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"The Best & Most Overated. " Topic


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963 hits since 10 Nov 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Lee49410 Nov 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

So who were the best generals on each side? Who were the most overrated?

To start it off IMO the best Eisenhower (totally underated) Montgomery (much better than Americans will admit) and Kesselring. Overrated. Rommel. Bradley. Alexander.

Lee49410 Nov 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

So who were the best generals on each side? Who were the most overrated?

To start it off IMO the best Eisenhower (totally underated) Montgomery (much better than Americans will admit) and Kesselring. Overrated. Rommel. Bradley. Alexander.

Lee49410 Nov 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

So who were the best generals on each side? Who were the most overrated?

To start it off IMO the best Eisenhower (totally underated) Montgomery (much better than Americans will admit) and Kesselring. Overrated. Rommel. Bradley. Alexander.

Lee49410 Nov 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

So who were the best generals on each side? Who were the most overrated?

To start it off IMO the best Eisenhower (totally underated) Montgomery (much better than Americans will admit) and Kesselring. Overrated. Rommel. Bradley. Alexander.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

BUG………..

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2017 11:00 p.m. PST

Yes but, was Bug one of the best or is he overrated?

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 1:41 a.m. PST

Is that General "Bug" Armintrout you are referring to? :)

langobard Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 1:48 a.m. PST

Agree that Eisenhower as a coalition leader is very underrated. The responsibility to go ahead at Normandy was his alone, and while Monty was hugely supportive in the time of the decision, Eisenhower deserves the credit.

Patton is an excellent army commander, in a sense it is a shame he never got a chance at Army Group command.

Monty is one of the most difficult to evaluate. Certainly though he was the best the Brits had in Europe (with Slim being every bit his equivalent in Burma).

It is very hard to evaluate German generals in the second half of the war as Hitler was micromanaging so many details.

That said, I respect Rommel, Guderian and Runstedt.

By the end of the war the Soviets had developed a LOT of very good generals.

Overrated: MacArthur in the Pacific. Alexander and Clark in Italy. Himmler and just about any of the German generals appointed by Himmler in the East who preferred hanging their own men and running away…

Just some thoughts.

General Bug, is probably related to SNAFU and thus a great friend of yours if he is working for the other side…

:)

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 1:50 a.m. PST

This is going to start all the same old arguments, and probably lead to a few DHing when the insults start. If I had a pound for every time this topic has been on here, well, I'd have a few pounds😁

Sobieski11 Nov 2017 2:46 a.m. PST

Zhukov, for best.

Fred Cartwright11 Nov 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

I would put Patton in the overrated camp. He was a bit of a one trick pony, namely the pursuit of a beaten enemy. He was given some of the best formations that the US Army had and some talented subordinates, 4th Armoured is a good example. I don't think he would have made a good Army Group commander either.
As for good commanders I would put Manstein in there. Any nominations for a good Italian general?!

21eRegt11 Nov 2017 5:07 a.m. PST

Not going down this road again. It only leads to ruin and recriminations.

christot11 Nov 2017 6:59 a.m. PST

I can't think of many (any?) WWII generals who didn't overate themselves…..

Gone Fishing Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 7:07 a.m. PST

Slim didn't.

Legion 411 Nov 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

General Motors, General Electric and General Foods were the most underrated … wink

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 7:58 a.m. PST

And don't forget General Mud on the Eastern Front who was probably underrated by the Germans to their decrement.

Jim

Korvessa11 Nov 2017 9:14 a.m. PST

Best at what?
Eisenhower couldn't have done what Patton did and visa-versa. Montgomery would not have worked a coalition as well as Eisenhower did. Do we have any indication that Montgomery could have done as well as Rommel under those conditions?

As for underrated: Mannerheim, Siilasvuo and Talvela come to mind.

williamb11 Nov 2017 9:24 a.m. PST

While Patton had his faults he did accomplish one of the most difficult of maneuvers during the battle of the bulge when he shifted the direction of his command from the east to the north

Begemot11 Nov 2017 3:04 p.m. PST

Let's not forget that most potent general of all, whose effect on any battle field he appeared on was often decisive: General Confusion.

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 3:59 p.m. PST

Don't forget General Apathy, he was never that bothered about strategy.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2017 2:35 a.m. PST

DELETED

4th Cuirassier14 Nov 2017 4:02 a.m. PST

Monty has a bad time from revisionists, but broadly I think he was adroit at doing the best possible job with the tools and the constraints prevailing.

