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Best General of WWII?

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  • #76
    Originally posted by DingBat View Post

    Sorry, where did that come from? You're the one that raised the idea that the size of operations on the western front was as large as on the east. I merely raised a small objection to that.
    In 1945 when the Western Allies reached their peak, they were. You made the statement that "I remain unconvinced that most of the normal candidates for "best general of WW2" from the western front actually deserve to be considered. You need something more than just Overlord."

    In ground advanced there ain't actually that much difference between the Soviets from June 1944 and the Western Allies.
    The Soviets began the period with a vastly greater number of troops on the Continent than the W. Allies - for obvious reasons - but by VE-Day that was no longer the case.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

      Agree, you miss the scale, depth, and densities of the Red Army operations in 1944 and 1945. And, you forget, the Red Army fought the major portion of the German forces on the eastern front.
      Your post, which is what I was addressing, was referring to depth and speed. Hence the scope of reply. Which you have not addressed beyond obfuscating and moving the goalposts. Do please show how the exploitation from Normandy didn't reach vicinity of West Wall and beyond within the late July/early August to early September time frame. Do show that Plunder didn't start on 23th March and that the resulting advance didn't reach Lubeck or Wismar on 2th May.
      Last edited by phaze; 19 Jun 20, 05:29.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by phaze View Post

        Your post, which is what I was addressing, was referring to depth and speed. Hence the scope of reply. Which you have not addressed beyond obfuscating and moving the goalposts. Do please show how the exploitation from Normandy didn't reach vicinity of West Wall and beyond within the late July/early August to early September time frame. Do show that Plunder didn't start on 23th March and that the resulting advance didn't reach Lubeck or Wismar on 2th May.
        The scale, depth and densities are factors in operational level warfare, that were not practiced by the Western Allies probably because they did not recognize and operational level. I suspect, you do not understand the operational level. By depth, it is the consideration of echelonment of offensive forces to have a sufficient force to penetrate the depth of the enemy defense and breakthrough into the operational depth of the enemy defense where the Germans never had enough operational reserves. Speed was not the factor, but holding the petal to the metal in the enemy's operational depth did maintain the initiative.

        As far as the blunders at Normandy such as bombing friendly troops, determining how to work through bocage terrain, and unable to create an early breakout better than Operation Goodwood, I'll leave to others. But, the time-distance of the respective campaigns clearly left Berlin in the hands of the Red Army--historical fact. You can explain the "if's" of how the W. Allies could have done better.

        Pretty sure the Best General of WWII was not a Normandy. However, in the Red Army drive to Berlin, there are two contenders: Zhukov and Rokossovsky.
        Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 19 Jun 20, 07:28.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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        • #79
          My best armoured generals.

          At army group level, you will not find better than Manstein or Rokossovsky.
          At army level Patton and Hoth are excellent.
          At divisional level Rommel or Pip Roberts would be my choice.
          At brigade level Creighton Abrams is your man.
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          • #80
            Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

            The scale, depth and densities are factors in operational level warfare, that were not practiced by the Western Allies probably because they did not recognize and operational level. I suspect, you do not understand the operational level. By depth, it is the consideration of echelonment of offensive forces to have a sufficient force to penetrate the depth of the enemy defense and breakthrough into the operational depth of the enemy defense where the Germans never had enough operational reserves. Speed was not the factor, but holding the petal to the metal in the enemy's operational depth did maintain the initiative.
            Thank you for the lecture. Depth can also refer to a distance an attack/penetration/exploitation drive achieved.

