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The Truth.... As We Know It


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Kornilov #41 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:22

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My understanding is that the US landing at Omaha was a cock-up based on bad tactical decisions by the US commanders who, amongst other things, refused tank support and also failed to neutralise beach defences.

Good or bad, Patton certainly gave us some great quotes;

"get out there and fight or I will shoot you myself"; use that one myself when I see heavies camping.

"it;s not about dying for your country ..... etc"

Hitman1386 #42 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:23

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The_Chieftain, on May 23 2012 - 00:10, said:

Could also just mean that the Candians, British and Polish had better tactics....

Not saying that they did, just that the casualty rates don't show much in and of themselves.

Thank you for that, & I wasn't talking about the beaches as others have jumped to, trying make their point. The fact that 2/3 of German armour was deployed in front of 21AG would seem to back up your article that the German were more worried about Monty. More so than the U.S. Armies they had bottled up for so long in the Hadgerows.

DingBat #43 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:24

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Isengard, on May 23 2012 - 02:56, said:

Off-topic perhaps, but with semi-equal forces, I wouldn't give Monty or Patton good odds against Von Manstein.

Plus one to this. As I said, most western war "fans" of Patton have no sense of perspective of the sheer scale of the eastern front. Do you think Model, after facing, and defeating Zhukov and 1 million+ men around Rzhev, is going to even blink at Patton and his army?

This is not that Patton is "bad" in any way, but the bar for "good" is pretty high when the eastern front commanders, both German and Soviet, are considered.

DingBat #44 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:25

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Kornilov, on May 23 2012 - 03:22, said:

My understanding is that the US landing at Omaha was a cock-up based on bad tactical decisions by the US commanders who, amongst other things, refused tank support and also failed to neutralise beach defences.

Good or bad, Patton certainly gave us some great quotes;

"it;s not about dying for your country ..... etc"

If I'm not mistaken, Patton didn't actually say this.

Hitman1386 #45 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:25

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Kornilov, on May 23 2012 - 03:22, said:

My understanding is that the US landing at Omaha was a cock-up based on bad tactical decisions by the US commanders who, amongst other things, refused tank support and also failed to neutralise beach defences.

Good or bad, Patton certainly gave us some great quotes;

"get out there and fight or I will shoot you myself"; use that one myself when I see heavies camping.

"it;s not about dying for your country ..... etc"

As a Canadian, I like that Patton said that the Canadians were the best troops that Monty had, & that they were Americans! (North Americans) ;)

Kornilov #46 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:26

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Monty (named my first cat that, guess where my loyalties lie) was forced to attack set defences. Military doctrine states that a 5:1 ratio is needed to succeed in an assault on a defensive position.  Of course he needed to have resources. He had to have that ratio. And on top of that imagine how fucked we would all be if he had lost.

Kornilov #47 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:30

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He must have said them, they were in his movie.

Surely Hollywood movies are true?

What, you mean they aren't. You mean U571 wasn't really captured by US troops.

(humour tag)

1Scots #48 Posted May 23 2012 - 03:34

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Random off-topic; when will we see the topic of armour in Vietnam. I am looking forward to arguing that America won the war in Vietnam.

Advanced warning, I am staunchly in the 'yes they did, with boots on' camp.

DerreckJ #49 Posted May 23 2012 - 04:01

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Great Article on Patton, not the most likeable figure, but definitely the most outspoken!  Here is a Patton quote I thought was both informative on his personality and hilarious at the time he said it:

"Hell, why do we care what those goddamn Russians think? We are going to have to fight them sooner or later, within the next generation. Why not do it now while our Army is intact and the damn Russians can have their ass end kicked back to Russia in three months? We can do it easily with the help of the German troops we have, if we just arm them and take them with us. They hate the bastards."[92]

DerreckJ #50 Posted May 23 2012 - 04:03

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DingBat, on May 23 2012 - 03:24, said:

Plus one to this. As I said, most western war "fans" of Patton have no sense of perspective of the sheer scale of the eastern front. Do you think Model, after facing, and defeating Zhukov and 1 million+ men around Rzhev, is going to even blink at Patton and his army?

