Brooke or Mashall as supreme commanders instead of Eisenhower

Have tried to visualise MacArthur in command in Europe.
Was he diplomatic enough not to creat a rift between Churchill and FDR after he spoke to Churchill a few times to many? Maybe Mac can tell Arthur Harris that his bombers are better used against beach defenses than blowing up Berlin?

And why did Ike not command Bomber Harris to obey and target area of Ikes choosing?

McArthur, De Gaulle, Patton, Monty on the same continent can be explosive.

Unfortunally for US soldiers i think that Mac could order the US army to move toward Berlin
 
To put it mildly, the British and Russians had more command training than the American army? American historIan's are not generally critical of their WW2 command?

Proof is necessary, as I have read nothing of the kind. These absolute statements are not generally supported by the record.
Sure, the Russian had command training and a great officers school, but they were gutted by the purges. That is why the Soviet units were to slow to react during Barbarossa. The officers did not dare to take initiative etc in fear of the NKVD.
 
Except for the following;
1. The Americans who did command in WW2 were Fox Conner men. They were far better prepared as staff and command in their careers than your average Russian or British field grade of the same era. Most of them had WW1 experience at field grade and knew the shambles of the AEF . They knew how to plan from nothing. They knew logistics far better than their allies and they came up with the WALLY plan that won the war in the west. That was Europe. See 3.
2. The Pacific? ABDA is the proof British Eastern Command were Amateurs. The Americans may have been saddled with MacArthur, but even he did better than Mountbatten at the operation art coalition war thing.
3. And there is the RAINBOW 5 plan. No general staff that generates and executes a plan (option C.), which rejected the defeatist claptrap of the Plan Dog memo can be ignored.
 
Except for the following;
They knew logistics far better than their allies
Except that there were too few transport companies sent to Europe, and almost permanent rationing of artillery ammunition...
and they came up with the WALLY plan that won the war in the west.
We won, so we were brilliant is a weak argument.
The only US authors I've seen who are actually seriously critical of US generalship in Western Europe are:
https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Western-Europe-Fall-Twentieth-Century-ebook/dp/B003TU1WKA
and Roger Cirillo.

It's not completely surprising given the long line of Eisenhower subordinates who served as Chiefs of Staff.
 
Except that there were too few transport companies sent to Europe, and almost permanent rationing of artillery ammunition...
The United States fought a global war and sustained Britain and Russia. Too few? There were enough.

We won, so we were brilliant is a weak argument.
"We" (I mean the Allies, because it took all of them in concert, no one ally could do it alone.) won because we (I mean the Americans, because the British had nothing, like a strategic plan, and neither did the Russians.) had a workable plan, which neither the British, nor the Russians did.

Also if you are going to use that source?

I'm an avid WWII reader, and I had thought that this book would fill a much needed hole in my own knowledge and the history of the period. It may for some readers, but whatever operational insights Adams tries to deliver get lost in unclear, unfocused writing.

If you're reading this review, chances are that you are like me: You know a lot about WWII in the ETO. You probably know what "ETO" means. I say that, because if you don't, and you're a general reader, this book isn't for you. The flow of events in the European Theater of Operations are better and more completely told in a book such as Rick Atkinson's "The Guns at Last Light" (among others, but that is a recent, well-researched, and well-written overview narrative that covers the campaign from Normandy to the Elbe from multiple perspectives).

Adams's book, in contrast, is an attempt to analyze the decision making by Allied leaders in that campaign. It's especially focused on that sort of gray period in campaign, between those better-known Allied setbacks of Arnhem and the Bulge, which in many ways form the bookends of this part of the campaign. During this time, after the rapid advances from Normandy, the Allies struggled to find a way into the Reich. They were trying to breach the fortification line, the West Wall, and cross various rivers, but especially the Rhine. This period is notable for Allied failures and frustration.

Adams's focus is on the logistical aspects of the campaign, and to examine how those factors influenced the military leadership. While that sounds fascinating, the chapter on logistics reads like a hodgepodge of facts and figures without much overarching coherence. Suffice it to say that the Allies were hamstrung by shortages, especially in trucks. Transportation of supply slowed down the campaign. There's no question that the Allies could out-produce Germany by this point in the war, but getting all that stuff (and the most vital stuff) across the Atlantic and into the hands of fighting troops was the main challenge. Once you understand this, then Ike's vision for the campaign becomes somewhat more understandable.

Adams's other focus is on generalship. In brief, he defends Ike's campaign plan, which Adams shows was consistently undermined by the poor execution of his subordinates (namely Monty, Bradley, and Patton). While many see Ike's broad-front strategy as a linear attack across the whole front, that wasn't Ike's vision. Ike wanted two supporting thrusts working in tandem, sort of like the fists of a boxer. For example, if Monty had moved Market-Garden further south, and Bradley focused his efforts further north, this would have been closer to Ike's vision: an attack in depth with some concentration, with two fists working in tandem. This cooperative focus would also have helped the Allies use their resources more efficiently. Also, a key aspect of Ike's two-pronged plan was that it was intended to go in two phases: First, to destroy the Germany army before the Rhine; second, to cross the Rhine and threaten the Reich's war-making capacity (namely, its chief industrial centers in the Ruhr and the Saar).

