Worst Armchair Generals

May 2011
13,889
Navan, Ireland
#31
First you claimed the stand in didn't happen. .
No I didn't I denied that he needed a stand in because he was drunk and incapable,

Then when you checked, you changed your mind. .
No I din't because I always knew that-- you didn't read your source that you posted in support of Churchill being drunk and incapable because it didn't mention it.

Then you claimed it was explained since the Prime Minister had more important things to do. .
In the middle of WWII yes he was rather busy to many things so getting a stand in to do a radio broadcast while he could do appearances (much harder to fake)

I'm saying that is flat out nonsense. Public addresses are one of the biggest roles of a PM..
When did I say it wasn't-- but what more important--BBC address-- question time house of commons, cabinet meeting, touring bomb sights , meeting representatives etc?

None of these can be 'faked' (they were still his words) but a radio broadcast could.



I did read history. .
Really?

Then you should know that Churchill trained and served as a junior officer and a battalion commander in WWI.

In many way the worst type of armchair generals --old soldiers.
Which is why I can say with all honesty, that while an absolutely outstanding politician (when he bothered to give public addresses himself and not delegate it to someone else), Winston Churchill was an utter disaster in military matters. When I say this know its not hyperbole. I hate Hitler, but I rate him higher than Churchill as understanding military art/science. Stalin too, FDR too as they largely listened to their generals (at least Stalin did after '42) .
None of which I challenged ,although I do think you exaggerate, Churchill did meddle but on the whole could be handled by his generals (unlike Hitler) sometimes for the good often not.


Now your source that Churchill was so often drunk and incapable he needed a body double to operate?
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,048
#33
Name any other politicians in history who did that. Who used a double, without telling anyone, to get on radio or TV to give major speeches to their entire constituency during major national crisis. And what does "too busy" even mean? He was the Prime Minister, those speeches were literally a major part of his job, if not the most important considering the times they occurred.

You know what wasn't his job? Trying to play arm chair general and constantly dictating asinine strategy and operations, against the will of his general staff and theater commanders, when he was a rank amateur who had already demonstrated in WW1 that he had no idea what he was doing. Even Stalin realized he should listen to his generals, and yet the only reason Churchill stopped being a dangerous as the Allied "good idea fairy" was the US and USSR stopped listening to him around 1944. Thankfully.
Winston Churchill did have military training and experience, he did serve at the front in ww1. He was not a rank amateur. Churchill DID listen to his generals, Churchill did have tendency towards strange schemes. Churhill was interefeing, and did poke his head into almost everything, but this direct interposition throughout the British war effort particularity in 1940 did have motivating and lifting effect. His endless drive and bustle , he did prioritize some things more effectively than regular military command, Blecthingly for example. His interference was not all bad, and he certainly did listen to his Generals.
Churchill was busy, he was very active and you can argue he was doing the wrong things (degrees of merit) but he was busier than other leaders. To be effetcive a leader needs to across an awful amount of detail in wartime, priority setting is a cruical task, and political leadership in the end must make the calls.

Adolf Hitler went on on long holdays during the early war, considering the conflicting infleunce network that was NAzi Germany his absence for long periods certianly made it harder for the machine to function,
 
Jul 2016
9,301
USA
#34
Winston Churchill did have military training and experience, he did serve at the front in ww1. He was not a rank amateur. Churchill DID listen to his generals, Churchill did have tendency towards strange schemes. Churhill was interefeing, and did poke his head into almost everything, but this direct interposition throughout the British war effort particularity in 1940 did have motivating and lifting effect. His endless drive and bustle , he did prioritize some things more effectively than regular military command, Blecthingly for example. His interference was not all bad, and he certainly did listen to his Generals.
Churchill was busy, he was very active and you can argue he was doing the wrong things (degrees of merit) but he was busier than other leaders. To be effetcive a leader needs to across an awful amount of detail in wartime, priority setting is a cruical task, and political leadership in the end must make the calls.

Adolf Hitler went on on long holdays during the early war, considering the conflicting infleunce network that was NAzi Germany his absence for long periods certianly made it harder for the machine to function,
Churchill's uniformed service isn't really all that impressive, he didn't really take it all seriously and he definitely had a very "unusual" career path. He got a battalion in WW1 because of his name, his previous political position, his political influence, not because he earned it. Luckily his battalion wasn't exactly important so he wasn't put to the test in actual combat, where judging by previous and later decisions, he'd probably have made some bad choices.

