Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

You've probably beaten Market Garden to death here

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by squidly the octopus, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,323
    Likes Received:
    1,118
    It is somewhat unfair to call Montgomery Britain's only hero, even though there is a measure of truth to the statement. Slim should be considered one as were the Air commanders of the Battle of Britain. Slim served in a underappreciated command, and Monty led 8th Army in its heyday only to turn it over when it was fated to slog up the Italian peninsula.

    Nor is Montgomery alone guilty of impolitic statements. Other leading lights within the British command structure had occasional 'foot in mouth disease'. The affliction also struck some American senior officers, with Patton being the most guilty.

    Fundamentally American and British military leaders saw the war from different perspectives when it came to details, each side expected the other to see it from 'their' perspective and such a situation inevitably led to mistrust, discord and controversy.
     
  2. m kenny

    m kenny Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,645
    Likes Received:
    225
    There you have it. All the problems were caused by the Uppity Brits and they had not got a clue how to fight a war.

    The arrogance is breathtaking.
     
  3. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    577
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    Huerta, California
    Belasar: Are those rent control tenants? Or did you mean tenets? (Actually I agree with much of your last post.)

    Bronk: Ironside was not CIGS in 1944-45, Alan Brooke was. Also, you are attributing malicious motives to Montgomery without a shred of evidence to support that contention. Do you really think that he wanted to lose and see three of the best divisions in the Allied armies destroyed?

    Steverodgers: Patton let his ego affect his military judgement at least twice, first when he took 7th Army to Palermo and again when he authorized the Hammelburg raid.

    MKenny: Try not to lose your temper. In fact, everybody try not to lose your temper. This is just a discussion, not life or death. In any case, as I have said before, I doubt that many of these controversies can be firmly resolved.

    Merdiolou: Much of what you say seems sensible. However, in September 1944 British 2nd Army was not the closest Allied force to the Ruhr, US 1st Army was (just outside Aachen).

    My own view of Market-Garden is that it was never really "on." Because

    1. The idea of a German collapse in 1944 was a mirage. It just wasn't going to happen. The Germans recovered very quickly, Speer was cranking out armaments still, and they had not yet exhausted their reserves. The Allies launched major offensives in the summer and early fall in France, Russia, and Italy (Gothic Line), but by September these were all bogging down, and for the same reasons: over-stretched supply lines, exhaustion of momentum, worsening weather, and rapidly stiffening German resistance. That was the pattern throughout the war: major offensives could go only so far before they lost steam. The Germans ran into the same problem, and the pressure was oozing out of all the Allied drives in the early autumn of 44.

    2. The terrain was against it. Holland is flat, but seamed by waterways and studded with crossroads towns that form natural nodes of resistance. Flat though it was, it was not good country for a rapid armored advance and it was difficult to deploy large forces along the banked-up roads. To tell the truth, the terrain elsewhere was no better or even worse. The so-called Aachen Gap on 1st Army's front was really a narrow choke point with hills, woods, and factory towns on either side. The Hurtgen and the Schnee Eifel were certainly tough country, Patton had plenty of trouble in the hills of Lorraine, and 6th Army Group faced the Vosges. To add to nature's defenses, the Allies faced the Siegfried Line and for much of the front the Maginot Line as well. There was no quick way through anywhere.

    3. 21 Army Group was advancing at an angle to the main north-south front, presenting a lengthening flank that was vulnerable to a German counter-thrust. US 1st Army was not strong enough or far forward enough to cover this flank. This danger would only have gotten worse if 2nd Army had gotten across the Rhine. In that case it would have been isolated from the Allied main body.

    4. Everybody from Ike and Monty down underestimated the Germans. That poisoned everything, and made a risky, slapdash plan look dangerously attractive.

    5. The innumerable mistakes in planning, intelligence, and execution have been pointed out here, but many of them sprang from the overconfidence I have mentioned. Even if these errors had not been made I doubt that the plan would have worked for the reasons I have already given.

    6. Market-Garden distracted 21 Army Group from a much more practical and sensible operation, namely the clearing of the Scheldt and possibly the entrapment of German 15th Army.