Instead, Monty went his own way (with Ike's sanction) and demanded a lot of attention. The failure to take and clear Antwerp until late in this period is also a key Montgomery mistake. Meanwhile, Bradley fumed every time Monty asked for Bradley's troops, and Bradley threatened to resign over it. Yet, for his part, Bradley seemed to lack any operational skill, as he tended toward true broad-front tactics that lacked depth, focus, or possibility for exploitation. Adams portrays Patton during this period as focused on assaulting cities. The mud and the rain also didn't help. Meanwhile, in the south, Ike's old grudges with, and general dislike of, Devers inhibited clear thinking and compounded German resistance in this sector. The Allies were clearly stymied by themselves, the Germans, the weather, and their supply difficulties. This is a reminder that the war in Western Europe wasn't easy, although it seems by Adams's version that this was largely a reverse of the Allies' own making. Whether the war could have ended earlier if they had overcome these problems is an open question, but what is known (as Atkinson reminds us so powerfully, but Adams does not) is that Allied soldiers and civilians continued to suffer as a result of the generals' failures.

Less clear is Adams's viewpoint of Ike's command of his subordinates during this period. The short version is that Ike seemed reluctant to give clear, emphatic orders. But what was Ike's role as Supreme Commander, exactly? If his subordinates were unruly egotists, wasn't his job to bring them in line, to set a clear goal and make sure that they used their resources efficiently by heading in the same (ie, his) direction? Adams clearly shows that Ike wasn't in charge, but sort of steps back from the facts of the case and leaves the important questions hanging. (To be fair, Atkinson tends to do the same thing).

Throughout, I was constantly reminded of the Sicily campaign, when Monty went one way (Catania) and Patton another (Palermo). This should have given the higher commanders involved (Ike was one of them) something to reflect upon in the year since. In any event, it often seems that Ike gets a pass in these accounts, as if managing people isn't part of a manager's job description. In the end, the fact remains that getting his subordinates to cooperate seems to be Ike's biggest failing.

Yet, was Ike simply some unfortunate saint doomed to tolerate his insufferable colleagues? For his part, Ike had his favorites (Bradley); let a subordinate have his way only to watch him fail (Montgomery, Market Garden); excused a subordinate's excesses because he could deliver results (Patton); and let old rivalries cloud his thinking about an entire army group (Devers). Maybe the best thing that can be said is that, given the personalities involved, Ike's job was impossible--even for Ike. The Allied generals were as vulnerable to vicious office politics as any other group of human beings, perhaps even more so.

Unfortunately, this is one of those books where a reader will bring much more to it than the author did. I do like "non-professional" historians, as my other review and praise of Atkinson illustrate. Many of those authors have had backgrounds in writing, military analysis, research, or all three. I'm not sure what experience Adams brings to this work, but his writing style -- so plainly English that it becomes opaque -- tends to deflect comprehension or depth of meaning. His research and focus tended to read much like anything one could find from the US Army Green Books, spun with his own amateur analysis. As I chuckled at editorial gaffes, I was amazed the end of every chapter that this came from a university press. I put up with it all until the final chapter, where I thought he would step back in his Conclusions and bring it all together, but I was mistaken. Maybe a reader more patient than I am can get more out of it--and given the price you're paying for it, you should. In the end, the topic deserved a better author.

You want a critical analysis of American generalship in the ETO?
  • The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II (2004)
  • Hitler's Mediterranean Gamble: The North African and the Mediterranean Campaigns in World War II Weidenfeld & Nicolson; First Edition (June 10, 2004)


Start with those.
 
If Bradley was that bad, why wasn't he replaced? And if he had been fired, where would he have been sent? I'm guessing no 5th star for him (who does get that 5th star?)
 
If Bradley was that bad, why wasn't he replaced? And if he had been fired, where would he have been sent? I'm guessing no 5th star for him (who does get that 5th star?)
Bradley fouled up around the same time as Simpson was having his problems with Ninth Army. It was about mid-November with the Americans in a lot of trouble all along their section of the front from the Roer in the North all the way to Metz in the South. It can summarized as difficult terrain, stubborn Germans, a shortage of supply at a critical moment in time, bad weather and Bradley's maldistribution of forces, inattention to his G-2 section which was screaming at him the Germans were concentrating against the American center and a certain unacceptable smug overconfidence on 12th Army Group staff's part as they considered the recent misfortunes of 21st Army Group during Market Garden. It is my belief, that Montgomery took a risk, that if he could split the German defense in southern Holland between 1st Parachute and 15th Army (Germans), that he could have forced the Germans to evacuate the approaches to Antwerp and while that might not have "opened the road to Berlin" and ended the war by Christmas; it might have eased the supply situation by shortening the land lines of communication.

What if Montgomery was wrong about Market Garden?

