clauswitz's dictum that the attack is the most effective means to destroy the enemy armies and bring about victory. The over cautous Monty cost lives through ignoring the very battle doctrine upon which his armies were built.

Not always so.
Defence sometimes wins...actually it wins quite a lot.

Perhaps it's the British island nation spirit but most of England's/Britain's greatest victories have come about through defensive actions.

Who is in favor of the senseless slaugher of men? Haig nor French wanted their men butchered purposefully.

I don't mean that Haig WANTED his men to die, merely that he just didn't care.

Is the Somme and Gallipoli the kind of risk-taking you're talking about?

Are you aware that D-Day was basically Montgomery's plan?

.....seven thousand tons of bombs had been dropped in the most elaborate bombing of enemy front-line positions ever accomplished and Montgomery had only managed to take seven miles!

Yeah, this just goes to show that the ammount of ordnance you employ doesn't make a damn of difference sometimes...

Do you know the figures for the Somme 1916? Virtually no ground was taken and held then despite the biggest ever (up to that point) artillery barrage.

The Candian formations got a lot of criticsism (aimed mostly at their commanders) for their poor performance - supposedly "battle hardened" British units from Italy also fared poorly. This was because having tasted battle, these veterans were less willing to stick their necks out again.

The bottom line though is that marching through the Bocage against the German army (and some pretty fanatical SS soldiers) was always going to be a methodical, inch by inch process.

Montgomery did not heed the warnings his Intelligence Corps and the Dutch underground had given him. He chose to believe that the area would offer no resistance. In fact, the 2nd SS Panzer Corps was resting in that very area.

Sorry my friend but you can't have it both ways....

Market-garden was a calculated risk that failed. You damn Mongomery for not taking risks then when he tries to execute a knock out blow that POSSIBLY could've won the war in 1944, you damn him too.

It was worth a shot and several factors built up to doom the operation...the two SS Pz Divs sent to Arnhem to rest and reorganise was the worst luck.
I readily admit that XXX corps could've pushed on a lot harder to reach Arnhem.

How did you come to your Montgomery did not seek personal glory? Your is the only account of this type I have read.

Montgomery was a pure egotist. Montgomery always turned the spotlight of the press upon himself alone. In North Africa, Montgomery only gave credit of victory to his army – the Eighth – even though there were many other British armies fighting along side him.


I guess he was an egoist...then again I guess most generals (like politicians) are. My point is that Montgomery's wish for glory didn't extend to wasting/risking the lives of his troops just to get it.

Agreed on being under Monty. And were I were King during the war, also with perfect hindsight, Montgomery would take be relieved of command and made a token symbolhead, as my ‘Geroge Marshal’ in London, without command.

Marshall might have been the best overall commander rather than Eisenhower, yet he was hardly an experienced field commander either.

When you employ a man like Montgomery you know what you're going to get - a slow methodical approach.
Employ a man like Patton or Rommel and you're going to get a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants general who reacts instinctively.

IMO, the instinctive general is going to lose to the methodical one in the end, all other things being equal.

Let me understand your pont here. Why was this a useless slaughter? Since Montgomery was the Senior planner of Overlord is he not accountable?

There was nothing wrong with the planning - though perhaps the airborne element might have been better executed. "Optimistic" would be the word I would use for the airborne plans.

What I mean is that the British from Gallipoli in WWI to Dieppe two years earlier had realised that an infantry assault against a defended coast was going to be extremely costly in lives.
The British had a general called Hobart who was allowed to form an ad-hoc armoured division - the 79th armoured div - made up of specialist combat engineering units to clear the way. All kinds of contraptions were designed and many discarded but the division spearheaded the assault on the 3 British/CW beaches on 6th June 1944 with great success.

Bradley (the senior US field commander) rejected all but the DD Shermans.

The US army (and USMC) had by June 1944 built up their own expertise of amphibious operations in the Pacific. The US army sent Maj-General Corlett (commander of the US 7th Infantry Div) from the PTO to advise on aphibious ops.
He was astonished at the negative reception that the ETO staff gave him (that they had nothing to learn) especially Bradley.
The British beach assault took place after a much longer naval barrage that that afforded to the US assault forces who assumed that airpower would do all the necessary bombardment.
The US vice-admiral Hewitt told Corlett that he knew that his ships should lay down more of a barrage but Bradley had refused this & there was nothing he could do about it.

With so much empahsis on an aerial attack, the naval bombardment was minimal. The airstrikes all missed their targets and the US troops hit the beach with virtually no artillery or armoured support whereas the British troops had to wait for the pre-planned naval bombardment to stop as well as the support armour to deploy.

Now perhaps that's what you mean about Montgomery's slow plodding methodical style...personally I quite approve.

Simon Wiesenthal Center estimates the civilian count at 10.8M for the war. This accounts for all European fatalities in German controlled areas as a direct result of Nazi racial policy alone. Another is the rate of Jewish only deaths in Nazi extermination camps. This varies greatly, but during the years 1943 – 1944, the average is around 200k per month. Another measure is an estimated 3.M Jews, targeted for death, that, against odds and time, survived the war while living under the National Socialist regime.

