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  #211  
Old 04-19-2020, 09:34 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Antony Beevor's latest is what I'm tackling now..The Battle of Arnhem: The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II.

Two things stand out, and they're both about the highest-ranking prima donna in the ETO: Montgomery. 1) His pride and vanity led to the operation, which should never have been attempted, failure to listen to the Dutch Underground or the Dutch Brigade fighting with the British-some of whose officers knew the ground-and ANY Dutch officer in prewar staff training who proposed an attack up the same road XXX Corps took was automatically failed, and dismissing intelligence that suggested things not just at Arnhem, but along XXX Corps' advance, were not what he thought them to be.

2) That same vanity, until the day he died, would not allow him to admit that the whole operation had been a disaster. Eisenhower said it best: "Monty's a psychopath. He will never admit to anything wrong, everything has gone right, and he has never made a mistake." Monty was his own worst enemy, though his Chief of Staff knew it, but he would never admit it.
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Old 04-19-2020, 10:56 PM
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I enjoyed his Battle of Arnhem.

Yeah, there seems to pretty broad consensus among modern WW2 historians (Beevor, Hastings, Atkinson, to name a few) that Monty was pretty good at set-piece battles as long as they unfolded according to plan, but pretty shit when it came to operating on the fly. If a plan didn't work as intended, as in the case of Market Garden (and Epsom, and Goodwood), he couldn't adjust and improvise his way to victory.

His baffling failure to clear the Scheldt Estuary and thereby in actuality to open the port of Antwerp arguably delayed the Allied victory, and allowed the Soviets to reach Berlin first.

Monty was indeed an egomaniac, who would take credit for any success, could never admit to making a mistake, and believed that he alone was qualified to lead the Allied armies in the field. Most of his men loved him, but most of his fellow field officers- American and British- couldn't stand the guy.

He was probably the British Empire's most overrated general of WW2 (if not of all time), and is a strong candidate for most overrated general of all of the Allied armies during the war.
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  #213  
Old 04-20-2020, 02:44 AM
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Monty was not at fault when you look at the actual evidence. The plan was good, if risky, but there was one weak link that screwed it all up.
Firstly Beevor missed some very important facts, although overall the book is good.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr92BwihIoU
According to John Frost.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C_HoMVhKAI
Then, if you're interested in seeing an unbiased assessment using all the available materials...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTUC79o4Kmc&t=4s

ABOUT TIK

History isn’t as boring as some people think, and my goal is to get people talking about it. I also want to dispel the myths and distortions that ruin our perception of the past by asking a simple question - “But is this really the case?”. I have a 2:1 Degree in History and a passion for early 20th Century conflicts (mainly WW2). I’m therefore approaching this like I would an academic essay. Lots of sources, quotes, references and so on. Only the truth will do.
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  #214  
Old 04-20-2020, 09:48 AM
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Yes he was, if you look at the actual evidence.

First off, I think it's interesting that you put more stock in some rando* Monty apologist making Youtube "the real story" videos than the bulk of eminent WW2 historians (3/4 I mentioned being British). Also, Frost isn't unbiased. If anyone had a dog in the fight, he did.

BTW, have you read any of the books Mr. Youtube historian cited? If you don't accept Ryan, Hastings, Beevor, and Atkinson's analysis (to name but a few), I'm probably not going to be able to change your mind, but here is the evidence:

Montgomery's whole plan hinged on linking up with the airborne divisions at the bridges quickly, but there was only one MSR- an elevated highway with soft shoulders, running through woodlands and little towns, crossing several canals and rivers- between the start line and Eindhoven, Nijmegen, and Arnhem.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if that MSR can be obstructed or cut for any length of time, the Airborne divisions- especially the one at the end of the line- are going to be hung out to dry. Monty grossly overestimated the ability of an armored corps to advance along a single axis through country that was far less than ideal for tanks, and simultaneously underestimated the German's ability to interfere with the planned advance. The plan, on paper, only survives a cursory glance. Look closely, you will see that it was deeply flawed on multiple levels.

Also, downplaying intel that there was at least one SS Panzer division in the Arnhem area was foolish, to say the least. Cornelius Ryan agrees.

