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Patton V. Montgomery

 
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Patton V. Montgomery - 9/29/2015 8:58:10 PM   
elxaime

 

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I have WITE but have not yet gotten WITW, so I have a question for those who have.

How did the developers resolve - once and for all time, beyond a shadow of a doubt, immune to revision, reconsideration, review or renegotiation, the question that has baffled and befuddled the wisest minds since the beginnings of time:

Who was better, Patton or Montgomery? The numbers will not lie...



< Message edited by elxaime -- 9/29/2015 10:01:43 PM >
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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/29/2015 10:34:50 PM   
Denniss

 

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Montgomery is a tad overrated by some. Wasn't Market Garden his baby?

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/29/2015 10:45:10 PM   
Joel Billings


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In the game, Montgomery has higher political and admin ratings, while Rommel has higher initiative, mechanized and infantry ratings.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/29/2015 11:55:57 PM   
elxaime

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joel Billings

In the game, Montgomery has higher political and admin ratings, while Rommel has higher initiative, mechanized and infantry ratings.


Rommel was that magnificent bastard whose book Patton had read, but what of Patton?

< Message edited by elxaime -- 9/30/2015 1:03:18 AM >

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/30/2015 12:42:07 AM   
chaos45

 

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Dont have it yet either, but Rommel should have very high initiate, mech, infantry, and morale....and probably average for German 5-6 Admin...

As he was a superb infantry platoon/company commander in WW1 and served in the 100k army all the way up to the start of WW2...including as an instructor at their military academy if I remember right.

I know many will say company level isnt the big picture but he obviously grasped it all....aside from admin...if you read books by members of his staff that was probably their biggest complaint about him.


As to Patton he should be better than montgomery in the combat skills but lacking in political- which really is a who cares stat....I would even say patton might be better at admin in all honesty lol.




< Message edited by chaos45 -- 9/30/2015 1:43:45 AM >

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/30/2015 2:15:56 AM   
KWG


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Patton

Political 6
Morale 7
Initiative 8
Admin 5
Mech 8
Infantry 7
Air 1
Naval 1

Monty P7 M7 I6 A8 M5 I7 A1 N1

Rommel P3 M7 I9 A5 M8 I8 A1 N1

Bradley P9 M8 I7 A7 M5 I7 A1 N1

Hope I got'em right.

Patton should have a higher morale, look how he trained with his troops before the war and how he was during the war. Higher Armor. Politcal should be lower so he gets fired easier, but with so many allied admin points you can get him back easy. A 9 Initiative? he's a slapper!... he puts the square peg in the round hole

Rommel Looks good, maybe lower morale. Left Normandy on eve of invasion FOR wife's birthday.... YEA, right! Plus didnt he have to leave Africa for tummy problems? Did his low morale for those running Germany influence his morale for those lower?

There is a legend in the Town near me that before WW2 Rommel walked the streets of the small town of Clifton, Tennessee on the banks of the Tennessee River and studied the tactics of Nathan Forrest. Forrest was a master of combat and deception and look how Rommel was, good combat numbers... maybe 9s

Monty Admin 8 thats good, higher morale maybe? Polictical higher?
combat wise, init good, good Infantry. If only a way to give him higher, but BAD Initiative

But dont forget Bradley he is Patton's rudder and significant other. maybe higher admin?

In my current war I kept Patton and Bradley in mediterranean for Sicily and the first part of Italian Invasion. Come January I sent Patton, Bradley, 82Abn and 2nd USArmor back to England.

Bradley is in command of 1st Army prepping Infantry for the Invasion of North Europe. Patton is head of a empty 3rd Army until the week before the invasion where he will assume command of XX Corps, under Bradley, and he will lead the Invasion of Europe at Corps level.

82Abn is in Snowdonia, Wales (with 508th PIR) for rest, refit training.
2nd US Armor is at Warwick Castle for rest, refit training.

(yes I have a crush on those units)


Patton and Bradley BAM BAM

Remember stats can change during the game.

Now...... Do you LIKE IKE!

< Message edited by KWG -- 9/30/2015 10:08:50 PM >


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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/30/2015 2:36:41 AM   
chaos45

 

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Honesty they are look pretty close to how I would rate them. Maybe one point difference here an there but close enough to about what their abilities were in comparison to other generals and a 1-9 scale.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/30/2015 8:29:26 AM   
JeffroK


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Denniss

Montgomery is a tad overrated by some. Wasn't Market Garden his baby?

