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"The Worst Alied WW2 Generals." Topic

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Tango0121 Apr 2017 2:01 p.m. PST

"These bad generals blundered into defeats, hampered their own troops, disdained technical advances, and cracked under pressure time and time again. Whether Allied or Axis, this is a list of the worst World War II generals.

Many of these generals had their worst defeats when their countries were at their least prepared for war, such as the hapless Soviet generals who faced the German invasion of Russia in 1941. Others were experienced military men who should have known better than to take the risks they took – or not take the risks they should have. And a few were just not fit to command men in the field.

Here are some of the worst WWII generals and what they did that was so terrible. Vote up for the most terrible military commanders…"
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foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2017 2:09 p.m. PST

This isn't going to end well!

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2017 2:12 p.m. PST

yeah, I thought it was clearly Monty from a thread that I just read!!! (just kidding, just kidding!!!!)
There are actually some pretty deserving names on that list.

edit: actually it is not just allied generals. there are germans, italians and japanese on there as well.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2017 2:37 p.m. PST

Mark Clark, General Lucas, and Lloyd Fredendall

Pizzagrenadier21 Apr 2017 3:46 p.m. PST

Monty AND Patton.

That ought to cover it.

Navy Fower Wun Seven21 Apr 2017 9:51 p.m. PST

Yeah Monty would have to be a candidate if you calibrated the difference from how good he said he was to his actual performance.

Really, his main attribute was his ability to convince the troops, initially at least, that he could beat Rommel.

In that sense using Patton to head the phantom army opposite the Pas de Calais to freak the Germans out and convince them that was the main effort was Patton's major contribution…although in practice I think he demonstrated a considerably greater grasp of modern warfare than Monty, who essentially replayed 1918 again and again…

11th ACR Inactive Member21 Apr 2017 9:55 p.m. PST


Fred Cartwright22 Apr 2017 12:36 a.m. PST

In that sense using Patton to head the phantom army opposite the Pas de Calais to freak the Germans out and convince them that was the main effort was Patton's major contribution…although in practice I think he demonstrated a considerably greater grasp of modern warfare than Monty, who essentially replayed 1918 again and again…

If heading up the phantom Army was Patton's main contribution then it truly was meagre indeed. The Germans hadn't heard of him much less put him in their list of top allied generals. Patton was a one trick pony the pursuit of a thoroughly beaten foe. His performance at Metz was hardly stellar and his push to relieve Bastogne fell well behind his boast despite the lack of any quality German troops in the area. His dash to Messina contributed nothing to the victory in Sicily it was just a headline grabbing exercise.

Fred Cartwright22 Apr 2017 12:38 a.m. PST

Yeah Monty would have to be a candidate if you calibrated the difference from how good he said he was to his actual performance.

Patton, Clark and McArthur would be stronger candidates for that!

uglyfatbloke Inactive Member22 Apr 2017 1:29 a.m. PST

Patton, Montgomery, MacArthur and Percival….and Wavell.

langobard Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2017 1:35 a.m. PST

I'm actually pretty content with this list.

I am no fan of either Monty or Patton, but they do not belong on this list.

The guys on this list all had failures to their credit that neither Monty or Patton can come anywhere near matching.

14Bore22 Apr 2017 2:30 a.m. PST

Monty and Patton do not belong on this list

TacticalPainter0122 Apr 2017 3:07 a.m. PST

How dull, a discussion for the poorly informed run by the uninformed. Last one to leave, please turn the lights out.

Andy ONeill22 Apr 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

I think it's pretty common for a general to have a high opinion of themselves. Anyone lacking in confidence is probably going to drop out or stop on the way up.
So…. My opinion fwiw.
Although I would tend to agree that month and Patton weren't as good as they made out, they were still both very good.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

I certainly don't know the answer to this question, but I think I know how I would approach it.

I'd assume that the OP is only referring to generals who held combat commands.
I'd make a list of the ones who were relieved in short order in combat.
I'd make a list of the ones who were killed or captured or executed during or after defeats, particularly when they were facing odds of less than 1:1.
I;d make a list of the ones who were sent to other (administrative) duties at the end of the first campaign in which they held command.

I'd imagine the worst generals would appear on this list (I certainly don't mean that all the generals on that list would be bad, far from it, just that the worst generals are likely to appear on it). I don't think many of the names mentioned so far are anywhere near the worst.

An alternative way would be to get more of Dupuy's numbers out of the Institute and then if necessary, do more studies. Then I'd look for the generals of the divisions that seemed to be worse than average for their nationality, then corps commanders that seemed to have numerous divisions performing below par, and so on up the scale.

