Mark Clark

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Mullet94, Feb 19, 2009.

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  1. Mullet94

    Mullet94 Senior Member

    I've just finished reading Anzio: The Friction of War by Lloyd Clark and I'm amazed at this General's complete disregard for his fellow Allies and his insubordination towards his superior officers. The guys sounds like a typical glory seeking American General in the war for his own reasons rather fighting a war as he should by defeating the enemy as quickly and efficently as possible.

    His obsession with taking Rome before the Eigth Army got there was out of line as he was tasked with cutting of the German Tenth Army but instead he diverted his forces to Rome and allowed great numbers to get away and fight another day. To add to his incompetence when he took Rome he ordered his men to shoot any British soldiers that entered the city as he didn't want them to share the glory. I was stunned when I read this, who needs enemies when we had Allies like this.

    After I finished I thought well he must have been given a court martial or sent back to the US but I discovered he got given command of 15th Army Group when Alexander was promoted to Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean. :mad:
     
  2. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    There was an interesting 2 part documentary done by Alan Whicker (Whicker's War) in which he returned to Italy. I think he took one of the first photos of Clark on entering Rome. In his very polite style, he told of his disdain for the arrogance of the man.
     
  3. Mullet94

    Mullet94 Senior Member

    Yeah there was quite a few quotes from Alan Whicker in the book, he wasn't a great fan of Clark's.
     
  4. Mullet94

    Mullet94 Senior Member

    Apologies Mods, I just noticed that there was a earlier thread about Mark Clark should have added my thoughts to that thread.
     
  5. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    and he got one of the greatest come-uppances - he was destined to be forgotten by being overshadowed a day later by D-Day :)
     
  6. sicily43

    sicily43 Senior Member

    I read "The day of the battle" of Rick Atkinson and there is a good analisis of Clark campaign in Italy, and his obsession to take Rome before D-Day
     
  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Just the mention of that mans name is enough to send shock waves through a lot of surviving Veterans from both sides of the Atlantic.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    The more I read and learn about WWII the more I think that the war could have been won a lot quicker if it wasn't for some self serving US Commanders who fought the war only to further their own egos and political careers or to gain media headlines. :mad:

    Be careful what you wish for. There are some in the us who had identical thoughts concerning British generals.
     
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  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mullet -
    my opinion of that man Clark has not changed in 65 years as he was an egotistical barsteward and idiot of the first water.....why he was ever given command of 15 Army group was beyond all understanding - then later to be given a Command in Korea really iced the cake......he cost more both British and American lives than any other Commander - no matter what the Americans think of Monty-

    just read what happened at San Pietro with the US 36th Divison - sums up that idiot -- he didn't get his comeuppance at D Day - he got it later when British General Richard Mc Creery - Commander of 8th Army at that time - finshed off the Italian Campaign.

    Had I been in a position to write his fitness report - I would have finished it up with the words - " NO man should follow this Officer - even out of curiosity "

    Cheers
     
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  10. Mullet94

    Mullet94 Senior Member

    Be careful what you wish for. There are some in the us who had identical thoughts concerning British generals.

    Whatever the British General's failings I doubt you can show me one that behaved as badly as Clark or even Patton for that matter.
     
  11. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    Got to agree with Tom surely no one can argue that Clark didn't cost the lives of thousands of British and American troops by his strategies to gain personal advancement and glory.

    In the polls of worst WW2 Generals he's always my No1 !!!
     
  12. adam180

    adam180 Senior Member

    hello
    i am reading up a lot lately about ww2 in italy, and have the book mentioned and Anzio by lloyd clark.
    i also cant belive what he got away with and how he was aloud to throw caution to the wind and get all them soldiers killed or made POWs
     
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  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Whatever the British General's failings I doubt you can show me one that behaved as badly as Clark or even Patton for that matter.

    I do not intend to.

    I am not interested in getting into a petty pissing match on the subject of degrees of individual prowess or incompetence that would, for the most part, be cause for continued subjective nationalistic discussion and comparison. This seemed to me to the crux of your argument. My comment was addressed at the broad statement that appeared to me to be an attempt to paint most, if not all, prominent US generals with the same brush, while seemingly ignoring failings elsewhere.

