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Why not the "Best General of the War" thread.


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IKE by a longshot, he managed to get the navy, army and aiforce to work as one unit, as well they were from different countries.

He also managed to deal with all the egos of the other commanders.

And this was an invasion force of 2 million!

No one can come close to matching this.

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Because we've had this one a dozen times at the very least! :D

Most people agree Ike was more a manager than a general. His great skill was in keeping all the various personalites actually leading the armies and army groups from working against each other. As far as I know Eisenhower never held an actual combat command during WWII! He started off being placed in command of all operations in the theater, promoted from brigadier general, a rank he had only recently been promoted to.

This is a brief summary of Eisenhower's career through 1943. He never held a combat command of any kind! I guess it depends upon how we define general; his is a fairly unique case.

He graduated from the college in 1915, ranked 61st out of 164 men.

Eisenhower was promoted to captain in 1917 when America joined World War One. Just two years into his army career, Eisenhower had already been identified by his superiors as a young officer with very good organisational skills. For this reason, Eisenhower was not posted abroad but sent to Camp Colt, Gettysburg. At this camp, one of America’s first tank units was being formed and it was Eisenhower’s task to train this unit. Such was the impression that he made that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal even though he had not seen combat in Western Europe.

Eisenhower was to continue working on tanks and he met the then Colonel George Patton at Camp Meade in Maryland. In 1922, Eisenhower was posted to the Panama Canal Zone where he served under Brigadier General Fox Connor. Connor was an expert on military history and he taught Eisenhower both military history and the lessons that could be learned from previous military campaigns, and international affairs.

Connor used his influence to get Eisenhower posted to the Command and General Staff School based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This college was for those young officers deemed to be destined for the top ranks in the American Army. In 1926, Eisenhower graduated from it as the top student out of 300.

Eisenhower also graduated first in his group at the Army War College in 1928. With such a pedigree and aged only 38, Eisenhower was destined for the top.

In 1932, he was made aide to General Douglas MacArthur, chief of staff. In 1935, with a rank of major, Eisenhower joined MacArthur in the Philippines where the Americans were trying to organise a Philippines defence force in preparation of the region being given its independence.

Eisenhower stayed in the Philippines with MacArthur until 1939. In this year he returned to America with the rank of lieutenant colonel to take up a staff position.

It is possible that Eisenhower’s chances for further promotion would have been small at this time. In 1939, the American army was small (compared to the size of the nation) and the higher up the commissioned ranks Eisenhower went, the fewer opportunities there were for promotion – too many talented men were chasing too few positions. This changed with the outbreak of World War Two.

In 1940, America began to draft men into the army. Though not yet in the war itself, many believed that it was only a matter of time until America was drawn into the war and that as a nation she had to be prepared for this. The increasing size of the army meant that senior officers were needed who were skilled in organisation – and Eisenhower had a reputation for this. In 1941, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general.

On December 7th 1941, Pearl Harbour was attacked and on the following day, America declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy (the so-called Axis powers). General George Marshall, the army’s chief of staff, put Eisenhower in charge of the War Plans Division based in Washington DC – in effect, making Eisenhower the senior war planner for the American Army.

America was faced with fighting a war on two fronts – Europe and in the Far East. Eisenhower favoured putting Europe first in front of the Far East war front. His plan was for Germany and Italy to be defeated first and then the Allies could turn their full might on to the Japanese. Eisenhower’s logic in supporting his own plan so impressed General Marshall, that he promoted him to major general in March 1942. In June 1942, Marshall put Eisenhower in charge of the US Army’s European Theatre of Operations based in London and promoted him to lieutenant general. This put Eisenhower in charge of leading the American fight against the Germans in Europe.

‘Ike’ wanted an attack to start on occupied Europe in 1943. However, the American army was not ready for this and Churchill persuaded Marshall that a victory in North Africa would start the ball rolling against the Germans. Eisenhower was put in charge of the Allied forces in North Africa in November 1942. The North African campaign was not always successful as in the first few days of a counter-attack by Rommel at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, the Allies were caught unprepared. However, added by the British lead victory at El Alamein, Eisenhower, assisted by Bernard Montgomery, succeeded in pushing the Afrika Corps out of North Africa in May 1943.

Eisenhower was given command of the Allied forces that fought in Sicily and mainland Italy. The campaign in Sicily took a month but it linked up Eisenhower with George Patton once again. The attack on mainland Italy was not easy going. The Germans had established sound defensive positions throughout Italy and the Allies experienced major problems at Anzio and Monte Casino. The drive up Italy would be slow and painful for the Allies.

In December 1943, Eisenhower was put in charge of Operation Overlord – the long waited for attack on mainland Europe. Such an attack would require detailed and meticulous planning – which is why Eisenhower was picked to lead this plan by the combined chief of staffs. Eisenhower was given the title Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. He told the combined chiefs of staff that "we cannot afford to fail".

