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Divergent Views on Armour

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  • Divergent Views on Armour

    Divergent Views on Armour

    Battle of Miteiriya Ridge Oct 24 1942

    Montgomery summarily relieves two of his armoured Generals of command (General A Gatehouse commander of 10th Armoured Division and Lieutenant General H Lumsden10 Corps commander) after a fierce argument about the planed armoured attack.

    Was this a good decision as the attack failed……… did Monty have experience with armour

    As battlefield commander Montgomery’s good fortune continues ( Rommel was absence) won the day


    “Attack with aggression, but always have a plan of retreat”

  • #2
    Always hard to tell with Monty. There is no denying his capabilities and insight, but there is also no denying his personality issues.

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    • #3
      Like all new managers he would want to assert his authority by sacking dissenters thereby showing to all others the one true way of going about matters!
      All GOCs sacked (For sacked read posted) their dissenters.(For dissent read discussion).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wellsfargo View Post
        Divergent Views on Armour

        Battle of Miteiriya Ridge Oct 24 1942

        Montgomery summarily relieves two of his armoured Generals of command (General A Gatehouse commander of 10th Armoured Division and Lieutenant General H Lumsden10 Corps commander) after a fierce argument about the planed armoured attack.
        Except they were not replaced until December 1942, so were not summarily relieved. IIRC there were further issues post Alamein that contributed to their removal.

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        • #5
          Montgomery grew fed up with the "cavalry" officers who refused to follow British doctrine and wanted to go swanning about with their tanks like they were mechanised horses. The was, is and ever will be, first and foremost, an infantry support weapon. Charging about unsupported and in the face of an enemy possessing powerful anti-tank weapons and armour amongst the minefields was not part of Montgomery's plan. This same view is what had seen British armour shot to pieces when meeting the Germans since May 1941. Lumsden and Gatehouse were the last of the old "desert generals" whom Montgomery thought were the cause of all of 8th Army's troubles.

          By not following doctrine, and not training their troops properly in that doctrine, Montgomery believed they doing more harm than good. The fact they also argued with Montgomery about the use of armour in British doctrine only made things worse. Montgomery had some difficulty keeping the 'cavalry' reined in at both Alam Halfa and Alamein and it eventually led to the break and their dismissal.

          An army can only have one commander and Montgomery was not going to tolerate "command by committee". That method had led to the disaster at Gazala in June 1942
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #6
            I've got this ratteling around in my head. I know this quote is from a different era, and I'm not sure where it is from but somewhere I read:

            "British cavalry is the best in the world and the worst lead"
            "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
            Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
              Montgomery grew fed up with the "cavalry" officers who refused to follow British doctrine and wanted to go swanning about with their tanks like they were mechanised horses. The was, is and ever will be, first and foremost, an infantry support weapon.
              For a post that was so good overall, its a shock to see it start so badly.
              And even more amazing to see you advance that sort of talk as if it was not proven ridiculous by the time of that long-over battle.

              Sure, tanks are there to help the Infantry, and when tanks and infantry get separated they both run into trouble.
              But the answer is not to tie the tanks to the pedestrian pace of the foot-sloggers! That had already been proven. You don't plan offensives at a walking pace, you mechanize the Infantry, and the rest of the damn division, so that they can take advantage of the mobility of the tanks.
              Halftracks to carry the infantry & flak and halftracks to pull the artillery (or SP carriages to carry the big guns) are how the other guys were doing that.
              And if you get that, and don't use your stuff appropriately, then the D.A.K. gets away to keep you tied up for half a year in Tunisia.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                But the answer is not to tie the tanks to the pedestrian pace of the foot-sloggers!
                I think the point is to use tanks as part of a combined arms approach, not as a separate cavalry branch of the army.

                The Germans did not have enough infantry during the Battle of the Bulge and suffered for it. The Soviets would do breakthroughs with infantry heavy shock formations/taskforces then exploit with tank armies.

                Prior to Montgomery, British tanks happily operated separately to artillery and got massacred.

                Monty also got the Desert Air Force to do direct air support rather than just interdiction and this led to the rise of the US tactical air forces (through Pete Quesada).

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