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View Poll Results: Most Talented Field Commander WW2
FM Bernard Montgomery 5 7.81%
FM Harold Alexander 1 1.56%
Gen Omar Bradley 1 1.56%
Gen George Patton 15 23.44%
Gen Mark Clark 0 0%
MSU Georgy Zhukov 6 9.38%
MSU Konstantin Rokossovsky 1 1.56%
MSU Aleksandr Vasilevsky 0 0%
MSU Ivan Konev 1 1.56%
FM Erich von Manstein 3 4.69%
FM Erwin Rommel 19 29.69%
FM Heinz Guderian 6 9.38%
FM Walter Model 1 1.56%
Gen Douglas McAuthur 5 7.81%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 07-16-2012, 03:19 AM
 
Location: Bronx
8,592 posts, read 7,953,376 times
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I would have to say Zhucov is the most talented of all the field marshals of world war 2. Zhukov fought lead the soviets in Mongolia and Manchuria against the Japanese. The same tactics used against Japan in the frigged far east was used against the advanced Nazis in which Zhukov was able to drive them back to Berlin for the greatest siege in human history since the days of Mongol siege of Baghdad.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:33 AM
 
828 posts, read 814,447 times
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Sounds like a roundtable my dad and one of my uncles had yrs back.

Dad was with McArthur most of the time He said he was afearless leader [often at the point of battle] chatted with his troops quite a bit [even sit down and eat meals with em]. He said the men would gladly followed him into hell if need be.

One of my uncles served with Patton. He said he was loud and really knew how to get the guys motivated. One of the scenes in the movie where Patton gets on the road and chats with the troops is right bout from history [my uncle was there when it happened] He said many times Patton would do this when on marches and chat, conjole, and even at times yell at the slowpokes or their commanders for slacking off. He said one day they had a soldier collapse from a medical problem and Patton had his driver run him back to the aid station while the General hiked along with the boys [not bad for an old guy].

Are they all good commanders? They must have been. Did they have faults and make mistakes? Yes and admitted them [like all of us]
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:05 PM
 
2,321 posts, read 3,717,163 times
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I didn't read thru all of the posts but I'm sure someone has said Patton. Patton was sold the the American public as a hero when in actuality, he was a baffoon at best. He used up and destroyed more equipment and had more casualties than any other Allied General. I have a friend that I 4 wheel with and he was with Patton on the run to Bastogne. The men were totally exhausted by the time they got there. They expected a hot meal in the winter cold only to be told there were no supplies. Most all of the armor was either not running or about to run out of fuel because Patton had out run his supplies.....again. My friend was in charge of a mechanized automatic weapons group- half tracks with quad 50's. He said when he went to resupply his group that they handled him his ammo in a paper bag and told him to use it sparingly. He said that had the German mounted any kind of offense, they would have been over run as there was little to no ammo left. The Germans apparently thought Patton would have been smart enough to bring enough supplies with him and it would have energized the US troops, they were wrong.
Here's an article written about how the Germans didn't even think about Patton until the very end of the war. He's not even on their radar screen until March 1945.
Patton: The German View
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:49 AM
Status: "God was not in Stalingrad." (set 6 days ago)
 
13,692 posts, read 17,705,108 times
Reputation: 11886
Quote:
Originally Posted by 383man View Post
Many like Zhukov as I do also but I agree that the Soviet Generals did not care about the value of their troops lives. They got results by flooding the battlefield with troops to out number the enemy 2 or 3 to one as that was the Soviet's strong point of having alot of troops. But that does not impress me when a general gets results by wasteing his troops lives . Ron
That is a common critique of Zhukov and Russian commanders in general, but there is some evidence that Zhukov was very critical of his subordinates if they engaged in actions that he felt "wasted" manpower unnecessarily. Overall, the Soviets did what they had to do given the situation. I don't think they were tactically tied to "wasting" their troops and certainly tried to refine their stategies as their capabilities improved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Although I did not vote for Alexander in the poll, I remember that U.S. General Lucian Truscott had a very high opinion of him. In his memoir "Command Missions", Truscott tells of Alexander's visits to his command post in Italy. Alexander arrived without florish, accompanied ususally by a single aide. He demonstrated an excellent grasp of the tactical and strategic situations. Major General Truscott was commander of the 3rd Infantry Division in Sicily, then on the Italian mainland, and later at Anzio, where he became corps commander. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant General and became an army commander near the end of the war. He is frank about his opinions of the leaders with whom he served, but not vindictive in any way. He seems to have no particular axe to grind.

