Bernard Montgomery

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"General Montgomery" redirects here. For the American general, see Richard Montgomery.
The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Bernard Law Montgomery.jpg
Birth name Bernard Law Montgomery
Nickname(s) "Monty"
"The Spartan General"
Born (1887-11-17)17 November 1887
Kennington, London, England
Died 24 March 1976(1976-03-24) (aged 88)
Alton, Hampshire, England
Buried at Holy Cross Churchyard, Binsted, Hampshire
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1908–1958
Rank Field Marshal
Unit Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Commands held 17th (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
9th Infantry Brigade
8th Infantry Division
3rd Infantry Division
II Corps
V Corps
XII Corps
South-Eastern Command
Eighth Army
21st Army Group
Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Deputy Supreme Commander Europe of NATO
Battles/wars

First World War
Anglo-Irish War
Arab revolt in Palestine
Second World War

Awards Knight of the Order of the Garter
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in dispatches (9 times)
Other work Colonel Commandant, Royal Tank Regiment
Colonel Commandant, Parachute Regiment (–1956[1])
Representative Colonel Commandant, Royal Armoured Corps (1947[2]–1957[3])
Colonel Commandant, Army Physical Training Corps (1946[4]–1960[5])
Colonel Royal Warwickshire Regiment(1947[6]–1963[7])
Deputy Lieutenant of Southampton (1958–)[8]
Signature Bernard Montgomery Signature.svg
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 20 December 1969[9]

Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (/məntˈɡʌmərɪ əv ˈæləmn/; 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General",[10] was a senior British Army officer who fought in both the First World War and the Second World War.

He saw action in the First World War as a junior officer of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. At Méteren, near the Belgian border at Bailleul, he was shot through the right lung by a sniper, during the First Battle of Ypres. He returned to the Western Front as a general staff officer and took part in the Battle of Arras in April/May 1917. He also took part in the Battle of Passchendaele in late 1917 before finishing the war as chief of staff of the 47th (2nd London) Division.

In the inter-war years he commanded the 17th (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and, later, the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment before becoming commander of 9th Infantry Brigade and then General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8th Infantry Division.

During the Second World War he commanded the British Eighth Army from August 1942 in the Western Desert until the final Allied victory in Tunisia in May 1943. This command included the Second Battle of El Alamein, a turning point in the Western Desert Campaign. He subsequently commanded the British Eighth Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily and the Allied invasion of Italy.

He was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord from the initial landings until after the Battle of Normandy. He then continued in command of the 21st Army Group for the rest of the campaign in North West Europe. As such he was the principal field commander for the failed airborne attempt to bridge the Rhine at Arnhem, and the Allied Rhine crossing. On 4 May 1945 he took the German surrender at Lüneburg Heath in Northern Germany. After the war he became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in Germany and then Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

Early life[edit]

Montgomery was born in Kennington, London, in 1887, the fourth child of nine, to an Anglo-Irish Church of Ireland minister, the Reverend Henry Montgomery, and his wife, Maud (née Farrar). The Montgomerys, an 'Ascendancy' gentry family, were the County Donegal branch of the Clan Montgomery. Henry Montgomery, Vicar of St Mark's Church, Kennington, at that time, was the second son of General Sir Robert Montgomery, a native of Inishowen in County Donegal, the noted soldier and proconsul in British India, who died a month after his grandson's birth.[11] He was probably a descendant of Colonel Alexander Montgomery (1686–1729). Bernard's mother, Maud, was the daughter of the preacher Frederic William Farrar and was eighteen years younger than her husband.[12] After the death of Sir Robert Montgomery, Henry inherited the Montgomery ancestral estate of New Park in Moville, County Donegal. There was still £13,000 to pay on a mortgage, a large debt in the 1880s, and Henry was at the time still only an Anglican vicar. Despite selling off all the farms that were at Ballynally, "there was barely enough to keep up New Park and pay for the blasted summer holiday" (i.e., at New Park).[13]

It was a financial relief of some magnitude when, in 1889, Henry was made Bishop of Tasmania, then still a British colony and Bernard spent his formative years there. Bishop Montgomery considered it his duty to spend as much time as possible in the rural areas of Tasmania and was away for up to six months at a time. While he was away, his wife, still in her mid-twenties, gave her children "constant" beatings,[14] then ignored them most of the time as she performed the public duties of the bishop's wife. Of Bernard's siblings, Sibyl died prematurely in Tasmania, and Harold, Donald and Una all emigrated.[15] Maud Montgomery took little active interest in the education of her young children other than to have them taught by tutors brought from Britain. The loveless environment made Bernard something of a bully, as he himself recalled, "I was a dreadful little boy. I don't suppose anybody would put up with my sort of behaviour these days."[16] Later in life Montgomery refused to allow his son David to have anything to do with his grandmother, and refused to attend her funeral in 1949.[17]

The family returned to England once for a Lambeth Conference in 1897, and Bernard and his brother Harold were educated for a term at The King's School, Canterbury.[18] In 1901, Bishop Montgomery became secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the family returned to London. Montgomery attended St Paul's School and then the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from which he was almost expelled for rowdiness and violence.[19] On graduation in September 1908 he was commissioned into the 1st Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a second lieutenant,[20] and first saw overseas service later that year in India.[19] He was promoted to lieutenant in 1910,[21] and in 1912 became adjutant of the 1st Battalion of his regiment at Shorncliffe Army Camp.[19]

First World War[edit]

The Great War began in August 1914 and Montgomery moved to France with his battalion that month, which was at the time part of the 10th Brigade of the 4th Division.[19] He saw action at the Battle of Le Cateau that month and during the retreat from Mons.[19] At Méteren, near the Belgian border at Bailleul on 13 October 1914, during an Allied counter-offensive, he was shot through the right lung by a sniper.[19] Montgomery was hit once more, in the knee.[17] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallant leadership: the citation for this award, published in the London Gazette in December 1914 reads:

Conspicuous gallant leading on 13th October, when he turned the enemy out of their trenches with the bayonet. He was severely wounded.[22]

After recovering in early 1915, he was appointed to be brigade major[23] first of 112th Brigade and then with 104th Brigade under training in Lancashire.[24] He returned to the Western Front in early 1916 as a general staff officer in the 33rd Division and took part in the Battle of Arras in April/May 1917.[24] He became a general staff officer with IX Corps, part of General Sir Herbert Plumer's Second Army, in July 1917.[24]

Bernard L. Montgomery, DSO (pictured on the right as a captain), with a fellow officer of 104th Brigade, 35th Division. Montgomery served with the brigade from January 1915 until early 1917.

Montgomery served at the Battle of Passchendaele in late 1917 before finishing the war as General Staff Officer Grade 1 and effectively Chief of Staff of the 47th (2nd London) Division,[24] with the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel.[25] A photograph from October 1918, reproduced in many biographies, shows the then unknown Lieutenant Colonel Montgomery standing in front of Winston Churchill (then the Minister of Munitions) at the parade following the liberation of Lille.[26]

Between the world wars[edit]

After the First World War Montgomery commanded the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers,[27] a battalion in the British Army of the Rhine, before reverting to his substantive rank of captain (brevet major) in November 1919.[28] He had not at first been selected for the Staff College in Camberley, Surrey (his only hope of ever achieving high command). But at a tennis party in Cologne, he was able to persuade the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the British Army of Occupation, Field Marshal Sir William Robertson, to add his name to the list.[29]

After graduating from the Staff College, he was appointed brigade major in the 17th Infantry Brigade in January 1921.[30] The brigade was stationed in County Cork, Ireland, carrying out counter-insurgency operations during the final stages of the Irish War of Independence.[24]

Montgomery came to the conclusion that the conflict could not be won without harsh measures, and that self-government for Ireland was the only feasible solution; in 1923, after the establishment of the Irish Free State and during the Irish Civil War, Montgomery wrote to Colonel Arthur Ernest Percival of the Essex Regiment:

Personally, my whole attention was given to defeating the rebels but it never bothered me a bit how many houses were burnt. I think I regarded all civilians as 'Shinners' and I never had any dealings with any of them. My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone.[31]

In May 1923, Montgomery was posted to the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division, a Territorial Army (TA) formation.[24] He returned to the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1925 as a company commander.[24] In January 1926, having been promoted to major in July 1925,[32] he was appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant General at the Staff College, Camberley in the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel,[33] a position he held until January 1929 by which time he had been made a brevet lieutenant colonel.[34]

In 1927, he met and married Elizabeth Carver, née Hobart, widow of Oswald Carver, Olympic rowing medallist who was killed in the First World War.[35] Their son, David, was born in August 1928.[24] Elizabeth Carver was the sister of the future Second World War commander, Major General Percy Hobart.[24]

He returned to the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment again, as Commander of Headquarters Company in January 1929 and went to the War Office to help write the Infantry Training Manual in mid-1929.[24] In 1931 Montgomery was promoted to lieutenant colonel[36] and became the Commanding Officer (CO) of the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and saw service in Palestine and British India.[24] He was promoted to colonel in June 1934 (seniority from January 1932).[37] He attended and was then recommended to become an instructor at the Indian Army Staff College (now the Pakistan Army Staff College) in Quetta, British India.[38]

On completion of his tour of duty in India, Montgomery returned to Britain in June 1937[39] where he took command of the 9th Infantry Brigade with the temporary rank of brigadier,[40] but that year saw personal tragedy when his wife died. While on holiday in Burnham-on-Sea, she had suffered an insect bite which became infected, and she died in his arms from septicaemia following an amputation.[24] The loss devastated Montgomery, but he insisted on throwing himself back into his work immediately after the funeral."[17]

