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The Truth.... As We Know It


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The_Chieftain #1 Posted May 22 2012 - 20:04

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A Bridge Too Far is one of my favourite war movies. Pretty much the last of the Big Screen Epics, with an All Star Cast, it doesn’t try to do much except simply tell what happened. No romantic sub plots, no political commentary, it just goes all-out to bring us the story. There’s a scene near the beginning, where von Rundstedt and Model are discussing if they need to worry about stopping Patton or Montgomery.






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“He’s their best. I’d prefer Montgomery, but Eisenhower isn’t that stupid” says von Rundstedt. The whole Monty/Patton argument in general is frequent, and shows up even in the Hatch forum (See the El Alamein thread).

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Edited by The_Chieftain, May 22 2012 - 20:36.


Hitman1386 #2 Posted May 22 2012 - 21:16

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Patton wasn't as good as many think he was & Monty was better than most give him credit for. That said, like all commanders in the field. They had their flaws. It does help explain why the British/Canadian armies in Normandy had such a hard go.

DingBat #3 Posted May 22 2012 - 21:24

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Most people in the west lack a bit of perspective. Patton and his Third Army, were they dropped into the eastern front, would have disappeared without a ripple. Unfortunately, for most, what they know of Patton is what they've seen in that movie.

grego34 #4 Posted May 22 2012 - 21:48

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if you gave Patton the unlimted resources like Monty had and No political crap invovled, he would have ended the war sooner.. Remember that Monty was given more fuel that Patton needed to keep pushing east. He had to stop and wait for the supplies to catch up since alot of them were transferred to Monty..

The british people wanted Monty to get more glory..

rtp099 #5 Posted May 22 2012 - 21:48

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It's good to see a US historian challenge the US version of history. What made Patton stand out from his contemporaries was that he was a "diva", constantly needing to have attention and have his ego stroked. In fact, he was a master at being a "media whore", willing to say or do anything to keep himself in the press. Perhaps kim Kardashian could take a few lessons from ol' Blood and Guts?

Hitman1386 #6 Posted May 22 2012 - 21:57

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grego34, on May 22 2012 - 21:48, said:

if you gave Patton the unlimted resources like Monty had and No political crap invovled, he would have ended the war sooner.. Remember that Monty was given more fuel that Patton needed to keep pushing east. He had to stop and wait for the supplies to catch up since alot of them were transferred to Monty..

The british people wanted Monty to get more glory..

He was given the fuel so Brian Horrox's British XXX Corps could support Market Garden. As a Canadian I want more credit for Crear & Simmons for there part in Falaise & the Battle of the Sheldt. (Try reading a book about WWII that wasn't printed in the U.S.A. or written by an American.)

Hitman1386 #7 Posted May 22 2012 - 21:58

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rtp099, on May 22 2012 - 21:48, said:

It's good to see a US historian challenge the US version of history. What made Patton stand out from his contemporaries was that he was a "diva", constantly needing to have attention and have his ego stroked. In fact, he was a master at being a "media whore", willing to say or do anything to keep himself in the press. Perhaps kim Kardashian could take a few lessons from ol' Blood and Guts?

Monty was just as bad in many ways too. Worse maybe.

waffenwolf #8 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:04

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This is the identical conclusion reached by the author in Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe.  Bradley the "GI's General" never received enough credit for his contributions.

Havesum #9 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:17

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I'm not sure basing any sort of historical analysis off reports which had been gathered as hostile intelligence is a sound method of analyzing things.

Military Intelligence is historically spotty (and the rear end of many jokes).  I'm not saying Patton was fantastic (he certainly did his job when he needed to).  But the documents used here are not valid primary sources.

DV_Currie_VC #10 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:18

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Just watched it on the weekend with my son. Epic film, with some of the best actors ever. It was great to see it again.

DV_Currie_VC #11 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:20

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It's interesting how the writers had von Rundsted say "either Patton or Montgomery", rather than Omar Bradley, the army group commander.

Edited by DV_Currie_VC, May 22 2012 - 22:21.


DV_Currie_VC #12 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:25

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I'm reading Max Hasting's book "Armageddon", right now. Puts a new perspective on the end of the war from both sides' point of view, both the eastern and western fronts.

I have it as an ebook, so I'll post a couple of interesting quotes when I get home....

DingBat #13 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:27

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grego34, on May 22 2012 - 21:48, said:

if you gave Patton the unlimted resources like Monty had and No political crap invovled, he would have ended the war sooner.. Remember that Monty was given more fuel that Patton needed to keep pushing east. He had to stop and wait for the supplies to catch up since alot of them were transferred to Monty..

The british people wanted Monty to get more glory..

This is not true.

21st Army Group (Montgomery) was on the coast for the entire war, post Normandy. For that reason alone, it was always much easier to supply 21AG than Patton. This is also one of the primary reasons that Market-Garden happened at all: because it was virtually impossible to deploy the 1st Allied Airborne Army anywhere else (not enough transport). It might be useful to look at a map and actually consider the logistical challenges of supplying Patton.

