Montys' near sacking.

Discussion in 'General' started by irons, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. irons

    irons Junior Member

    I'm wondering if someone can tell me the reason for Montys' near sacking. I've read/heard of a few reasons and wondered if anyone has a definitive answer.

    1) He shouted too much that he should have got the nod over Ike to be supreme commander.
    2) The Normandy operation wasn't going as well as expected.
    3) The bombing of Normandy, where many French civilians were casualties.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    In my view - having studied Monty in full over many years- I believe your reasons to be bogus- especially as #2 the Normandy

    campaign was 20 days ahead of Monty's planned schedule- hardly a disaster - he was also NOT responsible for the bombing of

    French civilians.

    This whole thing about being sacked started in the Desert in August 1942 when Monty had Aukinleks Mess torn down to allow the

    flies to go free- and moved his AFHQ to move closer to the RAF HQ on the beach- in order to have better rapport with the RAF

    headed at that time by Tedder and Coningham - who objected to Monty telling them the Battle of Britain was long over and he had
    a different view of how they should be acting- this was not too well received and held against Monty - the US General-

    Brereton joined in against Monty- with repercussions at Ahrnem later ….

    Monty had to wait therefore until Medenine before all three defected to Algiers to be on staff with Ike- Harry Broadhurst took

    over the RAF and he and Monty came up with the "CAB RANK" of fighters in co-operation with the army- and was very successful

    at El Hamma - Tunis and much later at the Seine to Antwerp- this obviously did NOT please the three airman and the skull

    duggery began - even in the midst of great success……happily they failed and the war was won- eventually as Ike had never

    commanded even a brigade in his service…

    But don't go by about it in the actual history of the War…

    Cheers PS - Monty had hoped that Alanbrooke might have been Supreme Commander
  3. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member

    Tom, well spoken!

    The anti-army/Montgomery sentiment from "flies" like Tedder, Coningham and Brereton had some considerable (negative) influence on the progress of the war. I do not think Eisenhower would have sacked Montgomery, Alanbrooke's protege. Montgomery had to fight the Germans and also repel the political attacks. And, his strategy (occupy the Germans in the east, breakout in the west) is Normandy was at the time not well understood (Montgomery was certainly no great communicator), which made things harder for him.
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Don't know about Monty being no great communicator - he certainly emphasized with many meetings on how the Normandy Battle

    was to be fought - the main trouble was that many did not understand as they were NOT professional soldiers -as he was

    as we found out in Italy when there was great deal of non compliance with orders…culminating with Clark disobeying Alex's

    orders to trap two German Armies at the top of the Liri Valley when he turned away and entered Rome- this caused an even

    bigger battle at the Gothic Line where 8th Army lost 14,000 KIA's in a month as well as 16,000 wounded…

  5. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member

    What I have learned - until now - is that the clashing of ego's/nationalities often had consequences for the men on the ground, doing the fighting.
  6. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Which one ?

    There are a few instances of Monty-near-sacking...

    In 1940, his order on "horizontal refreshment" for the troops creates trouble and his sacking is considered.

    In July 1944, the idea of sacking Montgomery is about to be voiced when Cobra breaks through. Tedder (who really dislikes Monty) mentions that in a 'private' letter dated July 19th. Exactly at the same time, Churchill gets very angry because he is not allowed to go visit the beachhead when he feels like it. The conjonction of both (behind-the-door gossip and angriness at the top) could have led to Monty's sacking. But in my opinion, it was not that hot.

    In early January 1945, Eisenhower is on the verge of sacking Montgomery because he can't stand anymore that Montgomery argues against the organization of SHAEF, and esp. about Eisenhower acting as "ground forces commander". A memorandum dated Dec 29th (IIRC) is reproduced in Montgomery's Memoirs and is reaaaaally offensive in the way it dictates what the Supreme Commander should order. (Already in October 1944, in reply to a long memorandum by Montgomery, Eisenhower mentions "drastic measures" to solve the command issue - and that means sacking Montgomery.)
  7. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    You are wrong Mori. By the date you insinuate Monty's sacking had already been thrust about by Tedder.

