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RE: Was Monty Right?

 
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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/20/2007 3:34:59 AM   
gunny

 

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Look at Monty's contribution to Dieppe. The raid originally planned for the first wave being all infantry. Once they secured the beach a second wave would follow up composed of all the armour and support elements. Monty came along and said " that dieppe plan is farged up" you better land all your forces at once and hope for the best. Well instead of losing just the first wave and having the second wave abort and go home. Which it would have. We ended up having one big wave of everbody assault the beach and get slaughtered. Gee thanks.

But lets not forget Monty was not as bad as Bradley, after all, Bradley was sacked and replaced by Monty who did a competent job countering the Battle of the Bulge.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/20/2007 2:44:25 PM   
Charles2222


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I'm sure this will play with hilarity from some of you, and I don't know what to think of it myself. I'm not sure where I heard it, be it a book or documentary, only I can say that while I had never heard this idea before I heard it there, whatever else they were covering seemed the traditional view of the war, so I don't think this was too terribly far-fetched on those grounds alone.

What it is, is that Monty wanted to do the pushing along the coast not because of wanting some glory to be the encircler, but to mop up the coast. The idea was to knock out the vweapon sites. Now here's the controversy: they said that the vweapons had such an effect on Britain (a terror weapon afterall) that if the coasts had survived another 1-3 months Britain would had surrendered! Yeah, that's right, surrendered. I only say 1-3 months because I don't recall the timespan they indicated but it seemed they said 1 month. If true, for all the waste that the traditional WWII view gives to vweapons, it is interesting that if they could have had such an impact, they weren't at all wasteful. Only problem is that still wouldn't help them against the USSR.

Naturally one might suspect this theory was some attempt to make Monty look good, but I can't recall the source seeming pro-British apart from that, and even if it could be proven that Britain surrendering because of longer exposure to vweapons was a farce, it is a very good reason for wanting to attack the coast nonetheless.

< Message edited by Charles_22 -- 10/20/2007 2:50:22 PM >

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/20/2007 5:24:23 PM   
Sarge


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The idea that the Allied command let Monty go ahead with MG as a PR move is simple not true.
The concept of MG was sound , only problem was a policy of appeasement towards Monty took forefront.


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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/20/2007 5:27:35 PM   
Sarge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: gunny

But lets not forget Monty was not as bad as Bradley, after all, Bradley was sacked and replaced by Monty who did a competent job countering the Battle of the Bulge.




Come on Gunny

Even MacArthur could have pulled that off.


edit: well maybe not MacArthur, sry got carried away

< Message edited by Sarge -- 10/20/2007 5:33:58 PM >


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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/20/2007 6:15:40 PM   
MrBoats

 

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The V-weapon launch sites must have been a big consideration for the Allied planners, especially after the V-2's became operational. It's not far-fetched at all to believe that part of Monty's overall mission was to destroy the sites. After all, a few V-2 strikes against the beach-head ports and the Channel ports might have affected the Allied supply levels considerably. The terror strikes against London were bad enough.

It reminds me: has anyone heard the story of the V-1 rocket that had its rudder jammed and flew in a giant circle, only to land on Hitler's location? Apparently, the rocket -- by some extraordinary fluke -- had just the right amount of fuel to bring it back over Hitler's bunker in France. What were the odds? Of course, Hitler survived -- the man had the luck of the devil. I can't remember where I read the story.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/20/2007 7:29:29 PM   
105mm Howitzer


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Interestingly, the Canadian commanders all thought this was gonna be one sorry operation from the onset. I guess they were proven right.
quote:

ORIGINAL: gunny

Look at Monty's contribution to Dieppe. The raid originally planned for the first wave being all infantry. Once they secured the beach a second wave would follow up composed of all the armour and support elements. Monty came along and said " that dieppe plan is farged up" you better land all your forces at once and hope for the best. Well instead of losing just the first wave and having the second wave abort and go home. Which it would have. We ended up having one big wave of everbody assault the beach and get slaughtered. Gee thanks.

But lets not forget Monty was not as bad as Bradley, after all, Bradley was sacked and replaced by Monty who did a competent job countering the Battle of the Bulge.



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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 2:50:30 AM   
IronDuke_slith

 

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Monty was the right man in the right place at the right time.