Plus, the whole plan wouldn't even have been necessary if Montgomery had cleared the Scheldt estuary in the first place. Failure to do so meant that the Germans could prevent the Allies from using the port of Antwerp (which was captured 90% intact), and they did. This prolonged the Allies' supply problems. Market Garden was an attempt to puncture the German defenses before supplies ran out. This was only an issue because Antwerp remained closed due to Monty's oversight. As it turned out, Market Garden burned through the Allies existing supply stockpile, necessitating a freeze on major offensive operations that allowed the Germans the breathing space to prepare Wacht am Rhein (the Ardennes counteroffensive).

For Market Garden to have succeeded, everything would have had according to plan. What are the odds of a plan surviving contact with an enemy, especially one as competent as the Wehrmacht/Waffen SS? It was a gamble that set the Allies back months (by burning the last of its fuel supplies) and led to the Hongerwinter in Holland.

Ike deserves part of the blame for approving the plan, but Monty, as the advocate, architect, and administrator, deserves the lion's share. Monty was a pompous tool.


*Differently biased is not "unbiased".
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  #215  
Old 04-20-2020, 11:26 AM
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Oh dear. You didn't watch any of that did you.
FYI, he's an actual historian who's probably put more time into researching WWII than pretty much all the rest of us here combined.
I suggest you watch the videos I suggested, then perhaps a few more and THEN get back to me.
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  #216  
Old 04-20-2020, 10:36 PM
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For Market-Garden, Monty should have been relieved. Any other Army commander who launched that operation would have been sacked, and justifiably so.

Remember, the Dutch, in their prewar staff college training, automatically failed any officer who proposed an attack up what became known as Hell's Highway. It was the refusal by Monty to make use of the Dutch Resistance, as well as the Dutch officers serving with the one Dutch Brigade in the field with Br 2nd Army, that would've told him "You can't do this. Not up just one road with terrain unfit for armor." But no....he knew more than anyone else.
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  #217  
Old 04-21-2020, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
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For Market-Garden, Monty should have been relieved.
I see you haven't watched the videos I suggested either then.
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  #218  
Old 04-21-2020, 10:05 AM
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Hate to say this, but I've read most of the histories on Market Garden, watched the youtube videos you've suggested and had the advantage of having actually walked many parts of the Highway of Death. Speaking as a tanker, no worse route could have been selected.

At the time, the 'highway' was a narrow two-lane road elevated over the surrounding countryside. Recent geological surveys have confirmed the extreme difficulty of moving armored vehicles over sodden fields (please remember that much of this part of Holland was recovered from the sea). Toss in the recent heavy rains prior to the battle, and the British were forced onto that road. The Germans then enjoyed firing practice at silhouetted targets.

To add insult to injury, the pre-war Dutch army never bothered with an advance to the Arnhem bridge, better to jog left and take the often over-looked ferry at Oosterbeek to cross the Rhine and attack Arnhem bridge from both ends.

Monty's plan was strategically brilliant, allow him the use of the only real Allied reserves, priority on supplies and he would make a narrow thrust, size a single bridge over the Rhine, make a right turn and funnel more troops into a drive into the Ruhr valley and defeat the Germans and end the war by Christmas.

In the end, the Allies suffered heavy losses and were the proud owners of a saliant that led nowhere.
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  #219  
Old 04-21-2020, 10:10 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Not new books, but Hector Bywater's alternative history 'The Great Pacific War' is an interesting read.

Even more interesting is his 'Sea-Power in the Pacific' (written before the Naval disarmament treaties). This gives a good overview of the support structure and planning of the IJN/USN. with the time.
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  #220  
Old 04-21-2020, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
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I see you haven't watched the videos I suggested either then.
I watched the book review video, but you're right, it was so "hot take" (It could have worked but Americans!) and myopic that I didn't bother to watch the others.

Clearly, you haven't read any of the books mentioned.

Both Hastings (a Brit) and Ryan (a Brit) also conclude that XXX was Corps was slow. This argument is not exclusive to Beevor's book. It's not controversial, "hot take" Youtube videos notwithstanding.

But XXX Corps' leisurely pace can mostly be forgiven because the overall plan was so flawed. As Dragoon500ly pointed out, the highway to Arnhem was unsuitable for a rapid corps-strength advance. A single substantial delay anywhere along the line and the plan fails. To believe that every single unit involved would achieve their day one objectives without delay is quixotically naive. Monty should have known better. He probably did, but the pompous egotist was such a glory hound that he pushed ahead with it anyway. He deserves the lion's share of the blame.

And your Youtube historian gets so hung up on what did or did not happen at Nijmegan that he ignores a key military tenet (also he waffles about the 36 hour delay- his central argument- just before and after minute 14) central to the failure of Market Garden.

