Was General Montgomery really overrated in WW2? - Page 45




 
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August 18th, 2009  
cisco
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Young Winston
I have always considered Monty to be an excellent "defensive" general but believed he lacked something in attack mode eg Operation Market Garden.

What do others think?
There is no such thing as a "Super General" they all are humans and make mistakes. I would rate him in the group of the better Generals of that time. Marked-Garden failed due to different reasons. Not taking the Reports of the dutch Resistance serious, the quality of the pictures made by reconnaicance planes was just bad, underestimating the difficulties of the dutch landscape and overestimating the own abilities (one bridge to far), Beside all these points, there is, atleast in modern times, no military operation planne by ONE man only. Of course, in the end, always ONE is choosen to be responsible and take the blame in case of a failure and to share the glory in case of a success.There have been mistakes we can say, now, after it hapened, could have been avoided. But, they didnt have high resolution spy sattelites, the reports from the dutch resistance have been bogus a few times before AND there was a race going on between the western allies and the russians.
If some officer was suggested to join the Prussian Army, or to be promoted, Federick the Great used to ask: Does he have Luck. Luck, beside good planning, well trained soldiers and good hardware is the most important for a commander.
I personally think Montgomery, and others, should be judged by their overall archivement, not by a single failed operation.
So, I come back to the start of my post, I think he was surely one of the better generals in WWII.
August 18th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco
I personally think Montgomery, and others, should be judged by their overall archivement, not by a single failed operation.
So, I come back to the start of my post, I think he was surely one of the better generals in WWII.
But I think if we judged Montgomery on his overall achievements he would be painted in a far worse light than if we look at his individual achievements, lets face it his greatest achievement's were leading an army and taking the German surrender.

Yet if we analyse individual battles:
El Alamein - While successful took much longer than was planned to the point that it was nearly called off, encountered far greater casualties than was planned and in reality had it not been for a massive superiority in men and material would have failed horribly, its outcome was really not decided by the superior commander.

Sicily - Was pretty much a non-event and should not have taken as long as it did on top of that they allowed the German defenders to evacuate the island with all its stores, armour and heavy weapons.

Caen, Goodwood etc. - I am a little bemused about this one, on one hand you have the view that the British and Commonwealth forces in the region were just trying to draw of the Germans to allow Operation Cobra to be successful and let Patton toot his own horn, on the other hand Montgomery himself claimed that Goodwood was to draw in German armour and reserves and breakout.
He certainly achieved the aim of drawing in reserves and armour and but failed to breakout and in the process suffered huge casualties in both men and material I find this especially interesting as pretty much everyone involved seemed to go to great pains in pointing out the flaws with the plan.

Market Garden - Well we all know the outcome there but I guess to be nice we can say it achieved three quaters of its objectives.

On the whole I don't think Montgomery was a bad General (There were certainly a lot worse Mark Clark for example) but I don't believe he was a great one either.
August 18th, 2009  
cisco
 
>But I think if we judged Montgomery on his overall achievements he would be painted in a far worse light than if we look at his individual achievements, lets face it his greatest achievement's were leading an army and taking the German surrender.<

Not something many got to do, like taking a french or italian surrender

Yet if we analyse individual battles:
El Alamein - While successful took much longer than was planned to the point that it was nearly called off, encountered far greater casualties than was planned and in reality had it not been for a massive superiority in men and material would have failed horribly, its outcome was really not decided by the superior commander.

There have been many battles resulting in greater casualities than predicted and for nearly calling it off, even a general has superiors who make decisions at the green table. I suppose you'll harly find any commander who, one time or another, hadnt to face more casualities or neded more time to be successfull. In the end he was, that's what counts, isnt it?

Sicily - Was pretty much a non-event and should not have taken as long as it did on top of that they allowed the German defenders to evacuate the island with all its stores, armour and heavy weapons.

Well, neither Norway nor barbarossa shouldnt have taken that long. But, all the nice planning usually has to face reality. He was, in the end, successfull there too, wasn't he?

Caen, Goodwood etc. - I am a little bemused about this one, on one hand you have the view that the British and Commonwealth forces in the region were just trying to draw of the Germans to allow Operation Cobra to be successful and let Patton toot his own horn, on the other hand Montgomery himself claimed that Goodwood was to draw in German armour and reserves and breakout.
He certainly achieved the aim of drawing in reserves and armour and but failed to breakout and in the process suffered huge casualties in both men and material I find this especially interesting as pretty much everyone involved seemed to go to great pains in pointing out the flaws with the plan.

Definitely not one of his "great" archivements, but than again, happened to all commanders. Even napoleon had a set back once in a while.

Market Garden - Well we all know the outcome there but I guess to be nice we can say it achieved three quaters of its objectives.

