Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Siir John Monash- The Great War's Premier General

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Siir John Monash- The Great War's Premier General

    All quotes from the book "Monash- The Soldier Whom Shaped Australia"


  • CarpeDiem
    replied
    Drusus Nero
    This is not the proper way to post sources. Please do some research on sourcing.
    Thread will be reopened after I feel you understand what is required of you.
    Thank you
    ACG Staff

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    Mid-March 1916

    Monash finds himself again in Egypt, temporarily commanding the 40,000 odd men of the Australian Provisional Formations; this is entirely due to lack of promotion, once again. Still a Brigadier, he thunders in a letter home to wife, Vic...
    I am the only Australian Brigadier who has served continuously throughout the campaign, without a single days absence from duty; and have secured 3 "mentions in dispatches" and have been recommended for special distinction
    The Divisional 'reshuffle' leaves him again short, with Walker for 1st Division, Legge for 2nd, McCay the 5th. Chauvel is to get the Anzac "Mounted" Division, and Monash? Birdwood states categorically...
    a man of very considerable ability, and with good administrative powers, (but he has not shown Birdwood) "that resolution which is really essential"...(and also) "among a considerable number of the force a great feeling against him on account of what they consider his German extraction"
    Besides...Birdwood feels that John "cannot ride very well", always a minus mark when joining "The Club"

    The 1st and 2nd are despatched for France forthwith, whilst Monash and his aide, Durrant are to "defend Egypt" even though...
    there is not a Turk "within 50 miles of the Canal"
    Route marches, exercises and parades take the place of actual combat, and John's superior, Cox, begins to take a "shine" to the 50 year old Brigadier. Cox recommends Monash for "a trial" as divisional commander, but Birdwood prefers Harry Chauvel, who is
    not a Jew
    But, Chauvel is very much needed for the Mounted Force in the Desert. General Godley also makes no bones about John's, so called, "lack of qualifications", Despite all the politicking, intrigue and favouritism for the "old school tie",, June of 1916 sees John Monash on his way to France at last, and in command of the 3rd Division, Australian Imperial Force, but still only on a trial basis. John is still not a member of "The Club", as he refers to it, that officer "clique" that went through the Boer War and such, of which Godley and the others are members of...

    Monash and Durrant land in Calais, then to Bailleul, and thence to Erquinghem-Leys, inland 80 kilometres, where his Brigade defend a 3kilometer front in preparation for the "Somme" offensive, under Rawlinson's 4th Army
    Last edited by Drusus Nero; 27 Oct 18, 02:08.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    21 August- 1915

    The August Offensive has nearly run it's course. For the Australians, it telescopes into "linking up the beach-heads", with their own offensive operations to their front devolving yet again into stalemate.
    Stopford's landing has been "roped off" by a combination of Stopford's own timidity, the inexperience of the "New Army", and the "politeness" of General Hamilton in failing to push the good Sir Frederick. In their minds, Hill 60, on the extreme left of the Anzac beach-head assumes an importance out of all proportion. The confrontation will last on Hill 60 for ten days, and suck in one Allied unit after another. Monashes 14th and 13th Battalions take the leading attack on this day....but, like so many other attacks at Gallipoli, the bombardment falls on useless ground, and the attacking troops are cut down yet again. Worse still, the shelling sets fire to the brush, incinerating the survivors. Godley is undettered, however, and feeds in 750 more from the 18th Batt., fresh off the boats that he had intended to keep in reserve.

    Its another shambles for the 4th Brigade, with more than 200 casualties removed the next night. What Monash refers to as "survivors" dig in at a frantic pace. Monash, rightly, claims the attack is
    a rotten badly organised show
    after another attack forced on him by Cox also goes astray, costing yet another 250 men from the worn out 4th Brigade.

