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OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 8:13:35 PM   
Canoerebel


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Gents, I just finished re-reading A Bridge Too Far, which is truly a great book. Except one thing - it ends abruptly and never puts the campaign into context. A couple of questions that I know can get answered better here than trying to wade through the Internet to find them):

1. The Allies took the bridges up to Nijmegan but not Arnhem. I can tell from a couple of isolated sentences in the book that the Allies discontinued the campaign. Apparently, the ground units were shifted south to later continue the attack into Germany. Arnhem, for instance, wasn't finally taken until April '45 by Canadian engineers. Did the Allies continue to hold Son, Vegel, Nijmegan, etc., or did they pull back?

2. Cornelius Ryan doesn't give much casualty information. Near the end, he references losses of something over 1,000 for each side, but I can't tell if that's just the Arnhem sector or the entire campaign. However, it seems like the Allies gave a good account of themselves so that German losses were high and disruption to the German war effort was pretty steep. So, even though the Allies failed, could an argument be made that the campaign was ultimately pretty successful? For instance, did the confusion and losses allow the Allies to make good progress elsewhere? Or was it a failure no matter how you slice it?
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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 8:49:59 PM   
Cannonfodder


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Gents, I just finished re-reading A Bridge Too Far, which is truly a great book. Except one thing - it ends abruptly and never puts the campaign into context. A couple of questions that I know can get answered better here than trying to wade through the Internet to find them):

1. The Allies took the bridges up to Nijmegan but not Arnhem. I can tell from a couple of isolated sentences in the book that the Allies discontinued the campaign. Apparently, the ground units were shifted south to later continue the attack into Germany. Arnhem, for instance, wasn't finally taken until April '45 by Canadian engineers. Did the Allies continue to hold Son, Vegel, Nijmegan, etc., or did they pull back?

2. Cornelius Ryan doesn't give much casualty information. Near the end, he references losses of something over 1,000 for each side, but I can't tell if that's just the Arnhem sector or the entire campaign. However, it seems like the Allies gave a good account of themselves so that German losses were high and disruption to the German war effort was pretty steep. So, even though the Allies failed, could an argument be made that the campaign was ultimately pretty successful? For instance, did the confusion and losses allow the Allies to make good progress elsewhere? Or was it a failure no matter how you slice it?


The frontline shifted south to Nijmegen. Son, Veghel were held and the allies started to expand to the east and the west (the Market Garden operation left a really vulnerable salient). An example of an oktober battle in Holland is the Battle for Overloon, very bitter and heavy fighting... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Overloon. The objective was to push to the river "Maas" in the east, and to clear Antwerp to the west.

Casualties were much higher then what you are saying. The Arnhem sector (1st airborne) alone left 2000 KIA and only 2000 with no or minor wounds returning over the rhine leaving about 6000 of the division wounded and captured.

Here is a link to a thread I created a year ago after my visit to Oosterbeek (about 75 minut drive from where I live)..

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3185634

I visited Margraten last summer and when I walked past the crosses (about 10.000 in total) a lot of the 101st and 82nd graves showed 17-25 september... Perhaps someone else has more figures for it..

EDIT: Can't call the sources reliable but here are casualty figures for the:

101st airborne: 373 killed, 1436 wounded and 547 missing.
82nd airbore: 1700 total
Polish 1st indep. brigade: 590 total
XXX Corps: 1700 total

< Message edited by Cannonfodder -- 11/12/2013 10:13:43 PM >


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Post #: 2
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 8:54:01 PM   
catwhoorg


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The Allies pulled back some advanced units, and formed a line roughly along the Waal, so retaining Nijmegan.

The Allies then moved moved East (forming a line along the Meuse) and West along the estuaries.
Clearing the approaches to Antwerp (the Schledt Estuary) which in itself massively shortened the supply lines to the front, and arguably should have been the objective all along.

Antwerp itself later was the ultimate objective of the German armoured thrust that we know as the Battle of the Bulge, because it had so quickly become a major supply point.


Given there were at least 8000 casualties for the 1st airborne division, and over 1000 for XXX corps, I'm not quite sure what Ryan is referencing. The Germans for sure lost fewer men in the campaign than the Allies, and the supplies burnt off meant that other possibly better operations did not go ahead at that time. (such as said clearing of the Estuary)

Supply was coming up from France, and burning valuable fuel by the truck full.


Arnhem was 90% of a success. However, anything less than 100% success was a mission failure, a daring move that classically was a Bridge too far.

(Though with better planning it really could have succeeded. Misplaced drop zones etc being just part of the issue)

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 9:07:51 PM   
Cannonfodder


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The objective was to break through into the German Industrial heartland and that didn't work out. The operation was a failure no doubt. If the germans had had stronger reserves it could have ended in drama but luckily there were no real reserves after Bagration and Cobra.

