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Old 10-27-2012, 07:07 PM   #276
Honey Badger
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post

If you study the documented history, you should know that Montgomery was more popular with his men than Patton was with his. I take it you are not familar with the cartoons of Sgt. Bill Mauldin.

Patton doesn't belong in the top 100. He never did anything important with independent command.

And that statement alone should give you an indication of how poor a leader he was and how one-dmensional was his approach. Consider in contrast Sun Tzu
Montgomery being more popular with his men has no relevance on capability. Georgy Zhukov was not popular with his men but that did not neuter his effectiveness on the eastern front.

Montgomery like Lee was cautious trying to line up all his ducks..... Patton has a famous quote that describes my feeling about that quality in a military commander.

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

That said these guys are all minor leagues compared to some of the other people I posted about. That said Patton would be a far more dangerous opponent then Lee or Montgomery thus belongs in my Top 50.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:11 PM   #277
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post
Consider in contrast Sun Tzu
I am a huge fan of Sun Tzu, and I am confident I spent more time studying the material then all but a few individuals.

That said, sometimes it is necessary to impose your will on others. Some people don't understand that they are beaten.

For example in the 2008 South Ossetia War. Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory from Russia. There were military leaders dumb enough in Georgia thinking they had a chance to win the war militarily. It would be like Cuba trying to retake Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, and actually thinking they had a chance to win with superior military tactics. Sun Tzu is amazing bit some people just don't understand the war is lost before the first shot is fired.
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:06 AM   #278
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
Montgomery being more popular with his men has no relevance on capability. Georgy Zhukov was not popular with his men but that did not neuter his effectiveness on the eastern front.
You are the one who brought up the issue of the men's impression of their general, and first used it to disparage Lee and then suggested incorrectly that Patton's men would not criticize him but Montgomery's would. I merely refuted that argument. If you don't think the men's view of their leader is relevant, why did you bring it up?

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Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
Montgomery like Lee was cautious trying to line up all his ducks..... Patton has a famous quote that describes my feeling about that quality in a military commander.

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
Funny you should reference that in a discussion about Patton vs. Montgomery. Montgomery designated Cobra to begin the day after Goodwood. Goodwood was to be a diversion and holding action (with allowances for the possibilty of a breakthrough) that was to set the ground for Cobra, which was the intended breakthrough. But the US forces delayed their attack by nearly a full week, well after the diversionary effect of Goodwood had been lost.

Can you cite one instance of where a strategic opportunity was lost in the Normandy campaign because Montgomery was slow to act? No. But there are multiple instances of the US forces not acting fast enough or decisively enough. Generally however, that was not down to Patton. Being slow to act was not a problem Patton had, but to suggest that it was a problem Montgomery had needs more than the bald assertion.

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Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
That said these guys are all minor leagues compared to some of the other people I posted about. That said Patton would be a far more dangerous opponent then Lee or Montgomery thus belongs in my Top 50.
You just don't have the evidence to back that up. Montgomery actually defeated Rommel twice. Patton was a bit player coming in at the end of each case.

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Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
I am a huge fan of Sun Tzu, and I am confident I spent more time studying the material then all but a few individuals.

That said, sometimes it is necessary to impose your will on others. Some people don't understand that they are beaten.

For example in the 2008 South Ossetia War. Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory from Russia. There were military leaders dumb enough in Georgia thinking they had a chance to win the war militarily. It would be like Cuba trying to retake Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, and actually thinking they had a chance to win with superior military tactics. Sun Tzu is amazing bit some people just don't understand the war is lost before the first shot is fired.
Here you seem to miss the point entirely. The point that Sun Tzu makes primarily is that the achivement of the policy objective is the correct goal. His secondary point in the passage which the quotation begins is that the expenditure of military force to acheive the policy objective is only appropriate if other means will not succeed, and the direct application of military force is inferior to the indirect appliction, which is tiself inferior to acheivement of he goal without application of military force. Sun Tzu understood that sometimes there was a need to crush one's enemies completely. The reason why Patton reached his ceiling at Army Commander within an Army Group is because he never understood that the policy objective is foremost and that crushing the enemy in battle wasn't always the best course.

If you need somebody to crush your enemy through the application of mobile force on the attack, Patton is your man - probably the best the Allies had. But that's just about all he proved himself good at, and being a top military leader requires a lot more.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:36 PM   #279
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post
You are the one who brought up the issue of the men's impression of their general, and first used it to disparage Lee and then suggested incorrectly that Patton's men would not criticize him but Montgomery's would. I merely refuted that argument. If you don't think the men's view of their leader is relevant, why did you bring it up?
This made me laugh. Yes, you're missing my point. I was only exploring that Lee like Montgomery had a default cautious nature. In studying military history extensively one of the few absolutes I have learned whether it be Sulla, Caesar, Khan..... I could go on and on..... is an aggressive audacious opponent is the most difficult to deal with. You're misinterpreting one bit of evidence that demonstrates that point well, as an overall principle of effective military leadership. I think the men's attitudes towards their "commanders disposition" is one thing, and very far from the question of how well they were liked by their men.