[ June 07, 2004, 05:23 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Fieldmarshal Erich von Manstein. No doubt.

For his planning of the french invasion and how he conducted that campaign. But above all for the dash through the baltics with 56th pz korps, the crimean campaign and the kharkov counterthrust. Not to mention the defensive campaign of july-august 1943, which saved the southern german wing from complete annihilation.

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I say planning a military invasion of 2 million men is a combat command.

And a General is someone of many skills, hence the title General. That includes management.

As for Manstein, Allied commanders have stated more than once that had Hitler listened to him and his other top commanders, the European map would probably be a whole lot different today.

But hey, they were all stupid enough to follow him through countless stupid ideas, which they thought themselves but still followed them.

And so that is why I think not ONE german General deserves to be ranked, they were all dumbasses for following orders that they themselves knew made no sense.

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I agree with the bloke who said Ike was more a manager than a General. He was heavily criticised for his conduct of operation Torch in 1943. Yes he was brilliant in many senses, but John Churchill (aka Marlborough) did pretty much the same thing in the war of spanish succession, only he was personally responsible for 4 great victories in battle.

Needless to say, I think Guderian was the greatest general of the war, with Manstein at a close second. If it wern't for him, the German Blitzkrieg simply wouldn't have been invented. Guderian was one of the few generals who seemed to see the right course of action for nearly every situation. He was also one of the most likable Generals of the German army, and the one who found it the easiest to argue with Hitler. He was also the only General and perhaps the only person ever to stand up and yell at the Fuhrer.

I think that in many ways he underachieved in that he had been in virtually every rank apart from Field Marshall, and this includes Inspector General and OKH Chief of staff. More often than not, it was circumstances and OKW that thwarted some of his wisest plans.

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Colonelgeneral Guderian

My thanks as the bloke who said he was more a manager than a general! ;)

Whenever these things have come up in the past, my list has always looked pretty much like this:

Manstein (G)

Guderian (G)

Rommel (G)

Joe Stillwell (US)

Patton (US)

Zhukov (USSR)

MacArthur (US)

Model (G)

Rundstedt (G)

Wavell (UK)

Kesselring (G)

Montgomery (UK)

Bradley (US)

Slim (UK)

I admit to not knowing enough about the Japanese generals such as Hamma and Yama****a to make a comparative evaluation, so I won't. The order of the names isn't particularly important to me; each of these commanders proved their skill both offensively and defensively.

Eisenhower is in the same group as Allanbrooke of Britain and Marshall of the U. S., and Keitel/Jodl of Germany. The only way to sidestep the administrative part is by making it a list of Best FIELD Commanders.

[ June 07, 2004, 02:11 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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As I said, if a German commander who knew Hitler's idea were futile from the start and yet still followed them. I

I call that a total dumbass and does not deserve recognition of any kind. BTW, I'm happy they were all dumbasses, hehe.

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You win, fine. Total dumbness, okay.

Every once in a while I find myself being drawn into a conversation which is itself Total Dumbness and I think I'll avoid this one.

[ June 07, 2004, 02:13 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Originally posted by Blashy:

As I said, if a German commander who knew Hitler's idea were futile from the start and yet still followed them. I

I call that a total dumbass and does not deserve recognition of any kind. BTW, I'm happy they were all dumbasses, hehe.

That's a bit stupid. It was so much more complicated than you make out. If all of the great generals resigned on account of Hitler's 'dumbass', the German army would have been in a pretty dire state and they would have been absolutely certain to lose the war. Generals like Guderian, Manstein and Rommel did their very best to work around Hitler and OKW's inflexible commands and many times it worked.
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For one thing no general was ever in a position to have done that. Hitler was always surrounded by SS guards, nearly all of them fanatics. Generals called in for meetings were unarmed. Most three and four star generals tend to be past the age of effective physical violence. Perhaps one might have impaled him with a rubber tipped pointer.

For another thing there were numerous assassination attempts both during and before the war, none of which succeeded.

As a result of the June 1944 attempt several German Generals were put on show trials and immediately afterwards hanged from meat hoods with wire nooses, an excruciating slow death that was filmed and Hitler took delight in watching it over and over again.

Many hundreds of others were also arrested by the Gestapo, some of them only because they shared the same name as a distant cousin who had been involved in the plot.

This entire discussion is ridiculous. Checking out of this Thread, I've said everything I want to.

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Blashy what the hell is wrong with you? Why do you always have to tell everyone they are gay, loonies or dumbasses? You ask for a discussion and then you tell everyone to piss off if they suggest some other generals than you.

I don't even know where to begin discussing your shallow views on the german leadership.

Locking this.

[ June 08, 2004, 08:37 AM: Message edited by: Kuniworth ]

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