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Old June 16th, 2013, 05:48 PM   #131
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He provided co-ordination, command, and control for the northern edge of the salient
He did no such thing, communications were completely cut off between higher headquarters and the Division, Brigade and Battalion headquarters by Dec 21, and that's where the fighting was going on. Montgomery didn't establish any effective communication either until it was all over. The sole impact Monty actually had on the battle was to order the abandonment St. Vith, which was a poor choice of action - the 7th Armored had had begun resupply of the defensive lines around the town and the US forces had held there. Had he not abandoned St. Vith, many more Germans would have been taken prisoner - Bradley was strongly opposed in that move, but once Ike had given him command he was reluctant to take it back - he would have appeared indecisive. Once again, letting the Germans escape was Montgomery's doing.
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Monty, of course, decided to embellish the truth to serve his own interests
No comment.
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Monty didn't screw up the campaign in Sicily...............
After the British advance bogged down, Montgomery shifted the inter-Army boundaries so the British could move west and be the ones to capture Messina. Monty arbitrarily changed American/British boundaries after the U.S. 45th Infantry Division had already landed, and this required the 45th Infantry to break contact, move back to the beaches at Gela and thence northwest, which allowed the German XIVth Panzer Corps to escape likely encirclement. There was nothing between the 45th and Messina at the time. Had the 45th been allowed to continue their advance, the German army on Sicily would have been trapped and their supply line cut.
Monty then sent the entire US invasion force on a wild goose chase to the western end of Sicily; the conquest of Sicily and the capture of the German troops was dependent upon the taking of Messina, everything else was secondary.
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The claim that he screwed up in Normandy has some merit to it, but only some. Insofar as he claimed he was going to advance deeper than Falaise...............
That wasn't the problem, the problem was that he was a methodical sort of guy and he expected that from his subordinates. The whole invasion plan was upset when his assault wave stopped a few hundred yards short of Caanen. They had the power to continue but they lacked the extreme aggressiveness needed. Note: I am not calling the British troops whimps, I am saying they were poorly trained and poorly led (although well drilled.)
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Falaise was a mutual JAAFU between Monty and Bradley.
The problem was a result of strained relations between Montgomery and adjacent commands. It wouldn't have mattered if it was Bradley or some Indian Army Commander or the Canadians. Montgomery's ego was too large to share the war with anyone.
BTW Montgomery did create a lot of animosity between himself and the Canadians in June of 44, he used them badly, he used them as cannon fodder in order to wear down the Germans so his Second Army could then march through the Canadians to glory. That didn't work out.

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Old June 16th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #132

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After the British advance bogged down, Montgomery shifted the inter-Army boundaries so the British could move west and be the ones to capture Messina. Monty arbitrarily changed American/British boundaries after the U.S. 45th Infantry Division had already landed, and this required the 45th Infantry to break contact, move back to the beaches at Gela and thence northwest, which allowed the German XIVth Panzer Corps to escape likely encirclement. There was nothing between the 45th and Messina at the time. Had the 45th been allowed to continue their advance, the German army on Sicily would have been trapped and their supply line cut.
You forget that plan for the Sicilian campaign made Messina Monty's objective in the first place. It was not set up as a general target for any Allied army to take. It was deliberately set aside for Monty to take from the beginning. Patton's job in Sicily was to protect Monty's flank. Had the 45th division been allowed to continue, it would have left Monty's forces vulnerable to a counter attack by any German forces that might be in a position between the US and the UK in the fighting...

And given by the time that the Allies landed in Sicily the Germans were beginning to integrate Tiger I and Panthers into their armored formations, I doubt a US infantry division could successfully encircle and defeat a German Panzer division without massive reinforcements or support from the air or from naval gunfire. Both of which would have likely slowed the 45th's primary mission in Sicily, protecting the British flank.

