who was the best Allied general?

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Delta Tank
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Re: Monte

Post by Delta Tank » 13 Oct 2010 23:10

Polynikes and all,
That's because you've bought completely into the Saving Private Ryan etc propaganda myth.

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.
Stillwell was know as "Vinegear Joe" so yes he was hard to get along with, Patton was a 1st rate "smooze" artist and to state that Patton did not have an engagin personality is to show your ignorance of the man!!
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.
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.
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.
source please!! You are showing your ignorance once again. May I suggest a book for you to read:
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/ ... 100-11.htm Pay particular attention to the armor that landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. If you search this site you will find the exact number of tanks that landed on Omaha Beach by a guy that goes by the title RichTO90.
You want to talk about useless slaughter of men? Talk about Omaha beach!
See above!
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.
Eisenhower was a political go-between. A clerk, a political appointee with no grasp of tactics.
Eisenhower was a genius!! He had to command the greatest collection of egos ever assembled (which included Sir Winston S. Churchill), and he did it with out relieving anyone of his top commanders!!
Market-Garden was a failure. But worth attempting - it was poor execution and bad luck that did for it. It seems you favour calculated risk when it works, and damn it when it doesn't.

Any fool can be agressive with armies - Hitler and Zhukov for example (or Haig in WWI), it takes a general to win with minimal cost. I would take anything written by a German general with a healthy dose of salt.

I would've liked to have seen Bradley take Caen with American lives against the 12 SS Pz Div etc in the Bocage and XXX corps swing round to the South....
Mike
Last edited by Delta Tank on 13 Oct 2010 23:22, edited 1 time in total.

Delta Tank
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Re:

Post by Delta Tank » 13 Oct 2010 23:14

Plain Old Dave wrote: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
Did LTGEN Holland M. Smith command 100,000 marines on Iwo Jima?? Are you sure about that? Or was he really promoted out of command? Held a title and had no authority??

Mike

Delta Tank
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Re:

Post by Delta Tank » 13 Oct 2010 23:19

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.
"Howlin "Mad" Smith was NOT a Commandant of the Marine Corps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have you read his book "Coral and Brass"? You know he was probably nuts, you know "Howlin Mad"!! There was a reason he had this nickname!!!!!!

You need to read some books, your knowledge of World War II is just indescribably shallow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I am being kind!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike

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redcoat
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Re: Montgomery

Post by redcoat » 07 Nov 2010 01:20

Delta Tank wrote:
genstab wrote: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
The British were fully aware that these two divisions were in the area, they had just chased them out of France.
However the British had calculated that these two divisions only had around 50 tanks between them and that they were unfit for combat.
The surprise for the Allies was the speed these formations were able to re-organise themselves into effective units to check the advance of XXX Corps.


ps: While Arnham fell far short of expectations it wasn't the total defeat that some seem to think it was, it advanced the Front in this sector by around 90 miles and inflicted around 32,000 casualties on the Germans in exchange for 17,000 Allied casualties.
In comparision the Battle of Hurtgen Forest cost the Allies around 33,000 casualties in exchange for 28,000 German casualties and only gained a few miles of forest

Sunbury
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Sunbury » 07 Nov 2010 06:55

Redcoat wrote.
ps: While Arnham fell far short of expectations it wasn't the total defeat that some seem to think it was, it advanced the Front in this sector by around 90 miles and inflicted around 32,000 casualties on the Germans in exchange for 17,000 Allied casualties.
In comparision the Battle of Hurtgen Forest cost the Allies around 33,000 casualties in exchange for 28,000 German casualties and only gained a few miles of forest
Market Garden is covered in layers of misinformation, most of it deliberate, I saw a thread here that showed clearly one of the major factors that Market Garden failed was due soley to the 82nd Airborne making no plans to seize the
Nijmegen Bridge until around 8pm of the first day, That attack was by A Company of the 1st Battalion of the 508th Regiment approaching from one direction. Gavin had landed no troops on the far side of the bridge. Yet he had always said to take a bridge, you do it from both sides at once.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 17&start=0 is the thread.

An interesting thread, it shows that XXX Corp arrived on time at Nijmegen and were 8 miles from Arnherm with 6 hours in hand. The 2nd Battalion of the Para's were still on Arnherm Brighe, acting as a cork in a bottle, stopping German reinforcements getting through. They held out for another 12 hours or so. Trouble was it took 36 hours to fight through Nijmegen. The rest is history, or selective parts of it to be exact..

So best Allied General? There isn't one really in my eyes. The endless comparing of Montgomery VS USA generals are meaningless. The British and Americans had different attitudes and methods of fighting. By D Day, Britian had real manpower shortages and could not afford heavy losses. That was one reason for Hobart's funnies on D Day, to reduce infantry losses. It worked. The US could afford the losses, till early 1945, when they became more cautious.

Patton was brillant in moving armour fast. I would rate him the best armoured general of the Allies. Yet at Metz he was timid and conserative and costly in attacks. Monty of course was a master of the the fixed battle, yet he was a Field marhsall, some levels above Patton. Comparing Bradly and Montgormey is most accurate but I go for neither.

My personal opinion in Normandy and beyond the best general was US Major General J. Lawton Collins,

ps: why the US 1st Army got caught up in the Hurtgen Forest battle in the first place beggers belief. It has rightly been called America's Passchendaele. It demonstrates a clear failure of command and Eisenhower should have stepped in and ended the slaughter that his subordinates were causing.
Who discovered we could get milk from a cow? and come to think of it what did they think they were doing at the time? Billy Connolly

Aber
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Aber » 07 Nov 2010 10:28

Sunbury wrote:My personal opinion in Normandy and beyond the best general was US Major General J. Lawton Collins,

ps: why the US 1st Army got caught up in the Hurtgen Forest battle in the first place beggers belief. It has rightly been called America's Passchendaele. It demonstrates a clear failure of command and Eisenhower should have stepped in and ended the slaughter that his subordinates were causing.
You should check on which Corps were involved in the Huertgen Forest - might change your assessment of Collins.