Plus, a little dose of reality: Patton was an army commander, Montgomery was in charge of an army group. Kind of a different scale of needs there.

Edited by DingBat, May 22 2012 - 22:30.


grego34 #14 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:41

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and Market garden was a bust...  British commanded by Monty with his unlimted resources..

wahubna #15 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:44

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DingBat, on May 22 2012 - 22:27, said:

This is not true.

21st Army Group (Montgomery) was on the coast for the entire war, post Normandy. For that reason alone, it was always much easier to supply 21AG than Patton. This is also one of the primary reasons that Market-Garden happened at all: because it was virtually impossible to deploy the 1st Allied Airborne Army anywhere else (not enough transport). It might be useful to look at a map and actually consider the logistical challenges of supplying Patton.

Plus, a little dose of reality: Patton was an army commander, Montgomery was in charge of an army group. Kind of a different scale of needs there.

Look at the proportions though. I remember reading some stats that in North Africa, Italy/Sicily, and into Europe Monty would hesitate to attack until he had an insane amount of material advantage, only to allow the Germans to harden defenses. Then Monty seemed to refuse to do any sort of attack that might put victory at risk and thus seemed to have insisted on frontal assaults with a HUGE amount of material. I think the real measure of the Monty vs Patton would be the ratios of friendly casualties to enemy casualties of all their battles. I would love to see those ratios, but alas, I do not have the time to compile them. I think Patton was better because Monty seemed to be so spineless and got a lot of men killed with needless frontal assaults.

Infantryjoe #16 Posted May 22 2012 - 22:58

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It doen't matter who was better because they dont win wars. It was the barve men and women from all the countrys who foght and died who won the war. No one conutry could have done it alone. It was all the allies that did it.

snobot #17 Posted May 22 2012 - 23:08

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Havesum, on May 22 2012 - 22:17, said:

I'm not sure basing any sort of historical analysis off reports which had been gathered as hostile intelligence is a sound method of analyzing things.

Military Intelligence is historically spotty (and the rear end of many jokes).  I'm not saying Patton was fantastic (he certainly did his job when he needed to).  But the documents used here are not valid primary sources.

Contemporary, first-hand accounts written by German officers are "not valid primary sources" for a book about German officers' experience fighting forces commanded by Patton? The sometimes limited perspective of military reports and personal diaries should be taken into account when weighing their significance, but that doesn't diminish their validity as primary sources. They're certainly as valid as U.S. military reports concerning the actions and performance of Patton's forces. In my opinion, any analysis that excludes source material because it was "gathered as hostile intelligence" would be fundamentally unsound.

acmarines12 #18 Posted May 22 2012 - 23:31

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I'm 16 years old turning 17 and want to go to West Point when i graduate high school. I'm actually taking the physical exam for it in June and applying soon after. Ever since i was 6 I've wanted to join the army, and around this time all i started to do was watch military movies and read military books, many non-fictional. It seems that in any piece of military literature about the Western front, North Africa, Italy and Sicily, there is a highlight of General Patton and his great accomplishments. But the man researching this is right, these are all American made books and American wartime records. Now i don't wish to slander General Patton's name or anything because, by all means, the Germans were the Germans. They had superior technological advantages in tank warfare and knew what the hell they were doing. Regardless the numbers against Patton, small or large, he got the job done. In the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans attacked the American front with everything they had left. Bastogne was surrounded by multiple Panzer, Tiger, and SS divisions. No one could have reached the town in time, and Patton declared he would do it in three days, and all the other Generals declared him mad. Check any book or historical records, its a fact, and he indeed did do it in three days, jumping right into the hailstorm of the Germans with his 3rd army. The fact is that Patton and Montgomery both went up against tough odds or small odds depending on the situation (one of Montgomery's toughest ones being in North Africa). They were both good generals and they both won us the war. But on a side note, lets not forget Montgomery wouldn't even be able to wage war without the Lend-Lease act and the Americans constant supply line giving Montgomery tanks and weapons, because British Industry was beyond crippled, and wouldn't have been able to give Montgomery a thing if it wasn't for the U.S. :Smile-hiding:

dingofire121094 #19 Posted May 22 2012 - 23:33

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and let the @#$%storm begin

The_Chieftain #20 Posted May 22 2012 - 23:41

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Havesum, on May 22 2012 - 22:17, said:

I'm not sure basing any sort of historical analysis off reports which had been gathered as hostile intelligence is a sound method of analyzing things.

Military Intelligence is historically spotty (and the rear end of many jokes).  I'm not saying Patton was fantastic (he certainly did his job when he needed to).  But the documents used here are not valid primary sources.

The only military intelligence sources used are those he obtained from US Army sources, such as the unit histories, with intelligence as reported at the time. Official unit records of the German Army such as a Kriegstagebuch, and official military correspondance viewed after the war in the German archives are to be considered primary source documents, not military intelligence which I would define as having been obtained 'about the enemy' at the time of conflict.




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