Was General Montgomery really overrated in WW2? - Page 37




 
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September 1st, 2008  
errol
 
 
I guess if Monty had been more honest with people around him at Normandy about the difficulties faced at Caen, he wouldn't have copped so much criticism.

It just wasn't in his nature.
September 14th, 2008  
Papashah41
 

Topic: On Montgomery


Montgomery knew of the two WaffenSS Panzer Divisions resting and refitting in Arnhem. These two divisions weren't a couple of Eastern European grab bags or worse. These were the Hohenstaufen and Frundsberg Panzer Divisions. These were elite divisions. Why did he not react to this knowledge? Possibly, Montgomery suffered from the malady of never believing a Monty plan could go wrong. The British army was notorius with an officer corp arrogant enough to act in such a stupid way. This belief has it's roots in a class system which rewarded position over merit. That he did not at least try and change the plan reeks of incompetance. It is at least the actions of one who put his strategy to work at the expense of logistics. Plans go out the window when the operation meets the enemy. Commonwealth brass suffered from the same idiotic thinking. A good example is General Guy Simonds of the Canadian forces. His mentor was Monty. At the end of Operation Totalize Simonds raged about his Armour personel whom he called inexperienced and muddled. Many junior officers were threatened because not all objectives had been met. If there had been no one to criticize, Simonds would have exploded about faulty eqipment. But he would never have brought the plan into question. One has only to look closely at the 2nd battle of El Alemain to get a glimps of Monty's brilliance. He had a fake plan put into a burned out vehicle close to the German lines. He studied Rommels tactics methodically. He placed his guns where Rommel was sure to attack and he realized he out gunned his adversary by about five to one. Could Montgomery be clever, even brilliant? Yes. Could he be plodding, slow and too cautious at times? I believe so. Could Montgomery be reckless and sacrifice men for a plan he hoped would work? You bet he could.
September 14th, 2008  
errol
 
 
He certainly played his cards out in the right order, if well prepared and equiped.
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September 14th, 2008  
Papashah41
 
Did he play his cards out properly at Arnhem? With an incredible amount of men and resources at his command, he squandered the Red Devils in a reckless attempt to take Arnhem bridge. Knowing of the presence of two Waffen SS panzer divisions in the area, he didn't change his plans one iota. His attitude was criminal.
September 14th, 2008  
Topmaul
 
 
One thing I noticed in Normandy Monty would use Canadians, New Zelanders, or other common wealth soldiers to weaken German positions the send in Brits for the big win. Has anyone else noticed that? Or am I off base here?
September 14th, 2008  
Del Boy
 
He was certainly very popular with his troops.
September 14th, 2008  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Topmaul
One thing I noticed in Normandy Monty would use Canadians, New Zelanders, or other common wealth soldiers to weaken German positions the send in Brits for the big win. Has anyone else noticed that? Or am I off base here?


Given that there were no New Zealanders in Normandy I suspect you are off base.
The New Zealand 2nd Division served in Greece, North Africa and Italy while the 3rd Division served in the Pacific, New Zealand units would have seen combat under Montgomery from the 2nd Battle of El Alamein to the early stages of the Italian campaign as Montgomery was moved back to England for D-Day planning.

In terms of him using Commonwealth forces as bullet stoppers for the British I doubt there is a lot of support for that as even though New Zealand forces were part of the 8th Army they did have their own command structure under General Freyberg (Thanks to inepted British leadership at Galipoli) had this been the case I am certain it would have been stopped and I can't imagine that the Australians, Indians or any other Commonwealth forces would have been dissimilar.
September 15th, 2008  
Papashah41
 
Young Winston, That Model was liked by Hitler makes me suspect his abilities as a commander. The Fuhrer prized loyalty above all other things, including competence. Model did help large amounts of troops escape the Falaise pocket when he took over from General Kluge. But his reaction to the British Paras at Arnhem could be described as unconciously comedic. Maybe better choices of German comanders would be Von Manstein, Rommel, Guderian and even some SS commanders such as Paul Hausser, Felix Steiner, Wilhelm Bittrich and Sylvester Stadler.

