Talk:Bernard Montgomery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Former good article nominee Bernard Montgomery was a Warfare good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
November 19, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed
October 10, 2012 Peer review Reviewed
February 20, 2013 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee

Press conference text[edit]

I moved the lengthy text of Montgomery's press conference from the article on the Battle of the Bulge here. This article appears to be relatively "pro" Montgomery and until this point made no mention of his arraogance and conflicts with Eisenhower.. — btphelps (talk to me) (what I've done) 05:56, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Is that particular quote of what he said from Monty's own book? If so, it's copyrighted, and cannot be used here. (Besides, primary sources are not preferred.) --A D Monroe III (talk) 22:20, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Monty's "difficult" ways with people are mentioned in article. But it's meant to be a summary not replicate "lengthy" (as you put it )sections from other articles. GraemeLeggett (talk) 05:23, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
In fairness, there used - some years ago - to be a lengthy and in my view not unfair summary of Monty's personal oddities and spectacular ability to rub people up the wrong the way, as well as the way he handed his critics a gift by later pretending that everything at Second Alamein and Normandy (both of them difficult battles against an entrenched opponent which he handled far from badly in the circumstances) had gone perfectly according to plan. It got wiped for being "uncited". There is certainly room for more analysis and discussion of these things if somebody wants to take the trouble to write them.Paulturtle (talk) 11:02, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Monty was a level or two in brainpower above most. The US never had any top rated generals. I can give a list of US buffoons. Most US generals would not make it in the British Army. If people were not of the same fast comprehension and logic as him he would become frustrated. he wanted immediate comprehension and men on the same wavelength as him. Time was vital at times. 90.214.240.181 (talk) 19:18, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
The 'arrogance' often reported of Montgomery is people's POV and not necessarily true. There were many petty jealousies within the Allied High Command, and there is no doubt that Montgomery made enemies, however that is as much a reflection on the pettiness of some of Montgomery's colleagues as much as it is a reflection on Montgomery himself.
I added the lengthy quote on Montgomery's Ardennes speech simply because it disproves much that has been said and written about his conduct during and after the battle, much of which it would seem are either misunderstandings of a speech made in plain English, or else deliberate distortion of his conduct during the battle. These inaccuracies are it would seem, still repeated as fact.
The Battle of the Bulge was not Montgomery's fault, it was entirely due to the mishandling of the defences and absence of the American commanders when they were needed. Thus certain parties had plenty of good reasons to try and distract attentions away from themselves, and direct it elsewhere. As I wrote elsewhere, if the Allied commanders responsible for the Battle of the Bulge fiasco had been German, Hitler would have had them all shot.
... and if Montgomery had been in charge of the American lines in the Ardennes then the battle would never have been allowed to happen, they would have been properly defended. There, think that one over.
The only thing that comes out of all the rather petty attacks against Montgomery is that through all this he remained quiet and uncomplaining. Then again, for all the attacks against him, it would seem that his ego was not as fragile as those of some of his critics.
... and if you want opinions on Montgomery then get them from people who served under him and knew what they were facing, like Brian Horrocks, not people who were having it comparatively easy and thinking it the height of difficulty. That simple fact should illustrate how out of touch some of his critics were. Rather like an old whore being lectured and criticised on sex by a newly-deflowered virgin. Montgomery had come out of Dunkirk in 1940 when many of his critics had been sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. And Dunkirk wasn't any of his fault either.
BTW, in the unlikely event you want a positive thing to say about Montgomery then how about mentioning his successful planning and execution of Operation Overlord, aka, D-Day. Why - because if anyone else had planned the invasion it would have failed. Why - because Montgomery was the only Allied commander who had a clue what the invasion forces would be facing. Many of the others thought it was going to be easy. They for the most part were the same ones who later thought that fighting one-and-a-half panzer divisions was the height of difficulty. They should have tried the seven-and-a-half the British and Canadians were facing.

There is a lot of truth in all that, but the fact remains that Monty was, throughout his career, an odd and very abrasive fellow (are you aware of the tale, reproduced by Nigel Hamilton, of how at Staff College somebody was made to sit next to him at breakfast as a punishment, and of how it was posted in the college magazine that the best thing about Armistice Day was that Monty would have to shut up for two minutes?), and it also appears that fame and success went to his head a bit. His speech after the Ardennes reads OK on paper but at the time it was very tactless; Churchill had to (as good as) apologise for it in the House of Commons, and he came very close to being sacked afterwards, having finally exhausted Eisenhower's patience after months of badgering. It was a coalition war and Britain was, to state the obvious, very much the junior partner by then.Paulturtle (talk) 00:42, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