Wheras Rommel managed Alam Halfa, Medinine Crusader, The Easter attempts on Tobruk 2nd Alamein

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 9/30/2015 8:31:31 AM   
JeffroK


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If I was an Army commander, I'd have Monty leading my Infantry heavy Corps breaking into the enemy lines and Patton driving the Armour heavy Corps in the breakout out.

Horses for courses.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/1/2015 6:46:38 AM   
IslandInland


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Patton was the better general for the Americans and Montgomery the better general for the British. That may sound trite but by that I mean given the huge amount of men and materiel the Americans had they could afford to throw armies and armoured corps at the Germans. The British were suffering a manpower shortage and reducing casualties was always at the forefront of Monty's thinking.

Market Garden might have been a defeat but it was an attempt to shorten the war, thus saving lives.

I don't have a problem with their stats in the game. I do have a problem with some of the German generals whose stats seem to be inflated purely because they are German. War In The East also seems to suffer from this.



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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/1/2015 12:01:31 PM   
chaos45

 

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Hmm as to saving manpower for the British...he sure engaged in some extremely costly/attritional style attacks in Normandy if he was trying to conserve British manpower. Also by normandy not so sure Monty was the best for British Morale for troops on the line many units were starting to have an attitude of we have done our part its someone elses turn.

From what i have read on most of the Generals of WW2 I dont feel Monty really grasped WW2 tactics. If you look at almost all of his battles he really just relied on superior logistics and material build-ups to achieve results over any great plan or outside the box thinking. More like WW1 thinking/tactics with WW2 equipment and capabilities. Which IMO is probably why he failed repeatedly in Normandy and again at Market Garden. He had a way of thinking the enemy was what he wanted and wouldnt operate outside the box he put them in.

Even in North Africa it was mainly logistics and a build-up of material started by his predecesor that gave him the success there....might even could be said that he got the glory for someone elses early hard work. When you have 3:1+ superiority in almost all assets and the enemy is out of fuel and ammo hard not to win is kinda how I see his "victory" in North Africa. The big question might be how did he fail to destroy Africa Corps when he had all the advantages? So was it really a big win or yet another failure due to lack of initiative/thinking in modern warfare terms?

< Message edited by chaos45 -- 10/1/2015 1:03:44 PM >

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/1/2015 1:09:54 PM   
KWG


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Market Garden was out of the box(for one side), quick thinking, brilliant and a perfect example of Airborne strategy. If it were not for that damn 2SSPanzer Corps. And being dropped was it 8 miles from the Arnhem bridge? Plus the 3 day drop, bad radio crystals, one good road for the relieving armor forces and ...

< Message edited by KWG -- 10/1/2015 2:32:18 PM >


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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/1/2015 2:42:01 PM   
chaos45

 

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Yes but all of these things aside from the radio crystals were known issues.....and they still executed.....its been proven allied intelligence informed Monty about the SS Panzer corps

Again why I feel Monty as a great commander is dubious......great at Politics and making sure his name got out there for success I would agree with.....

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/1/2015 3:41:49 PM   
KWG


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Market Garden, that was all stated with a Wink. Alexander the Great was Great because he had a lot of great people with him. A single leader has direction and final say but its a team effort and you need the right people around you, and plans and planners have to adapt to the changing field of battle.

A leader that lives in his own world "He had a way of thinking the enemy was what he wanted..." and is disconnected from the field of reality can be more dangerous to his own side.

< Message edited by KWG -- 10/1/2015 5:25:00 PM >


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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/1/2015 11:05:18 PM   
Beilisarius


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Alexander the Great was "Great" in his own right. He is widely considered the greatest military commander of all time. His innovative use of combined arms and psychological warfare as well as his use of engineers was groundbreaking. He conquered the known world by age 24, was never defeated in battle, and always fought against forces that were greater than his own, with some ancient sources claiming by as much as 10:1. His planning was brilliant but he also led from the front and was able to exploit weaknesses when they developed. He also had the undying affection of his men. He was blessed with very able commanders but that also reflects his talent for finding the best people to carry out his vision. He made them "great", and not the reverse.
To say he was Great "because he had a lot of great people with him" is a very uninformed statement which diminishes his talents and which can find no support in any the vast record of writings about him.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 12:59:25 AM   
KWG


