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Old 06-06-2014, 04:56 PM   #1
themistocles khan
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Best Commanders of WWII

This day being the 70th anniversary of D-Day, who do you rank as the best commanders of WWII and why?

MacArthur

von Manstein

Patton

Rommel

Eisenhower

Yamamoto

von Rudstedt

Zhukov

Bradley

Montgomery

Alexander

deGaule

Marshall

Yama****a

Chiang Kai Shiek

Nimitz

Halsey

Blamey

My choice is MacArthur. His leapfrogging campaign in the Pacific Theater ranks up there with the best campaigns of Themistocles, Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Bonaparte, and others.
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:38 AM   #2
DoTheMath
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Re: Best Commanders of WWII

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Originally Posted by themistocles khan View Post
This day being the 70th anniversary of D-Day, who do you rank as the best commanders of WWII and why?
We've already had this discussion. In fact, it is (barely) still on page one of the list of threads in this forum.

My response to the question in that thread still stands.

Ofc, that thread got derailed for a while by our resident troll.

The main problem with your question is you are asking us to compare apples and oranges and grapes and pineapples. The commanders you listed had vastly different roles. Another is that it is difficult to compare commanders in similar roles but very different circumstances.

A more meaningful comparison might be to rank the American Corps and Army commanders who served in NW Europe against each other.

For a bit more controversy, rank the Allied Army and Army group commanders serving in NW Europe against each other. Here's a list:

12th Army Group Bradley

First Army, Bradley, Hodges
V Corps Gerow, Huebner
VII Corps Collins
XIX Corps Corlett, McLain

Third Army Patton
III Corps Millikin, Van Fleet
VIII Corps Middleton
XV Corps Haislip
XII Corps Eddy
XX Corps Walker

Ninth Army Simpson
XIII Corps Gillem
XVI Corps Anderson

21st Army Group Montgomery

Second Army Dempsey
I Corps Crocker
VIII Corps O'Connor, Barker
XII Corps Ritchie
XXX Corps Bucknall, Horrocks

First Canadian Army Crerar
I Cdn Corps Foulkes
II Cdn Corps Simmonds

I'll suggest a partial ranking, (alphabetical order when more than one of a class):

Best Army Group Commander: Montgomery
Best Army Commanders: Bradley, Dempsey
Best Corps Commanders: Collins, Horrocks, Middleton, Simmonds
Other OK Corps Commanders: Crocker, Foulkes, O'Conner, Ritchie, Walker
Good and Bad points: Gerow
Worst Corps Commanders: Bucknall, Millikin
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:08 PM   #3
campfirewest
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Re: Best Commanders of WWII

Why was Millikin one of the worst? I had never heard of him before and there doesn't seem to be a lot of info on his out there.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:48 PM   #4
DoTheMath
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Re: Best Commanders of WWII

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Why was Millikin one of the worst? I had never heard of him before and there doesn't seem to be a lot of info on his out there.
Only three US Corps commanders were relieved of their commands in NW Europe. Millikin was the only one of the three relieved without a medical reason. He was sacked for his mis-handling of the Remagen bridgehead. Corlett, who would be the next one I'd add to my list, was relieved ostensibly for medical reasons but that may have been an excuse, as his performance was lacklustre.

One reason there's not a lot of info on Millikin is that III Corps was late to the party, not seeing combat until vary late in 1944, having missed almost all the battle for France.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:51 AM   #5
expat
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Re: Best Commanders of WWII

De Gaulle hardly merits being on the list, regardless of his political achievements in the interests of French nationalism during WW2 and after.

He was a regimental commander at the outbreak of war, only being given command of a division (4th armoured) after the German breakthrough on 15th May 1940. This was a scratch division that fought 2 unsuccessful engagements (unsurprising given the circumstances). He was relieved of command on 6th June 1940 (after 3 weeks) to become a junior minister in charge of liaison with the British.

During the rest of the war he held no combat command, although he was C in C of the Free French I don't think they ever fought as a separate command. Hardly enough to merit consideration as 'Best Commander of WW2'.
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:23 PM   #6
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Re: Best Commanders of WWII

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Originally Posted by themistocles khan View Post
My choice is MacArthur. His leapfrogging campaign in the Pacific Theater ranks up there with the best campaigns of Themistocles, Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Bonaparte, and others.
Although MacArthur claimed to have invented the island hopping strategy, it actually originated from the USN as Plan 712 developed by Lieutenant Colonel Earl Hancock Ellis of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1921 - an update of a plan from 1911.

The Pacific theatre was split into 3 commands partly because of inter-service rivalry.
South West Pacific Area - with MacArthur as Supreme Allied Commander
Pacific Ocean Area - with Admiral Nimitz as Supreme Allied Commander
South East Pacific Area - never became active

Many of the better known battles actually fell within the Pacific Ocean Area and should be credited to Nimitz and the Marine Corps, not to the army .

Although MacArthur was enthusiastic about the strategy, he conspicuously ignored it when it came to the Philippines. The invasion of Mindanao (March- August 1945) particularly had no strategic purpose after the capture of Leyte had isolated and bypassed the Japanese forces based there.
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