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Polar bear
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Polar bear » 10 Nov 2010 10:36

hello,

two who were never mentioned until now, possibly overlooked because they were rather quiet gentlemen
- Alan Brooke
- Harold Alexander
deserve to be seen as better candidates as several others already mentioned here

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

Sunbury
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Sunbury » 11 Nov 2010 12:08

Aber wrote
You should check on which Corps were involved in the Huertgen Forest - might change your assessment of Collins.
The logic used is Rommel was a dud because he lost El Alamein?

The US failure in fighting the Battle of Huertgen Forest does not fall at Collin's feet. Bradley and Hodges are closer to the blame. Yes his Corps were heavily engaged especially the 9th Divison, but that battle drew in a number of US Corps, gaining a life of it own. 120,000 US troops in all, suffering 25% losses for no overall strategic benefit.


Edited twice for my many typo's
Who discovered we could get milk from a cow? and come to think of it what did they think they were doing at the time? Billy Connolly

merdiolu
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by merdiolu » 30 Nov 2010 10:32

I agree that comparing Monty with US commanders is pointless ( except from the point of nationalistic ego ) British generals were struggling with manpower shortages and old doctrines until the end of war. British army was an army of civilians in uniform , it had a small professional core. But it was fearful of casaulties and tied to old traditions. That's why Monty was cautious in its operations. US Army was not. It was also an army of civilians in uniform but it was fresh , had huge manpower reserves , much more open to new tactics , doctrines , experimentation.....

At the other hand British were usually better in defensive warfare and planning and intelligence , US Army was better in attacks , mobile warfare and it was tended to be much more aggressive.

In my opinion best Allied army/army group commanders were

- Slim ( British ) - Monty was close but was not at Slim's level
- Patton or Bradley ( US )
- Rokossovsky or Koniev ( Soviet Union )

as corps commanders we can also include General Joe Collins (US) , Matthew Ridgway (US) , Lucian Trusscott (US) , General Alfons Juin ( French ) , General O'Connor (UK) , General Richard McCreery (UK) - later commander of 8th Army - and General Brian Horrocks (UK)

alan
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by alan » 03 Dec 2010 22:30

My Choice for the best Allied general, would have to be George Smith Patton. Patton is best remembered for his actions in The Battle of the Bulge, where he disengaged his troops, turned them, and had them attacking the Bulge in three days. The question is how was Patton able to do this so quickly. The answer is easy, Patton already had the plans for such an action drawn up. Patton thought ahead and was always prepared to act on short notice. How many other Allied Generals had even thought about a German attack through the Ardennes? Eisenhower,Montgomery, and Bradley were not expecting an attack much less having had their staff's prepare a plan. We tend to think of George Patton as the character he played, overly agressive, out running his supply lines, slapping shell shocked soliders, and carring Ivory Handled Pistols. But we must remember that it was Patton that made the breakthrough at Normandy, and it was George Patton that saved the southern flank of the Bulge. Eisenhower should never have demoted Patton and he should have used his diplomatic skills for placating Montgomery, while Patton drove to Belin, or perhaps even to Moscow.

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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Dec 2010 22:58

alan wrote:. The answer is easy, Patton already had the plans for such an action drawn up. Patton thought ahead and was always prepared to act on short notice. How many other Allied Generals had even thought about a German attack through the Ardennes?
Mind reader and clairvoyant as well?
Is there no end to his talent?

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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by alan » 04 Dec 2010 15:43

No Michael, he was no mind reader or clairvoyant. He was a student of history, he thougt ahead, planned for many eventualities and had a great staff. Patton's staff had plans for many other actions that we never needed. It is what all armies do now, plan for anything that might happen. I bet the UK's General Staff has plans made up in case they would have to attack Canada. It will never be needed, but there is a plan just in case.

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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by South » 05 Dec 2010 08:41

Good morning Alan,

Slightly off topic other than a tangent but [comprehensive plans] "is what all armies do now..." is not correct.

Preparing a plan costs money and professional labor. Armies are not funded to do this to address "anything that might happen".

Do you really think General Patton had realistic plans - not dillusional ones - to enter Berlin or Moscow in re, for example, logistic support ? Recall the war conferences, for example Potsdam, and the strategic political plans that dictated how the armies would be deployed.

Warm regards,

Bob

alan
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by alan » 05 Dec 2010 20:58

Yes Bob, you are right we do not have plans for everything, but we do have plans that would surprise many people. The main fact remains Patton had a plan for the Bulge. Patton surely had some real plans for Berlin, and he believed the Russians were an end of their logistic rope. He felt that there would never be a better time to go after Communist Russia. He recognized that "good old Uncle Joe' conspired with Hitler to start the War and that Stalin was every bit as evil as Hitler, and that we would soon be enimies with the USSR. I wouldn't be supprised if he had some basic plans to show Eisenhower.
The War Conferences gave away Eastern Europe. Roosevelt was tired sick 'fellow traveler' and supported Stalin over Churchill. I think that Patton would have shared my opinion.

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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by henryk » 05 Dec 2010 22:43

alan wrote:No Michael, he was no mind reader or clairvoyant. He was a student of history, he thougt ahead, planned for many eventualities and had a great staff. Patton's staff had plans for many other actions that we never needed. It is what all armies do now, plan for anything that might happen. I bet the UK's General Staff has plans made up in case they would have to attack Canada. It will never be needed, but there is a plan just in case.
Probably not the UK, but certainly the US!

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