In 1938, he organised an amphibious combined operations landing exercise that impressed the new C-in-C of Southern Command, General Sir Archibald Percival Wavell. He was promoted to major general in October 1938[41] and took command of the 8th Infantry Division[42] in Palestine.[24] There he quashed an Arab revolt before returning in July 1939 to Britain, suffering a serious illness on the way, to command the 3rd (Iron) Infantry Division.[24] On hearing of the rebel defeat in April 1939, Montgomery said, "I shall be sorry to leave Palestine in many ways, as I have enjoyed the war out here".[17]

Second World War[edit]

British Expeditionary Force[edit]

Retreat to Dunkirk and evacuation[edit]

See also: World War II

Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. The 3rd Division was deployed to Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). During this time, Montgomery faced serious trouble from his military superiors and the clergy for his frank attitude regarding the sexual health of his soldiers, but was defended from dismissal by his superior Alan Brooke, commander of II Corps.[43] Montgomery's training paid off when the Germans began their invasion of the Low Countries on 10 May 1940 and the 3rd Division advanced to the River Dijle and then withdrew to Dunkirk with great professionalism, entering the Dunkirk perimeter in a famous night-time march which placed his forces on the left flank which had been left exposed by the Belgian surrender.[44] The 3rd Division returned to Britain intact with minimal casualties. During Operation Dynamo — the evacuation of 330,000 BEF and French troops to Britain — Montgomery assumed command of the II Corps.[45]

On his return Montgomery antagonised the War Office with trenchant criticisms of the command of the BEF[17] and was briefly relegated back to divisional command of 3rd Division. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. 3rd Division was at that time the only fully equipped division in Britain.[46]

Montgomery was ordered to make ready his 3rd division to invade the neutral Portuguese Azores.[46] Models of the islands were prepared and detailed plans worked out for the invasion.[46] The invasion plans did not go ahead and plans switched to invading Cape Verde island also belonging to neutral Portugal.[47] These invasion plans also did not go ahead. Montgomery was then ordered to prepare plans for the invasion of neutral Ireland and to seize Cork, Cobh and Cork harbour.[47] These invasion plans like those of the Portuguese islands also did not go ahead and in July 1940, Montgomery was appointed acting lieutenant-general,[48] placed in command of V Corps, responsible for the defence of Hampshire and Dorset, and started a long-running feud with the new commander-in-chief, Southern Command, Claude Auchinleck.[17]

In April 1941, he became commander of XII Corps responsible for the defence of Kent.[45] During this period he instituted a regime of continuous training and insisted on high levels of physical fitness for both officers and other ranks. He was ruthless in sacking officers he considered would be unfit for command in action.[49] Promoted to temporary lieutenant-general in July,[50] in December Montgomery was given command of South-Eastern Command[51] overseeing the defence of Kent, Sussex and Surrey.[49]

He renamed his command the South-Eastern Army to promote offensive spirit. During this time he further developed and rehearsed his ideas and trained his soldiers, culminating in Exercise Tiger in May 1942, a combined forces exercise involving 100,000 troops.[52]

North Africa and Italy[edit]

Montgomery's early command[edit]

Montgomery in a Grant tank in North Africa, November 1942.

In 1942, a new field commander was required in the Middle East, where Auchinleck was fulfilling both the role of Commander-in-chief Middle East Command and commander Eighth Army. He had stabilised the Allied position at the First Battle of El Alamein, but after a visit in August 1942, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, replaced him as Commander-in-chief with General Sir Harold Alexander and William Gott as commander of the Eighth Army in the Western Desert. After Gott was killed flying back to Cairo Churchill was persuaded by Brooke, who by this time was Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), to appoint Montgomery, who had only just been nominated to replace Alexander as commander of the British ground forces for Operation Torch.[53]

A story, probably apocryphal but popular at the time, is that the appointment caused Montgomery to remark that "After having an easy war, things have now got much more difficult." A colleague is supposed to have told him to cheer up – at which point Montgomery said "I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about Rommel!"[54]

Montgomery's assumption of command transformed the fighting spirit and abilities of the Eighth Army.[55] Taking command on 13 August 1942, he immediately became a whirlwind of activity. He ordered the creation of the X Corps, which contained all armoured divisions to fight alongside his XXX Corps which was all infantry divisions. This was in no way similar to a German Panzer Corps. One of Rommel's Panzer Corps combined infantry, armour and artillery units under one corps commander. The only common commander for Montgomery's all infantry and all armour corps was the Eighth Army Commander himself. Correlli Barnett commented that Montgomery's solution "... was in every way opposite to Auchinleck's and in every way wrong, for it carried the existing dangerous separatism still further."[56] Montgomery reinforced the 30 miles (48 km) long front line at El Alamein, something that would take two months to accomplish. He asked Alexander to send him two new British divisions (51st Highland and 44th Home Counties) that were then arriving in Egypt and were scheduled to be deployed in defence of the Nile Delta. He moved his field HQ to Burg al Arab, close to the Air Force command post in order better to coordinate combined operations.[55]

Montgomery was determined that the Army, Navy and Air Forces should fight their battles in a unified, focused manner according to a detailed plan. He ordered immediate reinforcement of the vital heights of Alam Halfa, just behind his own lines, expecting the German commander, Erwin Rommel, to attack with the heights as his objective, something that Rommel soon did. Montgomery ordered all contingency plans for retreat to be destroyed. "I have cancelled the plan for withdrawal. If we are attacked, then there will be no retreat. If we cannot stay here alive, then we will stay here dead",[57] he told his officers at the first meeting he held with them in the desert, though, in fact, Auchinleck had no plans to withdraw from the strong defensive position he had chosen and established at El Alamein.[58]

Montgomery made a great effort to appear before troops as often as possible, frequently visiting various units and making himself known to the men, often arranging for cigarettes to be distributed. Although he still wore a standard British officer's cap on arrival in the desert, he briefly wore an Australian broad-brimmed hat before switching to wearing the black beret (with the badge of the Royal Tank Regiment next to the British General Officer's badge) for which he became notable. The black beret was offered to him by Jim Fraser while the latter was driving him on an inspection tour.[59] Both Brooke and Alexander were astonished by the transformation in atmosphere when they visited on 19 August, less than a week after Montgomery had taken command.[57]

First battles with Rommel[edit]

General Montgomery with his pets, the puppies 'Hitler' (left) and 'Rommel', and a cage of canaries which also travelled with him (France; date unknown).

Rommel attempted to turn the left flank of the Eighth Army at the Battle of Alam el Halfa from 31 August 1942. The German/Italian armoured Corps infantry attack was stopped in very heavy fighting. Rommel's forces had to withdraw urgently lest their retreat through the British minefields be cut off.[60] Montgomery was criticised for not counter-attacking the retreating forces immediately, but he felt strongly that his methodical build-up of British forces was not yet ready. A hasty counter-attack risked ruining his strategy for an offensive on his own terms in late October, planning for which had begun soon after he took command.[61] He was confirmed in the permanent rank of lieutenant-general in mid October.[62]

The conquest of Libya was essential for airfields to support Malta and to threaten the rear of Axis forces opposing Operation Torch. Montgomery prepared meticulously for the new offensive after convincing Churchill that the time was not being wasted. (Churchill sent a telegram to Alexander on 23 September 1942 which began, "We are in your hands and of course a victorious battle makes amends for much delay."[63]) He was determined not to fight until he thought there had been sufficient preparation for a decisive victory, and put into action his beliefs with the gathering of resources, detailed planning, the training of troops—especially in clearing minefields and fighting at night[64]—and in the use of 252[65] of the latest American-built Sherman tanks, 90 M7 Priest self-propelled howitzers, and making a personal visit to every unit involved in the offensive. By the time the offensive was ready in late October, Eighth Army had 231,000 men on its ration strength.[66]

El Alamein[edit]

Men of the 9th Australian Division in a posed photograph during the Second Battle of El Alamein (photographer: Len Chetwyn)

The Second Battle of El Alamein began on 23 October 1942, and ended 12 days later with one of the first large-scale, decisive Allied land victories of the war. Montgomery correctly predicted both the length of the battle and the number of casualties (13,500).[67] Soon after Allied armoured units and infantry broke through the German and Italian lines and were pursuing the enemy forces at speed along the coast road, a violent rainstorm burst over the region, bogging down the tanks and support trucks in the desert mud. Montgomery, standing before his officers at headquarters and close to tears, announced that he was forced to call off the pursuit. Historian Corelli Barnett has pointed out that the rain also fell on the Germans, and that the weather is therefore an inadequate explanation for the failure to exploit the breakthrough, but nevertheless the Battle of El Alamein had been a great success. Over 30,000 prisoners of war were taken,[68] including the German second-in-command, General von Thoma, as well as eight other general officers.[69] Rommel, having been in a hospital in Germany at the start of the battle, was forced to return on 25 October 1942 after Stumme – his replacement as German commander – died of a heart attack in the early hours of the battle.[70]

Tunisia[edit]

Montgomery was advanced to KCB and promoted to full general.[71] He kept the initiative, applying superior strength when it suited him, forcing Rommel out of each successive defensive position. On 6 March 1943, Rommel's attack on the over-extended Eighth Army at Medenine (Operation Capri) with the largest concentration of German armour in North Africa was successfully repulsed.[72] At the Mareth Line, 20 to 27 March, when Montgomery encountered fiercer frontal opposition than he had anticipated, he switched his major effort into an outflanking inland pincer, backed by low-flying RAF fighter-bomber support.[73] For his role in North Africa he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States government in the rank of Chief Commander.[74]

Montgomery visits Patton in Palermo, Sicily, July 1943

Sicily[edit]

The next major Allied attack was the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky). Montgomery considered the initial plans for the Allied invasion, which had been agreed in principle by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean, and General Alexander, the 15th Army Group commander, to be unworkable because of the dispersion of effort. He managed to have the plans recast to concentrate the Allied forces, having Lieutenant General George Patton's US Seventh Army land in the Gulf of Gela (on the Eighth Army's left flank, which landed around Syracuse in the south-east of Sicily) rather than near Palermo in the west and north of Sicily.[75] Inter-Allied tensions grew as the American commanders, Patton and Omar Bradley (then commanding US II Corps under Patton), took umbrage at what they saw as Montgomery's attitudes and boastfulness.[73]

Italian campaign[edit]

Wartime photograph of the then Sir Bernard Law Montgomery with his Miles Messenger aircraft (location and date unknown).

