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Worst Military Commander of WWII?


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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tanaka:

Back to Zhukov... it's not one of my favorites, (maybe I lack some knowledge on is tactics), but I specially like that propaganda photo where he is "flying" in a withe horse... what was the name of the photograph ?

Michael Dorosh...

Thanks, yes it's a very good candidate for the list ;)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Although I don't know the title of this photo, I do know that the Russians are famous for "glorifying" their generals with their propoganda. For example, some 130 years ago during Napoleon's invasion of Russia, Ive seen a few illustration of Kutuzob, the head of the Russian army, in a pose similar to the one you describe. Interestingly, in the illustration Kutuzov had 2 eyes, while in real life one of his eyes was destroyed and his face scarred. Since the illustration shows Kutuzov as an already elderly man, I think this really was a bit of propoganda to make a general look more "presentable".

Id like to find this picture though, so if anyone has any tabs on where to find it, Im listening myself.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by The Commissar:

Although I don't know the title of this photo, I do know that the Russians are famous for "glorifying" their generals with their propoganda.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And that is different from any other nation how....?

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Maaaate. Really this thread reads like half the participants get their history from Brittanica.

Brittanica is wrong. Their numbers are wrong and their account of the battle is wrong both in detail and emphasis. Geez what source did they use the 'Rommel Papers'.

:rolleyes:

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It's worth mentioning the difference in scale of the various commands makes it hard to compare. Hitler, as a leader of a nation, had many more opportunities to screw up.

This aside, I still stick with Graziani. Somewhere back in the thread, JasonC recounted his bungling.

I support this selection on the grounds that he lost an entire army in a very short time while possessing vast numerical superiority. So on the basis of magnitude of screwing up, and also win/lost percentage (OK, so it isn't a sport, but..) Some argue that the italians were poorly equipped, but even so--other poorly-equipped armies have fared much better against better-equipped enemies (the Vietnam war is a great example of this).

Back to the Monty bashing: while I agree that he might not be the worst, and did have some successes, anyone who supports Market-Garden is a fool, and anyone who thinks it was feasible to bring the tanks up that single road has most likely never seen the Dutch countryside (and not done their homework).

Once, when flying to London, the passenger next to me noticed I was reading a book about Market-Garden. He got all choked up, and shaking. His father had been an officer at Arnhem. To his knowledge, the general opinion of officers who had been at Arnhem was bitter incredulity that Monty would throw so many lives away on a suicide mission on the unrealistic chance that it might succeed, and thus bolster Monty's career and ego.

Unfortunately, the articles I read about El Alamein, I read about 15 years ago, and while I have them somewhere, I'm not sure I can find them any time soon. However, there were about three different sources that criticized Monty for not pressing the attack after he relieved Achinleck, saying that Monty's buildup gave Rommel wiggle room, thus allowing him to preserve what was left of his battered Afrika Corps and retreat across the desert.

That said, there was an upside to replacing Auchinleck with Monty: apparently Auchinleck was a introverted, not particularly charismatic, and replacing him with the colorful Monty had a big upside propaganda-wise. And with the buildup, the Allies would not lose the battle.

The real turning point in NOrth Africa, however, was (in my opinion) the first battle of El Alamein, not the second.

BTW I also agree that Zhukov shouldn't be on this list at all.

PS I particularly liked the comment "except for one big mistake, Hitler might have won." Whoa. What a mistake that was.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Originally posted by Michael Dorosh:

Himmler commanded Army Group Vistula at the end of the war.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wooopsie.Actually, one of the reasons why I decided to drop by this forum was so I could be properly enlightned, so thanks for the clarification ... :D

Anyway, the one who, in my view should be considered worse commander ever should be the one responsible for taking Germany to the point where there was a need to create an Army Group "Vistula" (read, Adolf). At a operational level, I would probably go to Graziani, with the full French High Command in 1940 right behind. Budienny and the Soviet Command in 1941 come a third place just because it's true that they did not have any means to stop the German Army. Oh, and in my view Monty is extremely overrated, and might even be considered a "not good" general, but he is far from being the worst commander of WW2 ... Graziani would beat him hands down!!!

