Which was Churchill's biggest wartime blunder? - Page 12




 
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December 7th, 2008  
Del Boy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Don't get me wrong Churchill was a great orator and to his credit he saw the problems with Hitler and Stalin well before anyone else but he was a lousy strategist and should have left military matters to the likes of Montgomery, Alexander and even earlier Conners.

Now, whether I agree with that or not, that is much more like the MontyB we know. I have to listen to others here and think about it. Meanwhile, I'll keep my money on Winston, and remind myself what how victorious he emerged in WW11.

I also acknowledge that the Dardanelles was a very sad episode, and I once was obliged to work closely with a Gallipoli survivor, when I was a kid, just married, about 2o/21 years old. He had lost a leg there, on the beaches, and although I been already been around the world in ships and served Army time in Egypt, dealing with him was my hardest experience. He was the most bitter guy; who can blame him?

Just imagine, me trying to defend Winston, who was the standing MP for the constituency next to my home, against Fred. After that, I am ready for all comers - you see. Olligarchy didn't stand a chance - I had already been minced by Fred, God Bless him. RIP.
December 9th, 2008  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boy
Now, whether I agree with that or not, that is much more like the MontyB we know. I have to listen to others here and think about it. Meanwhile, I'll keep my money on Winston, and remind myself what how victorious he emerged in WW11.

I also acknowledge that the Dardanelles was a very sad episode, and I once was obliged to work closely with a Gallipoli survivor, when I was a kid, just married, about 2o/21 years old. He had lost a leg there, on the beaches, and although I been already been around the world in ships and served Army time in Egypt, dealing with him was my hardest experience. He was the most bitter guy; who can blame him?

Just imagine, me trying to defend Winston, who was the standing MP for the constituency next to my home, against Fred. After that, I am ready for all comers - you see. Olligarchy didn't stand a chance - I had already been minced by Fred, God Bless him. RIP.
Churchill was quite obviously the inspiration and backbone of British resistance against the Axis. As Monty B stated he also saw the dangers of Hitler and Stalin well before most others. When most of the world was calling for some kind of appeasment, Churchill was rattling his sabre and quite justifiably.
But i also believe he was a terrible strategist. Though the Gallipoli Debacle is probably most quoted, he made some terrible mistakes during WW2. His posting of Gen. Percival, an extremely indecisive man to defend Singapore and Malaya. His wasting of British and Canadian troops at Hong Kong. Though they put up a good fight, it was a forgone conclusion. This next criticism will get me in trouble with some but here goes. Not being a big Montgomery fan I believe Churchill should have left Auchinleck in charge in North Afrika. Churchill wanted an immediate counter-attack after the first battle of El Alemain. Auk refused on the grounds he needed to bring his armour up to proper strength. Churchill sacked him and brought in Montgomery who told him the same thing. He would not attack until his armour was up to strength. Rommel thought Auk was a far more troublesome commander and saw the man as a better strategist than Montgomery. But that is all surmise.
December 11th, 2008  
Del Boy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by papasha40
Not being a big Montgomery fan I believe Churchill should have left Auchinleck in charge in North Afrika. Churchill wanted an immediate counter-attack after the first battle of El Alemain. Auk refused on the grounds he needed to bring his armour up to proper strength. Churchill sacked him and brought in Montgomery who told him the same thing. He would not attack until his armour was up to strength. Rommel thought Auk was a far more troublesome commander and saw the man as a better strategist than Montgomery. But that is all surmise.

Papasha - thanks for giving The Auk a mention. He was a good man.

I met him once; he came to my boy's club deep in the east end of London, where the 2012 Olympic area is being built. I was a boy captain there and we were introduced. He seemed very tall and he shook my hand a spent a little time talking to me. He was a popular general with his troops.
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December 11th, 2008  
perseus
 
 
Yes I doubt if Auchinleck would have done any worse than Montgomery, perhaps better, the latter was blessed with a superiority in matériel from El Alamein onwards. The quality of a commander cannot only be judged from results alone, one has to consider the relative strengths of the armies in conflict including the abilities of the respective commanders, and perhaps a good dose of luck thrown in for good measure.
December 12th, 2008  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boy
Papasha - thanks for giving The Auk a mention. He was a good man.

