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 Animosity between Generals

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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Animosity between Generals   Sat 06 Feb 2016, 21:35

Who seemed more arrogant out of Eisenhower, Patton , and Montgomery during WW2 and why?

Could it have been due to professional jealousy?
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 09:40

Hi Dirk


I am not sure that I would consider Eisenhower to be that arrogant.  Also you are talking about 3 different levels of command.  Eisenhower was the supreme commander, Montgomery an army group commander and Patton an army commander who came under Omar Bradley and then Eisenhower.


regards


Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 11:40

Sorry Dirk I forgot about the Sicily campaign where both Patton and Montgomery served under Alexander who in turn came under Eisenhower.  It could be said that both Montgomery and Patton cultivated images and had high opinions of themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 13:43

I would agree with Tim concerning Eisenhower, Dirk. Hard to nail down, that guy - a consummate politician even before he became a politician. But arrogance wasn't normally a charge levelled against him.

The other two have both been labelled as arrogant by contemporaries, though in really two very different ways. Patton's arrogance, like Montgomery's, stemmed from an absolute belief in his effectiveness but unlike Montgomery this self-belief was rarely challenged by his superiors, his peers or those under his command, and his earthy and easy to understand style of communication seems to have been no act but proof of a genuine desire to be judged as "one of them" by his soldiers. Montgomery on the other hand seems to have had a deep seated and not very well concealed fear of failure that was shown for example in his insistence on avoiding engagement of the enemy without a guarantee of superior strength - something that Eisenhower openly detested and which was interpreted by Ike as proof of arrogance especially at times when such a generous share of resources just wasn't available. He also certainly seems to have developed something of a chip on his shoulder regarding how the highest allied command was shared out prior to D-Day and then throughout the rest of the war, and in fact this was regarded as evidence of arrogance by his US peers too, if a little unfairly. His sometimes rather haughty aloofness (which apparently stemmed from an almost pathological shyness) didn't help correct any of these impressions.

However if all three are to be believed none of this impaired too much on their ability to coordinate and work together in the way that really counted, and the vast majority of reports from those under each of their command were highly favourable, even when acknowledging the character flaws as mentioned above.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 15:07

Impressions and some wider reading of all three appear to highlight Patton's 'Glory Boy' approach to war based on his love of Classical warfare. Monty surely had the same educational grounding but his aloofness in wanting strength to back his decisions may - my opinion - have stemmed from knowing the mistakes of many awful commanders in WW1. His optimism and confidence about Caen must have taken a beating. Ike had to be like an opera director with several prima donnas. Bradley seems to come out well in the wash of hindsight - MaCarthy - now there's arrogance on a plate! And then there's General de Gaulle.......mm, yes, well, mmmm.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 15:43

I remember seeing Alan Whicker discussing US General Mark Clark and his bid for personal glory in capturing Rome rather than the destruction of the German Tenth Army, as instructed by Field Marshal Alexander. Whicker's view was that if Clark had been German, Hitler would have had him shot.

wiki on the same subject;

Quote :
Clark's conduct of operations in the Italian Campaign is controversial, particularly his actions during the Battle of the Winter Line. American military historian Carlo D'Este called Clark's choice to take Rome, after Operation Diadem and the Breakout from the Anzio beachhead, rather than focusing on the destruction of the German Tenth Army, "as militarily stupid as it was insubordinate". Although Clark described a "race to Rome" and released an edited version of his diary for the official historians, his complete papers became available only after his death.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 16:36

If Clark had been Russian then Stalin would probably had had him shot but I am sure that Hitler shot his generals for failures, more for events such as the failed July plot.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 16 Feb 2016, 16:34

One of Mongomery's biggest mistakes was the failure to secure the approaches to Antwerp after its capture in 1944.  This from my book on the petroleum pipeline network (due to be published this year)