            As far as the blunders at Normandy such as bombing friendly troops, determining how to work through bocage terrain, and unable to create an early breakout better than Operation Goodwood, I'll leave to others. But, the time-distance of the respective campaigns clearly left Berlin in the hands of the Red Army--historical fact. You can explain the "if's" of how the W. Allies could have done better.
            In your valiant fight with windmills and strawmans, you seem to miss out on the fact that I do hold EF operational generalship in higher regard than it's counterpart. What I took issue with were your very specific claims. Since you have, yet again, failed to: defend them, address my arguments, argue the actual issue and instead are flying off at yet new, uncharted tangents I'll take my leave here.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
              The scale, depth and densities are factors in operational level warfare, that were not practiced by the Western Allies probably because they did not recognize and operational level. I suspect, you do not understand the operational level. By depth, it is the consideration of echelonment of offensive forces to have a sufficient force to penetrate the depth of the enemy defense and breakthrough into the operational depth of the enemy defense where the Germans never had enough operational reserves. Speed was not the factor, but holding the petal to the metal in the enemy's operational depth did maintain the initiative.
              The Allies did this in the West too, when they had penetrated the German defensive lines.

              You have still not addressed the difference between the frontages German divisions were expected to hold in the West and East. It is far easier to breakthrough when there is only a thin defensive crust.

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              • #82
                Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                My best armoured generals.

                At army group level, you will not find better than Manstein or Rokossovsky.
                At army level Patton and Hoth are excellent.
                At divisional level Rommel or Pip Roberts would be my choice.
                At brigade level Creighton Abrams is your man.
                What about the German Balck (don't know his first name, I tnink it was Hermann). His divisional level actions are still studied today, particularly with reference to his manuevers during the fighting around Sowchos 79 (State Farm 79).

                For the British, Sir Richard O'Conner would seem a pretty good choice, or what about Brian Horrocks at corps level.

                Nobody seems to know any outstanding Russian commanders at anything below corps level, though they must have been a goodly bunch. Pavel Rotmistriv at Kursk comes to mind, and what about Vassily Chuikov?

                Whoo was the Russian chap commanding the First Guard's Armoured?

                Maybe I should get on the internwwet and find out some of these names for myself....

                For the americans, I have not heard the name of James Gavin mentioned yet, nor of Norman "Dutch" Cota.

                For Macarthur, the name of General George Kenny leaps out immediately, and are we ignoring the good work that Curtis LeMay achieved, not only with the *thAAF in Europe, but turning the entire bombing effort of Japan around to the point that they actually ran out of targets.
                I think LeMay makes Sir Arthur Harris and co look very vin ordinaire.

                Anyhow, I'll get back in my box, and let you all fight this one out....
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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post

                  What about the German Balck (don't know his first name, I tnink it was Hermann). His divisional level actions are still studied today, particularly with reference to his manuevers during the fighting around Sowchos 79 (State Farm 79).

                  For the British, Sir Richard O'Conner would seem a pretty good choice, or what about Brian Horrocks at corps level.

                  Nobody seems to know any outstanding Russian commanders at anything below corps level, though they must have been a goodly bunch. Pavel Rotmistriv at Kursk comes to mind, and what about Vassily Chuikov?

                  Whoo was the Russian chap commanding the First Guard's Armoured?

                  Maybe I should get on the internwwet and find out some of these names for myself....

                  For the americans, I have not heard the name of James Gavin mentioned yet, nor of Norman "Dutch" Cota.

                  For Macarthur, the name of General George Kenny leaps out immediately, and are we ignoring the good work that Curtis LeMay achieved, not only with the *thAAF in Europe, but turning the entire bombing effort of Japan around to the point that they actually ran out of targets.
                  I think LeMay makes Sir Arthur Harris and co look very vin ordinaire.

                  Anyhow, I'll get back in my box, and let you all fight this one out....
                  Balck is a good choice, as is Sir Richard O'Connor, but Horrocks I would put at a B+ rather than A grade.

                  Pavel Rotmistrov was an appalling leader, generals like him a major reason why Soviet losses in WW2 were so high. His handling of the 5th Guards Tank Army at Kursk is a study on how not to control a major armoured unit.

