Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
rcocean
Member
Posts: 531
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 16 Mar 2019 23:11

Just wondering what everyone else thought. Bradley was probably the most important US General in WW 2, after Ike, Marshall, and Big Mac. Commander of 12th Army Group. In March 1945 he probably commanded 40 of the 90 US army divisions, and was Ike's closest adviser on military matters. After WW2, he became Chairman of the JCS, and was instrumental in setting policy in the Korean War, and firing Big Mac in April 1951.

Yet, not much discussion about him. In fact, if you google Bradley you get results that bring up "Patton" :lol: I understand he was sorta of bland - but dang, he was Patton's BOSS after July 1944 - not his "Best Friend" as the movie makes him out to be.

Bradley made most of the tough military decisions in NW Europe, and Ike usually backed him up. He was head of US first army in Normandy, HE decided to stop US forces from closing falsie gap, Bradley opposed Monty's "one thrust" and convinced Ike to support a broad thrust. Bradley pushed for the November offensive, and opposed Dever's RHine crossing. Bradley is the one who as a "Calculated Risk" left the Ardennes open to a German counter offensive. Bradley is the one, who wanted to push across the Rhine and take advantage of the Remagan Bridge. Bradley is the one who supported not going to Berlin but attacking the "Nazi Alpine Redoubt" and he's the one who decided to encircle the Rhur instead of pushing on into Germany.

For Good or for ill, the man was super important. Yet, people just don't want to discuss him. They'd rather talk about Monty or Patton or Ike.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9548
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Mar 2019 17:12

Hi rcocean,

It just shows that it is less the victors who write the history than the self-promoters of both sides!

Perhaps Patton was to Bradley as the W-SS was to the German Army - massively over hyped.

Cheers,

Sid

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6965
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Mar 2019 17:32

Bradley was vain and a self-promoter. His behaviour over the transfer of one of his armies to Montgomery illustrates it well. Bradley's best trait was his ability to hide his character faults better than other generals.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4363
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Mar 2019 17:58

rcocean wrote:
16 Mar 2019 23:11
Just wondering what everyone else thought. Bradley was probably the most important US General in WW 2, after Ike, Marshall, and Big Mac. Commander of 12th Army Group. In March 1945 he probably commanded 40 of the 90 US army divisions, and was Ike's closest adviser on military matters. After WW2, he became Chairman of the JCS, and was instrumental in setting policy in the Korean War, and firing Big Mac in April 1951.

Yet, not much discussion about him. In fact, if you google Bradley you get results that bring up "Patton" :lol: I understand he was sorta of bland - but dang, he was Patton's BOSS after July 1944 - not his "Best Friend" as the movie makes him out to be.
Um, the movie made him out to be Patton's "Best Friend" because Bradley was principal advisor for the film and got to guide the narrative. They were never best friends, more like moderately cordial rivals than anything. They shared a dislike of Montgomery, but that was about it.

43 divisions by the way.
Bradley made most of the tough military decisions in NW Europe, and Ike usually backed him up.
Um, I would say the reverse actually. Ultimately, ALL of the tough decisions were Ike's.
He was head of US first army in Normandy, HE decided to stop US forces from closing falsie gap,
"Falsie gap"? :D I never knew fake boobs were involved. (Sorry, but I simply could not resist. :lol: )
Bradley opposed Monty's "one thrust" and convinced Ike to support a broad thrust.
Ike, always conceived of a broad front strategy for the advance on the German frontier and there is little evidence Bradley influenced that concept. Bradley did of course continue to militate for a larger role for 12th Army Group and decried most inter-allied cooperation.
Bradley pushed for the November offensive, and opposed Dever's RHine crossing.
Indeed, despite lack of replacements, an uncertain logistical situation, and other limitations, he continued to push for offensives against strong German positions and displayed little operational finesse...not that a single corps thrust across the Rhine would have been much more successful.
Bradley is the one who as a "Calculated Risk" left the Ardennes open to a German counter offensive.
And also collapsed into near torpor along with Hodges, then spent much of the following few weeks sniping at Monty and Ike for making sound strategic and operational decisions, then failed to push strongly for Patton's big solution.
Bradley is the one, who wanted to push across the Rhine and take advantage of the Remagan Bridge. Bradley is the one who supported not going to Berlin but attacking the "Nazi Alpine Redoubt" and he's the one who decided to encircle the Rhur instead of pushing on into Germany.
Yes on the first, so what on the second (the strategic political decision was already made), and the last was simply the appropriate reaction.
For Good or for ill, the man was super important. Yet, people just don't want to discuss him. They'd rather talk about Monty or Patton or Ike.
Okay then, in many ways he was a back-stabbing, weaselly, political general who spent much of his wartime and all of his postwar career massaging the narrative to make himself look good. He displayed almost zero operational talent as an army group commander, spent much of his time setting his army commanders against one another and against his erstwhile allies, while sucking up to Eisenhower. As Chief of Staff and the last surviving five-star, he had the final say on much of the history as it was written from 1950 to 1980, especially after Ike died, including feeding Farago nonsensical tidbits, then steering the story in the film Patton to show himself in the best light. :lol:
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

