Poll : Wellington vs Montgomery , which was better ?

Which British general was better ? Wellington or Montgomery ?

  • Duke of Wellington

    Votes: 33 80.5%
  • Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

    Votes: 8 19.5%

  • Total voters
    41

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,401
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
No. If we have to blame anyone it's Browning, he messed up the airborne operation.
I think we both agree that Browning was less than helpful, he doesn't come off very well in the operation.
However his culpability in the Airborne Army debacle pales in significance to that of Brereton.

Ultimately, Eisenhower is responsible for choosing Airborne Army leadership, in addition to being the only person in overall command of Market Garden
 
May 2018
858
Michigan
Forced the French to abandon Andalusia, A substantial gain of the campaign which you totally fail to mention.

flee Madrid and exposed just how shaky and impermanent the French regime in Spain was. Psychologically it showed just how limited, shallow and insubstantial the French grip on Spain was.
I am very glad this was brought up. Of all Wellington's campaigns, the Siege of Burgos "campaign" was probably his worst. Burgos, and the minor action at Sultantep Tope many years earlier, are often used to criticize Wellington. Some of this criticism is deserved.

Forcing the French to abandon Andalusia was a huge win for the Coalition, one that should not be understated. Not only does Andalusia "contain" Gibraltar (so to speak, it is right next door to this strategically vital British holding), but also Cadiz, where the Spanish provisional government had been under siege for years. Salamanca forced the French to not only abandon Madrid (although they would later reoccupy it, it was a big psychological win), but also the Siege of Cadiz.

If a general's "worst" campaign results in the liberation of an allied capital (albeit temporary), the removal of the enemy from 87,000 square kilometers of territory, the lifting of a siege of an allied provisional capital, and the removal of enemy forces in close proximity to a strategically important area (Gibraltar), I'd say Wellesley is doing better than most (even Napoleon) if these were the results of his worst "blunder".

Even if exaggerated French causality reports are true and Wellesley lost 11,000 men, that's a fairly low price for accomplishing so much. His army wasn't irreparably damaged, they were back in action less than a year later and won a stunning victory at Vitoria.

All in all, while Wellington made some serious errors at Burgos (such as not bringing his heavy siege train), 1812 was a very good year for the Coalition in the Peninsular War, mostly thanks to Wellington.

Post Script: Comparing the disastrous retreat from Burgos to Napoleon's retreat from Russia doesn't quite hold water. Wellington retreated to Portugual, but achieved at least three important strategic objectives: the capture of Madrid, the lifting of the Siege of Cadiz, and the ejection of the French from Andalusia. When Napoleon retreated from Russia, he had achieved virtually nothing, and completely lost the the Grand Armee as a fighting force.
 

nuclearguy165

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
4,775
Ohio, USA
I am very glad this was brought up. Of all Wellington's campaigns, the Siege of Burgos "campaign" was probably his worst. Burgos, and the minor action at Sultantep Tope many years earlier, are often used to criticize Wellington. Some of this criticism is deserved.

Forcing the French to abandon Andalusia was a huge win for the Coalition, one that should not be understated. Not only does Andalusia "contain" Gibraltar (so to speak, it is right next door to this strategically vital British holding), but also Cadiz, where the Spanish provisional government had been under siege for years. Salamanca forced the French to not only abandon Madrid (although they would later reoccupy it, it was a big psychological win), but also the Siege of Cadiz.

If a general's "worst" campaign results in the liberation of an allied capital (albeit temporary), the removal of the enemy from 87,000 square kilometers of territory, the lifting of a siege of an allied provisional capital, and the removal of enemy forces in close proximity to a strategically important area (Gibraltar), I'd say Wellesley is doing better than most (even Napoleon) if these were the results of his worst "blunder".

Even if exaggerated French causality reports are true and Wellesley lost 11,000 men, that's a fairly low price for accomplishing so much. His army wasn't irreparably damaged, they were back in action less than a year later and won a stunning victory at Vitoria.