The absolutely critical tenet that he conveniently underplays is that it is nearly impossible to move a corps quickly down a single MSR without unsecured flanks against determined resistance. If he wants to blame Gavin for not capturing Nijmegan on day one, fine, but that's not the only reason that Market Garden failed; it's not the biggest reason that Market Garden failed. As Matt Wiser pointed out, the Dutch knew that the plan wouldn't work before the war. Quite simply, the plan was crap. And that's on Monty.

The notion that if there hadn't been a delay at Nijmegan (blame who you like), there wouldn't have been a delay elsewhere and Market Garden would have succeeded is indefensible.

Even if XXX Corps had reached 1st Parachute Division in Arnhem, the offensive would very likely have stopped/ended right there, with no strategic benefit to the Allies (besides a salient that led nowhere, as Dragoon500ly said). All the Germans would have to do is blow the bridge. The Germans had already demonstrated that they did not fear the push and were determined to stand and fight. XXX Corps, already at the end of its logistical tether, would not have been able to push on. The highway would have been vulnerable to being cut behind XXX Corps by the German forces bypassed along the flanks (you don't need "100 tanks" to do this). Adequate fuel and ammo supplies would not have been able to get to Arnhem, even had it been captured. The allied army was already running prohibitively low on both when the operation started, largely because Monty'd failed to secure Antwerp.

Monty sucked.

I suggest you read some books on the subject and then get back to me.
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  #221  
Old 04-21-2020, 06:27 PM
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I forgot about the dig at 82ABN....they never had orders to seize the Nijmegen bridge on Day One, rather seize the bridge "if practicable." One of their primary tasks on Day One was to secure the bridges at Grave, the Maas-Waal canal and at Heumen, they also had the task of securing the key high ground at the Groesbeek Heights. Securing the heights was necessary as a blocking position to prevent a German counterattack from the nearby Reichwald as well as prevent the Germans from setting artillery FOs overlooking the key highway.

Nevertheless, General Gavin was sufficiently pleased with the initial progress that he was able to free a battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment later on Day One.

The battalion was not able to approach the bridge until early evening and ran into elements of a SS Recon Battalion that stopped them cold. Elements of this SS unit later drove back to Arnhem and ran into Frost's 2nd Paras on the bridge.
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  #222  
Old 04-28-2020, 08:36 AM
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There is no way that Monty's attack would have succeeded - and I agree that he should have been sacked - he threw away the 6th Airborne basically - it was only by a lot of luck and very hard fighting and the dedication of those who stayed behind to convince the Germans they were still in place that any of them got away - otherwise the Germans would have bagged them all.

And you cant fault any of the airborne units - the all fought magnificently - but trying to come up that road was a disaster waiting to happen. The British and Americans were lucky that the German units were as damaged as they were or they might have had a Kharkov type disaster and gotten several units bagged by the Germans instead of just Frost's parachutists at the bridge in Arnhem.
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  #223  
Old 04-28-2020, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
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There is no way that Monty's attack would have succeeded.
I see you haven't watched the material I suggested either.
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  #224  
Old 04-28-2020, 10:02 AM
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Actually done a lot of research on Market Garden - it was an out and out disaster - in some ways it actually extended the war because it gave the Germans more confidence in thinking they could stop the British and Americans from penetrating into Germany and that they could stop the Allies in the West - and if the German forces that had cut the road had held they would have bagged the British spearhead who wouldnt have been able to turn around on the road and attack to clear it
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  #225  
Old 04-28-2020, 01:38 PM
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Default But the Videos!

This is a book recommendation thread, BTW. It was intended to be a place for forum members to share book recommendations/reviews, not post third party Youtubers' reviews.

Please refrain from posting opinions about books which you have not read.

Besides,

Several scholarly tomes on the ETO, 1944-'45 and Market Garden > A couple of hot-take Youtube videos on the same subject

Thank you.
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  #226  
Old 04-29-2020, 12:20 AM
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You assume I haven't read it or plenty more just because I'm referring you to somebody who can detail the arguments better than I can and take much less time doing it?
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  #227  
Old 04-29-2020, 08:35 AM
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You assume I haven't read it or plenty more just because I'm referring you to somebody who can detail the arguments better than I can and take much less time doing it?
Yes, because I flat out asked you if you read any of the books I mentioned and you didn't answer. Instead, you kept harping on the Youtube videos that you linked to.