rcocean
Member
Posts: 531
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 18 Mar 2019 03:39

He was head of US first army in Normandy, HE decided to stop US forces from closing falsie gap,
"Falsie gap"? :D I never knew fake boobs were involved. (Sorry, but I simply could not resist. :lol: )

:D - Well you got my drift.

Thanks to everyone for their responses. Not a lot of Love for "Brad". Maybe he wasn't the "GI's General" after all.

BTW, I wonder why Ernie Pyle tagged him with that line. From what I can tell, Bradley didn't mix it up with the troops, visit field hospitals, or give speeches. And after Sicily, he moved in the rarefied air of an Army and Army Group Commander.

User avatar
Pips
Member
Posts: 1208
Joined: 26 Jun 2005 08:44
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Pips » 18 Mar 2019 03:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Mar 2019 17:58
rcocean wrote:
16 Mar 2019 23:11
Bradley is the one who as a "Calculated Risk" left the Ardennes open to a German counter offensive.
And also collapsed into near torpor along with Hodges, then spent much of the following few weeks sniping at Monty and Ike for making sound strategic and operational decisions, then failed to push strongly for Patton's big solution.

For Good or for ill, the man was super important. Yet, people just don't want to discuss him. They'd rather talk about Monty or Patton or Ike.
Okay then, in many ways he was a back-stabbing, weaselly, political general who spent much of his wartime and all of his postwar career massaging the narrative to make himself look good. He displayed almost zero operational talent as an army group commander, spent much of his time setting his army commanders against one another and against his erstwhile allies, while sucking up to Eisenhower. As Chief of Staff and the last surviving five-star, he had the final say on much of the history as it was written from 1950 to 1980, especially after Ike died, including feeding Farago nonsensical tidbits, then steering the story in the film Patton to show himself in the best light. :lol:
Those two comments are really quite revealing Richard. And quite an eye opener. I haven't come across anything in books that is so disparaging of Bradley. Would be interested if you could point me to any books that may question/critique Bradley's role as an Army commander.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4363
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Mar 2019 05:07

Pips wrote:
18 Mar 2019 03:55
Those two comments are really quite revealing Richard. And quite an eye opener. I haven't come across anything in books that is so disparaging of Bradley. Would be interested if you could point me to any books that may question/critique Bradley's role as an Army commander.
The problem is that he got to decide how the history was written...so it requires a lot of reading between the lines. However, once you get past the ghostwritten A Soldier's Story and A General's Life and start comparing to other sources...then things start to get questionable. Look at Patton's private opinion of Bradley and compare it to the public perception. Ask what Bradley actually did from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945 and how what he did advanced the Allied cause? Look at his performance in Sicily and the way he treated Terry Allen and Teddy Roosevelt...and how he later treated many other officers...and then compare it to Patton.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

rcocean
Member
Posts: 531
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 22 Mar 2019 00:23

I
ke, always conceived of a broad front strategy for the advance on the German frontier and there is little evidence Bradley influenced that concept. Bradley did of course continue to militate for a larger role for 12th Army Group and decried most inter-allied cooperation.
Let me put it another way, Bradley advanced 12th army group on a broad front, and opposed Monty's concentrated thrust. Later in the November Offensive, he attacked all along the front, 9th Army, 1st Army, 3rd Army. He always seemed to disagree with Monty over the need for concentrated thrust. He was also constantly worried about his flanks. I'm reading his comments on Sicily and he was very upset because Patton countermanded Bradley's orders to "clean up" a pocket of Germans before advancing. Later, he and Ike demanded Devers "clean up" the Colmar pocket.