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Beilisarius

Alexander the Great was "Great" in his own right. He is widely considered the greatest military commander of all time. His innovative use of combined arms and psychological warfare as well as his use of engineers was groundbreaking. He conquered the known world by age 24, was never defeated in battle, and always fought against forces that were greater than his own, with some ancient sources claiming by as much as 10:1. His planning was brilliant but he also led from the front and was able to exploit weaknesses when they developed. He also had the undying affection of his men. He was blessed with very able commanders but that also reflects his talent for finding the best people to carry out his vision. He made them "great", and not the reverse.
To say he was Great "because he had a lot of great people with him" is a very uninformed statement which diminishes his talents and which can find no support in any the vast record of writings about him.




That is all a obvious given, and nothing I could say or not say would diminish it and those around called him great. He was SPECIAL But he was one person, leading the right group of people. Iam not saying just his lieutenants were great. Alexander's Army was great down to the lowest stable boy. And he died before his Waterloo. He could rally people or they could have just turned and walked away or eventually just put bad water in his wine. Hermann Balck was great, Hannibal was Greater. What is great? yes iam uninformed on parsing words. It is very uninformed to call Alexander merely Great, Alexander was Awesome.

< Message edited by KWG -- 10/2/2015 1:24:13 PM >


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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 1:05:17 AM   
mariandavid

 

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One can compare Rommel and Montgomery - they fought each other and held comparable independent command positions. But Patton always held subordinate positions and (if one ever forgets the hagiography that developed after the movie) never achieved much of substance in the war. It is utterly unfortunate that this imaging (pretty uniform and pistols) has meant that some truly great US generals - much superior in competence to him - have been overlooked. In particular just sticking to army commanders in the area and time covered by the game Patch of the US 7th and Simpson of the US 9th Armies were as good as Montgomery as army commanders (and Monty said as much of Simpson) and far more able generals as opposed to publicists than Patton.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 1:14:04 AM   
KWG


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mariandavid

One can compare Rommel and Montgomery - they fought each other and held comparable independent command positions. But Patton always held subordinate positions and (if one ever forgets the hagiography that developed after the movie) never achieved much of substance in the war. It is utterly unfortunate that this imaging (pretty uniform and pistols) has meant that some truly great US generals - much superior in competence to him - have been overlooked. In particular just sticking to army commanders in the area and time covered by the game Patch of the US 7th and Simpson of the US 9th Armies were as good as Montgomery as army commanders (and Monty said as much of Simpson) and far more able generals as opposed to publicists than Patton.



yes, good leaders are helms and rudders each in their own way and many go unknown.

Patton was from a military family. As a kid he would pack a lunch walk in the woods till he found a dead animal then eat his lunch while looking at the carcass. He prepared for combat that young. He was key for building the US tank force.

And he was the only one allowed to see the "big map"

The leader(s) and the lead MAKE each other.

< Message edited by KWG -- 10/2/2015 2:40:29 AM >


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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 11:40:11 AM   
IronDuke_slith

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Hmm as to saving manpower for the British...he sure engaged in some extremely costly/attritional style attacks in Normandy if he was trying to conserve British manpower.


The fact they were attritional, doesn't mean it was intentional. Heavy use of firepower, airpower and phased advances was all designed to reduce casualties. He also tended to shut battles down as soon as it became clear casualties were being incurred with little prospect of success.

quote:

Also by normandy not so sure Monty was the best for British Morale for troops on the line many units were starting to have an attitude of we have done our part its someone elses turn.


This is overplayed slightly, poor morale or not, British casualties were high throughout these campaigns, that doesn't happen if people aren't fighting. But the fact was Britain had been hard at it for over two years before the USA joined the fight. Nothing Monty could have done would have affected that sort of war weariness. He demonstrated his ability to lift and an Army at El Alamein.

quote:

From what i have read on most of the Generals of WW2 I dont feel Monty really grasped WW2 tactics.


What were WW2 tactics? Each Army fights according to its own doctrinal make up. This sort of comment usually implies there was something better about German operational method, but fact was Monty accepted their surrender, not the other way round.

quote:

If you look at almost all of his battles he really just relied on superior logistics and material build-ups to achieve results over any great plan or outside the box thinking.