During late 1943, Montgomery continued to command the Eighth Army during the landings on the mainland of Italy itself, beginning with Operation Baytown.[76] In conjunction with the Anglo-American landings at Salerno (near Naples) by Lieutenant General Mark Clark's US Fifth Army and seaborne landings by British paratroops in the heel of Italy (including the key port of Taranto, where they disembarked without resistance directly into the port), Montgomery led the Eighth Army up the toe of Italy.[76] Montgomery abhorred the lack of coordination, the dispersion of effort and the strategic muddle and opportunism he saw in the Allied effort in Italy and was glad to leave the "dog's breakfast" on 23 December 1943.[73]

Montgomery with officers of the First Canadian Army. From left, Major-General Vokes, General Crerar, Field Marshal Montgomery, Lieutenant-General Horrocks, Lieutenant-General Simonds, Major-General Spry, and Major-General Matthews.

Normandy[edit]

Montgomery returned to Britain in January 1944.[77] He was assigned to command the 21st Army Group which consisted of all Allied ground forces that would take part in Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy under overall direction of the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, American General Dwight D. Eisenhower.[76] Both Churchill and Eisenhower had found Montgomery difficult to work with in the past and wanted the position to go to the affable General Sir Harold Alexander.[78] But Montgomery's patron Brooke firmly argued that Montgomery was much superior general to Alexander and ensured that he got the job.[79] Without Brooke's support, Montgomery would never had tasked with leading the Allies into France, and he would have remained in Italy.[80] At St Paul's School on 7 April and 15 May he presented his strategy for the invasion. He envisaged a ninety-day battle, ending when all the forces reached the Seine, pivoting on an Allied-held Caen, with British and Canadian armies forming a shoulder to attract and defeat the main German counter-attacks, while the US armies took the Cotentin Peninsula and Brittany, wheeling south and then east on the right.[73]

During the hard fought two and a half month Battle of Normandy that followed, the impact of a series of unfavourable autumnal weather conditions disrupted the Normandy landing areas.[73] Montgomery's initial plan was for the Anglo-Canadian troops under his command to break out immediately from their beachheads on the Calvados coast towards Caen with the aim of taking Caen on either D Day or two days after D-Day.[81] Depending on the historical interpretation he was unable or unwilling to do so. Montgomery's attempt to follow up the D-Day landings with an attempt to take Caen with the British 3rd Division, British 50th Northumbrian Division and Canadian 3rd Division was stopped on 7–8 June by 21st Panzer Division and 12th Waffen SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend who hit the advancing Anglo-Canadian troops very hard.[82] To follow up this victory Rommel ordered the 2nd Panzer Division to Caen while Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt asked for and received permission from Hitler to have the elite 1st Waffen SS Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and 2nd Waffen SS Division Das Reich to be sent to Caen with the aim of driving the Anglo-Canadian forces back into the sea.[82] Montgomery thus had to face what the British historian Stephen Badsey called the "most formidable" of all the German divisions in France.[82] The 12th Waffen SS Division Hitlerjugend as its name implies was drawn entirely from the more fanatical elements of the Hitler Youth and commanded by the very ruthless SS-Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer, aka "Panzer Meyer" was in the words of the Canadian historian Colonel John English "the scourge of Canadian arms throughout the Normandy campaign" as time after time Meyer foiled Montgomery's attempts to have his Canadian soldiers take Caen.[83] The National Socialist fanatic Meyer, considered to be tough and ferocious even by the standards of the SS was known as "Panzer Meyer" because it was said he crush anyone who got in his way just like a tank, and was in the words of Carlo D'Este a "fanatical Nazi who would fight to the death for his beloved Führer".[84]

The failure to take Caen immediately has been the source of an immense historiographical dispute with bitter nationalist overtones.[85] Broadly, there has been a "British school" which accepts Montgomery's post-war claim that he never intended to take Caen at once, and instead the Anglo-Canadian operations around Caen were a "holding operation" intended to attract the bulk of the German forces towards the Caen sector to allow the Americans to stage the "break out operation" on the left flank of the German positions, which was all part of Montgomery's "Master Plan" that he had conceived of long before the Normandy campaign.[85] By contrast, the "American school" argued that Montgomery's initial "master plan" was for the 21st Army Group to take Caen at once, move his tank divisions into the plains south of Caen to stage a breakout that would lead the 21st Army Group into the plains of northern France and hence into Antwerp and finally the Ruhr.[86]

Prime Minister Churchill with General Montgomery at the latter's HQ in Normandy, July 1944.

As the campaign progressed Montgomery altered his initial plan for the invasion and switched to a strategy of attracting and holding German counter-attacks in the area north of Caen, which was designed to allow the United States Army in the west to take Cherbourg. A memo summarising Montgomery's operations written by Eisenhower's chief of staff, General Walter Bedell Smith who met with Montgomery in late June 1944 says nothing about Montgomery conducting a "holding operation" in the Caen sector, and instead speaks of him seeking a "breakout" into the plains south of the Seine.[87] On 12 June, Montgomery ordered the 7th Armored Division into an offensive against the Panzer Lehr Division that made good progress at first, but ended when the Panzer Lehr was joined by the 2nd SS Division.[88] At the celebrated tank action at Villers Bocage on 14 June, the British lost twenty Cromwell tanks to five Tiger tanks led by SS Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann in about five minutes.[88] Despite the setback at Villers Bocage, Montgomery was still optimistic as the Allies were landing more troops and supplies than they were losing in battle, and though the German lines were holding, the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS were taking terrible casualties to hold their positions.[89] A furious Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder complained that it was impossible to move fighter squadrons to France until Montgomery had captured some air fields, something he charged that Montgomery appeared incapable of doing.[90] The first V-1 attacks on London, which started on 13 June further increased the pressure on Montgomery from Whitehall to speed up his advance.[90]

On 18 June, Montgomery ordered Bradley to take Cherbourg while the British were to take Caen by 23 June.[91] In Operation Epsom, the British VII Corps commanded Sir Richard O'Connor attempted to outflank Caen from the west by breaking through the dividing line between the Panzer Lehr and the 12th SS to take the strategic Hill 112.[92] Epsom began well with O'Connor's assault force, the British 15th Scottish Division breaking through, and joined by the 11th Armored Division stopping the counter-attacks of the 12th SS Division.[92] General Friedrich Dollmann of the 7th Army had to commit the newly arrived II SS Corps to stop the British offensive.[92] Dollmann, fearing that Epsom would be a success, committed suicide and was replaced with the SS Oberstegruppenführer Paul Hausser. O'Connor at the cost of about 4,000 men had won a salient of 5 miles deep and 2 miles wide, but placed the Germans into an unviable long-term position.[92] But at the time, there was a strong sense of crisis in the Allied command as the Allies had only advanced about 15 miles inland at a time when their plans called for them to had already taken Rennes, Alençon and St. Malo.[92] After Epsom, Montgomery had to tell Harry Crerar that the activation of the First Canadian Army would to wait as there only room at present in the Caen sector for the newly arrived XII Corps under General Neil Ritchie, which caused some tension with Crerar who was anxious to get into the field.[93] Epsom had forced further German forces into Caen, but it should noted that all through June and the first half of July that Rommel, Rundstedt, and Hitler were all engaged in planning for a great offensive that was never launched to drive the British into the sea, which by its very necessity required the commitment of a large number of German forces to the Caen sector.[94]

It was only after several failed attempts to break out in the Caen sector that Montgomery devised what he later called his "master plan" of having the 21st Army Group hold the bulk of the German forces and thus allowing the Americans to break out.[95] The Canadian historians Terry Copp and Robert Vogel wrote about the dispute between the "American school" and "British school" after having suffered several setbacks in June 1944:

"Montgomery drew what was the indisputably correct conclusion from these events. If the British and Canadians could continue to hold the bulk of the German armored divisions on their front through a series of limited attacks, they could wear down the Germans and create the conditions for an American breakout on the right.

