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"What if Gott hadnít been killed..." Topic


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Fred Cartwright09 Jun 2018 10:57 a.m. PST

On his way to take over 8th Army? How would he have fared compared to Monty in the subsequent battles? He was known to be an aggressive and bold commander and Anthony Eden was a supporter of his having served with him in the 1WW. Both Alan Brooke and Auchinleck had reservations, after he had told Brooke that he had tried all his ideas on the Boche and that someone with new ideas was needed. Brooke felt that he was tired and not yet ready for such a high command. Auchinleck had doubts about his experience to take on such a big command. His command of XIIIth was marred by toxic relations with the commander of the 1st South African division. However earlier he had commanded various units in the desert and done well. Thoughts?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 12:50 p.m. PST

I can't be dogmatic about this one. I've wondered myself. It is, truthfully, a little hard to see how the British lose at this stage. There is a flood of new men and equipment, Rommel's at the end of a badly-stretched supply line, and Gott would have had access to the ULTRA decrypts. If Rommel had somehow managed to fight Second Alamein to a draw, wouldn't he still have had to retreat after the TORCH landings? But Mongomery was a formidable trainer and organizer, Gott was tired, and the DAK had pulled off seeming miracles before.

I'll go with "different, but no net change." Gott, being more aggressive than Montgomery, pushes Rommel out of the Alamein position at more or less the time of historical Alam Halfa. Rommel falls back to the Libyan-Egyptian border. Later, his supply line is shorter, and Gott's longer. Rommel falls back after TORCH in better shape than after Alamein, Gott pushes harder, but the end of the war in North Africa comes more or less at the same time as historically, and at about the same cost to the Axis.

But if you needed different results for an alternate history, a case could be made.

AndreasB09 Jun 2018 6:10 p.m. PST

Gott had utterly failed in CRUSADER, he had failed in the Gazala battles. I see no reason why he would have done any better in El Alamein, given also that he was almost certainly worn out by then.

All the best

Andreas

4th Cuirassier10 Jun 2018 4:17 a.m. PST

It is, truthfully, a little hard to see how the British lose at this stage.

Ooh, I don't know. Montgomery very nearly managed to lose Third Alamein. A more aggressive commander might just have impaled himself on the German position more quickly.

The biggest challenge for the allied commander at Alamein was that he led a coalition whose individual contingent commanders were licensed to be insubordinate. If they didn't like their orders, they were entitled to argue about them. It's astonishing the 8th Army won.

I think this explains Monty-Eisenhower relations quite well. Monty had had to put up with a load of nonsense from subordinate commanders, so why shouldn't Ike?

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