All in all, while Wellington made some serious errors at Burgos (such as not bringing his heavy siege train), 1812 was a very good year for the Coalition in the Peninsular War, mostly thanks to Wellington.

Post Script: Comparing the disastrous retreat from Burgos to Napoleon's retreat from Russia doesn't quite hold water. Wellington retreated to Portugual, but achieved at least three important strategic objectives: the capture of Madrid, the lifting of the Siege of Cadiz, and the ejection of the French from Andalusia. When Napoleon retreated from Russia, he had achieved virtually nothing, and completely lost the the Grand Armee as a fighting force.
You’re correct on 2 of those, in that the campaign did lift the Siege of Cadiz and force the French from Andalusia. The capture of Madrid though was little different from Napoleon capturing Moscow, in that it was only temporary and the French reoccupied it. I’ll admit that the comparison between the 2 campaigns is largely circumstantial and based on certain counter-factuals, such as Soult pursuing better, in which the wrecking of Wellingtons could have taken place. Otherwise you’re right in terms of those 2 campaigns being nowhere near the same in scale of losses.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,496
The capture of Madrid though was little different from Napoleon capturing Moscow, in that it was only temporary and the French reoccupied it
.
Differentt in that the French capturing Moscow was permament? Don;t know what your saying here, nodiffernec in the permance of the occuptaion at all. The French occuptaion of 6 weeks was both temporary and a total diaster for the French..



. I’ll admit that the comparison between the 2 campaigns is largely circumstantial and based on certain counter-factuals, such as Soult pursuing better, in which the wrecking of Wellingtons could have taken place. Otherwise you’re right in terms of those 2 campaigns being nowhere near the same in scale of losses.
Comparsion the rest of the actual facts of Wellington campaign being totally different from what actual happened. Well how that a vaoid way of comparing anything. If the facts are altered you compatre any cmapaign to naotehr and say IF the facts were different they would be similer.

It;'s just flat out a poor comparsion. One was an unlmitgated diaster , one of teh worst in miliatry History. The other a suybstainial setback but hardly in the same league.
 

nuclearguy165

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
4,775
Ohio, USA
Differentt in that the French capturing Moscow was permament? Don;t know what your saying here, nodiffernec in the permance of the occuptaion at all. The French occuptaion of 6 weeks was both temporary and a total diaster for the French..





Comparsion the rest of the actual facts of Wellington campaign being totally different from what actual happened. Well how that a vaoid way of comparing anything. If the facts are altered you compatre any cmapaign to naotehr and say IF the facts were different they would be similer.

It;'s just flat out a poor comparsion. One was an unlmitgated diaster , one of teh worst in miliatry History. The other a suybstainial setback but hardly in the same league.
The Capture of Moscow by Napoleon and the capture of Madrid by Wellington were similar in that they were both temporary and both ended with them each respectively retreating, roughly, back the same way that they came.
 
May 2018
858
Michigan
I do wonder why Soult was not more aggressive in pursuing Wellington. Soult was one of Napoleon's best Marshals, standing in the first tier with Massena, Davout and Lannes.

I believe a factor in Soult's lack of a more vigorous pursuit is that he may have been a little afraid of Wellington, perhaps not even consciously so. Wellesley had given Soult a pretty bad thrashing at Oporto, and was hot off the heels of Salamanca in 1812. Even as Soult pursued Wellington across the Salamanca battlefield, he declined to offer battle. Soult was one of the officers at Waterloo (along with Ney and Foy) who warned Napoleon not to underestimate Wellington.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,496
The Capture of Moscow by Napoleon and the capture of Madrid by Wellington were similar in that they were both temporary and both ended with them each respectively retreating, roughly, back the same way that they came.
my bad, Missed the word "little" which chnages the meaning, "little different" and similar are similar rather than different. Lazy reading on my part sorry.