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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/14/2005 4:58:15 AM EDT
Didn't want to hijack another thread, so I'm starting a new one.

Everyone seems to pillory Montgomery for being too cautious - "WWII's McLellan" - but I think he did things exactly right. Given his huge advantage in manpower and resources, he was guaranteed victory unless he did something disastrous. Taking risks was necessary for the outnumbered, outgunned, and outsuppllied Germans. It would have been foolish for the Allies.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:05:19 AM EDT
I generally agree. It became clear after a couple of years of fighting that it was only a matter of when, not if, the Allies would prevail. No need in doing something foolish to jeopardize that.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:07:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rodent:
Taking risks was necessary for the outnumbered, outgunned, and outsuppllied Germans. It would have been foolish for the Allies.



Market-Garden?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:14:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dekeshooter:

Originally Posted By Rodent:
Taking risks was necessary for the outnumbered, outgunned, and outsuppllied Germans. It would have been foolish for the Allies.



Market-Garden?



Tiny sideshow, in the general scheme of things. If it had worked, it would have advanced the timetable for victory significantly. If not, well, it was worth a try. (Not denigrating the guys that were there. Just speaking in terms of overall numbers.)
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:22:41 AM EDT
While Montgomery was cautious, he wasn't brilliant. Market Garden was dismissed by him as a distraction. Distraction? It was suppose to be the breakthrough that paved the way for the Allies into Germany. It was a dismal failure. Nor was it his first failure. Operation Goodwood was suppose to be the British breakout from Normandy. Instead he lost 300 British and Canadian tanks and Patton did the breaking out instead. Montgomery dismissed it by saying that too was a distraction to allow Patton to break out. Since when did Monty play second fiddle to Patton?

Cornell Barnett in "Desert Generals" points out that Montgomery wrongfully takes credit for the defeat of the Germans at El Alamein. The planning for that battle was by Auckinleck but the Auk wasn't there to see it carried out.

Montgomery is better than McClellan. McClellan was always paranoid about the opposition having a larger army. If he couldn't win a position by manuever, he wouldn't fight. Montgomery would fight but is highly overrated.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:27:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 5:29:10 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:46:03 AM EDT
Normally I would agree cautious is better, but the way he did it, men continued to die on both sides.

A British blitz before El Alamein would have reduced casualties on both sides, same in Europe.

Montgomery preferred a war of attrition, victories are costlier, but chance of defeat are much less.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:00:57 AM EDT
My Dad fought under General Patton. He HATED Monty. Claimed he couldn't lead a bunch of first graders. Called him a "PUSSY".
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:18:10 AM EDT
Monty was merely the "creme of the crap".

He was all Churchill had. Had he not won El Alamein, Churchill would have fired him as well. That he did win was a testament to his OVERWHELMING strength vis Rommel at that point in the war. Even so, Rommel made a good game of it for a while.

Monty was overly cautious, but in all fairness, this was no doubt partly due to the fact that the Brits had taken FEARSOME losses in KIAs and MIAs and POWs to that point and later.

Some Brit generals were VERY good and would have done better had they been in Monty's shoes...Slim for example.

Monty's record became even more questionable later in the war. His staff was partly to blame for his innefectiveness and poor generalship and even Ike played a part sometimes when he infamously acquiesced to Monty's crazed plans. Arnhem is the most famous of Monty's failures but there were others as well. I am aware of his reticence...but NOT attacking Caen with everything in your kit bag as soon as possible meant that thousands of Allied troops, mostly Brits and Canadians died needlessly slugging it out in the hedgerows. His failure to quicly close the Falaise pocket borders on the criminal in negligence. Had he acted more quickly instead of always looking out for his image and to stuff it in Patton's face (And the Americans in general!), he might have seen the wisdom of that maneuver and closed the gap, trapping an entire German Army. As it was, he did not and those German survivors ended up killing many more Allied troops.

That is not to say that all American generals were superb strategists, tacticians and decision makers. Mark Clark should have been relieved for cause after his debacle at Anzio...especially when he purposely ignored his ULTRA intel info (He like some other flag and general officers didn't like spying and didn't trust the data.). Bill Halsey likewise ought to have been canned after Leyte Gulf...and the truth is, Nimitz and King damn near did just that! King later wrote that it was just impossible to fire a hero.

Anyway...Monty was a boob.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:19:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
Don't get me going on Montgomery!

He was an overrated pipsqeak!!!…… having said that, Churchill told Eisenhower after Montgomery's disasterous performance in Normandy he was happy to sack him, Eisenhower said 'No'…

It has been said of Montgomery …"He was more interested in not losing a battle than winning one'…

That just about sums him up. He was fighting WWII with WWI tactics, he never got his head around armoured warfare unlike his Generals Dempsey and Horrocks (both far better tacticians than him), who despised him for his cautiousness and indecision.


ANdy



If I ever get to your side of the Pond, we must meet!

Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:20:31 AM EDT
Wasn't Market Garden Montgomery's idea?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:46:34 AM EDT
I think, there is no better critique, than that offered up by the Brit's themselves. I think Vito's statement is the defining reply in this thread.


Don't get me going on Montgomery!

He was an overrated pipsqeak!!!…… having said that, Churchill told Eisenhower after Montgomery's disasterous performance in Normandy he was happy to sack him, Eisenhower said 'No'…

It has been said of Montgomery …"He was more interested in not losing a battle than winning one'…

That just about sums him up. He was fighting WWII with WWI tactics, he never got his head around armoured warfare unlike his Generals Dempsey and Horrocks (both far better tacticians than him), who despised him for his cautiousness and indecision.


ANdy

Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:49:00 AM EDT
Monty was our McClelland.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:57:16 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 7:37:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 7:49:31 AM EDT
Should have given Patton command and control over the Brits.

Should have also let Patton march into Moscow.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 7:57:49 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 8:19:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 8:22:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 8:46:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 9:59:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 10:02:31 AM EDT by raf]
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 10:03:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 2:31:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 3:38:52 AM EDT
And after the war, didn't Montie die penniless and alone? I also find it interesting that he never married.

There was a history channel on Montie one time that had David Eisenhower reading letters between Montie and Ike after the war. Montie came across as a little bitter man trying to salvage his reputation.

Merlin
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:27:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:42:52 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:55:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2005 5:04:08 AM EDT by dport]
He had reason to be cautious. The slaughter of an entire generation of men during WWI was still a very recent memory.

That being said, I wonder how many lives he would have saved if he had taken advantage of certain situations instead of just waiting for more men and equipment?

ETA: I liked the concept of Market Garden. I don't know who was at fault, but someone failed to identify the roads along the axis of attack were inadequate. I don't know if his staff failed to identify it or if they did and Monty just ignored it.
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