Battle For LZ X-Ray

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Phil306, Jun 22, 2005.

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    I'm not sure if this belongs here, since its 30+ years old, however, here it is. I VERY good website on this monumental battle. For us "spams" it was the battle which showed us the "air mobile" doctrine and its importance.

    The guy in the photo was killed in the World Trade Center bombings on 9/11. Quite ironic...
  2. My father served with General Moore in Korea [68-70] and was on hand at his promotion to MG where he credited his troops with his success. I also had the opportunity to talk with BG SLA Marshall one evening he talked about WW2 and Patton's anti-British bias to Vietnam.
  3. Tommyhawk please explain this part.
    "he talked about WW2 and Patton's anti-British bias to Vietnam."
  4. I don't know so much about anti British bias but there was definately a keen dislike of Montgomery which coloured alot of the post Normandy campaign.

    Similarly general Mark Clark's determination to be in Rome before Alexander lead to him allowing an entire German Army to escape in pursuit of the Glory, now theres a decision that definatley cost lives and extended the war (if only in Italy).

  5. There is lots of material about the tensions in the coalition in the run-up to, and after, D-Day. The Italian campaign was the apogee of the Patton/ Montgomery antipathy.

    Patton was, as we all know, a brilliant general but barking mad. His infamous treatment of a "shell-shock" casualty blotted his copy-book and he was retired to the UK to lead the "ghost army" deception plan to persuade the Nazis that D-Day would land at the Pas de Calais.

    Monty, on the other hand, was all tea and medals in Normandy, until Caen of course, where the spam generals argued that the was being too (characteristically) cautious. Patton's distaste for Montgomery was the usual clash-of-style between an American ego-driven primadonna and a British ego-driven primadonna.

    Patton later redeemed himself with his famous armored charge across the southern flank of the Allied advance as well as his role in reversing the Ardennes offensive. Monty, OTOH, had Arnhem on his copybook (fairly or unfairly: others share that responsibility but it did nothing to diminish the anti-Montgomery legacy amongst many US military historians.)

    Lastly, there is some suggestion that Monty was sceptical about Enigma int. material (not exploiting it as much as he could have done), as opposed to the Americans.

    All of this combined informs the received wisdom amongst Americans about the nature of British generalship in 1944-45. Mark Clarke, however, was a disgrace, feeding men's lives into the insatiable maw of his ambition. Most US historians I've read tend to agree.

  6. A bit off-thread:

    What about "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell? As anti-Brit as you can get and insulted the sacrifice of the Chindits in Burma, who suffered greater casualties than Merril's Marauders - another unit that Stilwell's incompetence saw run down beyond recovery.
  7. The topic of discussion ranged from Patton in WW2 to the Vietnam war is what I tried to say.
  8. I misunderstood your post.
    Moore is one of my Modern day hereos, I read about the I Drang battle as a young soldier.
    I have a copy video, of the BBC series Decisive Weapons and in the last episode, Moore features giving his views on that battle.
    He cums across as a no nonsense sort of Boss. The other guy in the episode, it's on the Huey, that cums across as a leader of men is Col. John B Stockton (didn't need to get a ref book out for him) who set up the original Air Cav 'regt'. I read later in Moore's book that Stockton was chopped by his GOC for commiting the div reserve around that time scale, without permision from the top. A great loss I will suggest.
  9. Vietnam made alot of careers but also broke others. Hackworth for one. A BG who commanded the 173d Abn Brigade was relieved due to high casualties sustained by the brigade. He was later promoted to MG, but that was the end of the line.
  10. Here is some more background info which might help fellow arrsers make up their minds.
    At the time of this incident, Bradley was Patton's subordinate. Even though Bradley was promoted over Patton to command the First US Army Group in Normandy, the lack of control exercised by Bradley over Patton's impetuosity (sometimes verging on wilful disobedience) can be traced back to this relationship.

    Eisenhower recognised that in the close-fought early stages of the landings, Monty's style of command -- tight and deliberate control of te battlespace -- was the one needed, not the horse-slappin' gung-ho approach of his US contemporaries.

    There is a lot of evidence to suggest that Patton's famous armoured charge was a major factor in the failure at Arnhem. Fuel was in desparately short supply. Ike knew that in spite of his broad front, he would have to effectively stop one Army Group in order to adequately supply the other for a decisive thrust at Berlin. Monty's plan was accepted but Bradley's failure to control Patton meant that 3rd Army were told to press on 'until their tanks ran dry, then get out and walk'. This order was carried out almost literally and Patton turned to Bradley and gave him the choice of either giving him more fuel or leaving the 3rd Army at the mercy of the Germans. Thus, at a critical stage of the Arnhem plan, vital air transport and fuel had to be diverted to Patton's 3rd Army.

    The rest is well known.

    Monty's plan was the one real hope of ending the war in 1944 but Patton's self-centred actions put paid to that.

    Whatever people think of him, Patton certainly wasn't a team player.
  11. Wouldn't say that Vietnam broke Hackworths career, rather, he committed professional suicide, by pulling himself out of the running for Flag rank, by declining to go to War College. This was something he did before he decided to go on TV and blow the whistle.

    I can't help thinking what good he might have accomplished had he stayed in and gotten the stars he richly deserved. He might have been able to help stop the US Army going into the deep professional depression it went into in the 1970's.

    Blowing the whistle as he did, ultimately, changed nothing and ensured a, frankly, crap ending to an otherwise illustrious career.
  12. Hack was in trouble with the brass well before his comments to the media.
    He ran a bordello and gambling facility. He was rebellious. I doubt that he would have gotten a star without playing the game.
  13. Yes, I knew about the above from when he ran an Advisory Team. He makes no secret of it in his biography "About Face". He also severely pissed off the GOC of the 101st Abn Div, whom he had previously worked for at the Pentagon, and doing himself no favours, when he refused to become his G3. As he says himself, if he had become G3, he might have been able to prevent the crass stupidity [on the part of the command and staff] of what became known as Hamburger Hill.

    I get the impression that, despite not playing the game,the way the "players" wanted it, he still would have gotten his star. Until he blew the whistle he was still very highly regarded by both Westmoreland and Abrams and Harold Johnson, the then Chief of Staff. Not to mention the influential historian Brig Gen SLA Marshall with whom Hackworth did a Military History study of Vietnam.

    Yes, I suppose, I am a fan of the late David Hackworth. :) Whatever you think of him, he always did what he thought was right, even if it was wrong or did it the wrong way. And he always did what he could for the common soldier. For me, he was the maverick, that every organisation should have, that becomes the exception to the rule and rises to the top.
  14. He had his strengths but his flaws would have been a show stopper. During that time period the Army Chief Of Staff selected new general officers and General's Westmoreland and Abram's would never have signed off. Second without completing the War College you dont get selected for a star.