From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
While acknowledging your points that post Kasserine the US forces did everything, and everything the British did was poor, some of your points seem to contrast with Carlos D'Este's article (not that it is necessarily the gospel truth).
He suggested that Montgomery did NOT have a hatred of Patton; plus a rather different view in Sicily; Montgomery supported Patton to take Messina.
When the three Allied ground commanders met for the first time in the campaign on July 25, Montgomery proposed that Seventh Army rather than his Eighth Army capture Messina. The myth that there was a race to Messina between Patton and Montgomery existed only in Patton’s mind – and was unfortunately embellished in the film “Patton” in which a smirking Monty meets Patton in the city centre as two competing bands drown one another out. The truth was that Montgomery not only never went to Messina nor had any desire to do so but also once he recognized Seventh Army was better positioned to carry out this task, actually advocated that Patton do it!
One digression before concluding this installment: when Patton got into serious trouble after slapping two soldiers for what he believed was malingering in U.S. field hospitals, an unfavorable remark about Patton appeared in the Eighth Army newspaper. Montgomery’s policy was to give his editor complete freedom from command interference, however, after the story about Patton appeared, Monty summoned the editor for a chat with his very displeased commanding general. As Montgomery’s official biographer has written: “Monty had been genuinely impressed by Seventh Army’s mobility, speed . . . rugged determination and professionalism – and he would have nothing derogatory printed in Eighth Army newspapers [about Patton].”
Also, just goes to show different views apparently from the same person - James Gavin. Again, per D'Este's articles:
The First Army staff, already resentful of the change of command, is alleged to have been less than pleased to be under British command. Such resentments, and many seem to be of postwar creation, were not evident to James Gavin, the 82d Airborne commander, when he dined with Hodges and his staff several days later. "The staff spoke of Montgomery with amusement and respect. They obviously liked him and respected his professionalism." For his part, Gavin was impressed with Montgomery as a soldier. "I took a liking to him that has not diminished with the years."
Note that this is the same James Gavin post Market Garden.
For all his other faults, he at least was generally right up with his troops:
With the exception of Patton, Montgomery was the only senior commander to regularly visit his troops at the Ardennes front. Montgomery’s presence and his decisions to reassign responsibilities and realign units of both First and Ninth Armies was precisely the fitting remedy. For American commanders, to cede ground was considered sinful, however, after visiting St. Vith and determining that if the 7th Armored remained it would be annihilated, Montgomery decreed that further defense of the town was futile and, with Hodges’s concurrence, ordered what was left of the division to withdraw to new positions on December 22. The 7th Armored’s brilliantly orchestrated defense of St. Vith against near-impossible odds had stemmed the advance of Manteuffel’s Fifth Panzer Army until December 23, when the last elements evacuated the shattered town. The defense of St. Vith was a key factor in the German failure in the Ardennes. The official U.S Army historian wrote that Montgomery’s decision reflected his "ability to honor the fighting man which had endeared him to the hearts of the Desert Rats [of the British 7th Armored Division] in North Africa: ‘They can come back with all honor. They come back to the more secure positions. They put up a wonderful show.’" 7 The defenders of St. Vith were unambiguous about their feelings toward the field marshal. "Montgomery saved the 7th Armored Division," said Robert Hasbrouck
Sorry for the long post. But apparently not all Americans (and among them people with much real experience) had such contempt for Montgomery.
I am, of course, an irate Brit! And no, I do not think Montgomery was the best general in the world, but a darn sight better than most make out.
< Message edited by Hartford688 -- 10/19/2007 9:14:51 PM >