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Personalities From the leaders to the followers; this is about the people who made history.

View Poll Results: Who was better?
Monty 40 40.40%
Rommel 50 50.51%
They were as good as each other 9 9.09%
Voters: 99. You may not vote on this poll

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  #76  
Old 27 Apr 12, 10:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BELGRAVE View Post
I disagree, Montgomery's reputation was deliberately enhanced to raise morale at home. He toured factories, appeared on Newsreels and broadcasted on the BBC- and it worked.

Then examples of this 'enhancement' should be easy to find. 3 cases where his efforts were added to or deliberately falsified should suffice.
List them and we can discuss.
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  #77  
Old 27 Apr 12, 12:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BELGRAVE View Post
I disagree, Montgomery's reputation was deliberately enhanced to raise morale at home. He toured factories, appeared on Newsreels and broadcasted on the BBC- and it worked.

Whether he was a better general than Rommel remains a debatable point, but people at home thought he was, and perceptions are frequently more powerful than reality.

Perhaps this general's voice was louder than an in-coming Junkers 88 or an about-to- plummet V1.
On the home front, that makes good sense - the film "Desert Victory," etc. The US did that a lot for War Bond drives and general morale purposes. And that does make a big difference.

In the earlier post, I was thinking more about his troops. In the movie "Patton," for instance, it implies that ordinary foot soldiers had some sense of Patton's "blood and guts" persona (there's a scene where one comments on it). I'm still dubious about general swagger (whether berets and sweaters or helmets and pistols), or the effect of speeches "to the men" when most enlisted men and junior officers were probably waiting for the ceremony to finish so they could get back to camp and get their chow, hit the latrines, finish their work and relax. I suspect most soldiers in the 21st Army Group never actually saw Montgomery close enough to hear his unaided voice.

Most generals tried to meet their men, of course, but their main job was to be the brains of the group/army/corps, not a visible personification of some laudable martial quality. So it's not a knock on Montgomery or anyone else if they were not close enough to the line troops to influence them directly.

Admittedly, everyone loves to fight for a winner - though I'd probably rather fight for a bad general, under a lieutenant who would keep me alive, than the other way around.
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  #78  
Old 27 Apr 12, 14:32
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Originally Posted by 101combatvet View Post
Wasn't there some golden rule about Field Marshals surrendering?
If there was, it went out the window by the end of the war. German Field Marshals surrendered by the score.

Voted for Monty.
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  #79  
Old 27 Apr 12, 18:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
Then examples of this 'enhancement' should be easy to find. 3 cases where his efforts were added to or deliberately falsified should suffice.
List them and we can discuss.
Whether his efforts were "added to or deliberately falsified" are really beside the point ,wouldn't you say ?

Rather than my going to the trouble of digging into the achives,perhaps you can refute what I've written if you dispute it.
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  #80  
Old 27 Apr 12, 18:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Jordan View Post
I suspect most soldiers in the 21st Army Group never actually saw Montgomery close enough to hear his unaided voice. .
One of the few things Monty and Patton had in common was the view that it was good for their troops morale for them see their commanders, and therefore they both made great efforts to visit as many of their troops as possible.
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  #81  
Old 27 Apr 12, 18:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
Then examples of this 'enhancement' should be easy to find. 3 cases where his efforts were added to or deliberately falsified should suffice.
List them and we can discuss.
I don't think he is referring to his military achievements as such, but that his public image was enhanced for publicity purposes
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  #82  
Old 27 Apr 12, 20:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
I don't think he is referring to his military achievements as such, but that his public image was enhanced for publicity purposes
Certainly- and why not ?
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  #83  
Old 27 Apr 12, 23:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
I don't think he is referring to his military achievements as such, but that his public image was enhanced for publicity purposes

which General /Field Marshall is the Redcoat referring too
as I think it could be both?
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  #84  
Old 28 Apr 12, 01:09
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Originally Posted by KICK View Post
which General /Field Marshall is the Redcoat referring too
as I think it could be both?
You can think that if you wish but if you backtrack through it's quite clearly Montgomery.
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  #85  
Old 28 Apr 12, 03:52
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Originally Posted by KICK View Post
as I think it could be both?
I was referring to Monty but it could be. One of the main reasons Monty was groomed by the Allied propaganda officers in the art of publicity, was in reply to the Germans using Rommel in the same way.
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  #86  
Old 29 Apr 12, 15:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Jordan View Post
I'm still dubious about general swagger (whether berets and sweaters or helmets and pistols), or the effect of speeches "to the men" when most enlisted men and junior officers were probably waiting for the ceremony to finish so they could get back to camp and get their chow, hit the latrines, finish their work and relax. I suspect most soldiers in the 21st Army Group never actually saw Montgomery close enough to hear his unaided voice.

