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Top allied generals: Which one is best?

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Chewy_Barry, Apr 15, 2018.

?

Which top allied general was best?

  1. Zhukov

    25.0%
  2. Montgomery

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Eisenhower

    75.0%
  1. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ok. So we're looking for Best Military Tactician - I assume that means maneuvering, using what materials and manpower was available, attacking and counter attacking, etc.

    To what degree would you consider something a success? You could look at Operation Market Garden as a failure (which it was) but on a more minute level the rescue of the Red Devils at Arnhem was quite a coupe and a success.

    You need to lay clear groundwork for these qualifiers. Descriptive descriptions of the criteria.
     
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  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Then there's the issue that at the level of the three mentioned tactical skill, even opearational skill is of little consequence. Generals at that level need strategic skills.
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Could WW2 Generals chat be duller than Monty, Ike, & Zhukov?

    Putting aside the fact only Alanbrooke or Marshall ever deserve to win anything as true masters of the staff art (Who picks the generals - they do. Who understands the whole war, worldwide and how a small decision in one theatre can wreak havoc in another - they do.), why do people so often focus on those three? Is DDay all that matters & Zhukov the only Russki name most have heard? It happens a lot, but it's also comparing a field commander with an executive chief and a state warlord. Apple's Vs oranges Vs an enormous kumquat.
    Patton would complete the cliche sweep. Are people scared of him now? Maybe Rommel too, the Nazi little social climber.

    Slim, Wingate, The Auk, Hobart, Wavell, Gort, etc etc etc just on the British side. All fascinating, all significant in certain areas, and not all completely done to death.

    Was it GS mentioned Mannerheim earlier?
    Yeah, I'll choose him as a steel-nerved competent realist leader of men for the moment.
    Until some other fascinating, flawed genius catches the eye.
    'Best' generals. It's like leching at ladies (or gents) through sunglasses. No right answers, just personal preference.
     
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  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Mannerheim actually said later that the hardest battles he ever fought were with Polish aristocrat ladies ... :)
     
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  5. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    Von P is on target.

    Here are some generals who I happen to think were pretty good but whom you seldom or never hear about:

    Walter Krueger (US 6th Army in New Guinea and Philippines)
    Lucien Truscott (outstanding at every level from division to army)
    Jacob Devers (completely ignored despite leading an entire army group)
    Dick McCreery (the least known commander of 8th Army, and a damned good one)
    Pavel Rotmistrov (led the Soviet counterattack vs the SS at Kursk)
    Aleksandr Vasilevsky (Stalin's OTHER top general--Stalingrad, Manchuria, etc)
    Ivan Koniev (unbroken success from Moscow to Berlin)
    Konstantin Rokossovsky (Stalingrad, Kursk, Bagration)
    Alphonse Juin (led the French corps in Italy--ignored maybe because he's French and we "know" they didn't fight?)
    Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (led 1st French Army in the liberation and into Germany---ignored maybe because he's French and we "know" they didn't fight?)
    Richard O'Connor (COMPASS, Beda Fomm, good corps commander in NWE)
    Joe Collins (fine division commander in the South Pacific, equally good at corps level in NWE (though he was mistaken about the Hurtgen))
    Matthew Ridgeway (airborne pioneer, fine division commander, also good at corps level in the Bulge, the man who saved the day in Korea)
    Miles Dempsey (the unknown army commander--led British 2nd Army in NWE)

    Also, if we are going to discuss Marshall and Brooke (and we should) then I think we might also look at Roland Adam and Lesley McNair, who played major roles in organizing the British and US armies for successful combat.

    I am leaving the Germans out. They LOST, didn't they?
     
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  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I also liked Chuikov the actual Stalingrad hero. Read his two books on war and his career.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    If "best tactician with most success" is the definition, then it follows by definition you are talking about corps-level commanders and below. Corps-level operations are the grand tactical level of combat, divisional and below are tactical. Army, army group, and theater are operational and strategic.
     
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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The point I was trying to make but much better stated. Even enough info to better frame the question (which my post didn't have).
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well then, given this criteria, for the Americans the list is fairly long and distinguished. At divisional command I would say the following for NWE, in about this order:

    John Wood 4th AD...nothing more needs said.
    Ray McLain 45th ID DIVARTY commander, 90th ID, XIX Corps, only Guardsman to achieve corps command in the war
    Terry de la Mesa Allen 1st ID and 104th ID
    James Van Fleet 8th Infantry, 90th ID, III Corps
    Ernie Harmon, 2d AD
    Walter Robertson, 2d ID, his performance c. 11-21 December was superb

    It would be pretty easy to add to the list.
     
  10. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Agreed. I am curious to know your thoughts on Wood's firing?
     
  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    He was exhausted and needed a rest, but I don't think relieving him of command because he didn't get along with Eddy was appropriate. However, that may be because Eddy never impressed me as a divisional or corps commander. He got a lot of credit for the operations of his DIVARTY in Tunisia, but otherwise his command of the 9th ID was not all that distinguished that I can see?
     

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