who was the best Allied general?

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alan
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by alan » 06 Dec 2010 00:30

Henryk, I am sorry to say that I believe that you are correct about the US, but I bet the Brits haves plans for any Commonweath country.

Fatboy Coxy
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 06 Dec 2010 19:31

Can we consider Frank Messervy. He was successful at Battalion, Brigade, Division and Corps levels, fighting the Italians, Germans and Japanese.

He commanded Gazelle Force, an expanded battalion size in East Africa, which had success. He then took command of the Indian 9th Brigade, commanding it through the battle of Keran, where the backbone of Italian resistance in East Africa was broken. Promotion followed and he commanded the 4th Indian Division through Operation Battleaxe, and later Operation Crusader. By July 1943 he was commanding the 7th Indian Division in Arakan, commanding during the “Battle of the Admin Box” and later advancing down the Chindwin in 1944. In December 1944, he took command of IV Corps, capturing Meiktila on the advance to Rangoon.

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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Aber » 07 Dec 2010 14:48

alan wrote: 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.
Nope, US First Army made the Normandy breakthrough, Third Army walked out.

Patton was not good at making a breakthrough - he failed in Lorraine, bogged down in front of Metz, and the later spectacular Rhineland and Germany campaigns were again exploiting someone else's breakthrough.

He also did not focus on logistics (see for example Bradley's comments on the Scilian campaign) and so was not the right man for a drive on Berlin.

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Matt Gibbs
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Matt Gibbs » 27 Jan 2011 13:39

Coxy
Messevry is a good choice for consideration. Too much concentration on the D Day and after in books, films and TV perhaps overshadows some men who ought to be better known. General Sir Richard O'Connor G.C.B., D.S.O., M.C. is another, and perhaps General Sir Neil Richie G.B.E., K.C.B., D.S.O., M.C. - I may be biased, I like reading about the Desert war. What especially makes you promote Frank Messevry?

HMan
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by HMan » 05 Aug 2011 23:45

None

Personally I think Generals and other top brass get too much
credit and front line troops and sailors get too little. Some specific
comments follow on potential candidates.

Any Soviet leader:

I can't get past the fact that all of them had horrendously more
casualties than any Western leader. Granted, they were facing
the bulk of the German war machine. Still, I would expect someone
with the title of best would minimize casualties. It may have been
almost impossible, but to my mind the definition of a great man
is someone who accomplishes the near unachievable.

The other problem I have with them is they didn't get rid of
Stalin when they had the chance. One huge opportunity was
when Stalin panicked and fled at the beginning of WWII.


Patton:

In the wrong place at least twice. Once in Sicily when there
was no amphibian landing in the NE to cut off the Germans.

The other time in NW Europe when he should have been on
the extreme left where 3rd Army's breakout would have had
a coast to protect one flank. This also would have allowed
the capture of ports to potentially sustain supply, versus the
historical situation when the drive outran supply.

Now Patton likely didn't have any influence on these deployments.
In NW Europe it would probably have meant that Monty would be
his CO, which would be “interesting” to say the least.

But that is the point – IMO a “best” should be in a position to
put their troops in the best place.



Slim:

No matter how brilliant strategically or tactically, this was another
case of being in the wrong place. The Burma campaign didn't
contribute to the defeat of Japan. A great leader would have
refused to carry out this pointless attack, and gotten his Army
deployed to a better location. Perhaps to the ETO where it might
have ended the war there faster.


Nimitz:

IMO the second worst US CO of the war with only King worse.
He had overwhelming force – and squandered it in a bloody,
redundant Central Pacific offensive.

The SW Pacific should have been the sole axis of advance.
Smaller Central Pacific islands forced frontal assaults.
In the SW Pacific there were bigger islands and thus the
Allies could “hit them where they ain't”. Thick jungles meant
there were very few airfields and the enemy didn't have construction
equipment to build more. Thus it was easier to destroy Japanese air
power with raids on a limited number of airfields. Most importantly,
a SW Pacific went directly to the biggest prize of the PTO – the thick
concentration of merchant ships in SE Asian waters.

It would have been far better to use forces wasted in the Central Pacific
in an all-out blitz against Japanese merchant shipping.

Nimitz had the power to wipe the enemy merchant marine from the
face of the earth. This likely would have happened sometime in 1944
at the latest if it had been a priority. I'm guessing Japan was in the
same situation as another island nation – UK, where no imports would
force them to sue for peace.

Perhaps the fanatical Japanese leadership would have ignored civilian
deaths not possible in the UK, and continued the war. The Allies still
would have had a far easier time with no enemy merchant fleet to carry
reinforcements, haul materials to build war machines, and fuel to power
them.


