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American Equipment And Generals Suck, Part Whatever


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#521 Rich

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 1149 AM

It seems unkind to compare Montgomery with Bradley as Montgomery was unquestionably the better General.

 

Oh, I agree completely, but I was talking about generalship. I meant the toxic personalities that underlay the public persona of each. Bradley in many ways was a manipulative, vindictive, little snot whose public persona was carefully crafted by PR. What made it especially bad was that as the last living five-star, in a similar way to Monty, he got to massage the narrative to put himself in the best light during the 1960s and 1970s.

 

 

It really hurts the image of Hodges and Bradley when you start really looking into the Battle of the Bulge.

 

Yep...except for the quiet competence of Gerow and Robertson it seems likely First Army might have folded in the first days of the German offensive. The evacuation of First Army TAC was a [email protected]# and the lack of firm operational control over Ridgway and XVIII Corps nearly led to a second disaster prevented by the time arrival of? Monty! :D

 

However, later, Bradley's demoralization led to his failure to stand up to Monty when it came to the decision on how to crush the Bulge. Rather than back Patton's aggressive plan to follow doctrine and pinch off the base, he agreed to Monty's decision to meet in the middle, allowing the Germans a relatively easy withdrawal.


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#522 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 1321 PM

It seems to me that Gerow got a short stick for everything he did.  I'm not familiar with Robertson but Gerow was pretty solid throughout.

 

I've been up the road at LaGleize (really all over that area) and for the US forces to manage what they did with what they had should put paid to any talk of US troops being substandard.

I can also say with some certainty that German armor was too big and too slow for those roads.  Even an M5 or M4 would struggle with all the back and forth steering and the steepness of the incline.


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#523 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 1422 PM

Try as I might, I can't remember where I read that Bradley minimized Gerow and Truscott's contributions.  I can see why he'd come down on Gen Truscott as he was always a bit of a Patton man but I'd swear that Bradley had some unkind things to say about the corps commanders during the Battle of the Bulge.

Maybe I read it online or just dreamed it up.

Infantry generals were and are a lot different from Generals brought up in the Cavalry


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#524 JWB

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 1557 PM

From WIKI:


 

 

 For logistical and command reasons, General Eisenhower decided to place Bradley's First and Ninth Armies under the temporary command of Field Marshal Montgomery's 21st Army Group on the northern flank of the Bulge. Bradley was incensed, and began shouting at Eisenhower: "By God, Ike, I cannot be responsible to the American people if you do this.         I resign."[26]         Eisenhower turned red, took a breath and replied evenly "Brad, I—not you—am responsible to the American people. Your resignation therefore means absolutely nothing."[27] Bradley paused, made one more protest, then fell silent as Eisenhower concluded "Well, Brad, those are my orders."[27]

 

 I resign. :rolleyes:

That is really insubordination in a combat zone almost as bad as Mark Clark several months earlier in the Liri Valley.


Edited by JWB, 06 February 2019 - 1557 PM.

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#525 Rich

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 1600 PM

It seems to me that Gerow got a short stick for everything he did.  I'm not familiar with Robertson but Gerow was pretty solid throughout.

 

In the shock of the first two days of the German attack, especially given the collapse of its left flank, it was Gerow and Robertson that held things together, Gerow by supporting Robertson with every means at his disposal and Robertson by his coolness and tactical finesse. Remember, the 2d ID, with attached units of the 99th ID, was attacking due north with two of its three infantry regiments in the line (the 23d Infantry was in corps reserve at the Elsenborn Barracken), with a single logging road as its MSR. When the right flank began to collapse and the 99th infantry began to cave in under the attack of three German divisions, it was Robertson who took control, famously "skinning the cat" to get his forward elements back to the Twin Villages before the MSR was cut. He also persuaded Gerow to release the 23d Infantry to him and took control of the 99th Infantry (without usurping Lauer's authority, even though for a time Lauer so lost control of the situation that he was found by Robertson in his CP playing a piano while his staff milled about in confusion).

 

Arguably, without Robertson's expert handling of the situation, and several instances of outstanding small unit actions (the 23d Infantry in the Krinkelter Wald, the desperate stand of the 393d and 394th Infantry in the Honsfelder Wald, the spectacular performance of the I&R Platoon of the 394th Infantry at Bucholz Station, and the stand of the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry at McKinley's Crossroads), the right flank of the V Corps would have collapsed making the outcome of the battle very different and much bloodier than it was (not that the end result would have been different strategically).


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#526 Rich

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 1604 PM

From WIKI:


 

 

 For logistical and command reasons, General Eisenhower decided to place Bradley's First and Ninth Armies under the temporary command of Field Marshal Montgomery's 21st Army Group on the northern flank of the Bulge. Bradley was incensed, and began shouting at Eisenhower: "By God, Ike, I cannot be responsible to the American people if you do this.         I resign."[26]         Eisenhower turned red, took a breath and replied evenly "Brad, I—not you—am responsible to the American people. Your resignation therefore means absolutely nothing."[27] Bradley paused, made one more protest, then fell silent as Eisenhower concluded "Well, Brad, those are my orders."[27]

 

 I resign. :rolleyes:

That is really insubordination in a combat zone almost as bad as Mark Clark several months earlier in the Liri Valley.

