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Old 11-11-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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What do you guys think?
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:14 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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Well there is a considerable amount of defining as to what level of command you are asking about that is needed to answer the question unless you deliberately wanted to leave interpretation open to the respondent.

I see the ETO more as a battalion & company commander's combined arms or straightforward infantry war. Terrain favored the defense,(even the rivers run North to South) and the attackers were limited by how much fuel could be brought forward to supply the advance and the knowledge the infantry and armor reserves were finite.

In the majority of the scenarios the Germans decided how the battle should be fought(especially Italy) which limited Allied scenarios and some of the Allied attempts to circumvent this case did not end too well and only much late when Germany was defensively exhausted.

I think it ended up being more a battle of doctrine and resources than individual commanders.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Felix C View Post
Well there is a considerable amount of defining as to what level of command you are asking about that is needed to answer the question unless you deliberately wanted to leave interpretation open to the respondent.

I see the ETO more as a battalion & company commander's combined arms or straightforward infantry war. Terrain favored the defense,(even the rivers run North to South) and the attackers were limited by how much fuel could be brought forward to supply the advance and the knowledge the infantry and armor reserves were finite.

In the majority of the scenarios the Germans decided how the battle should be fought(especially Italy) which limited Allied scenarios and some of the Allied attempts to circumvent this case did not end too well and only much late when Germany was defensively exhausted.

I think it ended up being more a battle of doctrine and resources than individual commanders.
Agreed. Without defining the level/context, you have to go to the top. In this case it becomes an argument between Eisenhower and Zhukov (maybe Rokossovsky if you want to argue him over Zhukov). If we move past these guys then we are at combat commanders and we have many levels of those. Then you can get into the argument that it's all really a team effort. I happen to like Patton and think he was a great commander, but he was good because he had men like Eisenhower and Bradley holding his leash and compensating for his weaknesses. Take a good commander out of his support network and he might not be a good commander anymore.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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Top. Commanders who preferably led army groups or armies.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:46 PM
 
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I happen to like Patton and think he was a great commander, but he was good because he had men like Eisenhower and Bradley holding his leash and compensating for his weaknesses. Take a good commander out of his support network and he might not be a good commander anymore.
You know it does look like all commanders at bottom are compensated for their weaknesses and pay for it as well. If a good commander loses trust from a superior no doubt he becomes no commander. I'd think the 'network' they're in automatically acts like a check there. I've always thought Eisenhower and Marshall were truly two of the greatest 'overseers' of war prosecution in history. Yet I know they of course had their 'weaknesses' too. And on that I'm not exactly sure who actually 'checked' them when it came to making gut-wrenching decisions but I'd they were under the microscope for weaknesses as well. Arguably I' say one of the reason the Allies won the war was perhaps the fact that they knew better than Germany how to handle 'weaknesss' inherent in each and every general in their officer corps in the Army and Navy.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
You know it does look like all commanders at bottom are compensated for their weaknesses and pay for it as well. If a good commander loses trust from a superior no doubt he becomes no commander. I'd think the 'network' they're in automatically acts like a check there. I've always thought Eisenhower and Marshall were truly two of the greatest 'overseers' of war prosecution in history. Yet I know they of course had their 'weaknesses' too. And on that I'm not exactly sure who actually 'checked' them when it came to making gut-wrenching decisions but I'd they were under the microscope for weaknesses as well. Arguably I' say one of the reason the Allies won the war was perhaps the fact that they knew better than Germany how to handle 'weaknesss' inherent in each and every general in their officer corps in the Army and Navy.
Not to mention the fact that Hitler would stick his fingers in the pie and interfere with things.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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I think regarding the ETO,MTO that the nature of fighting precluded any Army or Army Group commander from displaying ability which can be termed above and beyond rank peers. Commands to Orders trickled down the chain to the fighting unit doing the actual work. A general officer had no impact on a battle once joined unless it was to ensure resources were continuously available. The poor performing generals had already been culled from field commands in earlier campaigns. I am referring to the Allies. Although among themselves, as you must already know, the more egotistical tended to have a poor opinion of their colleagues.

I regard NA as a soldier's war until the beginning of 2nd Alamein. Then it was all resource driven.

As to the Germans, well their selection and training produce excellent General rank officers.(SS political appointees had a professional staff officer) The resource or political situation placed them in a situation of being unable to display unusually competent abilities from their normally high standards.

I am not knowledgeable regarding the EF to answer.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:44 PM
 
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George Patton. If he had his way, instead of being murdered,
there wouldn't have been a Soviet Union or a Cold War.
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Felix C View Post
A general officer had no impact on a battle once joined unless it was to ensure resources were continuously available. The poor performing generals had already been culled from field commands in earlier campaigns.
I'm not on the level of many who post here but I find your argument that commanders even at the division level having no impact on a battle in progress seems to run concurrent to everything that I know or have read about military history.

Like Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen who was relieved for "poor performance" as commander of the 1st Infantry Div. only to return as the crack commander of the 104th's march across Holland and into Germany? (that's sarcasm).
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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That is ok. We can all have opinions.
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