This is not that Patton is "bad" in any way, but the bar for "good" is pretty high when the eastern front commanders, both German and Soviet, are considered.


Killer30CoD #51 Posted May 23 2012 - 04:03

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Ah yes. To each his own I say. No matter how you look at it, without any of those fine men to lead our troops against the enemies of peace, we would have fallen well before 1944. I personaly believe they both proved competent and had valid stratagy. I've never taken a favorite CO from WW2. But if I had been there, any man who would lead me with true grit, all the while not getting me killed, is my favorite. As for the research material. I say the troops in the trenches know the war better than any other man ever could.

Edited by Killer30CoD, May 23 2012 - 04:07.


Crazy_Basturd #52 Posted May 23 2012 - 04:41

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An interesting topic indeed. We had a lot to learn about the handling of armored formations and using combined force methods, and we did learn we also made a lot of mistakes and didn't take advantage of opportunities that could have yielded a shorter length of the war but these fall in the "What if" categories just as operation Typhoon had it been carried out 2 months sooner than trying to capture and destroy every Russian formation. Did the Germans yield far better, more competent commanders? Yes but they also had their cautious ones too as can be seen by the losses they took due to a lack of initiative.

As for Monty he utilized sound practices based on principles of the "Art of War", I personally think both Monty and Patton were a pair of asses with their narcissistic, want to be in the spot light, glory BS, but as commanders they were both very capable. Your right Hodges was very capable commander and performed above and beyond in handling his drive across France encountering very heavy fighting.

But these commanders are only as good as the men who fought under them. Just as commanders such as Hoth, von Manstein, Guderian, Rommel, Balck, Knobelsdorff, von Luck, Joe Collins, Col Abrams, and so many others, British, Canadian, French, Russian,  Australian, New Zealander, and more that owe their success not just to their decisive planning and action but also to the men they led who would take those initiatives at the local level.

Tliish #53 Posted May 23 2012 - 04:56

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Lagometer, on May 23 2012 - 02:23, said:

I know what you mean about Patton.

Look at Rommel, he was 1 for 3 and how many players use his name?

Rommel deserves his rep.

Remember he commanded a corps vs armies. Panzer Armee Afrika didn't come into existence until very nearly the end of the African campaign. What he accomplished with his small forces against much larger, better-supplied ones is a tribute to his military capabilities.

I recommend The Battle for North Africa 1940-1943 by General Sir William Jackson (1975 US edition) as a good source to study. General Jackson had some pretty respectful things to say about Rommel, and he should know, having fought him.

In the Monty vs Patton discussion, it helps to look at the differences in their military educations, and the training of their subordinate troops.

One of the major differences between Sandhurst, St. Cyr, and the German Staff War College was that at Sandhurst and St. Cyr, students were given military problems on Monday and had to turn in their solutions by Friday, whereas at the Staff War College, students were taken into the field and presented a problem and given 15 minutes to find a solution. The difference showed on the battlefield up to the end of the war: the Germans were quick on their feet tactically and usually out-thought and out-fought their opponents when they were on anything like even terms.

Monty throughout his career was slow and methodical: it was said he liked "tidy battlefields". He was a competent product of his training, but hardly what I would call charismatic or inspiring. He could afford not to be because of the background of the troops he commanded: products of Empire, used to discipline and following orders without question...bitching the whole time perhaps, but following orders nonetheless.

Patton followed the war prior to the US entry into it and understood the differences in the systems. His military education was closer to the Staff War College model then Sandhurst's was. And he was similar to the men he led, generally viewing orders as something closer to suggestions.

Now if you put Monty in command of an American army, he would have failed miserably and been cashiered quickly in my opinion, because the American G.I. was more a product of the frontiers than the Empire. His discipline was notoriously NOT of the unquestioning variety. The best American field commanders shared many charismatic attributes because the US G.I. responded best to that sort of leadership: smart, tough, inspiring and boastful: a reflection of how they viewed themselves.