This is what Montgomery proposed in his Directive of June 30th and, if he and his admirers had let the record speak for itself, there would be little debate about his conduct of the first stages of the Normandy campaign. Instead, Montgomery insisted that this Directive was a consistent part of a master plan that he had devised long before the invasion. Curiously, this view does a great disservice to 'Monty' for any rigid planning of operations before the German response was known would had been bad generalship indeed!".[96]

Hampered by stormy weather and the bocage terrain, Montgomery had to ensure Rommel focused on the British in the east rather than the Americans in the west, who had to take the Cotentin Peninsula and Brittany before the Germans could be trapped by a general swing east.[97] Montgomery told General Sir Miles Dempsey, the commander of the 2nd British Army: "Go on hitting, drawing the German strength, especially some of the armour, on to yourself-so as to ease the way for Brad [Bradley]."[98] The Germans had deployed 12 divisions, of which 6 were Panzer divisions against the British while deploying 8 divisions, of which 3 were Panzer divisions against the Americans.[98] By the middle of July Caen had not been taken, as Rommel continued to prioritise prevention of the break-out by British forces rather than the western territories being taken by the Americans.[99] This was broadly as Montgomery had planned, albeit not with the same speed as he outlined at St Paul's, through as the American historian Carlo D'Este pointed out the actual situation in Normandy was "vastly different" from what was envisioned at the St. Paul's conference as only one of the four goals outlined in May had been achieved by 10 July.[100]

On 7 July, Montgomery began Operation Charnwood with a carpet bombing offensive that turned much of the French countryside and the city of Caen into a wasteland.[101] The German resistance was extremely fierce with Kurt "Panzer" Meyer at one point fighting in the streets of Caen with a panzerfaust (anti-tank rocket projector) to inspire his men to keep fighting, while shouting such slogans such as Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben! ("Dogs, do you want to live forever!).[101] The British and Canadians succeeded into advancing into northern Caen before the Germans who used the ruins to their advantage and stopped the offensive.[102] On 10 July, Montgomery ordered Bradley to take Avranches, after which the 3rd US Army would be activated to drive towards Le Mans and Alençon.[103] On 14 July 1944, Montgomery wrote to his patron Brooke, saying he had chosen on a "real show down on the eastern flanks, and to loose a Corps of three armored divisions in the open country about the Caen-Falaise road...The possibilities are immense; with seven hundred tanks loosed to the South-east of Caen, and the armored cars operating far ahead, anything can happen."[104] The French Resistance had launched Plan Violet in June 1944 to systemically destroy the telephone system of France, which forced the Germans to use their radios more and more to communicate, and as the code-breakers of Bletchley Park had broken many of the German codes, Montgomery had via Ultra intelligence a good idea of the German situation.[105] Montgomery thus knew German Army Group B had lost 96,400 men while receiving 5,200 replacements with the Panzer Lehr Division now based at St. Lô was down to only 40 tanks.[103] Montgomery later wrote that he knew he had the Normandy campaign won at this point as the Germans had almost no reserves while he had three armored divisions in reserve.[106]

An American break-out was achieved with Operation Cobra and the encirclement of German forces in the Falaise pocket at the cost of British sacrifice with the diversionary Operation Goodwood.[107] On the early morning of 18 July 1944, Operation Goodwood began with British heavy bombers beginning a carpet bombing attacks that turned what was left of Caen and the surrounding countryside into a wasteland.[108] A British tankman from the Guards Armored Division later recalled: "At 0500 hours a distant thunder in the air brought all the sleepy-eyed tank crews out of their blankets. 1,000 Lancasters were flying from the sea in groups of three or four at 3,000 feet. Ahead of them the pathfinders were scattering their flares and before long the first bombs were dropping".[109] A German tankman from the 21st Panzer Division at the receiving end of this bombardment remembered: "We saw little dots detach themselves from the planes, so many of them that the crazy thought occurred to us: are those leaflets?...Among the thunder of the explosions, we could hear the wounded scream and the insane howling of men who had driven mad".[110] The British bombing had badly smashed the German front-line units with German tanks thrown up on the roofs of French farmhouses, and initially the three British armored divisions assigned to lead the offensive, namely the 7th, 11th and the Guards made rapid process and were soon approaching the Borguebus ridge, which dominated the landscape south of Caen by noon.[111] If the British could take the Borguebus ridge, the way to plains of northern France would be wide open, and potentially Paris could be taken, which explains the ferocity which the Germans defended the Borguebus ridge. One German officer, Lieutenant Baron von Rosen recalled that to motivate a Luftwaffe officer commanding a battery of four 88mm guns to fight against the British tanks that he had to hold his handgun to his head "...and asked him whether he would like to be killed immediately or get a high decoration. He decided for the latter".[112] The well dug in 88mm guns around the Borguebus ridge began taking a toll on the British Sherman tanks and the countryside was soon dotted with dozens of burning Shermans.[113] One British officer reported with worry: "I see palls of smoke and tanks brewing up with flames belching forth from their turrets. I see men climbing out, on fire like torches, rolling on the ground to try and douse the flames".[113] Despite Montgomery's orders to try to press on, fierce German counter-attacks stopped the British offensive.[113]

Operation Goodwood was a British defeat in operational terms, but a strategic Allied success in that it drew the last German reserves in Normandy towards the Caen sector and thus greatly helped the Americans break out with Operation Cobra. By the end of Goodwood on 25 July 1944, the Canadians had finally taken Caen while the British tanks had finally reached the plains south of Caen, giving Montgomery the "hinge" he had been seeking while forcing the Germans to commit the last of their reserves to stop the Anglo-Canadian offensive.[114] On the other hand, during Goodwood the British had lost 413 tanks destroyed, taken about 5,500 casualties while gaining only seven miles of ground.[114] The long running dispute over what Montgomery's "master plan" in Normandy was, led historians to differ greatly about the purpose of Goodwood. The British journalist Mark Urban wrote that the purpose of Goodwood was to draw German troops to their left flank to allow the Americans to breakout on the right flank, arguing that Montgomery had to lie to his soldiers about the purpose of Goodwood as the average British soldier would not have understood why they were being asked to create a diversion to allow the Americans to have the glory of staging the breakout with Operation Cobra.[114] By contrast, the American historian Stephen Power argued that Goodwood was intended to be the "breakout" offensive and not a "holding operation", writing: "It is unrealistic to assert that an operation which called for the use of 4,500 Allied aircraft, 700 artillery pieces and over 8,000 armored vehicles and trucks and that cost the British over 5,500 casualties was conceived and executed for so limited an objective".[115] Power noted that Goodwood and Cobra were supposed to take effect on the same day, 18 July 1944, but Cobra was cancelled owing to heavy rain in the American sector, and argued that both operations were meant to be breakout operations to trap the German armies in Normandy. American military writer Drew Middleton wrote that there is no doubt that Montgomery wanted Goodwood to provide a "shield" for Bradley, but at the same time Montgomery was clearly hoping for more than merely diverting German attention away from the American sector.[116][117] British historian John Keegan pointed out that Montgomery made differing statements before Goodwood about the purpose of the operation.[118] Keegan wrote that Montgomery engaged in what he called a "hedging of his bets" when drafting his plans for Goodwood, with a plan for a "break out if the front collapsed, if not, sound documentary evidence that all he had intended in the first place was a battle of attrition".[119] With Goodwood drawing the Wehrmacht towards the British sector, the 1st American Army enjoyed a two to one numerical superiority and General Omar Bradley had accepted Montgomery's advice to begin the offensive by concentrating at one point instead of a "broad front" as Eisenhower would have preferred.[120]

The failure of Goodwood almost cost Montgomery his job, as Eisenhower seriously considered sacking him and only chose not to do so because to sack the popular "Monty" would have caused such a political backlash in Britain against the Americans at a critical moment in the war that the resulting strains in the Atlantic alliance were not considered worth it.[121] Many American officers had found Montgomery a difficult man to work with, and after Goodwood, pressured Eisenhower to fire Montgomery.[114] Though the Eisenhower-Montgomery dispute is sometimes depicted in nationalist terms as being an Anglo-American struggle, it should be noted that it was the British Air Marshal Arthur Tedder who was pressing Eisenhower most strongly after the failure of Goodwood to fire Montgomery.[122] An American officer wrote in his diary that Tedder had come to see Eisenhower to "pursue his current favourite subject, the sacking of Monty".[123] With Tedder leading the "sack Monty" campaign, it encouraged Montgomery's American enemies to press Eisenhower to fire Montgomery.[123] Brooke was sufficiently worried about the "sack Monty" campaign to visit Montgomery at his Tactical Headquarters (TAC) in France and as he wrote in his diary; "warned [Montgomery] of a tendency in the PM to listen to suggestions that Monty played for safety and was not prepared to take risks".[114] Brooke advised Montgomery to invite Churchill to Normandy, arguing that if the "sack Monty" campaign had won the Prime Minister over, then his career would be over as having Churchill's backing would give Eisenhower the political "cover" to fire Montgomery.[123] On 20 July, Montgomery met with Eisenhower and on 21 July with Churchill at the TAC in France.[123] One of Montgomery's staff officers wrote afterwards that it was "common knowledge at Tac that Churchill had come to sack Monty".[123] No notes were taken at the Eisenhower-Montgomery and Churchill-Montgomery meetings, but Montgomery was able to persuade both men not to fire him.[120]

With the success of Cobra, which was soon followed by unleashing the 3rd American Army under the aggressive General George S. Patton, Eisenhower wrote Montgomery: "Am delighted that your basic plan has begun brilliantly to unfold with Bradley's initial success".[124] The success of Cobra was aided by Operation Spring when the II Canadian Corps under General Guy Simonds (the only Canadian general whose skill Montgomery respected) beginning an offensive south of Caen that made little headway, but which the Germans regarded as the main offensive.[125] Once the 3rd American Army arrived, Bradley was promoted to take command of the newly created 12th Army Group consisting of 1st and 3rd American Armies. Following the American breakout, there followed the Battle of Falaise Gap as the British, Canadian and Polish soldiers of 21st Army Group commanded by Montgomery advanced south while the American and French soldiers of Bradley's 12th Army Group advanced north to encircle the German Army Group B at Falaise as Montgomery waged what Urban called "a huge battle of annihilation" in August 1944.[124] Montgomery began his offensive into the Suisse Normande region with Operation Bluecoat with Richard O'Connor's VIII Corps and Gerard Bucknall's XXX Corps heading south.[126] A dissatisfied Montgomery sacked Bucknall for being insufficiently aggressive and replaced him with General Brian Horrocks.[126] At same time, Montgomery ordered that Patton whose Third Army was supposed to advance into Brittany to send only minimal forces and instead ordered that Patton was to take Nantes, which was soon taken.[126]

