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Old 01-08-2012, 06:02 AM
 
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It seems every time I read about him he shows what a jerk he was. ? Every time he screwed up he comes out and makes a statement making it sound like he plannned it like that. Yea ask the Brittish airborn troops who died at Arnehm that. Ron
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:05 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 383man View Post
It seems every time I read about him he shows what a jerk he was. ? Every time he screwed up he comes out and makes a statement making it sound like he plannned it like that. Yea ask the Brittish airborn troops who died at Arnehm that. Ron

He was capable. He had several victories under his belt and in Normandy it was he who took on the toughest German resistance.

Keep in mind that unlike American commanders he fought through the toughest days of the Great War and was determined that British blood would never again flow has it had in Flanders. I think that speaks well for the man.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:37 AM
 
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Yea but he always seemed to give himself credit for more then what he did. The only reason he won in North Africa is because he had way more supplies and men then Rommel. Rommel was not getting any supplies thru and what men he had were alot of Italians who did not want to fight. I think Rommel was a much better battlefield general then Monty. Ron
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 383man View Post
Yea but he always seemed to give himself credit for more then what he did. The only reason he won in North Africa is because he had way more supplies and men then Rommel. Rommel was not getting any supplies thru and what men he had were alot of Italians who did not want to fight. I think Rommel was a much better battlefield general then Monty. Ron
In North Africa we have one commander that routinely outstripped his supplies and drove his troops to exhaustion, often squandering any positive gains that he had made and leaving him open to counterattack. That commander would be Rommel.

Then we have one that joined later the in the campaign that took his time to build his forces, stock supplies, increase the level of inter-service operation, absorb an attack that he had correctly anticipated and planned for and then launch an effective counterattack that kicked off the drive that ended in victory all the while adjusting his strategy on the fly to maximum effectiveness. That commander would be Montgomery.

North Africa is obviously Montgomery's greatest success, but what about his other campaigns?

The Sicily campaign was redrawn on his ideas and while well executed did allow the German army to escape. His subsequent operations in Italy were effective, but constrained by the unique issues of the Italian campaign and inter-Allied squabbling. This was probably average overall and not better or worse than anyone else involved.

Normandy was again strongly influenced by Montgomery, but I think the criticism against him tends to not account for the fact that the ultimate strategy taken was the contingency that Montgomery had planned for in case supplies could not flow as readily as needed. The British served as a an anchor on the Allied left and drew in as many German units as they could. This strategy (laid out by Montgomery before the invasion) ultimately led to the Falaise Pocket. So, while Montgomery's forces did not meet their original goals, they did execute the contingency plan flawlessly.

Market Garden was Monty's biggest failure and also the least "Monty" of his operations. It was bold, reckless and he failed to properly prepare for it. It was a disaster and the blame lays squarely on Monty.

The Battle of the Bulge usually focuses on Patton, but Monty did an excellent job with the US First and Ninth Army's in stabilizing the northern front of the pocket and preparing for an offensive. The Germans themselves credit Monty's actions in organizing the American defense on the northern flank as being critical to preventing further German gains. His delay in launching a counter-attack was classic Monty in that he did not believe his forces were capable of conducting the operation in a heavy snowstorm. This delay ultimately allowed what was left of the German army to escape.

His late war actions in crossing the Ruhr, assisting in the encirclment of German forces and securing Hamburg and Denmark were all well executed.

So, was Monty a "great" commander. I don't think he was, but I also don't think he was a bumbling idiot either. In the cases where he could take the time to prepare and think out his operations they were very succesful with minimal casualties. His plans for North Africa and Normandy were virtually realized to the letter in terms of the timetable and casualties involved. Where he fails is in terms of being dynamic. He was slow and plodding and needed to take his time. He was no Patton in terms of thinking on his feet and adapting to an unexpected situation.

In terms of his being a prima donna, certainly his personality was a part of that, but some of it was also necessitated by the British position in the overall Allied effort. The British needed heros and victories and Monty delivered on both counts. In Normandy 5 of the 10 divisions were American and Monty was the overall ground commander and kept the spotlight for the Brits. However, by 1945 72 of 85 divisions in Europe were now American, Monty was no longer the overall ground commander and Monty was the face of the British war effort. So while his boasting wears on American nerves, I imagine it was well received by the people in Britain that he was fighting for.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Earth
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If Monty wasn't such a cry baby they might have given Patton the fuel he needed after breaking out of Normandy and, well, who knows...
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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Originally Posted by 383man View Post
It seems every time I read about him he shows what a jerk he was. ? Every time he screwed up he comes out and makes a statement making it sound like he plannned it like that. Yea ask the Brittish airborn troops who died at Arnehm that. Ron

What do you mean by jerk and why is that relevant? When did he screw up? Define screw up.

