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Best General of WWII?

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  • You see, a great general is someone who achieves impressive feats. I don't see any impressive feats by Rommel after July 42. Any average general would fare just as well in succumbing to superior enemy. Besides, Rommel sort of engineered his own disaster by upholding a headlong advance into Egypt with stretched and vulnerable communications. He was an energetic tactician but kind of overstepped his level of competence.

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    • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
      You see, a great general is someone who achieves impressive feats. I don't see any impressive feats by Rommel after July 42. Any average general would fare just as well in succumbing to superior enemy. Besides, Rommel sort of engineered his own disaster by upholding a headlong advance into Egypt with stretched and vulnerable communications. He was an energetic tactician but kind of overstepped his level of competence.
      Pretty much sums Rommel up. An excellent tactician but promoted beyond his ability. He does remain one of the very best armoured divisional commanders ever.
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      • Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
        I haven't been following this because it isn't really my area, but has anyone thought to mention William Slim?
        Slim is an excellent choice, but with one caveat imho. He never led a true army group, thus an excellent choice for best up to army level.
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        • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
          You see, a great general is someone who achieves impressive feats. I don't see any impressive feats by Rommel after July 42. Any average general would fare just as well in succumbing to superior enemy.
          He did pretty well at the Kasserine Pass battles. I don't think an average general could have prevented a complete annihilation of the G-I Tank Army which Rommel accomplished at least twice.

          Besides, Rommel sort of engineered his own disaster by upholding a headlong advance into Egypt with stretched and vulnerable communications. He was an energetic tactician but kind of overstepped his level of competence.
          Against a lesser commander there is no guarantee that Rommel would not have triumphed at Alam Halfa and no guarantee a lesser commander would have triumphed at Alamein against him. Indeed I think the odds would favour Rommel in both instances.

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          • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
            You see, a great general is someone who achieves impressive feats. I don't see any impressive feats by Rommel after July 42. Any average general would fare just as well in succumbing to superior enemy. Besides, Rommel sort of engineered his own disaster by upholding a headlong advance into Egypt with stretched and vulnerable communications. He was an energetic tactician but kind of overstepped his level of competence.
            I think you could make a decent argument that part of the problem is that no one likes to be beaten by an "average" general. At least part of the mythos surrounding Rommel was created by the British.

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            • Was Patton good? He's famous.
              "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

              "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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              • Patton was an excellent leader and commander. He had more combat experience than either Eisenhower (who had none) and Bradley, and his performance during the Bulge was brilliant, as was his performance in the campaign across France.
                We are not now that strength which in old days
                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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                • Patton also had a problem with running his mouth.

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                  • Originally posted by Massena View Post
                    Patton was an excellent leader and commander. He had more combat experience than either Eisenhower (who had none) and Bradley, and his performance during the Bulge was brilliant, as was his performance in the campaign across France.
                    Bradley did better than Patton in Tunisia, although that might be down to the greater experience of US II Corps. Patton's performance in the Lorraine campaign was pretty dismal.

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                    • Originally posted by Massena View Post
                      Patton was an excellent leader and commander. He had more combat experience than either Eisenhower (who had none) and Bradley, and his performance during the Bulge was brilliant, as was his performance in the campaign across France.
                      What brilliance did he demostrated ?
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                      • yamashita
                        Oh Sure The Old Man's Off His Rocker If Grampa Says He's Dead He Must Be Alive
                        Grampa Simpson

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                        • Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
                          I haven't been following this because it isn't really my area, but has anyone thought to mention William Slim?
                          Hi DS

                          Yep he's been mentioned.

                          These 'Best' threads are the low hanging fruit of MH discussion, as often the parameters often shift along national and contextual lines or often ignore actualities in favour of cherished myth and legend.

                          Most Generals of WW2 are completely unknown to 99.9% of us. Yes we remember 'famous' generals but seem very myopic in viewing the best Generals as those who commanded the largest formations. There are countless Divisional and Corp Generals who given the opportunity or luck, would have commanded better than their peers.

                          Regards

                          Andy H
                          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                          "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                          • Originally posted by Massena View Post
                            Patton was an excellent leader and commander. He had more combat experience than either Eisenhower (who had none) and Bradley, and his performance during the Bulge was brilliant, as was his performance in the campaign across France.
                            His attack during the Battle of the Bulge was indeed impressive, however, I don't see how driving across France with practically no opposition is considered brilliant. More or less 600km distance took him 2 months.

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                            • Do you think Eisenhower sending his supplies and fuel to Montgomery might have influenced this as well?


                              Pruitt
                              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                              • Oh we're slaggin off Patton ? Let me in on it !

                                There's really very little to differentiate Patton from his American peers to my mind, well, outside of more saucy (and delusional) diary quotes and propensity to butcher your troops to save your son in law. Ike, Bradley, Patton and Hodges, probably others operated under very similar broad front - attack, attack, attack, modus operandi - the origins of which somewhat escape me since their very own FM 100-5 told them "Concentration of superior forces, at the decisive place and time creates the conditions most essential to decisive victory and constitutes the best evidence of superior leadership."

                                People say he's a great exploitation general but my question would be - who wasn't ? What actual general with more or less motorised force and with broken enemy - a light or near not existent opposition before him didn't clock in great advances ? The 1940 British, supposedly foreign to the magical idea of Blitzkrieg did that already during Compass, Monty did it regularly, every Soviet or German general did it, even the much maligned Hodges achieved the same in the 2/2 occasions he got. It's not even like there was much thought put into his pursuits in terms operational designs, target and supply prioritization, troop groupements and concentrations. He just did what he always did, attacked on a broad front.

                                When faced with actual opposition and no one to pull enemy force onto him, his broad front approach resulted in attritional slugging matches even against pretty light opposition. This slow going never inspired any change of heart, self reflection, only increased slagging of subordinates, superiors and peers.

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