And when the war was won, he insisted on "Cleaning up the Ruhr pocket" - at a cost of 3,000 causalities. I'm not sure why we needed to liquidate the Germans in the Ruhr pocket in April 1945. Where were they going to escape to? Monty seemed to think the correct military move was go to Berlin.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4363
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2019 03:23

rcocean wrote:
22 Mar 2019 00:23
Let me put it another way, Bradley advanced 12th army group on a broad front, and opposed Monty's concentrated thrust. Later in the November Offensive, he attacked all along the front, 9th Army, 1st Army, 3rd Army. He always seemed to disagree with Monty over the need for concentrated thrust. He was also constantly worried about his flanks. I'm reading his comments on Sicily and he was very upset because Patton countermanded Bradley's orders to "clean up" a pocket of Germans before advancing. Later, he and Ike demanded Devers "clean up" the Colmar pocket.
Bradley consistently focused on the wrong objective, as witness the events of the breakout. It was too bad that Patton was subordinated to him at that point, otherwise P. Wood likely would have been able to convince him to reorient eastwards. However, it was not the broad front that was the problem, any more than Monty's narrow front was a solution...it was piss-poor operational and tactical execution.
And when the war was won, he insisted on "Cleaning up the Ruhr pocket" - at a cost of 3,000 causalities. I'm not sure why we needed to liquidate the Germans in the Ruhr pocket in April 1945. Where were they going to escape to? Monty seemed to think the correct military move was go to Berlin.
Umm, the problem was the political move had long trumped the military move, whether it was correct or not. To a degree, "cleaning up the Ruhr Pocket" was the usual stumbling to conclusion of any war, but most of the casualties were incurred in the encirclement operation and then in preventing the break-in attempt...that is where 3d AD got its bloody nose for example. Once the encirclement was complete, the "reduction" was basically processing PW and was handled by Fifteenth Army and the Johnny-come-lately divisions.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Aber
Member
Posts: 936
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Aber » 22 Mar 2019 10:04

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Mar 2019 17:58
As Chief of Staff and the last surviving five-star, he had the final say on much of the history as it was written from 1950 to 1980,
Worth emphasising this - Army Chiefs of Staff 1945 to 1959

Eisenhower
Bradley
Collins
Ridgway
Taylor

ie the command structure in the ETO

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3186
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Mar 2019 12:09

Aber wrote:
22 Mar 2019 10:04
Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Mar 2019 17:58
As Chief of Staff and the last surviving five-star, he had the final say on much of the history as it was written from 1950 to 1980,
Worth emphasising this - Army Chiefs of Staff 1945 to 1959

Eisenhower
Bradley
Collins
Ridgway
Taylor

ie the command structure in the ETO
It also demonstrates the triumph of Airborne as a necessary tick in the career box!

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4363
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2019 15:15

Sheldrake wrote:
22 Mar 2019 12:09
Aber wrote:
22 Mar 2019 10:04
Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Mar 2019 17:58
As Chief of Staff and the last surviving five-star, he had the final say on much of the history as it was written from 1950 to 1980,
Worth emphasising this - Army Chiefs of Staff 1945 to 1959

Eisenhower
Bradley
Collins
Ridgway
Taylor

ie the command structure in the ETO
It also demonstrates the triumph of Airborne as a necessary tick in the career box!
Well, Devers was a four-star when retired on 30 September 1949, while Bradley as a five-star stayed active, so was the only real choice when he replaced Eisenhower on 7 February 1948, given MacArthur was still running his Japanese fiefdom and Truman wasn't going to let him anywhere near D.C. After that all the other four-star army commanders who would have been next in line, were either retired or dead, so it started devolved to those who were lieutenant generals during the war. However, after the initial period of the Airborne Mafia (the latter period was partly due to so few divisions remaining active in the U.S. Army postwar, so service in the 82d, and 101st after 1956, was common), it went to Lemnitzer, who was Coast Artillery, Decker, who was Infantry, Wheeler, who was Infantry, and so on. None of the latter three were particularly well-known during World War II and only Wheeler had a close association with the ETOUSA, as Chief of Staff of the 63d ID there at the end of the war.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

rcocean
Member
Posts: 531
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 22 Mar 2019 22:45

