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Montgomery Interview


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Montgomery has become my son's role model of late... and as it transpires, as a lad, he used to stay at our house quite a bit as his uncle lived in it them (I am guessing, as an old rectory, it was in the CoE's ownerhip at the time).


Anyway, this is a very interesting intervire with him.. how times have changed...



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Thanks Jerry. That was a highly interesting interview. First time I've listened to a full length interview with Monty; I was surprised how good a speaker he was.


One interesting comment he made was of the importance of controlling the seas. At the time of the interview, the PLAN was not an issue, but his words ring true now with the decline in U.S. Navy shipbuilding capability compared with the Chinese. Some forecasts put the PLAN equaling the USN within ten to twenty years. I'm sure if Monty was alive today he'd have some interesting observations on current world problems.

Edited by willedoo
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Like all Generals Monty made mistakes. Probably his biggest was Operation Market Garden. But he also had many successes. He was though a very good leader and his men followed him willingly. Patton on the other hand was the complete opposite.

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I am no student of history... but when I ran through with my son the battle of Sicily, it didn't appear to be  that silly. They lost 4000-odd allies and the enemy lost over 8,000.. It toppled Mussoulini, but it did result in Hitler's decision to invade Italy.. which further spread their toops and resources thinner as well..


Anyway, my son keeps pointing out, as Willedoo has, that he had the forsight to siggest controlling the seas, which is as important today as it has been.. Also, as KG states, he seemed to be a leader men could relate to form a battle perspective. Yep..we all make mistakes.. Unf., when a field marshall or general makes a mistake, lives are lost...

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Have you guys studied the glider-bourne attack  on Sicily?

Many officers who knew about those gliders tried to tell Montgomery that he was committing a stupid act which would kill hundreds  of  troops for no advantage.  He sent them all packing, displaying all of his small-man's mental health problems, but with the power to do what he liked, he pressed ahead.

In the event, the carnage was worse than even the most  pessimistic predictions. Imagine "landing" a  7,500 pounds aerial barge ( loaded stalling speed 80 knots) in a tiny sloping sicilian paddock, surrounded by stone fencing, at night. Too few troops got out uninjured to achieve anything.

I would have put Montgomery in the first glider.

AND the airbourne invasion was towed directly over a fleet of warships which had been bombed for many nights. A lot of the gliders were unhooked from the towing Dakotas to try to ditch. But the flimsy plywood gliders exploded on touching the sea. Many of those troops died before having the opportunity to crash in Sicily. Alerting ships on the way was a clear responsibility of the planning general. As was knowing what would happen when they tried to land.

Of course, the whole idea of attacking Sicily was stupid, but this was probably Churchill's stupidity and not Montgomery's.

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There were plenty of serious errors and bad tactical decisions made by Montgomery, but the establishment always has to produce its heroes. One of the major successes of the Italian campaign was the efforts of the U.S. Aviation Engineers, who landed with the front-line infantry with their bulldozers and Carryalls - and they had built an aerodrome from scratch, capable of taking bombers, that was fully operational within 2 days of the landing at Licata in Sicily.


Those who ruled the air in WW2, won - and the Allied forces had the major airpower forces - plus they were ably backed by the Aviation Engineers who produced and repaired the front-line airfields, to enable the Allied aircraft to constantly move forward.



Edited by onetrack
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