A certain colorless (not!) US General who was the SW Pacific CO:

I don't mention the name of “Him” because its like waving a red
flag in front of the bulls who think he's the God they love or the
Devil they love to hate.

A very bad first year of war, and ended the war after Luzon with
pointless S. Philippines and further S. attacks that contributed
nothing to victory. May have a dubious claim to being “best” in
the following sense: I believe he is the Allied top brass with
the lowest casualty rate (at least after the Philippine defense
fiasco). So if I had been a front line grunt, that would be where
I would want to serve.

The lower casualties, on the other hand, might just have been
because of the SW Pacific advantages outlined above. If "He"
had chosen this place to advance, I would give "Him" props,
but I believe it was blind chance "He" ended up there.

The other theater CO I can think of who might have a lower
casualty rate - Slim could have had some of the same advantages.
That is on a big front where the enemy was dispersed and couldn't
defend everywhere.



In conclusion I think the best “General” is the front line grunts
who were responsible for all the success the Allies won in
WWII and paid a terrible price.

HodgeB
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Re: Monte

Post by HodgeB » 08 Aug 2011 23:52

USA_Finn wrote: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.”
I've just been reading Ralph Ingersoll's 'Top Secret'.

According to that book Monty's decisions lengthened the war by at least 6 months (due to halting the US advance into Germany) - and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.

More, having read a lot about the ULTRA project at Bletchley Park, it seems that Rommel's defeat in North Africa was due more to the intelligence-led cutting of his Mediteranean (sp?) supply lines than to Monty's ability as a general.

I'm an ignorant seeker after truth, so hold no brief for any position, but what I've read suggests that Monty was a handicap rather than a hero, while Eisenhower connived with him.

Is any of this supportable, or just rubbish?

Reactions, and references to support those reactions are welcome.

Monty still gets good press. Is that deserved?

Hodge

Delta Tank
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Aug 2011 12:16

HMan wrote:None

Personally I think Generals and other top brass get too much
credit and front line troops and sailors get too little. Some specific
comments follow on potential candidates.

Any Soviet leader:

I can't get past the fact that all of them had horrendously more
casualties than any Western leader. Granted, they were facing
the bulk of the German war machine. Still, I would expect someone
with the title of best would minimize casualties. It may have been
almost impossible, but to my mind the definition of a great man
is someone who accomplishes the near unachievable.

The other problem I have with them is they didn't get rid of
Stalin when they had the chance. One huge opportunity was
when Stalin panicked and fled at the beginning of WWII.


Patton:

In the wrong place at least twice. Once in Sicily when there
was no amphibian landing in the NE to cut off the Germans.

The other time in NW Europe when he should have been on
the extreme left where 3rd Army's breakout would have had
a coast to protect one flank. This also would have allowed
the capture of ports to potentially sustain supply, versus the
historical situation when the drive outran supply.

Now Patton likely didn't have any influence on these deployments.
In NW Europe it would probably have meant that Monty would be
his CO, which would be “interesting” to say the least.

But that is the point – IMO a “best” should be in a position to
put their troops in the best place.



Slim:

No matter how brilliant strategically or tactically, this was another
case of being in the wrong place. The Burma campaign didn't
contribute to the defeat of Japan. A great leader would have
refused to carry out this pointless attack, and gotten his Army
deployed to a better location. Perhaps to the ETO where it might
have ended the war there faster.


Nimitz:

IMO the second worst US CO of the war with only King worse.
He had overwhelming force – and squandered it in a bloody,
redundant Central Pacific offensive.

The SW Pacific should have been the sole axis of advance.
Smaller Central Pacific islands forced frontal assaults.
In the SW Pacific there were bigger islands and thus the
Allies could “hit them where they ain't”. Thick jungles meant
there were very few airfields and the enemy didn't have construction
equipment to build more. Thus it was easier to destroy Japanese air
power with raids on a limited number of airfields. Most importantly,
a SW Pacific went directly to the biggest prize of the PTO – the thick
concentration of merchant ships in SE Asian waters.

It would have been far better to use forces wasted in the Central Pacific
in an all-out blitz against Japanese merchant shipping.

Nimitz had the power to wipe the enemy merchant marine from the
face of the earth. This likely would have happened sometime in 1944
at the latest if it had been a priority. I'm guessing Japan was in the
same situation as another island nation – UK, where no imports would
force them to sue for peace.

Perhaps the fanatical Japanese leadership would have ignored civilian
deaths not possible in the UK, and continued the war. The Allies still
would have had a far easier time with no enemy merchant fleet to carry
reinforcements, haul materials to build war machines, and fuel to power
them.


