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Patton: The German View

By Harry Yeide
1/30/2012 • World War II

General George S. Patton Jr. died on December 21, 1945, as a legend, praised even by his defeated opponents. German general Günther Blumentritt, a key planner of the invasions of France and Poland, wrote in a study for the U.S. Army after the war, “We regarded General Patton extremely highly as the most aggressive Panzer General of the Allies, a man of incredible initiative and lightning-like action…. His operations impressed us enormously, probably because he came closest to our own concept of the classical military commander.” Alfred Jodl, who served as Hitler’s chief of operations from 1940 until the end of the war, told American interrogators, “He was the American Guderian. He was very bold and preferred large movements. He took big risks and won big successes.” General Heinz Guderian himself, after Germany’s surrender, told his Allied captors, “From the standpoint of a tank specialist, I must congratulate him for his victory since he acted as I should have done had I been in his place.”

Patton commands attention as a near-mythic figure: He created for himself a larger-than-life persona, earned the admiration of the GIs who served under him, and died relatively young after winning one of the greatest victories of the war. Patton was, deservingly, lauded in the postwar years by his fellow victors; former adversaries contributed their reflections on the man who seemed to have their number during the final months of the war. All this has made Patton one of the most enduringly recognizable American figures of World War II.

One piece of the Patton story, however, is pure myth: that Patton was the subject of close scrutiny by the Germans, who anticipated his attacks in fearful admiration. General Patton was not, as his biographer Martin Blumenson wrote in The Patton Papers: 1885–1940, a “hero even to professional German officers who respected him as the adversary they most feared in battle.” Nor was he, as Ladislas Farago claimed in his book Patton, regarded by the Germans “as their most dangerous adversary in the field…. For a while the Germans watched the comings and goings of Patton like rubbernecked spectators following a tennis ball at Wimbleton.” In fact, for most of the war the Germans barely took notice.

During the Second World War, the Germans first encountered Patton in Tunisia, where he took charge of II Corps on March 6, 1943. The Afrika Korps and the Fifth Panzer Army had given the green Americans a drubbing at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, and Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, ordered Patton to whip the corps back into fighting shape. Patton’s discipline quickly paid off: after seizing an advantageous position from the Italians, II Corps halted the advancing 10th Panzer Division on March 23 at the Battle of El Guettar—the first American victory against the experienced Germans. Patton’s momentum, however, was short-lived: Axis troops held him to virtually no gain until April 7, when they withdrew under threat from British Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery’s Eighth Army.

There is no indication in the surviving German military records—which include intelligence reports at the theater, army, and division levels—that Patton’s enemies had any idea who he was at the time. Likewise, the immediate postwar accounts of the German commanders in Tunisia, written for the U.S. Army’s History Division, ignore Patton. Those reports show that ground commanders considered II Corps’s attacks under Patton to have been hesitant, and to have missed great opportunities. For example, in March they failed to seize weakly defended high ground in Southern Tunisia’s mountains, near Maknassy, which would have allowed Patton to threaten the Axis troops fighting Montgomery along the coast.

The first mention of Patton in German documents appears in a mid-May 1943 report by the Detachment Foreign Armies West, which simply noted that Patton had taken command of II Corps. By then, Patton had already left the corps to prepare for the invasion of Sicily. In mid-June, another detachment report described Patton as “an energetic and responsibility-loving command personality”—a passing comment on one of the numerous Allied commanders. Patton simply had not yet done anything particularly noteworthy in their eyes.

Much to Patton’s frustration, his role in the invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943, was to command Seventh Army in support of Montgomery’s left flank as his Eighth Army thrust up the east coast to Messina to cut off Axis forces attempting to retreat to the Italian mainland. The position would turn to Patton’s advantage—and skyrocket him to fame back in the United States—on July 20, when he launched an unauthorized end run up Sicily’s west coast and captured Palermo. Patton next drove eastward toward Messina and, with Montgomery’s troops bogged down on the east coast by strong opposition, his thrust became the main Allied effort to capture Messina. Nevertheless, the Germans waged a skillful step-by-step defense and, untroubled by any energetic pursuit on the part of the Allies, withdrew to the Italian mainland in good order and with all of their heavy equipment by August 17.

The Axis powers had known before the landings on Sicily that Patton was in command of American ground forces in the western Mediterranean, and knew he led Seventh Army on Sicily. But his race to Palermo through country they had already abandoned left the commanders unimpressed. Major General Eberhard Rodt, who led the 15th Panzergrenadier Division against Patton’s troops during the Allied push toward Messina, thought the American Seventh Army fought hesitantly and predictably. He wrote in an immediate postwar report on Sicily, “The enemy very often conducted his movements systematically, and only attacked after a heavy artillery preparation when he believed he had broken our resistance. This kept him regularly from exploiting the weakness of our situation and gave me the opportunity to consolidate dangerous situations.” Once again, Patton finished a campaign without impressing his opponents.

190 Responses to Patton: The German View

  1. Luke says:

    One point is that the german opinion of patton may of been he was a hesitant commander but the truth is he was commanded by Bradley and Ike who where the ones perhaps causing the slowness in some of pattons assaults. I may be wroung about this but i was under the impression pattons comments about the distance and casualties inflicted by third army where a comment on the entire compaing and not one action.

  2. James says:

    The article left out the slapping incident. This put Patton at the back of line as far as Eisenhower was concerned. So, it wasn’t hard for German strategist to take him out of the equation. A friendly fire/bombing incident also made Patton seem a little loose. It wasn’t just that the Germans ignored him because of past defeats/missteps. The US high command had put him on the back burner until the Bulge, really.

  3. […] I didn't read thru all of the posts but I'm sure someone has said Patton. Patton was sold the the American public as a hero when in actuality, he was a baffoon at best. He used up and destroyed more equipment and had more casualties than any other Allied General. I have a friend that I 4 wheel with and he was with Patton on the run to Bastogne. The men were totally exhausted by the time they got there. They expected a hot meal in the winter cold only to be told there were no supplies. Most all of the armor was either not running or about to run out of fuel because Patton had out run his supplies…..again. My friend was in charge of a mechanized automatic weapons group- half tracks with quad 50's. He said when he went to resupply his group that they handled him his ammo in a paper bag and told him to use it sparingly. He said that had the German mounted any kind of offense, they would have been over run as there was little to no ammo left. The Germans apparently thought Patton would have been smart enough to bring enough supplies with him and it would have energized the US troops, they were wrong. Here's an article written about how the Germans didn't even think about Patton until the very end of the war. He's not even on their radar screen until March 1945. Patton: The German View […]

  4. Patrick Miano says:

    I’m certain many of Patton’s opponents missed opportunities as well. In war the victor is often not the general with the most brilliant strategy, but the one who makes the fewest mistakes.

  5. David says:

    Interesting and informative article. I agree that Patton’s myth in some aspects goes beyond the actual facts. I highly doubt that German commanders held Patton is such awe that the fact alone he opposed them on the battle field caused them to greatly doubt in their chance for success. I also find it quite reasonable to conclude that “The Germans did not track Patton’s movements as the KEY [emphasis added] to Allied intentions” – though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Germans didn’t view Patton’s command of a particular operation as entirely meaningless either.

    Still, I find it difficult to understand how the author can state “the Germans offered Patton faint praise during and immediately after the war” in light of Jodl’s and Guidarian’s (who I consider one of the, if not the, best armor field commanders and strategist of WWII) comments during US interrogation. Their comments do not strike me as “faint praise”, and I would think that such interrogations would occur at the latest “immediately after the war.” Even if the Germans “just’ considered him a great Panzer General, that’s certainly goes beyond “faint praise” in my opinion.

    The author concludes that “The Germans considered Patton a hesitant commanding general in the scrum of position warfare.” Clearly some did – understandably so during the North African campaign and even later on specific occasion. However, for every Lieutenant General Hermann Balck, there’s a Hans-Gustav Felber or Rudolf Freiherr von Gersdorff. Patton is widely considered to have been the most aggressive Allied field commander in the ETO. So aggressive that on more than one occasion, he was restrained by Eisenhower and Bradley. Of course, the German’s didn’t know that at the time (as Mr. Yeide notes). Still, I find it difficult to believe that the bulk of German High Command & field commanders considered Patton a “hesitant” commanding general by the end of the war after viewing his command in the aggregate.

    While I think the Mr. Yeide has some valid points and find the article worthwhile reading, I find his conclusions overreaching. Rather than a “hesitant commanding general”, a commanding general “who on occasion was needlessly [uncharacteristically?] hesitant” would be more accurate in my opinion. After all, how can a “Great Panzer” general be hesitant?

    The article raises some interesting questions. If the German viewed Patton as a “hesitant commander”, one can only imagine what they thought of Montgomery (Hemingway’s 15:1 ratio “Monty” martini joke springs to mind). Bradley and Eisenhower were also more cautious or “hesitant” than Patton – though not to the same degree as Monty IMO.

    Perhaps beyond the scope of the article, but I would have found it helpful to have additional information on the German viewpoint of other Allied commanders. If not Patton, then which Allied commander did the German’s respect (or even “fear”) the most? Is it the case that the German’s simply didn’t have much regard for their opponent’s skills (i.e. the Allies won on a material basis rather than superior strategy/tactics), or that the simply saw other as more competent than Patton?

  6. Brian says:

    Nope. You need to read more detailed, collegiate-level history books. Eisenhower wrote to Marshall after the slapping incident on why they needed to keep it quiet, because Patton was absolutely essential to American operational plans for victory. Eisenhower privately reprimanded him, but never, ever had any thoughts whatsoever of removing him. Patton was chosen to lead 3rd Army’s part in COBRA – that was long before the \Bulge.\ There’s been alot of hokum published about Patton, some coming from the historically totally inaccurate but much-watched movie with Mr. Scott.

  7. able34bravo says:

    So I’m confused. In one paragraph this article says that Patton was aggressive and swift, then in the very next paragraph it says that he was sluggish and slow.

    Which is it?

  8. […] The unstoppable quality of Patton and his Third Army as they careened across France in August of 1944 was summed up at the time by one of the German generals opposing him:   On August 21, the commanding general of the 21st Panzer Division, General Edgar Feuchtinger, repo… […]

  9. […] The unstoppable quality of Patton and his Third Army as they careened across France in August of 1944 was summed up at the time by one of the German generals opposing him:   On August 21, the commanding general of the 21st Panzer Division, General Edgar Feuchtinger, repo… […]

  10. ASG says:

    If Patton had deeper fuel and other material reserves, he might not have been regarded as hesitant.

  11. Patrick Miano says:

    That was the fault of the over-cautious Bradley and the demanding Eisenhower (who had never been in battle) who insisted Patton do the near-impossible with what they claimed was all they could give him despite his pleas for more ammunition, shells, and fuel. He had to literally steal what he needed from Allied truck convoys. That said, he did what he needed to do. His futile attempt top rescue his son-in-law from German captivity and slapping a sick man he wrongly thought to be a coward were inexcusable, but neither Bradley nor Eisenhower were without their own mistakes and sins. No one is perfect in his or her private or public life.

    • Michael Wong says:

      Patrick Miano is right. Although Patton was slow sometimes or didn’t take advantage of opportunities it was very often not his fault. In Patton’s autobiography he often mentions how Bradley would force him to stop doing things that resulted in slowing the advance or even letting the enemy escape.

      Also, Patton was the only general who knew and spoke about the need to deal with the Soviet threat before it became big. If the others took him seriously, there might not have been a decades-long cold war and tens of millions of casualties due to faux communism.

      • HenryCT says:

        After the German surrender US troops in Europe were reluctant to attack their Soviet allies and wanted to go home. Given the fact that the Soviets faced and beat 200 German divisions and the British and US no more than 10 divisions at any time, speculation that Patton would have easily moved east seems pretty silly.

  12. Jim Graham says:

    I agree with Patrick and Michael. General Patton was very rough around the edges, but without his command, the West of Europe would of been speaking Russian. If he and his soldiers were allowed to tackle the Germans and cut them off, the Battle of the Bulge would of not happened.
    He died under questionable certcomstances.
    II believe he is the last General to do what they do best… and America has not won a war since.

  13. […] Originally Posted by Drummerboy Minor league? Junior? Patton was a 3-star general. Can you please provide some reasons for your opinion? And what do you think of the fact the Germans said they feared Patton most? Actually, during the war they didn't even notice he existed, pretty much: Patton: The German View […]

  14. Jason Claus says:

    Sounds like YOUR view of Patton

    • Thomas says:

      No, it’s an accurate view of Patton, who received a lot of unjustified hero worship and exagerations of his actions by American nationalists.

      The Race to Palermo for example was purely for Patton’s own ego, and it cost soldiers their lives. Commanders who kill their own soldiers for their ego, like Patton, should of course be relieved of command and dishonorably discharged for conduct unbecoming.

      • Thomas B Day says:

        I disagree with you on this point: General Patton realized that Motgomery would become bogged down in the east coast. He was correct I that regard. Had he not done the end run we could have been defeated in Sicily. As it was, Patton moved when he saw the battlefield advantage and as a result Mussolini was toppled and Italy knocked out of the war.

      • Thomas says:

        What a weird idea. Exactly why would a safer normal approach have resulted in certain defeat? Were there entire German armies heading to Sicily as reinforcements or something? Nothing I know of suggests that was the case.

        It also wasn’t why Patton did it. Patton did the race to Palermo, against his orders, for his own personal glory and because he hated all British and would never allow a British person to take the ‘final’ town in Sicily.

        And that cost a few hundred Americans their lives, oh well, not as if Patton cared about his troops…

        Also, the revolt against Mussolini happened way after Sicily, so that is also wrong.

      • Thomas B Day says:

        Your anti-american bias is showing. Patton rightly knew that Mongomery was all talk and little action. Patton did end runs around resistance including amphibious landing to gain advamtage. He would not sit still.

      • Thomas says:

        Show proof of that nonsense or shut up I’d say. Because I can back up my side, for example by pointing towards the formal gag order that Patton was issued by Eisenhower.