A master planner, he had the things every great General needs: an understanding of what his men could achieve, an understanding of the geo-political environment they fought in, and he understood his enemy.

As for the broad front, there was no other option. Had the Allies immobilised everyone else to give Patton his head on the drive through Lorraine, he would have got across the Rhine and been chopped to pieces. The broad front worked because no one thrust in isolation was going to do the trick. Patton's 3rd Army would have been handed its head on a plate in a narrow thrust across the west wall. There were not enough supplies to keep even one thrust going indefinitely and once his flanks were in the air he would have been there for the taking.

As for Monty, he was cautious because the British Manpower crisis began to bite in 1944 and he couldn't afford a heavy defeat. Partially because the reserves didn't exist to plug gaping holes in his forces, partly because he knew if Britain wanted to have a hand in the post war world, he had to keep the most powerful Commonwealth Army intact. 2nd Army being defeated would have seriously undermined Britains political as well as Military situation. He fought a dangerous foe without suffering that sort of defeat.

Monty also understood two things. Firstly, the Germans were better than anyone else at mobile warfare. Secondly, the Allies held all the best cards and it was a case of when not if. From Alamein onwards he reverted the British Army back to the methods that had made them the most combat effective force of 1918. Bite and hold, storm forward behind a hail of high explosives and secure your objectives. Bring up the arty, start the process all over again. It was different to how his pre-decessors had done it in the desert, but they had generally lost and he generally won.

He was never going to burst out and push armoured columns deep behind enemy lines because as the Russians found on occasion, German forces would slice into the flanks and hand you a defeat that Monty simply couldn't afford. The British Army also commanded from the top down. Free wheeling mobile warfare was not something they were particularly suited or trained for, since it stretched the chain of command and made the sort of control Monty wanted difficult.

However, from Alamein to the Rhine he took the British Army forward, beating more combat efficient forces by using what he had intelligently and making the most of his own advantages and not playing to his enemy's advantages.

You can criticise Monty for not being Guderian but then that completely misunderstands the widely differing contexts the two men fought in. Generals are usually a product of a system of doctrine and training going back 30 years. In that sense, Monty was no different to Bradley. Monty drew up plans he was comfortable with and which he believed his troops could execute. He used every advantage he had and he got the job done.

He clearly had personality traits that did him no favours but then just about all Generals did.

He knew his business.

Regards,
IronDuke



< Message edited by IronDuke -- 10/21/2007 2:57:14 AM >


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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 6:07:25 AM   
Zap


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jimi3

For what is worth, I just finished reading War as I Knew it by George Patton. It is a compilation from his diaries as well as some very interesting personal comments at the end. He didn't have much use for monty. Great book for wargamers.



George Patton was portrayed in the movie "Patton" as having a bit of a desire for glory to his name. If that was ture, it would seem Patton would want to be the sole General. No teaming with Monty.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 6:59:22 AM   
Twotribes


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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

Monty was the right man in the right place at the right time.

A master planner, he had the things every great General needs: an understanding of what his men could achieve, an understanding of the geo-political environment they fought in, and he understood his enemy.

As for the broad front, there was no other option. Had the Allies immobilised everyone else to give Patton his head on the drive through Lorraine, he would have got across the Rhine and been chopped to pieces. The broad front worked because no one thrust in isolation was going to do the trick. Patton's 3rd Army would have been handed its head on a plate in a narrow thrust across the west wall. There were not enough supplies to keep even one thrust going indefinitely and once his flanks were in the air he would have been there for the taking.

As for Monty, he was cautious because the British Manpower crisis began to bite in 1944 and he couldn't afford a heavy defeat. Partially because the reserves didn't exist to plug gaping holes in his forces, partly because he knew if Britain wanted to have a hand in the post war world, he had to keep the most powerful Commonwealth Army intact. 2nd Army being defeated would have seriously undermined Britains political as well as Military situation. He fought a dangerous foe without suffering that sort of defeat.

Monty also understood two things. Firstly, the Germans were better than anyone else at mobile warfare. Secondly, the Allies held all the best cards and it was a case of when not if. From Alamein onwards he reverted the British Army back to the methods that had made them the most combat effective force of 1918. Bite and hold, storm forward behind a hail of high explosives and secure your objectives. Bring up the arty, start the process all over again. It was different to how his pre-decessors had done it in the desert, but they had generally lost and he generally won.

