Was General Montgomery really overrated in WW2? - Page 44




 
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August 15th, 2009  
CoffeeMug
 
 

Topic: Good old 'Monty' was a great enemy asset


I nominate General Montgomery as the worst commander of WW2. If the Nazis had captured him, the smartest thing they could do would be to send him back unharmed, before someone (anyone) better could replace him.

He almost singlehandedly lost the war THREE times ! (Sicily, Caan, and of course, 'Market Garden') He disobeyed his superiors, sacrificed soldiers, but refused to move unless he outnumbered his opponents by at least 5 times. He sent Canadians and others into suicide operations, but was always quick to take full credit himself when they succeeded

When Rommel was down to 17 tanks, he turned and attacked the British (with 600 tanks) and sent them into panic retreat; allowing his remaining army to break north to the sea - so respected was he. Montgomery could NEVER have defeated Rommel if Monty had even only 3 to 1 superiority. But Monty 10 to 1, with air cover, and Rommel had no 'air' and zero supply lines. Rommel was abandoned, not defeated.

If Monty had been Supreme Commander instead of Ike, we would surely have lost the war. After the war, that clown was showered with undeserved accolades and promotions. Happily, he was never to command a major battle again.
August 16th, 2009  
mkenny
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoffeeMug
I nominate General Montgomery as the worst commander of WW2.................. .
What a coincidence. The main Monty-hater has to leave the thread because he made unsupportable claims and a brand new poster with the very same outlook registers to carry on the fight!
August 16th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkenny
What a coincidence. The main Monty-hater has to leave the thread because he made unsupportable claims and a brand new poster with the very same outlook registers to carry on the fight!
Ok to play devils advocate here for a minute and because I am not really a Montgomery fan myself I am just less of a hater I guess...

Montgomery did receive accolades he does not deserve on his own for example the North African campaign that people like to credit him with (Himself included) should have also recognised Auchinleck who not only stopped Rommel at the first battle of El Alamein but the battle plan that Montgomery used in the second battle was his as well.

To claim that the Allied victory in Africa was due to Montgomery completely overlooks the fact that the Allies had overwhelming superiority in all aspects of the campaign (Air, Sea and Manpower).

I personally did not have a problem with the Sicilian campaign but the progress of the 8th Army was horribly slow.

Caen/Market Garden I do not believe was Montgomery's finest hour and I think it showed the difference between the slow methodical and unimaginative British command and somewhat more dashing but reckless American approach to things (this incidently is why I think Arhnem may have been a success with an American spearhead instead of XXX Corps as I tend to think that while the Americans would have taken more casualties they would also have reached their objectives.)

In the end Montgomery was a self promoting primadonna but that did not make him a bad leader however I do not believe he was the greatest military leader Britain has ever produced either.
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August 16th, 2009  
mkenny
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Caen/Market Garden I do not believe was Montgomery's finest hour and I think it showed the difference between the slow methodical and unimaginative British command and somewhat more dashing but reckless American approach to things

Best countered by Bradley himself:


For another four weeks it fell to the British to pin down superior enemy forces in that sector [Caen] while we maneuvered into position for the U.S. breakout. With the Allied world crying for blitzkrieg the first week after we landed, the British endured their passive role with patience and forbearing. . . . In setting the stage for our breakout the British were forced to endure the barbs of critics who shamed them for failing to push out vigorously as the Americans did. The intense rivalry that afterward strained relations between the British and American commands might be said to have sunk its psychological roots into that passive mission of the British on the beachhead
August 16th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkenny
Best countered by Bradley himself:


For another four weeks it fell to the British to pin down superior enemy forces in that sector [Caen] while we maneuvered into position for the U.S. breakout. With the Allied world crying for blitzkrieg the first week after we landed, the British endured their passive role with patience and forbearing. . . . In setting the stage for our breakout the British were forced to endure the barbs of critics who shamed them for failing to push out vigorously as the Americans did. The intense rivalry that afterward strained relations between the British and American commands might be said to have sunk its psychological roots into that passive mission of the British on the beachhead
I have no doubt that the plan developed into this through necessity but as I recall Caen was meant to be in British hands at the end of D+1 and even had the British role been passive the casualty figures for Goodwood alone indicate that offensively they were struggling.

