The AUK - Claude Auchinleck

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Gen.Horrocks, May 5, 2008.

  1. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    My 2p.

    During CRUSADER he clearly outgeneralled Rommel, by a wide and noticeable margin. The judgment not to pull out during the 'dash to the wire' was one of the finest examples of instinct and being right for the wrong reasons that I have come across, and certainly one with the biggest impact. But it is noticeable that 8th Army was only winning when he was in fact up front at 8th Army HQ. The moment he left things started to fall to pieces again (the hash that was made of 2nd battle of Bir el Gobi, the screwed-up pursuit, the complete balls-up during the counter-offensive, the obvious lack of a will by Norrie and Ritchie to take Bardia/Halfaya in order to preserve South African manpower).

    In my view his biggest failing was that he was too kind to non-performing subordinates in a way that Rommel was not (who went the other extreme), and that is what he paid for in the end. Ritchie should have been sacked over the counter-offensive in January at the very latest, instead of in July, when he had proved that he was just not up to the job. He should not have let Godwin-Austen go, either. He should have sent Gott on leave, as he was clearly tired too.

    Having said that, I can not really find other faults in his performance, and the heavy reliance on his subordinates is of course understandable, given that he had a massive theatre to deal with, and a pretty constant fear during his tenure as commander about a German invasion from the north through Turkey or Iran, against which the defenses were very weak. Rommel had it much easier, since he had considerably less to worry about.

    One man's opinion.

    All the best

  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Has anybody read this biography?

    Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 01.24.53.png

    I had considered the other biography by his ADC, Major Alex Greenwood, but one review I read said that it was shockingly bad--anybody else looked at it.

  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This is all he has to say.

    Screenshot 2019-07-10 at 01.38.35.png

    There is no reference for the remark at all and the only other time Auchinleck comes up is when Hyam attacks Warner's biography of him (The Lonely Soldier) by claiming that Warner has produced "a biography of Field Marshal Auchinleck almost hysterically denying that his interest in Indian boys had an active sexual side."

    This is Warner's coverage of the subject:

    Screenshot 2019-07-10 at 01.47.38.png


    That is shoddy work by Hyam.

    If you are going to allege something in print, let's see the evidence (or at least tell us where to find it), even if you can't legally slander the dead.
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  5. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I've seen that the Army Records Society are planning a future volume based on Auchinleck's papers which are, I think, deposited in Manchester university.


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  6. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Auchinleck really does (in my opinion) have to be blamed for choosing Ritchie - I understand that alternatively it would have been Montgomery which would probably have been good for the army except of course that the two did not get on. But not only was Ritchie not up to the task and needing to be replaced, he had the Auk looking over his shoulder (which probably sapped his reputation in the eyes of his subordinates), but if Auchinleck was partly responsible for the way that 8 Army tried to make decisions at Gazala almost wholly on the basis of intercepted communications then he bears proportional responsibility for that idiocy.
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The Auk at 90: David Dimbleby interviews Field-Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck (1974)


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