For the longest time, I thought that the terrain and weather factors made MG a lunatic operation that even the rawest 2nd LT would have seen as folly, but as my views on the entire Autumn/Winter campaign of 1944/1945 matured in the macro, I can see why Montgomery had to try it the way he did and actually how close he came to success, despite the incompetent Brereton and even more incompetent Browning and Gavin's bad mistake. This was a plan borne of some desperation and necessity. I think that Eisenhower as SHAEF was under a lot of pressure himself to shake the front loose before it solidified in a WWI type of meatgrinder at the German frontier. He had four BAD options: which were; Montgomery's plan to split the Germans at the seam along the road to Arnheim between Zangen and Student; Simpson attempting to clear the dams of the Roer in tough forested and hilly terrain, Patton banging away at Metz and getting nowhere, and Hodges plodding slowly eastwards through the Ardennes. He, Eisenhower, could supply ONE attempt. He, Eisenhower, chose the best of the four bad options, and as previously mentioned, the P5^1 clown club of Brereton and Browning failed to deliver with the results hoped.

^1 Poor planning produces pitiful product.

Please note that Eisenhower went with Montgomery? Again, it is my opinion, that Eisenhower only had two generals he thought could get it done who were Patton and Montgomery. Patton at Metz, even if he carried the place, would not be able to develop a success into a turning movement or a supply line shortening. That was a matter of land warfare geography which ANY competent American general, including Patton, would understand asleep. It had to be Antwerp or bust. Maybe Montgomery should have shifted his attack axis further south towards Simpson. I think he took his best guess and had some bad intelligence advice and some bad luck, but it was a difficult choice as to where to attack and make the breaching attempt. Holland's road net and terrain is HORRIBLE for any kind of attack into the Zuider Zee. It was what it was and Montgomery went with his chosen axis.

As for Bradley in all of this brouhaha on the Western Front? He could have planned a spoiling attack near the Ardennes to divert German attention. He did nothing of the kind with 12th Army Group. He sat on his fat, dumb, happy and let the Germans concentrate all their attention to the critical threat at Arnhem. More or less, Bradley let Ninth, First and Third US Armies go on autopilot. Patton banged away fixated on Metz and Simpson got himself into an infantry die-fest. Hodges? Idled in place. This September to January period was not a good one for the US Army in the ETO. And for that I blame Bradley.

Why was Bradley not relieved? It would have meant a certain political problems in the form of a public relations disaster to be milked by the British and American press and would have heartened the Germans. How would the US Army look in the middle of the Biggest Battle in its history, if its top general officer commanding was sacked for incompetence? It was what practically happened anyway as Montgomery from the north and Patton from the south sealed off the Bulge. Simpson was chopped to Montgomery, Hodges and Patton tag teamed with Patton calling the tags, and Bradley was sat down and told to shut the ___ up and let the better generals fix the mess he created. That is not my opinion. It seems to be Anglo-American consensus. Later on, the Americans would go ahead and envelop the Ruhr and Bradley would call it, his coup, but what it actually was, was an operation to remove a lot of armed Germans from the immediate vicinity and flank of the British move to the north and Patton's southern move into Bavaria. Insofar as it had any meaning it simply tidied up a vacuole that would not have mattered at that stage except the Americans needed the roads clear to move east to the agreed stop lines to meet up with the Russians.

Again, that is official American army self criticism.
 
Also if you are going to use that source?
Never said it was a brilliant book, just that it broke from the consensus.

You want a critical analysis of American generalship in the ETO?
  • The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II (2004)
  • Hitler's Mediterranean Gamble: The North African and the Mediterranean Campaigns in World War II Weidenfeld & Nicolson; First Edition (June 10, 2004)
That's the same book under 2 different titles; it's on my bookshelves. ;)

Official publications of the US Army, whose Chiefs of Staff were Eisenhower/Bradley/Collins/Ridgway/Taylor...:)
 
Never said it was a brilliant book, just that it broke from the consensus.
Crap analysis and faulty conclusions is not a good source for making a case.
That's the same book under 2 different titles; it's on my bookshelves. ;)
The second version varies, Aber. It should have the editorial corrections about the Panther V being in the Tunisian campaign.
Official publications of the US Army, whose Chiefs of Staff were Eisenhower/Bradley/Collins/Ridgway/Taylor...:)
You ought to read them. The criticisms are sometimes savage. The Americans self analyzed their own mistakes. After all, these were not only histories but lessons learned.
 
Some examples would be nice.
Bradley fouled up around the same time as Simpson was having his problems with Ninth Army. It was about mid-November with the Americans in a lot of trouble all along their section of the front from the Roer in the North all the way to Metz in the South. It can summarized as difficult terrain, stubborn Germans, a shortage of supply at a critical moment in time, bad weather and Bradley's maldistribution of forces, inattention to his G-2 section which was screaming at him the Germans were concentrating against the American center and a certain unacceptable smug overconfidence on 12th Army Group staff's part as they considered the recent misfortunes of 21st Army Group during Market Garden. It is my belief, that Montgomery took a risk, that if he could split the German defense in southern Holland between 1st Parachute and 15th Army (Germans), that he could have forced the Germans to evacuate the approaches to Antwerp and while that might not have "opened the road to Berlin" and ended the war by Christmas; it might have eased the supply situation by shortening the land lines of communication.