Also Montgomery himself claimed that Goodwood had two objectives one of which was to breakout, the other to wreck German armoured reserves and draw them away from the western sector where the US forces were preparing for Cobra.

So I am not entirely convinced that the British role was as much deliberately passive as passive through poor planning (and Goodwood had a lot of faults).
August 16th, 2009  
mkenny
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I have no doubt that the plan developed into this through necessity but as I recall Caen was meant to be in British hands at the end of D+1
and the date for Cherbourg was..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
and even had the British role been passive the casualty figures for Goodwood alone indicate that offensively they were struggling.
What 'struggle'? The aim was to write down the German numbers.


Letter on 8 July to General Eisenhower:


Initially, my main pre-occupations were:
To ensure that we kept the initiative, and
To have no setbacks or reverses. .............

I wanted Caen too, but we could not manage both at the same time and it was clear to me that the enemy would resist fiercely in the Caen sector.
So I laid plans to develop operations towards the R. Odon on the Second Army front, designed to draw the enemy reserves on to the British sector so that the First U.S. Army could get to do its business in the west all the easier.....................

We want to engage the enemy in battle, to write-off his troops, and generally to kill Germans. Exactly where we do this does not matter...........

I do not need an American armoured division for use on my eastern flank; we really have all the armour we need. The great thing now is to get First and Third Armies up to a good strength, and to get them cracking on the southward thrust on the western flank, and then to turn Patton westwards into the Brittany peninsula...................

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Also Montgomery himself claimed that Goodwood had two objectives one of which was to breakout, the other to wreck German armoured reserves and draw them away from the western sector where the US forces were preparing for Cobra.
Seems pretty sensible to me. Attack and if it goes well expand your goals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
So I am not entirely convinced that the British role was as much deliberately passive as passive through poor planning (and Goodwood had a lot of faults).
Everything has faults. The trick is to look at the whole picture and not concentrate only on the errors. All the complaints fall apart when it is realised the Seine was reached well AHEAD of schedule.
Personaly I just wonder why there is so much hatred invested in Monty. In all my time on the net I have never seen a thread started by a Monty supporter that has at its root a claim that say Patton, Crerar or Bradley were incompetent, evil or spawn of the devil.
It mainly seems to be a national thing where US posters feel they have to belittle Monty so their man looks better or Canadians who hold him personaly responsible for all their misfortunes.
August 16th, 2009  
lljadw
 
[QUOTE=Panzercracker;533827]Failing to take responsibility for killing your men in mindless incompetently planned operations amounts to moral cowardice, your post lacks merit or substance and mounts to nothing but alot of posturing.

And Goodwood and Totalize, three of his plans, three failiures.

No it was not, read about Goodwood and Totalize, the two other operations planned out exclusively by Montgomery.

Market Garden had lots of good intel, allies knew that there are tanks in the area, they knew that there's significant mechanized and armored forces, multiple officers including general Sosabowski warned Montgomery that the operation is doomed to fail given the circumstances.

Intel was good but Montgomery ignored it and pushed on regardless which is yet another proof of his utter incompetence.

It suffered from all these.

Most experienced para officers expressed doubts about the chances, some were pretty harsh about it, Market Garden had very very little chance to succeed and it was apparent even then without hindsight yet Montgomery wanted to be a star at the expense of his men and pushed on.


True, the only time he got to be a daring commander he proved extremely incompetent.

Intel showing tanks, senior troopers telling the guy "sir success is unlikely", failing to secure enough planes to dump them all at once, yes it was carried out by an atrociously weak commander.