What he did was play to his strengths. This is war, if you have the ability to overwhelm the enemy with superior firepower, why would you adopt any other approach? The object is to win, not get lauded like Rommel. The Germans were weak in logistics and lacked the Allied industrial base to field more material than they did. As a result, they played to their strengths of operational nous and tempo of operations. However, both sides were doing the same thing in essence, fighting in the manner that best suited their particular strengths and hid their individual weaknesses.

quote:

More like WW1 thinking/tactics with WW2 equipment and capabilities.
But he won. War is about imposing your mode of warmaking upon the enemy, shaping the battlefield tio suit your style. The Germans did that unil 1942, the Allies generally did it thereafter.

quote:

Which IMO is probably why he failed repeatedly in Normandy and again at Market Garden. He had a way of thinking the enemy was what he wanted and wouldnt operate outside the box he put them in.


I disagree. Monty's entire operational method was based on a deep understanding of what the Germans would do. He knew German Operational Method was manoeuvre based and getting into open field meeting engagements with them was playing to their strengths. He knew he had air supremacy, bags of artillery and good logistics. So, he blasted his way forward. All nations left WW1 looking for ways to win without huge loss of life. The British (and American) solution was to save lives with firepower.

quote:

Even in North Africa it was mainly logistics and a build-up of material started by his predecesor that gave him the success there....might even could be said that he got the glory for someone elses early hard work. When you have 3:1+ superiority in almost all assets and the enemy is out of fuel and ammo hard not to win is kinda how I see his "victory" in North Africa. The big question might be how did he fail to destroy Africa Corps when he had all the advantages? So was it really a big win or yet another failure due to lack of initiative/thinking in modern warfare terms?


There is more traction here. He certainly built on some good work of his predecessors and I've always felt if there was a time to take a risk, it was in the pursuit after Alamein. However, don't underestimate his achievement at alamein. He prepared properly, trained the men, built up his material, improved morale, and then planned and fought a set piece battle against a strong defensive position in depth. And won.

Regards,
ID.


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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 11:43:15 AM   
chaos45

 

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ID- understand your points, but I guess my take on it is a more skilled general in the same circumstances with the same assets would have performed better thats the key take away to me.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 12:35:02 PM   
KWG


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Pyrrhus was a great military commander.... In a pyrrchic way.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 3:21:33 PM   
paullus99


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I've always thought that Montgomery's conservative tactics in Normandy resulted in more overall Allied casualties than less - his reliance on tank-heavy attacks, when a more balanced approach with closer integration with the infantry formations would have paid dividends, resulted in one botched operation after another.

Churchill, himself, told Ike that he would support the removal of "any" British commander, regardless of rank, if he felt it was in the best interest of the war effort - he never liked Montgomery & certainly, Monty was his own worst enemy - constantly over-promising and under-delivering on his operational efforts.

Of course, the removal of Monty would have been a heavy blow to British morale, so unless something dramatic happened, it wasn't going to happen. But, the lack of movement in Normandy eliminated any chance that he would have remained as overall Allied Ground Commander in Europe.

Patton was also an excellent motivator of troops - but even he couldn't overcome the general weaknesses of the US Army in Normandy (i.e. formations tended to perform no better under Patton than other US commanders in set-piece battles). Where he excelled, was pushing armored formations to exploit breakout and pursuit to the maximum.

These issues can and will be argued day in and day out, but in general, I think you can find pros and cons for both. But, I will say, cooperation and overall skill at the army level for the allies was certainly better than what occurred on the German side.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 3:55:24 PM   
KWG


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paullus99

"These issues can and will be argued day in and day out, but in general, I think you can find pros and cons for both. But, I will say, cooperation and overall skill at the army level for the allies was certainly better than what occurred on the German side."

True, pros and cons like so many things. Do you think the Germans had better cooperation and overall skill at the smaller unit level? Maybe due to places like Bad Toelz and overall training.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 5:40:17 PM   
mariandavid

 

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There was nothing even remotely conservative about Monty's tactics in Normandy: Unlike Hollywood generals he understood that fighting Germans on the defensive required utter care in approach otherwise the Allies would lose a battle of attrition. Note that the US forces were 'losing' - through not fault of their own - on the western flank. The solution was artillery heavy, tank supported infantry 'bounces'. And as for lack of innovation note that it was only under Montgomery that the Allies made night attacks, massed tank attacks, and surprise penetration attacks. Not all, by any means succeeded, but all meant that the infantry casualty rate was low. Far, far lower in fact than those of very conservative (and frankly unimaginative) endlessly repeated attacks made by the US further west.