What if Montgomery was wrong about Market Garden?

For the longest time, I thought that the terrain and weather factors made MG a lunatic operation that even the rawest 2nd LT would have seen as folly, but as my views on the entire Autumn/Winter campaign of 1944/1945 matured in the macro, I can see why Montgomery had to try it the way he did and actually how close he came to success, despite the incompetent Brereton and even more incompetent Browning and Gavin's bad mistake. This was a plan borne of some desperation and necessity. I think that Eisenhower as SHAEF was under a lot of pressure himself to shake the front loose before it solidified in a WWI type of meatgrinder at the German frontier. He had four BAD options: which were; Montgomery's plan to split the Germans at the seam along the road to Arnheim between Zangen and Student; Simpson attempting to clear the dams of the Roer in tough forested and hilly terrain, Patton banging away at Metz and getting nowhere, and Hodges plodding slowly eastwards through the Ardennes. He, Eisenhower, could supply ONE attempt. He, Eisenhower, chose the best of the four bad options, and as previously mentioned, the P5^1 clown club of Brereton and Browning failed to deliver with the results hoped.

^1 Poor planning produces pitiful product.

Please note that Eisenhower went with Montgomery? Again, it is my opinion, that Eisenhower only had two generals he thought could get it done who were Patton and Montgomery. Patton at Metz, even if he carried the place, would not be able to develop a success into a turning movement or a supply line shortening. That was a matter of land warfare geography which ANY competent American general, including Patton, would understand asleep. It had to be Antwerp or bust. Maybe Montgomery should have shifted his attack axis further south towards Simpson. I think he took his best guess and had some bad intelligence advice and some bad luck, but it was a difficult choice as to where to attack and make the breaching attempt. Holland's road net and terrain is HORRIBLE for any kind of attack into the Zuider Zee. It was what it was and Montgomery went with his chosen axis.

As for Bradley in all of this brouhaha on the Western Front? He could have planned a spoiling attack near the Ardennes to divert German attention. He did nothing of the kind with 12th Army Group. He sat on his fat, dumb, happy and let the Germans concentrate all their attention to the critical threat at Arnhem. More or less, Bradley let Ninth, First and Third US Armies go on autopilot. Patton banged away fixated on Metz and Simpson got himself into an infantry die-fest. Hodges? Idled in place. This September to January period was not a good one for the US Army in the ETO. And for that I blame Bradley.

Why was Bradley not relieved? It would have meant a certain political problems in the form of a public relations disaster to be milked by the British and American press and would have heartened the Germans. How would the US Army look in the middle of the Biggest Battle in its history, if its top general officer commanding was sacked for incompetence? It was what practically happened anyway as Montgomery from the north and Patton from the south sealed off the Bulge. Simpson was chopped to Montgomery, Hodges and Patton tag teamed with Patton calling the tags, and Bradley was sat down and told to shut the ___ up and let the better generals fix the mess he created. That is not my opinion. It seems to be Anglo-American consensus. Later on, the Americans would go ahead and envelop the Ruhr and Bradley would call it, his coup, but what it actually was, was an operation to remove a lot of armed Germans from the immediate vicinity and flank of the British move to the north and Patton's southern move into Bavaria. Insofar as it had any meaning it simply tidied up a vacuole that would not have mattered at that stage except the Americans needed the roads clear to move east to the agreed stop lines to meet up with the Russians.

Again, that is official American army self criticism.
(^^^)
 
You have not read the literature?


Hodges (and Collins) screwed up.

The Neglected Objective

As the 9th Division in early October prepared to attack, few within the American command appeared to appreciate the critical importance of another objective which capture of Schmidt might expose. This was a multiple objective, a series of seven dams near the headwaters of the Roer. Though three of the seven are on tributaries of the Roer, all came to be known collectively as the Roer River Dams. (Map 5)

The two principal dams are the Urft and the Schwammenauel. Constructed just after the turn of the century on the Urft River between Gemuend and Ruhr-​
erg, the Urft Dam is capable of impounding approximately 42,000 acre-feet of water. Built in the mid-thirties near Hasenfeld, about two miles downhill from Schmidt, the Schwammenauel Dam creates a reservoir encompassing about 81,000 acre-feet. The Schwammenauel is of earth construction with a concrete core. Both the principal dams were designed for controlling the Roer River and providing hydroelectric power for Dueren and other cities downstream to the north.3

Lesser dams downstream from the Schwammenauel are at Heimbach and Obermaubach. These were designed primarily to create equalizing basins in accordance with industrial needs farther downstream. Of the other three dams, the Paulushof, near the confluence of the Roer and the Urft at Ruhrberg, was designed primarily to regulate water levels at the headwaters of the Schwammenauel reservoir; the Kall Valley Dam, on the upper reaches of the Kall River near Lammersdorf, has only a small capacity; and the Dreilaenderbach Dam creates the Hauptbecken Reservoir near Roetgen on the headwaters of the Vicht River. The​
Dreilaenderbach Dam was in American hands before the 9th Division's October attack.4