LeEnfield. Most every piece of history I have read on Montgomery and Market Garden suggests Montgomery knew very well there were two panzer divisions resting and refitting in the Arnhem area. I should expect someone with as much of an emperor complex that he had, would not tolerate information being kept from him. And I also believe there wasn't too many junior officers around who would have with-held such important information from some one of Montgomery's prestige. They might find themselves posted to Burma or Labrador with no explanation of why.
September 15th, 2008  
errol
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Papashah41
Young Winston, That Model was liked by Hitler makes me suspect his abilities as a commander. The Fuhrer prized loyalty above all other things, including competence. Model did help large amounts of troops escape the Falaise pocket when he took over from General Kluge. But his reaction to the British Paras at Arnhem could be described as unconciously comedic. Maybe better choices of German comanders would be Von Manstein, Rommel, Guderian and even some SS commanders such as Paul Hausser, Felix Steiner, Wilhelm Bittrich and Sylvester Stadler.
Young Winston was "shot by firing squad" on this forum several months ago for showing disrepect on this forum. He won't be replying!

You may wish to read an excellent book called "Overlord" by Max Hastings. It details the Caen battles in detail, going into Monty's short comings and his strengths. The New Zealanders were not in Normandy. Monty didn't shield British divisions.

If Monty was well supplied, equiped and prepared, he did well. Monty was not well prepared for MarketGarden, he rushed it and took some bad risks. It was not characteristic of his usual approach.

His miltary reaction at the Battle of the Bulge was brilliant but he spoilt it all afterwards by shooting his mouth off to the press.

Model had great experience on the Ostfront (but he was accused of war crimes) with some success. He was a ruthless general and a tough nut for the Allies to crack.
September 15th, 2008  
Papashah41
 
errol, I believe Model's expertise was his ability in rebuilding mauled and broken units and shoring up fronts which where near cracking. If I'm not mistaken he brought stability to the Eastern Front in May and June of 1944. But it appears he was of the school of no retreat. His un-elastic approach to defensive warfare would inevitably lead to more waste, ala Stalingrad. It appears to be an unrealistic position he shared with his Fuhrer. But I have only read of model's escapades quite a while ago. Would you suggest further reading.

What is meant by the term Blitzkrieg? A trans-literation from the German means lightning war. This German expression is used to describe the movement of massed armour with fighter and tactical bomber support, shored up by motorized and / or mechanized infantry. When first introduced in 1939 in Poland and spring of 1940 in the Low Countries and France, it was novel, brilliant and completely de-moralized the enemy.
When you suggest that not every operation of striking fast is neccesarily blitzkrieg warfare, I agree. I could be totally wrong here but I believe certain elements had to exist within the kampfgruppe to produce Blitzkrieg. In all cases of successfull lightning war the armour and aircraft were on their way even before the artillery was employed to shorten the pause between artillery and follow up massed armour with fighter and dive-bomber suport. The motorized or mechanized infantry would be hot on the heels of the armour to support against enemy infantry and anti-tank elements usually bypassed.
Most armies in Europe at the time thought militarily in 1st World War terms, viz: tanks were parcelled out to infantry units as a supporting arm of the infantry. And except for the Germans and the Brits, most aircraft was obsolete.
And yes, Guderian, Rommel, Manstein and other German commanders aquired inspiration from British armour thinkers such as Liddell-Hart and J.F.C. Fuller. The irony here is that the British military establishment did not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boy
The constant worshipping of Germany's WW11 military prowess leaves me cold.

They called all the shots and lost every single one at the final count. To me that spells defeat, second best at best, humiliation at worst. So why not simply accept that they took a tremendous thrashing all around the wicket, as well as losing all respect by virtue of the regime they were so enthusiastically devoted to.

I consider that the Germany we see now does not need the white knuckle clinging to the reputation of such gigantic losers.

It seems to me that we now see the Germany which is a real winner in world leadership. No-one could be more delighted than me to have lived to see that success and to welcome it.
Del Boy, I do not believe anyone is worshipping Germany's WW 2 prowess. It would just be remiss to take such a naive view to suggest that because they took a thrashing and lost the war, we shouldn't take and use what was brilliant in their military doctrine. We must remember, the reason for Germany's brubbing can be traced back to the idiotic decisions of that madman Adolph Hitler, and not the military neccessarily. He bit off more than he could chew, let alone swallow.
Also, unless someone is a skinhead fruitcake full of ethnocentric and racist nonesense or a nazi-phile who believes all of that MeinKampf refuse we can all agree that the nazi regime was reprehensible.
But if we close our eyes to the incredible strides the German military took in military doctrine and weapon's design we are not doing ourselves any favors.
That the Nazi regime was a blight on all civilized nations at that time is certainly true. But let us not let over zealous propaganda blind and / or prejudice our thinking.