It was an operation that was not thought out, carried out ignoring intel and advice, thats not a gamble, thats utter incompetence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03USMC
Besides that the failure for Market Garden can and should be shared. After all Ike had to approve it and he apparently thought enough of it to do so, so should cop some of the blame as the approving authority yet he doesn't.
Thats because Eisenhower was not the planner.

Could you please tell me what was the significant contribution by Montgomery? I know Patton saved the war at Ardennes, i know Zhukov saved Moscow in 41, what was this huge war winning contribution by Monty?

Beating Africa Corps with Rommel not even there and swamping them with numbers?

The problem and big difference between them is that Montgomerys stunts cost lives and failed operations.

Unlike Monty they both had definite success against often significant forces, Monty was painfully grinding away at Caen bleeding his men white in misplanned operations, if anythign his performance at Caen should be the indicator that the man was just a very poor commander.

As i wrote before, Patton is the same as Montgomery as far as a private person, a self centred cvnt (pardon my French) but he was definitely more competent which he has proven in Italy, France and Ardennes.

Market Garden was a failiure on every point, capturing one bridge did not redeem the operation, it was a blow to morale, the loss of elite troops and for zip strategic benefit.

The planning for the operation was horrible, it was absolutely hopeless from the beginning and the worst part is that many of the people in planes suspected it even then.
"I know Patton saved the war at Ardennes " You KNOW ? How ? 1)Proof that the Germans could win the war at the Ardennes ??? 2)Proof that the situation in the Ardennes was saved by Patton ??? The German attack in the Ardennes was stopped at St Vith (in the North) !
August 16th, 2009  
LeEnfield
 
 
Caen............There were Nine German Divisions in Normandy and six of these were around Caen, as the British took one German line then there was another just behind it. Now there was a lot of pressure on Monty from the Americans to take Caen and he threw every thing at it time and time again. On operation Goodwood he lost two thirds of his tank force in the first day as the whole area was covered by 88 mm guns. It cost Britain and Canada 30.000 killed men to take Caen. Whole Battalions of Hitler Youth died fighting were they stood, just ask the Canadians about it. Whole columns of Sherman's Tanks were wiped out by a single Tiger Tank as they were not good enough to stand up to a Tiger. It is all well good for one group of Allies to moan about the other group while not looking at the level of fighting that was going on in the different areas of the other group. Can any one say that the British and Canadians where not pulling their weight in this fighting. Also if Monties plan was wrong in Caen just what should he have done to take the place that he had not already tried.
August 17th, 2009  
Del Boy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Montgomery did receive accolades he does not deserve on his own for example the North African campaign that people like to credit him with (Himself included) should have also recognised Auchinleck who not only stopped Rommel at the first battle of El Alamein but the battle plan that Montgomery used in the second battle was his as well.
No shame at all in that. I met Auchinleck close to that time and I was ready to follow his lead also. He said I was pretty good too!
August 18th, 2009  
redcoat
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Montgomery did receive accolades he does not deserve on his own for example the North African campaign that people like to credit him with (Himself included) should have also recognised Auchinleck who not only stopped Rommel at the first battle of El Alamein but the battle plan that Montgomery used in the second battle was his as well.
Sorry, but Monty didn't use the Auks plan for Alma Halfa. The Auk plan was for a number of defensive phase lines on which the infantry would fall back on, covered by mobile units of armour. Monty's was far simpler and stronger. A single stronger defensive line supported by dug in armour which was under strict instructions not to engage in a mobile battle. Monty also concentrated his artillery unlike the Auk who spread it over all the line.
The following web-site is the official New Zealand history of the battle, and from the tone of the article its fairly clear that its author was really unimpressed with the Auks plan;
http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Alam-c2.html

ps; It should be noted that the Auks forces suffered the same number of casualties(13,000) in the 1st Battle of El Alamein, just stopping Rommel, as Monty's forces suffered in the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, defeating him.