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  • Originally posted by KapetanBrina View Post
    Heinrici on the eastern front displayed some ability to put a finger on the pulse of battle. He was an army and army group (later) commander and was able to defend his sectors better than others by utilizing his own methods of information-decision cycle. I don't know how forward he usually was though. So that would be also an interesting complement to this study.
    If you search the thread, you will see we have discussed Heinrici. His remarkable talent was to determine to within a ours a Red Army attack. I posted research on his methods--classic FSG.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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    • Originally posted by Aber View Post

      And this caused major issues for his commands when he was out of contact, and often he was not at the critical point eg 'Dash to the wire' during Crusader.



      I can't think of many examples where this led to better decision making.

      Alexander was often in the front line as an Army Group commander, but I don't think anyone would claim that he possessed FSG.
      Army commanders being seen at the front is often more about morale than command.



      A question for you.

      During the Battle for France, Montgomery commanding 3rd Division was woken in the night by a subordinate to be told "the Germans have broken into the town". His response; "well throw them out again" and went back to sleep, and his subordinates restored the situation.

      Does this represent FSG? - he made an instant assessment of the likely scale of the German threat, the forces available to him, and decided that it was not critical, and could be safely delegated.

      Would Rommel have reacted the same way? Or would he have woken his headquarters staff, armed them with small arms and headed for the firefight, and personally commanded the counterattack? Would you use that as an example of FSG?
      There are examples that Rommel often made decisions that turned within the decision cycle of the British commanders resulting in reactions, contermeasures and situation changes faster than his enemy.

      Once past the Meuse, Rommel was out of touch with his HQ and CofS in his drive to penetrate the extended Maginot line and operate in the rear area. His CofS complained to Hoth,corps cdr. Rommel later sacked him. Rommel required a strong CofS to manage the staff and actions while he was forward. Rommel usually returned to make touches in plans and leave directions which did breakdown occasionally when Rommel extended in his stay forward or comms were broken.

      Balck had the same requirement with his CofS, von Mellethin.

      Miontgomery was confident in his overwhelming force and his subordinates' ability to handle the attack--Montgomery did not tolerate underperforming subordinates. Being forward is not the only criteria for FSG, risk-taking is a factor, and Monty was not a risk taker.

      My guess is Rommel would have gone forward to see for himself and look for opportunities to turn the situation from a mere defense. He would have wanted to judge the enemy force composition and intensity of their fight assessing intention and capability. He would also judge his own force's response and leadership. He would then be confident he was on top of the situation and make immediate decisions.
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

        My guess is Rommel would have gone forward to see for himself and look for opportunities to turn the situation from a mere defense. He would have wanted to judge the enemy force composition and intensity of their fight assessing intention and capability. He would also judge his own force's response and leadership. He would then be confident he was on top of the situation and make immediate decisions.
        The point that I am trying to make in this second round of looking at the chessmaster's quality of mind/thinking is how they see the chessboard differently, and the chessboard is simpler than the complexity of a modern battlefield. No two people will see it the same, hence the FSG type seems to know/sense this better than most and has to see and judge for himself. This ability to see beyond the conventional wisdom is against a backdrop of deliberate study and internalization of experience.

        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
          Miontgomery was confident in his overwhelming force and his subordinates' ability to handle the attack--Montgomery did not tolerate underperforming subordinates. Being forward is not the only criteria for FSG, risk-taking is a factor, and Monty was not a risk taker.
          .
          Overwhelming force? This was 1940, when Montgomery was a divisional commander. Please reconsider your reply.

          Montgomery did not admit to being a risk taker. This does not mean he didn't take risks; see for example his plan for Alam Halfa, the advance to Tripoli, his advance post the Seine crossing, Arnhem ...

          Please also address the major criticisms of Rommel's command style in Crusader (and earlier); if being forward cause a breakdown in command then surely that is a fundamental failure in the commanders key role?

          Re risk-taking - if FSG is an inate feel for the battlefield, why would risk-taking be a core component?


          The problem I have is that your argument is centered around Rommel's time as divisional commander (or other successful German divisional commanders) and holding up examples of what they did as FSG; then using these examples as the benchmark of what FSG looks like. This is both circular and biased towards German doctrine.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Aber View Post

            Overwhelming force? This was 1940, when Montgomery was a divisional commander. Please reconsider your reply.

            Montgomery did not admit to being a risk taker. This does not mean he didn't take risks; see for example his plan for Alam Halfa, the advance to Tripoli, his advance post the Seine crossing, Arnhem ...

            Please also address the major criticisms of Rommel's command style in Crusader (and earlier); if being forward cause a breakdown in command then surely that is a fundamental failure in the commanders key role?

