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'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:25:40 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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Since Patton has been discussed to death recently - and usually incites strong opinions I thought I'd start a discussion on ............................ Who were the best Allied Commanders of WW2?

I'm excluding Patton, not because he doesn't qualify but for the reasons given above.

Anyway, my candidate is General 'Bill' Slim, commander of the 'forgotten' 14th Army. I'm cutting and pasting from another site because the author sums Slim's qualities up almost perfectly.

From - http://198.231.69.12/papers/amsc1/040.html

"Slim’s and Fourteenth Army’s successes were part of an overall Allied strategic plan for victory in Burma. In examining the operational reasons for success, we will also touch on some aspects outside of Fourteenth Army.

The operational reasons for success can be grouped as follows:

* Strategic direction;
* Preparation
* Sustainment; and
* Generalship.

Strategic Direction. The British and their Allies had learned from their disasters in Burma and elsewhere that an effective campaign could only be conducted if there was adequate guidance for the commanders on the ground. By this time in the war, the Allies had developed a strategy for defeating their enemies, and had put in place an effective command and control organization to implement this direction.

In Burma, "[t]he first step towards ultimate victory ... was the setting up of a supreme command controlling all Allied forces, land, sea, and air, in the area."[78] Mountbatten was made the Supreme Commander in South-East Asia[79] and he was able to meld the strengths and weaknesses of the British, Chinese, and Americans into an effective warfighting organization. Mountbatten was also able to overcome the clash of personalities that occurred amongst his strong willed commanders, especially Stilwell and Chiang Kai-shek.[80] Under his guidance and direction, Slim and the other commanders in Burma demonstrated proficiency in the operational art by taking his strategic direction and turning it into sound tactical operations to defeat the Japanese.

Preparation. Slim had gone to great lengths to ensure that his forces were better trained, better disciplined, and better led than were the Japanese. He had impressed upon his subordinates the importance of taking "... a balanced view of [the Japanese] as a formidable fighting man, who nevertheless had certain weaknesses, and of [themselves] as being able with training to beat [the Japanese] at his own, or any other game,...."[81] Slim thought his divisions the best in the world. "They would go anywhere, do anything, go on doing it, and do it on very little."[82] As well, Slim and the Army had learned from the Japanese that it was not necessarily massive numbers of soldiers and equipment that counted, but training and morale.[83]

Sustainment. The Army, under Slim’s direction and Snelling’s execution, dramatically changed the way it sustained itself, from an Army that relied heavily on road transport, at the expense of mobility, to one that could move anywhere and move quickly using limited wheeled transportation, pack animals, air transport and their own feet. "[They] discovered that, instead of the four hundred tons a day not considered excessive to keep a division fighting in more generous theatres, [they] could maintain [their] Indian divisions in action for long periods, without loss of battle efficiency or morale, on one hundred and twenty."[84] This massive reduction in sustainment requirements reduced the numbers of vehicles on the roads and tracks used by the army. It also improved the Army’s ability to move quickly.

Slim had realized that to be successful operationally and tactically, he would have to ensure his operational sustainment. His recognition of this aspect was echoed by John English in his essay on "The Operational Art: Developments in the Theories of War", where he stated that "...it is indeed these dimensions as much as sweeping battlefield maneuvers that characterize the operational art...."[85] Slim’s Army perfected the aerial resupply concepts and the procedures for support supplied by the air force. Whether it was normal resupply to forward air fields or an emergency resupply to an encircled force, the techniques they discovered by trail and error would later pass into general use in the remainder of the British forces.

Generalship. The formations in Burma were required to fight over large distances often beyond support of one another. Slim had to have absolute confidence in his Generals and they in him. As Slim stated:

My corps and divisions were called upon to act with at least as much freedom as armies and corps in other theatres. Commanders at all levels had to act more on their own; they were given greater latitude to work out their own plans to achieve what they knew was the Army commander’s intention. In time, they developed to a marked degree a flexibility of mind and a firmness of decision that enabled them to act swiftly to take advantage of sudden information or changing circumstances without reference from their superiors.[86]

Slim felt that "[t]his acting without orders, in anticipation of orders, or without waiting for approval, yet always within the overall intention, must become second nature in any form of warfare where formations do not fight closely en cadre, and must go down to the smallest units."[87] He chose "...competent, experienced commanders capable of making high-quality decisions in complex, volatile, ill-defined situations."[88] He took great effort to "...ensure the right people [were] in the right place at the right time to make critical decisions and lead their forces through the fog of war."[89]

