Why were successful WW2 US generals fired but contemporary unsuccessful generals retained?

I stumbled upon the 2011 'Nimitz Lectures' at Berkley, where Thomas E. Ricks, a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), leads with a question, "Why was Terry Allen, commander of the US 1st Inf Div, and most successful divisional commander the US had in WW2, who never lost a battle, fired by Omar Bradley, when contemporary US generals always screw up and never get fired.?"

George C Marshall fired two hundred generals and colonels from what he termed , America's 4th Grade Army, and used the Louisiana Manoeuvres to sort the chaff from the wheat.
I like some of the names the divisional commanders had, the ones who took divisions from those manoeuvres to Europe, Brig. Samuel Tankersley Williams, aka, 'Hanging Sam' Williams, was one. He did later get relieved of command and bust back to Colonel for arguing, but being relieved was not a career ender in WW2. Of the 4 Corps commanders and 16 Division commanders who were relieved, all were reassigned and some were again given command of troops in action. 'Hanging Sam' commanded the 25th Inf in Korea and in fact retired as a 3 Star.
General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. son of a Confederate General, was so critical of the navy's jobsworth attitude he penned a humorous poem which the navy did not find funny, and he was almost fired by Marshall

In far Alaska’s ice spray, I stand beside my binnacle
And scan the waters through the fog for fear of some rocky pinnacle
Projecting from unfathomed depths may break my hull asunder
and Place my name upon the list of those who made a blunder.
Volcanic peaks beneath the waves are likely any morning
To smash my ships to tiny bits without the slightest warning

I dread the toll from reef and shoal that rip off keel and rudder
And send our bones to Davey Jones—the prospect makes me shudder.

The Bering Sea is not for me, nor my fleet headquarters
In moral dread I look ahead in wild Aleutian waters
Where hidden reefs and williwaws and terrifying critters
Unnerve me quite with woeful fright and give me fits and jitters.
( History.net article on Buckner and also his poem )


(During the invasion of Okinawa, while at a forward OP, General Buckner Jr later became famous as the most senior US General to be killed in combat).

Mr Ricks concludes that by not punishing failure in Iraq and Afghanistan the US could not reward success, therefore the US has bred a mediocre officer corps fit only to achieve stalemates, not victories.

Not having a pop at our cousins, our own crop seem more focussed on winning PC battles than muck and bullets wars.



Worth a watch
 
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Tool

LE
"Don't piss off your boss, no matter how good you are at your job."

By piss off, you could read show up for the incompotent he/she is.

Also, during all-out war there are a lot of people trying to make their names and being pushy. Not so much in peace-time, so smaller pools of people to choose fromif someone is moved sidewards. Add polcitics into the mix.
 

anglo

LE
Iraq and Afghanistan, were wars that couldn't be won, didn't matter who was put in charge,
If you take Afghanistan, everybody who went into the shithole as left with their tail between their
legs, but put the same people in a conventional war, and things would be different.
 

exspy

LE
I stumbled upon the 2011 'Nimitz Lectures' at Berkley, where Thomas E. Ricks, a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), leads with a question, "Why was Terry Allen, commander of the US 1st Inf Div, and most successful divisional commander the US had in WW2, who never lost a battle, fired by Omar Bradley, when contemporary US generals always screw up and never get fired.?"

Worth a watch

I watched this about six months ago and was very impressed by Mr. Ricks and his arguments. The point I took away from what he was saying was that being relieved of command should not be the career ending move it has now become. If the wrong person has been placed in command then he, or she, must be removed, and removed quickly, to allow someone who can achieve the stated goals to take over. And the person who has been relieved should not be stigmatized for it nor prevented from commanding troops in the future. Ricks relates the story of an American Colonel (whom he does not name) at Normandy who was not only relieved but escorted out in handcuffs. Said Colonel went on to Command again during, as I recall, the battle for Germany.

Ricks said it was the US military's failure to relieve commanders who, in the context of the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, were unable to achieve that contributed to the military's overall inability to secure a victory. (I would say there were many, many other factors at play which contributed to the allied failure in both countries, but Ricks is dealing exclusively with why the US military's performance was so lacklustre.)

Ricks is a very good speaker, the audio is good (so many lecture are recorded and presented very badly) and he makes some rather compelling arguments about a subject of which he is very knowledgeable.