 

Given the source for that outburst, it is an open question whether or not it actually happened that way or not. :D

 

What was Clark's insubordination in the Liri? Do you mean the Anzio-Liri-Rome breakout operations?  That was about as bad as it gets.


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#527 JWB

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 1210 PM

Yep:


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#528 Ken Estes

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 1337 PM

Wellington was just 45 at Waterloo, Bonaparte was about the same age

 

Bonaparte was a general at age 25, emperor at 35. His greatest victories were against generals much older than he was, and he had superior stamina for the campaigns.

 

The German Army on the Eastern front in 1941-45 found that the older generals could not keep their health in the primitive conditions therein.


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#529 Rich

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 1112 AM

 

Wellington was just 45 at Waterloo, Bonaparte was about the same age

 

Bonaparte was a general at age 25, emperor at 35. His greatest victories were against generals much older than he was, and he had superior stamina for the campaigns.

 

Yep, and arguably by 1809 and Aspern-Essling and Wagram he was past his prime at 39.

 

 

The German Army on the Eastern front in 1941-45 found that the older generals could not keep their health in the primitive conditions therein.

 

Yep, I suspect on average German divisional commanders were younger than their American and British contemporaries. The youngest German commander was 33, the youngest American was 37.


Edited by Rich, 14 February 2019 - 1454 PM.

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#530 Harold Jones

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 1207 PM

Do you happen to have the comparative numbers from WW1 and the ACW?  


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#531 Ken Estes

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Posted Yesterday, 01:45 PM

Eylau, 1807 as part of defeating the Russians

 

ypzwgo.jpg

 

I think quite a lot of German generals were activated from the reserve for WWII.


Edited by Ken Estes, Yesterday, 01:47 PM.

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#532 BansheeOne

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Posted Yesterday, 02:47 PM

At least a number of aged officers were reactivated and promoted general. My great-grandfather, born 1 December 1878, entered the Prussian army in 1897 and was initially released from active service in the Reichswehr as a recently-promoted full colonel in January 1931, aged 52.

 

He remained a civilian staffer for the Territorial Commander Hesse-Nassau, was reactivated as a "supplementary officer" in October 1933 and made commander of Reichswehr Recruiting Post Kassel II. Commander of Infantry Replacement Regiment 214 in Aschaffenburg from June 1940, taken back in fully active service and promoted major general in April 1941, became commander of Replacement Brigade 201 in Fulda from June, made a regular brigade while still being stood up. Retired on health reasons in summer 1942 after deployment to Belarus, aged 63.


Edited by BansheeOne, Yesterday, 02:50 PM.

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#533 Rich

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Posted Yesterday, 06:46 PM

Eylau, 1807 as part of defeating the Russians

 

 

"Those are bullets, not turds!"

 

 

I think quite a lot of German generals were activated from the reserve for WWII.

 

Yes, but most of the overage ones were placed in the Ersatzheer or in the Reservedivisionen, as well as in occupation duties. I know someone did a study of age of generals in the British Army - England perhaps? - and it seems to me there was a similar one on the American Army. The German shouldn't be all that hard, just crunching through the bios  on Lexikon. There used to be some more comprehensive lists on line, but they seemed to have disappeared?


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#534 Rich

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Posted Yesterday, 06:51 PM

Well, this is an interesting one, even if it doesn't answer the question. www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a211610.pdf


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#535 Ken Estes

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Posted Today, 04:16 AM

 

 

Wellington was just 45 at Waterloo, Bonaparte was about the same age

 

Bonaparte was a general at age 25, emperor at 35. His greatest victories were against generals much older than he was, and he had superior stamina for the campaigns.

 

Yep, and arguably by 1809 and Aspern-Essling and Wagram he was past his prime at 39.

 

 

 

 

More than that, the Grand Army had lost several of his best marshals and generals, Lannes (KIA) and Murat (invalid) in particular. Spain was also a crucial factor. Archduke Charles was two years younger than Nap at those battles and never fought another significant action again.

 

Otherwise, it's still true that 'youth is wasted on the young....'


Edited by Ken Estes, Today, 04:17 AM.

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#536 Rich

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Posted Today, 03:49 PM

 

More than that, the Grand Army had lost several of his best marshals and generals, Lannes (KIA)

 

Well, yes, that was part of my point. After all, Lannes was mortally wounded on the second day at Aspern-Essling.

 

 

and Murat (invalid) in particular.

 

I had not heard that? What was his illness...besides greed and narcissism? :D

 

 

Spain was also a crucial factor.

 

Indeed later, but IIRC much of the initial invasion force was withdrawn for the second campaign in Austria in 1809. On the whole though, I think it was the campaign of 1807-1808 against the Russians that gutted the Grand Armee and reduced its tactical effectiveness.

 

 

Archduke Charles was two years younger than Nap at those battles and never fought another significant action again.

 

Two years, three weeks... :D  IIRC Charles relinquished his military career voluntarily at the end of the 1809 Campaign due to his ill health. I suspect another factor was his brother ignoring his advice to delay war against France until the army reforms were complete.

 

 

Otherwise, it's still true that 'youth is wasted on the young....'

 

Yep. :D


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#537 Rick

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Posted Today, 04:58 PM

For an item of American equipment that can qualify as one of the best...

 

https://www.zazzle.c...163289018324420


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