What the Fourteenth Army had accomplished in Burma was based on the Army’s abilities. It was also based on Slim’s personal abilities as General. Slim was considered a general of administrative genius, a brilliant defensive general, and an offensive commander in the same class as General Patton.[90] Slim was a soldier who today would be called a transformational leader.[91] He had the ability to inspire his soldiers to excel in their performance. He was a role model. He was admired and respected by his subordinates, peers, and superiors. He motivated and challenged his subordinates and was instrumental in improving their morale. Slim told his soldiers what he expected from them and they in turn did it. They used their imagination and ingenuity to overcome hardships and deprivations. Slim knew that his Army was made up of many different nationalities and races. He accepted this and built his Army on the strengths of this diversity.[92]

By way of illustration, in May of 1945, it looked like Slim was going to be sacked[93] by his superior, General Sir Oliver Leese.[94] "Over the next two weeks, as news spread throughout Fourteenth Army, a storm of protest erupted. Troops became mutinous, officers threatened to resign, and Leese, who backtracked in embarrassment, found himself dismissed instead."[95]

Conclusion

The success of the campaign in Burma was the result of a lot of hard work by all members of the Allied Forces, by good operational leadership, and good generalship. Slim had entered the theatre when all seemed lost. He had managed to conduct an effective withdrawal and save a large part of the British Forces. He was instrumental in re-building the Army and in commanding it successfully and defeating the Japanese. Slim’s success was based on his ability to recognize failure and then to implement measures to overcome the failure as well as his personal attributes as a transformational leader.

In August 1945, Slim was appointed Commander-in-Chief Allied Land Forces South East Asia. He was then appointed Commandant of the Imperial Defence College in 1946 and Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1948 and subsequently promoted to Field-Marshal. In May 1953, he was sworn in as Governor-General of Australia. He was made a member of the aristocracy in 1960 and died in 1970 at the age of 79."

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:32:05 AM   
Hexed Gamer


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So many decent choices, but hmm, this question would be easier if it was "who do you think is the most undeservingly forgotten of our great military leaders?".

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:33:33 AM   
IronDuke

 

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I'll give it five minutes before he gets a mention.....

Are air and Naval Commanders excluded. Are we discussing Land Commanders only at this point (might be easier as they are easier to compare).

Regards,
IronDuke

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:33:57 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hexed Gamer

So many decent choices, but hmm, this question would be easier if it was "who do you think is the most undeservingly forgotten of our great military leaders?".



And I'd probably still say Slim

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:35:57 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

I'll give it five minutes before he gets a mention.....

Are air and Naval Commanders excluded. Are we discussing Land Commanders only at this point (might be easier as they are easier to compare).

Regards,
IronDuke



Up to you, I'm not aiming for a 'who was the best' style discussion, more of a 'who do you think was good and why?' type thing.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:47:45 AM   
Hexed Gamer


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Any limit on rank? How low on the scale are we permitted?

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 1:53:30 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hexed Gamer

Any limit on rank? How low on the scale are we permitted?


Corps level at minimum I think - those who commanded at an 'operational' level since I'm not sure how 'Corps level' transfers over to naval and air commands should anyone wish to nominate from those arms.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 3:17:46 AM   
Hexed Gamer


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Drat.

Because Col. Darby of Darby's Rangers and Col. Fredericks of the 1st Special Servce force were impressive leaders to name just two great men.

Once a man rises to command an army, often it is hard to tell if they are still pure military, or part politician.

MacArthur for instance, as well as Monty, both played the media for reasons other than battlefield needs. I am sure a lot of big Russian names had to play politics just to stay alive long enough to become famous.

Question for the super grogs though, I know of almost no names of Italian WW2 leaders of note. So my challenge inside of this threads over all topic, is pick 5 names of italian leaders that were famous for reasons worthy of making our italian members proud.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 3:45:41 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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Do you really want five WW2 Italian leaders? At the level I specified?

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:18:41 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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Admiral Iachino (naval commander at First Sirte and Matapan) - of the three arms it was the Italian Navy that acquitted itself best. http://www.regiamarina.net/

Only four more to go

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:43:31 AM   
Von Rom


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I know, let's have a thread titled: The best German Commanders in WW2, but we must leave out von Manstein.

Well boys, have fun

LoL

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:45:08 AM   
Von Rom


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THE BEST ALLIED COMMANDER:


Wait for it. . .