A certain colorless (not!) US General who was the SW Pacific CO:

I don't mention the name of “Him” because its like waving a red
flag in front of the bulls who think he's the God they love or the
Devil they love to hate.

A very bad first year of war, and ended the war after Luzon with
pointless S. Philippines and further S. attacks that contributed
nothing to victory. May have a dubious claim to being “best” in
the following sense: I believe he is the Allied top brass with
the lowest casualty rate (at least after the Philippine defense
fiasco). So if I had been a front line grunt, that would be where
I would want to serve.

The lower casualties, on the other hand, might just have been
because of the SW Pacific advantages outlined above. If "He"
had chosen this place to advance, I would give "Him" props,
but I believe it was blind chance "He" ended up there.

The other theater CO I can think of who might have a lower
casualty rate - Slim could have had some of the same advantages.
That is on a big front where the enemy was dispersed and couldn't
defend everywhere.



In conclusion I think the best “General” is the front line grunts
who were responsible for all the success the Allies won in
WWII and paid a terrible price.
There are so many errors of logic in this rambling that it would take too much time to fix it. I suggest that you read some more books, written by credible historians, not everything you wrote is wrong, but a lot of it is just awful.

Mike

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Aug 2011 20:53

HodgeB,
I've just been reading Ralph Ingersoll's 'Top Secret'.

According to that book Monty's decisions lengthened the war by at least 6 months (due to halting the US advance into Germany) - and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Dear God, are you serious? Montgomery might have had his faults as a General, and even more as a person, but not even he deserved the traversty that is "Top Secret". My dear chap, Ingesoll was a journalist, need I say more!!

Regards

Tom

Fatboy Coxy
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 24 Aug 2011 20:22

Matt Gibbs wrote:Coxy
Messevry is a good choice for consideration. Too much concentration on the D Day and after in books, films and TV perhaps overshadows some men who ought to be better known. General Sir Richard O'Connor G.C.B., D.S.O., M.C. is another, and perhaps General Sir Neil Richie G.B.E., K.C.B., D.S.O., M.C. - I may be biased, I like reading about the Desert war. What especially makes you promote Frank Messevry?
Trying to determine who is best, a number of factors have to be taken into consideration.
Did the commander achieve his aims and objectives. General Clark, US Fifth Army fails here, he captured Rome, but surely the objective was to destroy the retrating german forces.

Did he do it despite not having enough troops and equipment. If you've got lots more troops and supplies than the other guy, how can you lose, unless your a bad general, or very unlucky with weather or such like. Montgomery fails here because of the hugh advantage in numbers he had over his opponents. Unless we examine his performance in France 1940, where I think he did well.

Was he on the winning side. This is where all the French and quite a number of British generals fail. Look how hard it is to perform well in a bad team. Which is why maybe Monty catches the eye. But the likes of Wavell, Auchinleck and Maitland Wilson had good moments

Was he unlucky, Ask Richard O'Connor, captured in the western desert, but still played a decent part later in north west europe in 44/45.

Was he asked to command formations of differing makeups and capabilties. The British managed quite well in the western desert, but the British and American commanders in Italy had a lot of differing unit capabilities.

Did he have to deal with awkward subordinate commanders. Surely Eisenhower suffered this most, with the Monty and Patton, as well as dealing with the political aspects of his job, Churchil and De Gaulle come to mind

What I like about Messevry is he fought Italians, Germans and Japanese. He fought in the mountains, desert and jungle.
He commanded at battalion, brigade, division and corp level. He displayed adapatbility and ability to bounce back from adversity. His sacking as 7th Armoured Div commander after Gazala was a blot on his career, but I don't think the British in general had figured how to use tanks (I don't think they really did during the whole of WW2) in the manner of the Germans, and Ritchie (8th Army commander) had to sack someone. Ritchie was sacked himself some days later.

Other generals may have been as good, but through fortune or misfortune didn't get to tick all my boxes.

Steve

Aber
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Re: Monte

Post by Aber » 04 Sep 2011 14:09

HodgeB wrote:

I've just been reading Ralph Ingersoll's 'Top Secret'.

According to that book Monty's decisions lengthened the war by at least 6 months (due to halting the US advance into Germany) - and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.
Ingersoll was a relatively lowly US staff officer, writing immediately after the war, without reference to documents so his book relects rumours and the beliefs in the US Army Group headquarters rather than a measured judgement. However the beliefs appear to be widespread as it seems to have set the tone for much of what has been written about Montgomery by US authors.

eg re the Battle of the Bulge, Ingersoll wrote:

'....Montgomery panicked. ... Leaving only a skeleton force in the line, Montgomery moved the bulk of the British .. Army to a defensive semicircle around Antwerp'

which is untrue, as almost every other account of the battle shows.