I am aware that Truscott's exremely high opinion of Alexander is not universally shared, and I am hoping posters will come forward with other opinions and information.
Bradley also had a very high opinion of Alexander as did Eisenhower. He was popular among both British and American commanders, mainly because he knew how to walk the political line. He was also Eisenhower's first choice for overall ground forces commander for D-Day before political pressure led to Alexander staying in Italy and Montgomery getting the D-Day command. Alexander shined as a great organizer and as someone very capable of keeping the multi-national forces together. Where he was weak was strategically and he has often been criticized as not having a great military mind. Alexander is the kind of guy you wanted to run the backend of the army and keep everyone from killing each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLN View Post
I have read about them all and I think Von Manstein is the clear winner. Though he was pretty far up the chain for a field commander. He worked for an idiot, but was able to first, take a lot of ground, then hold it, for a pretty long time based on wit and strategy. He was able to extract a lot of troops from near hopeless situations, though he did not pull it off (Hitler again), at Stalingrad.

Not sure why Monty made the list. He was an acknowledged doddling idiot...the mass of Brit TV documentaries excepted!!!
I posted about Manstein earlier, I still can't figure out the great love for him as the "greatest" commander. He had a very mixed record of success and not all of his failures can be placed at the feet of Hitler. He made some very poor decisions and grossly misjudged the Soviets on more then one occasion that led to the collapse of the entire German line.

At Stalingrad, Manstein has been now shown to have been one of the key figures in convincing Hitler to keep 6th Army in Stalingrad. Manstein assured Hitler that if 6th Army could be adequately supplied by air, that they should stay in their position until his new Army Group Don could reach the city and effect a linkup. Goring said he could airlift the supplies and Manstein thought he could achieve his objectives. Of course, both operations failed. In Manstein's memoirs, which are now known to have been edited to be very favorable to him and remove his actions in regards to war crimes, he painted it as solely Hitlers decision. More recent work by Forczyk among others now makes it seem as if Hitler was undecided and made the choice to keep 6th Army in Staingrad based on the assurances of Manstein and Goring that they could effect a linkup.

As for Monty, can you cite specific reasons why he should not be mentioned? Market Garden was a poorly planned and run operation from top to bottom and he bears responsibility for that and accepted it. However, the rest of his record is pretty sterling. Afterall, this is the man who essentially planned and executed the D-Day invasion whose timetables and contingencies were all proven out. I can't think of a Monty mistake for which there isn't at least one Manstein equivalent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrapperL View Post
I didn't read thru all of the posts but I'm sure someone has said Patton. Patton was sold the the American public as a hero when in actuality, he was a baffoon at best. He used up and destroyed more equipment and had more casualties than any other Allied General. I have a friend that I 4 wheel with and he was with Patton on the run to Bastogne. The men were totally exhausted by the time they got there. They expected a hot meal in the winter cold only to be told there were no supplies. Most all of the armor was either not running or about to run out of fuel because Patton had out run his supplies.....again. My friend was in charge of a mechanized automatic weapons group- half tracks with quad 50's. He said when he went to resupply his group that they handled him his ammo in a paper bag and told him to use it sparingly. He said that had the German mounted any kind of offense, they would have been over run as there was little to no ammo left. The Germans apparently thought Patton would have been smart enough to bring enough supplies with him and it would have energized the US troops, they were wrong.
Here's an article written about how the Germans didn't even think about Patton until the very end of the war. He's not even on their radar screen until March 1945.
Patton: The German View
Define that Patton had a higher casualty rate then "any other Allied general". Certainly some of his divisions had among the highest casualty rates in the western Allied armies, but that was as much a product of the US system of keeping divisions constantly in combat as it was anything else. Additionally, should casualties received not be weighed against those inflicted? In that mold Patton's Third Army had one of the best received:inflicted ratios of any army in the war at something like 12.7:100.