        Why would Eisenhower silence someone who was right and acting normally? He wouldn’t. Patton was gagged because he was rude, agressive, and a liability to command.

        And, no Patton did not achieve any of those things. He did very poorly and constantly misunderstood his logistical position. Americans paid with their lives for his stupidity.

      • Ted Zeiller says:

        Thomas – while I agree with most of what you say, who were these “nationalists” you speak of? It makes you sound very biased . And for the record, my grandfather served under Patton. I didn’t get the impression he liked him very much either

      • Thomas says:

        Patton’s biographer is one example. He invented the myth that Patton was known and feared by the Germans.

        While the first mention of his existance dates untill way after Normandy, and the report just said “This guy is in charge of this and that division”.

        The first and only qualitive mention of Patton, does not mention him by name. It’s from Africa from a German divisional report, and it notes a grave error on the part of the American commander, as they failed to take undefended highground overlooking the German retreat. This allowed the Africa Korps to retreat unscathed.

        Yet his biographer invented the myth that Patton was known and feared in and since Africa.

      • Burns you up that Patton upstaged and was such a better General than that joke of a military commander Montgomery, doesn’t it?

        Plus, your historical “analysis” is based on half-truths and distortions.

      • steghorn21 says:

        Jason, Monty has plenty of weaknesses but how do you explain the historical facts that the author puts forward above? There is no evidence (remember that word?) that says the Germans paid much notice to Patton. His joyride in Sicily grabbed the headlines but failed miserably to carry out the crucial aim of stopping the retreating Germans reach mainland Italy. Thousands of allied troops died because of Patton’s failure. Patton was also only able to make his “tour of France with an army ” (his words) because boring old Monty had destroyed 90% of Hitler’s tank forces in Normandy in a two-month war of attrition. If you want to highlight a fine American leader, stick with Bradley, Truscott, Vandergrift, Nimitz (one of the most under-rated commanders in modern history), not this showboating mediocrity.

      • John says:

        Not another one. :(

      • steghorn21 says:

        Schaffer’s film “Patton” is responsible for most of the modern mythology. A wonderful piece of Hollywood entertainment, but historically very dodgy. I love the scene where Monty arrives in the Sicilian capital to see Patton’s troops already lined up. Pure hokum!

      • Douglas Self says:

        Even if the scene were absolutely historical, it wouldn’t obscure the fact that the cream of what German forces were used on Sicily escaped via the strait of Messina to fight on. In this not only did Montgomery and Patton fail, but also the US and Royal Navies and USAAF and RAF, in spite of utter air supremacy. Many glitches in inter-Allied cooperation were also revealed. These lessons would prove useful later at Salerno, Anzio, and Normandy.

      • Douglas Self says:

        A minor quibble, steghorn21. Il Regione Siciliana has Palermo, not Messina, as its capital. If Patton sought, besides perceived ‘glory’, to demoralize the Italians and especially Sicilians by taking their capital, then his foray there (against very light resistance compared to what the British Eighth Army faced) was quite justified.

        Naturally Messina, being astride the likewise name strait, had the highest importance, as being astride the tip of the Italian “boot”, it’s capture would imply an easy crossing into what is admittedly the extreme end of mainland Europe, but it’s still on the “Continent”.

        What the Allies REALLY hoped for was that Hitler would order the island to be held “at all costs”, and like recently in Tunisia, they’d bag some more German troops. Uncharacteristically, with battles raging on the Eastern Front, Hitler let his generals fight a delaying action, knowing that if the Italians couldn’t (and wouldn’t) defend Sicily themselves, they couldn’t prevent its capture. And they did, and nothing either of the “Zwei Prima Donnen” (as the actor, Richard Münch’s version of Col Gen. Alfred Jodl, upon viewing captured US Army newsreel footage, remarks when he sees “Patton” strutting about and hamming it up for the cameras) could do would change that.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Patton was HATED but yet respected. The quote from the movie, “I don’t want my men to LOVE me, I want them to FIGHT for me!” came from Carlo D’Este, whose biography of the General provided most of the eponymous movie’s choicer quotes. Patton certainly got his way on that regard.

      • steghorn21 says:

        Thomas, yes, as a Brit, a lot of bias does sneak in: Yanks prefer Patton; Limeys prefer Monty. However, if I can admit that Monty was often lumbering and egomanic, I think we have the right to criticise Patton. If Patton was so wonderful, why was he not given initial command in Normandy? Because his superiors knew of his mental instability and that the fact that he couldn’t prevail against dogged opposition. Monty was by no means a faultless general but his tactics and strategy worked brilliantly in Normandy, even if (despite Monty’s own egotistical statements) it didn’t go all according to plan. American have produced some truly great soldiers over the centuries and your great nation saved us feeble old Europeans on 3 occassions in reent history. However, a far better American general was Lucien Truscott – he won the easy Patton-type battles and the ones where the alliest had to dig deep like at Salerno. He also rescued the Korea catastrophe from another fair-weather soldier’s failure (MacArthur). To me, the sign of a truly great general is that he can a) advance quickly a la blitzkrieg b) overcome a strong defensive position and c) most importantly of all, fight a retreat where the odds are against you. Patton only did a), failed at b) and never had a chance to carry out c). I think the author’s evidence above is telling: despite the myths, the Germans were never wowed by Patton or Monty. They had great generals by the hundreds. We allies did the best we could. Regards

      • Douglas Self says:

        Monty excelled at ‘set-piece” battles where terrain or enemy defenses would impede the rapid movements that Patton, the once-cavalryman and tank specialist, would be better at. The bocage country in Normany was hell to get through; Caen was defended by the cream of the Panzerwaffe because w/o it the British were stuck.
        Once the Americans were clear of the bocage, that was when Patton’s talents could be best put to use. A “crazy cowboy general” on steel mounts…that’s what he was destined for.

      • John says:

        Monty would not outrun his supply lines. He wanted the 40 division thrust to Berlin, but was overruled by a man who was colonel only a few years previously who have never command an army, ever – Eisenhower. Eisenhower embarked on the ridiculous broad-front strategy.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Ikr was not going to expend US or UK lives over turf already designated for Soviet occupation. He tolerated the heady advances of Simpson’s Ninth Army past the Elbe, and later Patton into Czechoslovakia ( as of V-E day, his 4th armored was TWELVE miles from the Prague city limits!) simply due to the feeble German resistance and that German armies facing the Soviets were disengaging to reach the perceived ‘safety’ of American captivity. Naturally the Soviets were incensed, amd Ike gave in and got the Germans to agree to a general capitulation after threatening to seal the West fronts.

        Ike was picked over 350 senior American officers precisely because of his political talents. Monty, Bradley, and especially Patton would have been disasters in that role. MacArthur deemed Ike the best staff officer he’d ever had. Of course, Ike made the decision to go through with Overlord when it happened, and was proved correct.

        An interesting anecdote was that Ike practically foisted a general whose career hadn’t gone all that well on Patton to command one of his infantry divisions. Predictably, that division performed badly, and Ike told Patton that he wouldn’t object if that general was “sacked”. Patton objected. His reply? “He was one of YOUR generals when he assumed that division’s command. Now he’s one of MY generals…I’ll straighten him out myself…”. And he did.

      • John says:

        You mean the British 21st Army Group past the Elbe. Simpson was told where and what to do by Monty. Simpson did. Why do you keep prattling on about this poor to average general named Patton? It shows how much you have been indoctrinated by Hollywood.

        You are right that Eisenhower was perfect for the political role. He was totally unsuited as a ground forces commander as events clearly tell us, never having commanded an army and being a colonel only years previously.

        “This letter restated the position Monty had been putting forward since the previous September — that he should again become Ground Force Commander and take charge of Bradley’s group. Monty seems to have assumed that after the recent Ardennes reverses his claim for the field command was beyond dispute. The significant difference this time was that Montgomery’s letter included a paragraph that he suggested Eisenhower should include in his next directive to Bradley, namely: Twelve and 21 Army Groups will develop operations in accordance with above instructions. From now onwards, full operational direction, control and coordination of these activities is vested in C-in-C, 21 Army Group, subject to such instructions as may be issued by the Supreme Commander from time to time. Monty concluded his advice by commenting that ‘I put the matter up to you again only because I am so anxious not to have another failure [the Bulge].’
        – Neillands, Robin. The Battle for the Rhine 1944

        After the Bulge debacle, Monty told Eisenhower to put him back as ground forces commander.

      • Douglas Self says:

        And this was too much for Ike, whom conferred with Monty privately. The few whom were privy to that meeting recounted they never recalled Eisenhower ever losing his temper as he did with Monty on that one occasion. Churchill later called Ike and pled with him to keep Montgomery as 21st AG, but understood how the prickly FM had gone too far. I’m sure, however, that like with Patton and his unfortunate tendency to assault sniveling junior enlisted personnel, Monty was never in danger of dismissal even then.

        As for Monty “saving” the US armies, again, “Rubbish”. The US Ninth Army played no direct role in that battle, as they expected the German 15th Army to also join the fray, which didn’t happen. As I’ve pointed out before, the only participation by the 21st AG was to move part of XXX Corps to positions on the west bank of the Meuse, in case the 5th Panzer Army made a crossing, which NEVER happened. Entirely AMERICAN forces under command of Bradley, mostly Courtney Hodge’s First Army, along with the 82nd Airborne at St. Vith and the 101st at Bastogne, halted the Fifth and Sixth SS Panzer Armies, and the Seventh was quickly out-flanked and smashed by Patton’s Third, relieving the “Battered Bastards of Bastogne” the day after Christmas, 1944. Where, John, did Monty save ANYONE during the Battle of the Bulge? Not one, this was ALL American. The only related participation was the RAF in Holland, Belgium, Calais, and even Kent, during the otherwise ill-fated “Fall Bodenplatte” on New Year’s Day, 1945, which, although a tactical ‘victory’ for the Luftwaffe, especially against the RAF, was their ‘death ride’, as they lost aircraft and especially air crew that they could not replace.

      • John says:

        Wiki warrior, Monty saved the US armies at the Bulge.

        I will let the Germans have the first say on the Bulge:
        Genral Hasso von Manteuffel:
        ‘The operations of the American First Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery’s contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough’.

        By November 1944, British SHEAF officer, Strong, noted that there was a possibility of a German counter-offensive in the Ardennes or the Vosges. Strong went to personally warn Bradley at his HQ, who said, “let ’em come”.

        Montgomery on hearing of the attack immediately took British forces to the Meuse to prevent any German forces from making a bridgehead, securing the rear. He was prepared to halt their advance and attack them. This was while Eisenhower and Bradley were doing nothing.

        “Even by 19 December, three days into the offensive, no overall plan had emerged from 12th Army Group or SHAEF, other than the decision to send Patton’s forces north to Bastogne. Overall, the Ardennes battle was in urgent need of grip.
        General Hodges had yet to see Bradley or receive more than the sketchiest orders from his Army Group commander.”

        – Neillands, Robin. The Battle for the Rhine 1944

        On 20 December, Montgomery had sent a signal to Alanbrooke regarding the US forces:
        “Not good… definite lack of grip and control. I have heard nothing from Ike or Bradley and had no orders or requests of any sort. My own opinion is that the American forces have been cut in half and the Germans can reach the Meuse at Namur without opposition.”

        Omar Bradley, commander of the 12th Army Group, did very little:

        16 Dec, the first day, for 12 hours did nothing.
        16 Dec, after 12 hours, he sent two armoured divisions from the flanking Ninth and Third Armies.
        17 Dec, after 24 Hours, he then called in two US airborne divisions from Champagne.
        18 Dec, he ordered Patton to halt his pending offensive in the Saar.
        18 Dec, he had still not established contact with the First Army, while Monty had.
        19 Dec, he withdrew divisions from the Aachen front to shore up the Ardennes.
        19 Dec, he had still not produced an overall defensive plan.
        19 Dec, the Supreme Commander intervened directly late in the day.
        20 Dec, Eisenhower telephoned Montgomery telling him to take command of the US First and Ninth Armies

        While all this dillying by Bradley was going on, German armies were pounding forward into his lines.

        British SHEAF officer Whiteley & American officer Betts visited the U.S. First Army HQ seeing the shambles. Strong, Whiteley, and Betts recommended that command of the armies north of the Ardennes be transferred from Bradley to Montgomery. Unfortunately only two British officers approached Beddel Smith of their recommendations, who immediately fired the pair, claiming it was a nationalistic thing. The next morning, Beddel Smith apologized seeing the three were right, recommending to Eisenhower to bring in Monty.

        During the Battle of the Bulge Eisenhower was stuck self imprisoned in his HQ in des-res Versailles near Paris in fear of German paratroopers wearing US uniforms with the objective to kill allied generals. He had remained locked up more than 30 days without sending a single message or order to Montgomery, and that is when he thought he was doing ground control of the campaign, when in effect Montgomery was in control as two US armies had to be put under his control after the German attack, the US First and Ninth armies. Coningham of the RAF had to take control of US air force units. The Ninth stayed under Monty’s control until the end of the war, just about.

        And yet biased American authors such as Stephen Ambrose said that Eisenhower took control of the Bulge and made the battle his veneering it as an all American victory. Ambrose completely falsified history. The only thing Eisenhower did was tell Monty to get control of two out of control US armies, tell the US 101st to go to Bastogne (who were in northern France after the buffer Market Garden was created) and men under Bradley to counterattack. That is it.

      • John says:

        Montgomery was right, he should have been given control of all ground forces. The Yanks were incompetent amateurs.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        Saying it over and over and over again doesn’t make it true.

      • John says:

        It is true. But the hard of thinking need matters repeated to them.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        Okay, so I’ll repeat this: Your views are based on bigotry, not facts.

      • John says:

        I only go by facts.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        You wouldn’t know a fact if it walked up and bit you on the ass.

      • John says:

        Read it again. Move your lips when reading as it will sink in better for you.

      • John says:

        The Brits saved the incompetent Yanks at the Bulge.