'On 4th September the British 11th Armoured Division occupied Antwerp, capturing its extensive port facilities intact.  The speed of the allied advance had given the Germany army, which was still in disarray, no time to carry out their demolition.  Bringing Antwerp into immediate operation would have greatly improved the allied supply problems, particularly with regard to fuel.  The Royal Navy had warned both SHAEF and 21st Army Group that, for Antwerp to be used, both sides of the Scheldt had to be cleared of German forces.  On 3rd September Eisenhower and Montgomery were advised that ‘Both Antwerp and Rotterdam are highly vulnerable to mining and blocking.  If the enemy succeeds in these operations, the time taken to open these ports cannot be estimated’.   But in what could be considered one of the worst allied errors of the war, neither general ordered any immediate action to secure the approaches to the port.   Montgomery was always scathing about Eisenhower’s lack of strategic insight but Montgomery also showed no such perception in this case.  Only on 13th September was the First Canadian army, with inadequate resources, ordered by Montgomery to start clearing the Scheldt Estuary but by then the Germans had reorganised themselves.  The Canadian commander, Lieutenant-General Crerar, who Montgomery considered to be ‘quite unfit to command troops’, gave the task little urgency.   It was to be 28th November before the first ship unloaded its cargo at the port.'

This combined with the earlier failure of the PLUTO pipelines had a dramatic effect on allied fuel supplies - still, however, much better than for the Germans.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Tue 16 Feb 2016, 16:46

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
One of Mongomery's biggest mistakes was the failure to secure the approaches to Antwerp after its capture in 1944.  This from my book on the petroleum pipeline network (due to be published this year)

'On 4th September the British 11th Armoured Division occupied Antwerp, capturing its extensive port facilities intact.  The speed of the allied advance had given the Germany army, which was still in disarray, no time to carry out their demolition.  Bringing Antwerp into immediate operation would have greatly improved the allied supply problems, particularly with regard to fuel.  The Royal Navy had warned both SHAEF and 21st Army Group that, for Antwerp to be used, both sides of the Scheldt had to be cleared of German forces.  On 3rd September Eisenhower and Montgomery were advised that ‘Both Antwerp and Rotterdam are highly vulnerable to mining and blocking.  If the enemy succeeds in these operations, the time taken to open these ports cannot be estimated’.   But in what could be considered one of the worst allied errors of the war, neither general ordered any immediate action to secure the approaches to the port.   Montgomery was always scathing about Eisenhower’s lack of strategic insight but Montgomery also showed no such perception in this case.  Only on 13th September was the First Canadian army, with inadequate resources, ordered by Montgomery to start clearing the Scheldt Estuary but by then the Germans had reorganised themselves.  The Canadian commander, Lieutenant-General Crerar, who Montgomery considered to be ‘quite unfit to command troops’, gave the task little urgency.   It was to be 28th November before the first ship unloaded its cargo at the port.'

This combined with the earlier failure of the PLUTO pipelines had a dramatic effect on allied fuel supplies - still, however, much better than for the Germans.

Tim
Concur.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Wed 17 Feb 2016, 12:22

This is just borrowed from wiki, criticism of Eisenhower by some of his contemporaries;

Field Marshal Lord Montgomery said of Eisenhower: “nice chap, no general.”


Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke wrote in his diary on 28 December 1942 that Eisenhower as a general was "hopeless. He submerges himself in politics and neglects his military duties, partly...because he knows little if anything about military matters."


General George Patton wrote "that it's too bad that Eisenhower has no personal knowledge of war."


General of the Army Omar Bradley wrote that Eisenhower “had little grasp of sound battlefield tactics.”


Admiral John L Hall Jnr, the commander of Amphibious Force ‘O’, which landed the 1st Division at Omaha Beach, wrote that Eisenhower “was one of the most overrated men in military history."


.........................................................................................................................................................................

