Best Army Commander of the WW2 Allies - Page 5




View Poll Results :Which Allied General/Field Marshall Outshone the Rest??
Field Marshal Bernard Law Viscount Montgomery (United Kingdom) 5 13.16%
General George Smith Patton (United States of America) 14 36.84%
Marshal of Soviet Union Georgii K. Zhukov (Soviet Union) 9 23.68%
Field Marshal Gustaf Mannerheim (Finland) 2 5.26%
General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower (United States of America) 8 21.05%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

 
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December 19th, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Aussiejohn's right, lets get back on topic. "Who was the best German Commander" hardly needs a topic of its own for anyone who knows what they're talking about. Only Manstein and Guderian would qualify, and we've gone through that quite a few times.

Anyways, Patton was probably as good as it gets on the attack capability. Bradley wasn't too far off, but the topic has gone for too long to bother adding him. Would it be fair to call Montgomery the most capable defensive general? That overlooks all the Soviet Commanders, which have been almost entirely forgotten in this discussion. I truly believe that Patton was better than Zhukov. Zhukov had more initiative to attack when opportunities arose than Mongomery. Montgomery was more careful to no endanger his forces in the process however. Compared with the other great commanders of his day, Monty was smart on defending, but hesitant to attack.

Zhukov has Opperation Mars as his biggest career disaster. Montgomery had Operation Market Garden. Mars was the bigger disaster without question.
December 19th, 2004  
Chemo66
 
None of the British Generals seemed able to move away from the first world war to a mind set of moblity and massing combat power to produce shock and break an enemy formation to then encircle, pursue, or exploit.

Macarthur and Patton both were able to do this in different ways. Patton was never in command of near as many troops as Mac. Mac's genius was his vision and the ability to command a theater by communicating his intent.

Patton was a visionary on the ground. Montgomery was too full of himself to realize Patton was good for the overall war effort...read his autobiography and then read churchill's, eisenhower's, bradley's. You will be struck by the opposing views, Monty versus everyone else's.

Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander, but his job was to devise overall strategic plans and guide the Allied command structure so they cooperated and didn't fall into a battle of us versus them. Ike was the very best choice for this. He was a master logistician and an amaizing staff officer. His strength was never on the battle field. He was a staff officer working for Macarthur when Mac was Chief of Staff of the Army from 30 to 35....when asked about Ike, Macarthur once said he "was the best clerk he ever had."

The Japanese had some great flag officers, but they were predominately in the Navy. The Germans also, of which Rommel is the star of history. Unfortunately, his carreer was hampered by the existence of Patton, and the fact that his boss was insane. The Soviets also had some great field marshals, but the soviet force was equipped with very sub-standard equipment (albet a bunch of it) and an almost untrained conscript force that the leadership wasted in frontal attacks. (the movie of the defense of Stalingrad, where forces were forced at gunpoint to run at the german lines, where only every other soldier had a rifle, and was to pick up a rifle as his comrade on the right or left fell, is an accurate portrayal. The soviets were saved by an emmense population and a winter that had crushed other european invaders for centuries before.)

Bradley is the question mark. Bradley was outstanding in every way, leading to his achieving 5-stars. But Brad was not a tactical genius like Patton. I think Bradley may have been the greatest general, but I think its because he realized the strengths and weaknesses of both his men and the enemy and acted accordingly. Bradley used Patton as a chess piece on a board of many...Patton was the Queen, for sure, but Brad used Patton once as a diagonal attacker, then as a feint, then as a crushing attack....Patton was a tactical genius, but I think Brad was the greatest GENERAL.

Who knows how differently this discussion would be if Patton had lived to reconstruct Germany and fight again in Korea? Feel free to gather and speculate.
December 19th, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chemo66
The Germans also, of which Rommel is the star of history. Unfortunately, his carreer was hampered by the existence of Patton, and the fact that his boss was insane. The Soviets also had some great field marshals, but the soviet force was equipped with very sub-standard equipment (albet a bunch of it) and an almost untrained conscript force that the leadership wasted in frontal attacks. (the movie of the defense of Stalingrad, where forces were forced at gunpoint to run at the german lines, where only every other soldier had a rifle, and was to pick up a rifle as his comrade on the right or left fell, is an accurate portrayal. The soviets were saved by an emmense population and a winter that had crushed other european invaders for centuries before.)
Rommel IS NOT the 'star of history'. I don't mean to be rude, but that shows ignorance of the subject. It's usually people who have little true knowledge of the German Army in WW2 who say this. He was very good it's true, but he was not the best.