      • Roko Komboko says:

        The main war for the germans was in the east,that is where all their energy and resources were employed.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        Something which both the British and the Americans would do well to remember.

      • John says:

        Patton was two levels below Monty. Monty controlled groups of armies, not just one.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Yes, this is a common misconception. Monty’s counterpart was Omar Bradley, commander of the Twelfth Army Group. What is often forgotten is the role that another Army Group, the Sixth (US Seventh Army and French First) played in the Vosoges and along the Alps, led by GEN Devers. FWIW, Bradley despised Monty as much as Patton did, believing the FM to be a “preening, posturing buffoon”.

        A popular and otherwise well-done movie for entertainment purposes but very light on historical accuracy, “The Battle of the Bulge” (1965), had the narrator, William Conrad, describing the Allied deployment in Northwest Europe…”To the north, lay Montgomery’s Eighth Army (which was actually in Italy at the time and had been when it crossed into Calabria during Operation Baytown on Sept 3, 1943)…to the South…Patton’s Third (completely ignoring the equivalent Army-level commanders of the US Ninth Army under “Big Bill” Simpson and the US First Army under Courtney Hodges)…but does describe a “few, weary American divisions” in a quiet sector…This is THEIR story”. In fact, there was also a very green American division, the 106th, aka “Golden Lions”, which was there to gain combat experience. Once the Sixth SS Panzer Army threw its might on them, they certain received that, and this new outfit was nearly annihilated.

        It’s interesting to note that Patton himself predicted the Ardennes offensive, although he had no better clue as to its timing than anyone else. However, once he and other Allied commanders met at Verdun on Dec 19th, 1944, he proposed that the German break-through should be allowed to approach Paris, wherein there’d be a prime opportunity to “Cut ’em up and chew ’em up”. Who can say what have happened had Ike gone along with George’s sentiments.

      • John says:

        If Patton thought he could encircled the Germans near Paris, I would not like to see the carnage with another American defeat. 75mm Shermans against top line German armour? Patton did nothing at the Lorraine, have to move north to Luxembourg to move into Germany.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        American Shermans seldom slugged it out with German armour. The Americans preferred to use air power for tank busting.

      • John says:

        You are in cloud cuckoo land if you think planes busted heavy tanks.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        They certainly did, although they generally concentrated their efforts on support vehicles and personnel. Keeping a tank out of combat is just as effective as destroying it.

      • John says:

        Planes could not penetrate tanks. They best they could do was knock out a track. They mainly hot light skinned support vehicles.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        Nonsense. There are any number of times when planes knocked out tanks, both on the Eastern and Western fronts, as well as the Germans on the Eastern front (mostly with a modified version of the Stuka).

      • John says:

        Planes against Panthers. Dream on.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Patton was in his element as the “Crazy Cowboy General” (Hitler’s term), leading a charge pell-mell into the enemy rear on the modern cavalry (armor), raising merry hell, which he did in France in August 1944. However, a few months later, with gasoline supplies restricted and the “Red Ball Express” a mass of worn-out trucks and drivers, Patton had to assault the fortresses of Metz the “old-fashioned” way, and to put it charitably, he stunk at it. It might have been interested to have Patton and Montgomery switch commands for the specific operations that each failed spectacularly at in the autumn of 1944. Just imagine had Patton been in charge of “Market-Garden” and Monty tasked to assault Metz. Never would have come off, of course.

      • John says:

        Dempsey’s Second army would have reached the Rhine if he went into the Lorraine.
        Market was the airborne part being planned and executed by the First Allied Airborne Army and the USSAF.
        Garden was the ground force which was XXX Corps above Eindhoven, who never put a foot wrong. XXX Corps reached Nijmegen on schedule and installed bridge and seized bridge where the US airborne units failed.
        Patton would have been Garden, and no way would he have done better than XXX Corps. Look at the shambles at Metz.

      • Douglas Self says:

        In the same vein, “Monty” was the UK’s “Pop General” (Churchill’s term), with his ridiculous bush hat, sweaters, and swagger stick. However, even though TV was about ten years from becoming a means to manipulate public opinion, the Allies each used radio and the movies, especially newsreels, to keep the public support for the war effort. Sure, Monty was himself very much a media creation, but, after three years of war and still victory not imminent, I don’t blame him for assuming the role of a celebrity general. And neither did Patton! Even he admitted that at many times it was an act, but he’d gladly put it on if that’s what it took to get his men to fight.

      • John says:

        Montgomery’s record is quite amazing. Media creation Patton did not do much at all. Get it? Carping on about a do nothing general make you out to be a naive sucker.

      • John says:

        The fact is the Americans were a very mediocre army, with not one general that stood out. In Normandy Monty who was in charge of all armies, assessed the US armies giving them the infantry role. If they faced mass German armour they would have been annihilated. The Brits took on the German heavy armour and destroyed 90% of it.

        Patton moved 10 miles in three months in Lorraine taking 52,000 casualties against a 2nd rate army with the result being a German defensive victory. Hurtgen Forest was a defeat. The only retreat in WW2 in 1944/45 by any Allied army was the US in the Ardennes offensive, taking 100,000 casualties. Monty had to take control of the US First and Ninth armies, keeping the 9th until the end of WW2. XXX Corps advanced 60 miles in a few days in Market Garden. No other army in 1944-45 moved so fast.

        Monty never suffered a reverse moving 1,000 miles through nine countries from Egypt to Denmark taking all in his path. He was a general over generals. Montgomery was by far most successful western allied commander of WW2. Monty fought more battles, took more ground and engaged more elite German divisions than any other general. Monty commanded all the Normandy ground forces, being the man the Americans ran to in the Ardennes offensive. No other general in the western allied armies possessed his experience in dealing with the Germans or his expertise.

        Monty stopped the Germans in every event they attacked him.
        ♦ August 1942 – Alem el Halfa
        ♦ October 1942 – El Alamein
        ♦ March 1943 – Medenine
        ♦ June 1944 – Normandy
        ♦ Sept/Oct 1944 – Holland
        ♦ December 1944 – Battle of the Bulge

        Not on one occasion were Monty’s ground armies, including US armies under his control, pushed back into a retreat by the Germans.

        Eisenhower:
        ‘General Montgomery is a very able, dynamic type of army commander’.
        Eisenhower on D-Day and Normandy:
        ‘He got us there and he kept us there’.

        General Günther Blumentritt:
        ‘Field Marshall Montgomery was the one general who never suffered a reverse’

        Genral Hasso von Manteuffel on the Bulge:
        ‘The operations of the American 1st Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery’s contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough’.

        Patton on Monty:
        ‘small,very alert, wonderfully conceited, and the best soldier – or so it seems – I have met in this war’.

        American Major General Matt Ridgway commander of the US XVIII Airborne Corps, 17 Jan 1945
        “It has been an honored privilege and a very great personal pleasure to have served, even so briefly, under your distinguished leadership [Montgomery]. To the gifted professional guidance you at once gave me, was added to your own consummate courtesy and consideration. I am deeply grateful for both. My warm and sincere good wishes will follow you and with them the hope of again serving with you in pursuit of a common goal”.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        Men would have died if he had followed orders too. Whatever his reasons, he won a great victory and shortened the Sicilian campaign.

      • steghorn21 says:

        Time was not the vital element; stopping the Germans evacuating their troops to the Italian mainland was. That so many first class German troops escaped across the Straits of Messina was a travesty – and one for which Monty was just as much to blame as Patton. Especially bearing in mind the overwhelming allied air power. These troops then held up the allies in Italy for nearly 2 years.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        A lot of Italian troops escaped too, but I wouldn’t call them first class. In any event, you can’t blame Patton or Montgomery for the RAF and USAAF messing up.

      • Douglas Self says:

        A great deal of ‘glitches’ were revealed between the UK and USA forces and even within their respective service branches in the Sicily campaign.

      • Douglas Self says:

        This was due to the range limits imposed by the otherwise impressive Allied Air Forces…the P-51 wouldn’t see widespread service for another year, and it was prioritized for the strategic bombing of Germany itself (being the only fighter that could go along with the bombers all the way to Berlin and back). Ike would have preferred to bypass Sicily altogether and take Sardinia, which would leave open the entire western coastline of Italy; but simply couldn’t get air cover all the way from Tunisia and Algeria.

        FWIW, the Germans, once it was clear that Badoglio had double-crossed them and was going to surrender to the Allies, did manage to pull off brilliantly Operation “Asche” (Alaric), but would have been satisfied to hold what became the “Gothic” line (as of late 1944), as Hitler considered the Italian peninsula to be indefensible and not worthy of serious effort. Monty’s Eighth Army had already crossed into Calabria on Sept 3, 1943 (Operation “Baytown”) and was rapidly advancing against token resistance. They were actually relieved when the Allies landed at Salerno; the Eighth Army had also landed near Taranto (Operation “Slapstick”), this meant they could at least stand fast in the mountains south-east of Rome (Cassino) while conceding the southern Italian ports they no longer needed and leaving to the Allies the problem of feeding and governing the two millions of souls in and around Naples…which, BTW, almost immediately experienced a cholera epidemic that impeded the Americans as much as the German armies did! Although there is no conclusive evidence there is reason to suspect that this was not an outcome of the breakdown of public services but rather an incident of biological warfare.

      • John says:

        Montgomery blamed the three forces of allied command for not coordinating properly in allowing the German to evacuate from Sicily. He put that right for Normandy, which was a massive success, coming in way ahead at D-Day+90, with 22% less casualties than predicted.

      • Thomas says:

        And you think it’s justified for hundreds of soldiers to lose their lives unnecessarily for the personal glory of one deranged officer? You think it’s good for a military officer to disobey his orders?

        Casualties would’ve been much lower if Patton had done his duty.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        Officers have saved lives and been decorated for disobeying orders when the situation called for it. The UCMJ recognizes it. Patton did what he did for victory, not his personal glory. His one mistake was done for family reasons, not personal glory. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

      • Thomas says:

        So what should we do with Patton, who lost hundreds of lives unnecessarily, against orders, purely for his personal glory, while also endangering the military operation as a whole?

        For victory would’ve been the steady simultaneous advance that he had been ordered to.

        And no, I see no connection between Patton’s mistake of not taking high ground along a retreating route of the Africa Korps, and family. Did his dad force him to make such a strategic error and allow the nazis to retreat unhindered?
        Did his mother force him to beat up soldiers under his command who are forbidden from fighting back and are in bad shape?
        Did his parents force him to be a bigoted racist who hates the British and forced him to be a liability within command to the point where Eisenhower issued him with a formal gag order?

      • Gazzara5 says:

        He did nothing for personal glory. He did it to win battles, which he did. Soldiers die in war no matter what you do. Bradley was way too cautious, and caution can kill as surely as recklessness.

      • Thomas says:

        So you deny that Patton disobeyed orders and began racing to Palermo for his own personal glory? You’re saying the British took the city as was originally planned?

        Let’s see some sources for your claim…

      • Gazzara5 says:

        I’m not denying anything except the motives you attribute to him. Montgomery always thought of the Americans as “his Italians,” no matter how well they fought. Patton taught him a lesson. The Americans were not his flunkies.

      • Thomas says:

        Now you’re just hiding behind nonsense that Patton worshippers made up I think.

        Otherwise where are you sources?

      • Gazzara5 says:

        Read WWII Military History Magazine. And I am not a Patton worshiper. There was much to criticize about him. Montgomery too.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Patton had his flaws as well as strengths. The unsourced comment made by Karl Malden’s portrayal of GA Omar Bradley about that “soldier he’d slapped in Sicily” (in fact, there were at least two whom Patton had struck, with either arguably being abusive and conduct unbecoming a superior officer) have done more to win the war than any other GI, was correct, but NOT exactly for the reason the epynmous movie indicates. Ile never seriously considered sending Patton home, as a decoy with the FUSAG “caper” and later as Third Army commander, he was too valuable. However, the biographer Carlo D’Este contends that but the slapping incidents Patton would have taken the roles that Bradley did and done better. K couldnt

      • Gazzara5 says:

        And Montgomery had no flaws? All human beings have flaws.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Oh, Monty definitely had both personal flaws (being egotistical, prickly, and wearing it like it was virtuous) and weaknesses as a battlefield commander. He was at times overly cautious and numerous times failed to exploit breakthroughs that his otherwise masterfully executed “set-piece” battles effected. To be fair, at times some American commanders, notably Gen Lucas at Anzio (which had initially succeeded wildly in catching that sector and the road to Rome virtually undefended) were also overly cautious. The only ‘defence’ is that Churchill, fearing the inevitable turnout of the Tories, didn’t want a bloodbath to turn British public opinion against him, and often pressured Monty about the “butcher’s bill”. The UK public was in no mood, as was the American electorate in 1944, to proverbially “change horses in mid-stream”, but once victory was achieved in Europe (the Pacific War being perceived as more dominantly an American campaign), the British public no longer had tolerance for “Winston” and cheerfully turned he and the Tories for Clement Atlee and his Liberal government.

      • John says:

        US high command buffoonery showed complete disregard for the lives of their own men. 52,000 casualties at Lorraine, 34,000 at Hurtgen Forest (both German defensive victories), 100,000 at the Bulge. That is near 200,000 in those operations alone. They were losing so many men they had to divert troops destined for the Far East to Europe, and even more in case.

        Contrast to the British who valued their men. The Canadians even invented the armoured personnel carrier during the battle of Normandy, calling it the Kangaroo. It jumped men across dangerous ground. Casualties dropped substantially.

      • Douglas Self says:

        The British commanders “valued” their men? Monty’s own sanginous “set-piece” battles at Caen, Villers-Bocage, Walcheren island (all Canadians), and Veritable would BELIE that assessment, Sir. And the 2nd Alamein, though indeed it resulted in Panzerarmee Afrika being driven all the way to Tunisia over the next three months, was a two week grind, which, but for the British finally succeeding in strangling Rommel’s supply line, might well have gone the way of “Battleaxe”, e.g. a costly stalemate. And never mind the fiasco that Market-Garden was for the First Allied Airborne Army. At least in that case you couldn’t accuse Monty of “excessive” caution!