Although Montgomery could be a bit awkward at times, wiki again;

Montgomery was notorious for his lack of tact and diplomacy. Even his "patron" the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Lord Alanbrooke frequently mentions it in his war diaries: "he is liable to commit untold errors in lack of tact" and "I had to haul him over the coals for his usual lack of tact and egotistical outlook which prevented him from appreciating other people's feelings". One incident that illustrated this, occurred during the North African campaign when Montgomery bet Walter Bedell Smith that he could capture Sfax by the middle of April 1943. Smith jokingly replied that if Montgomery could do it he would give him a Flying Fortress complete with crew. Smith promptly forgot all about it, but Montgomery did not, and when Sfax was taken on 10 April he sent a message to Smith "claiming his winnings". Smith tried to laugh it off, but Montgomery was having none of it and insisted on his aircraft. It got as high as Eisenhower who was said to be absolutely furious, but with his renowned skill in diplomacy he ensured Montgomery did get his Flying Fortress, though at a great cost in ill feeling. Even Alanbrooke thought it "crass stupidity".
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Thu 18 Feb 2016, 12:16

The article which appeared in Rolling Stone magazine on 22 June 2010 in which General McChrystal ( or rather one of his aides) criticised V-P Joe Biden. 

McChrystal resigned on the 23rd;

The Runaway General    (contains swearing)

Though an example of the power of the Press in the United States, it shows it's best for military men to keep away from politics.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Thu 18 Feb 2016, 14:04

In the Imperial Japanese Navy tempers could sometimes run a bit high. During the initial planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor, it was suggested that Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi's Carrier Division II (Hiryu and Soryu)  be left behind. 
An infuriated, and drunk, Yamaguchi accosted Admiral Nagumo and placed him in a headlock until a junior officer broke it up.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Fri 19 Feb 2016, 12:09

Not that Nagumo was entirely innocent, having once threatened to knife Admiral Inoue at a garden party, while one of the reasons Admiral Yamamoto was appointed to a sea going command to prevent his assassination by elements of the Japanese Army.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Fri 19 Feb 2016, 13:06

At the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, during the Wars of the Roses, the Lancastrian commander the duke of Somerset accused Lord Wenlock, who was his subordinate commander, of treachery.  Wenlock had originally been a Lancastrian but had been charmed over to the Yorkist cause by Warwick and had then stayed loyal to Warwick when he changed sides.  However, Somerset denounced Wenlock as a traitor and to emphasise the point smashed out Wenlocks brains with his battle axe.  As one modern account comments, ‘history records no more summary dismissal of a divisional commander.’

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Fri 19 Feb 2016, 21:11

Worth taking a look at the fractious relation between Leese and Slim. Like the campaign against French by Haig, fairly unusual in that the junior commander displaced and replaced the senior.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Sat 02 Jul 2016, 22:25

There were frequent disputes between the various commanders during the British Civil Wars.  Charles I's nephew, Prince Rupert, was constantly at loggerheads with the likes of George Digby, who thought his position as a senior courtier put him in a better position to advise the King on military matters than a mere German, however experienced he may be.  Digby was, incidentally, almost invariably wrong when it came to strategy.  Having said that, Rupert was evidently not an easy man to work with.  Although one might argue that in terms of sheer numbers alone the outcome of the Battle of Marston Moor (1644) was a foregone conclusion (approx 23,000 Parliamentarians and Covenanters v. 17,000 Royalists), it didn't help that immediately before the battle Rupert had a major falling out with his second-in-command, the Earl of Newcastle, mostly it appears due to Rupert's behaviour.