    While I am no fan of Mark Clark, I can assure you that there was a surfeit of seemingly inadequate generals in all armies that contributed to misguided military operations and who somehow managed to maintain a command.B)
     
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  14. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    I've just finished reading Anzio: The Friction of War by Lloyd Clark and I'm amazed at this General's complete disregard for his fellow Allies and his insubordination towards his superior officers.
    One book and that's all it takes to form the following opinion.


    The guys sounds like a typical glory seeking American General in the war for his own reasons rather fighting a war as he should by defeating the enemy as quickly and efficently as possible.

    Hmmm...... Why am I thinking of Charles Gordon, Cecil Rhodes or Bernard Law Montgomery. Patton was an effective General, Mark Clarke not so effective according to Von Senger and other sources. I am no fan of Mark Clarke, say as you wish about him.

    Perhaps a more carefully worded post o call sign of bad hair design.;):D


    The more I read and learn about WWII the more I think that the war could have been won a lot quicker if it wasn't for some self serving US Commanders who fought the war only to further their own egos and political careers or to gain media headlines. :mad:

    Certainly applies to all of the Allied command as a whole rather than just the US.
     
  15. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Having never read anything specific about this aspect of the war or Clarke , this is a good one for me.
    All I know is that Clarke headed for Rome when he had an opportunity to trap a large portion of Kesselrings troops - he might not have gotten them all but he would have got some or most of them , is this the option he ignored to take Rome ?

    How long did Clarke remain in Command after taking Rome , his desire to "have his name linked with the City" was granted him but for the wrong reasons.

    Didn't Clarke go to Italy to meet Vichy leaders before "Torch" ?
    At sometime he was it would seem well thought of in terms of his judgement and ability.

    Italy was always going to be invaded for political reasons , the nature of the country and related problems for a small to moderate Army to advance through against an able and resourceful commander seem to have been illustrated.
     
  16. Mullet94

    Mullet94 Senior Member

    I apologise for generalising US Commanders and fully apreciate that there were poor and incompetent Generals in all armies but Mark Clark's actions were a complete dereliction of duty and how he remained in command defies belief.
     
  17. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    The more I read and learn about WWII the more I think that the war could have been won a lot quicker if it wasn't for some self serving US Commanders who fought the war only to further their own egos and political careers or to gain media headlines. :mad:
    I'm afraid I cannot agree with this statement Mullet for two reasons. One: Its a fierce generalisation and whilst you may be able to quote examples, there are others in other armies for whom the same accusation can be levelled. Two, this is nothing to do with the discussion about Mark Clark. Lets keep this on track lads. I dont want to close it but I will if it continues into a nationalistic "our lads are better than yours" contest.
     
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  18. Mullet94

    Mullet94 Senior Member

    Sorry I've edited my comments in my original post regarding US Commanders, they were said in the heat of the moment shortly after finishing the book and after a day to reflect on it my comments there were out of line. My intention was never to create a pissing contest.
     
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  19. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Sorry I've edited my comments in my original post regarding US Commanders, they were said in the heat of the moment shortly after finishing the book and after a day to reflect on it my comments there were out of line. My intention was never to create a pissing contest.
    Thats fair enough so! Then on with the discussion about the brilliance (or lack thereof) of Mark Clark.

    Given that it would appear that most people are critical of his actions in Italy, how was his performance rated in Korea? Ok, that came out wrong. I'm not that interested in what people in Korea think about Mark Clark. But do you think he fared any better commanding troops in Korea?
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Mark Wayne Clark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A rather interesting paragraph about the man-probably from a fan:

    Clark's conduct of operations remains controversial, particularly his actions during the Battle of the Winter Line, when, ignoring orders from Army Group Commander, British General Harold Alexander, he sent the U.S. VI Corps towards Rome, which was captured on June 4, 1944, rather than exploiting the gap in the German positions to entrap and capture German units. In December 1944 Clark succeeded Harold Alexander in command of the 15th Army Group, putting him in command of all Allied ground troops in Italy, by that time an international coalition of numerous diverse cultures with often conflicting interests.


    I know little about the chap or care to at this moment in time but decision makers are never popular with men from a different regiment let alone another country.

    Just putting the shoe on the other foot ;)

    Cheers
    Andy
     

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