      • John says:

        Your knowledge of the events you list is little more than zero sprinkled with opinionated drivel. El Alemein and Caen were when British forces had no alternative but to go head on into the Germans.

      • John says:

        From Alem al Halafa in Aug 1942 to Denmark in 1945, Montgomery made few professional mistakes. The finest general of WW2.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        When he did, it was a big one. Example: Operation Market Garden.

      • John says:

        Eisenhower prioritized the northern thrust over other fronts and even seizing Antwerp and clearing the Schedlt. Clearing the Scheldt would take time as the German 15th SS army, highly experienced from the Russian front, had set up shop in the Scheldt and not retreated back into Germany, under Hitler’s orders. All available supplies would be directed to this northern thrust.

        Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander and Ground Force Commander, approved Market Garden rather than a push to clear the Scheldt. The choice in early September was the Rhine or Antwerp: to continue the pursuit or secure the necessary facilities to solve the logistical problem? The decision was made to go for the Rhine, and that decision was Eisenhower’s.

        On 4 Sept, the day Antwerp fell, Eisenhower issued a directive, ordering the forces north-west of the Ardennes – 21st Army Group and two corps of the US First Army – to take Antwerp, reach the Rhine and seize the Ruhr. Eisenhower did not know Antwerp had fallen to British troops when he issued the northern thrust directive. Montgomery wanted a thrust up and over the Rhine prior to Eisenhower’s directive, devising Operation Comet, multiple crossings of the Rhine, to be launched on 2 Sept, being cancelled due to German resistance and poor weather. Operation Comet was not presented to Eisenhower for his approval. Montgomery asked Brereton, an American, head of the First Allied Airborne Army, to drop into the Scheldt in early September – he refused.

        Eisenhower’s directive of 4 Sept had divisions of the U.S. First Army and Montgomery’s view of taking multiple bridges on the Rhine from Arnhem to Wesel. The British Second Army needed some divisions of Hodges’ U.S. 1st army and the First Allied Airborne Army (which Monty controlled anyhow). Hodges’ would protect the right flank with the Canadians protecting the left flank from the German 15th army.

        The northern thrust was to chase a disorganized retreating enemy preventing them from manning the German West Wall, gaining a footing over the Rhine, consolidating and then clearing the Scheldt to open up the port of Antwerp. A sound concept which even the German generals after WW2 agreed would have worked: von Rundstedt, Student, Blumentritt and Rommel’s former chief of staff, General Speidel. They were unanimous in declaring that a full-blooded thrust from Belgium in September would have succeeded in crossing the Rhine and might have ended the war in 1944, since Germany had no means of stopping such a thrust reaching the Ruhr. Largely due to the faulty command set-up by Eisenhower and lack of grip on his generals, a bridgehead over the Rhine before the winter was still a dream in September 1944.

        Eisenhower’s reply of 5 September to Montgomery was clear that he believed that it was possible to cross the Rhine and take both the Ruhr and the Saar — and open the Scheldt — using the existing logistical resources and supply train.

        Bradley was unable to control Patton, who persistently disobeyed Bradley and Eisenhower’s orders going his own way. Bradley did little to sop him. Hodges, the commander of the US First Army, was continually starved of fuel and ammunition in order to keep Patton’s divisions rolling, even when Eisenhower’s strategy required First Army to play a role in the British 21st Army Group’s activities.

        Bradley was starving Hodges’ First Army of supplies, against Eisenhower’s orders, giving them to Patton who was running off into unimportant territory – again, and being bogged down – again. The resources starved First Army could not be a part of northern thrust as Bradley and Patton, against Eisenhower’s orders, were syphoning off supplies destined for the U.S. First Army. This northern thrust over the Rhine, as Eisenhower envisaged, obviously would not work as he thought. A lesser operation was devised by Montgomery, Market Garden, eliminating the divisions of U.S. First Army, with only ONE crossing of the Rhine. Market Garden would also eliminate V rocket launching sites, of which London wanted eliminating ASAP, giving a 60 mile long salient buffer between German forces and the important port of Antwerp. This would only have one corps above Eindhoven, a disgrace considering the forces in Europe at the time. Eisenhower had no grasp of the situation as it was, no strong strategy to advance and no grip on his generals. Eisenhower should have fired Bradley and Patton for sabotaging the Northern Thrust operation.

        Montgomery did not plan or was in involved in Market Garden’s execution. Montgomery, after fixing the operations objectives with Eisenhower to the measly forces available, gave Market Garden planning to others, mainly USAAF generals, Brereton and Williams. General Brereton, who liked the plan, agreed to it with even direct input. Brereton ordered the drops will take place during the day and Brereton oversaw the troop carrier and supply drops schedules. Williams forbid fighter-bombers to be used. A refusal by Brereton and the operation would never have gone ahead; he earlier rejected Montgomery’s initial plan of a drop into the Scheldt at Walcheren Island. Montgomery distanced himself to this under-resourced operation.

        It was not until 9 October, more than a month after the fall of Antwerp, that Eisenhower told Montgomery to devote his entire attention to the clearance of the Scheldt. By that time the Canadians had already started to clear many of the Channel ports.

        if the operation had been properly backed from its inception, and given the aircraft, ground forces, and administrative resources necessary for the job—it would have succeeded
        – Montgomery of Alamein: Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery

      • John says:

        Two US authors not to take seriously:
        1. Ambrose.
        2. D’este

        Two British authors not to take seriously:
        1. Hastings.
        2. Beevor

      • John says:

        “Patton had his flaws as well as strengths.”
        An American historian, Harry Yeides, looked into Patton, as I did, and like me could not find anything exceptional about this rather less than average general. The US media needed a hero as they personify, the British were “we are all in it together.” Patton looked good in newsreels with shiny silly hat and even sillier cowboy guns.

        They blew his joy ride into empty territory in France as some sort of armoured thrust. The folks back home needed a warm feeling so Patton was elevated to give them one.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Besides SOME gaffes in command, which Monty and even the vaunted Soviet military icon, Georgi Zhukov, had (re: Operation Mars), Patton had some personal failings as well.

        Just as there’s strong evidence of an affair between Eisenhower and his female driver and aide, Kay Summersby, so Patton himself, immediately prior to the war and maybe right after its end, may have had an affair with his NIECE (by marriage), Jean Gordon. Ms. Gordon had married, and took her own life in 1946, despondent over her failing marriage. It is alleged that she left a note stating that she’d “be with Georgie and have him to herself before ‘Bea’ comes”. Beatrice Ayers Patton would suffer a fatal horseback riding accident in 1953, so one can ONLY speculate about such a meeting then, IF you subscribe to the notion that it was even possible.

        D’Este relates yet another anecdote, not corroborated, of Patton, while at Knutsford, escorting an attractive young woman (no mention IF it was Jean Gordon or not) to a waiting taxi in the wee hours of the morning, with a ‘beaming’ face. As D’Este put it, evidently the General was living up (or down, depending on POV) to the adage he often jocularly mentioned: “A man who won’t screw won’t fight!”

        Never mind also several instances of somewhat bizzare behavior by Patton in the late 1930s. Frustrated at the lack of combat opportunities and inter-war promotions, the aging Army Officer (he was a major until 1934, and a light colonel until 1940), since he and his wife were each scions of wealth, in 1938 sailed a small vessel across the Pacific, and in 1940, once again assigned to tanks, with the responsibility of training the armored formations, designed a ridiculous and gaudy-looking tanker’s outfit, complete with a gold-painted football helmet, and even modeled it himself. Considering the WWI combat injuries, in which a private by the name of Joe D’Angelo carried him to safety, and the many falls he suffered due to his passion, being an old cavalryman, for horseback riding, Patton may have had brain damage. Indeed, some speculate that it was this, and NOT some nefarious assassination plot, which accounted for why he succumbed so easily to a minor car accident which didn’t injure anyone else.

        BTW, Patton was present at one of the US Army’s less noteworthy moments, that of driving the so-called “Bonus Army” out of the Anacostia flats, per direction of President Hoover and under command of good ol’ “Dugout Doug” MacArthur, the then commander of the Military District of Washington. Also present was Joe D’Angelo, who claimed to recognize his old c.o….and Patton disowned, claiming, “I don’t know this man!”. This, of course, was a lie, Patton knew full well whom D’Angelo was, having given him money several times as the poor man had experience financial difficulties since his Army days.

      • John says:

        The Americans were a poor army in Europe. Hurtgen Forest (34,000 casualties), Lorraine (50,000), both German defensive victories. The Bulge, 100,000 casualties – Montgomery had to bail them out.

        The US were Britain’s Italians.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        That is a myth. The British suffered many humiliating defeats in France (Dunkirk), North Africa (Tobruk), Greece (the Dodecanese Islands), Holland (Arnhem – The Americans achieved their goals in Market Garden, the British didn’t), and Asia (Burma, Malaya, Hong Kong). As for the Bulge, Patton’s 3rd Army did most of the bailing. The only real American defeat in the ETO was at the Kasserine Pass, which was due to inexperience. There is no such thing as an invincible army. The Americans never fled or surrendered in the huge droves the Italians did. They may have lost some fights, but they were not cowards.

      • Douglas Self says:

        To be fair, Anzio wasn’t a highlight for the US Army either, as was neither Patton’s own repeated attempts to take Metz (requiring far more time and resources, and costing more casualties and materiel than originally projected), or for Hodge’s own neighboring First Army in the Hurtgen Forest. Or for how long it took Mark Clark’s Fifth Army to take Monte Cassino in Italy. Even in an overall successful military campaign there are setbacks wherein mistakes noted are hopefully not repeated. Even the Soviets and especially the Polish First Army got mauled in the closing days of WWII at Bautzen by the German Ninth Army…probably because said formation was looking to surrender…to the Americans!

      • John says:

        If Mark Clark was German he would have been shot. Against orders he went off to Rome with his army for a photo shoot, failing to encircle the Germans who got away. Then the Germans formed another line coast to coast further north. What an idiot.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        To be fair, look how long it took the British to take Caen in France and retake Burma. My point was not that the American Army was superior to the British Army. I have the highest respect for both. My point was that the road to victory was hard-fought, and both armies suffered many delays, obstacles, and defeats along the way. The Germans and Japanese were tough opponents. Wars are won by the side that makes the fewest mistakes.

      • John says:

        Caen was a small city of no strategic significance. Montgomery gave the end time of Normandy, which came in ahead of schedule, the bits between were put in by his planners, who needed something to fill in. Monty allowed them to put some in.

        “the timings, when all this was going to happen. The answer is again found in the strategic plan, which states that the Allied armies would have driven the Germans back to the Seine on or about D plus 90, say September 1. Various intermediate targets – phase lines – were introduced into the plan but these were largely, as stated above, for administrative reasons, to give the logistical planners some time frame. Indeed, when Lt Colonel C. P. Dawnay, Monty’s military assistant, was helping his chief prepare for the first presentation of plans on April 7, 1944, eight weeks before D-Day, he asked Montgomery where the phase lines should be drawn between D-Day and D plus 90?

        Monty replied, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter, Kit – draw
        them where you like’. ‘Shall I draw them equally, Sir?’,
        asked Dawnay. ‘Yes, that’ll do’, replied Montgomery.

        Montgomery knew that whatever was intended two months before the landing would be altered the minute the troops went ashore. Even so, two other points need explaining. The first is that changes in plan in the course of the battle were only to be expected – and hardly matter if the overall aim of the campaign is kept broadly on track.
        -Neillands, Robin. The Battle of Normandy 1944

        “The ground force plan for Overlord had been drawn up by Montgomery – and approved by Eisenhower and the Combined Chiefs-of-Staff – and in that plan the city of Caen was to be taken – or effectively masked on D-Day”
        -Neillands, Robin. The Battle of Normandy 1944

        “The Second Army plan states ‘The capture and retention of Caen is vital to the Army plan.’ This intention is confirmed when the final Army plan for D-Day – Order No. 1, was issued on April 21. ‘I Corps will capture Caen’.

        Then matters grow cloudy. The orders issued by I Corps do indeed restate that the capture of Caen is vital to the Army plan and confirm that ‘the task of 3 British Division is to capture Caen and secure a bridgehead over the river Orne at that place’, which could hardly be more definite. However, the detailed order goes on to state that, ‘3 Brit Inf Div should, by the evening of D-Day, have captured or effectively masked Caen, and be disposed in depth with brigade locations firmly established, north-east of Bénouville in support of 6th Airborne Division … having taken over the Bénouville–Ranville crossing … and north-west of Caen, tied up with the left forward brigade locality of 3 Cdn Inf Div’.

        So far so good, but the order goes on: ‘Should the enemy forestall us at Caen and the defences prove to be strongly organised, thus causing us to fail to capture it on D-Day, further direct frontal assaults which may prove costly will not be undertaken without reference to I Corps. In such an event, 3 Brit Inf Div will contain the enemy in Caen and retain the bulk of its forces disposed for mobile operations outside the covering position. Caen will be subjected to heavy air bombardment to limit its usefulness to the enemy and make its retention a costly business.’

        This is, in fact, what actually happened and it is interesting that this counterproposal was made well before 3rd Infantry Division went ashore. It therefore appears that the major unit most directly concerned with the capture of Caen on D-Day – Lieutenant-General Crocker’s I Corps – already had an alternative strategy in place to that of the Allied Commanders, Eisenhower and Montgomery but only should the defences prove too strong. This again seems sensible – no plan survives the first contact with the enemy etc.”
        -Neillands, Robin. The Battle of Normandy 1944

      • John says:

        The fact is the US performed poorly in Europe in WW2, especially at high level. They never had a good general, none. Vane Mark Clark disobeyed an order to complete an allied encirclement of the Germans finishing them off in Italy, so he could run off to Rome with his army for a photo shoot and glory. He even had the photographers taken photos of his good side and best facial angle. He allowed the Germans to get away, who went north and formed another line across Italy. So the allied forces had to do it all again. If he was German he would have been shot.

