German Wündertanks vs Shermans

An interesting thought. Slim would have been more tactful and got on better with the yanks imho. He might not have done Market garden but gone for the broad front approach and worked better with the likes of Patton and Bradley.
Slim was Indian Army which might have gone against him. Not from the troops, who would have recognised him as an outstanding general, but from the establishment who may have seen him as a threat. Apart from Auchinleck and Ismay, I can't think of any other Indian Army generals who had a major impact on the war outside of the Far East. Certainly none in NW Europe.
 
CT, in answer to your RFI;

Slim proved again and again he was both comfortable with innovative thinking and an agile manouverist. He had a gift for spotting talent and utilising it to meet the strategic end, where, arguably, Monty was a acolyte man. Slim was a genuine transformational leader. He achieved all this in the face of aggression from Stilwell, politicking from Mountbatten and diversionary faff from Windgate. His use of the scant resources available to him and his use of air manoeuvre was superb. At Kohina, Imphal and Mektila he smashed 2 Japanese armies at relatively negligible cost. The man was and is a legend. In contrast, Monty was a professional but flawed journeyman.

Yarra.
 
However, something I've always wondered. It's commonly accepted that Slim was the best/most successful of the UK's generals, but he was also fighting an entirely different kind of war in the far East. What reason do we have to believe that he would have performed better than Monty in a mechanised war in Africa and Western Europe?
That's probably not the best metric, IMHO. It's his people skills that set Uncle Bill head and shoulders above Monty as a leader of a mighty, multinational formation in a mighty multinational coalition. That he could earn the respect of Vinegar Joe, and Chiang Kai Chek and pretty well every other senior player he dealt with, as well as commanding the single largest force under a Brit commander, with gad nose how many ethnicities wrapped into it, to victory over his enemy's main army in the field, without American troops, and at the end of the longest LoC imaginable, while sucking on Britain's logistic hind tit, having first raised his Army out of the slough of defeat, and turned it into a force with command of an alien jungle environment, and unshakeable morale would also form part of a very interesting CV.

So, on this brief list of a few of this very modest man's attributes, I rest my case.
 
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PS, Alanbrooke was our geo-strategic grand master.. second to none. Monty's epic night flanking March at Dunkirk was enabled by his Corp commander; AB, who understood the Threat. AB was distraught at not getting Army command, but there is a reason his statue sits between Monty and Slim on Whitehall.
 
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Slim was Indian Army which might have gone against him. Not from the troops, who would have recognised him as an outstanding general, but from the establishment who may have seen him as a threat. Apart from Auchinleck and Ismay, I can't think of any other Indian Army generals who had a major impact on the war outside of the Far East. Certainly none in NW Europe.
I suppose its unfair to compare a continental army, with one trained in colonial policing.

What was the French excuse, for having a complete dearth of decent officers.? de gaulle and prioux off the top of my head, earned some respect, the rest are notable for there absence.
 
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The continent being India, and the Policing role being historically that for which we deployed the Army that was based in Britain?
Leese, didn't seem that impressed with him, despite the love the troops had for Slim. I am not diminishing his achievements, but it would be an interesting what if, you swapped Monty and Slim, it could be Monty been talked up as he would just as good an organiser. Who knows how slim would have done in a more armoured mobile setting against the Germans, who seemed to batter anyone, when the odds were even.
 
That's probably not the best metric, IMHO. It's his people skills that set Uncle Bill head and shoulders above Monty as a leader of a mighty, multinational formation in a mighty multinational coalition. That he could earn the respect of Vinegar Joe, and Chiang Kai Chek and pretty well every other senior player he dealt with, as well as commanding the single largest force under a Brit commander, with gad nose how many ethnicities wrapped into it, to victory over his enemy's main army in the field, without American troops, and at the end of the longest LoC imaginable, while sucking on Britain's logistic hind tit, having first raised his Army out of the slough of defeat, and turned it into a force with command of an alien jungle environment, and unshakeable morale would also form part of a very interesting CV.