    I do not believe that Montgomery acted out of petty or egotistical motives. He believed that his plan would win the war. He believed this so strongly that he took great risks. Market-Garden was very daring, and in that way it was unlike Montgomery's usual operations. It certainly refutes the charge that he was always overcautious. In this case, Montgomery saw an opportunity and showed great energy in seizing it. His aggressiveness did him credit, but in my opinion the opportunity did not really exist.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,136
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    Terry, look at harolds #60 which I totally agree with...[ and a lot of others ] and the original post...I think it was a combination of a bunch of errors/miscalculations/hopes.....no, he didn't want to lose his men....but his ego got the best of him....I will state it again<>many, many bridges to be crossed/landing zones too far away/ONE MSR,/armor in the area/more than one airdrop and days needed to land entire force/etc etc....looks like they '''tried'' to make a bad plan......what couldn't go wrong?
    lots of people want to be the ''best'' at what they do....just look at any children's sports<>many fathers think they can do a better job at coaching...or adult sports<>many, many armchair generals/Monday morning quarterbacks/coaches...male humans want and need to be the best, or win the ''argument''.... they want/need to dominate!...this is common sense common knowledge common human behavior....and Monty was well known for this behavior [ Ike had to rein him in when Monty was being insubordinate while trying to tell Ike what was the 'best' strategy ]...it's like a drug/addiction/hormone that got out of control with Monty
    Terry, you even state that the plan had no chance of working!<>
    ''"Even if these errors had not been made I doubt that the plan would have worked for the reasons I have already given. """.....
    so, if it wasn't Monty's ego that doomed MG, he must've been been extremely stupid to make and push a plan, that even simple, ignorant civilians and lower ranks like ourselves, think wouldn't work..sure, it had a chance of working, but not a good one
     
  5. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    Market Garden was certainly was not the only setback Allies suffered during 1944-45 Northwest Europe Campaign. If somebody make another all star cast movie about Battle of Hurtgen Forest or Third Army's Lorreine Campaign (Battles of Fort Driant and Metz) or destruction of 106th US Infantry Division in Schnee Eifel during Ardennes Offensive or Hammelburg raid I am sure these battles would be put under microscope too. Except these were US Army defeats and Hollywood rarely interested on them.

    As for plausibility of Market Garden remember that German airborne arm pulled similarly tough assignments too during early years of war. (Netherlands was invaded by German airborne forces cooperating closely by German Army in 1940) Alllied generals and airborne felt that they were not less capable than their German counterparts and had huge confidence (or overconfidence) on their skill in fact they were eager to show what they could do on battlefield. Neither Boy Browning , Lewis Brereton , Leigh Mallory nor 1st Airborne Division cmdr General Roy Urqhuart showed much sense while preparing a hastily prepared plan and agreeing on in , feeling over confidence that German were still in rout and dismissing recent intel updates. US Airborne made lots of mistakes too during Market Garden (101st US Airborne let Eindhoven bridge blown to bits in their face , they too should have dropped a coup de grace party on the bridge , James Gavin cmdr of 82nd US Airborne also failed to capture critical Nijmegen bridge in first day before 10th SS Panzer Division recon troops captured it. These also delayed 30th Corps at least three to four days.
     
  6. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    bronk7 before accusing someone stupid etc remember that we ignorant civilian armchair strategists are not proffesional staff officers and we have a 70 years of hindsight advantage. Montgomery despite his character faults finished the war as a Field Marshall an army group commander then Imperial Chief of Staff and then NATO Ground Commander in Europe in post war era. (Actually Eisenhower insisted his appointment as NATO commander in 1953) After Market Garden during Battle of Bulge Eisenhower even gave him command of two US Armies and left one of these armies under Montgomery's command until April 1945. Appearently he had that much confidence from Supreme Commander despite his odd behavior. Someone stupid (a remark which bounds to ignite simple Monty bashing) would not go these high levels in his career. Market Garden was just one operation and one of the few his strategical sense failed him during his career. He won most of his engagements decisevely before and after the Market Garden and despite his vainglory behavior towards his peers he usually (not always though) planned and executed his operations according to what his men and his forces could do. He was aware of what Allied forces under his command was capable and what limits simple Allied citizen soldiers had. Some call it slow , ponderous , unimaginative and overcautious. I call it responsible generalship. In September 1944 due to a case of victory disaese syndrome everyone in Allied camp were deluded war was about to end victoriously and Germany was finished. Sensibly that was true. But they were fighting against an insensible and illogical totalitarian regime determined to fight to last man and bullet. Neither British nor Americans was aware of this (their previous benchmark was November 1918 when Germany suddenly threw towel and signed armistace. Unfortunetely Hitler and Nazi regime was designed specifically to prevent that happening ever again) and under the spell of their own media propaganda Allied generals deluded themselves. Defeats like Market Garden , Hurtgen Forest or Lorreine Campaign woke them up to reality though these setbacks were not crucial to Allied strategy. Whatever medium sized checks Allies suffered they firmly established themselves to the Continent by September 1944 and no way Germans could seal Second Front anymore.
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,679
    Likes Received:
    276
    merdiolu, I don't think bronk7 was actually calling Monty stupid, at least I didn't take it that way. As I interpreted his statement, he was making the point that Monty's ego got the best of him. B-7, to make his point then states that if was wasn't ego, then it was stupidity. Since no one on this forum said Monty was stupid then I think that this was his way of emphasizing it was ego at work.
     