It was not all on the Royalist side.  Sir William Waller, commander of Parliament's Western Association Army, had a distinctly spiky relationship with the Earl of Essex, the Parliamentarian commander-in-chief.  Both were veterans of the Wars on the Continent, but whilst Waller had served with distinction, Essex had a rather less glorious career.  Not surprisingly, therefore, Waller resented Essex's determination to interfere in the western theatre of the Civil Wars.  Meanwhile, in the Eastern Association, although Oliver Cromwell was initially on good terms with its commander the Earl of Manchester (who recognised his talents and appointed him second-in-command and Lieutenant General of Horse), relations began to break down badly over the conduct of the War, Cromwell favouring a far more aggressive approach.  "If we beat the King a hundred times, he will still be King, but if he beat us but once we shall all be hanged" warned Manchester, to which Cromwell (quite reasonably, IMO) demanded "If that be the case, why did we take up arms in the first place?"  The future Lord Protector's opinion of his superior can't have been helped by the fact that at Marston Moor the Earl fled the field after initial contact (as did Lord Fairfax, commander of the Northern Association Army, and the Earl of Leven, commander of the Scottish Covenanters).  It was left to Cromwell and his Northern and Scottish opposite numbers, Sir Thomas Fairfax and Sir David Leslie, to take over command and win the battle.  The dispute between Cromwell and Manchester eventually split the entire Parliamentarian high command, and eventually led to the creation of the Self-Denying Ordinance, by which all MPs (both Commands and Lords) were excluded from holding military office (Cromwell's evident ability mean he was granted an exemption after Sir Thomas Fairfax, now Lord General, requested him as his Lt Gen of Horse).

This being a Civil War, of course, you also got the flip-side of the coin.  Sir Ralph Hopton and Sir William Waller commanded the western armies of the Royalist and Parliamentarian cause respectively, but were also old and close friends and continued to write to each other with affection even as they sought one another's defeat.  It was Waller who famously wrote to Hopton telling him "with what a perfect hatred I despise this war without an enemy".
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Sun 03 Jul 2016, 11:07

Civil wars, by their nature, will tend to produce such anomalies (or rather, assumed anomalies - respect between commanders of opposing forces seems often to rather neatly mirror the rivalry and suspicion exhibited between leaders ostensibly on the same side in such situations).

The Roman civil war that ensued after Caesar's assassination is a case in point. So complex that it tends to be divided into five distinct wars, each successive war is typified by military commanders opposing each other in battle having been de facto comrades in the preceding one and even, as with Octavian and Mark Antony, becoming allies after having opposed each other only weeks before in one of the bloodiest engagements of the period at Modena. Only Brutus and Cassius, probably by virtue of being eliminated in the second of these wars, were not seemingly presented with the opportunity or temptation to broker a means of re-entry back into the ascendant fold. What we can deduce however, even though regrettably the documentary evidence is now scant, is that communications between the opposing sides' leaders continued throughout, and from the tone of the surviving communications between Octavian and Mark Antony in the final war of the sequence for example, often revealing deep respect, love and admiration between the adversaries. Diplomacy and even downright lying might account for some of this apparent friendship, but it is also apparent - as with Brutus's letter to his opponent Cicero just prior to the former's defeat and the latter's assassination (effectively by the same man) - that the civil war leaders still saw themselves as a class apart from the rest and the bonds engendered through this association somehow transcended whatever temporary differences they found themselves engaged in, however bloody or "to the death" they might be. When those bonds were betrayed - as Mark Antony undoubtedly interpreted Cicero's criticisms of his personality in the fourteen infamous Philippics speeches to have been (and remember these two for much of this time were effectively ruling Rome together as senate spokesman and consul) - then the fact that the perpetrator was "on the same side" did not spare him from bloody retribution. Cicero's far more dangerous tactic of legalising the young Octavian's militia as a counter-balance to Antony's army however was not seen as a betrayal of his class in Antony's eyes, and Octavian was not therefore tarnished by his sponsor's crime of "betrayal", even though he was effectively its military expression and a far bigger threat to Antony's ambitions than Cicero ever could be. Once Modena established military parity between the two men, at the cost of thousands of Roman lives incidentally, they lost no time in forming an alliance - incidentally to oppose Antony's own brother Lucius Antonius who, by sticking up for common farmers whose lands the newly "legalised" Octavian had decreed should be handed over to his soldiers for their services in the war so far, was obviously deemed to have also betrayed his class.