In the end it ofcourse contributed to atritting and straining German resources..



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Post #: 4
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 9:22:51 PM   
Cannonfodder


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OT: Just to indicate the situation in the area, remains are sometimes still found and identified

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212336/British-soldier-killed-WWII-finally-laid-rest-years-identification-remains-unmarked-field.html

And a short movie of the burial ceremony

http://nos.nl/video/425300-britse-soldaat-herbegraven-in-oosterbeek.html

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Post #: 5
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 9:23:09 PM   
HansBolter


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Ridgeway's memoirs did a good job of covering events flowing MG as the 18th Airborne Corps under his command remained attached to Monty's army group for the remainder of the duration of the war.

I have a copy at home and believe the title is Ridgeway's Paratroopers or something close to that IIRC.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 9:35:48 PM   
Canoerebel


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I knew I'd get more concise and interesting information quicker this way! Thanks, gents.

I'll go back and re-read the final chapter of the book. I suspect Ryan might have been referencing just British airborne KIA in the Arnhem sector when he references the number (it was something like 1,300). I'll post later.

Were any of the officers involved in MG reprimanded? Ryan, without explicity pointing fingers, seems to assign a good bit of blame on Thomas (43rd Wessex, IIRC) for being slow. Also, as I read I wondered if he had some criticism of Urquhart for getting separated form his command for two days, but ultimately decided not to give voice to his criticisms. What say you?

What I really, really like about the book is that Ryan did such a thorough job in tracking down and interviewing veterans from both sides. That is a truly massive undertaking. In my experience, many writers don't enjoy interviewing (like everybody else, they tend to gravitate to the easy way, which means finding info in books and on the Internet). Ryan's work was spectacular, coming as it did just 25 years post battle. In that way it remids me of Hal Moore's We Were Soldiers Once, though that book is even better since the writer was present at the battle he's writing about.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 10:19:44 PM   
geofflambert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Gents, I just finished re-reading A Bridge Too Far, which is truly a great book. Except one thing - it ends abruptly and never puts the campaign into context. A couple of questions that I know can get answered better here than trying to wade through the Internet to find them):

1. The Allies took the bridges up to Nijmegan but not Arnhem. I can tell from a couple of isolated sentences in the book that the Allies discontinued the campaign. Apparently, the ground units were shifted south to later continue the attack into Germany. Arnhem, for instance, wasn't finally taken until April '45 by Canadian engineers. Did the Allies continue to hold Son, Vegel, Nijmegan, etc., or did they pull back?

2. Cornelius Ryan doesn't give much casualty information. Near the end, he references losses of something over 1,000 for each side, but I can't tell if that's just the Arnhem sector or the entire campaign. However, it seems like the Allies gave a good account of themselves so that German losses were high and disruption to the German war effort was pretty steep. So, even though the Allies failed, could an argument be made that the campaign was ultimately pretty successful? For instance, did the confusion and losses allow the Allies to make good progress elsewhere? Or was it a failure no matter how you slice it?



Are you saying he was casual about that? I am often described as a casualty. Yes, the words are related in their etymology.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/12/2013 10:39:25 PM   
rev rico

 

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There was some fierce fighting after Sept 25. The Nijmegen front facing the Reichswald was a stalemate; the 82nd Airborne reinforced with British armor kept the Germans at bay. The Allies kept the bridgehead over the Waal River north of Nijmegen in what was dubbed "the island". Meanwhile they expanded the corridor east and west from Veghel & Eindhoven. Two US divisions were given to Monty to do this as his forces were worn and weak.

Some battles included:
On Sept 30 the aforementioned battle of Overloon took place as the US 7 Arm Div & British 11 Armd Div expanded eastward toward Maastricht. There were large tank battles with the 107 Pz Bgd.
On Oct. 1-3 Model was able to get what remained of three mobile divisions (10th SS Panzer, 116th Panzer, 9th Panzer) to attack the bridgehead from the north and east. The 43rd Wessex & Gds Armd Divs fended off the attacks.
On Oct. 4 the new 363rd Volksgrenedier Division attacked the same bridgehead from the west. By that time the 101st Airborne was shifted to that position and bore the brunt of that attack.
On Oct 27 the 9th Panzer & 15th PzGr Divisions surprised the US 7 AD with a spoiling attack in the Peel Marshes (south of Overloon, west of Venlo).

Hope that west the appetite more...

Bob

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Post #: 9
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 12:29:16 AM   
Symon


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cannonfodder has a good take. Mine is very similar.

