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Old 04-18-2013, 09:43 AM
14,780 posts, read 43,732,038 times
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Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
Very much agreed. Not enough people realize how much of the Overlord planning came from Montgomery and his staff. And while staff work is boring and uninspiring, it wins battles.

Interestingly, the one time Montgomery truly deviated from form and made a Patton-like gamble - I'm speaking of Market Garden - the operation went sour.
Monty is someone that Americans just love to hate, lol. I don't think he was as brilliant as the British make him out to be, but he is nowhere near as incompetent as many Americans believe him to be. There was a thread on here a while back discussing Monty and I drew a lot of flack over supporting him. Outside of Market Garden which was, as you said, uncharacteristic of Monty, his record is rather impressive.

His 3rd Division performed exceptionally well in France in 1940 and he executed a spectacular night-time retreat from his positions in good order to plug the gap left in the left flank of the Dunkirk perimeter after the Belgians surrendered.

He reformed the 8th Army in North Africa and then with exceptional planning and foresight engaged the German and Italian armies and drove them out. Second El Alamein, was a brilliantly planned battle.

In Sicily while he drew much American criticism for insisting on a more conservative battle plan, his forces executed the plan to perfection and achieved their primary goals.

His involvement in the Italian campaign was to conduct the initial landings, including the airborne assault by the British on Taranto. His forces performed well, but he was very fed up with the lack of coordination between the Allies that created a dispersion of effort. A lesson he would take with him to Normandy.

Normandy was covered above, but he was one of the primary architects and deserves much of the credit for the success of Overlord. You can't fault him for getting bogged down at Caen, when his first contingency plan was, "If the British get bogged down at Caen". The stalemate there ended up being purposeful. As the Germans threw their best units into Caen (including their limited armor), the British held them there, which freed the US forces to drive west and secure Cherbourg and the Cotentin Peninsula before pivoting to form the Falaise Pocket. This all followed Montgomery's pre-invasion contingency plans.

In the advance to the Ruhr he had the more difficult path to take do to the natural constraints of the terrain and that he was operating with his flank on the coast. Market Garden was a disaster and much of the blame goes to Monty. However, he played a large and often under-discussed role in the Battle of the Bulge.

The Bulge effectively split the Allied army down the middle. Bradley's forces ended up trapped north or south of the Bulge. Everyone knows about how Patton wheeled his army around and drove into the German flank. Less known is that all American forces north of the Bulge were transferred to Montgomery's command. While Monty's own army was in no position to wheel south and engage, he quickly rallied the American forces north of the Bulge, stopped the German advance and applied pressure on the northern flank. Monty became the "anvil" to Patton's "hammer". In the German evaluation of the battle, they actually give equal credit to Monty and Patton for defeating the assault.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:22 AM
31,387 posts, read 37,088,423 times
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
So, from June 6th, 1944 until September 1st, 1944 Montgomery was the overall ground commander of all forces in France. Bradley was the overall commander of American forces, but he reported to Montgomery and was technically part of the British 21st Army Group. When SHAEF transferred to France on September 1st, Ike took over the position of overall ground commander and had been agreed to previously, though Monty doth protest, lol.

From that point on, Montgomery served under Ike as the commander of the British 21st Army Group. Bradley assumed command of the American 12th Army Group and also reported to Ike. This situation made Bradly and Montgomery equals in the command structure. At the same time the American 6th Army Group under General Jacob Devers that had invaded southern France in August shifted from being under the Mediterranean HQ to being under SHAEF. When Patton's 3rd Army was activated, he was not an army group commander and was simply attached to Bradley's command as part of the American 12th AG.
I knew I was getting something wrong...

Well that clears things up. I had totally forgotten or never knew or ignored Dever.

So, from September 1st on, the command structure was as follows:

we need to rephrase the question a bit...
Nope, we need to delete it.

1. No. No one could have filled that role better than Ike.
That idea would never cross my mind.
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:48 PM
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Hammer and anvil is a good way to describe Patton and Monty. Monty's mistake at Market Garden was trying a bold Pattonesque thrust - something for which he was temperamentally unsuited. Monty wanted to know whether you had orders for what you were doing. Patton wanted to know why in hell you were still sitting here on your ask when the enemy was over there! Monty was good and fortifying positions and making cautious moves that solidified his position. Patton was good at reining down hell and fury on unbalanced troops and keeping the pressure on till sometimes he literally ran out of fuel for his tanks. They were very different warriors. Monty's style was evident at Normandy. The Brits bogged down at Caen (as Monty expected they would) and drew the Germans down on their position. This allowed everybody to the west of Monty's boys to swing round and apply the hammer to his anvil at Caen and it shattered the Germans and sent them flying. The only difference between how it might have turned out would have been if Patton were commanding those Western beaches. He'd have not only struck the hammer blow, but he'd have chased the Germans all the way to Berlin. It would have been tough on his men though and that was not Bradley's style. Bradley was a soldier's general and took better care of his men than Patton did.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:01 AM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,930 posts, read 11,739,557 times
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MacArthur is another controversial figure. Yet, after reading biographies of Ernest King and Chester Nimitz, two men who had different ideas about how to win the Pacific War, never spoke badly about MacArthur and seemed to have a pretty high regard for him. If you look at the way he turned around the army troops under his command in his theatre, he was quite effective, even if he was an extremely "difficult person".

Korea is another story.
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