Who was the worst Brit general of WW II

I've learned a hell of a lot reading this thread, my own period of interest is well before WWII - thanks to my Father!
The little knowledge I have would have pointed to Auchinleck as the award winner for the Brits and Bradley for the US - having read the comments from those with considerably wider knowledge than me, I fully accept both to have been trumped and promise to do better next time!
IMHO Auckinleck, and Wavell, were both sacrificed on the altar of Churchill's ego. As for the Americans, in Europe at least, I'd call out Mark Clark well before considering Omar Bradley.
 
I've learned a hell of a lot reading this thread, my own period of interest is well before WWII - thanks to my Father!
The little knowledge I have would have pointed to Auchinleck as the award winner for the Brits and Bradley for the US - having read the comments from those with considerably wider knowledge than me, I fully accept both to have been trumped and promise to do better next time!
Don't worry about it. I too, before I joined this forum thought that I was an amateur expert in the subject of WW2. I was quickly proven that I wasn't!
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
IMHO Auckinleck, and Wavell, were both sacrificed on the altar of Churchill's ego. As for the Americans, in Europe at least, I'd call out Mark Clark well before considering Omar Bradley.
That would be the Mark Clark who disobeyed orders and raced to Rome to be first in, in the process allowing a German army to break contact.

Then, on his way into an unguarded Rome, he met war correspondent Alan Whicker coming back out, having been first into Rome.
 
That would be the Mark Clark who disobeyed orders and raced to Rome to be first in, in the process allowing a German army to break contact.

Then, on his way into an unguarded Rome, he met war correspondent Alan Whicker coming back out, having been first into Rome.
The very same. A prize, glory-seeking cock (IMHO), and a top five contender for the worst Allied commander of WWII.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
IMHO Auckinleck, and Wavell, were both sacrificed on the altar of Churchill's ego. As for the Americans, in Europe at least, I'd call out Mark Clark well before considering Omar Bradley.
Ego? Hardly. They were sacked because they didn't provide victories. Whether thst was their fault or not is different matter, but their departure was not down to Churchill's ego, but to his ruthless pursuit of victory.

Not necessarily a bad thing, imho.
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
Not sure at all about the British army being the largest in the world at the end of WWI although it was the largest it's ever been. I would have thought the French, Germans and perhaps even by that stage the yanks would have had larger armies.
I think you may be wrong there! The British army was the only one of the armies in France in 1918 that was stronger than it was in 1914, and could have gone on for six more months, It's morale was good and with about 65 trained fighting Divisions, it was a formidable force. In addition the army were still policing the Empire World Wide. I seem to remember that there were about 5 million men in in the British army in France and Belgium and elements in the UK. I'll have to get onto Wiki for the US Army strength, but they only had about 4 or 5 Divs in France and men at trg establishments in the US.
 
Ego? Hardly. They were sacked because they didn't provide victories. Whether thst was their fault or not is different matter, but their departure was not down to Churchill's ego, but to his ruthless pursuit of victory.

Not necessarily a bad thing, imho.
Sideshow: Greece, Crete, Dodeconese - all Winston's bright ideas, along with sailing antiquated battleships into the Baltic to draw the Luftwaffe onto them. Hardly 'pursuit of victory', at least to any sane mind.

 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Sideshow: Greece, Crete, Dodeconese - all Winston's bright ideas, along with sailing antiquated battleships into the Baltic to draw the Luftwaffe onto them. Hardly 'pursuit of victory', at least to any sane mind.

I didn't say Churchill was blameless. But to ascribe his sacking Generals to ego is just wrong.
 
I didn't say Churchill was blameless. But to ascribe his sacking Generals to ego is just wrong.
As it is to ascribe all his actions to 'the pursuit of victory'. Let's call it 1:1 and go back to the military, rather than political, players.

E2A: ok, let's not then and start hitting the mong buttons as you've done. Returning the 'favour'; 1:1.
 
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bob231

War Hero
I had heard it put that Auchinleck provided the conditions for Montgomery's victory at El Alamein: the decision to withdraw in good order (after relieving Ritchie) and establish a fortified position at Alamein provided Montgomery with the firm base to accumulate his massive material advantage.
 
I had heard it put that Auchinleck provided the conditions for Montgomery's victory at El Alamein: the decision to withdraw in good order (after relieving Ritchie) and establish a fortified position at Alamein provided Montgomery with the firm base to accumulate his massive material advantage.
In my reading, the Auck's biggest failure was that he didn't have the trust and confidence of his political superior, due to his failure to deliver the impossible and willingness to speak truth to power.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
In my reading, the Auck's biggest failure was that he didn't have the trust and confidence of his political superior, due to his failure to deliver the impossible and willingness to speak truth to power.
Auchinlech's problem was that he was Indian Army and forced to make good with what he was given - he had no idea about the British Regular Army officers. Once he realised the quality of what he'd been given, he took direct control and he is undoubtedly responsible for holding Alamein and all that followed. Rommel's piece de resistance was to panic his opposition and then hustle them - it's how he won the Blue Max. If the opponent refused to be hustled - like Auchinleck when he took over direct control, Rommel didn't have a plan B. It's actually why the German High Command never trusted him.
 