        Eisenhower’s broad front strategy was near a disaster, of which Montgomery was totally against. Monty wanted a 30-40 division thrust to the north, over the Rhine at multiple crossings, then east across the German plains chasing a disorganised retreating army right to Berlin, while seizing the Ruhr. The only reason why the allies got going again in Feb 1945 was because the Germans expended lots of men and equipment in the Ardennes at the Bulge. If not for the Bulge, under Eisenhower’s broad front strategy the allies would not have been over the Rhine until summer 1945. The Americans just stumbled into one embarrassment after another. All because of poor generalship.

        – Bradley refusing to use the Funnies at Omaha beach with excessive, needless casualties;
        – Patton leaving Falaise on a triumphal parade to Paris instead of going to the Seine to cut off the retreating Germans. Montgomery never went to the victory parade in Paris sending one of his men, as he was too busy trying to win a war;
        – Mark Clark, disobeying an order to encircle the Germans and finish them off in Italy so he could run off to Rome with his army for a photo shoot;
        – Pattons’ Lorraine crawl. 10 miles in 3 months at Metz with over 50,000 casualties for unimportant territory. A German defensive victory. Read American historian Harry Yeide on Patton;
        – The Hurtgen Forest defeat with around 34,000 casualties. They could have just gone around the forest, as Earnest Hemingway observed;
        – Bradley and Patton stealing supplies destined for Hodges against Eisenhower’s orders, which cut down the Market Garden operation to ridiculously low levels of one Rhine crossing and one corps above Eindhoven;
        – The German Ardennes offensive (the Bulge), of which Bradley and Hodges ignored the German build up – they were warned by British SHAEF officers 5 weeks prior to the German attack. The British had noticed the German build up, who were not even on that front. Montgomery had to take control of US armies to get a grip of the shambles. Near 100,000 US casualties;
        – Patton stalled at the Bulge continually. It took Patton almost three days just to get through the village of Chaumont. Patton had less than 20 km of German held ground to cover during his actual ‘attack’ north towards Bastogne, with the vast majority of his move through American held lines devoid of the enemy. Yet he still took him five days to get through to Bastogne;
        – The ordering of a retreat at the Vosges in south eastern France abandoning the city of Strasbourg, which caused a huge row with French military leaders who refused to retreat. The French held onto Strasbourg;
        – Under Monty the allies moved 500 km in only three months from D-Day to September 1944. Under Eisenhower they barely moved 100 km in seven months from September 1944 March 1945.

        US forces were running out of men at an alarming rate because of clear poor leadership. Men in the US destined for the Far East were diverted to Europe because of the excessive losses. Hence in the Far East the British had more boots on the ground than the USA.

        Monty, was a proven army group leader being a success in North Africa and Normandy, which came in with 22% less than predicated casualties and ahead in territory taken at D-Day plus 90. Common sense dictates to keep Monty in charge of all ground operations, not give it to a political man like Eisenhower, who was only a colonel a few years previously and had never been in charge of any army directly, never mind three army groups. The longest advance in 1944/early 1945 was the 60 mile lightening four day advance by the British XXX Corps to the Rhine at Arnhem.

        The eventual clearing the Scheldt, delayed by Eisenhower, didn’t change much of anything for months. It has been overstated. The allies didn’t get going anywhere again until Feb 1945, months after the Scheldt was cleared and Antwerp’s port fully operational. While the port was fully operational with no problems of supply, the US Army was even forced back into a retreat in the Ardennes.

      • John says:

        Some facts for you. The British were the single biggest agents in the defeat of Nazi Germany. They were there from day one until the end. They never did not enter because they attacked another country or were attacked. The so-called “invincible” Germans army tried and failed, with their allies, for two years in WW2 to defeat the British army in North Africa. The finest army in the world from mid 1942 onwards was the British. From Alem el Halfa it moved right up into Denmark, through nine countries, and not once suffered a reverse taking all in its path. Over 90% of German armour in the west was destroyed by the British. Montgomery had to give the US armies an infantry role as they were not equipped to engage massed German SS armour.

        Montgomery stopped the Germans in every event they attacked him:

        ♦ August 1942 – Alem el Halfa
        ♦ October 1942 – El Alamein
        ♦ March 1943 – Medenine
        ♦ June 1944 – Normandy
        ♦ Sept/Oct 1944 – The Netherlands
        ♦ December 1944 – Battle of the Bulge

        Not on one occasion were ground armies, British or US, under Monty’s command pushed back into a retreat by the Germans. The US Army were struggling in 1944/45 retreating in the Ardennes. The Americans didn’t perform well at all east of Aachen, then the Hurtgen Forest defeat with 33,000 casualties and Patton’s Lorraine crawl of 10 miles in three months with over 50,000 casualties. The Battle of the Bulge took all the US effort, with Montgomery in command and the British 21st Army Group, just to get back to the start line, with nearly 100,000 casualties. The Germans took 20,000 US POWs in the Battle of The Bulge in Dec 1944. No other allied country had that many prisoners taken in the 1944-45 timeframe. The USA retreat at the Bulge, again, the only allied army to be pushed back into a retreat in the 1944-45 timeframe. Montgomery was effectively in charge of the Bulge having to take control of the US First and Ninth armies. The US Third Army constantly stalled after coming up from the south. The Ninth stayed under Monty’s control until the end of the war just about. The US armies were losing men at unsustainable rates due to poor generalship.

        Normandy was planned and commanded by the British with Montgomery leading allground forces, which was a great success coming in ahead of schedule and with less casualties than predicted. The Royal Navy was command of all naval forces and the RAF all air forces. The German armour in the west was wiped out by primarily the British – the US forces were impotent against the panzers. Monty assessed the US armies (he was in charge of them) and had to give them a supporting infantry role, as they were just not equipped, or experienced, to fight concentrated tank v tank battles. On 3 Sept 1944 when Eisenhower took over overall allied command of ground forces everything went at a snail’s pace. The fastest advance of any western army in Autumn/early 1945 was the 60 mile thrust by the British XXX Corps to the Rhine at Arnhem.

        Then the ignored British naval blockade on the Axis economy, which was so successful the substantial Italian navy could not put to sea in full strength, or even at all on some occasions, because of a lack of oil. Then the British bomber offensive on the German economy, taking the war right into German cities, wiping out Hamburg in one night.

        You need to respect where it is due.

      • John says:

        If the US Army was superior how come two US armies had to be put under British control at the Bulge along with parts of the US Air force! Hilarious.

        From mid-1942 onwards the British Army was the finest in the world, taking all in its path. From Egypt to Denmark with not one reverse.

      • Douglas Self says:

        You’ve completely forgotten about Market-Garden, Walcheren Island, the attempt to take the Greek Dodecanese Islands, the majority of the Italian campaign from late 1943 onwards, Imphal…not ONE reversal? John, you’re one ‘self’-deluded old sot…(but don’t blame me, I actually READ history, and don’t rely on bilious movies, and last election, voted for Kodos!)

        https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Simpsons/Season_8#Citizen_Kang

        And ONE US army was put under the 21st AG (the Ninth under “Big Bill” Simpson, not two). The US First and Third Armies, with the Fifteenth being formed in France as a reserve, remained in Bradley’s 12th AG. Sixth AG, under Devers, stayed with Sandy Patch’s Seventh Army (which Patton had commanded in Sicily, and was used for the “Anvil” landing operation on the French Riviera coast) and DeLattre’s French First Army.

        The campaign which, after D-Day, was largely forgotten, but was a veritable hodge-podge of UK Commonwealth and “pre-UN” forces, in Italy, was, after Monty left to plan Overlord in December 1943, had a Brit as it’s overall commander always, first Maitland, then Harold Alexander. Considering how many Canadians, Anzacs, South Africans, and India Raj troopers were in Eighth Army’s sector, would seem appropriate. Even Mark Clark’s Fifth Army had fairly sizable contingents from Mexico and Brazil, as well as the famous 442nd Nisei regiment.

      • John says:

        Oh my God he is using Wiki. The US First and Ninth armies were put under Montgomery. The Ninth until just about the end of the war.

        The British did not take ground, stabilise the situation and have any ground taken from them – in short retreating.

        No retreating in Market Garden. The Germans never retook one inch of ground. The salient was fleshed out with the US 7th Armour was sent into Overloon. They had to be pulled out they were so bad. The British were sent in to take the town.

      • John says:

        You have not got a clue. A Hollywood history buff.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        It was a joint Allied effort and at different times, American generals had command of British units. I never said the American Army was superior. I only pointed out that the British Army was far from invincible and also suffered humiliating defeats. They had several reverses, both in Asia and in the West.

      • John says:

        From mid 1942 the British army took all in its path. American generals were little more than amateurs as their record shows, with many being buffoons.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        You forget Caen, Market Garden and the disaster in the Greek Islands. The British Army was not invincible. No army is.

      • John says:

        One problem that has bedevilled any objective study of Anglo-US military history in the post-war decades is the tendency of some US commanders and many US historians to play the ‘British’ or ‘Montgomery’ card in order to conceal some glaring American blunder. Omar Bradley’s disastrous failure to provide adequate armoured support for the US divisions landing on Omaha on D-Day, with the terrible losses thus caused to the infantry companies of the 1st and 29th Divisions, have been largely expunged from the public mind — at least in the United States — by constant harping about the British or ‘Montgomery’s failure to take Caen on D-Day — a failure that turned out to have no strategic significance whatsoever.

        Nor is Omaha the only example. As we have seen in earlier chapters, harping on about the ‘slowness’ of XXX Corps or the ‘flawed’ plan of General Urquhart at Arnhem, has successfully diverted critical minds from the cock-up in command that prevented the 82nd Division from either taking the Nijmegen bridge on the first day of the attack or avoiding a frontal attack across the Waal in borrowed boats three days later.

        It appears that all that was necessary to avoid critical press comment in the USA and any unwelcome Congressional interest in the competence of any American commander, was to murmur ‘the British’ or — better still — ‘Montgomery’, and critical comment in the USA either subsided or went unvoiced.
        – Neillands, Robin. The Battle for the Rhine 1944

        The fact is, that XXX Corps were not slow, reaching Nijmegen ahead of schedule. Urquart’s paras took one end of the Arnhem bridge preventing its use by the Germans. If the US 82nd had taken the Nijmegen bridge immediately XXX Corps would have been in Arnhem on time relieving the paras and fully securing the bridge completing the operation. The 82nd never, with XXX Corps having to take the bridge themselves. The 82nd were the failure point.

        Caen was a nice to have objective, but Monty saw no need to tie up vital resources on a strategically unimportant target. As Neillands stated it was of “no strategic significance whatsoever.”

        Neillands highlights the glaring untruths of the US press and historians.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        And British revisionists insist that they won WWII in the West despite American help instead of because of it. Like it or not, you needed us and we needed you. Neither army was an invincible war machine. If our countries had not worked together, the God-accursed Soviets would have conquered all of Continental Europe.

      • John says:

        The USA assessed in October 1941 that the British and Soviets would beat the Germans without USA intervention.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        They were wrong. It was wishful thinking. The fear was that the god-accursed Russians would overrun the entire continent, which would have happened without the US. They also didn’t think the Japanese were a serious threat.

      • John says:

        Your opinions do not count, especially yours. Look at 1hr 14 mins:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79KU997m9o4&t=4452s

      • John says:

        You must stop making things up.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        You have to stop taking whatever is giving you hallucinations.

      • John says:

        America helped itself. The Japanese wiped out large parts of their Pacific fleet then the Germans declared war on them.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        And the Japanese also conquered Hong Kong and Malaya, not to mention sinking two of Britain’s most important ships in Asia. the British were perfectly willing to stay put in the “sitzkrieg,” hoping Germany would back down.

      • John says:

        The point is the USA, who never did anything for anyone out of the goodness of their hearts.

      • John says:

        Montgomery was in command of “all” armies in Normandy, including US armies. The fact is the Americans were a very mediocre army, with not one general that stood out. In Normandy Monty who was in charge of “all” armies, assessed the US armies giving them primarily an infantry role. If they faced mass German armour they would have been annihilated. The British stood still at Caen drawing in German armour then grinding it up, destroying 90% of it at Caen. The highest concentration of German armour in WW2 was at Caen. Monty’s plan was to draw German armour onto the British lines a allowing the US armies to swing around ten break out. That happened. Bradley wrote that:
        “The British and Canadian armies were to decoy the enemy reserves and draw them to their front on the extreme eastern edge of the Allied beachhead. Thus, while Monty taunted the enemy at Caen, we (the Americans)were to make our break on the long roundabout road to Paris. When reckoned in terms of national pride, this British decoy mission became a sacrificial one, for while we tramped around the outside flank, the British were to sit in place and pin down the Germans. Yet strategically it fitted into a logical division of labors, for it was towards Caen that the enemy reserves would race once the alarm was sounded”.

        Patton (read Harry Yeides on this buffoon) moved 10 miles in three months in Lorraine taking 52,000 casualties against a 2nd rate army with the result being a German defensive victory. Hurtgen Forest was a German defensive victory. The only retreat in WW2 in 1944/45 by any Allied army was the US in the Ardennes offensive, taking 100,000 casualties. Near 200,000 US casualties in those three operations alone.

        Monty had to take control of the US First and Ninth armies when the Germans pounded into US lines at the Bulge, keeping the Ninth until near the end of WW2. The British XXX Corps advanced 60 miles in a few days in Market Garden. No other army in late 1944-45 moved so fast – and that was only a corps in the under-resourced Market Garden operation.

        Monty never suffered a reverse moving 1,000 miles through nine countries from Egypt to Denmark taking all in his path. He was a general over generals. Montgomery was by far most successful western allied commander of WW2. Monty fought more battles, took more ground and engaged more elite German divisions than any other general. Monty commanded “all” the Normandy ground forces, being the man the Americans ran to in the German Ardennes offensive. No other general in the western allied armies possessed his experience in dealing with the Germans or his expertise.