            Re risk-taking - if FSG is an inate feel for the battlefield, why would risk-taking be a core component?


            The problem I have is that your argument is centered around Rommel's time as divisional commander (or other successful German divisional commanders) and holding up examples of what they did as FSG; then using these examples as the benchmark of what FSG looks like. This is both circular and biased towards German doctrine.
            You're right, I misread your post. I have not studied Montgomery's career, and in the years of discussing FSG on this thread, no British poster, nor any military historian, has offered Monty as an example of possessing the capability. In fact, the British posters have been unable to produce an example. Another FSG trait is high-energy; Monty's wanting to return to sleep does not suggest high energy, but rather a well paced routine for rest.

            If you read through past discussions you will find my argument is not built around Rommel as divisional commander--we have looked at his war record in WWI and at his other command levels. And, the argument has used other commanders from other armies. I raised Rommel's div command because I wanted to illustrate the comparative difference of all the panzer division commanders' military experience and their performance/recognition based on post invasion promotion during the invasion of France despite having the same training base.

            There is always risk-taking in decisions if a radical course of action is taken (versus a slight variation on a theme), if it is taken quickly with less than conventional means, if given verbally (increased misunderstanding by subor cdrs)....

            I don't have time to back track through Crusader and I cannot recall if we looked at it previously. I would recommend that you read, British General David Fraser's "Knight's Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel". He attributes the trait of FSG to Rommel, and he will walk you through the North African campaign.
            Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 15 Mar 19, 17:16.
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
              Another FSG trait is high-energy.
              Is it? Why?

              Your definition of FSG is driven by what successful German divisional commanders did; being high energy, positioning themselves forward, taking risks, and doing something (or anything) are traits resulting from German training and doctrine - force the enemy commander to react and he may make a mistake.

              FSG is "a fingertip feel for the battlefield".

              My challenge is why Rommel's "get up and lead a personal counterattack" attitude demonstrates a better feel for the battlefield than Montgomery's immediate conclusion "the situation is not serious enough to warrant my attention".

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Aber View Post

                Is it? Why?

                Your definition of FSG is driven by what successful German divisional commanders did; being high energy, positioning themselves forward, taking risks, and doing something (or anything) are traits resulting from German training and doctrine - force the enemy commander to react and he may make a mistake.

                FSG is "a fingertip feel for the battlefield".

                My challenge is why Rommel's "get up and lead a personal counterattack" attitude demonstrates a better feel for the battlefield than Montgomery's immediate conclusion "the situation is not serious enough to warrant my attention".
                Read Fraser.

                You have missed the whole point about profiling the pz div cdrs drill--it illustrates that the FSG trait is not the result of German training and doctrine based on the disparity in individual performances, a point also illustrated by finding commanders in other armies who possess the FSG trait.
                Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 17 Mar 19, 16:26.
                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                Comment



                • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                  You have missed the whole point about profiling the pz div cdrs drill--it illustrates that the FSG trait is not the result of German training and doctrine based on the disparity in individual performances,
                  All a disparity in performance shows is that there were commanders who were good at carrying out doctrine, and others that weren't


                  a point also illustrated by finding commanders in other armies who possess the FSG trait.
                  No. Your methodology means that you are looking for commanders who behaved like high performing German panzer division commanders. You should be looking for reasons that commanders in other armies were successful, especially those that didn't behave like German panzer division commanders and look deeper for common traits.

                  Montgomery is probably the best for this purpose given his success as a commander, long service in combat in WW2, and availability of a wide range of sources both positive and negative. An interesting research question would be "If you assume that Montgomery had FSG, what would you define FSG traits as?".
                  Last edited by Aber; Yesterday, 04:18.

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                  • Originally posted by Aber View Post
                    Montgomery is probably the best for this purpose given his success as a commander, long service in combat in WW2, and availability of a wide range of sources both positive and negative. An interesting research question would be "If you assume that Montgomery had FSG, what would you define FSG traits as?".
                    Yes,it's an interesting research question that I have been pursuing for years--look in this thread the commanders considered. No military historian or biographer, nor any British posters, has held Monty as an FSG-type.

                    Still recommend you read Fraser and then research Monty's traits for comparison. The thread can wait for your more informed opinion-you'll find self-education invigorating.
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                      No military historian or biographer, nor any British posters, has held Monty as an FSG-type.
                      Not even those who consider him "Master of the Battlefield"?

                      Still recommend you read Fraser and then research Monty's traits for comparison.
                      Effectively assumes Rommel as a benchmark of FSG traits.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Aber View Post

                        Not even those who consider him "Master of the Battlefield"?



                        Effectively assumes Rommel as a benchmark of FSG traits.
                        You will have to find out for yourself; you will need to start with a definition of the term if you don't like mine.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                        Comment

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