    Cox confronts Monash over the 4ths "failure". Monash complains of "bullying". Every officer has been killed or wounded. From a Brigade that began the Offensive with 3350 men, only 1037 attend roll call. The 4th is removed to a rest area, but Monash is not finished yet by half....
    The real cause of the failure is the poor quality of the British troops. Over and again they have allowed themselves to be driven out of positions which have been...won by Australians and New Zealanders. ..they can't soldier for sour apples. They have no grit, no stamina or endurance, poor physique and they muddle along and allow themselves to be shot down because they don't even know how to take cover
    Writing in September of the August battles, Monashes sworn enemy, Charles Bean, will echo these sentiments without realising it...
    Well, the problem of the Gallipoli campaign reduces itself to- why can't the British fight? The British social formula breeds very poor feeble specimens of men and makes sure they are kept in their place...They have neither the nerve, the physique, nor the spirit and self control to fit them for soldiers
    Of course, it's not all the fault of the "Tommy" on the line. Their choice of Hamilton as CinC was questionable in extremus, and as Les Carlyon will write in 2001, Hamilton
    looks kind and avuncular, like a character from another British film that would appear 9 years later, "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp"
    And if Hamilton is altogether unsuitable to the task set before him, Les Carlyon further states, his superior Earl Kitchener, is even more so...
    Ever since he bustled Hamilton out there in March, Kitchener had been redefining his objectives as the whim struck him. Hamilton was to garrison Constaninople; Hamilton was to occupy the Gallipoli Peninsula. He could have more men; he could not have more men. He had to take Achi Baba and any other Turkish hills he ran into, but he couldn't have proper artillery; artillery was for France. Kitchener had a war in France, another at Gallipoli, another at Egypt and now a Balkan front was opening at salonika
    Carlyon also exposes Kitchener...
    One of the myths that has travelled down the ages has Kitchener as a master of organisation. As Hamilton wrote- with affection, it should be said- Kitchener "...hated organisation with all his primitive heart and soul, because it cramped his style
    So, if blaming the individual "Tommy" is politically incorrect, and blaming Hamilton and Kitchener more so, what are the basic errors that saw Monashes 4th Brigade cut" to ribbons and reformed again and again at Gallipoli?

    1/ First and foremost, it was amateur strategy, built upon the concept of "knocking away the props" that, supposedly, "held up" the German war effort. Those props were in fact, the other way around. Germany and the great German army was the organisation holding her allies in the war, not the other way around
    2/ With point one in mind, point 2 must be that this strategy, conceived in Whitehall armchairs and around the Reform Club Fire, had no concept of Turkish dispositions, the terrain to be traversed, nor of the necessary force needed to shift Turkish troops from a rugged area. Additionally, photo recon was in it's infancy, and flat trajectory artillery does not shift troops from trenches on rugged spurs. All of this had to be learnt at a cost...in blood
    3/ As the Center-piece of the "Easterner" strategic clique, The Dardanelles Campaign was a classic example of trying to do something, anything, other than confront what author John Terraine so rightly called "The Motor of The War", The German Army. All ideas that deflected men and materiel from this purpose, if not given proper resourcing and support, were doomed to fail as sideshows, which the Dardenelles undoubtedly was.

    We will leave Gallipoli, for I feel I have demonstrated that Generals like Godley, Hunter-Weston, Stopford, Hamilton, Antill , the Suvla Generals, and many others, turned the Dardanelles into a defensive slugfest costing the lives of
    21,255 British
    10,000 (approx.) French
    8,709 Australian
    2,701 New Zealand
    and 86, 692 Turkish dead.

    Wounded-
    73,485 British
    27,000 (approx.) French
    19,441 Australian
    4,725 New Zealand
    and 251,309 Turkish

    Next time we meet, Monash goes to lead his men in France, something he believes will be
    ...a doddle compared to Gallipoli
    From the transport he writes home...
    And so ended the story of the Anzacs at Gallipoli
    of the evacuation, he quips...
    ...a most brilliant conception, brilliantly organised, and brilliantly executed- and will, I am sure, rank as the greatest joke in the whole range of military history
    Last edited by Drusus Nero; 26 Oct 18, 21:27.

    Leave a comment:


  • BELGRAVE
    replied
    Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
    Belgrave....

    It matter not at what level a premier general serves...

    Facts are facts. If they'd listened to Monash earlier, more men would have come home.