In all this I am not suggesting that Montgomery was a genius - he was not and in addition was an egotist with miserable social skills. But he was a superb battlefield craftsman much appreciated for this by his troops who had previously suffered under amateurish leaders. In contrast Patton was despised, even hated to extreme by his troops (of course his generals wrote fawning approvals). After all what soldier could possibly admire a general whose prime concern was to ensure his men wore pretty scarves in combat and who insisted that all officers and men paint their rank in white on the front of their helmets. A little more interest in logistics might have been more helpful.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/2/2015 5:58:15 PM   
chaos45

 

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Mariandavid-----having spoken to, in person an actual veteran tanker from Pattons 3rd army........at least in this mans opinion Patton was loved, this man had nothing but good things to say about being in Pattons 3rd Army.

So i dont know where you get saying his Troops despised him, as this man in giving a talk to our Class in high school as a guest speaker had only good things to say....and even working for his family later and talking to him after work never had a bad word to say about serving under patton.

Now did he make it out like things were great being a tank in WW2....no, but from the conversations I had with this man he was proud to have served under patton and would have prefered to serve under no other American general at the time.

This leaves me to believe that obviously he did something/ingrained something to the average US Soldier fighting on the frontline in his Army in Europe.

< Message edited by chaos45 -- 10/2/2015 7:00:06 PM >

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/3/2015 12:27:20 AM   
mariandavid

 

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I am sure he meant what he said - he was a tanker and the imbecilic rules Patton inflicted on his foot sloggers did not (obviously) apply to men in tanks. And of course the publicity from the movie created a halo effect around the man and created achievements that never really existed.

But in truth I care little about how good Patton was - I just object with passion to the undeserved glorification generated that submerged the talents of far greater American generals in Europe.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/3/2015 11:35:41 AM   
HMSWarspite

 

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Must resist.... MUST RESIST. ARGGGG! Here goes:

The whole Montgomery Patton thing is a real dead end as a discussion on most forums, even this one. The generally perceived wisdom is derived from a range of sources, often films, but even when derived from contemporary newspapers is very very misleading.

Please can we have a debate using genuine academic sources and analysis not the usual stereotypical generalisations.

Having said which, this debate is a lot better than many I have seen on other sites.

Ironically (given the way that this debate usually goes), the two were not that different at the very deepest level. They (IMHO) were both sadly flawed individuals with some important skills. I will have to do more reading before I comment further ;)

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/3/2015 2:55:32 PM   
chaos45

 

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I agree there were some other very good US Generals and Patton paid for his bombast with more or less being reduced in rank and subordinated to what used to be his subordinate......thats a pretty massive hit to the pride if your a military man I assure you.

The thing that Patton understood very well despite all of his flaws was what we term in modern military- "Violence of Action" - Basically what it boils down to is a make a decision and take action in the quickest possible method so you keep the initiative and keep the enemy off guard. At the smallest element level its a term used from the section all the way up the chain. Hit the enemy hit him hard and hopefully defeat him before he can react.

Another thing I think Patton understood and why he was the perfect man for the Breakout- was with complete mastery of the Air he really didnt need to worry that much about his flanks. The Germans ability to mass and move to counterattack swift american advances and attacks would be so limit that the quicker the US forces moved the better as US forces could react/move faster than German forces in France 1944.

Think about this- even if say 3rd Army was cut off in the real war- could the Germans mass the firepower/units to destroy----I would say no. The Allied airforces were so massive and overpowering by 1944 that the airlift capability would easily keep the army in fighting shape and most likely just result in the encircling German forces being counter-encircled and destroy. The luftwaffe airlifts in Russia kept numerous pockets fighting for months and its capabilities were far less than the allies of 1944.

The Germans in the early war were very, very good at this. The issue is to execute this type of warfare takes a fairly highly trained and motivated combat force.

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RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/3/2015 3:05:27 PM   
KWG


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HMSWarspite

"They (IMHO) were both sadly flawed individuals with some important skills."


Yes, and they were great because they lead great people. Hey its hard to soar with eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys.


To say which is better is trying to say which is great, greater, greatest or as we say in the south - greaterest. Its most interesting to look at what Georgie and Monty did, see why they did it and why they did it that way.

One can look at the Willie and Joe cartoons of of the time to see how some felt about Patton and his rules. And when I was in 2nd Armor we still called a by the book Jackass, "Patton".