"His speech after the Ardennes reads OK on paper but at the time it was very tactless;" - it was actually hurriedly written in response to scathing articles in the UK newspapers criticising the US handling of the situation. He wrote and made a speech that showered glowing praise on the US soldier and on Eisenhower - who the UK newspapers had been critical-of for not ensuring his US subordinates had kept a firm hand on the situation beforehand.
He did not mention that the whole Ardennes situation was of the American's own making, nor that at the time the two relevant US leaders were both away from the Front, one being in another country altogether - nor that they had actually been given forewarning of the possibility of a German attack. He also did not mention the considerable inconvenience to himself and the British forces who had to then go and get into positions to protect the Meuse crossings - something that never should have become necessary. And again, he also did not mention that because of this he then had to postpone his forthcoming Operation Valediction which then was forced to commence later than planned and after the frozen ground had started thawing, turning into mud that then hampered his armour. As a result of this, the US then criticised him for being 'slow'.
Most non-partisan people would say that in all that, he did in fact display considerable tact, not to mention patience and forbearing.
BTW, as a result of the newspaper reports and British public opinion Eisenhower came close to losing his job. Montgomery's speech stopped that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.150.100.255 (talk) 10:34, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

Again, you are quite right that a lot of criticism of Monty for his alleged "slowness" was and is unfair, and that the British and US press spent a lot of the war slagging off one another's generals and fighting a vicious proxy war. Nonetheless, Monty managed to rub the Americans up the wrong way by his perceived egotism, talking of it being one of the most interest battles "I" have ever fought (I forget the exact phrase). As so often with political gaffes, it's often one or two phrases which get plucked out of context and repeated because they capture the tone of what was said. What is your source for the claim that Monty's speech stopped Ike from being sacked? (I'd have thought that if anyone was in danger of the sack it would have been Bradley, who was largely sidelined during the battle, but I'm happy to be corrected)Paulturtle (talk) 14:55, 22 May 2016 (UTC) Just had a flick through Anthony Beevor's recent "Ardennes 44" which discusses the criticism of US generals in the British press, and says that Monty's speech was written for him by Brigadier Williams, who thought it read well but dreaded how it would be received when delivered by Monty. His fears were justified, especially when Monty launched into an unscripted riff after reaching the end of his notes. Beevor then quotes a British Cabinet paper on the affair, mentioning that Monty's speech read well but had been marred by a certain "smugness of tone", as well as exaggerating the role played by British forces in the battle. That would seem to be the majority view.Paulturtle (talk) 20:39, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Normandy[edit]

If you read Carlo D'Este's history of the Normandy battles, it's quite clear that Monty intended to take Caen early in the campaign; he was to push forward in his sector, while the Americans wheeled around to take the Cherbourg peninsula. His failure to take Caen for weeks was a major problem, sucking up tons of resources, air and ground, and to cover this failure (which, in fairness, was due to German resistance as much as British dilatoriness), after the war he invented the idea that Caen was a "holding" operation to cover the American advance, tying up German troops, etc etc. What this means is that the Normandy section of the article essentially swallows Monty's b.s. wholesale (as did the BBC in its docu-drama on the topic, From D-Day to Berlin). NB: I am using Frankfurt's definition of b.s., according to which the b.s.-er simply doesn't care whether what he is saying is true or false, he simply seeks to create an impression of himself as wonderful.Theonemacduff (talk) 16:26, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Montgomery knew well what the opposition was like, he had been fighting them for a number of years, and so he would have been well aware that the likely outcome of any attempt at taking Caen would be a hard and lengthy slogging match, possibly taking far longer than he would like. To suggest that a battle against the likes of the forces he was facing, including almost all the German the armour in the invasion area, made up of several Waffen-SS panzer divisions, would go exactly as planned, is ludicrous. The simple point is that if the German defenders had withdrawn then Monty's forces would have taken Caen. Monty however knowing the opposition forces, would have expected to be there far longer than he may have stated in his plans. He also would probably not have told anyone that he expected to be around Caen for quite a time. That would have been bad for morale.
To have expected otherwise shows an ignorance of the opposing forces facing the respective national armies. Montgomery eventually had seven-and-a-half full-strength Panzer divisions facing his forces, including all the best Waffen-SS ones, the Americans had one-and-a-half facing them. Of course taking Caen took a long time. What did they expect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.148.220.15 (talk) 11:38, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Enemy strength opposite US First Army Enemy strength opposite Second British Army
Date Panzer Divisions Tanks Infantry Battalions Panzer Divisions Tanks Infantry Battalions
15th June none 70 63 4 520 43
20th June 1 210 77 4 430 43
25th June 1 190 87 5 530 49
30th June 1/2 140 63 7 1/2 725 64
5th July 1/2 215 63 7 1/2 690 64
10th July 2 190 72 6 610 65
15th July 2 190 78 6 630 68
20th July 3 190 82 5 560 71
25th July 2 190 85 6 645 92

[1]


Late to the party here but, "To suggest that a battle.....would go exactly as planned, is ludicrous." is pretty much exactly what Montgomery did after it was over. he made the ridiculous claim that all proceeded as he had planned instead of the (just as favorable to him, really) more honest assessment that things did not go as planned so a lot of improvising needed to be done. Regards, DMorpheus2 (talk) 20:12, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
"In" Normandy it went to plan but not to timescale. Monty planned to be at the Sein in 90 days. At D-Day plus 90 the allies were ahead. 90.214.240.181 (talk) 19:12, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ "The Memoirs of Field-Marshall Montgomery", Collins, 1958, p.259