He was never going to burst out and push armoured columns deep behind enemy lines because as the Russians found on occasion, German forces would slice into the flanks and hand you a defeat that Monty simply couldn't afford. The British Army also commanded from the top down. Free wheeling mobile warfare was not something they were particularly suited or trained for, since it stretched the chain of command and made the sort of control Monty wanted difficult.

However, from Alamein to the Rhine he took the British Army forward, beating more combat efficient forces by using what he had intelligently and making the most of his own advantages and not playing to his enemy's advantages.

You can criticise Monty for not being Guderian but then that completely misunderstands the widely differing contexts the two men fought in. Generals are usually a product of a system of doctrine and training going back 30 years. In that sense, Monty was no different to Bradley. Monty drew up plans he was comfortable with and which he believed his troops could execute. He used every advantage he had and he got the job done.

He clearly had personality traits that did him no favours but then just about all Generals did.

He knew his business.

Regards,
IronDuke



Remind us all again how this master planner got an entire British crack airborne Division destroyed and caused heavy losses to an entire Corps in Market garden. How his understanding of his mens ability got them decimated by being dropped in a hornets nest of 2 SS Panzer Divisions he refused to believe were there. How his bold plan had the entire intitial land drive dependant on one narrow road over a swampy area into the teeth of the German Defenses.

Remind us how at the battle of the Bulge he said he needed a week to react to the German drive and Patton said and did it in 2 days.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 5:44:20 PM   
Sarge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

Monty was the right man in the right place at the right time.

A master planner, he had the things every great General needs: an understanding of what his men could achieve, an understanding of the geo-political environment they fought in, and he understood his enemy.

{snip}



A master planner

Are we talking about the same Monty’s Market Garden , if he understood the enemy he would have not put drop zones right in the middle of the SS.

A lot of Allies finest fertilized that ground due to his master planning.


< Message edited by Sarge -- 10/21/2007 5:48:11 PM >


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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 6:55:56 PM   
Walloc

 

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First off. For those that wana expand their view on why Monty fought as he did.
Schoolar at RMAS Stephen Ashley Hart has written a in deept look into why the british army fought as it did in Northern Europe. Its called Colossal Cracks. Stackpole Books has releases it this year as a paperback and its pretty cheap. I can recomend it. I dont agree with all in his book, but he is conviencing in many of his arguments. In why Monty through political considerations in many ways had to fight the way he fought.
So if u wana get a broader view of some thing that IMHO tends to divide ppl into very narrow mind set. This is a book for u.


All that said i dont think Monty's narrow stategy wouldnt have worked for 1 simple reason as the situasion was in mid sep 1944. As Erik states and IMHO the single biggest mistake of Monty's was his lack or insistance in getting both Antwerpen and the Estuary cleared in early sep when it indeed was a real possibility.
As a result of that all supplies had to be truck driven from Normandy. Alrdy at the distance from Normandy that the allied armies was when MG started, it was at the brink of what it was capable of. So even if they had made it over the Rhine. I dont see how u are going to supply the 15 divisions that the thrust he advokated included. Over a single road that incidently also got severed by 107. Pz bde IIRC, at ever increasing distances from Normandy by truck. Especially not, since the truck supply service was alrdy severly strained and for its size actually wasnt inparticular effective.

To me it doesnt matter much in regards to plausibilty of the plan whether they had it over the Rhine or not. The problems and potential faults was only just starting then IMO.

Coincidently the same reason why the broadstrategy faltered at that time. With out fuel, food and ammo few armies make it any where.

Kind regards,

Rasmus

P.S Edit Could be 105 Pz Bde now that i think of it. Watching football games so to lazy to wander over to my libery.