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Monty then sent the entire US invasion force on a wild goose chase to the western end of Sicily; the conquest of Sicily and the capture of the German troops was dependent upon the taking of Messina, everything else was secondary. That wasn't the problem, the problem was that he was a methodical sort of guy and he expected that from his subordinates.
Monty didn't send the US 7th Army to Palermo. That was entirely Patton trying to outdo Monty. Monty's plan had the US 7th army hugging Monty's flank and taking whatever punishment the Germans or Italians could throw at it. Patton, who had proposed his own plan to land at Palermo and move east in a gigantic pincer movement, which was rejected, decided to attack that way of his own accord to set up the race to Messina.

Patton would take Palermo and Messina based off of his own audacity, but the fighting against the Germans around Mt. Etna was hard and men that fought under him there HATED him for it. He did well against the Italians, but the Germans stopped him cold at the Etna Line. There Patton ran into the same difficulty that Monty had faced. While Monty tried to out siege the Germans, Patton tried to bulrush them, and while Patton would beat Monty to Messina, it would not be because Patton had out-maneuvered or outgeneraled Albert Kesselring.

The troubles of the Sicilian campaign are more Patton's disregard of orders to be a supporting character and excellent defensive tactics from Kesselring that negated the entire fighting efforts in Sicily and Italy.

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The whole invasion plan was upset when his assault wave stopped a few hundred yards short of Caanen. They had to power to continue but they lacked aggressiveness. Note: I am not calling the British troops whimps, I am saying they were poorly trained and poorly led (although well drilled.)The problem was a result of strained relations between Montgomery and adjacent commands. It wouldn't have mattered if it was Bradley or some Indian Army Commander or the Canadians. Montgomery's ego was too large to share the war with anyone.
And the presence of German armor near Caen played no role in defending the city? Rommel didn't have all the armor that he wanted near the beach, but the armor he did have was near Caen as far as I know. And given the inferiority of the US built M4 Sherman to the Tiger I in armament and armor, it should be no surprise that the Germans didn't lose Caen on D-Day.

The fighting around Caen pressed on and as German armor began to move toward the Allied landing zone, most of the divisions arrived in the British sector of the line. Yes it slowed the attempt to take Caen and yes Monty did twist the truth of what had been the original plan, BUT the objectives Monty had set for Operation Overlord were achieved three days early and the German armored divisions that moved into the fighting around Caen were practically destroyed by the fighting there.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #133

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He did no such thing, communications were completely cut off between higher headquarters and the Division, Brigade and Battalion headquarters by Dec 21, and that's where the fighting was going on. Montgomery didn't establish any effective communication either until it was all over. The sole impact Monty actually had on the battle was to order the abandonment St. Vith, which was a poor choice of action - the 7th Armored had had begun resupply of the defensive lines around the town and the US forces had held there. Had he not abandoned St. Vith, many more Germans would have been taken prisoner - Bradley was strongly opposed in that move, but once Ike had given him command he was reluctant to take it back - he would have appeared indecisive. Once again, letting the Germans escape was Montgomery's doing.
You do realize that the USA wasn't really very good at encirclement actions, right? The Soviets alone among the Allies discovered a satisfactory means to execute these kinds of operations, and did so at such a cost that none of the other Allied armies could have matched them. And you're again underestimating his actual role in the battle. Montgomery established order where Courtney Hodges provided none.

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After the British advance bogged down, Montgomery shifted the inter-Army boundaries so the British could move west and be the ones to capture Messina. Monty arbitrarily changed American/British boundaries after the U.S. 45th Infantry Division had already landed, and this required the 45th Infantry to break contact, move back to the beaches at Gela and thence northwest, which allowed the German XIVth Panzer Corps to escape likely encirclement. There was nothing between the 45th and Messina at the time. Had the 45th been allowed to continue their advance, the German army on Sicily would have been trapped and their supply line cut.
The failure to interdict the retreat was on more than Monty and Patton. It was a failure of the Allied navies and air forces, also. And that cannot be blamed on Montgomery. The idea that the US Army was able to simply encircle Messina is disproven by what did happen when they did try: far smaller German forces decisively outmatched them.

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Monty then sent the entire US invasion force on a wild goose chase to the western end of Sicily; the conquest of Sicily and the capture of the German troops was dependent upon the taking of Messina, everything else was secondary.
Monty didn't do that to Patton, Patton did that to himself.