Value of the Roer River Dams to German defense was outlined several days before the 9th Division's October attack by the division G-2, Maj. Jack A. Houston. "Bank overflows and destructive flood waves," Major Houston concluded, "can be produced [on the Roer River] by regulating the discharge from the various dams. By demolition of some of them great destructive waves can be produced which would destroy everything in the populated industrial valley [of the Roer] as far as the Meuse [Maas] and into Holland."5 The intimation was fairly obvious: should the Allies cross the Roer downstream from the dams, the Germans could release the impounded waters to produce a flood that would demolish tactical bridges and isolate any force east of the Roer. Allied troops beyond the river would be exposed to destruction in detail by German reserves.

Despite this hazard, the Roer River Dams were not a formal objective of the 9th Division's October attack.6 Indeed, as the division prepared to attack, advisers to the First Army commander minimized the defensive value of any floods which might be produced. On 3 October, the day after the 9th Division's appraisal appeared, the First Army's intelligence section believed that if "all of the dams" in the entire First Army sector were blown, "they would cause at the most local floodings for about 5 days counted from the moment the dam was blown until all the water had receded."7 Two days later the First Army engineer amended this view somewhat with the opinion that "widespread flooding" might result.8 But not for a long time were American commanders to appreciate the true value of the dams to the Germans. One explanation might rest in the fact that during October all reservoirs in the system were "considerably drawn down, in amount estimated at 30-50 percent of total capacity."9 Yet as late as 28 November, after water level in the reservoirs had risen as high as two thirds of capacity, the First Army G-2 still could express the theory that "the economic importance of the dams to life in the Rhenish cities
could prevent the enemy blowing them up as part of a drowned earth' policy.10

Closer to reality was an early appraisal by the XIX Corps engineer. Aware that his corps eventually was to cross the Roer downstream from the dams near Juelich, where banks of the river are low, the XIX Corps engineer warned his corps commander on 8 October. "If one or all dams were blown," he estimated, "a flood would occur in the channel of the Roer River that would reach approximately 1,500 feet in width and 3 feet or more deep across the entire corps front . . . . The flood would probably last from one to three weeks."11

Unfortunately, the XIX Corps engineer went on to dismiss the subject because all the dams were in the VII Corps zone. The VII Corps, he noted, "could be requested to capture and prevent destruction although they can be presumed to do so as their area is affected also."12 On the contrary, General Collins and the VII Corps at this time were engrossed in plans to subdue Aachen and to send the 9th Division through the Huertgen Forest. They paid scant attention to an objective like the dams that did not lie along the planned route to the Roer and the Rhine.13

General Eisenhower's headquarters, SHAEF, remained aloof from the subject of the dams until 20 October, several days after the 9th Division's Huertgen Forest attack had ended. On that date the SHAEF G-2 repeated and enlarged upon information originally obtained by the V Corps from a German prisoner. In Dueren, the prisoner said, a persistent ringing of the city's church bells was to mean the dams had been blown. The people were to evacuate the city, because the flood there would reach a depth of almost twenty feet. Turning to photographic files, SHAEF noted that air cover of all dams except the Urft had existed since 10 September. Allied air officials, SHAEF remarked, were "prepared to study [the] question of [air] attack."14

Like the First Army, General Bradley's headquarters, the 12th Army Group, minimized the possible effects of a flood. Like SHAEF, the 12th Army Group in October looked upon the dams as "an Air Force matter."15

A realistic view toward the Roer River Dams was slow to come. All through October and November, the First Army and, in later stages, the Ninth Army were to fight to build up along the west bank of the Roer downstream from the dams without making any specific effort to capture the dams. Yet neither army could cross the Roer until the dams were either captured or destroyed.

Just how long it took the American command to adopt a realistic attitude toward the dams is apparent only from the denouement of First Army operations through October and November and into December. As one considers the unfolding of operations in the Huertgen Forest and farther north amid the villages of the Roer plain, it becomes increasingly evident what a predominant role these dams came to play in German thinking and how determined German defense of the region of the dams had to become before American commanders heeded the danger.16

What happened in February 1945 as troops of the First Army at last neared the dams and the Germans attempted in panic to blow them was a flood in the valley of the Roer lasting one day short of two weeks.17 This the Germans accomplished with only partial destruction of but one dam, the Schwammenauel.​
(^^^) is part of what I mean about self- criticism.
 
Last edited:
1. The Americans who did command in WW2 were Fox Conner men. They were far better prepared as staff and command in their careers than your average Russian or British field grade of the same era. Most of them had WW1 experience at field grade and knew the shambles of the AEF . They knew how to plan from nothing. They knew logistics far better than their allies and they came up with the WALLY plan that won the war in the west. That was Europe. See 3.
2. The Pacific? ABDA is the proof British Eastern Command were Amateurs. The Americans may have been saddled with MacArthur, but even he did better than Mountbatten at the operation art coalition war thing.
3. And there is the RAINBOW 5 plan. No general staff that generates and executes a plan (option C.), which rejected the defeatist claptrap of the Plan Dog memo can be ignored.