Montgomery`s "I`ve torn up all withdrawl plans"[edit]

I have to say I`m surprised that any informed observer could dispute the fact that Montomery announcing that he`d "torn up all plans for withdrawl" were anything other than bunkum and self aggrandisement. The fact that The Auk had no plans to withdraw and had carefully chosen the EA position as being the most defensible is in every book on the subject, the last one I read Gordon Corrigan`s World War II. It was also in Dimbleby`s TV programme on the desert war which has only just been on the TV ! But, in actual fact, there`s a reference to it on the same "Montgomery" page ! :

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 Eighth Army was "rested and regrouped

This last reversion really is going a bit far...... --JustinSmith (talk) 09:17, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

So cite it. Whether as a statement of Monty to impress his new staff, or that there were no plans to withdraw, even contingency ones. GraemeLeggett (talk) 12:44, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

I don`t understand what you`re asking. Cite what ? If you`re saying you insist on a citation for what every historian and his dog knows to be true there`s one on the same page under "Later Life". You don`t even have to look it up because I`ve quoted it for you in the opener. --JustinSmith (talk) 13:36, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

A motivational speech intended to impress - related to this declaration? BBC School radio or this to the troops. GraemeLeggett (talk) 16:58, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
I have added the cite myself. WP:SOURCE requires all material to be properly cited. I spent some time inserting citations and generally improving the article such that it achieved "B" assessment sometime ago. So please don't add uncited material to an assessed article. Noted that I would not be regarded as "an informed observer"! Best wishes. Dormskirk (talk) 22:43, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

Jolly good.--JustinSmith (talk) 17:48, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

On the point of "and had to give a radio broadcast..." Since the BBC have their "genome" project to list every programme they have broadcast, I wondered what the programming was on 20 November 1958. The best match on the day in question is a nominally 45 min "Memoirs of Field Marshall Montgomery". The current phrasing makes it sound more like a modern mea culpa through press conference, though given the length of the programme was it more likely the case that Monty had to include it in an already planned broadcast about the book? Could that be checked in the sources by someone.
The google search for more about the broadcast turned up this. The Tablet has this to say in their book review from the 8th November edition "It is natural, but hardly relevant, for Field Marshal Auchinleck to say, as he has done recently, that there was no intention to withdraw behind the Nile; that there were plans to attack Rommel, and that new divisions, tanks and guns were flowing into Egypt to ensure success. The point is that the troops on the ground outside Alexandria did not know this. Rightly or wrongly they assumed that they were going to retreat again. There were rumours that new Headquarters for the Eighth Army had been set up in Jerusalem. No troops could win in such a mood. The new General changed all that."
That backs up the morale speech angle. a poor OCR of the memoirs at archive.org gives what presumably Auchinleck objected to "Lt.-Gen. Ramsden, ...explained the situation to me. I cross-examined him about the Army plans for a withdrawal if Rommel attacked; certain orders had been issued about the withdrawal but they were indefinite. There was an air of uncertainty about everything in the operation line" and "During lunch I did some savage drinking. After lunch I wrote a telegram to G.H.Q. saying that I had assumed command of Eighth Army .... I then cancelled all previous orders about withdrawal. I issued orders that in the event of enemy attack there would be no withdrawal; we would fight on the ground we now held and if we couldn t stay there alive we would stay there dead". GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:06, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Or perhaps more likely this bit from another OCR of the memoirs "Auchinleck took me into his map-room and shut the door; we were alone. He asked me if I knew he was to go. I said that I did. He then explained to me his plan of operations; this was based on the fact that at all costs the Eighth Army was to be preserved "in being" and must not be destroyed in battle. If Rommel attacked in strength, as was expected soon, the Eighth Army would fall back on the Delta; if Cairo and the Delta could not be held, the army would retreat southwards up the Nile, and another possibility was a withdrawal to Palestine. Plans were being made to move the Eighth Army H.Q. back up the Nile". GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:15, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't know who was doing the 'savage drinking', but it wouldn't have been the teetotal Monty. Valetude (talk) 01:26, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

"Savage thinking" in the original. On the topic of withdrawal plans, Auchinleck's memory played him false. Plans to reorganize Eighth Army into battlegroups and conduct some kind of fighting withdrawal certainly did exist before Monty had them torn up and traces of them survive in unit diaries. Indeed, contingency plans to defend the Delta still survived above Monty's pay grade. It's worth remembering that at Alam Halfa Rommel had just been resupplied and reinforced, and Eighth Army did not yet enjoy the material superiority of Second Alamein. I was preparing some material on this over Christmas before Real Life intervened, but I'll get there eventually.Paulturtle (talk) 00:15, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

"I have to say I`m surprised that any informed observer could dispute the fact that Montomery announcing that he`d "torn up all plans for withdrawl" were anything other than bunkum and self aggrandisement." - have you read his memoirs?
For the interested among you, before publication he sent the manuscript of his memoirs to the following people for comments and to ensure its accuracy and fairness, and revised the text on their suggestions:

claiming the credit[edit]

Didn't Montgomery claim the credit for winning the Battle of the Bulge.