    Its worth reading the minutes of meetings and accounts of those at Second Army, SHAEF and 21 AG HQs. You'd notice a certain trend there, which would hopefully lead your view.

    Sadly it appears that with the 'reaaaaaally' you are more dedicated to the opinion that Monty should have been sacked and deliberately hated Ike etc. Not least as your argument has already shifted to indicate further knowledge you obfuscated at the start - which is always an unwise thing to do on a forum when attempting to troll it old chap.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Montgomery being a Teetotaler and non smoker, did not go down well with Churchill as I seem to recall :) following an inspection of Montgomery's defences on the south coast following Dunkirk.

    Winston, used to being wined and dined was invited into a Tent for a normal meal and was not amused so to speak, thus began the personal prejudice.

    I wonder if Churchill really ever came around to seeing Montgomery in a better light?

  9. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member


    Where can we find the source in which Eisenhower mentions "drastic measures"? To understand the context, I mean.
  10. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Hum... what makes you so defensive that you attack me as a person after the first post...?

    About December 1944, I do think Montgomery's memorandum, where he litteraly dictates instructions to Ike, is... at least unique in the way he does not realize how offensive his way is. It is your n-1 in the organization coming to your desk and telling "boss, your next order should be a copy/paste of this draft that makes me the new boss".

    Does that mean that Monty should have been sacked...? I don't think I've ever hinted that. I actually did not ask myself the question until you raised it.

    Did Monty hate Ike? I don't think I've ever considered this as an option. Monty did not hate many people (Auchinleck, maybe). He despised many though...
  11. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    I must say I would be super interested in this material - my own research can only benefit from it. What would recommend to start with, and where would you find the documents (online or in a printed book, preferably...)?
  12. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member


    Imagine you are an an succesful and experienced battlefield commander. Then you get a new boss, unexperienced in battle, always negotiating compromises. That would be very frustrating to see (and costing lives). Would explain some things.
  13. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Eisenhower to Montgomery,Oct 13th, 1944

    It's a long reply to Montgomery after he (Montgomery) sent a memo detailing how "unsatisfatory" the command organization was. Monty never accepted that Ike stepped over as Ground Forces Commander early September 1944.

    This is the sentence with "drastic":

    "I am quite well aware of the powers and limitations of an Allied Command, and if you, as the senior Commander in this Theater of one of the great Allies, fell that my conceptions and directives are such as to endanger the success of operations, it is our duty to refer the matter to higher authority for any action they may choose to take, however drastic".

    The threat is pretty clear.
  14. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Definitely !
  15. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    PS: on Oct 16th, Montgomery replies: "You will hear no more on the subject of command from me" (emphasis by BLM) - a promise Montgomery does not keep...
  16. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member

    I think it is more that Eisenhower wanted to show who's the boss, and restrain Montgomery, a bit, for the time being.

    :) I rather like Montgomery, but that is clear, right?

    He was not afraid to speak his mind!
  17. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Go to the TNA at Kew...

    As for defensive I've sadly seen far too many posts like this.

    I suspect you like Gelb, Hastings, Beevor and Ambrose a bit too much - but that is just going off what you posted thus far. Obvious tells...
  18. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    I agree. To me, in Oct 1944, it was not about sacking Monty.
  19. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Dear fellow, this kind of insult I will not take. Bring a witness of your choice, I'll have mine and we meet 50 feet from each other at Kew Gardens on Tuesday morning next week.


    Seriously, you are very defensive here... I have no respect for Beevor (he just does pop history). Hastings, at least, writes well - but he has too many biaises of his own. Ambrose is old. Gelb - who would bother with Gelb?

    My syntax certainly gives it away: as I'm not from UK or from the US, I tend to have a more neutral / less passionate point of view on Montgomery.
  20. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan


    Its the internet, syntax means little. I've highlighted my concerns and now bow out.

    Mostly because I suspect this will go in the direction these threads usually are loathe to do so.

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