As for the Bulge, it is what it is, Third Army certainly had supply issues then, the entire Allied army did. What was Patton going to do, not engage his army against the exposed German flank? As for the article, I thought it was very well written and balanced. It doesn't really refute much of what has been said about Patton, as much as it frames it into reality. The Germans didn't really care much about Patton until he was in Europe post Normandy and then he gained his reptuation. The critiques of Patton mentioned in 1944/45 in the German dispatches, the article did a good job of laying them against the operational realities. For instance, the Germans were not aware of the Allied supply situation, so what at the time seemed like "hesitancy" and "mistakes" by Patton were later revealed to be caused by supply disruptions.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Native Floridian, USA
4,139 posts, read 3,057,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Because he had the coolest nickname ever. The Desert Fox! Man, what a bitchin' moniker. I bet he had a PR team working nights to come up with that badness. If he had just had a cape streaming behind him as he rode atop his Panzer, he might have earned even more votes. Yeah, that would be sweet.
LOL. This is so true. I have a working knowledge of Civil War history and WWII history but I could not or would not comment on my choice against the knowledge and opinions espoused here.....there is a slight tone of superiority here that doesn't encourage debate but, interesting opinions and I find very enlightening as far as opinion goes.

I voted for Rommel because of the above. <s>
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:10 PM
 
18 posts, read 13,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Additionally, should casualties received not be weighed against those inflicted? In that mold Patton's Third Army had one of the best received:inflicted ratios of any army in the war at something like 12.7:100.
The calculation used to get that ratio

The enemy lost an estimated 1,280,688 captured, 144,500 killed, and 386,200 wounded, adding up to 1,811,388. By comparison, the Third Army suffered 16,596 killed, 96,241 wounded, and 26,809 missing in action for a total of 139,646 casualties. Third Army's losses were only 12.97 percent of the German losses. That is only about 13 American soldiers for every 100 German soldiers

Those numbers have long been suspect.
The total number of German dead in 1945 is the subject of much debate but we have a rough number of 250,000-300,000 KIA for OB West 1944-45.. It is improbable to say the least that 3rd Army inflicted half the German deaths in NW Europe.
The POW figure is meaningless as around 3-5 million POW's were taken by the Western Allies in 1945.
Everyone was taking them by the acre.

Last edited by Liberator; 07-24-2012 at 02:20 PM..
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:47 PM
Status: "God was not in Stalingrad." (set 6 days ago)
 
13,692 posts, read 17,705,108 times
Reputation: 11886
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberator View Post
The calculation used to get that ratio

The enemy lost an estimated 1,280,688 captured, 144,500 killed, and 386,200 wounded, adding up to 1,811,388. By comparison, the Third Army suffered 16,596 killed, 96,241 wounded, and 26,809 missing in action for a total of 139,646 casualties. Third Army's losses were only 12.97 percent of the German losses. That is only about 13 American soldiers for every 100 German soldiers

Those numbers have long been suspect.
The total number of German dead in 1945 is the subject of much debate but we have a rough number of 250,000-300,000 KIA for OB West 1944-45.. It is improbable to say the least that 3rd Army inflicted half the German deaths in NW Europe.
The POW figure is meaningless as around 3-5 million POW's were taken by the Western Allies in 1945.
Everyone was taking them by the acre.
It's my understanding that those numbers, which are widely published, are taken from the official after action reports of Third Army. Perhaps that is not the case and someone somewhere is simply publishing gross totals of casualties inflicted in operations of which Third Army was a component. I have seen those numbers published in a couple Patton books, but have seen no sources other then "official" Third Army records.

Makes me wonder and you make some excellent points, about the KIA totals, I do doubt Third Army was bagging half the KIA's on the western front. Do you have any other links or sources for more accurate numbers?
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Plymouth, MN
308 posts, read 341,717 times
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my vote goes for Rokossovsky. a brilliant commander and the most talented general in the whole Red Army.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:31 PM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
3,626 posts, read 4,496,595 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I posted about Manstein earlier, I still can't figure out the great love for him as the "greatest" commander. He had a very mixed record of success and not all of his failures can be placed at the feet of Hitler. He made some very poor decisions and grossly misjudged the Soviets on more then one occasion that led to the collapse of the entire German line.