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redcoat
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Re: Monte

Post by redcoat » 06 Sep 2011 22:59

HodgeB wrote:
and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.
While Monty might have upset senior US generals with his post battle press conference, his handling of the battle is considered to have been quite skillful, restoring order to the US defence.

Delta Tank
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Re: Monte

Post by Delta Tank » 07 Sep 2011 00:09

redcoat wrote:
HodgeB wrote:
and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.
While Monty might have upset senior US generals with his post battle press conference, his handling of the battle is considered to have been quite skillful, restoring order to the US defence.

Really, how so? I read that some US generals were mad because he insisted that we leave St. Vith, which is a major road network much like Bastogne, but was under tremendous pressure; others argue that it was the correct decision. Other than that, what specific action did he take that restored order out of???? I know Ike was extremely upset that he could not seem to get the attack going in the north, postponement after postponement (time frame around 30 Dec-2 Jan). All from memory, but I am sure you guys have read this all before. In this battle how much influence does a Field Marshal have? Very fluid battlefield over a large area with lots of divisions fighting almost individual actions due to the fluid nature. Of course the Army Engineers claim they won the battle all by themselves!! :P

Mike

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redcoat
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Re: Monte

Post by redcoat » 07 Sep 2011 23:42

Delta Tank wrote:
redcoat wrote:
HodgeB wrote:
and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.
While Monty might have upset senior US generals with his post battle press conference, his handling of the battle is considered to have been quite skillful, restoring order to the US defence.

Really, how so? I read that some US generals were mad because he insisted that we leave St. Vith, which is a major road network much like Bastogne, but was under tremendous pressure; others argue that it was the correct decision. Other than that, what specific action did he take that restored order out of???? I know Ike was extremely upset that he could not seem to get the attack going in the north, postponement after postponement (time frame around 30 Dec-2 Jan). All from memory, but I am sure you guys have read this all before. In this battle how much influence does a Field Marshal have? Very fluid battlefield over a large area with lots of divisions fighting almost individual actions due to the fluid nature. Of course the Army Engineers claim they won the battle all by themselves!! :P

Mike
I'll just post of words of the commander of the US 7th Armored Division at St Vith
" Monty saved the the 7th Armored".

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/monty-wo ... rt-iii.htm

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/monty-wo ... rt-iii.htm

Delta Tank
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Re: Monte

Post by Delta Tank » 08 Sep 2011 15:47

redcoat wrote:
Delta Tank wrote:
redcoat wrote:
HodgeB wrote:
and if the Americans hadn't managed to win the Battle of the Bulge, despite Monty, it could have lasted another year.
While Monty might have upset senior US generals with his post battle press conference, his handling of the battle is considered to have been quite skillful, restoring order to the US defence.

Really, how so? I read that some US generals were mad because he insisted that we leave St. Vith, which is a major road network much like Bastogne, but was under tremendous pressure; others argue that it was the correct decision. Other than that, what specific action did he take that restored order out of???? I know Ike was extremely upset that he could not seem to get the attack going in the north, postponement after postponement (time frame around 30 Dec-2 Jan). All from memory, but I am sure you guys have read this all before. In this battle how much influence does a Field Marshal have? Very fluid battlefield over a large area with lots of divisions fighting almost individual actions due to the fluid nature. Of course the Army Engineers claim they won the battle all by themselves!! :P

Mike
I'll just post of words of the commander of the US 7th Armored Division at St Vith
" Monty saved the the 7th Armored".

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/monty-wo ... rt-iii.htm

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/monty-wo ... rt-iii.htm
I did not argue that the St Vith decision was wrong. Other than that what did Monty do? Re-read my post above.

Mike

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: who was the best Allied general?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 08 Sep 2011 20:35

Mike,

Although the Bulge is not a speciality of mine, I would, with the utmost respect, offer that Montgomery stepped into a bit of a vacuum at the higher command level north of the German attack. Whether that 'vacuum' was a perception or true is hard to say, but I would point to the reports he received from his Liaison Officer of a 'flap' at 1st Army and to the remarks of the defenders of St Vith. How long it went on for, whether it was Montgomery's actions or those of the Corps and Divisional commanders is obviously a matter of debate. The other thing he offered was information; both of American reinforcements and of the British security line being set up on the Meuse; which must have inspired fresh heart in commanders reeling from the shock of the initial German attack.

That the counter-attack on the northern shoulder did not subsequently proceed with the dash expected is certainly true at one level, but whether this was Montgomery's fault, a result of the confusion that undoubtedly existed or due to a stronger level of German resistance I don't know.

BTW I think that is what he was trying to say at the infamous press conference, and of course, in typical Montgomery fashion, "I told you so!" :lol:

Regards

Tom

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