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Best General of WWII?

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  • Originally posted by Gooner View Post

    There was far less enemy facing Cobra - that was rather the point.

    USA-E-Breakout-IV.jpg
    https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA...eakout-12.html

    Little depth to the German 7th Army positions too.

    WWII is littered with examples of Allied forces failing to force the Germans to retreat. And that with far superior force ratios than that between 2nd British Army and Panzer Group West.
    The point I see is the Germans knew it was the far way around; they could easily withdraw without jeopardizing forces being cut off. However, if an attack all the way to Falaise could be accomplished, the threat would unhinge the entire defense. As it turned out, the Allies had the breakout battle another battle at Mortain, then the Falise gap....
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

      The point I see is the Germans knew it was the far way around; they could easily withdraw without jeopardizing forces being cut off. However, if an attack all the way to Falaise could be accomplished, the threat would unhinge the entire defense.
      That's how Monty saw the Germans seeing it too.

      As it turned out, the Allies had the breakout battle another battle at Mortain, then the Falise gap....
      Not really break-out battles though are they? One was defending a counter-attack, the other an operation (or series of operations) to close a pocket on enemy forces.

      I don't think the US forces actually achieved any breakthroughs in the West against the Germans again, after the front has semi-settled in September 44, until March 45?

      There has been a tendency to see a "breakthrough" as something common and easily achievable when it was manifestly neither.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Gooner View Post
        There has been a tendency to see a "breakthrough" as something common and easily achievable when it was manifestly neither.
        Vulcan, Diadem, Cobra, MG(?), Grenade spring to mind. Post Grenade, the Germans were so weak that breakthroughs were far less difficult.

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        • Originally posted by Aber View Post

          Vulcan, Diadem, Cobra, MG(?), Grenade spring to mind. Post Grenade, the Germans were so weak that breakthroughs were far less difficult.
          Yes, that's about it. I think MG qualifies .. just Maybe also the breakthrough to the Maas October-November?

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          • Originally posted by Gooner View Post

            There has been a tendency to see a "breakthrough" as something common and easily achievable when it was manifestly neither.
            That may be true, but my experience has been there is little common knowledge on how the Red Army did make operational level breakthroughs in the second half of the war on the eastern front. My favorite example of where, at least, the US Army was at the operational level for a breakthrough. The story is in a monograph, "The 4th Armored Division in the Encirclement of Nancy" by Dr. Christopher R. Gabel (the monograph can be obtained free on-line from the Combat Studies Institute, Ft. Leavenworth, KS).

            The telling scene is on p. 18. MajGen Eddy, commander, XII Corps, rejects Colonel Clarke's, cdr CCA, 4th Armored Divsion, proposal for a Sarrebourg operation in mid-September. Eddy rejected because Sarrebourg lay outside the corps' zone which swung northeast, not east towards the Rhine. ... Instead of launching the 4th Armored Division on a renewal of the great pursuit, Eddy diverted this weapon of exploitation to assist the infantry in consolidating the ground around Nancy.

            In Red Army operational level breakthroughs, their tank armies and separate tk/mech corps (which operated as an operational level force, as well as Cav/Mech Groups) once crossed the forward edge of the battlefield could (and did) cross adjacent unit boundaries to continue the offensive into the operational depth.
            Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 25 Jun 20, 11:52.
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
              That may be true, but my experience has been there is little common knowledge on how the Red Army did make operational level breakthroughs in the second half of the war on the eastern front.
              By punching holes in thin German defences.

              As quoted earlier in #53 this thread, sourced from:

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

              Average length of front of German divisions:
              Cobra 7km
              Belorussian operations 16-25km
              Once you've made the breakthrough, and dealt with immediate reserves (if any), then operations look easy.

              In Red Army operational level breakthroughs, their tank armies and separate tk/mech corps (which operated as an operational level force, as well as Cav/Mech Groups) once crossed the forward edge of the battlefield could (and did) cross adjacent unit boundaries to continue the offensive into the operational depth.
              IIRC post-Cobra that did happen in the West too - Elbeuf and Tournai come to mind.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Aber View Post

                By punching holes in thin German defences.

                As quoted earlier in #53 this thread, sourced from:

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

                Once you've made the breakthrough, and dealt with immediate reserves (if any), then operations look easy.

                IIRC post-Cobra that did happen in the West too - Elbeuf and Tournai come to mind.
                I'm familiar with C.J.Dick's articles and other works from the early 1980's. David Glantz writes the forward for Dick's second volume (that you cited above) and notes: "In short, the Soviet's rigor in theoretical analysis, couple with skillful exploitation of greater and more traumatic and costly experience, led them to evolve superior operational concepts and techniques, as a comparitive anlaysis of methods and results clearly shows."

                Seems there's a little more than "punching holes in thin German defences". One must learn the limitations of a metaphor, such as partiality of insight.
                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                  Seems there's a little more than "punching holes in thin German defences".
                  Oh, yes.

                  But if you can't create a breakthrough because of the density of defences, then brilliant operational theories don't really matter.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Aber View Post

                    Oh, yes.

                    But if you can't create a breakthrough because of the density of defences, then brilliant operational theories don't really matter.
                    That's why one uses maskirovka (deception, camouflage, disinformation, operations security) as well as take risks with density in other sectors along the front, narrow the main sector, conduct artillery and air strikes to reduce the enemy's density in weapons systems in the main effort sector, echelon the offensive force in depth....
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                      That's why one uses maskirovka (deception, camouflage, disinformation, operations security) as well as take risks with density in other sectors along the front, narrow the main sector, conduct artillery and air strikes to reduce the enemy's density in weapons systems in the main effort sector, echelon the offensive force in depth....
                      Sounds like Veritable to me.

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                      • Did anyone nominate Terry Allen yet?

                        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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                        • Excellent division commander but not the best general of War II. Bradley didn't care for his 'leadership style' but Bradley was not the best commander of the war by a longshot. His failure in the Bulge was indicative of his lack of combat experience and he was saved by Patton who received little credit by his superiors.

                          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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                          • Still, Allen is one of two Army Generals to receive a second command after being relieved. General Ralph Smith, the other one, got a second command because a Marine General relieved him.

                            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"

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

                              That's why one uses maskirovka (deception, camouflage, disinformation, operations security) as well as take risks with density in other sectors along the front, narrow the main sector, conduct artillery and air strikes to reduce the enemy's density in weapons systems in the main effort sector, echelon the offensive force in depth....

                              Sounds like Cobra to me. Bit of a puzzle why 12th Army Group did not try and repeat at least some of the elements of Cobra.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Gooner View Post


                                Sounds like Cobra to me. Bit of a puzzle why 12th Army Group did not try and repeat at least some of the elements of Cobra.
                                Sounds like, but hard to compare. The Western allies talked in the general force ratio versus densities in main, supporting and other sectors of weapon systems per km and sector widths. Such data was not collected like in the operational-level staffs of the Red Army.

                                I worked with a graduate study group at MIT looking at Allied Operations after Normandy, but starting with Cobra. I showed them the operational level indices in the Red Offensive operations as a basis for comparison. Trained researchers, they could not find comparative data in unit documents, and ended up trying calculation generally on TO&E.

                                Apologize for the response, planned to back off to let the thread get back on track.
                                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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