He did win it. He took control of two US armies the 1st and the 9th putting them in the British 21st Army Group. He was in charge of the 9th until the last few weeks of WW2. The 21st stopped the advance from the west and east and turned them back. The US 3rd Army stalled in the south. 90.214.240.181 (talk) 19:06, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

As the Africa corps was the smallest corp and regarded by Hitler as unimportant and Ultra had told Churchill and Montgomery that Rommel was running out of fuel and ammunition so why was El alamein even fought? — Preceding unsigned comment added by AT Kunene 123 (talkcontribs) 11:07, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

"Didn't Montgomery claim the credit for winning the Battle of the Bulge."
No he didn't, but some Americans either misunderstood the speech he made at the time, or else for whatever reasons decided to attempt to blacken his name. And it wasn't Montgomery who let it (the battle) happen in the first place.
El Alamein was fought because Rommel's army was trying to gain access to the Suez Canal, and the canal was a vital lifeline for British ships coming from India. The eventual German plan was for German forces to get as far as Iran and Iraq, and from there eventually link up with Japanese forces that were intending to invade India. The battle was also fought to give Britain a victory when she had recently suffered defeats in Singapore, Malaya, and Hong Kong, and to destroy as much of Rommel's forces as possible, while pushing him back as far west as they could, eventually forcing him from Africa completely. This they did. Rommel may have been running out of fuel and ammunition but that was only while his convoys from Italy and Sicily could be successfully interdicted by the RAF and RN. His shortage therefore could not be relied upon to be permanent, as it was possible some of his supply ships might get through. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.148.220.15 (talk) 11:17, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
It's never a good idea to feed the trolls. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.19.93.193 (talk) 00:22, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree but it's the humanity in me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.148.220.15 (talk) 10:17, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

There have been occasional suggestions that Second Alamein "need never have been fought" but that view is not widely held, and certainly wasn't at the time. Rommel had, after all, briefly held enough of an advantage to attack again as recently as Alam Halfa, before the Shermans turned up. "Torch" was also far from a foregone conclusion - it was felt at the time that a clear victory at Alamein would encourage the defection of Vichy forces in Algeria over to the Allied side.Paulturtle (talk) 00:07, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

The heavily armoured Churchill tanks also turned up and some with 6-pdr guns. The Shermans were used against Italian tanks. 90.214.240.181 (talk)

A couple of hundred Shermans were used at Second Alamein, along with comparable numbers of Grants, Crusaders, Valentines and Stuarts. Their impact was clearly important as they were the best-performing tanks out of that selection. According to the relevant wiki page, a grand total of 6 Churchills were used, to see whether they could cope with North African conditions (slightly larger numbers were later used in Tunisia) so I doubt their impact was all that great.Paulturtle (talk) 15:03, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Montgomery took over the 8th Army with orders to destroy Rommel and his Army. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.150.100.255 (talk) 17:47, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

Character assassination[edit]

I may be wrong, but having read a good deal of history and military history for some decades (but not being a professional in any way, or pursuing primary sources), and having read this article, I feel it is to a considerable extent a character assassination. The effort of trying to correct the issues against the constant coutner-effort of the authors who wish to see their views present is of course costly, unrewarding and unremitting, so I'm not going to do so; I will merely say - to begin with, read his own memories. That thorws about a third of the article into question, and then the rest of it naturally enough is questioned also. 92.251.3.177 (talk) 11:24, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

I don`t think the article is guilty of character assassination. It is well known that Monty was a rather flawed character, particularly in his lack of diplomacy. In some ways the absolute opposite of Eisenhower, certainly in that respect.
You are thinking of his genuine flaws. Discussion of such is not character assassination. 92.251.3.177 (talk) 17:00, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Monty`s memoirs would, I feel, not be an unbiased reference on this point......--JustinSmith (talk) 10:24, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree with JustinSmith. Rjensen (talk) 10:51, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I thought someone might say this. It would be superficial to take his memories at face value. Every book must be weighed and considered in relation to itself (internal consistency) and with regard to other sources. His memoirs are, I argue, enough *even by themselves*, taking into account that they are a single source and so with the limits imposed thereby on how much we can take from them, to bring a good part of this article into question, and so then by proxy the rest also. 92.251.3.177 (talk) 17:00, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Much of the criticism of Montgomery is ill-informed and perhaps due to the critic's lack of knowledge of factors that Montgomery himself was aware of at the time. The existence of ULTRA - of which Montgomery was aware - was not revealed publicly until 1973, some three years before Montgomery's death, and he himself was banned by the Official Secrets Act from even mentioning it. With the exception of Eisenhower few of his most vocal critics were aware of ULTRA, and the extent to which Montgomery knew what the opposition was doing and going to do.
BTW Montgomery was a professional solder, and not a diplomat. He did however often display the patience of a saint. Despite all the petty bickering and sniping against himself he remained silent. He also never criticised subordinates who deviated from his carefully-laid plans - made will the full benefit of ULTRA - thereby semi-ruining them while they themselves thought they were being clever.