1. This is patently untrue. Eisenhower, Marshall and Patton were 'Fox Connor' men and he was no doubt a fine officer and thoughtful also a tremebdous influence on Eisenhower in particular. And the US army is engaged in combat for 7 weeks at the end of WW1. But Eisenhower and Devers have no combat experience in WW1 and miniscule at best command experience of any kind. Bradley does, but its guarding copper mines in Montana. Patton commands for 3 days at St Mihiel and about 5 hours ( functioning effectively as a company commander) at Meuse Argonne. Clark graduates in 1916, Goes to France in 1918 by August 1917 he is a company commander, acting Bn Commander on 12 July 1918, 14 July 1918 he is one of the first two casualties in 5th Division and marked unfit for infantry service for the rest of the war. Ridgeway instructor in Spanish at West point.

Of the divisional commander at Normandy half did not go overseas. Most Of the rest have less 4 months or less 'in the trenches' which is defined as a non staff position in a division assigned to a sector, which may sound complex but a typical British Battalion spent 3 days a month actually in the front line outside a major battle as the Bns were rotated in and out regularly. And by then so were the French. And as these had recieved several jumps in the previous year up to normally captain or Major at best ( 2 get to Lt colonel) Huebner 16 months in trenches and Wyche 1 month. Heubner then loses his brevet in peacetime and is again promoted Lt Colonel 19 years later.

That said they do see the shambles of the AEF in WW1 and fix it. But thats not the same as being better prepared at Staff and Command. Its being better prepared at mobilisation.

To change it up Rodion Malinovsky is corporal in 1915, promoted sergeant in the Russian Expeditionary force in France in 1916 Fights for the Reds in Siberia, attends the Junior officers school commands a rifle battalion, goes to the Frunze miitary academy for 3 years. CoS 3rd Cavalry corps for 7 years 36-38 is an advisor to the Republicans in Spain, Lecturer at Frunze until 41, Corps commander just before Barbarrosa Fights out of the Southern encirclement, Commander 6th Army for 2nd Kharkov, Commands 66th Army at Stalingrad, Then 2nd Guards Army, then Southwestern Front, then 3rd Ukrainian Front, then 2nd Ukrainian and captures Vienna and Brno, then Transbaikal front

2. ABDA command lasts from 1 Jan - 23 Feb 1942, at the time Mountbatten is Head of Combined Operations in Europe. Wavell also has a small issue of invading Iran as the collapse of the USSR seems imminent. Not the greatest but I suggest you look more deeply.

3. I suggest you read the 'plan Dog' memo which is a) not a plan but a set of assumptions regarding the Navy, b) written in 1940 and c) the Basis for Rainbow 5


Your Sources Generally.

The problem with the sources you are using is their date and the methodology adopted in them. This will take a while.
~
Most of the sources if not all are from the 1950s - late 1960s with some into the 70s, OR RELIANT ON THOSE SOURCES. The Other major US sources tend to follow the mainstream of US history writing which tends to focus on Oral History a la Ambrose, Terkel Ryan, Lofgren and is often of a journalistic bent. Nothing wrong with that except the recollections of people after the event are known to be unreliable especially long after and or if there is an axe being ground. They are also even if perfectly accurate limited by what the person experiences and knows. That's not to say they are wrong just incomplete. And in the case of Official Histories they are not necessarily written to be accurate but to draw lessons for the future.

The piece of the Seigfried line for example references Schmidt. Fine, Schmidt is actually a case study ( one of three) on US infantry combat in WW2 that comprise basically one volume of the US Official History. Its the only Volume of fucktons worth that talks in detail about low level operations.

One of your sources is a series of articles by Welsh on the Lorraine campaign which says which is fine as far as it goes. but it says

'Out of a morning mist that clung like a tight-fitting garment to field and forest on September 18 rumbled factory-fresh Panther tanks toward a thin screen of men and machines guarding the Third Army’s right flank at Lunéville, in the northeast corner of France. With their high-velocity guns, the Panthers easily knocked out the Yanks’ vehicles. Panzergrenadier formations then swept forward to clear American antitank, machine-gun, and rifle positions.'

So how many form fitting Panthers and what and how many vehicles were knocked out and did they in fact clear the US defensive belt, also why does this presage an 11 day armoured battle.

We can know http://90thdivisionassoc.org/afteractionreports/PDF/Nov-44.pdf

Which does not directly relate but shows the sort of info available and behind that will be memoirs order books, casualty and stores reports all conveniently on.pdf, if you live in the UK or Canada or Germany anyway.

Its not really until in the mid - late 90s and especially 2000 on that Commonwealth Historians go deep into the available data on what happened in all aspects, what were the strengths, what were the orders, whats the message traffic. And the US Centre for Military History does not have it because noone has written it yet. They do have some aspects.

