Who was the BEST British Commander?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Ventress, May 8, 2005.

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  1. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Just a foil to the 'worst'

    Bill Slim must be top of the league.
  2. Is this best WW2 or best overall?

    I'd second Slim as best Army commander in WW2. If it's one of the "other services" then Harris got the job done as did Cunningham for the matelots.

    If its an all time thingy, then it must be the Duke of Boots, hands down...
  3. Best WW2, MONTY.....consider the advance of the 8th Army from Alamein, where the Axis powers where completely routed,he then defeated a reinforced Rommel at the Mareth line in March 43. He followed this up by another victory at Akirit thus capturing several Tunisian ports.He then chased Rommels army across Libya and Tripolitania and completed the conquest of Italy`s African empire.

    He then led the Sicily Campaign followed in 44/45, by the battle for Europe,comanding 21 Army Gp, from Normandy to the Baltic.

    Best ever....Wellington was a student of Marlborough,from whom Wellington learned of an area that Marlborough thought was best place in Europe to fight a battle.We know this site as Waterloo.

    I am lead to believe that the likes of Paul Reed,historian and battle field guide and other battlefield guides who work for Leger Holidays, eg Graham Cooper,ex Green Howards, consider Marlborough to be the best British commander.
  4. Harris should have been sacked!

    He was continually and deliberately insubordinate to the Chief of the Air Staff, who sadly tolerated this (perhaps because area bombing was originally his idea).

    The area bombing raids made very little difference to Germany's war production and caused the deaths of 50,000 airmen and untold numbers of civilians.

    The air power should have been used for flattening the Wehrmacht and for targets of proper strategic significance such as the oilfields in Romania.

    For a light blue officer, try Hugh Dowding - he only saved the UK from the Luftwaffe (and potentially from invasion) because of a visionary air defence programme pre-dating 1940. And he was stabbed in the back for his troubles! There are some other good light blue, such as Tedder who pioneered tactical air power in the desert and worked for Eisenhower.

    For dark blue from WW2, how about Mountbatten?
  5. For all time, Wellington has a definite claim because of his generalship in India and in the Peninsular Wars. Waterloo was the icing on the cake....courtesy of the Germans!

  6. Eisenhower :D
  7. Best of all time:


    An outstanding cavalry commander who formed the New Model Army and a genuinely gifted military planner and administrator. He turned down the Crown after the execution of Charles I and ran the country as Lord Protector in what historians recognise as an effective and popular rule until his death. After he died, it was decided that only a king could replace him, so Charles II was invited back.

    For all Wellington's glory and talent, he was a crap PM so Cromwell wins!
  8. William Marshal, 1rst Earl of Pembroke.

    also called William The Marshal marshal and then regent of England who served four English monarchs as a royal adviser and agent and as a warrior of outstanding prowess.
  9. Completely agree with all the above. Having said that, was he the best Commander, or the best Leader, or both? Have just had the pleasure of a Regt'l study day (CLM!) - as per SOP's, the "compare and contrast" between the Command and Leadership of Montgomery and Rommel was (I am surprised to admit) a thoroughly inspiring presentation (must have been - everyone stayed awake!!!) :wink:
  10. William 1st was the best. He was able to do such thing that nobody could repeat later (including Napoleon).
  11. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Do you know I think my vote goes with Cromwell too. I think his realisation about the importance of the crown, and thus in most Britons' minds the monarchy, and the subsequent re-establishment of the monarchy showed a deep insight into the national psyche. I often walk past Parliament and look at the Lord Protector's statue, and once lived opposite an island on the Thames where he was rumoured to have hidden, and thought of him often. We shall just have to choose not to discuss Ireland :?
  12. Bill Slim, succesfully controled a massive retreat, Moltkes mark of a great general, his victorys need no advertising.
    Cunningham for the mataloes, When advised by his chief of staff that he must leave the army in Crete due to losses of 'Fleet' destroyers he said words to the effect of 'The navy has never deserted the army and I will not be the first.
    Crabs are still working on it.
  13. One of the oddest British generals in World War II (but a genius for all that) was Orde Wingate. A latter day Cromwell, Wingate combined Christian fundamentalist beliefs with innovative tactical ideas. Wingate pioneered the setting up of large "strongholds" far behind enemy lines, containing airstrips, stores and thousands of troops.

    Using hit and run raids from these strongholds, Wingate's Chindits disrupted the highly professional Japanese army in Burma, leading to its defeat in an epic campaign (often overlooked in the history books).

    You could argue that Wingate's ideas set the trend for counter- terrorist warfare in the future. He died, aged 41, in a plane crash. :(
    If there was a "British Army eccentric geniuses" thread, Wingate would top it, closely followed by Col T.E. Lawrence!
  14. A footnote to his extraordinary life is that for obvious enough reasons, but unusually for a British Maj Gen, Orde Wingate is buried with the others on his aircraft at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
  15. Wingate !
    I assume you have never read John Masters 'The Road Past Mandalay'.
    Masters states that Wingate went in to panic mode when he thought the jap had found one of his landing sites during 'Launch' of the second Chindit raid.
    Only the intervention of Slim prevented Wingate abandoning the assault.