More character assassination[edit]

...is in the form of allegations of his sexuality. Montgomery was an oddball but no worse; he was married and fathered David, who is still alive and a successful businessman. 78.151.28.94 (talk) 02:43, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

 ???? You know this how? Gay or straight, neither is 'worse' or any kind of character assassination except in teh twisted minds of bigots. DMorpheus2 (talk) 13:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Did Montgomery have Aspergers syndrome?[edit]

Towards the end of 2015, it was mentioned on the Radio Four Today programme that the military historian Anthony Beevor has written a book claiming that Montogomery had Asperger's syndrome. The programme mentioned that Montgomery was very tactless. It also said that he was an arrogant man who kept a lot of photographs in his house of himself with heads of state such as Winston Churchill. I really think that his ought to be added to the section of this article which is sub-titled "Montgomery's lack of diplomacy". Vorbee (talk) 20:43, 20 April 2016 (UTC) I believe the book is called "Ardennes 1944". This book is reviewed in the New York Times and you can read a review of it if you click on the link to its website. Vorbee (talk) 04:24, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

Eh. It's just one source, and I don't see what it may add to the article. Besides, with the subject long dead, it's basically just guessing now. --A D Monroe III (talk) 21:39, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
There is another book that postulates Monty had aspergers, "Genius Genes: How Asperger Talents Changed the World", by Michael Fitzgerald and Brendan O'Brien. The Monty chapter is here: https://books.google.com/books?id=iKyytTQI7tEC&pg=PA212&dq=bernard+montgomery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJtqX1od7SAhVs0YMKHeQTAso4ChDoAQgdMAE#v=onepage&q=bernard%20montgomery&f=falseTH1980 (talk) 19:39, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Did Montgomery actually support big army in post-WWII Germany?[edit]

British parliament record seems to suggest otherwise. 冷雾 (talk) 21:55, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

Hi - In the piece quoted in Hansard Montgomery says "In all these bases we must keep balanced ground Forces". This suggests he is neutral on "big army" versus "smaller army". However in the absence of a specific citation in favour of "big army" I will remove the suggestion that he did favour "big army". Dormskirk (talk) 22:38, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

Death from unspecified causes[edit]

"Montgomery died from unspecified causes in 1976"

This is a bit odd. Is there a source which says he died of old age? Or can we just put "Montgomery died in 1976"? cagliost (talk) 12:25, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

Editing[edit]

Having waded through this 123k monster, two things struck me:

1) Its length.
2) Its lop-sidedness.

The first point above is virtually self-explanatory - having not read other articles about other WWII generals (Bradley, Patton, Rommel and so on), I get the feeling that there is far too much detail here.

The second point is the emphasis placed in the latter half of the article. It has about eleven paragraphs after "North Africa and Italy" (but I don't remember seeing anything about Sicily) and twenty-nine concerning "Normandy" and "Advance to the Rhine"

Why is that? I get the impression that some serious pruning is required.