So for example https://history.army.mil/documents/WWII/g4-OL/g4-ol.htm is vital because it really looks like the pre d day planning assumptions mainly for logs Sadly its only included as an example of the sort of data that was compiled by Historians at the time and has been filed away.

For the Roer there is no real criticism. There is a narrative that describes the failure of air attacks which start with the RAF saying this is going to be really hard you know and proceeds with Hodges then not planning anything in the hope of a miracle until he launches an attack which fails. So why did he do it that way and why did he think it would work. Also what did his subordinates think.
 
1. This is patently untrue. Eisenhower, Marshall and Patton were 'Fox Connor' men and he was no doubt a fine officer and thoughtful also a tremebdous influence on Eisenhower in particular. And the US army is engaged in combat for 7 weeks at the end of WW1. But Eisenhower and Devers have no combat experience in WW1 and miniscule at best command experience of any kind. Bradley does, but its guarding copper mines in Montana. Patton commands for 3 days at St Mihiel and about 5 hours ( functioning effectively as a company commander) at Meuse Argonne. Clark graduates in 1916, Goes to France in 1918 by August 1917 he is a company commander, acting Bn Commander on 12 July 1918, 14 July 1918 he is one of the first two casualties in 5th Division and marked unfit for infantry service for the rest of the war. Ridgeway instructor in Spanish at West point.
1. Devers and Eisenhower had staff experience from WWI as did MARSHALL.
2. Fox Conner.
3. Ridgeway (example)
MacArthur had known and thought highly of Ridgway since the early 1920s, when he placed the young captain in charge of physical education at West Point. With his keen intelligence, aggressive instincts, and reputation as a fighter, Ridgway was the logical choice to take over the 8th Army when General Walker was killed in a jeep accident in December of 1951. Even though his forces were losing badly -- they were in the midst of the longest retreat in U.S. military history -- MacArthur exhibited complete trust in his new commander. "The Eighth Army is yours, Matt. Do what you think best."
4. Clark

Therefore I do not agree with any of the above description offered of the American officers as offered, that they were less than I described.
Of the divisional commander at Normandy half did not go overseas. Most Of the rest have less 4 months or less 'in the trenches' which is defined as a non staff position in a division assigned to a sector, which may sound complex but a typical British Battalion spent 3 days a month actually in the front line outside a major battle as the Bns were rotated in and out regularly. And by then so were the French. And as these had recieved several jumps in the previous year up to normally captain or Major at best ( 2 get to Lt colonel) Huebner 16 months in trenches and Wyche 1 month. Heubner then loses his brevet in peacetime and is again promoted Lt Colonel 19 years later.
2. Same again. If by Philippine Islands service one means the American officers did not go overseas?
That said they do see the shambles of the AEF in WW1 and fix it. But thats not the same as being better prepared at Staff and Command. Its being better prepared at mobilisation.
3. Same again. The proof is the doing. The Americans carried out a better mobilization in WWII based on their WWI experience. I so stated this was the case.
To change it up Rodion Malinovsky is corporal in 1915, promoted sergeant in the Russian Expeditionary force in France in 1916 Fights for the Reds in Siberia, attends the Junior officers school commands a rifle battalion, goes to the Frunze miitary academy for 3 years. CoS 3rd Cavalry corps for 7 years 36-38 is an advisor to the Republicans in Spain, Lecturer at Frunze until 41, Corps commander just before Barbarrosa Fights out of the Southern encirclement, Commander 6th Army for 2nd Kharkov, Commands 66th Army at Stalingrad, Then 2nd Guards Army, then Southwestern Front, then 3rd Ukrainian Front, then 2nd Ukrainian and captures Vienna and Brno, then Transbaikal front.
4. And still fouls up during Kharkov, and is the exception, not the rule in an army generally full of Kuliks in 1941.
2. ABDA command lasts from 1 Jan - 23 Feb 1942, at the time Mountbatten is Head of Combined Operations in Europe. Wavell also has a small issue of invading Iran as the collapse of the USSR seems imminent. Not the greatest but I suggest you look more deeply.
British EASTERN COMMAND survived ABDA and continued its incompetencies even when it gained a good general in William Slim. Mountbatten (Dieppe Raid) was in place in August 1943. Prior to that fiasco of service, he failed to perform acceptably as a destroyer commander off the Dutch coast and got his ship torpedoed out from under him. He did another bolo off Lizard Point, Cornwall, with another fish in the belly because he was a lousy naval tactician, as well as a rotten staff officer (The previously mentioned Dieppe will be proof of his staff-work.). His St. Nazaire Plan was a disaster that managed to work out in spite of the Keystone Kops elements. Did I mention how he fouled up off Crete? So they had to get him out of the Royal Navy, they did; and the Army wanted him nowhere important in Europe, either. Pack him off to America where he infuriated the USN with his political ineptitude and technical incompetence while he allegedly commanded the under repair HMS Illustrious. It was the Gatehouse treatment for that man. The Americans said NO THANK YOU after he made himself unpopular at Pearl Harbor with pronouncements that had nothing new or unknown to PACFLT or which was "helpful". So... off to INDIA where he bollixed Burma up. If not for Slim and a chap (Mountbatten's chief of staff who was supposed to keep him out of trouble, sicced on him by Churchill or was it Brooke?) by the name of Allason, the Japanese would have reached as far as Rawalpindi. That man was a a disgrace.