GENERAL GEORGE PATTON




< Message edited by Von Rom -- 8/28/2004 2:50:22 AM >

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:46:38 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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Iron Duke gave it 5 minutes, I was hopeful for a couple of days.

I wonder why anyone bothers really.



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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:48:38 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom

I know, let's have a thread titled: The best German Commanders in WW2, but we must leave out von Manstein.

Well boys, have fun

LoL


Why not start one rather than trolling over everyone elses then

< Message edited by Kevinugly -- 8/28/2004 2:48:59 AM >


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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:52:26 AM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom

I know, let's have a thread titled: The best German Commanders in WW2, but we must leave out von Manstein.

Well boys, have fun

LoL


Why not start one rather than trolling over everyone elses then


What?

And miss out on all the fun

Say, would you like me to post a list here of all the German Generals who praised Patton?

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 8/28/2004 2:53:45 AM >

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 4:53:52 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom



Say, would you like me to post a list here of the praise German Generals gave to Patton?


Well it might cure my insomnia

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 5:04:34 AM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom



Say, would you like me to post a list here of the praise German Generals gave to Patton?


Well it might cure my insomnia



LOL

No, you go ahead and get some sleepy time.

And dream about reading thousands of pages of court documents. . .

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 5:06:33 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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I only want to read the one, you know, the one that probably doesn't exist

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:13:36 PM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

I'll give it five minutes before he gets a mention.....

Are air and Naval Commanders excluded. Are we discussing Land Commanders only at this point (might be easier as they are easier to compare).

Regards,
IronDuke


I am pyschic. I shall change my name to IronPyschic. For my next prediction.

I see words...I see lots of words....I see lots of very familiar words reprinted for the many hundredth of time, giving the false appearence they are wondrous. But beware of these words, for they are false and bring a troublesome wind of hot air in their wake. I see the forces of the just and studious riding forth to battle this wind, and at the end of the mother of all battles, I see a man standing acrest the fallen, padlock in hand, and he shall be called Vic.....

I also think we should have a sweep. I reckon we'll see the list of third Army achievements reprinted before we get the old favourite "German Commanders who praised Patton". I don't think we'll see the "list of Amazon reviews praising D'Este book" anymore but we might see a new one about Farago. Any takers?

Onto the Italians, wasn't there a recent book about Italian armour in the western desert that tried to rehabilitate the reputation of the Italian Army. Anyone read it? Otherwise I agree with Kev, the Navy had it's moments when it had some fuel. It does lead us back, though, to the issue of combat proficiency. It seems fairly well established the average Italian soldier wasn't all that keen on the second world war. Is it possible for any Italian Commander in these circumstances to shine? The best laid plans will fall if the men at the sharp end are not good enough to carry it out.

Early contenders for me in the Allied stakes would be Collins and early O'Connor. I've said before none of the major Allied Commanders strike me as especially good. Where they have some talent, it isn't rounded enough to make them an outstanding Commander (Monty, Pa**** etc). At cOrp and Divisonal level, though, we can find some gems.

Regards,
IronDuke

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:14:19 PM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

I only want to read the one, you know, the one that probably doesn't exist



You mean the document that was read in court, seen by other defendents, seen by the defence counsels, read by many other people over the years, and now resides in the archives?

Say, have you ever personally seen Mount Rushmore or the original US Constitution?

If not, then I guess their existence is just hearsay then, eh?

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:36:46 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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I know what you're referring to but I'd like to keep it to the Dietrich thread rather than have this one derailed too Please.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:41:11 PM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

I know what you're referring to but I'd like to keep it to the Dietrich thread rather than have this one derailed too Please.


You mean the same way the other thread has been derailed by several of you

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:45:29 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

I know what you're referring to but I'd like to keep it to the Dietrich thread rather than have this one derailed too Please.


You mean the same way the other thread has been derailed by several of you


This is unnecessary and unbecoming of a man of your intelligence and erudition. I respect your views and opinions even if I don't agree with them. Please let us keep things civil.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:54:32 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

I'll give it five minutes before he gets a mention.....

Are air and Naval Commanders excluded. Are we discussing Land Commanders only at this point (might be easier as they are easier to compare).

Regards,
IronDuke


I am pyschic. I shall change my name to IronPyschic. For my next prediction.

I see words...I see lots of words....I see lots of very familiar words reprinted for the many hundredth of time, giving the false appearence they are wondrous. But beware of these words, for they are false and bring a troublesome wind of hot air in their wake. I see the forces of the just and studious riding forth to battle this wind, and at the end of the mother of all battles, I see a man standing acrest the fallen, padlock in hand, and he shall be called Vic.....

