Was General Montgomery really overrated in WW2? - Page 29




 
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May 4th, 2006  
Young Winston
 
 
Yes, his contribution to the B of the B was immense. it was a pity he got carried away with himself later on.
May 5th, 2006  
perseus
 
 
Quote:
and impressively the Phase lines for the complete campaign was predicted to whithin 2 days!
Well yes but this ignores the timetable up to then. Caen was supposed to be captured on D day itself June 6th but we have to wait until the July 9th and 10th until British and Canadian troops seized the northern and western part of Caen and another nine days later on the July 19th they conquered the whole town. This suggests to me that military timescales have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

By D+90 there must have been a hundred different variables no commander could have predicted. Liddell Hart described Normandy as an operation that eventually went to plan but not according to timetable. War fronts and objectives are rarely won according to a timetable but in fits and starts, sooner or later the German front collapsed and the allies caught up with the timetable.

I agree that Montgomery used the American Canadian and British troops in accordance with their strengths and was very concerned about casualties. Perhaps that’s why Goodwood progressed less than satisfactorily, he was unwilling to support tanks with infantry or he didn’t trust them. It’s interesting you compare him with Zhukov, who tolerated the level of casualties which would have made Haig look timid! According to Wikapedia, for the whole series of Rzhev battles (which included Mars), the numbers are not clear but the total Soviet losses are estimated at between 500,000 and 1,000,000 men, verses 36 000 killed & 28 000 aircrew lost for the Allies in Normandy

Ultimately Montgomery and the American commanders could only use what they had got, men with dreams of life back home with their families. They were fighting against professional desperadoes, with their homeland at risk, with fears of occupation or even the Gulag. It’s hardly surprising that the fighting was difficult and slow until the breakthrough.

Max Hastings summed it up nicely

"Overall Montgomery accomplished as much in Normandy as he could with the forces available to him. He is owed a greater debt for his performance than has been recognised in recent years, when his own untruths and boastfulness have been allowed to confuse the issue, and when the root problem of the limited abilities of his troops, and the dynamism of the Germans has often been ignored"
May 5th, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
Now Montgomery had his faults, D Day planning, it was on his suggestion that there were five beach heads spread over nearly 50 miles, which is taken on board by Ike. This would help blunt a German counter attack spread over such distance. Cane, British and Canadian troops suffered 27,000 killed taking this town and Hitler threw six of the nine Divisions into this area to hold the allies. The Germans had quickly built defence in depth all through this area. The rest of the beach head was covered by three German divisions so when Patton sent in his attack there was not depth of German defences, and NO I am not knocking what Patton or the Americans forces achieved
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May 18th, 2006  
Strongbow
 
 
In the initial stages of Normandy Monty kept the bulk of the German armour away from the American beachheads with his attacks at Caen.
July 8th, 2006  
Young Winston
 
 
Do people think that Monty should have received so much blame for the protracted battle at Caen?
July 8th, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
He made mistakes which he should carry the blame for, Operation Goodwood went wrong early on and should have been stopped earlier. The Tiger Tank played havoc with the Sherman's, and I think it was a German L/t Whitman who took a whole battalion of tanks along one road, mind you he was the tank ace they had.
July 8th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
He made mistakes which he should carry the blame for, Operation Goodwood went wrong early on and should have been stopped earlier. The Tiger Tank played havoc with the Sherman's, and I think it was a German L/t Whitman who took a whole battalion of tanks along one road, mind you he was the tank ace they had.
Michael Wittman was indeed a tank ace, but really any German tank commander would probably have done just as well in the same situation. I believe you're referring to the Battle of Villers-Bocage. The natural defensive surroundings of the area, coupled with a tank that was able to knock out almost all of the Allied tanks before they were in range, meant that the advantages were firmly with the defender. On the whole Goodwood was always expected to be hard on Allied casualties and although there was a sense of frustration and even desperation on the part of Monty it was always going to be a difficult operation that probably had to be carried out at some point.
July 17th, 2006  
Reiben
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
Michael Wittman was indeed a tank ace, but really any German tank commander would probably have done just as well in the same situation. I believe you're referring to the Battle of Villers-Bocage. The natural defensive surroundings of the area, coupled with a tank that was able to knock out almost all of the Allied tanks before they were in range, meant that the advantages were firmly with the defender. On the whole Goodwood was always expected to be hard on Allied casualties and although there was a sense of frustration and even desperation on the part of Monty it was always going to be a difficult operation that probably had to be carried out at some point.
There was an article in the Times recently about they guy who got Wittman. It was a Sherman Fire Fly that got Wittman and I think four other tigers. From what I remember Wittam was over confident.
July 22nd, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
Reiben....Whitman got caught by eight Shermans and they came at him from every angle
July 23rd, 2006  
Reiben
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
Reiben....Whitman got caught by eight Shermans and they came at him from every angle
There was more than just Whittmanns tiger