RASAM (talk) 14:24, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Throwing away other people's work without good reason (e.g. that it is complete crap) is unconstructive. As articles grow and become more detailed, people add summaries for the general reader and split them into sub-articles.
There is a lot about Normandy and the European campaign of 1944-5 because somebody (not me) has been writing them up lately. Articles often grow in a slightly lopsided way like this as people add stuff. Normandy and Alamein are the two really controversial bits of Montgomery's command record, in the sense that historians have debated them a bit (as opposed to, say, Arnhem or his ongoing needling of Ike, about which there is plenty to be said but which aren't quite "controversial" in the same way). I was preparing some stuff on Alamein about 18 months ago but never got round to finishing it. I may yet, or somebody else may do so.Paulturtle (talk) 04:54, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Agreed about the unbalanced nature of the Normandy section - are the actions of the commander of the 12th SS really relevant here? There seems an over-reliance on a few sources (Badsey & Powers) and a limited understanding of what the key controversies were. However it will take a lot of work (and references) to tidy it up in a balanced way. 109.148.112.229 (talk) 12:55, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Well, I'm not saying that there isn't room for sharpening up - the focus in a biography needs to be on what the man in question said, wrote and did and what others said and wrote about, and did to, him - but it seems to me that a reasonable effort has been made to cover the issues and to summarise the views of a number of historians. Perhaps we could do with a bit more of d'Este, Nigel Hamilton and more recent books (in my own work on Alamein, currently residing somewhere in development hell, I had gone carefully through Hamilton, Correlli Barnett, Michael Carver, Bungay et al to make sure I understood all the debates about Monty's decisions and intentions and claims made subsequently about them). But even if it were true (which it isn't) that the section is "overly reliant on a few sources" that in itself would not be a bad thing if those sources summarise the debates fairly and accurately. It was over seventy years ago now and most historical controversy of this type, whatever young historians with a name to make try to pretend, usually consists of endlessly rehashing arguments which were had at the time, with elements of truth in both positions.Paulturtle (talk) 06:16, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
the balance is set by the RS and they concentrate a lot on Normandy -- that's where the debates are focused. Rjensen (talk) 06:29, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
Well indeed - Monty has been the subject of a long 3-volume biography (Nigel Hamilton, early 80s), which is itself evidence that a lengthy, detailed article is not inappropriate. Vol I goes up to the end of Alamein and devotes about a third of its length to that battle. Vol II goes up to the end of Normandy and devotes at least a third to that battle. Vol III goes from the end of Normandy to his death, with about half that book covering the European campaign of 1944-5. The relative focus of different books on the same subject will inevitably differ somewhat, but in this context devoting 15-20% each of a long article to Alamein, Normandy and 1944-5 is not unreasonable. But the article is nowhere near a finished state at the moment.Paulturtle (talk) 04:36, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Most of Monty's work was D-Day and onwards. He was in charge of "all" armies in Normandy, British & American. 90.214.240.181 (talk) 18:59, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
In principle yes, but in practice he exercised much more direct control over Second Army than over the US First Army - it was said he treated Dempsey like a corps commander. My comments about following the biographies in the relative weight to devote to different parts of his life story still stand. Normandy was a very important part of that story, both in terms of importance and of controversy (closely followed by Alamein in both respects) but not the whole story - in the same way that there is more to the life story of Marlborough, Wellington or Lee than Blenheim, Waterloo or Gettysburg respectively.Paulturtle (talk) 06:32, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
"In principle yes, but in practice" In practice Monty decided where all the armies went, US and British. He was in charge of all but took more direct control of the British 1st Army. The 21st Army Groups was all the armies. 94.5.104.222 (talk) 12:21, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Sicily[edit]

My bad, there is a (relatively short) section on Sicily, [so short that I missed it], but the rest of my comments above, still stand.

RASAM (talk) 14:37, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

interview[edit]

Wilson[1] links him to Boy Scouting, was there a connection?--Kintetsubuffalo (talk) 04:50, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ John S. Wilson (1959), Scouting Round the World. First edition, Blandford Press. p. 125

Portrayal in "Patton" (1970): Worthy of listing in "Legacy"?[edit]

Montgomery is, of course, depicted in the 1970 biopic "Patton", although it is said the rivalry depicted between him and Patton was exaggerated. Only Patton, it is said, viewed Monty as a rival. Nevertheless, the fact Montgomery is a character in this film would be worthy of mention in "Legacy", would it not?TH1980 (talk) 02:54, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