Hitler waited too long to order his soldiers to retreat from Normandy, leading Montgomery to write: "He [Hitler] refused to face the only sound military course. As a result the Allies caused the enemy staggering losses in men and materials".[124] Knowing via Ultra that Hitler was not planning to retreat from Normandy, Montgomery on 6 August 1944 ordered that an envelopment operation against Army Group B with the First Canadian Army under Harry Crerar to advance towards Falaise, the Second British Army under Sir Miles Dempsey to advance towards Argentan and the Third American Army under George S. Patton to advance Alençon.[127] On 11 August, Montgomery changed his plan with the Canadians to take Falaise and to meet the Americans at Argentan.[127] The First Canadian Army launched two operations, Operation Totalize on 7 August which advanced only 9 miles in four days in face of fierce German resistance and Operation Tractable on 14 August which finally took Falaise on 17 August.[128] In view of the slow Canadian advance, Patton requested permission to take Falaise, but was refused by Bradley on 13 August, which prompted much controversy with many historians arguing that Bradley lacked aggression and that Montgomery should overruled Bradley.[129] The so-called "Falaise Gap" was closed on 22 August 1944, but several American generals, most notably Patton accused Montgomery of being insufficiently aggressive in closing it, noting when the "Falaise Gap" was closed, about 60,000 German soldiers were trapped in Normandy, but before 22 August, about 20,000 Germans had escaped through the "Falaise Gap" to fight another day.[124] About 10,000 Germans had been killed in the Battle of the Falaise Gap, which led to a stunned Eisenhower who viewed the battlefield on 24 August to comment with horror that it was impossible to walk without stepping on corpses.[130]

Following the successful conclusion of the Normandy campaign saw the beginning of the debate between the "American school" and "British school" as both American and British generals started to advance claims about who was most responsible for this victory.[124] Brooke wrote in defense of his protégé Montgomery: "Ike knows nothing about strategy and is quite unsuited to the post of Supreme Commander. It is no wonder that Monty's real high ability is not always realised. Especially so when 'national' spectacles pervert the perspective of the strategic landscape".[131] About Montgomery's conduct of the Normandy campaign, Badsey wrote:

"Too much discussion on Normandy has centered on the controversial decisions of the Allied commanders. It was not good enough, apparently, to win such a complete and spectacular victory over an enemy that had conquered most of Europe unless it was done perfectly. Most of the blame for this lies with Montgomery, who was foolish enough to insist that it had been done perfectly, that Normandy-and all his other battles-had been fought accordingly to a precise master plan drawn up beforehand, from which he never deviated. It says much for his personality that Montgomery found others to agree with him, despite overwhelmingly evidence to the contrary. His handling of the Battle of Normandy was of a very high order, and as the person who would certainly have been blamed for losing the battle, he deserves the credit for winning it".[132]

Advance to the Rhine[edit]

The Supreme Commanders on 5 June 1945 in Berlin: Bernard Montgomery, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Georgy Zhukov and Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

General Eisenhower took over Ground Forces Command on 1 September, while continuing as Supreme Commander, with Montgomery continuing to command the 21st Army Group, now consisting mainly of British and Canadian units. Montgomery bitterly resented this change, although it had been agreed before the D-Day invasion.[133] The British journalist Mark Urban writes that Montgomery seemed unable to grasp that as the majority of the 2.2 million Allied soldiers fighting against Germany on the Western Front were now American that it was politically unacceptable to American public opinion to have Montgomery remain as Land Forces Commander as "Politics would not allow him to carry on giving orders to great armies of Americans simply because, in his view, he was better than their generals".[134]

Winston Churchill had Montgomery promoted to field marshal[135] by way of compensation.[133] In September 1944, Montgomery ordered Crerar and his First Canadian Army to take the French ports on the English Channel, namely Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk.[136] On 2 September, Antwerp, the third largest port in Europe was captured by Horrocks with its harbour mostly intact.[137] The White Brigade of the Belgian resistance had captured the port of Antwerp before the Germans could blow it up.[138] Antwerp was a deep water inland port connected to the North Sea via the river Scheldt, which was wide enough and dredged deep enough to allow ocean-going ships to reach Antwerp. On 3 September 1944 Hitler ordered the 15th German Army, which had stationed in the Pas de Calais region and was withdrawing north into the Low Countries to hold the mouth of the river Scheldt to deprive the Allies of the use of Antwerp.[139] Thanks to ULTRA, Montgomery was aware of Hitler's order by 5 September.[140] Starting that same day, SHAEF's naval commander, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay had pressing Montgomery to make clearing the mouth of the Schedlt his number one priority, arguing that as long as the mouth of the Scheldt was in German hands, it was impossible for the Royal Navy to clear the mines in the river, and as the Scheldt was mined, the port of Antwerp was useless.[141] Alone among the senior commanders, only Ramsay saw opening Antwerp as crucial.[142] On 6 September 1944, Montgomery told Crerar that "I want Boulonge badly" and that city should be taken no matter what the cost.[143] By this point, ports like Cherbourg were too away from the front line, causing the Allies much logistical problems. The importance of ports closer to Germany was highlighted when to capture the city of Le Havre, which was assigned to John Crocker's I Corps, two infantry divisions, two tank brigades, most of the artillery of the 2nd British Army, the specialized armored "gadgets" of Percy Hobart's 79th Armoured Division and the battleship HMS Warspite and the monitor HMS Erebus were all committed.[144] On September 10, 1944, Bomber Command dropped 4, 719 tons of bombs on Le Havre, which was the prelude to Operation Astonia, the assault on Le Havre by Crocker's men, which was taken two days later.[145] The Canadian historian Terry Copp wrote that the commitment of this much firepower and men to take only one French city might "seem excessive", but by this point, the Allies desperately need ports closer to the front line to sustain their advance.[146] On 9 September, Montgomery wrote to Brooke that "one good Pas de Calais port" would be sufficient to meet the all the logistical needs of the 21st Army Group, but only the supply needs of 21st Army Group.[147] At the same time, Montgomery noted that "one good Pas de Calais port" would be insufficient for the American armies in France, which thus force Eisenhower if for no other reasons than logistics to favor Montgomery's plans for an invasion of northern Germany by the 2st Army Group, whereas if Antwerp were opened up, then all of the Allied armies could be supplied.[148] Montgomery ordered that Crerar take Calais, Boulonge and Dunkirk and clear the Scheldt, a task that Crerar stated was impossible as he lacked enough troops to perform both operations at once.[149] Montgomery refused Crerar's request to have 12th British Corps under Neil Ritchie assigned to help clear the Scheldt as Montgomery stated he needed 12th Corps for Operation Market Garden.[150] Montgomery was able to insist Eisenhower adopt his strategy of a single thrust to the Ruhr with Operation Market Garden in September 1944. It was uncharacteristic of Montgomery's battles: the offensive was strategically bold. Montgomery either did not receive or ignored ULTRA intelligence which warned of the presence of German armoured units near the site of the attack.[151]

On 22 September 1944, General Guy Simonds's II Canadian Corps took Boulonge and Calais by 28 September 1944.[152] After an attempt to storm the Leopold Canal by the 4th Canadian Division had been badly smashed by the German defenders, Simonds ordered an halt to further attempts to clear the river Scheldt until his mission of capturing the channel ports had been finished, which allowed the 15th German Army ample time to dig into its new home on the Scheldt.[153] The only port that was not captured by the Canadians was Dunkirk as Montgomery ordered the 2nd Canadian Division on 15 September to hold his flank at Antwerp as a prelude for an advance up the Scheldt.[154] With Calais and Boulogne in Allied hands, Montogmery now had two of his three Pas de Calais ports he felt he needed to supply the 21st Army Group into the projected invasion of Germany. In the aftermath of Market Garden, Montgomery made holding the Arnhem salient his first priority, arguing that the 2nd British Army might still be able to breakthrough and reach the wide open plains of northern Germany, and that he might be able to take the Ruhr by end of October.[155] In the meantime, the 1st Canadian Army, which been assigned the task of clearing the mouth the river Scheldt, despite the fact that in words of Copp and Vogel "...that Montgomery's Directive required the Canadians to continue to fight alone for almost two weeks in a battle which everyone agreed could only be won with the aid of additional divisions".[156] For his part, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, the German commander of the Western Front ordered General Gustav-Adolf von Zangen, the commander of 15th German Army that: "The attempt of the enemy to occupy the West Scheldt in order to obtain the free use of the harbor of Antwerp must be resisted to the utmost" (emphasis in the original).[157] Rundstedt argued to Hitler that as long as the Allies could not use the port of Antwerp, the Allies would lack the logistical capacity for an invasion of Germany.[158] Montgomery pulled away from the 1st Canadian Army (temporarily commanded now by Simonds as Crerar was ill) the 51st Highland British Division, 1st Polish Division, 49th West Riding British Division and 2nd Canadian Armored Brigade and sent all of these units to help the 2nd British Army hold the Arnhem salient.[159] However, Simonds seems to have regarded the Scheldt campaign as a test of his ability, and he felt he could clear the Scheldt with only 3 Canadian divisions, namely the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 4th plus the 1st Canadian Armored Brigade, despite having to take on the entire 15th Army, which held strongly fortified positions in a landscape that favored the defensive.[160] As it was, Simonds made only slow progress in October 1944 during the fighting in the Battle of the Scheldt, through Simonds was praised by Copp for imaginative and aggressive leadership who managed to achieve much despite all of the odds against him.[161]