So, on this brief list of a few of this very modest man's attributes, I rest my case.
It turned out, though, that being a 'people person' wasn't a make-or-break criterion away from the far East. Being a bit acerbic did not prevent Monty from achieving reasonable success. Being a good planner and trainer seems to have done it in North Africa, Sicily and D-Day. Whilst I am certainly willing to stipulate that the people skills were critical in the Far East theater, and that likely Monty would not have been anywhere near as successful in Slim's place, it does not necessarily follow that the reverse be true. Monty may have simply been more up to speed in a modern 'mechanised' Western way of war. People skills are good, but so is a working knowledge of the mechanics of warfare. I've served under infantry-background officers who I am fairly sure are fantastic tacticians and people persons, but due to unfamiliarity were rather unable to properly understand my tanks. Again, I'm not saying that Slim could not have performed well, but I'm not seeing it as a given that he would have.

PS, Alanbrooke was our geo-strategic grand master.. second to none. Monty's epic night flanking March at Dunkirk was enabled by his Corp commander; AB, who understood the Threat. AB was distraught at not getting Army command, but there is a reason his statue sits between Monty and Slim on Whitehall.
Granted, but the units ordered to do whatever by Alanbrooke still had to be capable of pulling it off. As you said, it was 'epic', and if I'm reading Julian Thompson's book correctly, Monty was the only commander at division level or above to thoroughly conduct exercises, and certainly the only one training to conduct retrograde and night operations.
 
Monty may have simply been more up to speed in a modern 'mechanised' Western way of war
I'll say it again.

He was "a very good WW1 General"

There were US Generals who could run rings found him - Patton is the cliché choice, but Lightning Joe Collins is out there too.

Slim wasn't recycling lessons he'd learned as a pup staff officer 20+ years earlier: he was learning by doing, innovating and inspiring (verbs, not adjectives, BTW). He simply knuckled down, and got the feck on with doing things better every next time

No doubt in my mind he woulda brought that relentlessly, indomitably creative energy to the European battlefield, and thrived as he did in the jungle.

A common or garden Colossus. Grammar skule educated son of a dodgy Brummie ironmonger/scrap metal dealer. The stuff of legend :)
 
I can't say I'm a huge fan of Patton. It seems to me he had the same qualifications as Custer. The answer to everything was 'attack', which was fine and led to repeated glory until it didn't work any more (Places like Metz or Brest) and he was never tested in a withdrawl under pressure. I do think there are better US WW2 generals, such as, as you say, Collins, or Ridgeway. I'd put Devers above Patton, frankly.
 
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Monty was the only commander at division level or above to thoroughly conduct exercises, and certainly the only one training to conduct retrograde and night operations.
All of that is true. But he was ever a prisoner of his own prior experience. Everything he did, had been done before, in some way, on the WW1 Western Front.

Overwhelming materiel superiority, guaranteed by USA commitment enabled him to succeed (as, indeed, it would - arguably - have conferred success on any moderately competent commander filling Monty's seat after 1942)

These caveats do not apply to Uncle Bill. Nor do I know of any others that should.
 
. I do think there are better US WW2 generals, such as, as you say, Collins, or Ridgeway.
You'd be pushed to find Brit Generals of the same quality, from the same generation.

I mean, Browning, FFS, that vain, shallow dilettante (outdone in these things, by a country mile, it must be said, by the jackass Mark Clark :) ) was given a feckin Corps, ferchrissake!!
 
Leese, didn't seem that impressed with him, despite the love the troops had for Slim. I am not diminishing his achievements, but it would be an interesting what if, you swapped Monty and Slim, it could be Monty been talked up as he would just as good an organiser. Who knows how slim would have done in a more armoured mobile setting against the Germans, who seemed to batter anyone, when the odds were even.
You missed my point.

Historically, by the time WW2 kicked off we'd never had a Continental British Army, save during the decade-plus inconvenience of the Napoleonics. The army that left all its heavy ordnance at Dunkirk, had been 'doubled in size' less than 2 years earlier, by the simple expedient of Government declaring that the TA establishment had been expanded at the stroke of a pen.
_____
Edited to add:

In shorthand, if Monty hadn't seen it done in the past, he wouldn't really have a clue how to make it happen in the now.