That film was largely fiction. Montgomery was above Bradley who was above Patton. Two levels between. Patton's performance was average. He moved 10 miles in 3 months in the Lorraine. The rivalry is made up by the media. Montgomery hardly mentions Patton in his diaries. 90.214.240.181 (talk) 18:56, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Bradley was a corps commander in Sicily (Patton's subordinate - he leapfrogged him when Patton was sidelined for a year or so after the slapping incident(s)). It is true, iirc, that XXX Corps' thrust to Brussels in late summer 1944 was much the same speed as Patton's advance across France, and when Patton ran into resistance in Lorraine he didn't overcome it significantly faster than anyone else would have done (the idea that Patton "ran out of gas" is, I think largely fiction but that belongs in Patton's article). It is also true that Monty's pursuit after Alamein was much faster than popular mythology would have it, although not alas fast enough to catch up with the retreating Axis forces. But in answer to the question, "Patton" is a classic and widely-watched film, so a sentence or two pointing out that the rivalry between Patton and Monty was exaggerated for dramatic purposes is perfectly appropriate. Carlo d'Este's books might be good places to look: "Bitter Victory" (his late 80s book on Sicily, which has an excellent chapter on Harold Alexander fwiw) or "A Genius for War" (his mid-90s Patton biog).Paulturtle (talk) 06:26, 4 January 2017 (UTC) Slight caveat to the above as Patton did have supply issues in Lorraine, exacerbated by US rear echelon inefficiencies, although there are obviously debates to be had about whether Monty should have improved the Allied supply situation by taking Antwerp sooner than he did rather than undertaking the Market Garden gamble (I'm not expressing an opinion one way or the other - if he had made the other decision he would now be criticised for excessive caution, no doubt).Paulturtle (talk) 15:13, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Would this article from "Armchair General" magazine do? The author specifically cites how "Patton" embellished the so-called "Race to Messina": http://www.armchairgeneral.com/monty-world-war-iis-most-misunderstood-general-part-ii.htm/2TH1980 (talk) 03:29, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Utilizing the above source, what if we put something like this into the "Legacy" section re: "Patton":
"Montgomery was a character in "Patton." He was depicted as a rival of General Patton vying to be the first to capture Messina. In the film he leads his army into town assuming he got there first, only to be greeted by Patton and his army. In reality, Patton's "race" with Montgomery to Messina was more imagined than real. Montgomery himself wanted Patton to reach the port first and even made roads available to Patton's army from his own to help ensure this."TH1980 (talk) 00:25, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Or how about this:
"The 1970 film "Patton" depicted Montgomery as a rival of Patton's. The high point of the rivalry occurs in the Sicily sequence, in which each general vies to be the first to capture Messina. Montgomery finally leads his army into Messina to the acclaim of the populace, assuming he has reached the town first, only to be greeted by Patton, who had gotten there first. But historically Patton's "race" with Montgomery to Messina was more imagined than real. Montgomery himself wanted Patton to reach the port first and even made roads available to Patton's army from his own to help ensure this happened." How's that?TH1980 (talk) 02:15, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Or, finally, what about this:
" Montgomery was played by actor Michael Bates in the 1970 film "Patton". The film depicts Montgomery as a rival of Patton's. The high point of their rivalry occurs in the Sicily sequence, in which each general vies to be the first to capture Messina. Montgomery finally leads his army into Messina to the acclaim of the populace, assuming he has reached the town first, only to be greeted by Patton and his troops. But historically Patton's "race" with Montgomery to Messina was more imagined than real. Montgomery himself wanted Patton to reach the port first and even made roads available to Patton's army from his own to help ensure this happened."TH1980 (talk) 23:27, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
It is true Patton was over Bradley in Sicily. Market Garden was not a gamble being a success. Its aims were twofold:
  • It was to form a buffer between German forces and Antwerp, to ensure the only port taken intact was protected. That 65 mile salient was valuable in the Battle of the Bulge when German forces aimed for Antwerp. The Germans never took back any ground taken by XXX Corps.
  • To form the northern end of a pincer to seize the Ruhr.
Monty wanted three Channel ports for supplies. All were destroyed. Antwerp was way down the list as it was 35 miles up a narrow river which could be easily blocked by German bombers sinking a few ships. 4th choice Antwerp it had to be as the port was taken intact, then the focus was on the Scheldt, which the Germans had reinforced. Brereton of the First Allied Airborne Army refused to drop on the Scheldt. If Antwerp's port was destroyed the focus would have been to get all the Channel ports and rebuild them ASAP. Dunkirk was in German hands until the end of the war. Bolougne came on line at the same time as Antwerp and Ostend before the two but partially.
Patton in the the Lorraine was a wash out. 52,000 casualties for 10 miles in three months. It was not because of fuel shortages. Many authors suggest that if Patton had enough fuel he could have gone to Berlin. Not with that one inadequate infantry tank they had, he clearly would not. Monty would only put US armies as infantry support in Normandy after assessing them. The British would take on German armour, and they did destroying around 90% of it. US forces hardly met tanks in Normandy, or in the whole of Western Europe really - the Bulge was the only time they met German tanks in real force. A US army report castigating Patton: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a211668.pdf
94.5.104.222 (talk) 11:53, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
Some of what you say is true and some of it isn't. Claiming that Market Garden was not a gamble but a (complete) success is going beyond what any sensible historian says on the topic, whilst claiming that the resulting salient came in handy during the Battle of the Bulge makes neither geographic nor logical sense. Antwerp was a very much bigger and more important port than the ones which you list; Montgomery was strongly criticised at the time for not clearing the mouth of the Scheldt (although you are right that Brereton refused to drop paratroops there) and it was one of the few occasions in the campaign in which the Combined Chiefs of Staff (Alan Brooke, Marshall et al) came close to intervening in operations and ordering Ike to divert resources to this job. The report which you print is an historian's paper, not an official US Army report. It is an interesting read, but it does not "castigate" Patton. It contains some criticism of him for over-optimism during the initial attack on Metz (a failing which he shared with Ike and Bradley) and, having taken a month's break to reorganise his forces, failing to concentrate enough during the fighting in November. But that's about it. Now, this is not a discussion forum, and this really has to be it unless you've got a concrete suggestion for something which ought to go into the article.Paulturtle (talk) 06:12, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Market Garden[edit]

Removed passage that stated that Monty ignored reports of German armour in Arnhem. The RAF report on it states, "hardly any tanks were actually present in the Arnhem area on 17 September" (the day of the para drop). The report: ARNHEM - THE AIR RECONNAISSANCE STORY by the RAF http://www.airpowerstudies.co.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/Arnhem.pdf 94.5.104.222 (talk) 11:05, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Montgomery not the inspiration of Monty Python name[edit]

No mention of Montgomery in this explanation by Michael Palin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbzTzFIE57Q 94.5.104.222 (talk) 12:35, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Mention of stepsons (Richard Carver)[edit]

Montgomery evidently had two stepsons from his marriage to Betty Carver, John Carver and Richard Carver. More relevantly, Richard Carver is the subject of a book, "Where The Hell Have You Been?" (goodreads link), which documents his escape from the Germans as a POW. Should this be mentioned here?