I met him once; he came to my boy's club deep in the east end of London, where the 2012 Olympic area is being built. I was a boy captain there and we were introduced. He seemed very tall and he shook my hand a spent a little time talking to me. He was a popular general with his troops.
DelBoy, Afew months back I mentioned I was interested in the Burma theater, Orde-Wingate and the Chindits.

What I have learned in the meantime is quite interesting. The Japanese sent a man to Burma well before the hostilities. He was an army colonel and worked with independence thinking Burmese and especially the most rich and influential. The colonel's name was Suzuki and he was a natural spy. He was thought of as a genius pertaining to all things concerning espionage.

But he was also different. He truly believed in the independence of all Asian peoples. The Japanese high command used this enigmatic man to form an anti-British Burmese army. But the same high-command regarded Suzuki with suspicion and saw him as neccessary but annoying. He worked with the Thackins who disliked the British immensly. The reasons for this I do not know, but will find out. But he did set out to and started a nucleus of the Burmese Independence Army. These soldiers turned out to be very good fighters and with training they became even more deadly. The problem was Suzuki himself. The Japanese high command wanted these people as an auxillery force fighting under Japanese command. Suzuki told them to use their own commanders and if the Japanese oppose them, then to shoot back at the Japanese. The High command was not amused. Later in the war, late 43 and through 44 some of these units did some long range work with some Japanese forces. It is believed they fought the Chindits and got a pretty good drubbing. They were suspicious of Japan to begin with, but when they told the Thakins the British soldiers would run when they saw the Japanese a serious trust issue ensued.

I'll try and tell you more at a later date
Cheers
papasha40
December 12th, 2008  
Del Boy
 
Very interesting Papasha.
December 14th, 2008  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus
Yes I doubt if Auchinleck would have done any worse than Montgomery, perhaps better, the latter was blessed with a superiority in matériel from El Alamein onwards. The quality of a commander cannot only be judged from results alone, one has to consider the relative strengths of the armies in conflict including the abilities of the respective commanders, and perhaps a good dose of luck thrown in for good measure.
You know I never really liked Auchinleck I always felt he was "recklessly over cautious".
I always believed General O'Conner would have been a better choice (had he not got himself captured of course).
December 14th, 2008  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
You know I never really liked Auchinleck I always felt he was "recklessly over cautious".
I always believed General O'Conner would have been a better choice (had he not got himself captured of course).
Monty, Do you truly believe the Auk was any more cautious than Montgomery? Also the first battle of El Alemain was a battle Rommel truly thought he was going to win. But Rommel didn't expect Auchinleck to place his armour and anti-tank guns at two positions which defeated Rommel's stategy for the battle. Rommel, gave credit where credit was due. He said Auchileck gave him fits.

By the time the second battle of Alemain happened, Rommels forces were spent. He had a quarter of the armour that Montgomery had and his men were exhausted. Plus he never gave Monty the praise he gave the Auk.
December 15th, 2008  
MontyB
 
 
No offense but I am less enthusiastic about praising allied generalship and strategic mastery given that they had the benefit of ULTRA, basically I could have stopped Rommel if I knew where, when and with how much yet even with all this knowledge he still managed to barely extract a "limited success" with operation Crusader.

On top of this I think you inaccurately comparing commanders (I may be wrong here but my understanding is) Auchinleck was not replaced by Montgomery he was replaced by Alexander, Montgomery replaced Cunningham.
December 15th, 2008  
Del Boy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
... basically I could have stopped Rommel if I knew where, when and with how much

Yes! I knew it. I knew it! I spotted it some time ago!

You are actually Churchill in disguise!