Quote:
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Firstly Beevor missed some very important facts, although overall the book is good.
This is the only indication that you read the book, and, coincidentally (?), your one-line "review" is exactly the same as Mr. Youtube's opening thesis for his book review/hot-take expose video.

You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but the fact that you accept a Youtuber's analysis rather than multiple renowned military historians' also suggests that you have not actually read any of their relevant works.

Then there's the important matter of context. You have a well-documented history of trolling and have been banned from this forum twice for said (and other online venues as well). Let's take a look at your first and second posts in the preceding "debate".

Quote:
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Monty was not at fault when you look at the actual evidence.
(emphasis added) This to two forumites who had recently read a 443-page book (including notes and bibliography)- as if the book we were recommended/discussing was not based on any "actual evidence".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legbreaker View Post
Oh dear. You didn't watch any of that did you.
FYI, he's an actual historian who's probably put more time into researching WWII than pretty much all the rest of us here combined.
I suggest you watch the videos I suggested, then perhaps a few more and THEN get back to me.
When you pop into a thread and immediately start arguing with people, in a deliberately condescending tone, it calls into question your intentions, if not your sources.

The fact that you didn't respond to any of the opposing arguments presented in this debate (of which there were several) with anything other than "watch the videos" also smacks of trolling. At the very least, it strongly indicates that your knowledge of the subject derives exclusively from said videos.

If you have actually read the relevant Beevor, Ryan, Hastings, and/or Atkinson (Pulitzer winner), and/or any other scholarly books on the subject, then I'm sorry.

Now let's move on and use this thread for what it was intended- non-fiction book recommendations.

-
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  #228  
Old 04-29-2020, 09:23 AM
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I own all three of Atkinson's books on the US Army during WWII and have read them repeatedly - I HIGHLY recommend them for those who are interested in WWII history - and they are great reads that you can use for Twilight 2000 as well (especially the books on Italy and Africa showing how the US Army went thru a very painful process of learning the art of war)

Also have several of Cornelius Ryan's books as well and also recommend them as well for those interested in Market Garden, D-Day and the Battle of Berlin

Raellus - thank you for the recommendation on Beevor - have to check those out

I recommend Max Hastings book on the Falklands War as well

FYI I agree about Monty and is over-reliance on set piece battles - he was lucky to have General Horrocks under his command - without him Monty might not have ever had the reputation he had against the Germans - Atkinson pointed that out in his book about the war in Tunisia
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:40 AM
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Found this while looking for resources and seems somewhat relevant to current events. Haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.
https://www.amazon.com/Plague-Wars-T.../dp/0312203535
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Old 07-16-2020, 03:22 PM
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I'm honestly surprised that the following pair of books has yet to be recommended here - while I've seen the first one discussed in a different thread around when it came out, the latter I couldn't find anything on.

First is - This Is Only a Test. (https://www.amazon.com/This-only-Tes.../dp/1403965544) One of two excellent books on nuclear preparedness during the cold war, this book in particular doesn't just talk about facilities, it talks about plans - everything from the Presidents, to SCOTUS, and even 9/11. I have, for a while now, been attempting to find more research on SCOTUS' part in COG to send his way, as it's rarely mentioned the book - I emailed the author and he even admitted that I basically found as much as he did in terms of modern-ish research on that particular topic - given it was published only 5 years after 9/11, he probably had even less at the time of writing. It's a really good book though. Harder to find.

Raven Rock (https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Rock-Go.../dp/1476735409) is a far easier to get ahold of book, that treads much of the same ground as the other, while also being quite a bit more of a commercial success. It's really long, and quite detailed, giving a real sense of how the COG machine built up from the early days of the bomb on forward - and how sometimes, things didn't always go to plan. It also includes far more on the period after 9/11 (since it was published 15+ years after), and it benefits from this distance, and release of additional documents in the decade since the previous work, to expand the picture greatly. It's is not, unlike This Is Only A Test, written by a history professor, but is still worth reading particularly if you're interested on the more modern, post-cold-war side of things.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:54 PM
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Found this while looking for resources and seems somewhat relevant to current events. Haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.
https://www.amazon.com/Plague-Wars-T.../dp/0312203535
Finished it a couple of days ago. What an eye opener!
Loads of good info which could be easily used in T2K as well. There's a section detailing many of the biological weapons which looks almost in the same format as the diseases in the BYB!

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