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Auchinlech's problem was that he was Indian Army and forced to make good with what he was given - he had no idea about the British Regular Army offiers. Once he realised the quality of what he'd been given, he took direct control and he is undoubtedly responsible for holding Alamein and all that followed. Rommel's piece de resistance was to panic his opposition and then hustle them - it's how he won the Blue Max. If the opponent refused to be hustled - like Auchinleck when he took over direct control, Rommel didn't have a plan B. It's actually why the German High Command never trusted him.
Can't disagree with any of that, but I think his fatal failure was his (lack of) relationship with Churchill. Monty's victory in the Western Desert was built on Auchinleck's foundations, but the latter had the trust and confidence of the PM, as shown through his less than stellar performance through to the end of the war, but because of Churchill's backing, Montgomery remained in place.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Can't disagree with any of that, but I think his fatal failure was his (lack of) relationship with Churchill. Monty's victory in the Western Desert was built on Auchinleck's foundations, but the latter had the trust and confidence of the PM, as shown through his less than stellar performance through to the end of the war, but because of Churchill's backing, Montgomery remained in place.
I've always thought that Auchinleck was a victim of 'something must be seen to be done'. Monty certainly used the hiatus caused to hold Churchill at arm's length during the crucial build-up, which he probably wouldn't have been able to do had the previous sackings not been so public and so brutal.
 
I've always thought that Auchinleck was a victim of 'something must be seen to be done'. Monty certainly used the hiatus caused to hold Churchill at arm's length during the crucial build-up, which he probably wouldn't have been able to do had the previous sackings not been so public and so brutal.
Without getting into the tactical nitty-gritty of those actually doing the fighting, the 'sacrifice' of both Wavell and Auchinleck bought the necessary time for Montgomery to deliver victory in Libya. Could Monty have done better in the Western Desert: maybe, but that's irrelevant. Could Wavell or Auchinleck have delivered the same result: probably, but they weren't given the time or opportunity.
 
While everyone looks at the fall of Singapore, the surrender of a garrison numbering 70,000 men….the blame lies not with the GOC Singapore but with the treasury and successive HMGs. The defence of Hong Kong shows that a mixed garrison of under 13,000 men let by Major-General Maltby surrendered when ordered to do so. The bravery of both garrisons is often overlooked by the (in)competence of their commanders.
 

Dwarf

LE
Percival by a fair margin. Could have been so much better all over. Even at the final surrender negotiations he could have held out. The Japs were at the end of their resources and would have had to pull back or at least take a breather.
Their General bluffed his way through the negotiations brow beating Percival into abject surrender when he could have actually saved something.
He was defeated before he started.

But both Leigh-Mallory and Harris should also be up there for consideration.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Without getting into the tactical nitty-gritty of those actually doing the fighting, the 'sacrifice' of both Wavell and Auchinleck bought tie necessary time for Montgomery to deliver victory in Libya. Could Monty have done better in the Western Desert: maybe, but that's irrelevant. Could Wavell or Auchinleck have delivered the same result: probably, but they weren't't given the time or opportunity.
What the history generally misses is that Wavell and Auchinleck were actually one step removed from effective command, except Auchinleck in the vital Alamein phase.. O'Connor delivered Wavell his magic (which Wavell had to agree to) whereas Auchinleck was forced to step in when his subordinates were proven to be grossly unsound. I'm in no doubt that we won in Africa because Auchinleck refused to be hustled by Rommel and Rommel had no plan, much less the ability, to hustle his way through the Alamein position once it was defended properly.
 
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What the history generally misses is that Wavell and Auchinleck were actually one step removed from effective command, except Auchinleck in the vital Alamein phase.. O'Connell delivered Wavell his magic (which Wavell had to agree to) whereas Auchinleck was forced to step in when his subordinates were proven to be grossly unsound. I'm in no doubt that we won in Africa because Auchinleck refused to be hustled by Rommel and Rommel had no plan, much less the ability, to hustle his way through the Alamein position once it was defended properly.
General Sir Richard O'Connor.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Without getting into the tactical nitty-gritty of those actually doing the fighting, the 'sacrifice' of both Wavell and Auchinleck bought the necessary time for Montgomery to deliver victory in Libya. Could Monty have done better in the Western Desert: maybe, but that's irrelevant. Could Wavell or Auchinleck have delivered the same result: probably, but they weren't given the time or opportunity.
Officially Wavell and Auchinleck were operating at least one step above Monty - which was Auchinleck's tragedy because he demonstrably had the measure of Rommel. Look at Monty's MO on taking command and he's A) Inspiring the 8th Army, B) Making himself unsackable.
 

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