        Monty stopped the Germans in every event they attacked him.
        ♦ August 1942 – Alem el Halfa
        ♦ October 1942 – El Alamein
        ♦ March 1943 – Medenine
        ♦ June 1944 – Normandy
        ♦ Sept/Oct 1944 – Holland
        ♦ December 1944 – Battle of the Bulge

        Not on one occasion were Monty’s ground armies, including US armies under his control, pushed back into a retreat by the Germans.

        Eisenhower:
        ‘General Montgomery is a very able, dynamic type of army commander’.

        Eisenhower on D-Day and Normandy:
        ‘He got us there and he kept us there’.

        General Günther Blumentritt:
        ‘Field Marshall Montgomery was the one general who never suffered a reverse’

        Genral Hasso von Manteuffel on the Bulge:
        ‘The operations of the American 1st Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery’s contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough’.

        Patton on Monty:
        ‘small,very alert, wonderfully conceited, and the best soldier – or so it seems – I have met in this war’.

        American Major General Matt Ridgway commander of the US XVIII Airborne Corps, 17 Jan 1945
        “It has been an honored privilege and a very great personal pleasure to have served, even so briefly, under your distinguished leadership [Montgomery]. To the gifted professional guidance you at once gave me, was added to your own consummate courtesy and consideration. I am deeply grateful for both. My warm and sincere good wishes will follow you and with them the hope of again serving with you in pursuit of a common goal”.

      • John says:

        The Americans were Britain’s Italians.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        No, because they usually fought well and won most of their battles. You forget the British defeats and fall back on revisionist cliches.

      • John says:

        From 1942 onwards the finest army in the world was the British. Not one reverse.

      • John says:

        Dunkirk was not a defeat, it was an evacuation – like the US evacuation of Viet Nam – helicopters from the roof, etc. Pushing them into the sea, etc. The British won the Battle of Dunkirk.
        The Germans for nearly two years tried to defeat the British in North Africa and failed, being driven out.

        The American were responsible for the failure of Market Garden. The 82nd failed to seize Nijmegen bridge on d-day. The 101st failed to take the Son bridge. XXX Corps had to run over a Bailey bridge. The 82nd failed to take the Nijmegen bridge. XXX Corps had to take the bridge for them. The operation was planned by mainly Americans.

        The British sent in an army of 1.6 million into Burma. And the British Pacific Fleet supported the US Marines off Okinawa.

        The only allied defeat in the 1944-45 timeframe was the US armies at the Bulge with 100,000 casualties.

        US high command was full of buffoons.

      • Douglas Self says:

        I would say the haul of perfectly serviceable equipment at Dunkirk in wake of that “evacuation” attested that it was not only a defeat, it was a DEBACLE. And even that was well paid for by TWO heroic and adroit actions: (1) the stand at Lille by the French First Army, denying the Germans a critical rail and road junction necessary to press an assault on Dunkirk, and (2) a timely and brilliantly improvised British armored counter-attack at Aaras, which sacrificed their tank park of Matildas which otherwise would have been left on the beaches anyway. This attack just about caused Rommel to wet his pants, believing his 7th

      • John says:

        The Germans got very few serviceable vehicles at Dunkirk. They had to cannibalise wrecks to make some complete vehicles. All tyres were slashed and engines run dry of oil, radiators holed, etc. They got shells, which were of no use to them. But did equip complete German units with Lee Enfield rifles.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        You don’t evacuate because you’ve won. The British and the Americans, fighting as Allies won WWII in Western Europe and the Asia/Pacific Theater. But both suffered defeats along the way, sometimes humiliating ones. That cannot be denied.

      • John says:

        Dunkirk was not a defeat. That is plain to see. The BEF was only 9% of all allied troops. Through Ultra knowing the German position, and knowing the French collapsed in front and to the side of them, and knowing how bad the French high command was, the British decided to take their men men back home. They did.

        The Germans tried and failed to annihilate the British in the Dunkirk Pocket.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        I repeat, you don’t evacuate because you were victorious. Even Churchill admitted it was no great victory and BEF defeats in France in 1940 are well documented.

      • John says:

        The Battle of Dunkirk was won by the British.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        Even Churchill didn’t claim that. They just managed to escape successfully and left 30,000 men behind.

      • John says:

        Churchill never claimed it wasn’t either. The 30,000 were not in the Dunkirk pocket. The battle for the Dunkirk pocket was won by the British with French support.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        If they had won, they would not have evacuated, and Churchill did indeed not want people to regard the Dunkirk evacuation as a great victory. If not for the heroic holding action of 35,000 French soldiers, the BEF and their allies might well have been wiped out.

      • John says:

        The aim of the British was to evacuate hundreds of thousands of troops from the Dunkirk pocket. The aim of the Germans was to annihilate the British, French and Belgians in the pocket. A battle ensued. The British achieved their aims, the Germans never. The British won.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        Is there no end to your excuses? The British Army was NOT invincible. They lost some major battles, just as the Americans and the Soviets did. They evacuated Dunkirk to avoid being wiped out. You want to call it a strategic withdrawal, fine, but it was NOT a victory.

      • John says:

        You are such an idiot. There was a battle named the Battle of Dunkirk. The British won it. Now read back on that and move your lips as you read as will make it better for you.

      • John says:

        Simple one, from mid-1942 onwards the British Army was invincible. Never suffered a reverse. Simple for even you to understand.

      • John says:

        The aim of the Battle of Dunkirk was an evacuation, you dumbo. The Germans were trying to prevent it and failed. What a Dork!

      • John says:

        You must stop making all this things up.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        You have to stop taking whatever is giving you these delusions.

      • John says:

        You are making things up again.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        This is the plot calling the kettle black. Churchill made a speech warning the British people that Dunkirk should not be over-celebrated. He knew that the UK had come very close to losing the war.

      • John says:

        The British won the Battle of Dunkirk.

      • Douglas Self says:

        John, Sir Winston Churchill would vehemently disagree with you. “Wars are NOT won by EVACUATIONS.” Considering the haul of war booty left on the beach at Dunkirk, I would call it a resounding German victory, your attempts to spin it, in light of that well-produced movie last year which was an absolute insult to history (as well as the one with Churchill portrayed by Brian Cox), is comical. The only things that the UK can claim as an upside at Dunkirk are that the MEN of the BEF were saved (not just numbers, but their skills were desperately needed to rebuild the British Army), and that the RAF’s success at holding off the Luftwaffe (which was still operating from its bases east of the Rhine and therefore at its operational limits, while the Kent coast is but 25 miles from Dunquerque, sorry, ol’ boy, an “English” king hasn’t ruled that turf in over 600 years, and even those that did, the House of Plantagenet, mainly spoke FRENCH) gave them hope that they could still fend them off when they moved their bases to France…which the RAF DID.

      • John says:

        Churchill’s comment was relating to beating the Germans at Dunkirk. The British won the Battle of Dunkirk also inflicting the first defeat of the Luftwaffe. He wanted to solidify and prepare the nation for the next phase which was attacking the Germans where they could. Not sit back and congratulate themselves on winning. The British won the Battle of Dunkirk.

        All vehicles were wrecked with engines run with no oil and tyres slashed. Piers were made by running lines of trucks two abreast out into the sea. The Germans after Dunkirk were not running around in 1000s of British made vehicles. They got very few which were running. They would not use them as they did not have the parts backup. The Germans were not going to use many 1000s of men stripping vehicles for used parts complete with wear, storing and logging them and creating a whole new inventory trail, to make up a few vehicles, which also needs more men to build. They used them for scrap, which was what they were.

        All British material losses were made up by September as industry was working 24/7 – two months. Also the new equipment was the latest designs. Read British War Production by Postan. British industry was the same size as Germany’s. The regular army was 2 million men with reservists 1 million. That is not taking into account empire troops.

      • John says:

        The British won the Battle of Dunkirk.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        By running away to Great Britain? It was a successful evacuation, and that’s all. By your logic, the Japanese won the Battle of Guadalcanal.

      • John says:

        The British won the Battle of Dunkirk..

      • Douglas Self says:

        Monty “bailed out” the Americans in the Ardennes? As you Limeys more politely put it, “Rubbish!”. Neither UK nor Commonwealth forces directly participated in that battle. Elements of Horrock’s XXX Corps were dispatched to the west bank of the Meuse, to counter a crossing of VonManteuffel’s Fifth Panzer Army that never happened, as his Panzer were stopped about 5 km shy of the river, due to fuel shortages and their bridging equipment tied up in rear area traffic, as well as a decisive counterattack by the US 2nd Armored (“Hell on Wheels”). The only reason that Monty had ANYTHING to do with the “Battle of the Bulge” was that Ike placed the US Ninth Army under “Big Bill” Simpson under the 21st Army Group, due to the “Bulge” which strained communication with Bradley’s 12th AG HQ.
        Else, the Ardennes was a battle fought and WON by the Yanks without any significant help from Monty.

      • John says:

        I will let the Germans have the first say on the Bulge:
        Genral Hasso von Manteuffel:
        ‘The operations o
        f the American First Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery’s contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough’.

        By November 1944, British SHEAF officer, Strong, noted that there was a possibility of a German counter-offensive in the Ardennes or the Vosges. Strong went to personally warn Bradley at his HQ, who said, “let ’em come”.

        Montgomery on hearing of the attack immediately took British forces to the Meuse to prevent any German forces from making a bridgehead, securing the rear. He was prepared to halt their advance and attack them. This was while Eisenhower and Bradley were doing nothing.

        “Even by 19 December, three days into the offensive, no overall plan had emerged from 12th Army Group or SHAEF, other than the decision to send Patton’s forces north to Bastogne. Overall, the Ardennes battle was in urgent need of grip.
        General Hodges had yet to see Bradley or receive more than the sketchiest orders from his Army Group commander.”

        – Neillands, Robin. The Battle for the Rhine 1944

        On 20 December, Montgomery had sent a signal to Alanbrooke regarding the US forces:
        “Not good… definite lack of grip and control. I have heard nothing from Ike or Bradley and had no orders or requests of any sort. My own opinion is that the American forces have been cut in half and the Germans can reach the Meuse at Namur without opposition.”

        Omar Bradley, commander of the 12th Army Group, did very little:
        16 Dec, the first day, for 12 hours did nothing.
        16 Dec, after 12 hours, he sent two armoured divisions from the flanking Ninth and Third Armies.
        17 Dec, after 24 Hours, he then called in two US airborne divisions from Champagne.
        18 Dec, he ordered Patton to halt his pending offensive in the Saar.
        18 Dec, he had still not established contact with the First Army, while Monty had.
        19 Dec, he withdrew divisions from the Aachen front to shore up the Ardennes.
        19 Dec, he had still not produced an overall defensive plan.
        19 Dec, the Supreme Commander intervened directly late in the day.
        20 Dec, Eisenhower telephoned Montgomery telling him to take command and of the US First and Ninth Armies.

        While all this dillying by Bradley was going on, German armies were pounding forward into his lines.

        British SHEAF officer Whiteley & American officer Betts visited the U.S. First Army HQ seeing the shambles. Strong, Whiteley, and Betts recommended that command of the armies north of the Ardennes be transferred from Bradley to Montgomery. Unfortunately only two British officers approached Beddel Smith of their recommendations, who immediately fired the pair, claiming it was a nationalistic thing. The next morning, Beddel Smith apologized seeing the three were right, recommending to Eisenhower to bring in Monty.

        During the Battle of the Bulge Eisenhower was stuck self imprisoned in his HQ in des-res Versailles near Paris in fear of German paratroopers wearing US uniforms with the objective to kill allied generals. He had remained locked up more than 30 days without sending a single message or order to Montgomery, and that is when he thought he was doing ground control of the campaign, when in effect Montgomery was in control as two US armies had to be put under his control after the German attack, the US First and Ninth armies. Coningham of the RAF had to take control of US air force units. The Ninth stayed under Monty’s control until the end of the war, just about.

        And yet biased American authors such as Stephen Ambrose said that Eisenhower took control of the Bulge and made the battle his veneering it as an all American victory. Ambrose completely falsified history. The only thing Eisenhower did was tell Monty to get control of two out of control US armies, tell the US 101st to go to Bastogne (who were in northern France after the buffer Market Garden was created) and men under Bradley to counterattack. That is it.

      • John says:

        Patton was an average US general, like Simpson, Patch, Hodges, etc. No more.
        The Allied armies closing the Falaise pocket needed to liaise, with those held back giving way to any Allied force that could get ahead, regardless of boundaries, provided the situation was clear. On August 16, realising that his forces were not able to get forward quickly, Canadian General Crerar attempted to liaise, writing a personal letter to Patton attempting to establish some effective contact between their two headquarters and establish army boundaries. He received a very unhelpful answer. Crerar sent an officer and some signal equipment to Patton’s HQ, asking for details of Patton’s intentions and inviting Patton to send an American liaison officer to the Canadian First Army HQ for the same purpose. The Canadian officer could not find Patton, relaying the letter via the U.S. First Army HQ to Third Army HQ. Patton’s response was ‘Direct liaison not permitted. Liaison on Army Group level only except corps artillery. Awaiting arrival signal equipment before returning.’ The officer returned to Crerar’s HQ on with nothing achieved. Patton refused to liaise with other allied armies, exasperating a critical situation at Falaise.

        Patton sped away to the east, heading for Dreux, Chartres and Orléans with none of these laying in the path of the German retreat from Falaise going off across territory empty of Germans, gaining ground rapidly and capturing a quantity of newspaper headlines rather than Germans. This was another whirlwind Patton advance – against negligible opposition – but while Patton disappeared towards the east in empty territory the Canadians were still heavily engaged in the battle for Falaise – Operation Tractable. Instead of moving east to cut retreating Germans at the Seine, Patton ran off to Paris to parade in front of cameras – Montgomery did not go to the victory celebrations in Paris being too busy fighting a war. American author John Ellis in Brute Force described Patton’s dash across northern France as “a triumphal procession than an actual military offensive.”

