Best American Army Commander WWII?

Sep 2012
1,139
Tarkington, Texas
MacArthur sent a National Guard Regiment to cross the mountains and go through jungle regions never seen before by White men. The march ruined the men's health and then Mighty Mac told them to take Buna! The division had never seen combat before and thus had not rid itself of people who could not hack combat. The troops had to attack into a coastal swamp full of fortified rifle pits. Mac also did not send any artillery! Can you say Clusterf@ck? I think Eichelberger wore the Japanese troops out. Later on the built airstrips that brought in the other two Infantry Regiments. Mac never visited the battlefield and his main advice was to relieve commanders until one was found that would get orders done. Eichelberger was an older man and flew in and found himself leading Battalions (much understrength Battalions!) When giving Eichelberger his assignment Mac told him if he was successful he would release his name to the press! That says a lot about Mac.

National Guard units had been activated in 1940 and they had lost most of their officers as being overage and unfit. Then the Army allowed men to volunteer to OCS and the Air Corps. There were very few old men left when the division reached Australia. Most of the Junior officers were recent graduates of North and South Carolina college ROTC programs.

Pruitt
 
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Nov 2019
78
United States
Hodges had his ups and downs but I have the impression he grew in the job; learned his lessons and improved. It should be kept in mind that many of the American troops and commanders in NW Europe had a short and steep learning curve: from combat rookies in June of 44 to victors in May of 45.
During the Battle of the Bulge Hodges was essentially non-compos mentis. During the early portion of the battle his Chief of Staff had to take control of the 1st Army, Hodges wouldn't talk to anyone and essentially hid in his room. At a point he finally seemed to come around, but that seemed to be after the situation was essentially stabilized. Truthfully I am shocked he wasn't removed from command.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,633
Ontario, Canada
The above reasoning is great for why Hodges was extremely flawed. Albeit his performance in France at the start of the campaign was really what he was lauded for.
Hodges also had favoritism, or I am led to believe, since he was considered less reckless than Patton and for whatever reason was Bradley's preferred subordinate. Presumably because he was less reckless. But Ike might have preferred him as well.

Lord knows why Bradley was given a five-star rank though. A lot of people might disagree but some of Hodges' mistakes were also on Bradley. I am extremely critical of Hodges although I don't dislike him. But I never really liked or understood Bradley as a commander. To be honest I barely get Ike.
 

Zip

Jan 2018
563
Comancheria
Marshall, Eisenhower and Bradley were keen on Hodges at the end of the war in Europe. Evidently they forgot to run it by us. Though in his book Taaffe is kind'a mystified by their liking for him.

Bradley was the first American army group commander since Sherman. He seemed as good as any man for the job and within a year of taking the job the war was over. Not much time for changing horses and even if you wanted to, who do you replace him with? Bradley did OK and OK was good enough.
 
Sep 2012
1,139
Tarkington, Texas
Bradley must have done something right, he bypassed Patton. Not every American general made the grade. Bradley survived and then got promoted. Didn't he teach at the Infantry School under Marshall?

Pruitt
 
Nov 2019
78
United States
The above reasoning is great for why Hodges was extremely flawed. Albeit his performance in France at the start of the campaign was really what he was lauded for.
Hodges also had favoritism, or I am led to believe, since he was considered less reckless than Patton and for whatever reason was Bradley's preferred subordinate. Presumably because he was less reckless. But Ike might have preferred him as well.

Lord knows why Bradley was given a five-star rank though. A lot of people might disagree but some of Hodges' mistakes were also on Bradley. I am extremely critical of Hodges although I don't dislike him. But I never really liked or understood Bradley as a commander. To be honest I barely get Ike.
Hodges had been Bradley's commander during the intra war period and they had developed a close friendship. Hodges was clearly in over his head, Simpson and Devers conversely were excellent.

Bradley was a great staff officer, but not a good commander. He was a lower value version of Beedle Smith.

We're it not for Patton's penchant for saying things that would harm his career, Patton would have, and should have been the choice.
 
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Nov 2019
78
United States
What usually saved Hodges from disaster was his Corps commander Collins, who was an exceptional leader and tactician, and division commanders like Cota. Allen, and until his death, Ted Roosevelt.
 
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