Ah, my mistake...I was assuming you were talking about allied servicemen's lives.

Then yes, you may be correct. Had Eisenhower not decided on a polical solution and gone for the broad, slow moving front approach, then millions of lives MIGHT have been saved.

Montgomery actually advocated that either HE or PATTON be given the resources to mount a 45-50 division armoured assault deep into the heart of Germany while the other commander held the flank.

Eisenhower refused and kept the slow, plodding broad front strategy. I know thhis flies in the face of your US commander = dashing, risk taking achiever and British general = slow, risk averse penpusher but there you go.

Bradley = foolish general unwilling to listen to advice.
Eisenhower = vacilating appeaser.

Patton was brash and was certainly a risk taker and there's a place for commanders like him, personally I'd prefer to have Montgomery in charge with Patton as his #1 corps commander to force things along when needed.

The just out MHQ: The Journal of Miltary History Summer 2004 magazine holds a must read article on Antwerp and the Sheldt fiasco.

Yes I read it too - the bit about Corlett and Hewitt is out of the Spring 2003 edition.

An example used for lives saved is no Dresden bombing.

Well Dresden is another subject entirely - it was an unecessary act IMO and verged on the criminal.

Eisnehower understood strategy well and had the difficult job of holding the Allies together. Eisenhower broad-front strategy was a safer means to victory and is worth of debate.

Agreed it was a safe bet. No risks. But I thought the thrust of your post was that this was a bad thing?

You play safe when vulnerable and with a lot to lose...when in a position of overwhelming strength, you can take risks.
In Normandy, Montgomery had Britain's LAST army. He simply couldn't afford to lose it.

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Post by Plain Old Dave » 14 Jul 2004 03:53

Let's see... Would have to be a several way tie:

LTGEN Holland M. Smith (Commanded 100,000 Marines on Iwo)
MGEN Clifton B.Cates (also a UT grad. Go Big Orange!)

If we MUST include the Army....

Lt. Gen. George Patton

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Post by VJ » 14 Jul 2004 06:52

How are these American Generals in any way better than Zhukov, Rokossovsky or Konev, for example?

I estimate that it's mainly the lack of knowledge of the posters that leads to assumptions that the greatest Allied Generals were Western...

Regards,
VJ

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Post by Plain Old Dave » 14 Jul 2004 19:38

VJ wrote:How are these American Generals in any way better than Zhukov, Rokossovsky or Konev, for example?

I estimate that it's mainly the lack of knowledge of the posters that leads to assumptions that the greatest Allied Generals were Western...

Regards,
VJ


"Howlin' Mad" Smith rose to later become Commandant of the Marine Corps, as did Clifton Cates. You don't get to be head of your Armed Service, *especially* not the Marine Corps, without being a great warrior. And anyone that would denigrate Patton as being the greatest tactician in the ETO just isn't paying attention.

Those bolshies you mentioned just poured men at their objective til the Nazis ran out of ammo to shoot them all with, and would machine gun their own troops if they retreated, Sorry, to me that does NOT make a great General.

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 15 Jul 2004 08:47

Plain Old Dave wrote:
VJ wrote:How are these American Generals in any way better than Zhukov, Rokossovsky or Konev, for example?

I estimate that it's mainly the lack of knowledge of the posters that leads to assumptions that the greatest Allied Generals were Western...

Regards,
VJ


"Howlin' Mad" Smith rose to later become Commandant of the Marine Corps, as did Clifton Cates. You don't get to be head of your Armed Service, *especially* not the Marine Corps, without being a great warrior. And anyone that would denigrate Patton as being the greatest tactician in the ETO just isn't paying attention.

Those bolshies you mentioned just poured men at their objective til the Nazis ran out of ammo to shoot them all with, and would machine gun their own troops if they retreated, Sorry, to me that does NOT make a great General.
Do they clone geniuses like you or is the ignorance really so widespread? Just out of curiosity have you even seen any book on operational history of EF?

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Post by Andreas » 15 Jul 2004 09:30

Have to go with Konev, on reflection. After an unimpressive performance in 41/42, his command in later war was absolutely magnificent. Especially the L'vov-Sandomierz operation has to stand out as a very successful frontal assault on a German army group, with results far beyond expectations.

His risk-taking in inserting 3rd Guards Tank Army (Rybalko, another contender) into the Koltov corridor, against express SOP directions from STAVKA showed some great generalship, and was duly rewarded.

When you look at the orders he gave throughout the operations, it is also clear that the general idea that it came down to the micro-managing Soviet general vs. the Auftragstaktik German general is just humbug.

He also wrote great memoirs.

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Post by Andreas » 15 Jul 2004 11:32

Plain Old Dave wrote:
VJ wrote:How are these American Generals in any way better than Zhukov, Rokossovsky or Konev, for example?

I estimate that it's mainly the lack of knowledge of the posters that leads to assumptions that the greatest Allied Generals were Western...