Niten

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tanaka:

Back to Zhukov... it's not one of my favorites, (maybe I lack some knowledge on is tactics), but I specially like that propaganda photo where he is "flying" in a withe horse... what was the name of the photograph ?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I just saw a documentary which had a clip from the victory parade in Moscow after the war. It showed Zhukov and some other general riding through the Red Square on white horses. Maybe the photograph was taken there.

The documentary also stated that Stalin did not want to ride in the parade because he was afraid that he would fall off the horse and embarass himself.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jaakko Harlas:

I just saw a documentary which had a clip from the victory parade in Moscow after the war. It showed Zhukov and some other general riding through the Red Square on white horses. Maybe the photograph was taken there.

The documentary also stated that Stalin did not want to ride in the parade because he was afraid that he would fall off the horse and embarass himself.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

After 4 hours of INET reserch, only come up with this redface.gif ... (It's a book)

Son of the Fatherland

The story of the Marshal of the Soviet Union,

Georgiy Konstantinovich Zhukov in pictures.

Moscow, Planeta, 1995, by N.N. Yakovlev

Pg199 - The Victory Parade. Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov rides past the forces, assembled for the Victory Parade on Red Square in Moscow.

I my self also sow the picture in question in a documentary about a Soviet Photographer... I think he was the one who took the famous picture where Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill are in Teheran, Iran (November 29, 1943).

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jaakko Harlas:

I just saw a documentary which had a clip from the victory parade in Moscow after the war. It showed Zhukov and some other general riding through the Red Square on white horses. Maybe the photograph was taken there.

The documentary also stated that Stalin did not want to ride in the parade because he was afraid that he would fall off the horse and embarass himself.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I saw it too on a fairly well done History Channel account of the war with Russia. It said that after Zhukov and his ride on the white horse was made in Moscow, Stalin grew jealous of the fame and attention Zhukov was getting. Stalin then charged him with some crime (for taking away Stalin's fame and glory) and had him put in jail.

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If Zhukov had not been so well known and so popular, he would of been executed.

A Personality Cult has no room for contenders, real or imagined.

And Zhukov, leader of the Soviet Army, was one man that could bring down Stalin.

As all the communist leaders have proved, real power comes out of the barrel of a gun.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Zamo:

Maj. gen. William Rupurtis, USMC gets my vote, though I think it may be unwarrented, and just a bit biased.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Peleliu?

The decision to go there was, IIRC, completely unjustified but not Rupertus' decision. I don't know much about the battle, but am interested in your choice. Why do you pick him?

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As interesting as these discussions have been, I really think that comparing strategic commanders to field commanders is comparing apples to oranges. These two endeavors require quite different skills and face different challenges. Strategic commanders have to weigh the long-range consequences of certain choices, and the trade-offs between resource allocations to different fronts. They have to pick good operational commanders, and replace them when necessary. Operational command, on the other hand, has a narrower focus, requiring quicker decisions with a specific set of forces in a specific situation. Von Manstein may be the best of such commanders in the war.

Hitler was unquestionably the worst strategic commander of the war for all the reasons mentioned in previous posts. He understood his enemies poorly (he declared war on the US!!), he meddled in operational matters, and as he considered himself a genius he always had his way. Contrast his behavior with that of Churchill, who would use all his powers of persuasion to get his general staff to buy into one of his many hare-brained schemes, but who also would ultimately acquiesce when they said NO. Or Eisenhower, who let the field commanders command in the field. I don't like MacArthur because his ego forced the U.S. to split its Pacific command between the Army (Mac) and the Navy (Nimitz). A more unified approach may have served the U.S. better.

