Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Best commanders of the war.


  • Please log in to reply
81 replies to this topic

#1 ANZAC

ANZAC

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts

Posted 01 October 2006 - 07:20 AM

No doubt this has already been done, if so I'll just give my 10 cents worth.


For the Axis.......

Number one...... would go for Manstein, for his contribution to the final Fall Gelb plan that defeated France, also saved Army Group South from collapse after the defeat at Stalingrad.

Guderian was the master Panzer commander and was at his best when handling aggressive operations, he could also be somewhat dictatorial in his methods and was not an easy man to command, and in the long run didn't he let down Germany when he was sacked, just when he was most needed.

Rommel, an infantryman originally, quickly became a brilliant Panzer commander in France and North Africa.

Kesselring, for his defence in Italy.

Yamashita, although out numbered caused the biggest defeat in British military history at Singapore.

Mannerheim, for his masterly defense of Finland against great odds.


For the Allies....


Number one......I think Patton was the only Allied armoured commander who could match the Germans, Patton’s Third Army achievements were accomplished by an army only three weeks in action and with only 12 divisions, they traveled faster than the German blitzkrieg in'40.

His effort in turning around his army 190 degrees to attack Bastogne was hailed as being as good as any thing in the war.

Montgomery defeated Rommel in North Africa, and was successful in Sicily, expanded the Normandy landings and was C in C of the invasion.

Vasilevsky, worked with Zhukov at Stalingrad and Kursk, and his August Storm campaign against the Japanese was a masterpiece.

Chuikov, tough as nails at Stalingrad, and Malinovsky, Konev and Vatutin among others deserve a mention.

I don't think Zhukov was as brilliant as commanders like Manstein and some others, but has there been a more important commander in the 20th century?

Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Berlin, these must be the most important battles of WW two.

Although I don't think he would have succeeded in the West with the casualties he took.

Lesser known commanders like Dowding and his 11th group fighter commander Kieth Park,
and American Pacific commanders like Spruance and Fletcher are sometimes overlooked.

Probably missed quite a few.

#2 Ali Morshead

Ali Morshead

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 393 posts

Posted 02 October 2006 - 11:05 AM

O'Connor, led the 7 day raid past bardia, Tobruk to El Agheilia, returned after 2 years as a POW to lead VIII Corps across NW France .
AB Cunningham, It takes 3 years to build a Ship, it takes 300 years to build a reputation . Led the Royal Navy in the Med and complete control over a better and more modern Navy.
Morshead, A Citizen soldier, landed at Gallipoli as a Lieutenant and ended WW1 as a Lt Col. Took 18 Bde to WW2, given command of the 9th Aust. Div, the least trained of the units in the Mid East and with them held Tobruk against the Afrika Korps. Later was the lynchpin of the Allied counterattacks at Alamein and 9th Aust. was a major part of Monty's succes. Returned home to a Corps command, sadly the politics of the SW Pacific command saw little scope for Australian commanders.
LeMay, After succes with the 8th Air Force, took command of the 20th Air Force which was wavering after its lack of success with the new B29. Revitalised the unit and discovered new tactics which devastated Japanese cities.
Eichleberger, Go to Buna, if you aren't succesful, dont come back . Eichelberger with his poor;y trained US troops and the Australian 7th Div took Gona/Buna and he went on to bigger and better things. One of the better US Army commanders he ended the war commanding the US 8th Army in the Phillipines.
Halsey, Nimitz..... and many other USN commanders, after Midway they swept the seas of the Japanese Fleets.
Whe're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ - 6 Australian Infantry Div, Bardia January 1941

#3 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 02 October 2006 - 03:17 PM

Anzac,

I would rank Eisenhower as the best U.S. commander. Patton would probably come in second with Bradley not too far behind.


As for Gregory Zhukov I would say that he was by most considered as the best comander during the war, especially considering that he didnt loose a battle and his battles like you said being Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad counter offensive, Kursk, Berlin just to name a few are all larger then Normandy.

Anzac what did you mean when you said " I dont think he would of succeeded in the west because he took too many casualties"?
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#4 Fortune

Fortune

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 634 posts

Posted 02 October 2006 - 03:19 PM

i would say Eisenhower definatly...
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." -Winston Churchill

#5 ANZAC

ANZAC

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 04:12 AM

Perhaps I should have said 'battlefield commander''

Although men like Eisenhower and Nimitz were vital in the allied command structure, they mainly set the broad parameters for commanders like Patton, Spruance etc to implement.