Admiral Ramsay, who proved to be a far more articulate and forceful champion of the Canadians than their generals, starting on 9 October demanded to Eisenhower in a meeting that he either order Montgomery to make supporting the 1st Canadian Army in the Scheldt fighting his number one priority or sack him.[162] Ramsay in very strong language argued to Eisenhower that the Allies could only invade Germany if Antwerp was opened, and that as long as the three Canadian divisions fighting in the Scheldt had shortages of ammunition and artillery shells because Montgomery made the Arnhem salient his first priority, then Antwerp would not be opened anytime soon.[163] Even Brooke wrote in his diary: "I feel that Monty's strategy for once is at fault. Instead of carrying out the advance to Arnhem he ought to have made certain of Antwerp".[164] Prompted by Ramsay, Eisenhower sent Montgomery later on 9 October 1944 a cable that emphasizing the "supreme importance of Antwerp", that "the Canadian Army will not repeat not be able to attack until November unless immediately supplied with adequate ammunition", and finally warning that the Allied advance onto Germany would totally stop by mid-November unless Antwerp was opened in October.[165] Montgomery replied by accusing Ramsay making "wild statements" unsupported by the facts, denied that the Canadians were having to ration ammunition, and claimed that he would soon take the Ruhr, making the Scheldt campaign a sideshow.[166] Montgomery further issued a memo entitled "Notes on Command in Western Europe" demanding that he once again be made Land Forces Commander, which led to an exasperated Eisenhower to tell Montgomery that he either clear the mouth of the Scheldt at once, or he would be sacked.[167] A chastised Montgomery told Eisenhower on 15 October 1944 that he was now making clearing the Scheldt his "top priority", and the ammunition shortages in the 1st Canadian Army, a problem which he denied existed, were now over as supplying the Canadians was now his first concern.[168] Simonds, now reinforced with British troops and Royal Marines cleared the Scheldt by taking Walcheren island, the last of the German "fortresses" on the Scheldt on 8 November 1944.[169] With the Scheldt in Allied hands, the Royal Navy minesweepers removed the German mines, and Antwerp was finally opened to shipping on 28 November 1944.[170] Reflecting Antwerp's importance, the Germans spent the winter of 1944-45 firing V-1s and V-2s at Antwerp in an attempt to shut down the port, and the German offensive in December 1944 in the Ardennes had as its ultimate objective the capture of Antwerp.[171]

When the surprise attack on the Ardennes took place on 16 December 1944, starting the Battle of the Bulge, the front of the US 12th Army Group was split, with the bulk of the US First Army being on the northern shoulder of the German 'bulge'. The 12th Army Group commander, General Omar Bradley, was located south of the penetration at Luxembourg and command of the US First Army became problematic. Montgomery was the nearest commander on the ground and on 20 December, Eisenhower (who was in Versailles) temporarily transferred Courtney Hodges' US First Army and William Simpson's US Ninth Army to Montgomery's 21st Army Group until the "bulge" could be reduced and a simpler line of communications restored, despite Bradley's vehement objections on national grounds.[nb 1] When Bradley learned that Montgomery had been given command of two American armies totalling some 200,000 men, he phoned Eisenhower to say: "I cannot be responsible to the American people if you do this. I resign!"[172] Eisenhower sharply responded that Bradley was in fact responsible to him and "Your resignation means absolutely nothing...Well, Brad, these are my orders."[172] Montgomery grasped the situation quickly, visiting all divisional, corps, and field army commanders himself and instituting his 'Phantom' network of liaison officers. He grouped the British XXX Corps as a strategic reserve behind the Meuse and reorganised the US defence of the northern shoulder, shortening and strengthening the line and ordering the evacuation of St Vith. The German commander of the 5th Panzer Army, Hasso von Manteuffel said:

The operations of the American 1st Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery's contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough.[173]

Montgomery (left), Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham (centre) and the Commander of the British Second Army, Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey, talking after a conference in which Montgomery gave the order for the Second Army to begin the crossing of the Rhine.

Montgomery's 21st Army Group advanced to the Rhine with operations Veritable and Grenade in February 1945. A meticulously planned Rhine crossing occurred on 24 March. While successful, it was two weeks after the Americans had unexpectedly captured the Ludendorff Bridge and crossed the river on 7 March with less than a battalion. Montgomery's river crossing was followed by the encirclement of the German Army Group B in the Ruhr. Initially Montgomery's role was to guard the flank of the American advance. This was altered to forestall any chance of a Red Army advance into Denmark, and the 21st Army Group occupied Hamburg and Rostock and sealed off the Danish peninsula.[73] On 4 May 1945, on Lüneburg Heath, Montgomery accepted the surrender of German forces in north-west Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.[174]

Montgomery's lack of diplomacy[edit]

Montgomery was notorious for his lack of tact and diplomacy. Even his "patron," the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Lord Alanbrooke, frequently mentions it in his war diaries: "he is liable to commit untold errors in lack of tact" and "I had to haul him over the coals for his usual lack of tact and egotistical outlook which prevented him from appreciating other people's feelings".[175] One incident that illustrated this occurred during the North African campaign when Montgomery bet Walter Bedell Smith that he could capture Sfax by the middle of April 1943. Smith jokingly replied that if Montgomery could do it he would give him a Flying Fortress complete with crew. Smith promptly forgot all about it, but Montgomery did not, and when Sfax was taken on 10 April he sent a message to Smith "claiming his winnings". Smith tried to laugh it off, but Montgomery was having none of it and insisted on his aircraft. It got as high as Eisenhower who, with his renowned skill in diplomacy, ensured Montgomery did get his Flying Fortress, though at a great cost in ill feeling.[176][177] Even Alanbrooke thought it "crass stupidity".[178]

In August 1945, whilst Alanbrooke, Andrew Cunningham and Charles Portal were discussing their possible successors as "Chiefs Of Staff" they concluded that Montgomery would be very efficient as CIGS from the Army's point of view but that he was also very unpopular with a large proportion of the Army. Despite this Cunningham and Portal were strongly in favour of Montgomery succeeding Alanbrooke after his retirement.[179] Prime Minister Winston Churchill, by all accounts a faithful friend, is quoted as saying of Montgomery, "In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable."[180]

Later life[edit]

Montgomery and Soviet Marshals Zhukov and Sokolovsky with General Rokossovsky leave the Brandenburg Gate on 12 July 1945 after being decorated by Montgomery

After the war Montgomery became the Commander in Chief of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), the name given to the British Occupation Forces, and was the British member of the Allied Control Council.[181] He was created 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in 1946.[182] He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1946 to 1948, succeeding Alanbrooke. As CIGS, Montgomery toured Africa in 1947 and in a secret 1948 report to Attlee's government proposed a "master plan" to exploit the raw materials of Africa, thereby counteracting the loss of British influence in Asia. Montgomery held racist views towards Africans, describing them as "complete savages" incapable of developing their own countries.[183] He was barely on speaking terms with his fellow chiefs, sending his VCIGS to attend their meetings[181] and he clashed particularly with Arthur Tedder, who was by now Chief of the Air Staff. When Montgomery's term of office expired, Prime Minister Clement Attlee appointed Sir William Slim from retirement with the rank of Field Marshal as his successor; when Montgomery protested that he had told his protégé John Crocker, a former corps commander from the 1944–45 campaign, that the job was to be his, Attlee is said to have given the memorable retort "Untell him".[184]

He was then appointed Chairman of the Western European Union's commanders-in-chief committee.[181] Volume 3 of Nigel Hamilton's Life of Montgomery of Alamein gives an account of the bickering between Montgomery and his land forces chief, a French general, which created splits through the Union headquarters. He was thus pleased to become Eisenhower's deputy in creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's European forces in 1951.[185] He would continue to serve under Eisenhower's successors, Matthew Ridgway and Al Gruenther, until his retirement, aged nearly 71, in 1958.[186] His mother Maud, Lady Montgomery, died at New Park in Moville in Inishowen in 1949; she was buried alongside her husband in the 'kirkyard' behind St. Columb's Church, the small Church of Ireland church beside New Park, overlooking Lough Foyle. Lord Montgomery did not attend the funeral, claiming he was "too busy".[73]

He was chairman of the governing body of St. John's School in Leatherhead, Surrey, from 1951 to 1966, and a generous supporter. Lord Montgomery was an Honorary Member of the Winkle Club, a noted charity in Hastings, East Sussex, and introduced Sir Winston Churchill to the club in 1955.[187]

Lord Montgomery as CIGS with Wavell Viceroy of India and Auchinleck Commander in Chief Indian Army. Delhi 1946
Statue of Montgomery at Whitehall, London unveiled in 1980

Montgomery's memoirs (1958) criticised many of his wartime comrades in harsh terms, including Eisenhower.[188] He was threatened with legal action by Field-Marshal Auchinleck for suggesting that Auchinleck had intended to retreat from the Alamein position if attacked again, and had to give a radio broadcast (20 November 1958) expressing his gratitude to Auchinleck for having stabilised the front at the First Battle of Alamein. The 1960 paperback edition of his memoirs contains a publisher's note drawing attention to that broadcast, and stating that in the publisher's view the reader might reasonably assume from Montgomery's text that Auchinleck had been planning to retreat "into the Nile Delta or beyond" and pointing out that it had been Auchinleck's intention to launch an offensive as soon as the Eighth Army was "rested and regrouped".[189] Montgomery was stripped of his honorary citizenship of Montgomery, Alabama, and was challenged to a duel by an Italian officer.[190]