    bronk7 likes this.
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,323
    Likes Received:
    1,118
    Montgomery was neither stupid or foolish, but suffering from a mild case of hubris that was infecting a large portion of the Allied command structure.
     
  9. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Florida
    Certainly the Allies suffered a lot more casualties in the Hurtgen Forest than in Market Garden and gained...... nothing. A patch of woods perhaps.

    As others have noted, the incredible fluidity of the Western Front at the time Op MG was planned is the one thing it's probably impossible to empathize with in hindsight.
     
  10. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,323
    Likes Received:
    1,118
    In real terms, the wouda, couda, shouda's surrounding Gettysburg make MG look like a tempest in a teapot.
     
  11. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,136
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    my apologies for any misunderstanding.... harolds is right on...tango yankee there...I was 'promoting' Monty above us -including me, which I'm the first too admit, I'm not a genius by a long shot [ thanks in advance for the many salutes :rofl: ] but , before PG1 started, they showed a map of the battle area<>I not only knew they would need a forward supply base, -of course- but I also predicted where that base would be generally located ... so I'm no bootcamper to military ops ]....in a WW2 Magazine vote of who the readers thought was the worst leader, Monty was voted worst...[ I guess a lot of US readers there<>also I'll have to look up the magazines' ''experts'' previous vote on worst leader ]..
    no, he did not win his battles decisively<>[ I won't go into depth on this thread ] far from it....MG failed, no? who's idea was it?..the original post makes me think of Operation Eagle Claw,--<>of course a small op, but they canceled it when they knew the choppers did not meet the number required!..the leader had the guts/unselfishness/etc to cancel it..you have to have that to be a great leader<> courage to say, 'hey, I messed up, my plan won't work''.....I think MG speaks for itself, loud and clear about Monty...it is the biggest evidence...no malice ever intended [ unless notified ]
     
  12. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Florida
    There's truly nothing to base that on.... I suppose folks letting personal feelings about many of his public comments influence their choice..... putting that aside, it's hard for me to find a lot of fault with his command ability, MG or no MG. It's very hard and perhaps impossible to find the "perfect" commander who never had a setback or made a poor decision. Wasn't my intention in starting this thread to say Montgomery was incompetent or anything like that - I find MG to be all the more perplexing because it was so out of character for him.
     
  13. m kenny

    m kenny Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,645
    Likes Received:
    225
    Really? So Normandy was not decisive or are you one of those who forget he was the ground force commander and wish to heap all the setbacks on his plate whilst reserving all the victories for........................well you know, your own armies.
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,576
    Likes Received:
    470
    Monty did ask one cogent question, whether it was possible to fly two lifts on the first day, but he accepted the airborne and air transports experts' view that it was not feasible.

    I'm inclined to agree that staging and flying two glider missions might have been a bit much, but I wonder how difficult a second parachute lift would have been, given that they would fly essentially the same mission back to the same drop zones. Would have helped a bit, especially in 1 Airbourne Div.
     
  15. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,136
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    Operations Epsom, Charnwood, Goodwood<>many casualties and loss of vehicles [ for what gain? ]...way behind schedule....decisive victory?? and this with naval and air superiority?some of his battles remind me of Schwarz at PG1<>who couldn't win? but with all the advantages, Monty still had trouble
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,136
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    yes, Octo, I was just putting that vote out...I'd say a loss of almost an entire AB division should raise some thoughts about the plan, and planner.....I would consider 50% casualties high even taking an objective<>but Arnhem was not taken, and casualties/losses were higher than 50%
    did everyone see what Octo said???????<>''out of character''<>very important point here....think about it.....why is he doing something 'out of his character, normal self'?
     