You absolutely couldn't say that of Slim.
 
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@Stonker. In post #4635 you discussed 21 AG morale using a quotation from "Colossal Cracks". This was concluded with the following Stonkernote:

* I've lifted the words from extracts taken from the book, that I've posted on Scribd, should you wish to read them (Search | Scribd). I don't have full book to hand, so I can't cite the references on which the author bases his writing.


I have taken the liberty of restoring the endnote numbering to your quoted text and adding the relevant endnotes.

On D-day itself, the British and Canadian troops clearly possessed "very high" morale.[43] This pattern generally was repeated when fresh, even inexperienced, formations initially joined combat in the theatre. To some "green" troops the "Overlord" assault came as a relief as they finally commenced the monumental task for which they had trained so long and hard. However, during the first three weeks of bitter fighting in Normandy, the fighting edge of the 21st Army Group became blunted. Evidence for this blunting comes from the fact that by the end of June all the Anglo-Canadian Corps ashore had established Battle Exhaustion Centers.[44] The cumulative degradation of the fighting power of this formation continued as the desperate struggle for Normandy raged on.[45] Indeed, the bitter realities of fighting in Normandy proved a shock to many; even to Montgomery they were, if not a complete surprise, then at least an undesired and unexpected reminder of the horrible truths learned by bitter experience in North Africa and Italy.

The blunting of this well-conditioned weapon was the result of a combination of the natural degradation inherent in bitter combat and of features unique to the Normandy battles. In terms of the latter, the aggregation of the following factor caused this morale degradation: The constant hard fighting and the limited British opportunities to remove frontline divisions for rest or to absorb replacements; the determined and skilled resistance offered by the Westheer; the defensibility of the bocage terrain; the frequency of enemy harassing fire, mortar attack, and sniper action;[46] the marked superiority of enemy armour; the lack of successful Allied advances; the frequency of local Allied reverses that compelled troops to incur further casualties by re-attacking objectives they had gained previously but subsequently lost to enemy counterattack;
[47] above all, the steady stream of casualties, that destroyed British small group cohesion; and particularly the severe casualties suffered among officers, that wrecked the effective function of units. All these served to exacerbate the inevitable, cumulative sapping of Allied physical and mental strength caused by lack of sleep, physical hardship, and the trauma of combat.[48] The combination of these factors took a serious toll on the morale fabric of Montgomery's command. Indeed, by mid-July, after six weeks of intense fighting, serious morale problems began to manifest themselves in several 21st Army Group divisions.[49]

ENDNOTES

43. National Archives of Canada [NAC], Crerar Papers, Vol. 2 [CP/2], [file] 1-0-2, fll, Ltr Keller to Crerar, 22 April 44; , 1-0-2-1 RFK3, Mess Keller to Crerar, 7 June 44; PRO, CAB106/1060, Hargest, Notes to D+10.
44. French, "Tommy," 164.
45. Horrocks, Corps, 34.
46. (Bocage): Hastings, Overlord, 43, 175-77, 181-93, 288-89. (Sniping): R. Wingfield, The Only Way Out (London: Hutchinson, 1955), 62-63.
47. PRO, CAB106/106, Hargest, Opn 20 June 44.
48. Picot, Accidental, 83.
49. For the keenness of fresh formations, see PRO, CAB106/1060, Hargest, notes 25 June 44.
 
@Stonker. In post #4635 you discussed 21 AG morale using a quotation from "Colossal Cracks". This was concluded with the following Stonkernote:

* I've lifted the words from extracts taken from the book, that I've posted on Scribd, should you wish to read them (Search | Scribd). I don't have full book to hand, so I can't cite the references on which the author bases his writing.


I have taken the liberty of restoring the endnote numbering to your quoted text and adding the relevant endnotes.
Bless you :) I hope it adds value for those who won't pay for the full book !
 
To add to my vast pile of books to be read, but perhaps to go nearer to the top, can the body of the Kirk recommend which book on Bill Slim is the best to get?
You can't go far wrong with Defeat into Victory.
 

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