In retirement he publicly supported apartheid after a visit to South Africa in 1962, outraging much British liberal opinion, and after a visit to China declared himself impressed by the Chinese leadership.[191] He spoke out against the legalisation of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, arguing that the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was a "charter for buggery"[192] and that "this sort of thing may be tolerated by the French, but we're British – thank God".[193] Biographer Nigel Hamilton has suggested Montgomery may have been a repressed homosexual;[194] in the late 1940s Montgomery maintained an affectionate friendship with a 12-year-old Swiss boy.[195] One biographer called the friendship "bizarre", although not "improper", and a sign of "pitiful loneliness".[196]

He twice met with Israeli general Moshe Dayan. After an initial meeting in the early 1950s, Montgomery met Dayan again in the 1960s to discuss the Vietnam War, which Dayan was studying. Montgomery was harshly critical of US strategy in Vietnam, which involved deploying large numbers of combat troops, aggressive bombing attacks, and uprooting entire village populations and forcing them into strategic hamlets. Montgomery said that the Americans' most important problem was that they had no clear-cut objective, and allowed local commanders to set military policy. At the end of their meeting, Montgomery asked Dayan to tell the Americans, in his name, that they were "insane".[197]

During a visit to the Alamein battlefields in May 1967, he bluntly told high-ranking Egyptian Army officers that they would lose any war with Israel, a warning they ignored to their cost only a few weeks later.[198]

Death[edit]

Montgomery died from unspecified causes in 1976 at his home Isington Mill in Isington, near Alton in Hampshire, aged 88. After his funeral at St George's Chapel, Windsor, Montgomery was interred in Holy Cross churchyard, Binsted.[73] His Garter banner, which had hung in St. George's Chapel in Windsor during his lifetime, is now on display in St Mary's, Warwick.[199]

Legacy[edit]

Montgomery's grave, Holy Cross churchyard, Binstead
Montgomery's Grant command tank, on display at the Imperial War Museum in London
  • The Imperial War Museum holds a variety of material relating to Montgomery in its collections. These include Montgomery's Grant command tank (on display in the atrium at the Museum's London branch), his command caravans as used in North West Europe (on display at IWM Duxford), and his papers are held by the Museum's Department of Documents. The Museum maintains a permanent exhibition about Montgomery, entitled Monty: Master of the Battlefield.[203]
  • The World Champion Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland is named after him.[204]
  • Montgomery's Rolls-Royce staff car is on display at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, Deepcut, Surrey.[205]
  • The Montgomery cocktail is a martini mixed at a ratio of 15:1, facetiously named that because Montgomery supposedly refused to go into battle unless his numerical advantage was at least that high.[206] Ironically, following severe internal injuries received in the First World War, Montgomery himself could neither smoke nor drink.[151]
  • In the 1998 documentary Live At Aspen during the US Comedy Arts Festival, the British comedy troupe Monty Python explained how they came up with their name, saying that the name Monty "... made us laugh because Monty to us means Lord Montgomery, our great general of the Second World War".[207]

Honours and awards[edit]

Viscount Montgomery's ribbons as they would appear today, not including campaign or other awards.

Order of the Garter UK ribbon.png Order of the Bath UK ribbon.png Dso-ribbon.png Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg

US Legion of Merit Chief Commander ribbon.png Ordervictory rib.png Order of Suvorov 106x30.png Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 ribbon.svg

Orderelefant ribbon.png GRE Order of George I - Grand Commander BAR.png Virtuti Militari Ribbon.png TCH CS Vojensky Rad Bileho Lva 1st (1945) BAR.svg

ETH Order of Solomon BAR.png BEL Order of Leopold II - Grand Officer BAR.pngUK MID 1920-94.svg NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Grand Cross BAR.png

Order Sint Olaf 1 kl.png Ruban de la Médaille militaire.PNG Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945 Bar.png

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ See the official history Pogue, Forrest C. (1954). "Chapter XX. Winter Counteroffensives". United States Army in World War II. European Theater of Operations: The Supreme Command. Washington DC: U.S. Department of the Army. CMH Pub. 7-1. 

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40729. p. 1504. 9 March 1956. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37983. p. 2663. 10 June 1947. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41182. p. 5545. 20 September 1957. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37589. p. 2665. 31 May 1946. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42240. p. 24. 30 December 1960. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
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  9. ^ "Viscount Montgomery of Alamein". Desert Island Discs. 20 December 1969. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Various Authors (1969). Illustrated Story of World War II. The Reader's Digest Association. p. 284. ISBN 0-89577-029-6. 
  11. ^ Hamilton (entry author). Dictionary of National Biography. XXXVIII. p. 324. 
  12. ^ Hamilton, p. 3 (1981)
  13. ^ Montgomery, Maud (1933). Bishop Montgomery: A Memoir. London, UK: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. ASIN B001FSFISU. 
  14. ^ Hamilton, p. 31 (1981)
  15. ^ Hamilton, p. 5 (1981)
  16. ^ Chalfont, Arthur Gwynne Jones (1976). Montgomery of Alamein. Atheneum. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-689-10744-3. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f Bierman, John; Smith, Colin (2002). Alamein: War without hate. Penguin Group. pp. 223–230. ISBN 0-670-91109-7. 
  18. ^ Hamilton (1981), p. 36
  19. ^ a b c d e f Heathcote, p. 213
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  26. ^ Horne, Photo Plate No 1 after page 100
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  43. ^ Heathcote 1999, p. 218,
  44. ^ Lord, Walter (1999). The Miracle of Dunkirk. London: The Viking Press. ISBN 1-85326-685-X. 
  45. ^ a b Heathcote, p. 216
  46. ^ a b c The Memoirs of Field Marshal Montgomery, p. 64
  47. ^ a b The Memoirs of Field Marshal Montgomery, p. 65
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  49. ^ a b Mead, p. 303.
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  53. ^ Playfair, Vol. III, pp. 367–369.
  54. ^ Churchill, p. 420. According to J. Toland, Battle: The Story of the Bulge, 1959, p. 157, this conversation was with Churchill's chief of staff, Hastings Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay, beginning with Montgomery saying to Ismay, "It's a sad thing that a professional soldier can reach the peak of generalship and then suffer a reverse which ruins his career."
  55. ^ a b Playfair, Vol. III, p. 370.
  56. ^ Barnett, p. 265
  57. ^ a b Moorehead, Alan, Montgomery, pp. 118–27 (1946)
  58. ^ Caddick-Adams, p. 461
  59. ^ "Jim Fraser obituary". The Guardian. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
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  65. ^ Playfair, Vol. IV, p. 9.
  66. ^ Playfair, Vol. IV, p. 16.
  67. ^ Playfair, Vol. IV, p. 78
  68. ^ Playfair, Vol. IV, p. 79.
  69. ^ Moorehead, pp. 140–41
  70. ^ Churchill, p. 591
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  72. ^ Stout (1956), Chapter 11—Tunisia. The Battle of Medenine
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  74. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36125. p. 3579. 6 August 1943. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  75. ^ Mead, p. 306.
  76. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 217
  77. ^ Hart, p. 8
  78. ^ Keegan, 1994 p. 56
  79. ^ Keegan, 1994 p. 56
  80. ^ Keegan, 1994 p.56
  81. ^ Powers, p. 455-471
  82. ^ a b c Badsey, p. 43.
  83. ^ English, p. 51.
  84. ^ D'Este, p. 147-148
  85. ^ a b Powers, p. 471.
  86. ^ Powers, p. 458 & 471.
  87. ^ Powers, p. 461.
  88. ^ a b Badsey, 1990 p. 44.
  89. ^ Badsey, 1990 p. 45.
  90. ^ a b Badsey, 1990 p. 47
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  92. ^ a b c d e Badsey, 1990 p. 48.
  93. ^ D'Este. p. 247
  94. ^ D'Este p. 246.
  95. ^ Copp, Terry Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004 page 84.
  96. ^ Copp & Vogel, p. 86.
  97. ^ Powers, p. 458.
  98. ^ a b Urban, p. 283.
  99. ^ Badsey, 1990 p. 53-56
  100. ^ D'Este, Carlo, 1983 p. 322-323
  101. ^ a b Badsey, 1990 p. 53.
  102. ^ Badsey, 1990 p. 53-54
  103. ^ a b Badsey, 1990 p. 56
  104. ^ Weinberg, p. 689.
  105. ^ Badsey, 1990 p. 72
  106. ^ Badsey, 1990 p. 57
  107. ^ D'Este, p. 202 (1983)
  108. ^ Urban, p. 285-286.
  109. ^ Urban, p. 281.
  110. ^ Urban, p. 282.
  111. ^ Urban, p. 282-283.
  112. ^ Urban, p. 283-284.
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  114. ^ a b c d e Urban, p. 285.
  115. ^ Powers, p. 462-463.
  116. ^ Middleton, Drew (22 January 1984). "Mistake in the Master Plan". New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
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  118. ^ Keegan p. 1994 191-192
  119. ^ Keegan p. 192
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  121. ^ Powers, p. 469.
  122. ^ Weinberg, p. 690.
  123. ^ a b c d e Urban, p. 287.
  124. ^ a b c d e Urban, p. 289.
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  131. ^ Urban, p. 289-290.
  132. ^ Badsey, p. 87.
  133. ^ a b Weigley, Russell F. (1981). Eisenhower's Lieutenants. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-253-13333-5. 
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  136. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 150.
  137. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 149
  138. ^ Copp & Vogel 1984 p.129.
  139. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 148
  140. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 148
  141. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.16 & 42-43
  142. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.16
  143. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 150.
  144. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 150
  145. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 150
  146. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 150
  147. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 150.
  148. ^ Copp, 1981. p.150
  149. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 151-152
  150. ^ Copp, 1981 p. 152.
  151. ^ a b Michael Lee Lanning, James F. (FRW) Dunnigan. The Military 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Leaders of All Time. Citadel Press. p. 235. 
  152. ^ Copp & Vogel 1984 p.100 & 112.
  153. ^ Copp & Vogel 1984 p.124.
  154. ^ Copp & Vogel 1984 p.129.
  155. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.12 & 14
  156. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.14
  157. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.11
  158. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.11
  159. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.18
  160. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.19-20
  161. ^ Copp, 2004 p. 289
  162. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.42
  163. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.42
  164. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.42
  165. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.42
  166. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.42
  167. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.43
  168. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.43
  169. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.127
  170. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.127
  171. ^ Copp & Vogel, 1985 p.127
  172. ^ a b Urban, p. 294.
  173. ^ Patrick Delaforce, The Battle of the Bulge – Hitler's Final Gamble.
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  176. ^ Corrigan, p. 312
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  179. ^ Alanbrooke, p. 720
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  187. ^ "Sir Winston Churchill Gets The Winkle In Ceremony at Hastings" Pathe News; accessed 10 April 2014.
  188. ^ Montgomery memoirs, p. 317
  189. ^ Montgomery 1960, p. 14
  190. ^ Per La Repubblica (22 February 1992), the duel challenge actually came from Vincenzo Caputo, a Sicilian lawyer.
  191. ^ Heathcote 1999, p. 219
  192. ^ Hamilton (2002), p. 169
  193. ^ Robert Andrews. The Columbia dictionary of quotations. Columbia University Press. p. 419. ISBN 0-380-70932-5. 
  194. ^ Hamilton (2002), pp. xv–xxii, 167-70
  195. ^ Baxter, p. 121
  196. ^ Horne, Alistair; Montgomery, David (2009) [1994]. The Lonely Leader: Monty 1944–45. London, UK: Pan. p. 348. ISBN 978-0-330-51001-1. 
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  202. ^ "In pictures: Tribute to Montgomery". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  203. ^ "Monty: Master of the Battlefield". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  204. ^ "Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band history". Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  205. ^ RLC Museum publicity leaflet/website.
  206. ^ John Taylor (19 October 1987). "The Trouble With Harry's". New York Magazine: 62. 
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Bibliography[edit]