< Message edited by Walloc -- 10/21/2007 7:58:16 PM >

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 8:00:03 PM   
cptracks

 

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I do not think it really matters who was in command or which strategy was used, broad or narrow (ducks to affix flame retardent underwear). No major port equals no supplies equals stuck army and lots of time for German reorganization and counterstrike. If there was one thing they excelled at it was improvising the slaughter of overconfident and overextended enemies. As they quickly proved. The biggest failure of the breakout was the failure to seize the Scheldt, because an army always marches on its stomach. I still like Cornelius Ryan's efforts on this. Why did the Brits not take the estuary when it was empty? Because they never thought of it. Why? Because they thought it didn't matter because the Germans had collapsed and the war was over. Why didn't Monty or Ike push them harder? Because they agreed. Why did the airborne not do proper preparation for Market Garden? They thought so too and were desparate to be in at the kill after numerous cancelled ops. Apparently even von Rundstedt agreed until he understood that the Allies had overextended themselves and needed to refit. And while I agree that Allied intelligence was a bit of an oxymoron for Market Garden, lets not forget that there was a reason the Brits did not trust Dutch based intelligence, courtesy of how thoroughly the Abwehr diddled them with North Pole. And after all that, I think Ike was likely right. Assuming sufficient supplies broad front was the way to go simply because the Germans were so good at improvised response and mobile war. The only question I have is this. Would the Allied air power have been sufficient to both cover the flanks of a single thrust and support the spearhead, given aircraft ranges and requirements. I do not think so. In fact the entire question could only be discussed in an atmosphere of euphoria that thought the Germans could not respond. Guess what, they could. Flame on!

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 8:14:46 PM   
Walloc

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: cptracks

As they quickly proved. The biggest failure of the breakout was the failure to seize the Scheldt, because an army always marches on its stomach. I still like Cornelius Ryan's efforts on this. Why did the Brits not take the estuary when it was empty? Because they never thought of it. Why? Because they thought it didn't matter because the Germans had collapsed and the war was over. Why didn't Monty or Ike push them harder? Because they agreed.


Not much of a flame....
I dont disagree that, that is the explanation. Actually its quite correct. IMHO it just doesnt remove the responsibility tho. Preparing/planing/anticipating contengencies is one of the hallmarks of any "great/capable" general IMO. Even if u thot the war was over the Scheldt and Estuary was of the single most importance point any where at the front at that time. As u state an army marches on its stomach. Sizing it when u have the chance of a "freebee" is a given IMO. No reason why not too, knowing that in war nothing is certain.

Sorry for the lack of flame quality

Rasmus

< Message edited by Walloc -- 10/21/2007 8:18:58 PM >

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/21/2007 10:16:36 PM   
SireChaos

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrBoats

The V-weapon launch sites must have been a big consideration for the Allied planners, especially after the V-2's became operational. It's not far-fetched at all to believe that part of Monty's overall mission was to destroy the sites. After all, a few V-2 strikes against the beach-head ports and the Channel ports might have affected the Allied supply levels considerably. The terror strikes against London were bad enough.
*snip*


Are you sure? From all I´ve read so far, it appears to me that the V-Weapons, especially the V-2, were far too inaccurate to use as anything but a terror weapon - i.e. they couldn´t have hit anything smaller than a decent-sized city with any degree of accuracy. Sure, a few V-2 hitting the right places (or the wrong places) could have done one hell of a lot of damage - but how many hundreds or thousands of V-2s would have been necessary to achieve those few hits?

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 12:28:12 AM   
sullafelix

 

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The closeness of the beaches would have improved the accuracy greatly, or at least that's what I've read. But even if that isn't correct, a few lucky hits at the wrong time might have been devastating. What if the allies had a ship offshore that was filled with gas like the one that was at Salerno? I think it was Salerno and I've forgotten the name of the ship.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 12:31:29 AM   
MrBoats

 

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In reply to various posts,

I'm not sure about the accuracy of the V-2's. It might have taken quite a few to hit the supply beachheads and ports, but just the threat of them doing so on a regular basis was enough cause to capture the launch sites.

As for the flank security of a single thrust, I think that the single thrust proposal would have been much more feasible had we have closed the Falaise Gap sooner, or had Bradley have authorized a thrust to the Seine and then NW to trap all of the German forces that eventually made their way out of Normandy. That would have left the Wermacht with very little to work with through the fall, short of transfering more divisions from the eastern front. As it was, the Normandy escapees formed the nuclei of the reconstituted divisions that counterattacked later. In any event, I think that Patton or a couple of motivated corps commanders (Collins comes to mind) could have, in cooperation with the AAF, protected the right flank of a narrow thrust up the Channel coast.

