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The Sacking of Gen. Sosabowski

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  • The Sacking of Gen. Sosabowski

    Here's a letter written by Gen. Browning recommending that the commanding of the Polish Parachute Brigade be fired.

    This was written in the aftermath of the Arnhem disaster.





    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    So what happened next ...?
    Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

    Comment


    • #3
      So Monty ignores intelligence reports, commits a major force to a hare-brained scheme, and in the wake of the disaster they fire a Polish one-star?
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        A Major General in the British and Polish Army was a two star rank. Part of the confusion in British Army ranks is the fact that they used full colonels and brigadiers. The full colonel was not really used in active service, it was more of an honorary rank, ie, Colonel of a Regiment. I see Brigadier as a one star rank, more than a colonel. Many Brigadiers were given this rank as a temporary promotion which was not made permanent until later. So in essence, you either jump over Colonel or one star rank.

        Sosabowski went through Airborne Training as a General and served in a lesser position, so he could command troops in combat. The Polish refugees that formed the Polish Army in exile were always over represented by officers.

        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
          It happened that he was indeed sacked by the Polish command, obviously under British pressure.
          It was not just a matter of finding a junior (and foreign) scapegoat for the failure. It also was a political issue. Between the failure of Market-Garden and the day Sosabowski was demoted, the Moscow Conference of October 1944 was held. At that meeting, Churchill and Stalin had each their own Polish government attend. That was a shift in the power balance, that also was taking place just right after the AK had been crushed in Warsaw.
          Now, if Market-Garden had been a success, then the Polish paratroopers would have been part of that, and on top of that, the Westerners would have already gained a bridgehead beyond the Rhine. If at the same time the pro-West AK had established its own control over the Polish capital, that would also have been a plus worth considering.
          None of that was the case, however, and the Polish government in exile in London was becoming more and more a liability rather than an asset to the British relationships with the Soviets.
          Michele

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            It happened that he was indeed sacked by the Polish command, obviously under British pressure.
            It was not just a matter of finding a junior (and foreign) scapegoat for the failure. It also was a political issue. Between the failure of Market-Garden and the day Sosabowski was demoted, the Moscow Conference of October 1944 was held. At that meeting, Churchill and Stalin had each their own Polish government attend. That was a shift in the power balance, that also was taking place just right after the AK had been crushed in Warsaw.
            Now, if Market-Garden had been a success, then the Polish paratroopers would have been part of that, and on top of that, the Westerners would have already gained a bridgehead beyond the Rhine. If at the same time the pro-West AK had established its own control over the Polish capital, that would also have been a plus worth considering.
            None of that was the case, however, and the Polish government in exile in London was becoming more and more a liability rather than an asset to the British relationships with the Soviets.
            On the other hand he could just have been an officer promoted past his level of competence (and there were certainly those in all armies). Its all too easy to "find" political conspiracies if you really want to but your post is pure supposition and no proof of anything.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              On the other hand he could just have been an officer promoted past his level of competence (and there were certainly those in all armies). Its all too easy to "find" political conspiracies if you really want to but your post is pure supposition and no proof of anything.
              Absolutely right. Churchill, Stalin and other decision-makers did not put down in writing anything of the sort, and Montgomery was always adamant that Market-Garden had been a risk worth taking, never admitting any responsibility for the flaws in intel analysis and planning.
              Michele

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Michele View Post
                Absolutely right. Churchill, Stalin and other decision-makers did not put down in writing anything of the sort, and Montgomery was always adamant that Market-Garden had been a risk worth taking, never admitting any responsibility for the flaws in intel analysis and planning.
                Yes, Churchill often made suggestions some very flawed others basically good but they were not carried out if the so called military 'experts' thought otherwise. I would not say the same for Stalin though. lcm1
                'By Horse by Tram'.


                I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                  So Monty ignores intelligence reports, commits a major force to a hare-brained scheme, and in the wake of the disaster they fire a Polish one-star?
                  It was not so much a 'fire' situation as a 'move' Arnie, lcm1
                  'By Horse by Tram'.


                  I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                  " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, Monty did say no bellyaching didn't he.

                    To be honest, this letter doesn't seem too outrageous. There were bound to be difficulties between british top brass and commanders of various little allied contingents serving under them. Sosabowski too doesn't seem like the easiest man to work with and Browning apparently and rightly as it turned out, thought he could manage to oust him. The bigger deal is the charge of Sosabowski's unfitness of command but I confess I know next to nothing about his conduct and generalship and I'd be loath to form my opinion based on A Bridge Too Far movie considering how poor piece of literature it was based on. Browning obviously gets a heat for this incident cause MG caused a major loss of his rep but I feel you have too try to move past that and take a more objective look at the circumstances of the sacking to form a more balanced judgment.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                      A Major General in the British and Polish Army was a two star rank. Part of the confusion in British Army ranks is the fact that they used full colonels and brigadiers. The full colonel was not really used in active service, it was more of an honorary rank, ie, Colonel of a Regiment. I see Brigadier as a one star rank, more than a colonel. Many Brigadiers were given this rank as a temporary promotion which was not made permanent until later. So in essence, you either jump over Colonel or one star rank.

                      Sosabowski went through Airborne Training as a General and served in a lesser position, so he could command troops in combat. The Polish refugees that formed the Polish Army in exile were always over represented by officers.

                      Pruitt
                      Full colonel was frequently used for a command out of the line of fighting structures - for example a weapons research and development establishment. Holders of the rank were often specialists not destined to rise to general officer status
                      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                      Comment

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