    And as for those darned French generals, their record of pushing the army to breaking point speaks for itself. Lack of leave, no troop rotation except where it was thrust upon them (i.e. VERDUN). Losing as many men as they did in as short a time as the Battle of First Marne qualfies them as little more than butchers; Haig was accused of this, too, but the fact remains that the British Army was the only one in 1918 not to suffer morale problems.

    All this leads me to believe that Monty, as a junior officer in the GW, was on to something by recommending John Monash as the wars premier mind.

    You can quote Pederson all you like...the facts and the figures speak for themselves...

    Drusus
    Of course it matters at what level a General serves. There'a world of difference between the role of (say) a Brigadier-General, commanding a Brigade or Regimental Group and that of a Field Marshal responsible for an Army Group.

    As for the better performance of the BEF in 1918, that's purely down to a wealth of accumulated bitter experience. Monash profited by this process but so did every other field commander,including Haig. To attribute this overall improvement to the influence of just one man is really stretching it. Good though Monash was.

    As Pederson declares, no matter how good some commentators THINK Monash might have been effective at a higher level than a Corps, he was never given the opportunity to function at a higher level. .Therefore, any belief that he might have been an effective Supreme Commander can only be speculation.

    That's fact.
    Last edited by BELGRAVE; 26 Oct 18, 15:15.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aussie
    replied
    Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
    Yep thats the one...I also have Charles Beans Correspondence to back it up. Kieza is very critical of Bean's attempts to keep Monash down at the Brigade level, and to promote his Hero, Cyril Brudundell-White.

    If we examine the tesimoniels from fellow officers, it is plain to see that Monash was, indeed, the right man for the job as the Australian Corps first commander, and that Charles Bean was little more than anti-semitic in his approach to Monash and his supporters.

    The renewed interest in this country into Monashes career is well founded. John Monash was also the great promoter of our only Field Marshal, Tom Blamey, another controversial figure in his own day.


    Drusus
    From time to time a push to have Monash posthumously promoted to field marshal has been put forward for all his achievements, by all accounts the last one was rejected by the Turnbull government in April.

    Could understand it back then, with blokes like Bean and Murdoch and perhaps anti-Semitism raising it's ugly head, but can't see what the hold up is today.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    anyhow will finish this off very soon....stay tuned

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    Yep thats the one...I also have Charles Beans Correspondence to back it up. Kieza is very critical of Bean's attempts to keep Monash down at the Brigade level, and to promote his Hero, Cyril Brudundell-White.

    If we examine the tesimoniels from fellow officers, it is plain to see that Monash was, indeed, the right man for the job as the Australian Corps first commander, and that Charles Bean was little more than anti-semitic in his approach to Monash and his supporters.

    The renewed interest in this country into Monashes career is well founded. John Monash was also the great promoter of our only Field Marshal, Tom Blamey, another controversial figure in his own day.


    Drusus
    Last edited by Drusus Nero; 25 Oct 18, 01:39.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aussie
    replied
    [QUOTE=Drusus Nero;n5069592]All quotes from the book "Monash- The Soldier Whom Shaped Australia"

    [/QUOTE
    Would that be the one by Grantlee Kieza

    I have Roland Perry's book, although 'John Monash : a biography' by Geoffrey Serle, is claimed as the definitive work, but I think it's out of print.

    There's lot of interest in Monash lately, with Monash's Masterpiece: The Battle of Hamel by FitzSimmons, Maestro John Monash by Tim Fischer,
    Monash and Chauvel, by Perry. ect.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    General Sir Ian Hamilton is in a quandary. Cape Helles is stuck fast, with one frontal assault after another breaking like a tide on the rocks against the well entrenched Turkish positions on the high ground. He badgers Kitchener for reinforcements, and pins his hopes on 75,000 reinforcements that will turn the Turkish right flank and come down behind the triple positions facing Monash...Hill 971, Battleship Hill, and Baby 700 Hill.

    The 4th Brigade is tasked to outflank these positions, in a route march that will travel along the Anzac left, and hook in through the valleys, and up the ridges.