It's a tricky one, perhaps Ike and Nimitz should be included, although I think they may not have had as much say in the battlefield operations as someone like Stalin.

AM mentioned O'Connor's operation Compass, with his relatively small force of 31,000 men, the British 7th Armoured and the Australian 6th Division, up against 330,000 Italians.

In two months, the XIII Corps/Western Desert Force had advanced over 800 miles, destroyed an entire Italian army of ten divisions, taken over 130,000 prisoners, 400 tanks and 1,292 guns at the cost of 500 killed and 1,373 wounded - a remarkable military achievement and a true British blitzkrieg. In recognition of this, O'Connor was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath, the first of his two knighthoods. When Wavell and others congratulated O'Connor on his impressive feat, he responded in his usual modest, unassuming manner, "I suppose one could characterise it as a complete victory."

A classic campaign.

And on Zhukov, as I posted I think he was the most important commander of the war, but he had at least one defeat, Operation Mars, the Soviet offensive around the Rzhev salient in the fall of 1942.

A good book of the battle 'Zhukov’s Greatest Defeat' by D. M. Glantz (1999).


And he didn't seem to care to much about the welfare of his troops, take, for example this quote of Zhukov's to General Eisenhower in 1945 "If we come to a minefield, our infantry attacks exactly as it were not there."

Those tactics wouldn't be permitted on the Western front.

One must remember the human price of Zhukov's victories - millions of Soviet solders died. Nevertheless one could only be horrified with what could happen if the Russians lost to the Nazis, all the battles that were won under Zhukov's command.

#6 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 04:53 AM

Anzac,

I see you are very well informed thats a good thing. However a lot of people might disagree with you. In 1942 the Germans once again planned to advance on Moscow, seeing this Zhukov attacked for one reason and that is not to advance into europe but to prevent German's advance. Glantz actually states this. Yes the Russians lost many men but the actual objective was accomplished and that was to prevent German advance. Some people can consider this Zhukov's defeat because he didnt gain any ground as he always did, but in this case he sacrificed his men so the Germans wouldnt advace. This is also because Zhukov always said that the best defense is a good offense. For this reason this battle is still in dispute.

As for the minefiel. When the Germans launched Battle of the Bulge they too did not stop to clear minefields, infact they marched the infantry first and then the tanks would follow because there was no time. Also millions of Germans died as a result of Zhukov's offensive aswell. The most tragic losses for the Russians were at the very beginning of the war not the end. 1941-1942 the Russians lost over 3 million men and that was due to the German offensive and lost about 6-7 million from mid 42-45.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#7 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 04:55 AM

I am only referring to soldier not civilians by the way.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#8 Kai-Petri

Kai-Petri

    Kenraali

  • ModeratorsOKF Moderator
  • 20,307 posts

User's Awards

2   

Posted 03 October 2006 - 05:19 AM

Sloniksp,

operation Mars was a huge operation to destroy the German Army group Middle. They failed. actually it was part of several operations and I think the surrounding of Stalingrad was the smallest of these but brought the fame.

http://en.wikipedia....hevka_Offensive

Of course nobody wants to admit that the attack failed but if it had succeeded the Germans would have been in enormous trouble with AGS and AGC both destroyed and running.

The Germans had all their forces tied to the AGS operations and could not attack Moscow, really. It´s a miracle really that they could stop the Mars operation.

there was also to follow operation Jupiter but I´m not sure what its exact goals were.

More:

http://www.ww2forums...c;f=15;t=000300
Posted Image

#9 MARNE

MARNE

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 199 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:21 AM

If I had to put in my bid for best commander, well that would be a tough one definitely.

My personal favorite is a relative unknown and a VERY underrated commander during the war Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott.

Yeah, yeah, I know he was the US 3rd Infantry Divisions commander but, that is only one of his many accomplishments that went unnoticed during WWII.

If you look at the man: 1) tough, 2) a brilliant tactician, 3) great with logistics, 4) loved by his men and 5) Well respected by the enemy. Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, was Pattons "go to guy" in Sicily.

Heres a link to the man:
http://en.wikipedia....Lucian_Truscott

The guy is REALLY underrated....