                  James Gavin and Dutch Coda were not armoured commanders. Nor were George Kenney and Curtis Le May, who were airforce.
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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Aber View Post

                    The Allies did this in the West too, when they had penetrated the German defensive lines.

                    You have still not addressed the difference between the frontages German divisions were expected to hold in the West and East. It is far easier to breakthrough when there is only a thin defensive crust.
                    My apology, but I don't have readily available the data for the western front, and I am in the middle of editing and drafting two books--so I cannot do the specific research. You're quite welcome to track the data if you need the answer.
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Aber View Post
                      You have still not addressed the difference between the frontages German divisions were expected to hold in the West and East. It is far easier to breakthrough when there is only a thin defensive crust.

                      What statistics are you basing this on? Given the diversity of combat in WW2, East and West the tactical density argument doesn't make any sense.

                      most of the time it was one descriptor for the german forces: weakly held!

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                        What statistics are you basing this on? Given the diversity of combat in WW2, East and West the tactical density argument doesn't make any sense.
                        See post 53, derived from:

                        https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2295-5.html

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post

                          Given the diversity of combat in WW2, East and West the tactical density argument doesn't make any sense.
                          At the tactical level, it is force ratio and interlocking fires.

                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

                            The scale, depth and densities are factors in operational level warfare, that were not practiced by the Western Allies probably because they did not recognize and operational level. I suspect, you do not understand the operational level. By depth, it is the consideration of echelonment of offensive forces to have a sufficient force to penetrate the depth of the enemy defense and breakthrough into the operational depth of the enemy defense where the Germans never had enough operational reserves. Speed was not the factor, but holding the petal to the metal in the enemy's operational depth did maintain the initiative.
                            "It is only by continuous pressure that a breakthrough can be achieved. Once the attack has started the enemy must be given no respite in which to reorganize and collect reserves.
                            Fresh formations must be constantly moving up ready to move through the leading troops so that the momentum of the attack may be maintained relentlessly by day and night."

                            As far as the blunders at Normandy such as bombing friendly troops, determining how to work through bocage terrain, and unable to create an early breakout better than Operation Goodwood, I'll leave to others. But, the time-distance of the respective campaigns clearly left Berlin in the hands of the Red Army--historical fact. You can explain the "if's" of how the W. Allies could have done better.
                            Goodwood wasn't a breakout attempt. Goodwood was intended to pin down and write off German units and suck in all their available reserves allowing the breakout attempt to succeed elsewhere. That's operational level warfare.

                            Yalta handed the Red Army the honour/horror of taking Berlin.

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Gooner View Post

                              "It is only by continuous pressure that a breakthrough can be achieved. Once the attack has started the enemy must be given no respite in which to reorganize and collect reserves.
                              Fresh formations must be constantly moving up ready to move through the leading troops so that the momentum of the attack may be maintained relentlessly by day and night."



                              Goodwood wasn't a breakout attempt. Goodwood was intended to pin down and write off German units and suck in all their available reserves allowing the breakout attempt to succeed elsewhere. That's operational level warfare.

                              Yalta handed the Red Army the honour/horror of taking Berlin.
                              It was an alibi for a failed breakout attempt. What General worth his salt attacks to "pin down"?

                              Yes, there was an agreement at Yalta, but Stalin did not trust the West to honor it.
                              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

                                It was an alibi for a failed breakout attempt. What General worth his salt attacks to "pin down"?
                                A General that was commanding both 2nd British Army and 1st US Army.

                                15th July 1944

                                "1. Object of this operation.
                                To engage the German armour in battle and 'write it down' to such an extent that it is of no further value to the Germans as a basis of the battle.
                                To gain a good bridgehead over the River Orne through Caen, and thus improve our positions on the eastern flank.
                                Generally to destroy German equipment and personnel.
                                2. Affect of this operation on Allied policy.
                                We require the whole of the Cherbourg and Brittany peninsulas.
                                A victory on the eastern flank will help us to gain what we want on the western flank."

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