Worth emphasising this - Army Chiefs of Staff 1945 to 1959

Eisenhower
Bradley
Collins
Ridgway
Taylor
If you look at Eisenhower's rankings of his ETO Generals in 1945, this includes all the big hitters. Bradley was No. 1 on Ike's list, and Collins was No. 8 - the highest ranking Corps Commander. Ridgeway and Taylor were also surprisingly high on the list - given that Taylor wasn't a Corps Commander, and Ridgeway had little time in that position.
Well, Devers was a four-star when retired on 30 September 1949, while Bradley as a five-star stayed active, so was the only real choice when he replaced Eisenhower on 7 February 1948, given MacArthur was still running his Japanese fiefdom and Truman wasn't going to let him anywhere near D.C.


MacArthur was overage for the Chief of Staff Position ( the "rule" was the CoS had to be at least 2-3 years away from the Mandatory Retirement age) and in any case Big Mac was ineligible since he'd already served as five years as CoS - 1930-1935. As for the other Pacific War generals - they were out of the running in 1948. Eichelberger was 62, and had already turned down the CoS deputy position under Ike. Krueger was retired. Buckner and Stillwell were dead. And of the four corps commanders under MacArthur in April 1945 - Every single one was retired, dead, or too old. The CoS had to come from the ETO.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4363
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2019 23:46

rcocean wrote:
22 Mar 2019 22:45
If you look at Eisenhower's rankings of his ETO Generals in 1945, this includes all the big hitters. Bradley was No. 1 on Ike's list, and Collins was No. 8 - the highest ranking Corps Commander. Ridgeway and Taylor were also surprisingly high on the list - given that Taylor wasn't a Corps Commander, and Ridgeway had little time in that position.
Um, so what happened to Smith, Patton (oh, he died), Clark, Truscott, and Gerow? Why not Patch then after Collins? I have a feeling that Ike's famous "ranking" had less effect later than the lesser known Marshall promotions list of October 1945.
MacArthur was overage for the Chief of Staff Position ( the "rule" was the CoS had to be at least 2-3 years away from the Mandatory Retirement age) and in any case Big Mac was ineligible since he'd already served as five years as CoS - 1930-1935.
Yep, I actually forgot about that...odd since I was just re-writing the section on the involvement of Mac and the tanks during the Bonus March.
As for the other Pacific War generals - they were out of the running in 1948. Eichelberger was 62, and had already turned down the CoS deputy position under Ike. Krueger was retired. Buckner and Stillwell were dead. And of the four corps commanders under MacArthur in April 1945 - Every single one was retired, dead, or too old. The CoS had to come from the ETO.
Well, yeah, exactly. :D
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

rcocean
Member
Posts: 531
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Omar Bradley -Why so little interest?

Post by rcocean » 22 Mar 2019 23:57

Richard Anderson wrote:
22 Mar 2019 23:46

Um, so what happened to Smith, Patton (oh, he died), Clark, Truscott, and Gerow? Why not Patch then after Collins? I have a feeling that Ike's famous "ranking" had less effect later than the lesser known Marshall promotions list of October 1945.
I've always found Mark Clark's RELATIVE fall from grace a bit of a puzzle. This is a guy who was given command of the Corps in England in 1942 at the age of 46, he was Ike's big pal and was Deputy Torch Commander and made 5th Army Commander in January 1943. Even as late as June 1943, Ike was giving him a Sky-high rating and he was given command of the Salerno landing. And then, instead of going to ETO and commanding the Invasion, Bradley is given the job. Clark eventually became an Army Group commander in Italy, and Military Governor of the US Zone in Austria, but you sorta wonder why Bradley passed him by. After all he was Army Commander in Feb 1943, and Bradley had just arrived at N. Africa as an "observer".

Return to “USA 1919-1945”