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Mark W Clark : Time for a reappraisal ?

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  • Mark W Clark : Time for a reappraisal ?

    US Lieutenant General Mark W Clarck is often cited as one of the worst US commander.

    US historian R.M Citino seem to disagree :

    http://www.historynet.com/mark-w-cla...eappraisal.htm

    "Mark W. Clark: A General Reappraisal

    ...

    Clark’s real problem was quite simple: it was his fate in 1943 to command an American army in the Mediterranean Theater. The inland sea had already become a graveyard of American military reputations: Major General Lloyd Fredendall of Kasserine Pass, the currently disgraced Patton, the soon-to-be disgraced Major General Ernest J. Dawley, and the later disgraced General Lucas...."

    Mr Citino has a point often overlooked when judging commanders :

    "...The U.S. Army, top to bottom, was going to get a lot better by 1944, and every general looks better when the formations, staff, and support systems under his command—all of an invasion force’s moving parts—are more experienced...."

    Readers/Posters may find useful to read this another article form Mr Citino'sabout Salerno :

    http://www.historynet.com/avalanche-...at-salerno.htm

    Time for a reappraisal for Markus Aurelius Clarckus ?

  • #2
    It isn't just for Salerno that I think Clark was a bad commander. His running of the whole Italy campaign was second or third rate.
    Last edited by Tsar; 17 Feb 16, 00:55.
    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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    • #3
      Quick story about Mark clark...

      During the "Torch" landings, Clark and a couple of aids were trying to make contact with the harbour master.

      Their interpreter, instead, found a young muslim boy.

      The boy was under the impression that clark wanted to "hire" his sister for a night of revellry.

      clark told him..."No, I want the harbour master"

      After a moments serious thought, the boy replied..."OK...I get harbour master for you...but he cost DOUBLE what my sister will!"

      Clark's vainglory in the Italian campaign has no need of a revision.

      And who, exactly, is overturning George Patton's rightful place as the man whose command did more to liberate France, and push into Germany, not to mention his finest hour being ready to roll so quickly in response to "Bulge"?

      Patton's personality was just show for the troops. He was a more widely read commander than most of the also rans, like Bradley, (who detested Patton everywhere but to his afce), or Miles Demsey, or even the mostly well organised Monty.

      Clarks record would have to have need for someone to explain a lot.
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      • #4
        No!

        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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        • #5
          Originally posted by Metryll View Post

          Time for a reappraisal for Markus Aurelius Clarckus ?
          Yes possibly, but those articles make a poor case for it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tsar View Post
            It isn't just for Salerno that I think Clark was a bad commander. His running of the whole Italy campaign was second or third rate.
            Yep. His "liberation" of Rome was a masterstroke of stupidity.

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            • #7
              I think he should be re-evaluated to determine if he qualifies as the worst in the 20th Century.
              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                I think he should be re-evaluated to determine if he qualifies as the worst in the 20th Century.
                That might be a bit harsh. He didn't actually do any worse than most other US generals at the time. Where he went wrong is try to look good by taking Rome. In doing so he allowed thousands of enemy troops to evade capture. If he was actually smart, he would of not taken Rome, but had his press state he could of, but military considerations were more paramount.

                Rome was the first Axis capital city to be liberated in WW2. The fact that Clark took this city, but is seen as a major failure in this campaign, is completely justified. His leadership and generalship in the various battles for Monte Cassino reveals him to be less than adequate.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Metryll View Post
                  US Lieutenant General Mark W Clarck is often cited as one of the worst US commander.

                  US historian R.M Citino seem to disagree :

                  http://www.historynet.com/mark-w-cla...eappraisal.htm

                  "Mark W. Clark: A General Reappraisal

                  ...

                  Clark’s real problem was quite simple: it was his fate in 1943 to command an American army in the Mediterranean Theater. The inland sea had already become a graveyard of American military reputations: Major General Lloyd Fredendall of Kasserine Pass, the currently disgraced Patton, the soon-to-be disgraced Major General Ernest J. Dawley, and the later disgraced General Lucas...."

                  Mr Citino has a point often overlooked when judging commanders :

                  "...The U.S. Army, top to bottom, was going to get a lot better by 1944, and every general looks better when the formations, staff, and support systems under his command—all of an invasion force’s moving parts—are more experienced...."

                  Readers/Posters may find useful to read this another article form Mr Citino'sabout Salerno :

                  http://www.historynet.com/avalanche-...at-salerno.htm

                  Time for a reappraisal for Markus Aurelius Clarckus ?
                  Clark was by no means the worst commander the US produced during WWII and nor does he make my list of These Bozos Made General?. In part he made a couple of poor strategic choices, but he was confronting a very adept German commander in terrain that favoured defense. We was also operating in terrain in which his lines of advance and operational choices could easily be predicted.

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                  • #10
                    from the article:

                    But this accusation, too, fails the evidence test. After all, surrounding a maneuver-trained German field army was not as easy as it sounds. How many times did the Western Allies ever succeed in doing so? Don’t try too hard, it’s an easy answer. Before the final German collapse in 1945: zero.
                    This guy should have tried harder thinking about it. The correct answer is the Falaise Gap.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                      Clark was by no means the worst commander the US produced during WWII and nor does he make my list of These Bozos Made General?. In part he made a couple of poor strategic choices, but he was confronting a very adept German commander in terrain that favoured defense. We was also operating in terrain in which his lines of advance and operational choices could easily be predicted.
                      That is all true, but the fact he tried to look good in taking Rome, rather than taking out tens of thousands of enemy troops speaks volumes.

                      Mark Clark is Ego above Ability. I can't think of another commander that this is more true of.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
                        This guy should have tried harder thinking about it. The correct answer is the Falaise Gap.
                        Yes! +1! One of my favorite book titles is Death of a German Army: The Closure and Liquidation of the Falaise Gap.

                        Susie
                        Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                        Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                        For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                        And battles long ago:
                        -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
                          Yes! +1!
                          What else can be said, great minds think alike.

                          One of my favorite book titles is Death of a German Army: The Closure and Liquidation of the Falaise Gap.

                          Susie
                          Mine was Victory at Falaise: The Soldier's Story by Denis Whitaker.

                          Whitaker provides a good first hand account as he served with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (the Rilies) during that time there. FYI He was also the only officer out of a 100 to reach downtown Dieppe during the raid and escape unwounded.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                            No!

                            Pruitt
                            Ditto.
                            So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

                            Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
                              This guy should have tried harder thinking about it. The correct answer is the Falaise Gap.
                              No wish to create a Falaise controversy but did not several Germans units actually escaped the area ?

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