I think it was an utter failure. It was supposed to be a leap over the Rhine. But it didn't work. Because it didn't work, the whole backup thing just shoved units into a cul de sac, where they were just targets. Just think of a thumb in your brown spot and what you might do to alleviave the pressure.

Monty didn't seem to care, since he did his Plunder ops way our east, and weeks after the US crossed the Rhine, but he needed some press, so hootz gazoots.

From a fundamental US appreciation, it was a piece of utter doo-doo.

Ciao. John

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 4:25:20 AM   
warspite1


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As soon as I saw the title I was just waiting for the Monty bashing. Didn't have long to wait.....

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 5:34:16 AM   
JeffK


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I suppose the USians have to bash Monty to make up for the total stuff up in the Hurtgen Forest.



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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 5:44:46 AM   
JeffK


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Market-Garden could have succeeded.

The mad rush across Northern France and through Belgium left the British at the far end of a long LOC, as mentioned above clearing the Scheldt should have been given a higher priority. But at this stage "victory fever" was setting in. Who wanted to make a firm base when The Ruhr was just a river away??

As a number of planned drops had been cancelled as Allied forces advanced, planning got weaker and weaker, its like being prepped for a landing only changing the landing point a number of times, in WITPAE they had a prep of 5.

The landing area for 1st Airborne was too far from the bridge, RAF fear over AAA closer to the bridges had a big say, maybe they were wrong.

IF ALL OF THE ABOVE WORKED PERFECTLY

They still underestimated the ability of the Wermacht and Waffen SS to form effective Kamfgruppen from the shambles after the retreat from Normandy, something the Western Allies had yet to face but which the Red Army had seen repeatedly. these forces where able to limit the advances on the limited from caused by the road net and wet/soft terrain.

And I recall someone named Eisenhower was in charge of all this?

His report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff give a far more balanced view of the operations

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/SCAEF-Report/AEF-Report-9.html


< Message edited by JeffK -- 11/13/2013 6:50:46 AM >


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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 6:13:13 AM   
warspite1


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Whatever Monty was or wasn't, to suggest he "didn't care" is just ridiculous.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 7:05:22 AM   
John 3rd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Whatever Monty was or wasn't, to suggest he "didn't care" is just ridiculous.


I don't like Montgomery but totally agree with Warspite on this one.


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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 8:55:24 AM   
Encircled


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I must have played "Arnhem" on the old Spec 48k to death when I was kid.

Its fascinating to speculate what might have happened. One thing is for sure, the bridge at Arnhem would have been taken and held if it wasn't for the refitting 9th & 10th SS Pz Divisions being present.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 12:36:58 PM   
Canoerebel


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Yeah, Ryan does focus on the distance from the drop zone. Also, two other factors he mentions:

1) The failure to bottle up and destroy the German Army (17th, I think) that had been cut off on the islands on the coast. In fact, that's probably the biggest reason MG failed. Had that Army not made it back to the lines, the corridor would have been undefended and XXX Corps would have steamrolled right up to Arnhem. Then the battle would have been between XXX Corps and Bittrich's Panzer Corps and the Allies likely would have prevailed.

2) Ryan also includes many quotes nad comments about the RAF declining to fly, both to support the troops on the ground and to bring in supplies and reinforcements.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 1:40:59 PM   
Lecivius


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If I recall correctly, there was a marked and dramatic increase in production & distribution of the Panzerfaust MKV. This little jewel was the 1st serious man portable AT RPG. It had recently been modified and improved to counter Russian T-34's. The new model was cheap, and absolutely deadly to tanks. This dramatically decreased the rate of advanced as planned by allied command, and was a major contributor to the failure to link up at Arnhem.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 2:01:29 PM   
Canoerebel


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Cannonfodder's comments are most interesting because he seems to be saying that MG had some healthy dividends. By creating such a large salient in the front it allowed the Allies to more effectively handle the campaign for Antwerp. That's what I was looking for - despite it's ultimate failure and many problems, can it be said that MG was a success or successful? Cornelius Ryan never addresses this in the book, which is a shame (neverthless, the book is fabulous).

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 2:49:24 PM   
HansBolter


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Whatever Monty was or wasn't, to suggest he "didn't care" is just ridiculous.


I don't like Montgomery but totally agree with Warspite on this one.




I'll add a third voice to that one.

I absolutely detest Monty....almost worse than Dougout Doug, but I'll certainly give him his due on this count.

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 4:07:04 PM   
John 3rd


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"Don't smirk Patton. I shant kiss you."



Market Garden was a breath-taking Operation in vision. Horrible execution. Wonder if it had a real chance if the weather had cleared in England for on-time 2nd and 3rd Day lifts?


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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 4:12:41 PM   
GreyJoy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

"Don't smirk Patton. I shant kiss you."