  17. m kenny

    m kenny Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,645
    Likes Received:
    225
    All gained ground and Monty was not one of those General who thought giving up/gaining ground was a stain on the national character and akin to cowardice. His game was to grab the enemy by the throat and hammer away until he broke.
    Thus what they achieved is the attrited the Germans and wrote down their assets. This made it easier for all subsequent offensives until the German line snapped and the campaign was won.

    US losses were greater than Commonwealth losses right up to the breakout.

    As Robin Neillands noted decades ago:

    For example, why is it that when Bradley's First Army took a month to cover the last five miles to St. Lô this is attributed (correctly) to the bocage and the enemy but when the British Second Army took as long to cover the six miles into Caen that is attributed to Monty's "timidity," "caution," and "slowness"? The presence of seven German panzer divisions in front of Caen is usually left out of this equation.








    What part of the sentence 'Montgomery succeded and he smashed the German Armies in Normandy' is causing you confusion?

    Perhaps you should look up the date when the Rhine was expected to be reached and then come back and repeat the 'behind schedule' fiction.
     
  18. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    If you want the praise for what you did right, then you have to accept criticism. I am amazed how any thing that doesn't call Monty the greatest all time general is somehow bashing him. The Americans greatest mistake was the Huertgen forest, but that is glossed over. I meant Brooke as COGS, but the fact is Monty spent too much of his attention on trying to win back the overall ground forces commander instead of accepting his position, Don't forget Patton was not given army group command because of his incidents, but you don't see him griping to Marshall about how he deserves promotion. I do wonder if Monty had spent a little more time on MG instead of politicking for promotion he might have caught some of the mistakes of his plan. I say that because normally Monty wouldn't have made those kind of mistakes.
     
  19. m kenny

    m kenny Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,645
    Likes Received:
    225
    Yet again you are making things up. No here has said anything about Montgomery being the greatest all time general. I have only 'attacked' those who accused Monty of having dark ulterior motives for his every action and that he only fought battles to increase his personal standing. Patently absurd charges are being laid that have no foundation in fact.


    That is a distortion of reality. Monty said there should be a single overall Ground Commander. I am sure he would have liked the job but he also said that he considered this post to be so important that he would serve under whoever got the job. That is a world away from what you claim.
     
  20. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    Are we talking about Normandy Campaign too ? In all battles around Caen in June July 1944 (Epsom , Chanwood , Atlantic , Goodwood) 2nd British Army continued to gain ground , enlarge the bridgehead and destroyed or captured more enemy forces than casaulties suffered and most importantly it did that in face of main weight of Panzer Group West (six or seven panzer divisions enchanced deep defences around Caen ) and attacking them frontally straight head on because of lack of maneuver space and lack of gaps to be exploited on enemy lines. Even more importantly all British Canadian pressure on their flank (when they had to be careful about losses due to low manpower issues of Britain) diverted Panzer Group West on right flank of Normandy front on Caen sector. But who knows maybe 1st US Army which could capture ruined Cherbourg harbour only two weeks behind schedule then could barely manage to advance six miles in almost three weeks to reach St. Lo and beyond on bocage country during July 1944 (against two weak German infantry corps) at cost of 17.000-20.000 casaulties also preferred to fight with six more additional panzer divisions on St. Lo sector ! After that 1st US Army could achive breakthough on 26th July during Operation Cobra only cost of bombing its own troops due to friendly fire issues. In 1944 US had manpower to spare to expand even mass friendly mass bombing. British and Canadians had not and had to operate accordingly.

    The final briefing of Montgomery on St. Paul's on 18 May 1944 right before D-Day about how Normandy Canmpaign would unfold was summed up pretty well by Omar Bradley (who was not a fan of Montgomery) : "The British and Canadians will sacrifice themselves around Caen Orne so we can achieve a breakthough on our flank" he remarked. That was what happened more or less. So I just do not understand constant complaining or critism about Montgomery and Caen battles when his strategic plan worked when he was the overall army group commander.
     
    albowie likes this.

Share This Page