If you are trying to make the point that Montgomery was one of the greatest military leaders of all time you are going to have a hard road ahead. Monty might be one of the great case studies of how to be an average military leader. Not incompetent, but certainly not great.

My Op asked who was the GOAT not the guy who didn't just didn't screw things up badly.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:16 PM   #280
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
]... In studying military history extensively one of the few absolutes I have learned whether it be Sulla, Caesar, Khan..... I could go on and on..... is an aggressive audacious opponent is the most difficult to deal with. ...

If you are trying to make the point that Montgomery was one of the greatest military leaders of all time you are going to have a hard road ahead. Monty might be one of the great case studies of how to be an average military leader. Not incompetent, but certainly not great.

My Op asked who was the GOAT not the guy who didn't just didn't screw things up badly.
I think you have a far too narrow view of the sort of accomplishments that go into being a great military leader. You are focussed far too much only on the conduct of battle.

The notion that Montgomery was merely average is patently ridiculous. You must believe that the results in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy, all of which Montgomery was responsibile for, were inevitable, on the timeline achieved. Nobody thought so at the time, and I don't know of any major military historian or theorist who has proposed this since.

I certainly don't think Montgomery is the GOAT. In terms of actual accomplishments, there is a case to be made that he should possibly be graded in the top 100. However, my point was he should be above Patton. Patton didn't even sit the exam.

On the basis of actual accomplishments, Montgomery ranks a lot higher than Patton. You should remember that Montgomery was directly responsible for creating the circumstances and developing the plans that put Patton in the role of cavalry flank sweeper that he performed so well in Sicily and in Normandy. Patton performed the role designated for him, as laid out in Montgomery's concept. Patton is "the guy who just didn't screw up" the opportunity. Montgomery is the guy who created the opportunity. Montgomery is also responsible for the training of many of the formations in 21st Army Group, which had a higher median standard of performance than the formations under Patton's command, though in the latter case, perhaps much of the fault can be laid at the feet of Gen. McNair*.

Was Patton more aggressive that Montgomery? It seem so. However, in war, as in poker, while aggression is necesary, it is selective aggression that is best, not constant, inevitable, instinctive, uncontrolled aggression. Maniacs lose to good TAGs. Where is the evidence that Patton was a TAG, not a maniac?


* Highest ranking US officer to be killed in action in WW II, Commander of US Army Ground Forces - meaning he was responsible for training soldiers. Ironically he was killed in Normandy by friendly fire, while observing the start of Operation Cobra.
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:08 AM   #281
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Mmm interesting point Mason, i had never thought of putting him in there. Certainly a great organizer and a master of logistics. His track record is certainly impressive, facing many invaders. I know he had some struggles in Poland, but that aside, he certainly is a king of grand strategy.

I think the reason he's not considered a general is because of his lack of involvement at the tactical level, as opposed to the 19thcentury and earlier generals. Post Napoleonic armies saw the rise of the ''Chief of Staff'' as opposed to field generals. This is why Eisenhower, Bismarck and Trotsky didn't make the list. However reviewing his civil war campaign, trotsky was more involved at the tactical level then Stalin or Eisenhower. I think im gonna find a spot in the top 100.

I have to add that ''the famous generals'': Robert Lee, Rommel, Hannibal, Napoleon and Frederick II were all VERY well versed at the tactical level. In fact i believe in pure tactics(opposed to broader scoped ''strategy''), no one can top Napoleon and Hannibal. However war and conflict is much more about Strategy and Logistics then tactics. Napoleon, Frederick and Hannibal are perfect examples. They won more battles then they lost, but they ran out of resources and ended up on the losing side. This is why Genghis Khan one of the greats; he saw the big picture, organizing the tribes and having a solid supply chain, as well as being able to face the tough climates of the steppes. It isn't about the battles, its about being ready.(enter sun tzu quote).
Bringing up Trotsky makes me want to ask about someone like Louis Antone Saint-Just who I was just reading about during the French Revolution.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:05 PM   #282
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by SenorKeeed View Post
Would love to see you guys do a draft on military leaders.
Using WWII as the pool to draw from:

1. Eisenhower. To handle all the personalities I would subsequently draft, and figure out how to best use their egos to build an overwhelming fighting and occupation force. He is the Phil Jackson of Generals.

2. After him, you have a bunch of Michael Jordan's and Magic Johnson's to choose from.

Tacticians: Von Manstein, Guderian, Rommel, Hoth, Patton, Felix Steiner, Alexander, LeClerc, Zhukov.

Holders/administrators: Bradley, von Rundstedt, Smith, Marshall, Beck.

Egos: MacArthur, Montgomery, Stalin, Hitler.

Intelligence: Canaris, Dulles, Donovan, Stewart Menzies

That was a talent pool the world had.
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