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That wasn't the problem, the problem was that he was a methodical sort of guy and he expected that from his subordinates. The whole invasion plan was upset when his assault wave stopped a few hundred yards short of Caanen. They had the power to continue but they lacked the extreme aggressiveness needed. Note: I am not calling the British troops whimps, I am saying they were poorly trained and poorly led (although well drilled.)The problem was a result of strained relations between Montgomery and adjacent commands. It wouldn't have mattered if it was Bradley or some Indian Army Commander or the Canadians. Montgomery's ego was too large to share the war with anyone.
BTW Montgomery did create a lot of animosity between himself and the Canadians in June of 44, he used them badly, he used them as cannon fodder in order to wear down the Germans so his Second Army could then march through the Canadians to glory. That didn't work out.
The idea that British troops were poorly trained due to Caen makes me wonder what you consider the US First Army at the Huertgen Forest.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 09:29 PM   #134
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You forget that plan for the Sicilian campaign made Messina Monty's objective in the first place. It was not set up as a general target for any Allied army to take. It was deliberately set aside for Monty to take from the beginning. Patton's job in Sicily was to protect Monty's flank. Had the 45th division been allowed to continue, it would have left Monty's forces vulnerable to a counter attack by any German forces that might be in a position between the US and the UK in the fighting...

And given by the time that the Allies landed in Sicily the Germans were beginning to integrate Tiger I and Panthers into their armored formations, I doubt a US infantry division could successfully encircle and defeat a German Panzer division without massive reinforcements or support from the air or from naval gunfire. Both of which would have likely slowed the 45th's primary mission in Sicily, protecting the British flank.
The 45th were doing a fine job of protecting the British flank simply because at the time there wasn't much of any German forces in their sector, or ahead of them to protect them from. The plan had the British offensive to push east of Etna and the 45th was to stay south or west of Etna. Monty intended to push up the east coast of Sicily but he became stalled before he got to Cataina.

That's when he threw out the plan and changed Corps boundaries, which required the 45th to break off their assault and take 10,000 men and thousands of vehicles and artillery pieces which were already landed and in contact with the enemy and move them back to the beach and west several miles. The effect of this was to take the 45th out of action for 36 hours at the most critical time of the invasion. It took the 45th out of action permanently in that sector.

Also this relieved pressure on the Germans where the 45th pulled out, so they could reenforce and dig in.

While the 45th were beginning their assault there was nothing in front of them, by the time the British were in place the Germans were prepared.

Any way you look at it, Montgomery took an entire division offline in the most critical place, at the most critical time. There is no way to gloss that over.


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Monty didn't send the US 7th Army to Palermo.
No, it was Alexander who did that, but Alexander left all the decisions to his man on the scene: Montgomery.

BTW
Don't get the idea that I'm any fan of Patton. I'm going to unmask the nonsensical mythology surrounding him in a few weeks, beginning on about the anniversary of the creation of the Third Army (almost two months after Normandy.)

No more for tonight.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 09:58 PM   #135

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I don't know about THE worst, but McClellan comes to mind.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #136

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General Varus, commander of three roman legions in Germania. Went out of his way to be careless and so lost his life and legions.

Now one could argue that he was a political appointment and not a real general, but a general he was, and so belongs in this argument
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Old June 17th, 2013, 01:27 AM   #137
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Montgomery was a treacherous little weasel who was ironclad in his own sense of his own destiny, without any capability to obey the orders of anyone else. Along with Alexander and Alanbrooke, he deliberately sought to undermine the orders of American superiors as much as it was in him to do. In Sicily and in Market Garden he won the strategic battles in the first case for no gain whatsoever and in the second case for the worst defeat of his career. Montgomery, as a subordinate, would have been drummed out in most armies, as he again had no sense of respect whatsoever for American generalship, and his comments on the USA in public are belied by his view privately, especially where Eisenhower was concerned. Insofar as Alanbrooke egged him on with this, the two collectively set out to sabotage that coalition aspect of the coalition war.