Graziani was execrable as field commander, a good choice for worst. Admiral King let down his command at Pearl Harbor. Percival put up a rather unspirited defense of Malaya. But overall, the allies didn't have many terrible field commanders, imo. The Soviets did, early in the war, but they were soon gone.

Well, food for thought, anyway.

Thor Skov

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> Stalin then charged him with some crime

> (for taking away Stalin's fame and glory)

> and had him put in jail

Well, Stalin actually sent him to command a relatively unimportant military district.

It was also Stalin's own decision to let Zhukov command the Victory Parade.

Yes, after the war Zhukov was not needed anymore, and so it was a semi-honorable exile - that's the way dictatorships operate.

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I agree that you cant mix strategic boobs with field level boobs.

I aint naming names cause I dont know em but heres a list:

1. The dumbass air gurus who bombed civilian centers. Hate to say this but US and Britian committed warcrimes. It only made the germans (known bad losers) only fight harder.

2. The incompetant allied propaganda policy. They should have exploited the genocide in 1943 as soon as it became known. All allied politicians and even Ike knew what the germans were doing. They should have rained propaganda all over german held land detailing atrocities like the death camps. Bombing german cities only made the germans fight harder. Overthrowing the Nazis was never prosecuted enough.

3. Joint allied ops. The brits should have worked Italy exclusively, The yanks, normandy. The Canadians should have been used as fisherman or maybe lumberjacks.

Lewis

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Username:

I agree that you cant mix strategic boobs with field level boobs.

I aint naming names cause I dont know em but heres a list:

1. The dumbass air gurus who bombed civilian centers. Hate to say this but US and Britian committed warcrimes. It only made the germans (known bad losers) only fight harder.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How???????

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>2. The incompetant allied propaganda policy. They should have exploited the genocide in 1943 as soon as it became known. All allied politicians and even Ike knew what the germans were doing. They should have rained propaganda all over german held land detailing atrocities like the death camps. Bombing german cities only made the germans fight harder. Overthrowing the Nazis was never prosecuted enough. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Who would have believed it? Many people STILL don't believe it!

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>

3. Joint allied ops. The brits should have worked Italy exclusively, The yanks, normandy. The Canadians should have been used as fisherman or maybe lumberjacks.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Shows what you know. Stop by my site for info on the Canadian Forestry Corps.

TTFN

Thank God we all know you weren't really serious with any of these truly ridiculous statements. I would have left Italy to the Gurkhas and Brazilians, used the British exclusively in the Pacific, and sent the US to fight in Russia.

Russia could have landed in Normandy, and the Canadians could have attacked by the shortest route - over the north pole. We would have wiped out the Finns first, then next stop - Berlin!

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Skipper:

> Stalin then charged him with some crime

> (for taking away Stalin's fame and glory)

> and had him put in jail

Well, Stalin actually sent him to command a relatively unimportant military district.

It was also Stalin's own decision to let Zhukov command the Victory Parade.

Yes, after the war Zhukov was not needed anymore, and so it was a semi-honorable exile - that's the way dictatorships operate.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes Skipper, Stalin wanted Zhukov to ride the white horse in Moscow because Stalin thought he might fall off. So instead of embaress himself he let Zhukov ride. This led to Zhukov's jailing.

NO, Stalin did not honorably put Zhukov in jail, he charged him with a crime for taking away Stalin's fame from riding the horse who he himself instructed to ride to save him from embaressment only to sack him for doing so. He grew jealous and sacked his General.

[ 07-01-2001: Message edited by: Freak ]

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Username:

It only made the germans (known bad losers) only fight harder.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Combined with the insistence on unconditional surrender, this appears to be true. Almost every account I have read by Germans cite these as the reasons they kept fighting when all was clearly lost. The 20 Juli plot was immediately known in the west, and that might have been the time to shift propaganda gears. Of course, feelings were running a little high at the time.

thor: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Admiral King let down his command at Pearl Harbor. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I suspect you mean Admiral Kimmel? Rear-Admiral King was appointed as his replacement, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Whether Kimmel really let his down his command is highly debatable, probably untrue IMO, and certainly does not qualify him for any list of "war's worst".

