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Old July 10th, 2018, 09:54 PM   #1
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Should and can Top Commanders micromanage armies and division effectively?


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I wonder if it is effective for top commanders and generals to micromanage field armies or even divisions. Hitler for example had a lot of say during Stalingrad serving as a commander practically.



Operation Market Garden is an example is where micromanaging may have helped since Gavin and Browning had their own little plan.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 01:27 AM   #2

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Militarily Hitler was a corporal. End of story. Everyone has their level of capability end of story, though some are promoted beyond it. The classic example is Sir Redvers Buller of my county.

It goes something like 'outstanding colonel, passable Brigadier, lousy general'. Fanatastic cavalry officer, just couldn't handle the immense strategy of commanding a full army
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Old July 11th, 2018, 01:31 AM   #3

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Hitler seemed to be a more reasonable and competent strategist than most of his general staff. There's a sort of stereotype that is/was promoted heavily.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 01:45 AM   #4

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Depends. I field commander should know where his divisions are. But if he’s tinkering in how each division is conducting its actions you might say he is treading on his division commanders toes and losing sight of the big picture.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 03:58 AM   #5
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A good rule of thumb is two layers of the chain of command. An army commander should be intimately familiar with what his corps and divisions are doing but should only be vaguely aware that he even has brigades and battalions. He has lower ranking officers to manage his brigades and battalions for him. The army commander has better uses of time than to manage such small units. A brigade commander should manage his battalions and companies but should not concern himself with platoons and squads.

One reason for the two-layer rule is that officers are rapidly promoted up the chain of command. Most of the time that a commander is in his position he is still learning how to do his job. By the time an officer fully learns his job, he's coming due for promotion or reassignment. A brigade commander with three or four battalions under him might be lucky to have one battalion commander who's been doing it long enough to not need a lot of supervision. So yes, a brigade commander needs to monitor his companies just to ensure that his battalion commanders are learning their jobs properly.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:33 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Duke Valentino View Post
Hitler seemed to be a more reasonable and competent strategist than most of his general staff. There's a sort of stereotype that is/was promoted heavily.
This. Hitler, as political leader of Germany, assumed control of OKW (Wehremacht/Armed Forces HQ) just before war and the OKH (Heer/Army HQ) after Barbarossa failed largely because other generals weren't up to task because the general staff stopped thinking in terms of grand strategy, economics, politics in the 19th century. When idiots like Halder are running the show, who absolutely blunder when it comes to planning anything larger than a campaign, Germany is going to need a micromanaging commander in chief.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:40 AM   #7
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The greater the level of ability to manipulate Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), the better higher commands can see and know what is happening, the more they will micromanage. That's just fact. As fog of war dissolves, senior commanders gather a view of exactly what subordinate units are doing, so instead of giving leeway and letting them do something to the point they fail and then intervening, they just intervene from the start. It's incredibly annoying but its just how war is changing, we live in a world where a squad in Afghanistan can be in a firefight being seen by the US National Command Authority (to include POTUS, SECDEF, Joint Chiefs) watching livestream of a battle unfold through UAV footage, they're almost surelygoing to give orders and intervene. Its not good that they do this, but it's going to happen.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 06:57 PM   #8
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How much was Monty to blame for Market Garden? I hear some people say he should micromanaged Gavin to not set up HQ but take the town quicker.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 04:49 AM   #9
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How much was Monty to blame for Market Garden? I hear some people say he should micromanaged Gavin to not set up HQ but take the town quicker.
How would he have done that? Radios didn't push that far. Monty would have had to jump into one of the 82nd DZs to establish contact with him then spent hours walking around trying to find his mobile HQ.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 06:08 AM   #10
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Hitler seemed to be a more reasonable and competent strategist than most of his general staff. There's a sort of stereotype that is/was promoted heavily.
Well Hitler did pick his high command on the basis of being pliable weak, yes men. He has some responsibility for their failures.

Nothing I've read says Hitler was anymore than complete amateur strategist he simply did not know enough. Sure he might be right occasionally but was it for the right reasons. (and my ww2 reading is rather light)
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