The Soviets had some very good, not great, Marshalls. You say that the leadership wasted their troops in frontal attacks which in many circumstances was true. This can hardly be the decisions of great Marshalls now can it? The Soviet force was NOT equipped with sub-standard equipment. This could not be further from the truth. They had some of the finest tanks and ground attack aircraft of the war, better almost without exception than anything the Western Allies had and a match for German weapons.

The Soviets were saved by Lend-Lease, their own fighting spirit and German blunders, not by 'General Winter' or the size of their population.
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December 21st, 2004  
Charge 7
 
 
You can say that again, Doppleganger. I see by your quote that you _do_ know something of that history so I hardly have to mention that Rommel was only following tactics laid out by Guderian. Nice quote, btw, gave me a laugh.

As for my opinion, I'm surprised MacArthur wasn't included. Sure he was an arrogant self-promoting prima donna but he was brilliant none-the-less. Inchon (Korea I know) is often cited as one of the all-time master strokes of strategy. As for his results in WWII he was second only to Patton for speed and ground area taken, but his casualties were 1/10th Patton's. Patton's troops more than once refered to "Old Blood 'n' Guts" as "yeah, our blood, his guts".
December 22nd, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
My mistake on not including MacArthur. I don't have the capability to add him or he'd be in. So would several others. I was a bit tired when I started the thread and I figured I'd add on others later. Found out I can't.

Rommel did indeed use the tactics developed by Heinz Guderian -- tactics that he initially scoffed at (as did most of the high ranking officers in the Wehrmacht).

Worldwide, there were very few commanders besided Guderian that saw the potential use of massing tanks in order to overcome trench warfare style defense. Patton was one of those. So were Liddel Hart and Charles De Gaulle -- neither of which had the opportunity to prove the capability of using such tactics. Patton was and proved himself to be very very good at it. So he was a visionary as well as being a superb battlefield commander.

MacArthur really didn't do anything of the sort. By the time we get to the Korean War, the concepts that composed Blitzkrieg were already accepted and used pretty universally. Nonetheless, Inchon was nicely done.

BTW, I know that Mannerheim wouldn't qualify as being an Allied commander -- just put him in cuz I think he gets overlooked a lot, and I was curious how people think he stacks up against the others.
December 22nd, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charge_7
You can say that again, Doppleganger. I see by your quote that you _do_ know something of that history so I hardly have to mention that Rommel was only following tactics laid out by Guderian. Nice quote, btw, gave me a laugh.

As for my opinion, I'm surprised MacArthur wasn't included. Sure he was an arrogant self-promoting prima donna but he was brilliant none-the-less. Inchon (Korea I know) is often cited as one of the all-time master strokes of strategy. As for his results in WWII he was second only to Patton for speed and ground area taken, but his casualties were 1/10th Patton's. Patton's troops more than once refered to "Old Blood 'n' Guts" as "yeah, our blood, his guts".
Good to know that there's people out there who have a true appreciation for the facts. Yeah it's a funny quote and an accurate one too in that Paul von Kleist was more of a hinderance to his Panzers than the French were.

MacArthur should have been included, but I think Godofthunder (I can't very well abbreviate him to God now!) has already explained the omission. And if he had been included I would have put him on a par with Mannerheim or perhaps even in front.
December 31st, 2004  
Ashes
 
I'm not sure if Zhukov was the best or not, [everyone has their own opinion], but I think he was by far the most important commander in the second world war by a large margin.

He was the commander standing between a possible Nazi victory in the East.

It's a bit of a myth to say he only won battles because of superior forces, that was true later in the war, but when Russia was facing defeat in the first 6 months of the war, it was Zhukov, against the odds, who helped to stop the Germans, [including Manstein ] at Lenningrad, then again stopping them [including Guderian] against the odds at Moscow.

Later he helped to defeat the Germans at Stalingrad [again stopping Manstein], where the odds were about even.

These I think, were by far the most important battles of the second world war,if Russia lost them the result of the war in Europe might have been different, Europe might still be under Nazi rule today.

Then at Kursk, in the Germans last big offensive, he defeated a force of one million [including Model and Manstein again ] and drove them all the way back to Berlin, which he captured.

Not a bad resume.
December 31st, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
I'm not sure if Zhukov was the best or not, [everyone has their own opinion], but I think he was by far the most important commander in the second world war by a large margin.

He was the commander standing between a possible Nazi victory in the East.

