- 08-08-2012, 14:05 #51
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
A more knowledgable student of military history may wish to correct me, but my understanding is that Irwin was the man who lost 1st Arakan with Slim only being moved in, under Irwin, after the campaign was well under way. Wavell sacked Irwin for losing the battle by fighting it otherwise than as Wavell had ordered. Slim recognised that one cause of failure was under-trained troops and set about putting that tight.Dr Johnson: 'Any man thinks less of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been to sea.'
Thiomas Babington Macaulay, quoted by Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher of Kilverstone: 'Moderation in war is imbecility!'
Douglas MacArthur: 'There is no substitute for Victory!'
- 08-08-2012, 16:01 #52
Last edited by baboon6; 08-08-2012 at 16:09.
- 08-08-2012, 18:35 #53
Wingate was certainly barking. When at Sandhurst his drill instructor was always screaming at him to slap his rifle hard enough to break it. Wingate replaced the screws with matchsticks causing heart failure on the next parade.Me lucky? If I fell in a barrel of tits I'd come out sucking my thumb!
- 08-08-2012, 23:15 #54
In Europe '44/'45, he did the best he could with an army whose morale he knew to be dangerously fragile, and he made the most of allied materiel superiority (Alamein was the last battle he fought without US assistance. He fudged the pursuit, and the Afrika Korps escaped. Cf. Falaise Gap and the [nominal] 'Race' to the Seine in late summer '44)
Bill Slim, by way of contrast, took a poorly led and trained army that had had its 'arris whupped, and turned it into an Army with the most extraordinary morale. An Army bigger than any commanded by Monty. An Army of more nations than any of Monty's. An Army in a more complex alliance than Monty was exposed to - which Slim negotiated with modesty, good humour and diplomacy, skills to which Monty was by nature a complete stranger.
Ask yourself this: all mistakes considered [did Monty ever acknowledge his own mistakes?] which man demonstrated the most efficient - the steepest - learning curve?
I'll vote for the son of a dodgy Brummy ironmonger.
And I'll cite his handling of the 'precious' prima donna Winn-git, with all his carefully cultivated pol/mil patronage, as a case in point.Summer grasses - all that is left of the dreams of soldiers
- 08-08-2012, 23:28 #55
- 08-08-2012, 23:41 #56
I suppose the measure of the man's activities is did he kill Japs or not? The unequivocal answer being yes. Was it strategically worthwhile? At that stage of the conflict who could bloody tell. Is it likely that men who had to endure what the Chindits had to would remain completely normal - sanity would have probably been a weakness under those circumstances. Wingate's proclivities stand out due to his rank.Her Majesty's Press Corps.... only the innocent (and members of the House of Lords) have nothing to fear.
- 08-08-2012, 23:59 #57
The associated butcher's bill is less equivocal.
Closest comparison I can think of would be with the strategic bombing campaign in NW Europe.
Difference is that we know fer shure, that without the bomber campaign, Speer woulda pushed even more Panzers out than he did.
Such clarity around Wingates ops seems to me to have been avoided.Summer grasses - all that is left of the dreams of soldiers
- 10-08-2012, 23:41 #58
Two rather contrasting views on Wingate:
There was a man of genius, who might well have become also a man of destiny
- Winston Churchill╣
Much of what he preached strategically, operationally, and tactically, was flawed, and some of it was downright nonsense.
Major General Julian Thompson
Military Thought and Practice Compared and Contrasted which is worth reading.
Two more quotes:
Just as timing played so great a part in his rise to prominence, so the moment of his death may have been propitious for him. He was killed at the height of his career and was not called upon to face the inevitable fact that his dreams and ambitions could never have been realised.
Major General S Woodburn Kirby24
The whole assessment was no more than a hatchet job by little men who could not have competed with Wingate either in military argument or in battle. Not only has it failed but it has made him such a controversial figure that his reputation will live on forever.
Sir Robert Thompson25
Last edited by baboon6; 11-08-2012 at 00:03.
- 11-08-2012, 05:34 #59
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
- 12-08-2012, 04:07 #60
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
But Wingate does fall into a general British line of, in time of need, finding the maddest bastard there is, and putting him to use.
Others, like Jack Churchill with a fecking claymore (and, allegedly, a longbow on one commando raid, which he did kill a german with making it probably the last actual wartime use of archery in a modern, western army) wasn't the sanest of sods running around.
Another less-than-all-there gentleman was Carton de Wiart, as wikipedia noters
"He fought in the Boer War, World War I, and World War II; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear; survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn't amputate them. He later said "frankly I had enjoyed the war." He ended up less one eye and one hand\arm.
Adrian Carton de Wiart - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There was probably alot more borderline insane personalities running around doing duty with SOE and similar services, and not least in the various boffin departments, considering all the varied bits and bobs invented for all manner of uses during the war, ranging from intelligence, sabotage and open warfare.