At Stalingrad, Manstein has been now shown to have been one of the key figures in convincing Hitler to keep 6th Army in Stalingrad. Manstein assured Hitler that if 6th Army could be adequately supplied by air, that they should stay in their position until his new Army Group Don could reach the city and effect a linkup. Goring said he could airlift the supplies and Manstein thought he could achieve his objectives. Of course, both operations failed. In Manstein's memoirs, which are now known to have been edited to be very favorable to him and remove his actions in regards to war crimes, he painted it as solely Hitlers decision. More recent work by Forczyk among others now makes it seem as if Hitler was undecided and made the choice to keep 6th Army in Staingrad based on the assurances of Manstein and Goring that they could effect a linkup.

As for Monty, can you cite specific reasons why he should not be mentioned? Market Garden was a poorly planned and run operation from top to bottom and he bears responsibility for that and accepted it. However, the rest of his record is pretty sterling. Afterall, this is the man who essentially planned and executed the D-Day invasion whose timetables and contingencies were all proven out. I can't think of a Monty mistake for which there isn't at least one Manstein equivalent.
I may be behind in my reading....I am not aware of the shift in blame on Stalingrad. My reading has been quite different, but maybe I am behind. I dunno...he did a lot while overmanned and a long way from home.
He had little support, from what I have learned, over time, from the folks in Berlin. He seemed to make a l ot happen, but I may be a victim of editing.

He also taught his dauxhund to lift a front paw when he said, "Heil Hitler." That has got to count for something!

In regard to Monty, I am surprised you give him a pass on Caen, i.e., failure to take until bombing to smithereens, and his lackadaisical pace to close the gap at Falaise. Those two, plus Market Garden, are about all I can address, and he doesn't measure up based on that.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:22 PM
Status: "God was not in Stalingrad." (set 6 days ago)
 
13,692 posts, read 17,705,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLN View Post
I may be behind in my reading....I am not aware of the shift in blame on Stalingrad. My reading has been quite different, but maybe I am behind. I dunno...he did a lot while overmanned and a long way from home.
He had little support, from what I have learned, over time, from the folks in Berlin. He seemed to make a l ot happen, but I may be a victim of editing.
William Murray and Allan Millet in their 2000 book, A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War addressed the topic of Manstein and Stalingrad where they presented evidence of his communications as being part of the reason for Hitler's insistence on keeping 6th Army in place. Gerhard Weinberg also wrote on the topic, but from a different angle. He was seeking to overturn Manstein's repeated statements that he had no knowledge of the Holocaust and the actions of the Einsatzgruppen in his command areas. He presented Stalingrad as evidence of how Manstein selectively edited his role in the war in his memoirs to paint himself in a better light.

Quote:
He also taught his dauxhund to lift a front paw when he said, "Heil Hitler." That has got to count for something!
Have to admit, that would have been kind of funny.

Quote:
In regard to Monty, I am surprised you give him a pass on Caen, i.e., failure to take until bombing to smithereens, and his lackadaisical pace to close the gap at Falaise. Those two, plus Market Garden, are about all I can address, and he doesn't measure up based on that.
Monty was the overall commander for D-Day of all forces. He repeatedly made mention that he did not feel that they had better then a 50/50 shot of taking Caen on the timetable laid out. One of the first contingencies he prepared was the failure to take Caen. If that was to happen the plan was to draw as many German forces into the defense of Caen as possible and keep them occupied while the US forces to the west effected their breakout. The contingency plan worked. The Germans threw virtually all of their reserves into the defense of Caen leaving the units facing the US forces weakened and without reserves. When the US forces punched through they were able to rapdily move and create the situation that would lead to the Falaise Pocket.

At Falaise it was a complicated situation. The US forces didn't really move into Argentan in force until 20th August, the day after the link up at Chambois. The US also only threatened the gap with a single division, the 90th infantry, which has been noted as being among the poorest performers of US forces in Normandy. The order to halt from Bradley to Patton was based on Bradley not wanting the remaining Fallschirmjager and 2nd and 12th SS Panzer divisions to basically maul the US forces on their way through the gap. Monty could have been more aggressive with his forces, but it is not clear that it would have resulted in the effective destruction of the German forces in the pocket and would have most likely ended up with those forces still retreating but taking more people with them.

Market Garden could take a book, but I agree it was a poorly conceived operation top to bottom, given little support and was largely politically driven on both sides.
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