It is unfortunate that so little of this correspondence and transcription of these speeches survives. As an historical marker for the psychology behind every civil war that has ever ensued it would have made for fascinating reading. Of the two dozen or so leading figures who assumed military command during the period, a good half part of them had, before the wars erupted, received general praise for their rhetorical skills and erudition in the forging of their political careers. The communications could not but have reflected this.
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Sun 03 Jul 2016, 15:41

@nordmann wrote:
Diplomacy and even downright lying might account for some of this apparent friendship

Whilst I believe Hopton and Waller's mutual regard was genuine, the former - at least - appears to have tried to take advantage of it.  The letter I quoted above was a reply to one from Hopton seeking a personal meeting.  It seems likely that Hopton was hoping to use their friendship to persuade Waller to come to terms with the King.  Waller, however, insisted that "I must be true to the cause wherein I serve".


Last edited by Anglo-Norman on Sun 03 Jul 2016, 16:33; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Animosity between Generals   Sun 03 Jul 2016, 15:55

As was Cicero's correspondence to Brutus while the latter was holed up in Macedonia and about to face Mark Antony. Cicero (effectively Antony's co-consul) was hoping to dissuade Brutus from making a stand and had advised a go-between, Clodius, to be the mediator. This letter between the pair of them below is the first of so many still extant that they form two books (though it was obviously not the first in the exchange of letters - Brutus has already obviously said that he wouldn't trust Clodius as far as he could throw him). Brutus, Like Waller, persisted in answering each one with a "sod off, I'm sticking to me principles" type reply.

TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (IN MACEDONIA)

ROME (LATE IN MAY 43 BCE)

L. Clodius, tribune-designate, is much attached to me, or, to speak with more empressement, loves me dearly. And when I am assured of that I feel certain--for you know me--that you will conclude that I love him: for nothing seems to me less human than not to give an answering affection to those by whom one's love is challenged. He seemed to me to suspect, much to his chagrin, that some unfavourable report had reached you from his friends, or rather through his enemies, by which your feelings were alienated from him. It is not my habit, my dear Brutus, as I think you know, to make rash statements about another man. It is a risky thing to do, owing to the secret feelings and complicated natures of mankind But I have seen to the bottom of Clodius's heart: I know it, and have formed my judgment of it. There are many proofs of it, but such as I need not write down, for I want you to regard this as a solemn deposition rather than a letter. He has been promoted by Antony--though a large share even of that very favour has its origin in you--and accordingly he would wish his safety so long as it is compatible with ours. But he fully understands--for he is no fool, as you are aware--that matters have come to such a point that both cannot be preserved; accordingly he prefers us. As to yourself, indeed, he both speaks and feels in the most affectionate manner. Wherefore, if anyone has written to you or spoken to you by word of mouth disparagingly of him, I beg you again and again to believe me rather than them. I have greater opportunity of judging than any such casual observer, and I am more devoted to you. Make up your mind that Clodius is most warmly attached to you, and is such a citizen as a man of the greatest sense and most ample fortune is bound to be.


How Cicero thought he could ensure Brutus's safety (probably just like Hopton offering more than he probably could guarantee) is anyone's guess. In hindsight Brutus appears to have been quite correct to stick to his guns. Only a defeat of Antony could save his bacon.

Actually, in hindsight also it was Hopton who might have benefited most from switching sides, and this also parallels the ancient precursor. By the time of his death in Bruges in 1652 he had all but alienated himself from the royalist court (he was more loyal to the crown's welfare than the crown itself was proving to be, it seems), but still held the admiration of his principal adversaries. It does rather resemble Brutus who, it could be argued, was the last man left standing still absolutely loyal to republican ideals and has rightly gone down in history as being "honourable" as a result. Had he switched sides it is not unimaginable that he could have risen to prominence in the new imperial system. He would at least have been a man to be reckoned with.
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