Best Allied World War II general?

May 2018
880
Michigan
If we are talking the best overall general, in terms of mastering the tactical, strategic and political, I'd say the award goes to Ike, Monty or Slim. However, if we are including Admirals (especially in the Pacific), I'd give it to Nimitz, Spruance and Fletcher at Midway. Up to that point, the IJN was the "French Army of Austerlitz" to the USN: astoundingly victorious throughout the Pacific. In six months, they'd beaten not only the United States Navy, but the legendary Royal Navy as well. The strategic setbacks dealt by the IJN to the USN/RN were probably the largest in their naval histories, in addition to the losses to British and American prestige in military losses to a non-Western power. Its one thing to watch a bunch of crazy Russian sailors in 1904/05 lose to Japan, its different when its the legendary Royal Navy.

Unlike many WWII victories, Midway can be claimed as a solely American victory. It was American intelligence that cracked the Japanese code. It was the American Navy (and Army Air Force) that not only crushed the First Air Fleet, but had to sacrifice many pilots in "distraction" attacks to prevent Nagumo from launching a proper strike. It was also the turning point in the Pacific War, where a string of unmitigated (except for the Coral Sea) Japanese successes were turned into many years of Japanese defeats. While the U.S. Army must take a back seat to efforts by the British and Red Armies in many respects, the American Navy more than carried its own weight in the Pacific, and dealt most of the "Decisive Blows" against the IJN. The Soviet Navy was more than not present: it was in a non-aggression pact with Japan for almost all the war. The RN and Royal Australian Navy played major roles, but were not present at Midway specifically. In one swift stroke, the balance of naval power went from the IJN to the USN in terms of the most important asset: carriers.

Certainly, the Red Army and Soviet Union can claim a lion's share of the blood-credit for defeating Nazi Germany. But the British Empire and United States can claim victory in the Pacific against the greater navy (the IJN would have utterly owned the Kriegsmarine), and what was, in 1941, the best at naval aviation in the world.
 

Zip

Jan 2018
563
Comancheria
Certainly, the Red Army and Soviet Union can claim a lion's share of the blood-credit for defeating Nazi Germany. But the British Empire and United States can claim victory in the Pacific against the greater navy (the IJN would have utterly owned the Kriegsmarine), and what was, in 1941, the best at naval aviation in the world.
I don't give the British much credit against Japan. It was the United States that grabbed Japan by the throat; that went on the attack in 1942 and took the war to Japan and smashed their fleet and air forces, blockaded and bombarded their nation and dropped the Bombs. Meanwhile the Brits defended India and took back...what, Burma?

I'm guessing the Chinese tied down more Japanese resources than the British did. And that they killed more Japanese soldiers too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Menshevik

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,853
Stockport Cheshire UK
What makes these two men stand out above their peers?
Dowding not only was the commander of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, he was also the man who played a major role in the setting up of the defence.
Keith Park was the commander of 9 Group defending the South East of England which bore the heaviest fighting during the Battle of Britain, he also was commander of Malta's air defences when the Luftwaffe's attacks were finally defeated.
 
May 2019
145
Northern and Western hemispheres
I don't give the British much credit against Japan. It was the United States that grabbed Japan by the throat; that went on the attack in 1942 and took the war to Japan and smashed their fleet and air forces, blockaded and bombarded their nation and dropped the Bombs. Meanwhile the Brits defended India and took back...what, Burma?

I'm guessing the Chinese tied down more Japanese resources than the British did. And that they killed more Japanese soldiers too.
In regards to the allied victory over the Japanese the Americans and the Chinese were the main players. However we shouldn't denigrate or insult the efforts of the British, Australians, and New Zealanders who did a fine job in the supporting role and also had to endure the horrid experiences of being taken prisoner by the Japanese.
 
  • Like
Reactions: frogsofwar and Zip
Apr 2014
404
Istanbul Turkey
Actually British and Indian defence of India and capture of Burma between 1943-1945 that kept Assam airfields operational that sustained HUMP airbridge link to Nationalist Chinese over Himalayas and later opened up Burma Route and kept Nationalist China at war against Japan (which diverted %55 or %60 of Japanese Imperial Army in occupational duties , offensive operations and guerilla fight at China and Manchuria , if these Japanese armies were released to fight say in Phillipinnes , New Guinea or Cental Pacific , US Army no way could approach Japanese home islands without suffering excessive casaulties ) Without Burma Road and HUMP airbridge that compansated it , Chang Hai Cheng would make somekind of peace arrangement with Japanese on their own terms (he said so during Cairo Conferance in 1943 plainly) and all Japanese Armies in China would be realeased to fight elsewhere. China-Burma-India Theater was vital in an indirect way for campaign against Japan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Picard
May 2018
880
Michigan
Dowding not only was the commander of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, he was also the man who played a major role in the setting up of the defence.
Keith Park was the commander of 9 Group defending the South East of England which bore the heaviest fighting during the Battle of Britain, he also was commander of Malta's air defences when the Luftwaffe's attacks were finally defeated.
Dowding is under- mentioned as a great Captain. He wasn't sexy like Galland with a bunch of fighter kills. In fact, how many kills did Dowding have from the first world war?

But he developed the system that probably saved Britain.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Troy wienerdog
May 2018
880
Michigan
Actually British and Indian defence of India and capture of Burma between 1943-1945 that kept Assam airfields operational that sustained HUMP airbridge link to Nationalist Chinese over Himalayas and later opened up Burma Route and kept Nationalist China at war against Japan (which diverted %55 or %60 of Japanese Imperial Army in occupational duties , offensive operations and guerilla fight at China and Manchuria , if these Japanese armies were released to fight say in Phillipinnes , New Guinea or Cental Pacific , US Army no way could approach Japanese home islands without suffering excessive casaulties ) Without Burma Road and HUMP airbridge that compansated it , Chang Hai Cheng would make somekind of peace arrangement with Japanese on their own terms (he said so during Cairo Conferance in 1943 plainly) and all Japanese Armies in China would be realeased to fight elsewhere. China-Burma-India Theater was vital in an indirect way for campaign against Japan.
Was going to say: didn't British operations keep the supply road open to Chaing Kai Shek?

If the Chinese were the "Russia of the Asia War" in terms of manpower sacrifices...wasn't the invasion of India the largest Jap invasion in history? 500,000 men? Wasn't Kohima called "Stalingrad of Asia" for the fierceness of fighting and high casualty rate on both sides?

The Brits held their own weight in the Asia war, with Slim commanding the largest single Army formation of the war (over a million men in one administrative XIV army, IIRC).
 
Nov 2019
78
United States
Actually British and Indian defence of India and capture of Burma between 1943-1945 that kept Assam airfields operational that sustained HUMP airbridge link to Nationalist Chinese over Himalayas and later opened up Burma Route and kept Nationalist China at war against Japan (which diverted %55 or %60 of Japanese Imperial Army in occupational duties , offensive operations and guerilla fight at China and Manchuria , if these Japanese armies were released to fight say in Phillipinnes , New Guinea or Cental Pacific , US Army no way could approach Japanese home islands without suffering excessive casaulties ) Without Burma Road and HUMP airbridge that compansated it , Chang Hai Cheng would make somekind of peace arrangement with Japanese on their own terms (he said so during Cairo Conferance in 1943 plainly) and all Japanese Armies in China would be realeased to fight elsewhere. China-Burma-India Theater was vital in an indirect way for campaign against Japan.
Would be an interesting argument had Japan had the naval forces to supply them, but from Midway forward the Japanese Navy was in freefall to it's demise. Britain's success in Imphal owes a huge debt of gratitude to the destruction of shipping by the US Navy.