As I wrote before, I think he was a great politician, and many of the praises he deserves that you mention are those done by all great civilian political leaders. But many of his greatest blunders in WW1 and 2 were when he stuck his nose into things he didn't understand but assumed he did. Things he should have stayed out of, since he was simply an elected civilian and not a career military officer, nor a professional.

And as bad as Hitler was, and he was bad, he still made quite a few really good military decisions, especially 1939-42. Even many of his worst decisions lamented in popular history are easily explainable as they made little tactical or operational sense, especially to surviving generals and field marshals who constantly complained about them, but made a lot of sense when viewed strategically or politically. Meanwhile there are some that were plain idiotic. But still better than Churchill.
 
Likes: macon

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,048
#35
Churchill's uniformed service isn't really all that impressive, he didn't really take it all seriously and he definitely had a very "unusual" career path. He got a battalion in WW1 because of his name, his previous political position, his political influence, not because he earned it. Luckily his battalion wasn't exactly important so he wasn't put to the test in actual combat, where judging by previous and later decisions, he'd probably have made some bad choices.
It was front line service. Where he was an officer. He had a conventional military education (if dated). He had front line expeince within teh professional army.

As I wrote before, I think he was a great politician, and many of the praises he deserves that you mention are those done by all great civilian political leaders. But many of his greatest blunders in WW1 and 2 were when he stuck his nose into things he didn't understand but assumed he did. Things he should have stayed out of, since he was simply an elected civilian and not a career military officer, nor a professional.
Civilian leadership must be in control , war is far too importnat to be left to teh Generals. And that requires a leadership which is across everything. And Churchill was that. Yes he did interfere more than was wise, but you have to also givethe credit for the work he did to be arcoss everythng that other civilian leaders do not do.

And as bad as Hitler was, and he was bad, he still made quite a few really good military decisions, especially 1939-42. Even many of his worst decisions lamented in popular history are easily explainable as they made little tactical or operational sense, especially to surviving generals and field marshals who constantly complained about them, but made a lot of sense when viewed strategically or politically. Meanwhile there are some that were plain idiotic. But still better than Churchill.
Hitler was much much much much much worse,. Churchill you could tand up to and argue with. Hitler would not tolerate this. Hitler surrounded himself with yes men. Hitler was lazy and espicallery early in teh war he was missing in action. As the Nazi system was a mish mash of competing authorities and organizations it requires constant arbitrage to function.

Churhill listened, respected those who stood up to him, appionted capable people, and respectated teh chain of command. Hitler none of these were true.

Churhill do browbeat the wak and attempt to get his way in everything. But People like Alan brooke could stand up to him, speak their mind, and insist on things and get their way. If churchill had surrounded himself with Yes men, not bothered to learn the details of the war, silenced dicsuuion, and insisted his word was always finial he woudl have been liek hitler. He was not. Hitler was by a huge margin the lesser war leader.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,636
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#36
No I didn't I denied that he needed a stand in because he was drunk and incapable,



No I din't because I always knew that-- you didn't read your source that you posted in support of Churchill being drunk and incapable because it didn't mention it.



In the middle of WWII yes he was rather busy to many things so getting a stand in to do a radio broadcast while he could do appearances (much harder to fake)



When did I say it wasn't-- but what more important--BBC address-- question time house of commons, cabinet meeting, touring bomb sights , meeting representatives etc?

None of these can be 'faked' (they were still his words) but a radio broadcast could.





Really?

Then you should know that Churchill trained and served as a junior officer and a battalion commander in WWI.

In many way the worst type of armchair generals --old soldiers.


None of which I challenged ,although I do think you exaggerate, Churchill did meddle but on the whole could be handled by his generals (unlike Hitler) sometimes for the good often not.


Now your source that Churchill was so often drunk and incapable he needed a body double to operate?
There is no need to respond sentence by sentence to another poster. It makes the posts get progressively longer and makes it impossible for other posters to engage in a debate with you *which, I suspect, is why you do it). Quote the other poster and compose just a few blocka of text to answer teh salient points.

This is a friendly request. I would prefer to keep it that way.
 
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Feb 2014
246
Miami
#37
How about george Brinton McClellan in the civil war. He always asked for more soldiers and was terrified to engage a far smaller southern army.

Or Napoleon III who lead France in the disastrous war against the northern German federation
 
Mar 2016
1,106
Australia
#38
Or Napoleon III who lead France in the disastrous war against the northern German federation
He successfully led the French armies to victory in Northern Italy against the Austrians in the 1850s, so I wouldn't classify him as an armchair general. He made some mistakes during the Franco-Prussian War, but so does every general, and the Prussians had a vastly superior officer corps as well as military infrastructure to the French.
 

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