It's a bit of a myth to say he only won battles because of superior forces, that was true later in the war, but when Russia was facing defeat in the first 6 months of the war, it was Zhukov, against the odds, who helped to stop the Germans, [including Manstein ] at Lenningrad, then again stopping them [including Guderian] against the odds at Moscow.

Later he helped to defeat the Germans at Stalingrad [again stopping Manstein], where the odds were about even.

These I think, were by far the most important battles of the second world war,if Russia lost them the result of the war in Europe might have been different, Europe might still be under Nazi rule today.

Then at Kursk, in the Germans last big offensive, he defeated a force of one million [including Model and Manstein again ] and drove them all the way back to Berlin, which he captured.

Not a bad resume.
Hi. I think you're giving Zhukov way too much credit for these Soviet victories, or German defeats if you like.

There are many reasons why Leningrad was never captured by the Wehrmacht. To solely attribute this to Zhukov is incorrect. Manstein's attempted capture of the city in 1942 mainly failed because he did not have the resources to do the job. The capture of Leningrad was never really seen as vital by either OKH or Hitler and in truth it was relatively easy for the Wehrmacht to put the city under siege. Something they may have considered for Stalingrad with hindsight.

Zhukov played a vital role at the Battle of Moscow, so I give him full credit for that. However, it must be realised that although numbers on paper may have been roughly even, the condition and combat power of the German divisions was very much less than the divisions Zhukov marshalled from Siberia. These troops were well supplied and fresh whereas the Germans were exhausted, undersupplied and overstretched from nearly 6 months of constant fighting in the field. The average Panzer division had lost more than half it's combat power. This, and the coldest winter for 140 years, are big factors as to why the Germans were pushed back that cannot be ignored by any objective observer.

Zhukov was nowhere near Stalingrad at the end of 1942 so whatever you've read is incorrect and he cannot be given much credit for that victory. He was a thousand miles or so North near Moscow, conducting the Soviet military offensive code-named Operation Mars against German Army Group Centre. It was General A. M. Vasilevsky who was in charge of Operation Uranus, the offensive to capture Stalingrad and destroy the German 6th Army. Operation Mars has rightly been called Zhukov' greatest defeat by the noted military historian David Glantz. This defeat was deliberately hid and covered up by the Soviet Union for decades after WW2 had ended. You can read about it here:

http://www.battlefield.ru/library/ba...ttle12_04.html

You mention Kursk, but again I cannot give Zhukov any credit for that eventual slight Soviet victory. It was the German's 2nd biggest strategic blunder of the war (after the delay of Operation Typhoon in 1941) and it was doomed to failure simply because the Soviets knew it was coming and had weeks to build up massive defences. The numbers were not even and in almost every major battle on the Eastern Front the Soviets maintained some kind of numerical superiority. In any case, the Germans played into the Red Army's hands and although they inflicted much higher casualties on the Soviets, they did not achieve their objectives and Hitler called off the attack in July when he heard the Allies had landed in Sicily.

Once Kursk was over the Germans no longer had any way to regain the strategic initiative. Zhukov was now working with forces that were superior in number in every way to the Germans and he knew this, still relying on brute force rather than tactical nuance to achieve victories. If he was that great why was the Red Army's casualty rate so much higher than that of the Wehrmacht's? Well, one reason is that Zhukov knew he could replace his losses where the Germans no longer could. I contend that an average Marshall would still have pushed the Germans all the way back to Berlin. FYI, Manstein was dismissed on March 30th, 1944 and so played no part in the final battles of the Eastern Front.

So to summarize. Zhukov was a very able strategic commander who did play in some cases a significant role in the eventual USSR victory. But I contend that German strategic blunders and Lend-Lease were the real reasons why Germany lost. Zhukov is lauded as this great Soviet Marshall who won stunning victory after victory against the Germans but closer examination of his military record somewhat tarnishes that image, one that Soviet propaganda built up after the war. Had any Western or German commander been in charge of Operation Mars they would have been dismissed outright. That battle alone sheds considerable doubt on his 'greatness'.
January 1st, 2005  
victortsoi
 
doppleganger-
i find it tempting to concede to your points about Zhukov, however, consider his position. He knew he had a large force of troops that were not as prepared for war as their German adversaries, so he played his advantages (numbers, strategic depth) to the utmost, and acted as fast as he could. There was no time/resources to really improve the red army's tactical skill other than through battle itself. On a strategic level, Zhukov had a lot of depth and utilized all facets of war like deception, raids, operational flanking, etc, to win in the "big picture", however, soviet troops oftentimes had trouble meeting up to expectations.
January 1st, 2005  
devilwasp
 
Rommel was good, funny i dont see him in the polls.