As I said, I think it's a bit unfair to blame that all on him. He didn't plan it all on his own, reconn technices havent been that developed than, the dutch intel was, no offense to the dutch, a bit bogged a few times before, the dutch landscae wasnt any helpfull...
Well, maybe it could have been better prepared, but still I think he was not overrated. Or, nut that much overrated. I think there is no WWII general or field Marchall who hadn't flaws and setbacks, and verall, Monty was successfull.
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August 18th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco
As I said, I think it's a bit unfair to blame that all on him. He didn't plan it all on his own, reconn technices havent been that developed than, the dutch intel was, no offense to the dutch, a bit bogged a few times before, the dutch landscae wasnt any helpfull...
Well, maybe it could have been better prepared, but still I think he was not overrated. Or, nut that much overrated. I think there is no WWII general or field Marchall who hadn't flaws and setbacks, and verall, Monty was successfull.
If he claims credit for these actions then surely he must accept responsibility for their failures as well?
August 18th, 2009  
cisco
 

Topic: of cours


if he claims the glory he has to suffer the responsibility as well.But than, a blown up ego doesnt mean he was a bad general. Just not a perfect one. But Nobody is perfect.
I suppose we won#t come to an agreement about him. Wich doesn't matter since this forum is for exchanging what we think, not neccesarrily changing someones mind. Even if I have to admit, you have quite a few good points there. It might be as well, that we just come from a different point of view. I don#t know where you are from. It may be, the english look, or did look, at him like some sort of suberhero, I am from germany and I think he was just a good, more than average, general.
Btw, who I think was really overrated, but still a magnificent commander, is Rommel, But for that I might get some belting from my fellow countrymen
August 18th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco
if he claims the glory he has to suffer the responsibility as well.But than, a blown up ego doesnt mean he was a bad general. Just not a perfect one. But Nobody is perfect.
I suppose we won#t come to an agreement about him. Wich doesn't matter since this forum is for exchanging what we think, not neccesarrily changing someones mind. Even if I have to admit, you have quite a few good points there. It might be as well, that we just come from a different point of view. I don#t know where you are from. It may be, the english look, or did look, at him like some sort of suberhero, I am from germany and I think he was just a good, more than average, general.
Btw, who I think was really overrated, but still a magnificent commander, is Rommel, But for that I might get some belting from my fellow countrymen

Hehe well oddly enough I am not a Rommel fan either, I think he has been somewhat romaticised since the war, I have however grown into General Slim, Morshead , Hoth, Heinrici and von Manstein supporters and oddly enough the more I learn about Montgomery the more I like Field Marshal Auchinleck.
August 18th, 2009  
mkenny
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
If he claims credit for these actions then surely he must accept responsibility for their failures as well?
As he was the overall Ground Commander at the time of Cobra then it follows (using your reasoning) that the credit for Cobra is his.
In 8 weeks the German Army in Normandy was completely broken. It fled leaving all its equipment behind and yet we have claims that it was a bad performance! I really do not understand the logic of it all.
This has nothing to do with claims that Montgomery was a good, bad or indifferent General. I have yet to find a thread started by anyone claiming Monty was 'the best'. ALL the threads are started by those who claim he was bad/slow/useless. The detractors find every possible combination of of reasons to illustrate his flaws but completely ignore the effect he had upon the Germans. His 'Colossal Cracks' method worked to a 'T' so why the complaints? Endless parroting of ' he always outnumbered his opponents' ignores that this deliberate. He made sure he had all the advantages. Why is that considered a flaw? Should he have fought using only a fraction of his forces so the Germans had a chance?
He had no more a numerical advantage than ANY Allied General.
August 18th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Because we seem to be arguing two separate points I am arguing basically that yes he was over rated not that he was a bad General, essentially he was an over rated good General unlike Mark Clark who was an over rated bad General.

For Example:
his title is something like Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and yet his success at Alamein was primarily due to Auchinleck's planning and preparation, Churchill made the statement that "Before Alamein, we had no victory and after it we had no defeats" but this is not accurate as Morsehead stopped Rommel at Tobruk and Auchinlek defeated him at the 1st battle of El Alamein.

It is not that Montgomery was a bad General because he wasn't he is over rated because he not only took other peoples credit he also did all he could to write them out of history.
August 18th, 2009  
cisco
 
>Hehe well oddly enough I am not a Rommel fan either, I think he has been somewhat romaticised since the war, I have however grown into General Slim, Morshead , Hoth, Heinrici and von Manstein supporters and oddly enough the more I learn about Montgomery the more I like Field Marshal Auchinleck. <

I think there are lots of underestimated generals and even fieldmarshalls.
I also suppose, many of us, I wont exclude myself, are also a bit biased by WWII propaganda we did watch in "history" shows in tv or what granpa and daddy told us.
Rommel is, so I think, in deed a bit romantized for, supposedly, defying Hitler. This of course is not really prooved. And, it makes the victor at el alamain looking better to beat a outstanding general. Well, Neither him nor Monty have been bad, so I think this Monty bashing is a bit harsh. But your collection of commanders is an interesting list of people to ind out some more abouT: Say, how many generals and up served in WWII and how many of them do we know about, not even to say, about how many of them do we talk here? 10% 5%?
August 19th, 2009  
redcoat
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
El Alamein - While successful took much longer than was planned to the point that it was nearly called off, encountered far greater casualties than was planned and in reality had it not been for a massive superiority in men and material would have failed horribly, its outcome was really not decided by the superior commander.
Sorry, but that's complete and utter nonsense. Monty had estimated that the battle would last around 11 days and cost around 13,000 casualties, both were remarkably accurate. There was some disquiet in London about how long it was taking, but at no time did Monty or anyone else consider calling off the attack.
As for massive superiority Monty had a 2:1 advantage in tanks and guns but only a 5:4 superiority in infantry( 86 infantry battalions of 60,000 men against 70 Axis infantry battalions of 45,000 men) and he was attacking a dug in enemy with secure flanks protected by a massive minefield up to 5 miles deep at some points.