    12 July- Monash with other officers, scout the ridges as far as they dare. The following day, Monash boards a destroyer to conduct a binocular recon of the route.

    Consulting his medics, three out of four of them tell him that his men are in no condition for the coming contest and route march....
    ..They have been cramped up in their trenches for weeks,, starved of sleep, fresh food, proper hygiene and sanitation, and been easy prey for fly borne diseases. Most have suffered from dysentery, paratyphoid, bronchitis, heart palpitations, weight loss, and the inevitable stress and nervous tension of war
    Monash is, nevertheless, optimistic. Boarding another destroyer for an "eyeball" of the terrain with Godley and the other brigadiers...
    dodging shellfire for another look at the country north of the Anzac position. They believe they are gaining an understanding of the terrain but in reality they are wasting their time. The only way to know the labyrinthine landscape is to go out and walk it
    The Turks have deep trenches on the Anzac right at Lone Pine. Monashes 4th Brigade will set out for their objectives after the Australians "jump off" at Lone Pine. It's a plan that requires precise timing, and John's men must march 4 kilometers...But their guide takes a short cut that, while saving 500 meters, sets the timetable back. Additionally, without proper photo recon for mapping, the 14th and 15th battalions reach what they think are to be their objectives, and as first light dawns, dig in at the wrong spot.

    They are just in time to observe the Light Horse Troopers charging in at The Nek. The Nek is a tennis court sized route to Baby 700 Hill, an impossible attack, akin to...
    trying to assault a inverted frying pan whilst charging up the handle.
    as Charles Bean will write later. 7 August peters out as 8 August dawns. Noone has realised that they are attacking the wrong hill, the Abdel Rahmen Spur rather than Kaiajik Dere
    a spur 650 meters to the west that looks very similar
    Godley gives the order to attack in any case. He still believes Monash has reached hill 971. The 14th and 15th Battalions move forward, only to be thrown back by Turk counterattacks. The 4th Brigade are a spent force
    however, Godley tells Senator Pearce that "General Monash handled his brgade excellently" and that they "made the most wonderful night march through the really desperately difficult scrub-covered country, and at the end, attacked the ridge with the greatest possible gallantry" That they were not successful, he says, is due "alone to the extraordinary difficulties of the country, and the fact that they were enormously outnumbered
    (Charles Bean, Official Australian War Correspondent) sees it differently, though. He concedes that Monash has brilliant organisational abilities and a powerful intellect, which raises him "head and shoulders above most of his collegues" but- and it's a crucial but- Bean is adamant that Monash "is not a fighting commander" to match Walker, McCay or Chauvel. Bean says the attack on 971 called for "the touch of a Stonewall Jackson" and the recklessness of Jeb Stuart, Jackson's fellow Confederate in the /civil War. Of course, what Jackson and Stuart might have done in similar country under similar circumstances against a well entrenched enemy is anyone's guess
    The August offensive grinds to a halt. With Monash under a cloud from the politicians and his sworn enemy the Official Correspondent, Charles Bean;
    ... but his reputation with the men....intact
    Last edited by Drusus Nero; 23 Oct 18, 06:47.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    June passes, with Monashes 50th birthday widely celebrated from an officer rapidly gaining a fine reputation.

    Promotion prospects remain fixed by more politically popular officers, though...
    A second AIF Division is being formed in Cairo...
    McCay is offered command of the 2nd Division....but breaks his leg jumping a trench on 11 July, 1915. Birdwood has been at loggerheads with Legge over the planned August offensive, and he seizes the opportunity of McCay's injury to remove Legge from Gallipoli, sending the former Sydney High School master to Egypt as McCay's replacement. Birdwood takes over the administration of the Australian Imperial Force himself
    Monash complains that the Australian Colonels hold lower ranks than British officers of similar responsibilities, and he finally manages to crack the defence at headquarters. On 21 July, 1915, he receives a cable informing him that, along with McCay, Chauvel and four others, he is being promoted to Brigadier-General

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    The 1st of June sees the Fighting Fourth finally relieved from their positions.