        After the Normandy breakout Montgomery’s 21st Army Group reached Brussels and Antwerp, taking the port intact, within days. Montgomery wanted a forty division thrust into Germany not a limp wristed broad-front. Patton’s XX Corps was halted at Metz in The Lorraine about the same time that Montgomery reached Brussels, with his XII Corps stopped by a German counter-attack at Luneville. Patton’s glory days of rapid advances against slight opposition were over, the Germans were starting to fight back, with a very costly struggle for Lorraine about to begin, one which resulted in a German defensive victory and 52,000 U.S. casualties. Patton never went into Germany via Lorraine, he moved north and went through via Luxembourg. A 1985 U.S. Army report castigates Patton, and indirectly Eisenhower for allowing Patton to do what he did.

        Patton at Metz advanced 10 miles in three months. The poorly devised Panzer Brigade concept was deployed there with green German troops. The Panzer Brigades were a rushed concept attempting to plug the gaps while the proper panzer divisions were re-fitting and rebuilt after the summer 1944 battles. The Panzer Brigades had green crews with little time to train, did not know their tanks properly, had no recon elements and didn’t even meet their unit commander until his arrival at the front. These were not elite forces filled with eyes & ears battalions.

        17th SS were not amongst the premier Waffen SS panzer divisions. It was not even a panzer division but a panzer grenadier division, equipped only with assault guns not tanks, with only a quarter of the number of AFVs as a panzer division. The 17th SS was badly mauled in Normandy and not up to strength in The Lorraine.

        ♦ Patton’s Third Army was almost always where the best German divisions in the west were NOT.
        ♦ Who did the 3rd Army engage?
        ♦ Who did the 3rd Army defeat?
        ♦ Patton never once faced a full strength Waffen SS panzer division nor a Tiger battalion.

        In The Lorraine, the 3rd Army faced a rabble. Even the German commander of Army Group G in The Lorraine, Hermann Balck, who took command in September 1944 said:
        “I have never been in command of such irregularly assembled and ill-equipped troops. The fact that we have been able to straighten out the situation again…can only be attributed to the bad and hesitating command of the Americans.”
        Patton was mostly facing a second rate rabble in The Lorraine.

        Patton was neither on the advance nor being heavily engaged at the time he turned north to Bastogne when the Germans pounded through US lines in the Ardennes. The road from Luxembourg to Bastogne saw few German forces, with Bastogne being on the very southern German flank, their focus was west. Only when Patton neared Bastogne did he engage some German armour but not a great deal at all. Patton’s ride to Bastogne was mainly through US held territory. The Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade was not one of the best German armoured units with about 80 tanks, while 26th Volks-Grenadier only had about 12 Hetzers, and the small element of Panzer Lehr (Kampfgruppe 901) left behind only had a small number of tanks operational. Patton did not have to smash through full panzer divisions or Tiger battalions on his way to Bastogne. Patton’s armoured forces outnumbered the Germans by at least 6 to 1.

        Patton faced very little German armour when he broke through to Bastogne because the vast majority of the German 5th Panzer Army had already left Bastogne in their rear moving westwards to the River Meuse. They were engaging forces under Montgomery’s 21st Army Group. Leading elements were engaging the Americans and British under Montgomery’s command near Dinant by the Meuse. Monty’s armies halted the German advance and pushed them back.

        On the night of the 22 December 1944, Patton ordered Combat Command B of 4th Armored Division to advance through the village of Chaumont in the night. A small number of German troops with anti tank weapons opened up with the American attack stopping and pulling back. The next day fighter bombers strafed the village of Chaumont weakening the defenders enabling the attack to resume the next afternoon. However, a German counter attack north of Chaumont knocked out 12 Shermans with Combat Command B retreating once again. It took Patton almost THREE DAYS just to get through the village of Chaumont. Patton’s forces arrived at Chaumont late on the 22nd December. They didn’t get through Chaumont village until Christmas Day, the 25th! Hardly racing at breakneck speed.

        Patton had less than 20 km of German held ground to cover during his actual _’attack’_ towards Bastogne, with the vast majority of his move towards Bastogne through American held lines devoid of the enemy. His start line for the attack was at Vaux-les-Rosieres, just 15km southwest of Bastogne and yet he still took him five days to get through to Bastogne.

        In Normandy in 1944, the panzer divisions had been largely worn down, primarily by the British and Canadians around Caen. The First US Army around St Lo then Mortain helped a little. Over 90% of German armour was destroyed by the British. Once again, Patton faced very little opposition in his break out in Operation Cobra performing mainly an infantry role. Nor did Patton advance any quicker across eastern France mainly devoid of German troops, than the British and Canadians did, who were in Brussels by early September seizing the vital port of Antwerp intact. This eastern triumphal dash devoid of German forces was the ride the U.S. media claimed Patton was some sort master of fast moving armour.

        Patton repeatedly denigrated his subordinates.
        ♦ In Sicily he castigated Omar Bradley for the tactics Bradley’s II Corps were employing.
        ♦ He accused the commander of 3rd Infantry Division, Truscott, of being “afraid to fight”.
        ♦ In the Ardennes he castigated Middleton of the U.S. VIII Corps and Millikin of the U.S. III Corps.
        ♦ When his advance from Bastogne to Houffalize stalled he criticised the 11th Armoured Division for being “very green and taking unnecessary casualties to no effect”.
        ♦ He called the 17th Airborne Division “hysterical” in reporting their losses.

        After the German attack in the Ardennes, US air force units were put under Coningham of the RAF. Coningham, gave Patton massive ground attack plane support and he still stalled. Patton’s failure to concentrate his forces on a narrow front and his decision to commit two green divisions to battle without adequate reconnaissance resulted in his stall. Patton rarely took any responsibility for his own failures. It was always somebody else at fault, including his subordinates. A poor general who thought he was reincarnated. Oh, and wore cowboy guns.

        Patton detested Hodges, did not like Bradley disobeying his orders, and Eisenhower s orders. He also hated Montgomery. About the only person he ever liked was himself.

        Read:
        Monty and Patton: Two Paths to Victory by Michael Reynolds
        Fighting Patton: George S. Patton Jr. Through the Eyes of His Enemies by Harry Yeide

      • Dennis Romary says:

        IF YOU DO NOT WHAT GEN PATTON DID……FIND YOUR OWN WAR!

      • Thomas says:

        Butthurt Patton worshipper is butthurt over too much fact… I’d like to point to Sir Basil Lidell Hart’s illustrated history, where it’s explained in detail what Patton did wrong, including assaulting an injured soldier.

      • Gazzara5 says:

        That was a personal issue. We are discussing battle actions. Montgomery never physically assaulted anyone, but he was known for brow-beating.

      • Douglas Self says:

        Sir, I would hardly consider Basil Lidell Hart an unbiased source. His reviews of Monty, were such a thing reasonably suspected of the Field Marshal, would lead me to believe they were gay for each other, a not uncommon trait among Limey intellectuals.

      • John says:

        Well Patton didn’t much at all. Why are Americans so obsessed with this under-performing man?

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        Why are you so obsessed with bad-mouthing the Americans?

      • John says:

        I prefer the facts, not history by Hollywood.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        You care nothing about facts. It’s just that being upstaged by the Yanks wounds your vanity.

      • John says:

        I prefer the facts, not history by Hollywood.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        You can’t distinguish between facts and feelings. That’s why you’re a bigot.

      • John says:

        Another Aussie with the big chip.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        No, another Yankee with a healthy contempt for European condescension.

      • John says:

        So an even bigger chip. Keep watching Hollywood. You always win in them.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        You know not whereof you speak. So long, chump.

      • John says:

        Get your history from Spielberg eh!

      • John says:

        The Yanks were the Brits Italians.

      • Dennis Romary says:

        WHY ARE DOWN VOTES NOT REGISTERED HERE?

      • Douglas Self says:

        Even then, had he done more than the combat command that ultimately failed, the Third Army would have broken the German lines once they got across the Rhine sooner than they did. Simpson and Hodges had burst out of their bridgeheads over the Rhine, cut off Heeresgruppe B in the Ruhr, and raced across Germany to the Elbe against virtually no further opposition. Had Patton been allowed to join them, we could have easily taken Berlin, as likely even the SS would have given up their Fuhrer (or he’d have taken his own life even sooner or one of his deputies dispatched him) to surrender to the Americans rather than the Soviets. The meeting of the Americans and Soviets could have taken place at Kurstrin on the Oder instead of Torgau on the Elbe, and post-war history would have been far different.

      • John says:

        Simpson was under the command of Montgomery. The US Ninth Army was in the British 21st Army Group. The biggest push over the Rhine was by the British 21st Army group. The Ninth was mainly given an infantry role as they did not have the standard of armour to face top German armour.

      • Douglas Self says:

        This is a wrong assessment of Patton taking Palermo, INITIALLY against orders. In this case, Patton was correct, his supporting role of Monty wouldn’t get them to Messina any faster, and Palermo was ripe for the picking. Still, neither would cut off the Germans from escape, so in that sense, all it may have accomplished was shaving several days off the duration of the Sicily campaign.

        Where your criticism of Patton might be better levied is over the “Task Force Baum” fiasco in late March of 1945. Whether indeed it was an ill-disguised attempt to rescue Patton’s son-in-law, LTC John Waters, or merely an improvised raid, akin to what had been recently pulled off at Cabantuan in the Philippines, it’s net result was to get many men of that task force killed and the rest captured, with no “rescue” of any POWs. FWIW, Waters was shot in the backside and nearly bled to death; his life was saved by the clever improvisations of a German medic.

      • John says:

        In Sicily Alexander was in command not Montgomery. Monty had the Eight Army while Patton had the U.S. Seventh Army. Bradley was under Patton as a Corps commander. Patton was fired for hitting two sick men in hospital beds. The race to Messina? You have been taking too much notice of that poor 1970 Hollywood film, Patton, of which most was fiction.

        There was no race to Messina at all. Here is what Montgomery wrote to Alexander on July 19th 1943 in a letter in regards to Patton and Messina in Sicily:
        “..when the Americans have cut the coast road north of Petralia, one American division should develop a strong thrust eastwards towards Messina so as to stretch the enemy who are all Germans and possibly repeat the Bizerte (Tunisia) manoeuvre (I.e cut them off)”

        Monty also wrote in his own diary:
        “the Seventh American Army should develop two strong thrusts with (a) two divisions on Highway 120 and (b) two divisions on Highway 113 towards Messina. This was all agreed”
        Monty sent a message to Patton inviting him to come and discuss the capture of Messina. He offered, “Many congratulations to you and your gallant soldiers on securing Palermo and clearing up the western half of Sicily.” Privately Monty believed Patton’s Palermo escapade had been a completely wasted effort.

        Patton met Monty at Syracuse airfield. Mistrusting Montgomery’s intentions, Patton was astounded when Monty suggested that the Seventh Army should use both the major roads north of Mount Etna (Highways 113 and 120) in a drive to capture Messina. Monty went even further and suggested to Patton that his right hand, or southern, thrust might even cross the inter-Army boundary and strike for Taormina, cutting off the two German divisions facing the Eighth Army, with the Eighth Army taking a back seat.

        ‘Montgomery was heading for Messina too, but the German forces still on the island threw up a tough defence line and it was late July before Montgomery worked his way through them and resumed his advance. Fans of the movie ”Patton” think they know what happened next. Montgomery marched into Messina at the head of his triumphant troops – to find a smirking Patton waiting for him. Mr. D’Este assures us it didn’t happen that way. Patton was indeed trying to beat Montgomery to Messina, but Montgomery would not make a race of it. He wanted only to keep the Germans from escaping and realized Patton was in the best position to accomplish that. In fact he urged Patton to use roads assigned to the Eighth Army.’
        http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/27/bo…s-messina.html

        In Sicily Patton was moving in the west over ground the Germans had abandoned and still made heavy going of it. It was arranged that Patton gets to Messina first. His troops did taking the easy route while the British slogged it out with the Germans, reaching Messina only a few hours after Patton.

        General Taylor, the artillery commander of the 82nd Airborne, described the advance into north western Sicily as “a pleasure march, shaking hands with Italians asking, ‘How’s my brother Joe in Brooklyn?’ Taylor said it was the nicest war he had ever been in. It was extremely unpleasant for many of the U.S. troops who had to march over 100 miles through very rugged country in stifling heat and swirling dust.

        John Ellis author of Brute Force described Patton’s dash as a “much overrated” pursuit through Sicily as more of “a triumphal procession than an actual military offensive.”

        Bradley:
        “Patton was developing as an unpopular guy. He steamed about with great convoys of cars and great squads of cameramen … To George, tactics was simply a process of bulling ahead. Never seemed to think out a campaign. Seldom made a careful estimate of the situation. I thought him a shallow commander … I disliked the way he worked, upset tactical plans, interfered in my orders. His stubbornness on amphibious operations, parade plans into Messina sickened me and soured me on Patton. We learned how not to behave from Patton’s Seventh Army.”

        Bradley’s reference to “amphibious operations” was in relation to three landings on the north coast of Sicily during the advance to Messina. Patton did not interfere in the first successful landing, but he ordered the second to take place earlier than Bradley and Truscott wished, ending in a minor disaster. He ordered the third to take place despite the fact that the 3rd Division had already advanced beyond the landing site!

      • Douglas Self says:

        Patton’s contention was that speed and decisiveness in battle SAVED lives. He was usually more than correct.

      • steghorn21 says:

        As in Normandy, the British and Canadians did the unglamorous drudge work and Patton go the glory. Patton was a good cavalry general but failed whenever he met opposition. At Metz, he had no idea at all how to take the city. In Normandy, he faced virtually no opposition. as for the “slow” British, they defeated the mass of the German’s elite panzers and then did the 200 miles to Brussels in 4 days. As ever, the self-publicists like Patton and MacArthur get the most paragraphs in the history books.

      • Ernst Lindenberg says:

        I totally agree. There was never real earned magic on Patton.

      • Roko Komboko says:

        Don’t forget though that the germans went soft on the anglo-americans because their main fight and energy was against fhe soviets.