Rear-Admiral King certainly thought Kimmel was "sold down the river" (his words) as a scapegoat for Washington's responsibility and embarassment.

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quote:

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Admiral King let down his command at Pearl Harbor.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I suspect you mean Admiral Kimmel? Rear-Admiral King was appointed as his replacement, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Whether Kimmel really let his down his command is highly debatable, probably untrue IMO, and certainly does not qualify him for any list of "war's worst".

Rear-Admiral King certainly thought Kimmel was "sold down the river" (his words) as a scapegoat for Washington's responsibility and embarassment.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, thank you, I did mean Kimmel, not King, sorry. But I stand by my assertion that he let down his command. As someone noted in an earlier post, warnings of possible hostilities had gone out to military commanders in November. Kimmel had no CAP, had not alerted the air observation posts, and had no units on standby in case of immediate mobilization. Sure he was scapegoated but rightly so. A military base is a military base and Pearl Harbor's defenses weren't poor, they were not existent. You're right, though, that this does not qualify him for a list of the war's worst.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by thor:

... I stand by my assertion that he let down his command. As someone noted in an earlier post, warnings of possible hostilities had gone out to military commanders in November. Kimmel had no CAP, had not alerted the air observation posts, and had no units on standby in case of immediate mobilization. Sure he was scapegoated but rightly so. A military base is a military base and Pearl Harbor's defenses weren't poor, they were not existent. You're right, though, that this does not qualify him for a list of the war's worst.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Probably not the right venue for this, but:

Warnings of possible hostilities had indeed gone out in November. You can read some of their text in an earlier post here. Here is some more, from November 24: "surprise aggressive movements in any direction, including attack on the Philippines or Guam is a possibility." And from the 27th: "The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of naval task forces indicate an amphibious expedition against either the Philippines, Thai or Kra peninsula or possibly Borneo."

There was no serious consideration of an attack on PH at this stage, but there was plenty of concern about sabotage. An attack had been discussed as a hypothesis for years, but was not the Navy's prognosis at any level. Kimmel might have responded more aggressively, but showed no more peacetime ennui than the rest of the American military establishment at the time.

The battleships were in the harbor for deployment to the Marshall Islands, in accordance with the battle plan. Instructions from Washington were "not to raise an alarm". PBYs were flying reconnaissance in the most likely direction of attack. The whole air patrol controversy is BS- the plan for moving against the Marshalls required a substantial number of the PBYs to be held in reserve for this force. Those available were flying regular shifts. The Navy board of inquiry concluded that omission of the recon flights to the north "was not due to oversight or neglect", but "the result of a military decision, reached after much deliberation and consultation..." and exonerated Kimmel of this charge. There were over 30 US planes in the air over Hawaii at the time of the attack, including those from the Lexington. There was just too much Pacific for the number of planes available.

Destroyers and minesweepers were patrolling beyond the sub nets. The first shots of Pearl Harbor were fired by these patrols against Japanese mini-subs, btw, an hour before the strike force showed up. The first sighting was dismissed as a false alarm and not reported, the second resulted in the sinking of the Japanese sub.

Armed sentries were patrolling the parked Army planes, which were moved to the center of the fields to prevent sabotage, the only threat for which preparations were deemed necessary.

I know the street wisdom on PH, but it rarely bears scrutiny. Almost every statement above is false. That PH's were "not existent" is absurd. And there is no such thing as "rightful" scapegoating, which is by definition an injustice, causing someone to bear the blame of others.

Call me revisionist, but the primary responsibility for the attack on Pearl Harbor is Japan's. It was their idea, their plan, their airplanes. They planned an audacious raid that no one believed they had the technology or courage to pull off, and executed it with great skill. They intended it as a surprise and it was. I wish we could deal with lost battles without inventing whole new mythologies to justify them.

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