Regards,
VJ


"Howlin' Mad" Smith rose to later become Commandant of the Marine Corps, as did Clifton Cates. You don't get to be head of your Armed Service, *especially* not the Marine Corps, without being a great warrior. And anyone that would denigrate Patton as being the greatest tactician in the ETO just isn't paying attention.

Those bolshies you mentioned just poured men at their objective til the Nazis ran out of ammo to shoot them all with, and would machine gun their own troops if they retreated, Sorry, to me that does NOT make a great General.


Of course, those generals who defeated the Ostheer, destroying ~70% of the Wehrmacht in the process, can not possibly be good generals.

[Sarcasm]Instead we have to look for the US Marine Corps, where the height of tactical achievement is to line up battleships, plaster the island, and then frontally assault it with zero regard for how many of your chaps you get killed in the process. All against the most tactically inept army in WW2, the late Japanese forces. To be able to do this while losing 1/3rd of your force against a numerically inferior enemy to me does not make a great general.[/Sarcasm]

Warning for the sarcasm impaired - the above description of the achievement of the USMC on Iwo Jima probably bears about as much resemblance to reality as the description of Soviet performance offered by the quoted poster.

Want to find out more about the Red Army? -> http://www.redarmystudies.net

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Post by Thomhasj » 15 Jul 2004 21:30

The most capable commanders that I know are:

British - Slim

USA - difficult to say, I'd go for Nimitz

Soviet Union - Zhukov


I'd also like to add a commander which occupies a special place in my heart, a commander who faced overwhelming superior numbers of Germans while only having a single battalion under his command for three full days: Lieutenant-Colonel John D. Frost, CO 2nd Para Battalion, 1st Para Brigade, 1st Abn Div.

Cheers to you all!

Thomhasj

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Post by THECLASH » 17 Aug 2004 01:05

I would say Marshall Tito was. Hitler considered him to be a far worse threat than a Western landing in 1944. Himmler said that several times in speeches that Germany would win the war no doubt if only if it had about "20" "Titos". He not only defeated the Nazis and Fascists but also the Ustasha and the Chetniks without that much of aid from either the West nor the East.

Besides Tito - Marshall Zhukov and Patton were also great Allied leaders too.

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Post by Lars EP » 24 Aug 2004 15:50

Plain Old Dave wrote:Those bolshies you mentioned just poured men at their objective til the Nazis ran out of ammo to shoot them all with, and would machine gun their own troops if they retreated, Sorry, to me that does NOT make a great General.


Very enlightened... Have you read many books about the subject?

Regards --- Lars

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Post by Andy H » 24 Aug 2004 15:56

Lets please refrain from letting this thread go under.

Plain Old Dave your remarks are not without some basis, however to paint every Russian General as some mad man feeding men into a mincer is a very naive and has a narrow viewpoint.

Andy H

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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by MARENGO56 » 13 Oct 2010 00:01

Rommel was a good tactician, might have been a good student in the class of Prof. strategy. Zhukov and Manstein, Giap was a good strategist to use human flesh to stop the military machine of the U.S. Army, does not go to my gallery of heroes do not ... Monty was another one as the Rommel legend has a much larger than their shares until the operation Market Garden he was characterized as not needlessly throw away the lives of their soldiers. Patton was tactical, but was brilliant in 99% of cases, something that the methodical strategists Bradley and Ike were not

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Re: Montgomery

Post by Delta Tank » 13 Oct 2010 22:08

genstab wrote:he was at best an adequate general. Too conservative though they were consciously conserving British lives- the one time he went out on a limb and got radical was Arnhem and we all know what happened there. He refused to believe intelligence that showed 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions in the landing area.
Are you sure Monty knew of these two division in Arnhem area? I thought the intel of these two divisions stopped with General Browning.

Mike

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Re: MacArthur - Rokossovsky

Post by Delta Tank » 13 Oct 2010 22:14

USA_Finn wrote:IMO Douglas MacArthur should not be considered among the best Allied commanders. The reason, he had a full day’s notice, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, to ready for an anticipated Japanese attack. Yet when the Japanese attacked on December 8, most of our military units there were caught off guard and were mauled as a result. Holding the Philippines was an imperative to our defensive strategy in that day. Impossible perhaps, but the job was bungled from the start.

MacArthur is to be admired and considered an excellent commander. MacArthur was flawed. His ego massive. Yet MacArthur, more than any other American commander, used economy of force to minimize casualties and yet achieve decisive victories. No major American commander comes even close statistically. If I could pick an overall commander over my son, its without question MacArthur.

What happened in the Philippines to allow the surprise? References to good books on the topic are appreciated. Is the 1941 Philippines mistake related to Macarthur’s monumental error of over confidence during the winter of 1950 in Korea?

Rokossovsky, what a man and an oversite on my part. He and Smith are my two top of the top list.
MacArthur did not have a full days notice, there is this thing called the international date line. So when it is 7 December at Pearl Harbor, it is 8 December in the Philippines. You can look up the exact time difference on the web. A good book for you to read would be: "The Fall of the Philippines" by Louis Morton, you can find it on line here:
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/ ... ntents.htm

Mike

Mike

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