For supply purposes, could we not have established beach supply points farther up the coast? Mulberry's may have been too complicated to build, but I think that quite a lot of supply was off-loaded directly onto Omaha Beach for months after D-Day. And the road system through Belgium and Holland had to have been at least as good as that through France and western Germany -- it certainly aided the Germans when they drove their way to the coast in 1940.

I think the narrow-thrust plan presumes that Monty and his American counterpart would have bagged all of the German forces in Normandy, cleared Antwerp and the Scheldte Estuary on time, and would have hit the lower Rhine in a timely manner with great momentum. All of that was possible. One army could have patrolled the eastern flank and given ample warning of any counterattacks, and slowed or held them at bay, as did the 30th division at Mortain.

--Side note -- Rick Atkinson's new book about Sicily and Italy is out -- looks to be a great read.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 7:23:33 AM   
Walloc

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrBoats

In reply to various posts,

I'm not sure about the accuracy of the V-2's. It might have taken quite a few to hit the supply beachheads and ports, but just the threat of them doing so on a regular basis was enough cause to capture the launch sites.


No, but they did enough to scare the politician into demanding action. Bombs hitting London again. According to Miles Dempsey 2nd british army commander, on hearing the rapport of the pressure being applied. He stated. Ok I guess MG have to be go then. Thinking behind that being that liberating/cutting off Holland would remove the threat.

quote:


As for the flank security of a single thrust, I think that the single thrust proposal would have been much more feasible had we have closed the Falaise Gap sooner, or had Bradley have authorized a thrust to the Seine and then NW to trap all of the German forces that eventually made their way out of Normandy. That would have left the Wermacht with very little to work with through the fall, short of transfering more divisions from the eastern front. As it was, the Normandy escapees formed the nuclei of the reconstituted divisions that counterattacked later. In any event, I think that Patton or a couple of motivated corps commanders (Collins comes to mind) could have, in cooperation with the AAF, protected the right flank of a narrow thrust up the Channel coast.


Certainly if they had bagged more troops in at Falaise some things might have been easier on, but it wasnt those troops that slowed down the Canadian army in clearing the Channel coast. Monty didnt relinquis command until sep 1st and still was in command of the troops that was responisble for taking that area afterwards. So he had the options of making more out of a up Channel coast thrust. Why didnt he? well it was the responsibility of the 1st Canadian army and exactly at the time Crerer decide to withdraw 2 of his limited supply of divsions for refitting... Monty "protested" but Crerer was firm and use the ill go back to my politicians if u try and force me arguement. Which seemed in every case to make Monty back off.

quote:


For supply purposes, could we not have established beach supply points farther up the coast? Mulberry's may have been too complicated to build, but I think that quite a lot of supply was off-loaded directly onto Omaha Beach for months after D-Day. And the road system through Belgium and Holland had to have been at least as good as that through France and western Germany -- it certainly aided the Germans when they drove their way to the coast in 1940.


Other than ports i think it would have been very hard to do. If u compare the tonnage in off loaded at beaches compared to the mulberry's its quite a significant difference.
Along with that, most of the heavy and medium amphibian vessels was sailed off to the pacific to participate in Leyte landings after the Dragoon landings. They only had a limited amount of those. Which wouldnt make over the beachsupply even if u had captured beaches higher up as u suggest much of a possibility. And as u say the allies didnt have any of the "pre" fabricated mulberries availble. Most of the fuel that was supplied after the channel pipeline was build, came from that and as far as i know they didnt have the capability and well time to build a new one higher up the coast. Which again means the limited off beach supply capability had to do it all. Both food, fuel, ammo and so on.
As i see it, backed by the logistians of the periode the only viable solution was a high tonnage port. The smaller high up French ports didnt have the tonnage capability.
Which again raises the question. Why didnt Monty make damn sure, since he had the perfect solution, no matter a narrow or a broad strategy, in making sure Antwerpen was rdy for use ASAP when he had the chance.

quote:


I think the narrow-thrust plan presumes that Monty and his American counterpart would have bagged all of the German forces in Normandy, cleared Antwerp and the Scheldte Estuary on time, and would have hit the lower Rhine in a timely manner with great momentum. All of that was possible. One army could have patrolled the eastern flank and given ample warning of any counterattacks, and slowed or held them at bay, as did the 30th division at Mortain.