He commanded the Commonwealth's only field army, so his task was to drive the Germans out of Africa without that army suffering undue (or even any) damage. The importance of this constraint in his thinking is well illustrated by the accuracy of his prediction of casualties at Third Alamein (he thought 12 to 15,000, actual outcome was about 13,000). If he wasn't highly exercised by that limitation, he would not have come up with such an accurate estimate.

And before we dismiss him as probably unable to manage a coalition as effectively as Ike, we shouldn't forget that Eighth Army was a coalition. He had to handle South African, Australian and New Zealand commanders who could appeal over his head to their governments if they didn't like their orders. I suspect that if handling a coalition with tact had been the key requirement for victory he'd have managed it. Most of the antipathy to him comes not from his ineptitude (he wasn't inept) but from his running his mouth all the time.

Ike was certainly highly skilful at this, and his appointments and his ability to change his decisions in reflection of their considered advice (Monty's five-division attack for D-Day for example) suggest he had in spades the key managerial quality of Appointing Good People And Trusting Them.

It is actually the Russians of whom I am most doubtful. Yes they won, but at an appalling human cost long past the point where you'd think it could have been avoided. The battle for Berlin cost the Red Army almost as many casualties as the Somme offensive cost Britain 30 years before. Was that really unavoidable? Monty and the allies generally used their superiority in artillery, air power, battleship firepower etc to knock as much of the fight as possible out of the enemy before the attack. Russia's equivalent advantage was not its bottomless well of manpower because by 1944 the well was starting to run dry.

Yamashita did well in Malaya too.

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2017 2:43 p.m. PST

By the end of the war the Soviets had developed a LOT of very good generals.

So let's have a few examples.

Zhukov, for best.

Doesn't get my vote. In face I'd question whether he belongs on the overrated list.

Certainly one of the best from the view of his own memoirs. In western writings he's about the only Soviet general / marshal to get much play, and probably the only name that comes up with a broad cross-section of WW2 enthusiasts in the west.

I view him rather like the Soviet's MacArthur. Successful in major campaigns that impacted the war's direction. But not universally successful by any means. I'd give MacArthur the nod on innovative tactics.

But among Soviet leaders there were so many that appear more innovative, more successful, if not quite as grandiose.

Konev, a subordinate of Zhukov in the early war, and a peer by late war, was more innovative in his operational approach. A lot more maneuver, a lot less "hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle".

In the same league I also am impressed by Vatutin, Vasilevsky and Rokossovsky.

Vasilevsky provides and interesting history. Many of the battles for which Zhukov claims credit were equally or more due to Vasilevsky's activities. He was a Stavka representative on-site for major campaigns, and was probably the most important contributor to Stalingrad, Kursk and the clearing of the Crimea, all massive and very important Soviet victories. He seems to have gotten cross-wise with Kruschev during the war, and yet as he did not write (and re-write) controversial claim-grabbing memoirs of the war, he had a bigger and better post-war career than many of the other wartime marshals.

At a lower level there are several generals that I rank highly. Kravchenko and Rybalko are stand-outs. Kravchenko for his masterful combined arms maneuvers in the 1945 Manchurian campaign (really a showcase for the Red Army state of operational art). Rybalko more because he just LOOKS the part -- in my mind the stereotype of a Soviet general -- a bald-headed fireplug in a greatcoat and fur hat! ;)

Rotminstrov does not impress me. His actions at Kursk were perhaps necessary, but un-inspired at best. Later during the clearing of the Ukraine and Byelorussia, he was criticized by Stavka for the casualties his forces suffered. Really? I mean, you probably had to work pretty hard at it to be the guy who stood out for suffering too many casualties in the Red Army of WW2!

And then there is Katukov. My favorite. Not only among Soviet generals, but among all at his level (Army level in the Red Army, which was about the equivalent of corps level in the west). Bright. Dedicated. Flexible. A good learner.

Katukov was at the front, fighting and developing tactics and operational methods all the way from the Defense of Moscow to the streets of Berlin. Several German Generals offer comments of alarm when seeing the way the troops under his command out-fought and out-maneuvered Wehrmacht forces.

He is the one Soviet general I've been able to see who placed a premium on his crews, on his soldiers, on his veterans. On several occasions in his writings and speaking he referred to his veterans as "Professor Thisandsuch" to emphasize to his superiors that these men were critical, were the ones who understood and could teach the lessons from combat. Katukov practiced extreme maneuver and out-foxed the Germans on numerous occasions, constantly appearing where no one expected his tanks to show up. Some hold up the example of Patton's 90-degree pivot to drive on Bastogne, but Katukov did 90-degree pivots as a matter of course, managing no fewer than 4 such pivots in one campaign with his tank army.

So those are a few on my list. Be interested to see the views of others.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

uglyfatbloke Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

Slim.

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