As Andy says, well worth the watch.
 
PR. That war needed heroes.
We don’t need heroes no more.
And the world turns

I knew one of the original Vietnam era SEALs for a while, he had been SEAL Team 2. He did an exchange with Kiwi THEM, attended their 3 month tracking course, and spent some time with UK THEM too. Then, from one day to the next he was basically told, "next week your going back to the fleet as a bell polisher 2nd class".

The way he told it they were more or less told to get out on parade one day, form 3 ranks and then divide off into left flank and right flank. One flank being told they were staying SEAL's the other that they were off back to the fleet now that Vietnam was over. There was apparently no rhyme, nor reason for who went and who stayed. Someone, somewhere had decided that post-Vietnam the SEALs were an expensive luxury and they should be mostly binned. My bloke stuck it out as a deck swabby for a couple of years and then threw in the towel for a civvy career.
 
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Iraq and Afghanistan, were wars that couldn't be won, didn't matter who was put in charge,
If you take Afghanistan, everybody who went into the shithole as left with their tail between their
legs, but put the same people in a conventional war, and things would be different.

Iraq was won within months unless Saddam has risen from the dead.
In Afghanistan the Taliban had their arse handed to them within a year.
All the rebuilding shit and running a country is not the job of the Army.
 
Iraq was won within months unless Saddam has risen from the dead.
In Afghanistan the Taliban had their arse handed to them within a year.
All the rebuilding shit and running a country is not the job of the Army.
Who are you and what have you done with the real stacker 1?
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
Iraq was won within months unless Saddam has risen from the dead.
In Afghanistan the Taliban had their arse handed to them within a year.
All the rebuilding shit and running a country is not the job of the Army.
F*ck me - what were you drinking last night? Is this the real you, or has someone hijacked your keyboard on a fine Sunday morning? :)
 

anglo

LE
Iraq was won within months unless Saddam has risen from the dead.
In Afghanistan the Taliban had their arse handed to them within a year.
All the rebuilding shit and running a country is not the job of the Army.

In Afghanistan the Taliban had their arse handed to them within a year.

You mean we won the battles and lost the war,
After 20 years of war, the Taliban has swept to victory in Afghanistan. The group completed their shockingly rapid advance across the country by capturing Kabul on 15 August. ... Taliban forces have pledged not to allow Afghanistan to become a base for terrorists who could threaten the West.30 Aug 2021
 
There is a world of difference between winning the war and winning the peace. The US seems congenitally unable to do the latter.

Edited to add I have also watched the video referred to in the OP and also recommend a viewing.
 
It was said when the coalition of western nations went into Afghanistan and it was proved right (and we should have known better) nobody will ever win in Afghanistan except the Afghans.
 
I stumbled upon the 2011 'Nimitz Lectures' at Berkley, where Thomas E. Ricks, a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), leads with a question, "Why was Terry Allen, commander of the US 1st Inf Div, and most successful divisional commander the US had in WW2, who never lost a battle, fired by Omar Bradley, when contemporary US generals always screw up and never get fired.?"

George C Marshall fired two hundred generals and colonels from what he termed , America's 4th Grade Army, and used the Louisiana Manoeuvres to sort the chaff from the wheat.
I like some of the names the divisional commanders had, the ones who took divisions from those manoeuvres to Europe, Brig. Samuel Tankersley Williams, aka, 'Hanging Sam' Williams, was one. He did later get relieved of command and bust back to Colonel for arguing, but being relieved was not a career ender in WW2. Of the 4 Corps commanders and 16 Division commanders who were relieved, all were reassigned and some were again given command of troops in action. 'Hanging Sam' commanded the 25th Inf in Korea and in fact retired as a 3 Star.
General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. son of a Confederate General, was so critical of the navy's jobsworth attitude he penned a humorous poem which the navy did not find funny, and he was almost fired by Marshall

In far Alaska’s ice spray, I stand beside my binnacle
And scan the waters through the fog for fear of some rocky pinnacle
Projecting from unfathomed depths may break my hull asunder
and Place my name upon the list of those who made a blunder.
Volcanic peaks beneath the waves are likely any morning
To smash my ships to tiny bits without the slightest warning

I dread the toll from reef and shoal that rip off keel and rudder
And send our bones to Davey Jones—the prospect makes me shudder.