Most generals tried to meet their men, of course, but their main job was to be the brains of the group/army/corps, not a visible personification of some laudable martial quality. So it's not a knock on Montgomery or anyone else if they were not close enough to the line troops to influence them directly.
Having missed this earlier I thought I'd comment quickly (that'll be a first ... if I even pull it off!). Many of the leading British generals had served in the trenches on the Western Front and felt, rightly or wrongly, that they hadn't seen enough of their commanders, and that this lack had been detrimental to the morale of the troops. Thus they went to some lengths to ensure their men saw them before, and during, campaigns.
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  #87  
Old 29 Apr 12, 20:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Jordan View Post
On the home front, that makes good sense - the film "Desert Victory," etc. The US did that a lot for War Bond drives and general morale purposes. And that does make a big difference.

In the earlier post, I was thinking more about his troops. In the movie "Patton," for instance, it implies that ordinary foot soldiers had some sense of Patton's "blood and guts" persona (there's a scene where one comments on it). I'm still dubious about general swagger (whether berets and sweaters or helmets and pistols), or the effect of speeches "to the men" when most enlisted men and junior officers were probably waiting for the ceremony to finish so they could get back to camp and get their chow, hit the latrines, finish their work and relax. I suspect most soldiers in the 21st Army Group never actually saw Montgomery close enough to hear his unaided voice.

Most generals tried to meet their men, of course, but their main job was to be the brains of the group/army/corps, not a visible personification of some laudable martial quality. So it's not a knock on Montgomery or anyone else if they were not close enough to the line troops to influence them directly.

Admittedly, everyone loves to fight for a winner - though I'd probably rather fight for a bad general, under a lieutenant who would keep me alive, than the other way around.
Not entirely.

The main function of a General is to defeat the enemy, and he cannot do that without gaining the confidence of the troops under his command.

Given the morale of the British Army as a whole, prior to El Alamein, this role was absolutely crucial ( and the latrines would receive the attention that they always had).

It is noteworthy that Australian veterans- a group not easily impressed- still refer to something that is a genuine certainty- a Done Deal, as a "Monty".
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  #88  
Old 30 Apr 12, 01:31
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Originally Posted by BELGRAVE View Post
Not entirely.

The main function of a General is to defeat the enemy, and he cannot do that without gaining the confidence of the troops under his command.

Given the morale of the British Army as a whole, prior to El Alamein, this role was absolutely crucial ( and the latrines would receive the attention that they always had).

It is noteworthy that Australian veterans- a group not easily impressed- still refer to something that is a genuine certainty- a Done Deal, as a "Monty".
There are, of course, some who were not impressed with Montgomery but the majority of 8th Army veterans who I've spoken to (admittedly not enough to form a meaningful sample) talk about him giving them the confidence that they could win, that 8th Army was better than their Axis opponents. This was, of course, exactly what Montgomery was trying to achieve.
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  #89  
Old 30 Apr 12, 06:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Monty View Post
Having missed this earlier I thought I'd comment quickly (that'll be a first ... if I even pull it off!). Many of the leading British generals had served in the trenches on the Western Front and felt, rightly or wrongly, that they hadn't seen enough of their commanders, and that this lack had been detrimental to the morale of the troops. Thus they went to some lengths to ensure their men saw them before, and during, campaigns.
Of course not all of the men appreciated having a visible senior general in the front line - it tended to attract artillery fire. IIRC this was an issue with Alexander in Italy.
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Old 30 Apr 12, 13:29
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Originally Posted by BELGRAVE View Post
Not entirely.

The main function of a General is to defeat the enemy, and he cannot do that without gaining the confidence of the troops under his command....

It is noteworthy that Australian veterans- a group not easily impressed- still refer to something that is a genuine certainty- a Done Deal, as a "Monty".
I think some of that (not all, of course) is an after-the-fact connection between the AG commander and fighting men 17 or 20 pay grades below. Montgomery won, ergo he had the confidence of his troops. Generals make a big deal of this supposed connection when defending their reputations, perquisites, and advancement, but I don't think it's as close as generals like to say - at least when the general is up in the stratosphere. I can see this connection on occasion (even at the divisional level - e.g., James Gavin, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.), but at the administrative or quasi-strategic level such as Army Group, it's hard to see.

Take, for instance, Omar Bradley. History has not been very kind to him - for good reasons and a few bad ones - but in 1944 he had an excellent public reputation. Ernie Pyle and Hanson Baldwin gave him great press, and Eisenhower encouraged journalists to write him up, which they did. As the public, and soldiers saw it, Bradley broke out of the Cotentin, liberated Paris and drove his armies across France. But that didn't mean riflemen in the slit trenches would fight to the death for Omar Bradley during the Ardennes offensive.

In the days where the general's personality was a daily, weekly, or monthly presence in his men's lives, I would agree entirely. But I suspect the front-line men had more practical sense than to place childlike faith in the man at the imperceptibly distant top.

Of course, after the shooting stopped then stories of the Montgomery legend, the Patton legend, the Eisenhower legend gave many soldiers some sense of kinship with generals they rarely saw.
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