All this being said, Montgomery's record of success, including Alam al-Halfa, El Alamein, Medinine, Overlord, and his advances up to Market Garden and after it are consistent enough that he doesn't deserve ranking on a worst generals ever list. Now Douglas MacArthur 1,000% does, but not Monty.
He really was a divisive spiteful little git (even looks like a rat). It's glossed over by UK historians for the most part because we needed to have someone to hang our hat on so to speak. However he was power hungry, greedy, discordant, but with the strange addition of being all too cautious. The damning that he got for that lead to the only real attacking move he made at Market Garden and we all know how that went.

Although he did have victories, the main ones are all in a theatre of war the Germans regarded as their third most important (if that). To which about only a 1/4 of the minimum needed supplies ever got to (especially fuel), thanks to our wonderful navy and RAF. Furthermore being bogged down by allies such as the Italians, which is of course why they were there in the first place. Quite a strange irony that a supposedly annoying situation with an ally actually presented the Germans 1. with a hero being made (great propogande) and 2. a situation they never fully appreciated the potential of but Rommel did.

Whilst we were bolstered by about three times the number of everything and we ended up with the Americans pressing in on the other side. If the Germans has taken this theatre seriously, and for sake of argument not invaded the USSR for a year or two (I KNOW I KNOW) then they could have blown us out of Africa taken all the oil they needed from the region to fully then go on and conquer the soviets. Probably post having forced us to the negotiating table. Then a pincer thrust up into the Russian underbelly alongside now modified Barbarosa plans, with fuel to spare, wouldn't have been stoppable. It's amazingly lucky this wasn't seen my Mr Hitler.

You are right though, compared to the others he doesn't deserve to be on here. He'd be more appropriate in a list of "People who simply got lucky as there was no one else in line and because he had a huge advantage in men, machines and material." If Gott who by most accounts was far better suited than Montey hadn't had an unfortunate accident involving a plane, or if Auchinleck and Monty were switched round as it were Monty would have been pilloried for being far too conservative and taking a beating from this "Rommel fellow" as we know he'd simply have retreated and then been replaced himself.

Moreover with an army that low on moral there's nowhere to go but up. There are a lot of accounts and sources of your every day soldier saying he managed to change moral to a certain extent. It wouldn't exactly have been hard considering.

The one thing i'd perhaps be made to tip my hat to would be some of the work concerning Overlord. However he even managed to be as uncooperative as usual in the end and to be frank the Germans made a huge botch of defending OL.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #138

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Along with Alexander and Alanbrooke, he deliberately sought to undermine the orders of American superiors as much as it was in him to do. In Sicily and in Market Garden he won the strategic battles in the first case for no gain whatsoever and in the second case for the worst defeat of his career. Montgomery, as a subordinate, would have been drummed out in most armies, as he again had no sense of respect whatsoever for American generalship, and his comments on the USA in public are belied by his view privately, especially where Eisenhower was concerned. Insofar as Alanbrooke egged him on with this, the two collectively set out to sabotage that coalition aspect of the coalition war.
All this is true, but Monty didn't just seek to undermine his American superiors, he sought to undermine all his superiors (with the noteable exception of his mentor Alanbrooke), and he was almost drummed out of the army a number of times, even pre-war, for his insubordination, only his clear abilities prevented it.

ps: It should also be noted that most senior American generals (Bradley, Patton and Clark) with the noteable exception of Ike, also had no time for the coalition aspect of the coalition war, and also did everthing in their power to undermine it.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #139

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" If Gott who by most accounts was far better suited than Montey hadn't had an unfortunate accident involving a plane,
Just before his death even Gott admitted the Eighth army needed somebody 'new'
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Moreover with an army that low on moral there's nowhere to go but up.
Nonsense, unless something is done to change things morale will not just improve, it will either get worse or stay the same.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 01:04 PM   #140

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The sole impact Monty actually had on the battle was to order the abandonment St. Vith, which was a poor choice of action - the 7th Armored had had begun resupply of the defensive lines around the town and the US forces had held there. Had he not abandoned St. Vith, many more Germans would have been taken prisoner .
Oddly, the commander of the 7th Armored at St Vith disagree's with you, in his own words " Monty saved the 7th Armored".
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