Regards,
MARNE
[sigpic][/sigpic]
"ROCK OF THE MARNE"
Sgt. James Dunigan III
Able Co., U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment
U.S. 3rd Infantry Division(Reenacted)

#10 ANZAC

ANZAC

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:44 AM

William Slim is probably underrated also, wounded at Gallipoli in WW one, as a major general in WW two, he led his troops in the campaigns in northern Syria and Iran.

Became commander of the 14th Army and in March 1944 he successfully defended Assam against the Japanese Army and captured Rangoon.

He also served as a very popular Governor General of Australia (1953-60)

#11 Ali Morshead

Ali Morshead

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 393 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:44 AM

Slim wasnt underated, he WAS the best British Commander of WW2.

Re Zhukov, I wouldnt let the failure of Operation Mars sully his record, few commanders had a complete run of successes.

I wouldnt put Eisenhower in the same league as most of the men mentioned here. Even as a political General he didnt really stop his Generals from sniping at each other, and its more than Monty and Patton.
Whe're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ - 6 Australian Infantry Div, Bardia January 1941

#12 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 03:57 PM

Originally posted by Kai-Petri:
Sloniksp,

operation Mars was a huge operation to destroy the German Army group Middle. They failed. actually it was part of several operations and I think the surrounding of Stalingrad was the smallest of these but brought the fame.

http://en.wikipedia....hevka_Offensive


Of course nobody wants to admit that the attack failed but if it had succeeded the Germans would have been in enormous trouble with AGS and AGC both destroyed and running.

The Germans had all their forces tied to the AGS operations and could not attack Moscow, really. It´s a miracle really that they could stop the Mars operation.

there was also to follow operation Jupiter but I´m not sure what its exact goals were.

More:

http://www.ww2forums...c;f=15;t=000300

Kai,

There are many that would despute that. Are you saying that the Germans were not planning to once again advance on Moscow? If they were and now couldnt because of the MARS offensive then it wouldnt be considered a defeat. That is what's being debated even today by many historians.

The casualties were huge yes. Russians according to Wikipedia lost 70,000 men and over 1,300 tanks and the Germans lost 40,000 men and thats it?? Not one German tank was destroyed? I find it hard to believe that not one of the 1,300 Russian tanks that are claimed to be destroyed were incapable of destroying at least 1 German tank. Kai you dont find this alittle bizarre? Not one German tank?

There can only be 1 legitamate explanation for this and it is that there might not be true German losses available and that is why they arent stated.

Even if this is the case, putting down 1,300 tanks as Wikipedia has for the Russians and nothing for the Germans is extremely missleading dont you think Kai? Only a true fool would believe that not one German tank was destroyed while the Soviets lost over a 1000.

Kai you are far from a fool, infact I listen to your opinion quite often and usually agree. So I cant imagine that you would consider this to be an actual casualty figure.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#13 Za Rodinu

Za Rodinu

    Aquila non capit muscas

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,809 posts
  • LocationPortugal

Posted 03 October 2006 - 04:32 PM

Slava, since when is Wikipedia a reliable source? :D Go back to Glantz's book for better figures.

This operation was extremely difficult due to the weather, terrain type, and the fat that the front had been static for about one year, allowing both sides to develop WW1 style defences. In these conditions you would expect large casualties for any attacker.

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra...


#14 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 04:43 PM

Za, is that sarcasm that I sense? :D
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#15 Za Rodinu

Za Rodinu

    Aquila non capit muscas

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,809 posts
  • LocationPortugal

Posted 03 October 2006 - 05:05 PM

Sarcasm, me? You're spending too much time here!

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra...


#16 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 03 October 2006 - 05:55 PM

HA!!

Ok Miguel who are your favorite AXIS and Allied comanders? tongue.gif
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#17 ANZAC

ANZAC

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts

Posted 04 October 2006 - 05:15 AM

I'd also be interested in what others think were the best commanders and why.

Here's a pretty good link on Operation Mars by Glantz.......
http://fmso.leavenwo...pt/countrpt.htm

The maps are a bit hard to read but it gives good detail of the battle, though German losses aren't detailed.

The aim was to surround the German 9th Army in the Rzhev Salient using forces of the Kalinin and Western Fronts

By conducting Operations Mars and Uranus, the Soviet Stavka sought to regain the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front and set the Red Army on the path to total victory.