  • Alanbrooke, Field Marshal Lord, Danchev, Alex; Todman, Daniel, editors (2001). War Diaries 1939–1945. Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-526-5. 
  • Badsey, Stephen (1990). Normandy 1944 Allied Landings and Breakout. London. ISBN 978-0850459210. 
  • Caddick-Adams, Peter (2001). Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives. Preface Publishing. ISBN 978-1848091528. 
  • Copp, Terry (Fall 1981). ""No Lack of Rational Speed": 1st Canadian Army Operations, September 1944". Journal of Canadian Studies. 16. 
  • Copp, Terry; Vogel, Robert (1983). Maple Leaf Route: Caen. Alma. ISBN 978-0919907010. 
  • {cite book|last1=Copp|first1=Terry|last2=Vogel|first2=Robert|title=Maple Leaf Route: Antwerp|publisher=Alma|year=1984|isb=0-910007-030-2}}
  • {cite book|last1=Copp|first1=Terry|last2=Vogel|first2=Robert|title=Maple Leaf Route: Scheldt|publisher=Alma|year=1985|isb=0-910007-04-0}}
  • Corrigan, Gordon (2010). The Second World War: A Military History. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1843548942. 
  • Barnett, Correlli (1960). The Desert Generals. London, UK: Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-35280-7. 
  • Baxter, Colin (1999). Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1887–1976: A Selected Bibliography. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-29119-7. 
  • Brereton, Lewis (2011). The Brereton Diaries: The War in the Air in the Pacific, Middle East and Europe, 3 October 1941 – 8 May 1945. Morrow. ISBN 978-1-258-20290-3. 
  • Brighton, Terry (2009). Masters of Battle: Monty, Patton and Rommel at War. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-102985-6. 
  • Bungay, Stephen (2002). Alamein. Auram. ISBN 978-1-85410-929-3. 
  • D'Este, Carlo (1983). Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign. London: William Collins Sons. ISBN 0-00-217056-6. 
  • Churchill, Winston (1986). The Second World War, Volume 4: The Hinge of Fate. ISBN 978-0-14-144175-7. 
  • Dixon, Norman (1976). On the Psychology of Military Incompetence. Pimlico. ISBN 978-0-7126-5889-8. 
  • English, John (2014). Surrender Invites Death: Fighting the Waffen SS in Normandy. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0811707633. 
  • Feldmann, Daniel; Mas, Cédric (2014). Montgomery. Paris: éditions Economica (in French). ISBN 978-2-717-86699-5. 
  • Fraser, David (1988). And We Shall Shock Them: The British Army in World War II. Sceptre. ISBN 978-0-340-42637-1. 
  • Hamilton, Nigel (2001). The Full Monty: Montgomery of Alamein 1887–1942. London, UK: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9334-0. 
  • Hamilton, Nigel (1981). Monty: The Making of a General. London, UK: Hamish Hamilton Ltd. ISBN 0-241-10583-8. 
  • Hamilton, Nigel (1984). Monty: Master of the Battlefield. London, UK: Hamish Hamilton Ltd. ISBN 978-0-241-11104-8. 
  • Hamilton, Nigel (1986). Monty: The Field-Marshal 1944–1976. London, UK: Hamish Hamilton Ltd. ISBN 0-241-11838-7. 
  • Hamilton, Nigel (2002). The Full Monty: Montgomery of Alamein, 1887–1942 v.1: Montgomery of Alamein, 1887–1942 Vol 1. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-028375-4. 
  • Harrison, Mark (2004). Medicine and Victory: British Military Medicine in the Second World War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-926859-2. 
  • Hart, Stephen (2007). Colossal Cracks: Montgomery's 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe, 1944–45. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3383-0. 
  • Hastings, Max (2004). Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944–1945. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-41433-9. 
  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Jordan, Jonathan W. (2011). Brothers Rivals Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership That Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe. NAL. ISBN 978-0-451-23212-0. 
  • Keegan, John (1994). Six Armies in Normandy. Penguin. ISBN 9780140235425. 
  • Lattimer, Jon (2002). Alamein. John Murray. ISBN 978-0-674-01376-6. 
  • McKee, Alexander (1984). Caen: Anvil of Victory. ISBN 978-0-333-38313-1. 
  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud, UK: Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. 
  • Neillands, Robin (2005). The Battle for the Rhine 1944. Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-59020-028-5. 
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.); Molony, Brigadier C.J.C. & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO:1960]. Butler, Sir James, ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Vol. III: British Fortunes reach their Lowest Ebb (September 1941 to September 1942). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-067-X. 
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.) & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO:1966]. Butler, Sir James, ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume IV: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-068-8. 
  • Powers, Stephen (July 1992). The Battle of Normandy: The Lingering Controversy. 56. The Journal of Military History. 
  • Ryan, Cornelius (1974). A Bridge Too Far. Hodder. ISBN 0-684-80330-5. 
  • Schultz, James (1998). A framework for military decision making under risks. Thesis. Air University, Maxwell Airforce Base, Alabama. 
  • Urban, Mark (2005). Generals Ten British Commanders Who Shaped The World. London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571232499. 
  • Weinberg, Gerhard (2004). A World In Arms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521618267. 

Primary sources[edit]

  • Alanbrooke, Field Marshal Lord (2001). Danchev, Alex; Todman, Daniel, eds. War Diaries 1939–1945. London, UK: Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-526-5. 
  • Brett-James, Anthony (1984). Conversations with Montgomery. Irwin. ISBN 978-0-7183-0531-4. 
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1948). Crusade in Europe. London, UK: William Heinemann. ISBN 0-306-70768-3. OCLC 219971286. 
  • Montgomery, Bernard Law (2000) [1972]. A Concise History of Warfare. Wordsworth Military Library. Ware, Herts, UK: Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 978-1-84022-223-4. 
  • Montgomery, Bernard Law (1960). The Memoirs of Field Marshal Montgomery (paperback edition). London and Glasgow: Fontana. 
  • Montgomery, Bernard Law (1961). The Path to Leadership. London, UK: Collins. ISBN 81-8158-128-8. OCLC 464095648. 
  • Montgomery, Bernard (2008). Brooks, Stephen, ed. Montgomery and the Battle of Normandy: A Selection from the Diaries, Correspondence and Other Papers of Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, January to August 1944. Army Records Society series, 27. Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7509-5123-4. 

External links[edit]

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5 August 1937 – 28 October 1938
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Sir Alan Brooke
GOC, II Corps, British Expeditionary Force
30 May 1940 – 1 June 1940
Succeeded by
Edmund Osborne
Preceded by
Sir Claude Auchinleck
GOC, V Corps
22 July 1940 – 1 April 1941
Succeeded by
Sir Edmond Schreiber
Preceded by
Andrew Thorne
GOC, XII Corps
1 April 1941 – 17 November 1941
Succeeded by
James Gammell
Preceded by
Bernard Paget
GOC-in-C, South-Eastern Command
17 November 1941 – 7 August 1942
Succeeded by
John Swayne
Preceded by
Sir Claude Auchinleck
GOC-in-C, Eighth Army
13 August 1942 – 31 December 1943
Succeeded by
Sir Oliver Leese
Preceded by
Sir Bernard Paget
GOC-in-C, 21st Army Group
January 1944 – August 1945
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded
New title
New command
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
1945–1946
Succeeded by
Sir Richard McCreery
Preceded by
The Lord Alanbrooke
Chief of the Imperial General Staff
1946–1948
Succeeded by
Sir William Slim
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
1946–1976
Succeeded by
David Montgomery