Best ground force General of WW II (SD Vote)

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Miragedriver, Jun 26, 2015.

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Please choose your top three ground force generals of World War II

Poll closed Jun 27, 2016.
  1. Zhukov - Soviet Union

    12 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Patton - United States

    4 vote(s)
    14.3%
  3. Rommel - Germany

    13 vote(s)
    46.4%
  4. Montgomery - Great Britain

    1 vote(s)
    3.6%
  5. Zhu De - China

    6 vote(s)
    21.4%
  6. Model - Germany

    3 vote(s)
    10.7%
  7. McArthur - United States

    1 vote(s)
    3.6%
  8. Feder von Bock - Germany

    3 vote(s)
    10.7%
  9. Eisenhower - United States

    5 vote(s)
    17.9%
  10. Bradley - United States

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. delft
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    delft Senior Member

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    I've heard it said, by Montgomery himself, on BBC Radio 4, that he was the greatest general of the 20th century.
    Montgomery was not clearly a better general than his predecessors in North Africa and his success there is mostly a function of the improvement in supply relations which was made possible by the successes of RN against the German supply lines. The complexity of the second battle of Al Alamein is not to be compared with that of Operation Uranus not much later.
    And this goes too for all operations in the secondary theaters were the opportunities for generals to learn their trade were much more limited than on the vastly larger war theater were Germany fought the Soviets.

    Eisenhower was a good diplomat able to get headstrong generals to work together reasonably well.
    Eisenhower and Montgomery have the name to be great generals because they were the last generals of their countries leading the largest army commands in WWII and so profited from the consequent propaganda.
     
  2. Jura
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    Jura Senior Member

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    now I'll say something which is not going to make me popular here LOL but I've read years ago questions like "What was the best (tank/bomber/battleship/rifle/etc./etc.) of WW2" usually don't make sense ("the answer would depend on many factors"), and I think choosing the best WW2 Commander(s) is similar ... but I'm not writing this post to annoy you or nothing, but because I've been active in
    World War II Historical Thread
    Anyway, enjoy this poll! (of course I'll check who won :)
     
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  3. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head Super Moderator
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    Jura...no problem.

    In a poll like this each voter can apply whatever factors they desire.

    It's not a definitive/authoritative statement of who actually is or is not the best...it is a representation of what SD members believe.

    IOW,it is not scientific...nor is it meant to be. It is more for interest and for fun here on SD.
     
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  4. vesicles
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    vesicles Senior Member

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    I voted for Eisenhower. I like both Patton and Rommel as tacticians. However, they mostly focused on tactics on the battlefield. As a general, you have to have the ability to focus on the big picture. Not only you have to know how to attack an enemy stronghold and set up a trap for your enemy, but also how to protect your supply line, how to factor in everything around you like weather and terrain in your decision-making. And the ability to properly motivate your troops and to utilize every of your officers to the best of their potential is also pivotal. Politics is also an important factor, as military is a political tool and can only be used to serve a certain political purpose. As such, both Patton and Rommel failed miserably. Both of them were brilliant tacticians who knew how to defeat enemies on a battlefield. However, Rommel didn't have full control of his supply line and ended up, literally, running out of gas and ammo for his tanks. People may say that that was not his fault. However, as a general, he should have better control of his supply. And as general, he should be a better politician and did a better job to lobby for more supply and better protection of his supply line. He failed to do that.

    Patton also failed in the politics category. As such, he was marginalized as soon as the fighting ended. As a general, he should have a better understanding of what politics was and why he should be a better politician to be a good general. There is no such thing as a "pure military man" or a "pure soldier". You can afford to be a simple soldier when you hold a lower rank. However, as a general, you have to and must become a politician to become a good general. This is because the job of a general is not to simply win a battle, but to win the entire war. And winning a war requires so much more than fighting. Thus, my vote goes to Eisenhower.
     
  5. delft
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    delft Senior Member

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    There is a difference between field officers and general officers. Rommel and Patton really were excellent field officers.
    But Eisenhower failed miserably in providing supplies to the advance towards the Rhine when he trusted too long on the transport via Normandy and not insisted on the early capture of one or other port on the coast of the English Channel.
     
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  6. Franklin
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    Franklin Senior Member

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    What happened to Erich von Manstein ? Why is Erich von Manstein not in the poll ? Erwin Rommel is a highly overrated general. Sure he had some success in France and North Africa. Fighting the ill prepared French and Brits. But he never cut his teeth in Russia and when the Brits were ready in al Alamein he got beaten. Erich von Manstein almost single handedly saved the entire eastern front for Germany after the defeat in Stalingrad with the Third Battle of Kharkov. And had Hitler allowed von Manstein to fight at Kursk the way he wanted things may have turned out very differently for that battle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Battle_of_Kharkov



     
    #36 Franklin, Jun 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
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  7. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head Super Moderator
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    Erich von Manstein was indeed an excellent General...but we only have ten slots.

    Which one, Model or von Bock would be the one that he would replace?
     
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  8. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head Super Moderator
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    As to Eisenhower. There was a LOT of angst and concern about him from the start. He never had any true large combat leadership experience before his appointment.

    However, he was an excellent strategic thinker, and he was also probably the only one that could pull the allied general staff and numerous very good, but also very headstrong generals together. By doing so, he enabled the very effective overall Allied victory in the west.

    Numerous people attested to this.

    That is why he is on the list...and quite frankly deserves to be on the list, despite whatever setbacks. There are no perfect generals, either at the tactical or the strategic level.
     
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  9. delft
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    delft Senior Member

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    Just so. Without someone to keep that wheelbarrow of frogs on the line ....
    But it took a long time for the Allies to break out of Normandy, until after the success of the Bagration operation.
     
    #39 delft, Jun 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  10. vesicles
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    vesicles Senior Member

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    To me, that is the very reason that I voted for him.

    There was a conversation between Liu Bang (the founding emperor of the Han dynasty) and his most capable general, Han Xin. Please keep in mind that Han Xin was the commanding general who led the troops and defeated Liu's biggest enemy and unified China for Liu. Liu asked Han: "you are such an amazing general and command such loyalty of the soldiers. Why wouldn't you simply take over my place and become an emperor yourself?" Note that Han had multiple opportunities to do exactly that, but chose not to do it. Then Han said: "I can command soldiers, but you can command generals." In other words, Han believed that he was a tactician/field general while Liu was a strategic thinker. Thus, Han felt that, although he could win battles, he could not lead all the generals, each of which had their own agenda and their ambition, to win the whole war.
     
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