      • Douglas Self says:

        If anyone expended the lives of his soldiers to satisfy his ego, it was “Monty”. Patton saw an opportunity to take Palermo, turn the German right flank, and get to Messina (doing so ahead of his British rival was a bonus) to trap the Axis forces before they could retreat into Calabria. Contrary to what the movie portrays, Patton’s main movie was to inflict a decisive defeat on the Germans and Italians, one that might cause them to quit the war (Bagdolio had already deposed Mussolini at King Emmanuel’s behest and was looking for a graceful way out), not simply to best his Limey counterpart.

      • John says:

        You write complete nonsense.

      • Fair Dinkum says:

        You write complete bigotry.

      • John says:

        You write complete nonsense.

  15. Michael Sanches says:

    1. First, it is maxim of war that the sooner a war ends, the fewer casualties there will be (both military and civilian.) Regardless of the cost in lives to end a war (or campaign) two months earlier, there will be fewer deaths due to the shorter war or campaign. Overall, Patton saved lives.

    2. Monty was a great on defense and set piece battles. But, he didn’t know how to follow up a victory and kick the enemy when they were down. After the Falaise Gap victory, we could have taken the Low Countries with 3 boy scouts and a jeep. But, Monty waited a month and we paid heavily for the, by then, heavily defended dike system.

    3. Patton was a cavalry commander, a la Sherman. His creating the Falaise pocket was brilliant, his relief of Bastogne was, perhaps, the greatest manuever in WWII, and his conquest of Czeckoslovakia (which we gave to the Russians) was lightning fast. Patton constantly studied tank warfare in the years between the wars. Without Patton, Bastogne would have been overrun and by the end of the war, Russia would have conquered everything up to the French border (and maybe the north half of Italy.) This would not only have resulted in millions more dead, but would have resulted in a a united communist Germany, A Baltic Sea that was a Communist lake, as well as Communist Greece, Denmark, and maybe the Low Countries and half of Italy. Patton certainly saved the USA and the West from a lot of problems.

    Likewise, without Monty, Rommel would have probably taken Alexandria making the Eastern Med an Italian Lake. This may have resulted in a huge temptation for Turkey and Spain to join the Axis (although I think Attaturk and Franco would have declined to join the war.)

    They were both prima donnas. I think Patton sums it up best in the movie when he said that he knew they were both prima donnas and the problem was that Monty didn’t realize he (Monty) was also a prima donna.

    • John says:

      Oh no! He is quoting Hollywood!

      • Douglas Self says:

        The quote in the movie is from the biography authored by Carlo D’Este, whom served as an advisor to the producer of the epynmous movie.

  16. billy bob says:

    so he was used as a diversionary tactic prior to d-day because the germans figured he was ineffective…got it

  17. Poppy says:

    Men who served under Patton were proud of what 3rd Army had accomplished after D-Day. It not only shortened the war, it prevented the USSR from being able to overrun Europe. In Italy, the success of the Italian Campaign established American Bomber groups in Italy where they flew missions every day while the British flew from England every night. This effectively destroyed the German ability to wage war while the American War Industries reached historic output levels in quantity and quality. Additionally, the American casualties were kept low in spite of two theaters to fight in. European casualties were horrific, particularly the USSR. Their death toll accounts for their passionate political insistence to surround themselves with satellite nations. Unfortunately, Russia continues to subscribe to the WW2 mentality of Blood and Soil. This was demonstrated in Czechoslovakia, then Afghanistan, the Ukraine and the Crimea. Let’s not forget Cuba and the nuclear missiles that were being placed there. One party of the Mexican nuclear standoff wants to have better relations with Russia. Sounds a lot like Neville Chamberlain’s diplomacy with Adolph Hitler.

  18. Zorro says:

    He did his job as a soldier.

    Did his duty then went home.

  19. 1936benz says:

    My uncle served with Patton’s Third Army, and he absolutely hated Patton. I clearly remember him saying “That son-of-a-bitch kept us as miserable as the Germans did.” However, he was also proud of having served under him. Similar to how Stonewall Jackson’s troops felt about the “Stonewall Brigade” during the Civil War.

    • Douglas Self says:

      The movie snippet “I don’t want my men to LOVE me, I want them to FIGHT for me!” wasn’t necessarily literal but Patton did several times make statements to that effect.

  20. Ernst Lindenberg says:

    Patton’s lack of strategic wisdom is well known fact even though some mainstream historians (lacking critical thinking like Anthony Beevor) are repeating myth of his glamour. Patton had his last chance to become a super hero near Metz if he had realized how weak German right flank was. Instead of penetrating to north to direction of Luxemburg and Bitburg Patton started banging his head toward walls of Metz fortification and missing his great opportunity.

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  22. John says:

    Patton was an average US general, like Simpson, Patch, Hodges, etc. No more.
    “The Allied armies closing the pocket now needed to liaise, those held back giving way to any Allied force that could get ahead, regardless of boundaries – provided the situation was clear. On August 16, realising that his forces were not able to get forward quickly, General Crerar attempted to do this, writing a personal letter to Patton in an attempt to establish some effective contact between their two headquarters and sort out the question of Army boundaries, only to get a very dusty and unhelpful answer. Crerar sent an officer, Major A. M. Irving, and some signal equipment to Patton’s HQ, asking for details of Patton’s intentions intentions and inviting Patton to send an American liaison officer to the Canadian First Army HQ for the same purpose.

    Irving located but could not find Patton; he did, however, reach the First Army HQ and delivered Crerar’s letter which was duly relayed to Third Army HQ. Patton’s response is encapsulated in the message sent back by Irving to Canadian First Army; ‘Direct liaison not permitted. Liaison on Army Group level only except corps artillery. Awaiting arrival signal equipment before returning.’ Irving returned to Crerar’s HQ on August 20, with nothing achieved and while such uncooperative attitudes prevailed at the front line, it is hardly surprising that the moves of the Allied armies on Trun and Chambois remained hesitant.”
    – Neillands, Robin. The Battle of Normandy 1944

    Patton refused to liaise with other allied armies, exasperating a critical situation.

    “This advance duly began at 0630hrs on August 18 which, as the Canadian Official History remarks,16 ‘was a day and a half after Montgomery had issued the order for the Canadians to close the gap at Trun, and four and a half days after Patton had been stopped at the Third Army boundary’. During that time, says the Canadian History, the Canadians had been ‘fighting down from the north with painful slowness’ and the Germans had been making their way east through the Falaise gap. They were not, however, unimpeded; the tactical air forces and Allied artillery were already taking a fearful toll of the German columns on the roads heading east past Falaise.

    Patton’s corps duly surged away to the east, heading for Dreux, Chartres and Orléans respectively. None of these places lay in the path of the German retreat from Normandy: only Dreux is close to the Seine, Chartres is on the Beauce plain, south-east of Paris, and Orléans is on the river Loire. It appears that Patton had given up any attempt to head off the German retreat to the Seine and gone off across territory empty of enemy, gaining ground rapidly and capturing a quantity of newspaper headlines. This would be another whirlwind Patton advance – against negligible opposition – but while Patton disappeared towards the east the Canadians were still heavily engaged in the new battle for Falaise – Operation Tractable – which had begun on August 14 and was making good progress.”
    – Neillands, Robin. The Battle of Normandy 1944

    Instead of moving east to cut retreating Germans at the Seine, Patton ran off to Paris. John Ellis in Brute Force described Patton’s dash across northern France as well as his earlier “much overrated” pursuit through Sicily as more of “a triumphal procession than an actual military offensive.”

    Patton at Metz advanced 10 miles in three months. The poorly devised Panzer Brigade concept was deployed there with green German troops. The Panzer Brigades were a rushed concept attempting to plug the gaps while the proper panzer divisions were re-fitting and rebuilt after the summer 1944 battles.

    The Panzer Brigades had green crews with little time to train, did not know their tanks properly, had no recon elements and didn’t even meet their unit commander until his arrival at the front. These were not elite forces.

    17th SS were not amongst the premier Waffen SS panzer divisions. It was not even a panzer division but a panzer grenadier division, equipped only with assault guns not tanks, with only a quarter of the number of AFVs as a panzer division. The 17th SS was badly mauled in Normandy and not up to strength at Arracourt in The Lorraine.

    Patton’s Third Army was almost always where the best German divisions in the west were NOT.

    ♦ Who did the 3rd Army engage?
    ♦ Who did the 3rd Army defeat?
    ♦ Patton never once faced a full strength
    Waffen SS panzer division nor a
    Tiger battalion.

    In The Lorraine, the 3rd Army faced a rabble. Even the German commander of Army Group G in The Lorraine, Hermann Balck, who took command in September 1944 said:

    “I have never been in command of such irregularly
    assembled and ill-equipped troops. The fact that
    we have been able to straighten out the situation
    again…can only be attributed to the bad and hesitating
    command of the Americans.”

    Patton was mostly facing a second rate rabble in The Lorraine.

    Patton was neither on the advance nor being heavily engaged at the time he turned north to Bastogne when the Germans pounded through US lines in the Ardennes. The road from Luxembourg to Bastogne saw few German forces, with Bastogne being on the very southern German flank, their focus was west. Only when Patton neared Bastogne did he engage some German armour but not a great deal at all. Patton’s ride to Bastogne was mainly through US held territory. The Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade was not one of the best German armoured units with about 80 tanks, while 26th Volks-Grenadier only had about 12 Hetzers, and the small element of Panzer Lehr (Kampfgruppe 901) left behind only had a small number of tanks operational. Patton did not have to smash through full panzer divisions or Tiger battalions on his way to Bastogne. Patton’s armoured forces outnumbered the Germans by at least 6 to 1.

    Patton faced very little German armour when he broke through to Bastogne because the vast majority of the German 5th Panzer Army had already left Bastogne in their rear moving westwards to the River Meuse. They were engaging forces under Montgomery’s 21st Army Group. Leading elements were engaging the Americans and British under Montgomery’s command near Dinant by the Meuse. Monty’s armies halted the German advance and pushed them back.

    On the night of the 22 December 1944, Patton ordered Combat Command B of 4th Armored Division to advance through the village of Chaumont in the night. A small number of German troops with anti tank weapons opened up with the American attack stopping and pulling back. The next day fighter bombers strafed the village of Chaumont weakening the defenders enabling the attack to resume the next afternoon. However, a German counter attack north of Chaumont knocked out 12 Shermans with Combat Command B retreating once again. It took Patton almost THREE DAYS just to get through the village of Chaumont. Patton’s forces arrived at Chaumont late on the 22nd December. They didn’t get through Chaumont village until Christmas Day, the 25th! Hardly racing at breakneck speed.

    Patton had less than 20 km of German held ground to cover during his actual ‘attack’ towards Bastogne, with the vast majority of his move towards Bastogne through American held lines devoid of the enemy. His start line for the attack was at Vaux-les-Rosieres, just 15km southwest of Bastogne and yet he still took him five days to get through to Bastogne.

    In Normandy in 1944, the panzer divisions had been largely worn down, primarily by the British and Canadians around Caen. The First US Army around St Lo then Mortain helped a little. Over 90% of German armour was destroyed by the British. Once again, Patton faced very little opposition in his break out in Operation Cobra performing mainly an infantry role. Nor did Patton advance any quicker across eastern France mainly devoid of German troops, than the British and Canadians did, who were in Brussels by early September seizing the vital port of Antwerp intact. This eastern dash devoid of German forces was the ride the US media claimed Patton was some sort master of fast moving armour.

    Patton repeatedly denigrated his subordinates.
    ♦ In Sicily he castigated Omar Bradley for the tactics
    Bradley’s II Corps were employing
    ♦ He accused the commander of 3rd Infantry Division,
    Truscott of being “afraid to fight”.
    ♦ In the Ardennes he castigated Middleton of the
    US VIII Corps and Millikin of the US III Corps.
    ♦ When his advance from Bastogne to Houffalize
    stalled he criticised the 11th Armoured Division for being
    “very green and taking unnecessary casualties to no effect”.
    ♦ He called the 17th Airborne Division “hysterical” in
    reporting their losses.

    After the German attack in the Ardennes, US air force units were put under Coningham of the RAF. Coningham, gave Patton massive ground attack plane support and he still stalled. Patton’s failure to concentrate his forces on a narrow front and his decision to commit two green divisions to battle without adequate reconnaissance resulted in his stall. Patton rarely took any responsibility for his own failures. It was always somebody else at fault, including his subordinates. A poor general who thought he was reincarnated. Oh, and wore cowboy guns.

    Patton detested Hodges, did not like Bradley disobeying his orders, and Eisenhowers orders. He also hated Montgomery. About the only person he ever liked was himself.

    Read: Monty and Patton: Two Paths to Victory by Michael Reynolds and
    Fighting Patton: George S. Patton Jr. Through the Eyes of His Enemies by Harry Yeide

  23. Chillbizzee says:

    Fascinating perspectives. I have often wondered what the English thought of Monty, it sounds like he is well respected. I too wondered of their opinion of Patton, it sounds quite the opposite at least from these responses. It does appear that bias is strong in both camps. Both seem to focus on their characters, easily dismissed for their egoistic affectations, pearl handled revolvers, canes and what not.

    And where the actual fighting was discussed it would appear Monty got all the bad assignments but did quite well, while Patton got the easy ones and was sub par even at those. Proof of this was even given with the high loss of life. Doesn’t strike me as particularly easy. I think both sides are well aware of the character flaws of these generals, however could we admit that those same characters and their flaws are the ones that succeeded?
    You might say they were narcissists, you might say many powerful leaders have been. Some say our current leader is one. What one science calls a pathology might be what’s needed in certain periods.

    After learning of the French Generals ineptitude as well as the criminal ineptitude they and the British generals possessed in WWI, I’d say Montgomery was quite an improvement and am thankful he and Patton were as effective as they were. Hooray for our team.

  24. Ernst Lindenberg says:

    Myth of Patton’s military genius should finally be debunked. Even if his fanboys are weeping.

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