Monty was ok, but not a "great general", he was a typical "plug 'n play" product of an empire that valued stability and steadiness over innovation and uncertain gambles. I think he could have been replaced fairly easily without effecting the outcome much.

Patton was slightly better due to the nature of his personality, his ability to inspire and command, and the nature of his troops, but in the end, he too, could have been lost and not effected the outcome much.

So it really is a matter of taste: I find Monty a bit too staid and cautious of a general to my liking, Patton a bit too predictably unpredictable. Which I would pick as best would depend upon the nature of the battle to be fought: secure supplies, solid experienced troops, no hurry: maybe Monty's your guy, short on everything, you might consider Patton and hope he doesn't steal the enemy's supplies and get hung out on the far end of the branch...dude wasn't very good at stopping where he was supposed to.

The_Chieftain #54 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:06

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I would point out that I never said anything about Monty being better than Patton or vice versa. Indeed, I suggested that Hodges might be a better comparison, but most of the recent posts have been Monty/Patton. I guess it's even more ingrained than I thought!

Tliish #55 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:08

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1Scots, on May 23 2012 - 03:34, said:

Random off-topic; when will we see the topic of armour in Vietnam. I am looking forward to arguing that America won the war in Vietnam.

Advanced warning, I am staunchly in the 'yes they did, with boots on' camp.

What armor in Vietnam? There was only 1, count 'em, ONE tank vs tank battle in the entire war and involved about a dozen or so tanks total. Armor in 'Nam was used mostly as mobile arty, convoy protection, and bulldozers.

Sorry 'bout that, but that doesn't inspire me much.

The NVA damn well knew that collecting too many tanks in one spot was a righteous excuse for a visit by B-52s, and no one in their right mind wanted to be within a mile or two of that, literally.: the shockwave alone was enough to incapacitate.

Zergling #56 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:19

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Tliish, on May 23 2012 - 05:08, said:

What armor in Vietnam? There was only 1, count 'em, ONE tank vs tank battle in the entire war and involved about a dozen or so tanks total. Armor in 'Nam was used mostly as mobile arty, convoy protection, and bulldozers.

I know little about armor battles in Vietnam, and even I know that statement is wrong. There was only one tank versus tank battle involving a USA tank unit, but there was a fair number of tank battles overall.

South Vietnamese tankers fought their Northern counterparts on numerous occasions IIRC. Don't know much more than that without researching the topic though.

Tliish #57 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:23

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True, Hodges was a good general, but on thing that helped him along with all the other allied generals, was the utter and complete domination of European airspace by the Allies. I'm not sure how great we'd think any of these guys were had they fought under hotly contested skies.


For my money Gudarian, Manstein, Rommel, and Kesselring were some of the best generals in the war, even though they lost and the regime they fought for abhorrent. They were brilliant on multiple levels and succeeded even though we were reading their playbooks most of the war and were at least as well informed of their intentions as the average battalion commander, via Ultra.

Tliish #58 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:32

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Zergling, on May 23 2012 - 05:19, said:

I know little about armor battles in Vietnam, and even I know that statement is wrong. There was only one tank versus tank battle involving a USA tank unit, but there was a fair number of tank battles overall.

South Vietnamese tankers fought their Northern counterparts on numerous occasions IIRC. Don't know much more than that without researching the topic though.

Sorry, my bad I thought we were referring to US armor alone. True, battles such as Lam Son 719, the failed thrust into Cambodia, had some hot skirmishes between SVN and NVA tanks. I'm not sure about the Aussies, but I'm fairly certain the ROKs never had a major tank vs tank showdown. US airpower just was too overwhelming, and there was a severe shortage of legit, worthwhile targets: any congregation of vehicles of any sort was usually hit within hours of discovery, if not minutes.

But overall armored warfare was a pretty small part of it, kind of like Korea but for different reasons.

Edited by Tliish, May 23 2012 - 05:34.


diain #59 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:52

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Excellent read as always!
Really look forward to these articles.

Gisti123 #60 Posted May 23 2012 - 05:54

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On a semi-related note I think Rommel did pretty well with what he had, especially when he "retreated" into his hidden 88's.




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