Wavell? The less said about HIM after 1942, the BETTER.
3. I suggest you read the 'plan Dog' memo which is a) not a plan but a set of assumptions regarding the Navy, b) written in 1940 and c) the Basis for Rainbow 5
I suggest you read here. You do not really understand the Plan Dog Memo or Harold Stark. Or how Rainbow Five was Option C and was Marshall.
Your Sources Generally.

The problem with the sources you are using is their date and the methodology adopted in them. This will take a while.
Well.
~
Most of the sources if not all are from the 1950s - late 1960s with some into the 70s, OR RELIANT ON THOSE SOURCES. The Other major US sources tend to follow the mainstream of US history writing which tends to focus on Oral History a la Ambrose, Terkel Ryan, Lofgren and is often of a journalistic bent. Nothing wrong with that except the recollections of people after the event are known to be unreliable especially long after and or if there is an axe being ground. They are also even if perfectly accurate limited by what the person experiences and knows. That's not to say they are wrong just incomplete. And in the case of Official Histories they are not necessarily written to be accurate but to draw lessons for the future.
Except these are also AARs and first sourced and therefore not filtered second or third hand. Also these are LESSONS LEARNED as in the Lorraine Campaign and the Roer Dams accounts plainly show.
The piece of the Seigfried line for example references Schmidt. Fine, Schmidt is actually a case study ( one of three) on US infantry combat in WW2 that comprise basically one volume of the US Official History. Its the only Volume of fucktons worth that talks in detail about low level operations.
True, and about the only common point of agreement so far.
One of your sources is a series of articles by Welsh on the Lorraine campaign which says which is fine as far as it goes. but it says

'Out of a morning mist that clung like a tight-fitting garment to field and forest on September 18 rumbled factory-fresh Panther tanks toward a thin screen of men and machines guarding the Third Army’s right flank at Lunéville, in the northeast corner of France. With their high-velocity guns, the Panthers easily knocked out the Yanks’ vehicles. Panzergrenadier formations then swept forward to clear American antitank, machine-gun, and rifle positions.'

So how many form fitting Panthers and what and how many vehicles were knocked out and did they in fact clear the US defensive belt, also why does this presage an 11 day armoured battle.
Because the metaphor was ill chosen and it was a German scout element in a meeting engagement that devolved into a typical infantry / combined arms brawl? Pardon the writer for waxing literary instead of giving the clear Dutch-dry Martin van Creveld description of the action.
We can know http://90thdivisionassoc.org/afteractionreports/PDF/Nov-44.pdf

Which does not directly relate but shows the sort of info available and behind that will be memoirs order books, casualty and stores reports all conveniently on.pdf, if you live in the UK or Canada or Germany anyway.
Or in the United States. National Archives have duplicates of German national archives of the Hitlerite regime as well as SHAEF records.
Its not really until in the mid - late 90s and especially 2000 on that Commonwealth Historians go deep into the available data on what happened in all aspects, what were the strengths, what were the orders, whats the message traffic. And the US Centre for Military History does not have it because noone has written it yet. They do have some aspects.
True, but there are the archives.
So for example https://history.army.mil/documents/WWII/g4-OL/g4-ol.htm is vital because it really looks like the pre d day planning assumptions mainly for logs Sadly its only included as an example of the sort of data that was compiled by Historians at the time and has been filed away.
True.
For the Roer there is no real criticism. There is a narrative that describes the failure of air attacks which start with the RAF saying this is going to be really hard you know and proceeds with Hodges then not planning anything in the hope of a miracle until he launches an attack which fails. So why did he do it that way and why did he think it would work. Also what did his subordinates think.
They cussed him out. Especially Collins. Hence...

I do not agree with any of this characterization that I have described the Americans inaccurately or sourced the accounts incompletely. The battle narratives clearly show post-hoc where the Americans thought their own leadership failed. You wrote it yourself.

proceeds with Hodges then not planning anything in the hope of a miracle until he launches an attack which fails

If you read that, then what is the problem with the source material?
 
Last edited:
If Bradley was incompetent at Army Group level, would he have been good at Corps or Army command? And why was he given his 5th star, made Army Chief of Staff as well as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
 
If Bradley was incompetent at Army Group level, would he have been good at Corps or Army command? And why was he given his 5th star, made Army Chief of Staff as well as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
Well, who else could have reasonably succeeded Ike?

Clark? Devers? Certainly not MacArthur. Everyone else I can think of was too junior, and while obviously seniority was disregarded in 1940, that wasn't the case when Bradley ascended.
 
Top