    The greater majority of the brigade have become casualties, and Monash believes, with good reason, that no other fighting formation has had to endure for so long and without a break as his brigade.
    Godley comes down to make a speech on 2 June, lauding the brigade for it's achievements. With five uninterrupted weeks in the trenches, they finally have a chance to rest, bathe, shave.
    John Monash, meanwhile, attempts to publicize both his and the brigade's exploits, with the text of Godley's speech published in the Melbourne "Argus". The censors crack down, however. John feels that
    he will be accused of "atrocious self advertisement"
    . This turns out to be the case before the censor steps in to shut it all down.

    There follows another busy period, sniping, tunnelling, trench raiding. For the 4th, it's never ending...

    For John, an old bug-bear rears it's head...
    Much to the angst of Monash, McCay and Chauvel, the Australian government appoints Colonel Legge, Chief of the General Staff, to replace Bridges as commander of the 1st Division and the Australian Imperial Force. Two days after Bridges death Legge is made brigadier general. Monash complains to Birdwood and Hamilton that while he and his fellow colonels have been human targets for the last few weeks, and know the Gallipoli terrain like the back of their hand, Legge is an unpopular choice. Monash is already hoping he'll be out of the war within a few months, back home with Vic and Bert, and along with McCay he threatens Birdwood that they'll go early. Governor-General Munro-Ferguson queries Legge's appointment but approves it after assurances from Prime Minister Andrew Fisher that he's the right man for the job
    It seems that John Monsh is to stay where he is indefinately. A combination of politics and the reporting of Official War Correspondent Charles Bean has scotched yet another promotion....for the moment, as we shall see.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    The Trial of Strength to come in May begins as an idea in the mind of German General Liman von Sanders.

    Faced with an Anzac beachead that will not withdraw nor quit, he resolves to drive it into the sea, with a new offensive, and tasks Turkish Genral and commander of the 19th Division, Mustapha Kemal to finish the Australians for good.
    On the 19th of May, Kemal's offensive opens with a punishing bombardment, followed by wave after wave of screaming Turkish soldiers. Approximately 40,000 of them will be involved in these attacks, and they will target Monashes men, still clinging onto their positions.
    Possibly 3,000 of them are killed outright, and as many as 13,000 become casualties.
    Monashes Brigade, dubbed by the press by this time as "The Fighting Fourth", hold firm. They have some of the highest profile soldiers in the beachead, including VC winner Albert Jacka, and Billy Sing, the tall kangaroo shooter from Clermont, Queensland, who will 'pot', by his own count, 201 Turkish soldiers by the end of the campaign, with some estimates as high as 300.
    Colonel Harry Chauvel revises his previous low opinion of John during this period...He writes to his wife that he is...
    astounded by the coolness and grit...
    of Monash and his men, and calls him...
    ...a very fine soldier. He has been of very great assistance to me in the last few days, and very willing indeed considering I ousted him out of the command of the sector.
    The corpses piling up before 4th Brigade lines are proving to be as much a health hazard to the Turks as the Australians. Driving rain on the 22nd and 23rd of May does not improve this, so a truce is arranged for the 24th of May.

    Von Sanders is horrified, and...
    admits to a shocking error of judgement.
    For Monash, he receives a break from the line, returning on the 28th of May.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    BTW...responding to this sites requests from moderators, with the exception of the quotes, I wrote this all myself. The format and order were supplied by history itself, and it corresponds to the literature only briefly.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    Belgrave....

    It matter not at what level a premier general serves...

    Facts are facts. If they'd listened to Monash earlier, more men would have come home.

    And as for those darned French generals, their record of pushing the army to breaking point speaks for itself. Lack of leave, no troop rotation except where it was thrust upon them (i.e. VERDUN). Losing as many men as they did in as short a time as the Battle of First Marne qualfies them as little more than butchers; Haig was accused of this, too, but the fact remains that the British Army was the only one in 1918 not to suffer morale problems.

    All this leads me to believe that Monty, as a junior officer in the GW, was on to something by recommending John Monash as the wars premier mind.

    You can quote Pederson all you like...the facts and the figures speak for themselves...

    Drusus

    Leave a comment:

Latest Topics

Collapse

Working...
X