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Old November 19th, 2012, 04:54 AM   #171
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Hannibal - Tactics, yes, but as a strategist?
He won all the battles, but could not win the war!
Napoleon - Strategist and organiser: brilliant! Tactics - very doubtful.
Waterloo? Borodino? Eylau? Wagram? Marengo?
He was pulled out of trouble by subordinates on many occasion,
and wasted the lives of irreplaceable Frenchmen in frontal attacks.
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Old November 19th, 2012, 06:17 AM   #172

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
I'm sorry, but "myth" regularly implies claims not backed by evidence, certainly not the case of either Herr Rommel or the objectively poor performance of the IUtalian armed forces relative to virtually any other major contender of this war.

On the former, just ask Connor, Wavel, Cunningham, Auchinlek and a fistful of additional brave contenders.

On the other hand, and as myths go, where is exactly any hard evidence on the purported "9:1" superiority of these units as reported by Mr Paoletti?

AFAIK the "never-exhausting" Soviet armies were far more easily claimed than proved.

(Should we infer that such Italian surname might imply a potentially biased Italian author?)

BTW, shouldn't "9:1" imply as a minimum 18 enemy divisions???

Because regarding the utterly abundant available evidence on the Italian performance in the Eastern Front (let say Col. Glantz et al) AFAIK it simply couldn't be any poorer by any standard.

After all, all the Ravenna and Cosseria Divisions did (as all the 8th Italina Army) was just let themselves be slaughtered, right?
Because in strict tactical & strategic terms their mission was still a swift & absolute failure, right?

Especially if you compare their performance with the Romanian units in the same battle, not to mention the German ones...

Not that any potentially extreme heroic deed of any Italian unit would affect an inch the precision of my previous commentary on Herr Rommel's objective performance.
Can't help but notice you use the word "objective" a lot in what is clearly a subjective assessment. Have you read any accounts of the war in africa other than the book you've cited? Young has been described as a "fan" of Rommel and the work is dated.

Montgomery's view of Rommel can be summed up with this, “Rommel attacked me at dawn. It was very foolish of him. I have 500 six-pounder anti tank guns dug in on the ground; I have 400 tanks and I have good infantry holding strong pivots, and a great weight of artillery. It is an absolute gift, and the man must be mad.”
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Old November 19th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #173

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There was a Rommel thread a couple of weeks ago and Dessert Fox certainly has a few fans, but it was largely agreed that he was not even Germanys best, let alone worlds best.
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Old November 19th, 2012, 07:00 AM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
Can't help but notice you use the word "objective" a lot in what is clearly a subjective assessment. Have you read any accounts of the war in africa other than the book you've cited? Young has been described as a "fan" of Rommel and the work is dated.

Montgomery's view of Rommel can be summed up with this, “Rommel attacked me at dawn. It was very foolish of him. I have 500 six-pounder anti tank guns dug in on the ground; I have 400 tanks and I have good infantry holding strong pivots, and a great weight of artillery. It is an absolute gift, and the man must be mad.”
Young's work is a first-hand account; I don't think that could get "outdated".

In any case, his evidence on the "Rommel's myth" coming fundamentally from the British side itself could hardly be challenged on any reasonable grounds.

Naturally any revisionist book that for any weird reason would pretend to present as any "military idiot" the German commander that so soundly defeated so many proud British. Commonwealth and even American commanders, often in so disadvantaged conditions, must necessarily tend to consider any opposite view as mere "admirers".

Naturally beginning with such enthusiastic fan called Winston Spencer Churchill:
Quote:
We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great General.
-Winston Churchill, 1942.
Said during the debate in the British Parliament over a censure vote against Churchill for his failure to defeat Rommel.
(The vote failed)
Source: ROBERT H. PILPEL, “What an extraordinary People” in Finest Hour (Journal of The Churchill Centre & Societies) vol. 1 number 125, Winter 2004-2005, page 36.

Of course I have read plenty of accounts on the war on North Africa, naturally mostly British, but also including Rommel's own account and some other German sources, even a nice US military thesis comparing Rommel and Monty's military styles.

Authority appeals aside, the objective data on Rommel's performance in and out of Africa couldn't be any more eloquent.

Anyone could easily verify that I'm far from idealizing the guy by any standard.

I'm not sure about the context of the aforementioned Monty's quotation, but I bet someone as worried on self-promotion as Monty would hardly have systematically abused on the enemy commander that carried him to the fame; such gratuitous decrease of his own personal merit would have been simply non-sensical.
IMHO it's just a matter of reviewing his stuff with some care.

Far as I remember, Monty was also described within the Rommel Papers in not so bad terms.

Last edited by sylla1; November 19th, 2012 at 07:24 AM.
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Old November 19th, 2012, 05:31 PM   #175

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Quote:
Originally Posted by funakison View Post
There was a Rommel thread a couple of weeks ago and Dessert Fox certainly has a few fans, but it was largely agreed that he was not even Germanys best, let alone worlds best.
True, but that doesn't mean he wasn't close
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Old November 19th, 2012, 05:39 PM   #176
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Sun Bin: great tactition, modified the Art of War......

Zhu Ge Liang: great strategist, helped the Shu greatly....

Hannibal: great tactition, still could not defeat Rome.......

Napoleon: great taction....

Han Xin:helped found the Han Dynasty...great general
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Old November 20th, 2012, 11:17 AM   #177

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Genghis a the whole package.nappy,caesar,alex,hannibal all fail in some respect or other.
Washington though succesful was a mediocre tactician and can't possibly be best.Saladin again successful,good strategist,unifiera nd inspirational leadership,but tactically average and no significant changes in style of warfare so he's high but not top.
Scipio africanus would be very high as well.
Moltke would be high.As would marlborough and wellington.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #178
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There are ALOT of great generals/commanders but its hard to say which one is the BEST.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:03 PM   #179

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for more modern commander the german field marshal Manstein is definitely worth mentioning. an excellent organiser and planner and as he showed in the war a brilliantly intuitive mind that thought out of the box and always knew how to play to his strengths and the enemies weaknesses such as using the quick mobility of his armoured forces to defeat a much larger soviet force at the third battle of Kharkov or the deception he used in the battle of Kerch in the Crimea peninsula when he was able to organise a decoy attack that distracted the soviet forces long enough for his mobile forces to bake through in another sector and outflank them leading to a total route.

he was also a man that cared for his soldiers and routinely visited the front every chance he got to assess the troops moral and talk casually with them. the soldiers loved him for that as they like to see a leader who doesn't hide behind a desk and gives orders without even caring that these are real lives in his hands. even after his retirement at the end of the ear he submitted a number of proposals for army structure to NATO which offered them more flexibility then previously.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:09 PM   #180
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Oh I suppose the usual suspects and, they have all been noted here in one form or another. But it was nice to see references to some of the great leaders of Japan and China.
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