I also think we should have a sweep. I reckon we'll see the list of third Army achievements reprinted before we get the old favourite "German Commanders who praised Patton". I don't think we'll see the "list of Amazon reviews praising D'Este book" anymore but we might see a new one about Farago. Any takers?

Onto the Italians, wasn't there a recent book about Italian armour in the western desert that tried to rehabilitate the reputation of the Italian Army. Anyone read it? Otherwise I agree with Kev, the Navy had it's moments when it had some fuel. It does lead us back, though, to the issue of combat proficiency. It seems fairly well established the average Italian soldier wasn't all that keen on the second world war. Is it possible for any Italian Commander in these circumstances to shine? The best laid plans will fall if the men at the sharp end are not good enough to carry it out.

Early contenders for me in the Allied stakes would be Collins and early O'Connor. I've said before none of the major Allied Commanders strike me as especially good. Where they have some talent, it isn't rounded enough to make them an outstanding Commander (Monty, Pa**** etc). At cOrp and Divisonal level, though, we can find some gems.

Regards,
IronDuke


Referring to my last post to VR, the same things apply to you

Regarding the Italian Army (to get things back slightly on track), they fought reasonably well in North Africa when suitably 'stiffened' by the DAK. The 'Chain of Command' in the desert seems a touch murky though so it's tough to give credit where it otherwise may be due.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 6:56:45 PM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

I know what you're referring to but I'd like to keep it to the Dietrich thread rather than have this one derailed too Please.


You mean the same way the other thread has been derailed by several of you


This is unnecessary and unbecoming of a man of your intelligence and erudition. I respect your views and opinions even if I don't agree with them. Please let us keep things civil.



LOL

Where was this opinion in the last three pages of the "Sepp" thread?

So spare me your contrite remarks.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 7:16:44 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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Regarding the Italian Army, this seems to be a good website - http://www.comandosupremo.com/index.shtml - although I haven't explored it in any depth.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 7:22:17 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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Shows how much I know, just checked that Italian Army site and it gives a full OOB for the Italian Army units at Gazala.

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 7:29:46 PM   
a19999577

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

I know what you're referring to but I'd like to keep it to the Dietrich thread rather than have this one derailed too Please.


You mean the same way the other thread has been derailed by several of you


This is unnecessary and unbecoming of a man of your intelligence and erudition. I respect your views and opinions even if I don't agree with them. Please let us keep things civil.



LOL

Where was this opinion in the last three pages of the "Sepp" thread?

So spare me your contrite remarks.



It seems some people just have to have the last word...

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/28/2004 7:40:16 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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Moving on swiftly, my reading of the Italian contribution to Rommel's campaigns is that the two armoured divisions, 'Trieste' and 'Ariete', performed quite creditably.

"LIBYA

May 31 - Italian guns inflict heavy losses on the British near Sidra Ridge. The Ariete pound the II and XXII Armoured Brigade. Bastico reports "The Italian XX Corps fought well, the DAK, not so well. The 90th Light was in retreat."

June 1 - Rommels Axis forces break through the Gazala line, destroying 100 British tanks and taking 3,000 British POW's.

June 5 - 6 - British Commonwealth forces mount a major counteroffensive code named "Aberdeen". The Italian X Corps holds them up in the North and the Trieste and 90th Light contain the French at Bir Hacheim. The Ariete joins the 15th and 21st Panzer to battle the 42nd and 7th Royal Tank Regiments, including the II, IV and XXII Armoured, IX and X Indian and the CCI Guards brigades. The Ariete and Italian artillery repulse the British at Sidra and Aslagh ridges. Italian forces account for 60 to 168 cruiser and 60 'I" tanks lost by the Commonwealth forces between June 5 and 6.

June 7 - Italian forces rescue the German XV Brigade near Gazala."

I therefore nominate Generals Baldassarre and Gioda into the pantheon of Italian commanders who performed creditably.

Two more to go!!!

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RE: 'No Patton' - 8/29/2004 2:04:03 AM   
Tombstone

 

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Oh no you two dont! No ironduke vs. von rom insanity!!

That said, there's no reason to disclude Patton. But Slim is something else. When we say allied we probably don't mean the Soviets right? If it did I'd like to recognize Lelyushenko of the 6th Tank Army against the Japanese. At least as far as operational planning and command are concerned.

Tomo

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