The Bering Sea is not for me, nor my fleet headquarters
In moral dread I look ahead in wild Aleutian waters
Where hidden reefs and williwaws and terrifying critters
Unnerve me quite with woeful fright and give me fits and jitters.
( History.net article on Buckner and also his poem )


(During the invasion of Okinawa, while at a forward OP, General Buckner Jr later became famous as the most senior US General to be killed in combat).

Mr Ricks concludes that by not punishing failure in Iraq and Afghanistan the US could not reward success, therefore the US has bred a mediocre officer corps fit only to achieve stalemates, not victories.

Not having a pop at our cousins, our own crop seem more focussed on winning PC battles than muck and bullets wars.



Worth a watch

I've watched it, his talk about USMC general O.P. Smith is quite good. He didnt trust Ned Almond and rightly so



I agree with much of what he said in both videos
 
In Afghanistan the Taliban had their arse handed to them within a year.

You mean we won the battles and lost the war,
After 20 years of war, the Taliban has swept to victory in Afghanistan. The group completed their shockingly rapid advance across the country by capturing Kabul on 15 August. ... Taliban forces have pledged not to allow Afghanistan to become a base for terrorists who could threaten the West.30 Aug 2021

I mean it never has been the Army primary role to deal with terrorists and run a country.


Shockingly enough after nearly 2 decades, it was the people of Afghanistan who should have been dealing with the Taliban, not foreign militaries.
 

anglo

LE
I mean it never has been the Army primary role to deal with terrorists and run a country.


Shockingly enough after nearly 2 decades, it was the people of Afghanistan who should have been dealing with the Taliban, not foreign militaries.
I mean it never has been the Army primary role to deal with terrorists and run a country.

You better tell the army then, as the army as been used in that capacity many times, well
the "to deal with terrorists" bit anyway
as in
Malaya emergency
Northern Ireland
and many more,

Shockingly enough, after nearly 2 decades, it was the people of Afghanistan who should have been dealing with the Taliban, not foreign militaries.

I agree with you there.
 
I mean it never has been the Army primary role to deal with terrorists and run a country.

You better tell the army then, as the army as been used in that capacity many times, well
the "to deal with terrorists" bit anyway
as in
Malaya emergency
Northern Ireland
and many more,

Shockingly enough, after nearly 2 decades, it was the people of Afghanistan who should have been dealing with the Taliban, not foreign militaries.

I agree with you there.


Malaya that was under British control?

Northern Ireland when the British armys primary role was to assist the police you mean?
Please tell us all how the Army in northern Ireland dictated what the legal system should do or what politicians should do.
 

anglo

LE
Malaya that was under British control?

Northern Ireland when the British armys primary role was to assist the police you mean?
Please tell us all how the Army in northern Ireland dictated what the legal system should do or what politicians should do.
Northern Ireland when the British armys primary role was to assist the police you mean?

And assisting the police, they killed terrorists..................yes

Please tell us all how the Army in northern Ireland dictated what the legal system should do or what politicians should do.
Try reading my post again
You better tell the army then, as the army as been used in that capacity many times, well
the "to deal with terrorists" bit anyway

Malaya that was under British control?

But not controlled by the British Army, the army had no say in the running of Malaya
 
I've watched it, his talk about USMC general O.P. Smith is quite good. He didnt trust Ned Almond and rightly so



I agree with much of what he said in both videos

I researched Almond for a book on Chosin. How the hell could he NOT have been relieved as a divisional commander in WW2. Demeaned and alienated his troops, all black, who not surprisingly under-performed, except for his artillery which was apparently outstanding.
In Korea he was X Corps commander all due to ass-licking 'Big Mac' who loved sycophants. Alienated his black and Hispanic units as soon as they stepped ashore and treated the advance to the Yalu as a pissing contest with the 8th Army. X Corps were strung out all over the show.

Almonds troops tossing away the silver stars that he carried in his pocket as 'encouragers' and also the IOU's he pinned on when he ran out of those.
Thank God for Ollie Smith and the USMC, and thank God Almond handed the battle to Smith and scuttled off back to his HQ.
 

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