I agree, but it reverts to the lack of supplying capability since he didnt get Antwerp up and running promptly. Which reverts me to my original arguement. That IMO a narrow strategy wasnt possible in sep '44 cuz of supply reasons. U cant supply 1-2 armies even for a narrow thrust all the way from Normandy, as the supply situasion was at the time. Even getting Le Havre up and running wasnt the answer since it was almost as far away as Normandy.

If that should have had a chance of working. The effeciency of the supply chain had to have been much improved. U could have started with firing its commander. Making the decision that in just 10 days time after Paris had fallen and during a supply crisis. To move all of ur HQ staff there, removing valueble Administation time in doing so. Not to mention his Staff numbered 10.000 men along with all their stuff! Thinking about how many typewritter is that. That move has done by the same trucks that was suppose to bring supplies forward to the advancing troops. Doesnt seem like the wisest choice.
On the other hand Paris was prolly a nice city to be in for supply GIs and officers just after its capture...


Kind regards,

Rasmus

< Message edited by Walloc -- 10/22/2007 7:37:03 AM >

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 9:27:36 AM   
morvwilson


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Here is my 2 cents for what they are worth,

I don't think that the narrow front would have worked since the Germans could then concentrate on one single threat. Lets not forget that the dirty secret on the western front was that the Germans had more man power than the allies. Although German troop quality had fallen off since 1939, numbers still can make itself be felt.

I would also point out, as others have, that there was a chronic supply problem since there were no ports that had yet been captured intact. Several ports had been taken, Cherbourg for example, but by the time they were cleared the facilities were destroyed by the Germans.
The British Mulbery was still operational, but the American one had been destroyed in bad weather. As a result, the American supplies had to be landed directly on the beach.

As to profeciency in mobile warfare, the Allies had surpassed the Germans by 1944. Remember many of the German infantry formations and artillery units were still using horses. The Germans did have some superior armored vehicles to the western allies, but no where near the numbers that were needed. Plus the Germans had lost the air war by that time and could not protect thier armored collumns in day light.

As to Monty, I had this discussion in a previous thread about British Generals. As I stated there, I think Monty was a good general, just over rated. He had his victories and defeats.

The thing to realy look at I think in any army is how many times they scramble their high command. Monty was the third general, I think, to be place in command of the 8th army in Egypt.
Look at how many times the leader ship got changed up for the Germans on the eastern front.

During the entire second world war, only two American flag rank officers got replaced due to cowardice or incompetance that I can think of. One was the Admiral in charge of the Guadal Canal operation (Ghormley if I remember right) and the General Patton replaced in North africa.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 12:48:40 PM   
Andy Mac

 

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I agree with IronDuke but would add master trainer to the list he made sure his men were prepped and able to accomplish the task he set.

Giving anyone a hard time for Dieppe is unfair how could they know it was impossible until they tried it ?

Re MG lets not forget that it was an operation done on the fly lots of uses for the airborne army had been planned and scrapped thus was the latest in a long line of operations and due to some bad intel and stronger than expected German resistance it failed. Arguably everyone at all levels of command were so keen to use the Airborne Army that they overestimated what Light Inf could achieve.

Monty offered to serve under Bradley on the narrow front attack (he wasnt happy about it but he would have done it - although he was a piss poor subordinate so would Brad have wanted to be his boss.)

Monty wasnt perfect but he was a far better general than he is given credit for by some if not quite as good as some of his partisans would claim - within the constraints he operated under he got the job done.

Andy

quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

Monty was the right man in the right place at the right time.

A master planner, he had the things every great General needs: an understanding of what his men could achieve, an understanding of the geo-political environment they fought in, and he understood his enemy.

As for the broad front, there was no other option. Had the Allies immobilised everyone else to give Patton his head on the drive through Lorraine, he would have got across the Rhine and been chopped to pieces. The broad front worked because no one thrust in isolation was going to do the trick. Patton's 3rd Army would have been handed its head on a plate in a narrow thrust across the west wall. There were not enough supplies to keep even one thrust going indefinitely and once his flanks were in the air he would have been there for the taking.