Patton was theatrical and it was for the troops. He seemed to have really cared and worried most for the green troops. During the Sicily campaign atrocities were carried out by the Americans and the Goerings on each other. Several groups of Americans were facing charges, which were approved by Patton, and they claimed it was Patton's pep speeches which fired them up to commit the acts. Patton denied it and after that was dismmissed and the press dropped it is when Ike said "George, you talk too much."

I think it shows, when Patton said something to the effect of "If the Germans want to win the war they should give us more Jeeps and Halftracks."
The Jeep could go anywhere but it flipped easy at high speeds(>40mph) and troops were treating the halftracks as if they were tanks. These casualties concerned him.

Monty felt that he had pinned the Germans in June, July and August while the Americans, mainly Patton, could exploit. So it was his turn and he was willing to included the "5th US Army" in his plans, while the "other" US Army was the pinning board.


Patton knew that the manner of Monty's careful preparation and hoarding of supplies would result in that 3rd Army might get a razor and a can of fumes.

So they stoled each other's "stuff" and then the two kids played the Parent "IKE". Monty, who may have felt it should have been his job, pulled no punches and in one meeting blasted Ike with a tirade that gathered fury and when Monty stopped to catch his breath, Ike placed a hand on Monty's knee and clamly said "Steady Monty! You cant speak to me like that. I'm your boss."

Not having read a whole lot about just Monty, never less, I've always been inspired by him even as a kid reading about the Afrika Korps. He should have a 9 morale maybe.

You have to give it to any leader that can keep everyone from saying " To hell with it Iam going home" while still keeping them feed and in good morale



chaos45

Yes,

"Death in battle is a function of time and effective hostile fire. You reduce the hositle fire by your fire. You reduce the time by rapid movement."

< Message edited by KWG -- 10/3/2015 5:59:12 PM >


_____________________________

"A word was said - a mare is standing by the fence."

(in reply to chaos45)
Post #: 29
RE: Patton V. Montgomery - 10/3/2015 8:28:31 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 42183
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
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Montgomery vs Patton – who was better?

Here’s one of those debates guaranteed like ‘was the Bismarck sunk or scuttled?’ and ‘were the atomic bombs justified?’ to get the trolls out (though thankfully not here).

Fact is – in my opinion – it’s not a question that can ever be answered, and nor does it really need to be. The two men fought in different armies (albeit on the same side) and, although their objectives were often broadly the same, the circumstances that governed their actions were not always so – and iirc, Sicily aside, they commanded formations of differing size and so had different roles and responsibilities.

Both men have similarities – loved by their supporters and hated by their detractors. Both could be insufferable in their need for self-promotion and adulation – no matter the effect on others. But both were brave men – having proved themselves in combat before taking up higher command.

The two men made mistakes (Arnhem and Lorraine respectively being the obvious candidates) and so neither has an unblemished record – but both were ultimately successful. They did their job and they did it well. It is easy to cite the material superiority that the CW forces were building in the Western Desert when Monty became 8th Army commander, but this was an army that had been beaten – regularly – by Rommel, and morale was extremely low when he took charge. Monty transformed the army and made them believe victory was possible. For Patton there can be no greater accolade than being respected and feared by your adversary as someone who knows their business. The Germans saw Patton as the best Allied commander.

Both can be thankful they had Eisenhower in charge; a man who could recognise the need for their brilliance and reign them in (just!) enough to allow them to do what they were paid to do without compromising the ultimate goal or seeing them sent home in career ending disgrace (although Patton was closest to that, Monty really pushed Eisenhower on more than one occasion).

I saw an article the other day on the top 20 commanders. This list brought home just how difficult it is to make a meaningful list. I mean Zhukov? Incredible, absolutely incredible war record from Nomonhan to Berlin, but how do you judge Zhukov against, for example Monty or Patton? Zhukov had (and was not afraid to lose) a plentiful supply of bullet stoppers. Monty faced a real challenge in 1944 with an army that had literally run out of men. For Patton too, in charge of a US army, he could not simply incur losses without regard – that’s not the way a democracy operates.

The only way to definitely know who was best - Monty or Patton - is to have them fight the same battle against the same enemy and see who achieves the best results. But that of course is impossible. Instead we should just be grateful that we had two such leaders at the time we needed them.


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England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to elxaime)
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