Market Garden was a breath-taking Operation in vision. Horrible execution. Wonder if it had a real chance if the weather had cleared in England for on-time 2nd and 3rd Day lifts?




In that case I guess it would have succeed. The late arrival of the following drops has been one of the major causes of the tactical defeat the Brits suffered. The battle was really on the edge on the first days and if the bridehead had been reinforced as planned (with the poles) the germans wouldn't have had the time to recover and organize a solid counterattack

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 4:21:20 PM   
John 3rd


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I never understood why they planned to drop the Poles SW of the bridge yet place the Brits 8 miles NW of the town. Didn't make sense to me...


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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 4:22:11 PM   
mind_messing

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

As soon as I saw the title I was just waiting for the Monty bashing. Didn't have long to wait.....



This irks me. Are people really as naive as to think that sun shines from every opening in certain war-time commander's anatomy?

Was Montgomery a good commander? Yes.

Was he perfect? No.

Did he have flaws? Yes.

The idea that any sort of flaws picked out in his operational commands consitutes as "bashing" is one I find very amusing.

Montgomery's (and every commander, for that matter) mistakes got men killed. If they don't deserve to be "bashed" and have the mistakes argued over, then what?

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Post #: 24
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 4:39:49 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Gents, I just finished re-reading A Bridge Too Far, which is truly a great book. Except one thing - it ends abruptly and never puts the campaign into context. A couple of questions that I know can get answered better here ...


In addition to the AE forum, you should inquire at the Command Ops/Highway to the Reich forum.

I'm sure Arjuna -- who once described MG as "too far and too few" -- and the rest of us who have run this sim time and again will have something to say from "experience".

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 5:24:04 PM   
rev rico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

I never understood why they planned to drop the Poles SW of the bridge yet place the Brits 8 miles NW of the town. Didn't make sense to me...



They were concerned that gliders could not land on the soft polder south of Arnhem. Also, they expected heavy AA from the bridge (though the guns had been moved days earlier).

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RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 5:33:19 PM   
rev rico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Cannonfodder's comments are most interesting because he seems to be saying that MG had some healthy dividends. By creating such a large salient in the front it allowed the Allies to more effectively handle the campaign for Antwerp. That's what I was looking for - despite it's ultimate failure and many problems, can it be said that MG was a success or successful? Cornelius Ryan never addresses this in the book, which is a shame (neverthless, the book is fabulous).


I don't believe MG provided any healthy dividends that could not have been achieved without it. Antwerp could have been taken without MG. Actually MG made it harder because the troops were not available for it so Monty need US divisions to do it later. Divisions which Bradley was counting on in the Aachen and Hurtgen Forest areas.

For alternative scenarios I suggest HPS PzC: Market-Garden. A fine operational simulation that allows editing ... of which I have done a lot.

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Post #: 27
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 5:37:00 PM   
Canoerebel


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JoeD, I know there may be other forums dedictated to games more aligned with MG, but the advantage to posting here is that I am familiar with those responding. When you guys say something, it's worth taking note. But when somebody I don't know posts something, I have no idea if it's credible or not. The AE Forum is a tremendous WWII community (and also warfare in general). I've learned alot from you gents and I trust you.

< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 11/13/2013 6:37:14 PM >

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Post #: 28
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 6:28:29 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

As soon as I saw the title I was just waiting for the Monty bashing. Didn't have long to wait.....



This irks me. Are people really as naive as to think that sun shines from every opening in certain war-time commander's anatomy?

Was Montgomery a good commander? Yes.

Was he perfect? No.

Did he have flaws? Yes.

The idea that any sort of flaws picked out in his operational commands consitutes as "bashing" is one I find very amusing.

Montgomery's (and every commander, for that matter) mistakes got men killed. If they don't deserve to be "bashed" and have the mistakes argued over, then what?
warspite1

Then please re-read the post that initiated my response. Was the post intelligently pointing out the flaws in the plan - which of course would have been perfectly reasonable depending on your point of view? Well it started off as though it would - and fair enough.

But no. It turned into just some stupid, cheap "Bashing" of Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery - as usual. Like him or loath him fair enough (and lets be honest, he doesn't come across as hugely likeable) but if you don't think Montgomery "didn't care, he just wanted some press" isn't both ridiculous, and frankly disgusting in equal measure, then perhaps you can tell me what is.

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Post #: 29
RE: OT - After Market-Garden - 11/13/2013 7:41:47 PM   
rev rico

 

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I recently read September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far by John C. McManus
He made some interesting points about Monty and Eisenhower in the creation and execution of the plan. I got the impression there was a lot of miscommunication or lack of communication. Both men made assumptions and rarely talked face to face about needs and expectations.

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