As for Monty, he was cautious because the British Manpower crisis began to bite in 1944 and he couldn't afford a heavy defeat. Partially because the reserves didn't exist to plug gaping holes in his forces, partly because he knew if Britain wanted to have a hand in the post war world, he had to keep the most powerful Commonwealth Army intact. 2nd Army being defeated would have seriously undermined Britains political as well as Military situation. He fought a dangerous foe without suffering that sort of defeat.

Monty also understood two things. Firstly, the Germans were better than anyone else at mobile warfare. Secondly, the Allies held all the best cards and it was a case of when not if. From Alamein onwards he reverted the British Army back to the methods that had made them the most combat effective force of 1918. Bite and hold, storm forward behind a hail of high explosives and secure your objectives. Bring up the arty, start the process all over again. It was different to how his pre-decessors had done it in the desert, but they had generally lost and he generally won.

He was never going to burst out and push armoured columns deep behind enemy lines because as the Russians found on occasion, German forces would slice into the flanks and hand you a defeat that Monty simply couldn't afford. The British Army also commanded from the top down. Free wheeling mobile warfare was not something they were particularly suited or trained for, since it stretched the chain of command and made the sort of control Monty wanted difficult.

However, from Alamein to the Rhine he took the British Army forward, beating more combat efficient forces by using what he had intelligently and making the most of his own advantages and not playing to his enemy's advantages.

You can criticise Monty for not being Guderian but then that completely misunderstands the widely differing contexts the two men fought in. Generals are usually a product of a system of doctrine and training going back 30 years. In that sense, Monty was no different to Bradley. Monty drew up plans he was comfortable with and which he believed his troops could execute. He used every advantage he had and he got the job done.

He clearly had personality traits that did him no favours but then just about all Generals did.

He knew his business.

Regards,
IronDuke




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Post #: 49
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 3:43:07 PM   
Speedysteve

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrBoats
--Side note -- Rick Atkinson's new book about Sicily and Italy is out -- looks to be a great read.



Agreed. Should be very good if it's anything like Volume 1......waiting for mine in the post.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 4:48:02 PM   
Yogi the Great


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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

Monty was the right man in the right place at the right time.



Maybe, depending how you look at it. There were reason's he was where he was. Just maybe he was the best man for the job at the time. Political and public opinion factors may have been a large factor. You can probably name many generals from many countries, over many years, from many wars that did not get there place based upon actual military talent and strategy.

Here is a question for the many of you who have much more knowledge on the subject then I do. Was there a better British General choice available than Monty that could/should have been given the job?


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Post #: 51
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 6:38:32 PM   
morvwilson


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I don't think so. All other generals of his caliber already had critical assignments in Italy and Burma.

I believe Monty's true strength was not realy planning or training. Those tasks are usually handled by subordinates. His chief ability was choosing the right man for the job on the first try. His predecessor at 8th army, Aukinleck (sp?) was not so capable in that arena.

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 7:35:44 PM   
SireChaos

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrBoats

In reply to various posts,

I'm not sure about the accuracy of the V-2's. It might have taken quite a few to hit the supply beachheads and ports, but just the threat of them doing so on a regular basis was enough cause to capture the launch sites.


The problem with that would have been, the V-2 didn´t HAVE launch sites. They were launched from truck convoys that only needed to stay at a fixed location for about 2 hours in order to launch a missile. IIRC not a single such convoy was ever destroyed before it could launch its missiles.

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Post #: 53
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 7:53:06 PM   
MikeBrough


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Speedy


quote:

ORIGINAL: MrBoats
--Side note -- Rick Atkinson's new book about Sicily and Italy is out -- looks to be a great read.



Agreed. Should be very good if it's anything like Volume 1......waiting for mine in the post.


Just started reading this. Even the opening chapter, Churchill arriving at New York, is very atmospheric. Atkinson has a knack for choosing the exact detail that helps you imagine you were there.


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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/22/2007 9:51:10 PM   
Speedysteve

 

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Hi Mike,

I agree. He's one of my favourite authors....this is from just reading "An Army At Dawn".....

