Was General Montgomery really overrated in WW2? - Page 10




 
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February 4th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
"The Germans believed the threat in Normandy was from the British."

Oh come on. Yeah the Americans faced soft units and we weren't the threat. Uh huh sure.

Look you're obviously proud of your nation. You don't have to be so at the expense of the honor of Americans who fought serious opposition and who provided the vast bulk of the men in the field not to mention the equipment and logistics.
February 4th, 2005  
03USMC
 
 
Well ya know. Monty's run across France..................... Wait that was Patton my bad
February 4th, 2005  
redcoat
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charge_7
"The Germans believed the threat in Normandy was from the British."

Oh come on. Yeah the Americans faced soft units and we weren't the threat. Uh huh sure.

Look you're obviously proud of your nation. You don't have to be so at the expense of the honor of Americans who fought serious opposition and who provided the vast bulk of the men in the field not to mention the equipment and logistics.
This is a case of 'shooting the messenger' when you don't like the message
Its a historical fact that the German High Command were dismissive of the capabilities of the American military at the start of the invasion.
Why?
The answers quite simple.
The German High Command in northern Europe had had little experience of fighting against US forces so they had little knowledge of their capabilities. While they did have knowledge of the capabilities of the British and Commonwealth forces and how formidable they could be.
The statement that the Germans underestimated the capabilities of the US forces is not an insult to the said forces, but yet another example of the stupidity of the German High Command.

ps, before the break-out over two thirds of the total number of German Panzer divisions in Normandy were fighting in the British Commonwealth sector
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February 5th, 2005  
KC72
 
 
Can anyone explain why Monty was loved by his men,and why Patton was hated by his?
February 5th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
"The German High Command in northern Europe had had little experience of fighting against US forces so they had little knowledge of their capabilities."

Wrong. Sicily and Italy had already occurred long before Normandy. In fact, Rome was captured within days of Normandy.

Patton was so highly regarded by the Germans that they kept a special file on him. They knew about us - you bet!
February 5th, 2005  
easyaction
 
When some of Pattons units came up against determined German resistance they were stopped as effectively as Montgomery. For some, including Bradley at first, Patton was charging around France gaining mostly empty territory. The name of the game was the defeat of the Germans. They were the professionals.
The battle of the build-up was for me the next most important thing to the securing of the beaches, the move inland and the creation of the bridgehead in Normandy. And it was the Americans who showed how this could be done across the beaches.
We needed the Americans.
They needed us.
The British had long realised that they would produce no army that would re-enter Europe on it's own. There was no American army that would do the same in this year.
It was an allied effort. American, British, Canadian. And the Poles and the French.
February 5th, 2005  
easyaction
 
To Strongbow;
Thank you for your comment. I would point out however that I am an extremely chairbound general and most of my thinking on this matter is from books and I should take little credit for it.
As a schoolboy I was taken to an army camp in Chepstow (UK).
A disgruntled squaddie advised me that I should not join "this f_-____ army.
So I didn't!
February 5th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
"When some of Pattons units came up against determined German resistance they were stopped as effectively as Montgomery."

Wrong again. Patton swept through the Germans at every stand and only stopped when he ran out of fuel as it had been given to Montgomery who then sat on it. At the Battle of the Bulge Patton moved an entire Army virtually overnite from one heated engagement in the Ruhr to relieve Bastogne in another. They traveled more than a hundred miles. A feat that nobody thought could be done. Montgomery was the master of the set piece battle but he was no assault force commander of instant decision and lightning speed - Patton was. It wasn't all "open ground" either that he took his men through. It may be comforting to you to think you won the war all on your lonesome and that the US was a bunch of amatuer hangers on, but history knows better. There was afterall another army there besides the British and the Americans - ask the Germans they know who was their main threat.

You are entirely correct, however, that both the Americans and the British needed each other to win the war. We just did alot more than be "masters of the build-up". Your army fought bravely and well, your intelligence was first rate, and your people offered us your hearts and your homes. I find it unfortunate that in defending Montgomery you felt it necessary to denigrate the American commanders and soldiers.

Britain did have an assault force commander of decision though in the person of General Slim. It was a mistake to venerate Montgomery because he gave you a victory at El Alamain when you desperately needed one and have largely forgotten Slim who did so much more. Many historians feel that that is so only because Slim was from the British Indian Army and Montgomery from the regulars. The Indian Army was considered of much lower distinction and merely by serving in it Slim was cheated out of the laurals he deserved.
February 6th, 2005  
Young Winston
 
 
Monty lacked a lot of imagination in his attacks at Caen- "Epsom", "Charnwood" and "Goodwood" but these attacks did draw off much of the German armour from the Americans who were building up their bridgehead.

On the 10th of June Rommel wrote a summary for those directing the battle from far- distant headquarters.

"The enemy would hold the bridgehead between Orne and Vire, and attempt to widen it through the capture of the Contentin Peninsula and the port of Cherbourg. They would then fill it with troops and equipment to the point where it overflowed into France."

"There air superiority had crippled the German attempts to mount a counter-attack; in the approach marches, the formation for attack, and the attack itself. The only hope was to bring in sufficient infantry to hold the line, thus releasing the panzer forces for another more concentrated effort. If the attack was to be mounted it should be against the weaker Americans".

Even after "Charnwood" the Germans believed that another major invasion was going to happen north of the Seine. Thats why they didn't use more of their armour at Caen.

The Americans did face some excellent units such as Panzer Lehr commanded by Bayerlein but on July 25th Operation Cobra was launched. The four- mile stretch of front running west of St Lo to held by Panzer Lehr was attacked by over 2000 American bombers to a depth of 2 miles. Each bomber had only to plough a strip some ten feet wide. Bayerlein's division was virtually annihilated.

The above is from The Devil's Virtuosos: German Generals at War 1940-1945 by David Downing. A fabulous book from the German perspective.

A book called "Das Reich" about the "Das Reich" SS Panzer Division in France (can't remember the author) makes it very clear that the fighting men in this division were not worried about the allied soldiers but they were very worried by the weight of material that they had to face when they reached Normandy and the constant air attacks along the way.

Even before Normandy, Patton's reputation worried the Germans quite a lot. (numerous sources back this claim).
February 6th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Thank you for your insights, AussieJohn.

One point however:

"There air superiority had crippled the German attempts to mount a counter-attack; in the approach marches, the formation for attack, and the attack itself. The only hope was to bring in sufficient infantry to hold the line, thus releasing the panzer forces for another more concentrated effort. If the attack was to be mounted it should be against the weaker Americans".

By "weaker" it could just as easily mean weaker in that specific area of the battle, and not mean _anything_ about the Americans as a whole. Without the full context that observation is just conjecture.