I think Monty was a professional and the closest version to what the British military could produce in terms of competence equivalent to a German general. I hope you understand and appreciate that as a compliment of the highest order. He completely reorganized the 8th Army in North Africa from the employment of armor, infantry, to artillery. He did not waste his infantry as some U.S. army commanders did including Patton. He tended to have more competent German adversaries than U.S. Armies. I think he was the best battlefield army level, later army group, commander in WWII in the African, Italian and Western Europe theater, American and French included. He was land forces commander in Normany until the breakout and was extremely patient with Bradly. There is no evidence to show he later poorly regarded or used U.S. soldiers under his command. Also, he did not spare criticism of his own British Commonwealth subordinates when deserved.

Monty was way ahead of the curve in terms of Allied commanders and it showed in his impatience with others to include strategy decisions which required his input.

If you mean Arnhem was the screw-up then know that the entire plan was a gamble and so considered at the time. Market Garden was entirely un-Monty but was needed to attempt a lodgement so that an advance could continue on favorable terrain prior to winter. Otherwise, it would have been the continuous front strategy which later occurred and cost several hundred thousand losses to all.

Last edited by Felix C; 01-09-2012 at 01:03 PM..
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Eastern Roamer View Post
If Monty wasn't such a cry baby they might have given Patton the fuel he needed after breaking out of Normandy and, well, who knows...
That would have never happened. Ike wanted the broadfront strategy and was pushing for it. There was talk in all the separate groups about a more dedicated thrust in a sector to speed up the war. Of all the sectors where that could be done, only Montgomery's made any strategic sense for one main reason, supplies.

A succesful Market Garden in concert with the clearing of the Schedlt would have opened a direct route into Germany with the support of all the supply ports needed to continue the operations. A Patton assault into southern Germany would have been incredibly difficult to supply and its flanks would have been totally exposed and difficult to support.
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:08 PM
 
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as patton once said, montys problem is that he was more concerned about not losing rather than winning. a few times during world war two, monty pushed for plans that allowed large parts of the german army to escape being cut off and destroyed. for instance at sicily had the allies gone with pattons plan, the germany army that was on sicily would have been cut off and destroyed. after the break out from normandy, there was another opportunity to cut off and destroy a large part of the german army, and again monty nixed the plan on the fear that british and american soldiers would be shooting at each other rather than at the germans.

monty was not a bad commander, but he was far from a good one.
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:28 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 37,913,598 times
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Originally Posted by rbohm View Post
as patton once said, montys problem is that he was more concerned about not losing rather than winning. a few times during world war two, monty pushed for plans that allowed large parts of the german army to escape being cut off and destroyed. for instance at sicily had the allies gone with pattons plan, the germany army that was on sicily would have been cut off and destroyed. after the break out from normandy, there was another opportunity to cut off and destroy a large part of the german army, and again monty nixed the plan on the fear that british and american soldiers would be shooting at each other rather than at the germans.

monty was not a bad commander, but he was far from a good one.
I would argue with your assessment of the "cut-off moments".

Sicily is often brought up, but there was nothing in Patton's plan that would have prevented the Germans from withdrawing and Monty's criticism of Patton's idea was rather spot on. The ENTIRE goal of the Sicily campaign was to capture the island, but more importantly the airfield at Catania. Monty had 5 divisions and Patton had 2 and these were arrayed against 2 crack German divisions. Monty felt that separating the forces would weaken their position in terms of the overall goal of taking Catania and securing the island.

Patton wanted to land at Palermo and ended up going to Palermo and then slogging his way down the coast. There is nothing about Pattons strategy that really addressed cutting off the Germans so they couldn't retreat and if anything he weakened Monty's main thrust when he decided to go for a drive in the country and visit Palermo.

Also, on the overall Sicily operation, neither Patton nor Montgomery were really in command. Eisenhower was the overall commander and Alexander was the ground forces commander who both Patton and Montgomery reported to.

In Normandy, the Allies followed Monty's plan and he was the overall ground commander right up to the breakout. The Falaise Pocket was the result of this plan and it was not Monty's failure that allowed the Germans to escape. If anything it was von Kluge recognizing the situation and the inability of the Americans to effectively close the gap and in particular the inability of the Polish 1st Armored to stop the Germans from getting out despite controlling the strategic high ground at the mouth of the pocket.
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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I think that Montgomery was an awfully good set-piece commander. I think his failing at Market Garden was that it wasn't his style of campaign. As a result, XXX Corps really didn't move up the Arnhem road with any degree of urgency, even after the Nijmegen bridge was captured.
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