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RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/23/2007 3:46:02 AM   
MrBoats

 

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In "An Army at Dawn" Atkinson relates a scene in North Africa in which Eisenhower (if I recall correctly) was looking for General Roosevelt near the front -- Roosevelt popped out of a foxhole in which he had spent the night, covered with blankets and/or a tarp! There's a soldier's soldier for you!

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Post #: 56
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/23/2007 11:50:30 PM   
Andy Mac

 

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Its very hard to think of one.

Dempsey to junior, Slim not really made his name yet and anyway was needed in Burma, Leese, Horrock, Freyberg not sure they are up to Army Group command against the Germans, Dill had a good reputation but was older, Auchinleck was good but picked piss poor subordinates.

Alan Brooke - possibly the only one able to do it but he had never commanded an army in the field let alone an Army Group.

Alexander I don't think his performance in Italy would imply he was up to it.

The issue was by the time Monty was appointed his objectionable nature had dictated that pretty much every other top calibre British General (and there were not many above Div Commander level) were already committed to key jobs or had tried and been sacked.

(Wavell, Brooke, Auchinlek, Slim possibly Alexander were probably the only ones capable above Army level and looking at the list Wavell was unpopular with Churchill as was Auk, Slim was committed, Brooke was needed where he was and Alexander would not have been a better choice than Monty in any way other than in co operating with higher command and in doing what he was told....)

Outsiders Jumbo Wilson or Giffard - but again hard to see them doing better than Monty.

I do struggle who could have been slotted in to do a better job (other than perhaps Brooke)

Andy
quote:

ORIGINAL: Yogi the Great


quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke

Monty was the right man in the right place at the right time.



Maybe, depending how you look at it. There were reason's he was where he was. Just maybe he was the best man for the job at the time. Political and public opinion factors may have been a large factor. You can probably name many generals from many countries, over many years, from many wars that did not get there place based upon actual military talent and strategy.

Here is a question for the many of you who have much more knowledge on the subject then I do. Was there a better British General choice available than Monty that could/should have been given the job?



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Post #: 57
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/24/2007 4:36:16 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Raverdave

Monty was an idiot.  The ONLY reason that he did so well at El-Alamein was that he had some Aussie divisions there to help him. 


Interesting use of the plural.

Of course he ad one Australian division. Also one South African, One New Zealand, one Indian, and six Britsh divisions. Plus a Greek Brigade and a Free French Brigade.

In fact the only reason he did so well at El Alamein was that with the meticulous preparation he had carried out not even an idiot could have screwed it up.

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Post #: 58
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/24/2007 4:42:31 AM   
morvwilson


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

quote:

ORIGINAL: Raverdave

Monty was an idiot.  The ONLY reason that he did so well at El-Alamein was that he had some Aussie divisions there to help him. 


Interesting use of the plural.

Of course he ad one Australian division. Also one South African, One New Zealand, one Indian, and six Britsh divisions. Plus a Greek Brigade and a Free French Brigade.

In fact the only reason he did so well at El Alamein was that with the meticulous preparation he had carried out not even an idiot could have screwed it up.

Not to mention a lot of american hardware.

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Post #: 59
RE: Was Monty Right? - 10/24/2007 9:42:05 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sarge

The first step in the wrong direction came when Monty was unwilling to modify his planning even after Dutch resistance intel was reporting German movements and even identification of amour units, all shrugged off by Monty...


German counter-intel had infiltrated the Dutch Resistance and the Brits were aware of it; apparently the Brits thought they were being fed false info re German armor, etc.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sarge
... Armed with photos in hand of reconnaissance flights clearly showing Tanks deployed with in 10 miles of British drop zones Monty in his wisdom again shrugged off the intel and dismissed the Armor as broken down ...


Apparently "refit" and "broken" are two different states; the first state can still shoot.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sarge
... Monty’s Arnhem drop zones where suicidal, and only after RAF command refused would Monty modify. They setteled on a drop something like 10 miles away from the objective , but again British forces need to take their objective plus keep the DZ secure for 24 hours ...


After the Normandy drops, the RAF was understandably reluctant to deal w/the heavy AAA right over the target, esp. in daylight.

An analogy to Market Garden would be my old (series circuit) Christmas tree lights; one dead bulb (bridge) ruins the whole string.

Maybe Monty never had to put up his own tree.






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