I would suggest they should only be mentioned if they become notable enough to get a wikipedia article. MilborneOne (talk) 10:45, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
They are mentionable in so far as they impinge on Montgomery's life, both as subjects and as eyewitnesses (they both fade from the picture a bit by the second half of WW2) and are discussed in his biography. Both now added, although I seem to be wading into an edit war about the Battle of the Bulge ...Paulturtle (talk) 05:51, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Battle of the Bulge edits Jan 31 2017[edit]

I reverted the following:

Hitler had a low opinion of the American army so it's not surprising that a NAZI sycophant would make the statement referenced above; however, not even Standartenführer SS Joachim Peiper (commanding 4 panzer kampfgruppe including Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler) made any such statement about the US 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne. The town was the hub of a network of roads the Wehrmacht had to take for operation Wacht Am Rhein to succeed — the 101st (which was completely surrounded) nevertheless chose to deny the Germans passage through the town and held it at all cost (2,548 casualties). The link to The Battle of the Bulge references that this was the largest land battle by the western allies (meaning the US Army) in all of WWII, for anyone to claim that Monty's "planning" accomplished anything beggars any military comprehension on even the most rudimentary level. He told Ike that his army was not ready to go into combat so he did nothing to relieve the US Army. As noted above General Eisenhower gave General Montgomery two American armies with which to attack the enemy and Monty promptly put them to work digging in — the raison d'être for reserve forces during war is to be ready to go into battle when and where they are most needed!

It was General Patton's 3rd Army that broke through to Bastogne, the bad weather cleared so that the USAAF could resume air assault operations against NAZI armoured units and the Wehrmacht ran out of petrol. Monty's only contribution to the battle was the press release he put out after it was all over stating that he had saved the day by holding his ditches — which created a diplomatic furor. Therefore historians can only speculate as to why Monty did not fight in this battle: some think he was just as shocked as everyone else at SHAEF, that his army wasn't ready, hubris and some think that he wanted a German victory so that the could then attack, save the day and become another Wellington. The battle is best summed up by P.M. Churchill as follows:


This content has some grains of truth in it, but is unencyclpedic and inadequately cited.

The writing is appropriate for an opinion piece or editorial but not for an encyclopedia. There are assertions and opinions in there that are uncited or (as the editor's opinions) cannot really be cited. There are important sources *not* consulted here, e.g. GEN James Gavin's (82 ABN) memoirs, which paint a very different picture of Montogomery's temporarily command during the Ardennes.

There is much to be said on this subject and I would gladly work with other editors on this, but, I think this makes a poor starting point. Regards, DMorpheus2 (talk) 17:40, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Agreed on the revert. It's soapboxy, POV, editorialising. (Hohum @) 18:11, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
Just FYI everyone, the user inserting this content, which was reverted 5 times, was blocked for 24h. DMorpheus2 (talk) 19:35, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
The content now inserted is much better but we still need page numbers per WP:CITE, please. Dormskirk (talk) 23:12, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

The content is NOT much better - it bears little relationship to what actually happened eg the British Army was NOT entrenched protecting Antwerp Aber~enwiki (talk) 15:11, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

I agree, it's pretty bad. Very much an opinion piece rather than an encyclopedia entry. DMorpheus2 (talk) 18:23, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the last paragraph (referring to the British Army's entrenched position) is full of opinion pieces and have removed it. I have also removed some other material which seemed to be speculative or just commentary. Please feel free to remove any other opinion pieces. Dormskirk (talk) 21:29, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Loss of his wife and asperity[edit]

I believe the biographical literature makes a link between the loss of his wife, and his well-known somewhat difficult personality, which was magnified after her death. Point for expansion over time, I believe. Buckshot06 (talk) 18:54, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

My understanding is that he was "difficult" before, and his unexpected marriage relatively late in life softened him a bit. Then he reverted to his natural state of being "difficult", perhaps a bit harder than he was before. But happy to be corrected.Paulturtle (talk) 16:06, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Help needed please[edit]

Please help. I am working on building up the article for Battle for Caen, which was obviously part of Overlord. I started on the controversy about the fact that Montgomery failed to achieve some D-Day objectives, specifically capturing Caen, and then pretended that everything went according to his “real” original plan after all. Another editor is fiercely defending Montgomery, ruling that actual correspondence from Eisenhower and other commanders of the time are “primary sources” that must take second place to the secondary sources, even though the actual correspondence from Eisenhower and other commanders are presented in secondary sources, and that all the secondary sources which criticize Montgomery were written by people who simply failed to understand Monty’s genius plans, and who were part of a 1970’s conspiracy. It’s getting to be a bit of an alt-truth situation. Please could some other editors who are knowledgeable on the subject, assist on the Battle for Caen article? Wdford (talk) 21:21, 29 May 2017 (UTC)