I don't think it is possible to come to an informed view by just reading the anecdotes, narrative histories and biographies and so on.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member22 Apr 2017 8:23 a.m. PST

The steam pressure is rising and soon the valves and seals will fail! This will end as a train-wreck soon. But I'll add some grist to the mill.


Tick-tock, tick-tock ….
Rod Robertson.

Tango0122 Apr 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

I'm with 14Bore ….


GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 8:06 a.m. PST

I think the thing people forget about Monty is that he took over an army that had been regularly beaten by Germans. By going back to a versio of WW1 tactics he basically nullified the German tactics while minimising the chances of British defeats – what ground he won, he tended to keep. Build up superior forces then grind the enemy down – very dull but it works.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2017 9:53 a.m. PST

I think that the similarities between the US Army and the British/Commonwealth Army of the time are far more glaring than any differences and the supposed differences in ability and character of their senior commanders are largely illusory.

vtsaogames24 Apr 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

Monty and Patton are not on the list in the article and don't belong there. The only name on the list I disagree with is MacArthur. I'm no fan of his and he started the war with a signal failure, but he certainly wasn't among the worst generals. Fredenhall and Percival, now you're talking.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2017 9:07 a.m. PST

MacArthur certainly rebounded nicely from the disaster in the Philippines, but there is no denying that he screwed up royally there. The notion that he was facing overwhelming odds and was bound to be defeated as he was, simply isn't true. The initial Japanese invasion was a rather modest affair and if MacArthur (who DID precisely predict where and when the Japanese would land) had just responded boldly, he had every chance of crushing them and wiping out their beachhead. Instead, he reacted like a stunned duck, declared that the original War Plan Orange (which he had rejected) was back in effect and retired to his bunker on Corregidor leaving every aspect of the defense to Wainwright. He scarcely ventured out or even issued another order before being evacuated. Obviously, in the end the defense would have been overwhelmed, but it was still a very poor showing indeed.

Khusrau28 Jul 2017 7:14 p.m. PST

I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do feel a bit sorry for Perceval, who was confronted by an enemy and a situation that had never been planned for.

Neither of Patton and Monty can be described as bad generals. They just had entirely different styles, not so surprising because the troops they lead were different.

christot Inactive Member29 Jul 2017 4:38 a.m. PST

Always comes back to the usual suspects….though most of them were genius' compared to a lot of Soviet, French, and Italian senior commanders

Murvihill31 Jul 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

Did anyone else think this an odd string of words? (from the Budenny entry):
'In 1937, he denounced the most innovative tank officer in the Red Army, leading to his execution – and crippling Soviet tank tactics for years.

Later, he was given command of two Fronts in Ukraine…'
I mean, how did Budenny command two fronts in Ukraine if he was executed in 1937?

SeattleGamer31 Jul 2017 2:20 p.m. PST

@Murvihill … Budenny denounced a different soviet general who was an innovative tank officer, which led to that other general's execution.

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

That officer was Tukhachevsky, one of the great military thinkers of the inter-war era.


Imagine how different the war would have been if in 1937 Guderian had been denounced and shot, while the Prussian aristocrats including von Bock, von Kliest, von Kluge, von Leeb, and von Manstien had all be tossed into concentration camps for trumped up "crimes against the National Socialist state".

(aka: Mk 1)

Mobius31 Jul 2017 2:51 p.m. PST

Gripping subject.

Ottoathome31 Jul 2017 6:58 p.m. PST

I think that the excellence of a general is dependent on what resources he HAS compared to what the enemy has.

From that Standpoint Patton's performance is mediocre at best. When you have the enemy four to one in troops, 6 to 1 in armor, 10 to on in artillery and 100 to one in airpower, not to mention more supplies than the Germans could dream of, he has no right to brag.

On the other hand Clark comes across as much better with sub standard troops, stuff constantly being taken from him and working the slog up the boot at the bottom of interest of the Allied forces. The best German general of the war is his opponent, Kesselring.

But on the whole the article is pointless. chance, happenstance, and luck are no respecters of person and sometimes generals are given an impossible situation;]

Bozkashi Jones01 Aug 2017 2:58 p.m. PST

Bernard Freyberg, we should never have lost Crete

4th Cuirassier02 Aug 2017 2:55 a.m. PST

Monty wasn't a bad general, he just had a pathological and politically necessary aversion to defeat, commanding as he did in 1942 the only Commonwealth army left worth a damn.

After that he had his eye on history.

spontoon02 Aug 2017 11:32 a.m. PST

Defintely Perceval.

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