And could someone tell me this, as we know the Soviets kept it quite until the Soviet regime fell, but why wasn't it ever mentioned in German records, or have I missed it along with many top authors?

#18 Ali Morshead

Ali Morshead

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 393 posts

Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:40 AM

'ZAC

I have read the book by Glantz, but have found no/little mention of it in other histories.

John Erikson in "The Road to Berlin" doesnt mention it.

It does appear in Brian Taylor's "Barbarossa to Berlin"
Whe're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ - 6 Australian Infantry Div, Bardia January 1941

#19 Kai-Petri

Kai-Petri

    Kenraali

  • ModeratorsOKF Moderator
  • 20,307 posts

User's Awards

2   

Posted 04 October 2006 - 02:32 PM

It was Walther Model who commanded the troops in Rzhev ( should have known! ) but he committed suicide in 1945. Also info on this battle can be found in Hitler´s commander book by Steven Newton.

Interesting battle info also on Hermann Balck in the battle for southern front after Stalingrad :

http://www.11thpanze...m/dsp_balck.htm
Posted Image

#20 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:32 PM

Originally posted by ANZAC:
I'd also be interested in what others think were the best commanders and why.

Here's a pretty good link on Operation Mars by Glantz.......
http://fmso.leavenwo...pt/countrpt.htm

The maps are a bit hard to read but it gives good detail of the battle, though German losses aren't detailed.


The aim was to surround the German 9th Army in the Rzhev Salient using forces of the Kalinin and Western Fronts

By conducting Operations Mars and Uranus, the Soviet Stavka sought to regain the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front and set the Red Army on the path to total victory.

And could someone tell me this, as we know the Soviets kept it quite until the Soviet regime fell, but why wasn't it ever mentioned in German records, or have I missed it along with many top authors?

Thanks for the site Anzac I however am very familiar with Glantz's point of view. And like I said till the battle itself is very controversial. I guess it really matters on what you believe.

I know that in Russia this opperation is very familiar to almost every Russian, including my parents who learned about this battle in school so I know in Russia it was not covered up. As far as the German casualties they are unknown and for that reason the info may be a little misleading like I posted before because 1,300 Russian tanks are shown as casualties and none for the Germans. But what can you do? lol
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#21 Sloniksp

Sloniksp

    Ставка

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,495 posts

Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:33 PM

I have no idea if this battle was covered up in Germany.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#22 Kai-Petri

Kai-Petri

    Kenraali

  • ModeratorsOKF Moderator
  • 20,307 posts

User's Awards

2   

Posted 05 October 2006 - 05:04 AM

The Germans literally lost all their heavy equipment and tanks and most experienced soldiers both years starting from summers 1941 and 1942 until the end of those years. I don´t think anyone is holding back that information.

The reason why Germans didn´t or don´t talk much about their operations is that they lost the war. I don´t think anyone wanted to know their opinion or would have published it. As well we could ask why the allied are not talking much about their failed operations or the generals who were total losers in the field?
Posted Image

#23 ANZAC

ANZAC

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts

Posted 05 October 2006 - 05:24 AM

May be wrong, but I think the first time Mars was mentioned in the West was Glantz in 'Zhukovs greatest defeat' in '99, at least that was the first time I read about it.

As AM said all the early authors like Erickson, Clarke etc,etc, make no mention of it.

Did Newton and Taylor's books pre date Glantz?

As you say Sloniksp ... the opperation is very familiar to almost every Russian, including my parents who learned about this battle in school so I know in Russia it was not covered up.

The only thing was that it was never brought to light in the West for about 50 plus years, when other Soviet battles of this magnitude were released in detail.

#24 ANZAC

ANZAC

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts

Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:13 AM

It's strange, virtually every other battle of that size on the Eastern front [and many much smaller,] has been detailed by writers and historians, including Germans, but that battle doesn't show up until about '99.

Perhaps more may turn up eventually.

#25 Kai-Petri

Kai-Petri

    Kenraali

  • ModeratorsOKF Moderator
  • 20,307 posts

User's Awards

2   

Posted 05 October 2006 - 07:41 AM

Anzac,

ever wondered why the Prokhorovka battle details have changed so much in a decade?? That is why I am not surpised by much these days really.
Posted Image




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users