The sacking of General Stanisław Sosabowski

Discussion in 'General' started by Owen, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  2. ourbill

    ourbill Senior Member

    He was sacked because he was a whinging pain in the neck to other Officers. He was so frustrated at not being able to fight the Germans or is it the Russians I forget, that he turned his spite on the easy British. We should have sent him and his paras to Italy and let them have a good go at the Germans there!
     
  3. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    There was a lot of indignation about the way that he was treated, especially in Holland and an appeal was set up. It's details have been summarised at:

    http://www.army.mod.uk/para/appeals_for_information_page.htm

    It's nice to see that such a brave man has been finally given due credit

    For his role in Market Garden and his dismissal see:

    http://www.pegasusarchive.org/arnhem/stanislaw_sosabowski.htm

    I think this seems rather telling, and one can see why his faimily were angry:

    "Montgomery wrote to CIGS and reported that the Poles "fought very badly and the men showed no keenness to fight", and he declared that he did not want them under his command and suggested they be sent to join other Poles in Italy. General Browning submitted a long report to CIGS on Sosabowski's performance, before and during the battle. He charged him with being "difficult to work with", "unable to adapt himself to the level of a parachute brigade commander", and "quite incapable of appreciating the urgent nature of the operation and continually showing himself to be both argumentative and loath to play his full part in the operation unless everything was done for him and his brigade." (From the above site"
     
  4. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Read the bio on the website, he had a typical european officers career which meant that he was heavily involved in the political side of things. That might be the root of the problem as the upper reaches of the british army, did not have the expericence of operating in the higher reaches of the politico - military establishment, which had resulted in the problems post WWI war.

    The classic example was Stuffy Dowding and bert harris, who both operated in terms of their own commands and were out manouvered by others who did have the political connection with the churchill clique!

    But his post war story leaves a lot to be desired, as a one who had done great things for not only his country but for the allied cause in war, he was reduced to being a worker on the shop floor earning a pittance. It must have been a great let down for one who had been used to commanding troops for years!
     
  5. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    But his post war story leaves a lot to be desired, as a one who had done great things for not only his country but for the allied cause in war, he was reduced to being a worker on the shop floor earning a pittance. It must have been a great let down for one who had been used to commanding troops for years!

    It's terrible the way that soldiers and aviators were treated when they returned to their countries after the war. Almost all were treated as suspicious by the new communist regimes. If they were lucky they were merely denied jobs, but a lot ended up in prisons or even executed. Just started reading "For Your Freedom and Ours: The Kosciuszko Squadron"

    I grew up in Ealing (West London) which has a large Polish population (a lot orginally settled there after serving at RAF Northolt), and even in the 1980s they were still bitter and disappointed with the outcome of the war - most had never been back to Poland. Only in the 1990s did they start making visits back. Real shame.
     
  6. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

    It's terrible the way that soldiers and aviators were treated when they returned to their countries after the war. Almost all were treated as suspicious by the new communist regimes. If they were lucky they were merely denied jobs, but a lot ended up in prisons or even executed. Just started reading "For Your Freedom and Ours: The Kosciuszko Squadron"

    I grew up in Ealing (West London) which has a large Polish population (a lot orginally settled there after serving at RAF Northolt), and even in the 1980s they were still bitter and disappointed with the outcome of the war - most had never been back to Poland. Only in the 1990s did they start making visits back. Real shame.
    I agree.

    A teachr at my school saids that there used to be a polish PE teacher. He had fought as a Commando and then as a SAS guy in WW2 (i am not sure if this is true). He had also won a Gold at the Berlin olympics and often reminised that he should have killed Hitler then. One lesson he ordered a boy to bend over for a caning. The boy said
    "No and i will tell my father to write a letter to school"
    The Polish teacher then picked up rhe boy in his right hand, shook his left hand and said
    "with this hand i will put you in hospital"
    he then put the boy in his left hand and shook his right
    "and with this one i will put your dad in the bed next to you"
     
  7. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    I should also add that real reasons why Sosabowski was sacked maybe only one part of the whole relationship between Poland, UK, US and Russia. Most of the decisions made about Poland between the Big Three excluded Polish participation. This was partly because a lot of the occupied countries were not directly represented, and partly because each of the Big Three had different opnions on Poland - UK was very pro, USSR hated Poland (long history) and the US was apathetic for most of the war.

    Another mystery that hung over this relationship was the death of Sikorski (some people still think his death in a plane crash off Gibralter was sabotage)
     
  8. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Right, I'm going to be REALLY smug now. I've just bought a copy of Sosabowski's autobiography on ebay (sold by his great grandson).

    "This auction is for new, sealed copies of ‘Freely I Served’ the autobiography of Major General S Sosabowski, founder and Commander of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade.

    This is a special, limited reprint commissioned by the Sosabowski family using the original plates which were used to print the 1982 reprint of the book, by the publishers, Battery Press. We have taken this step since the General was awarded the Bronze Lion in Holland in May 2006, and the Brigade the Military Order of Willem. Upon request the books can be signed by Sosabowski’s great grandson (this will of course necessitate the removal of the shrink wrapping). Part of the proceeds of the book sales will go toward keeping the memory of the Brigade alive and disseminating the Brigade’s contribution to Operation Market Garden. Moreover, the campaign to recognise the General’s contribution and to recognise the manner in which he was treated after Operation Market Garden is part of this process. Included at no additional charge will be the PowerPoint handouts Dr Hal Sosabowski’s lecture on the Brigade, Operation Market Garden, the general and what happened to him after the war."

    Genuine or not, should be interesting - maybe I'll be able illuminate his sacking, from his own perspective
     
  9. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Brownings letter recommending Sosabowski's dismissal
     

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  10. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    From Military Illustrated no 257 in an article by Simon Rees this paragraph seems very telling it follows quotation from the above letter in the same article and refers to Browning."These are words from a man who had disregarded key intelligence and underestimated his enemy. A man who has never been near to Dreil during the fighting and had failed, utterly, to push Horrocks into speeding up XXX Corps' effort to reach and then cross the Rhine.Like Montgomery, Browning requested that Sosabowski be replaced.Desperate to maintain haemorrhaging British support, the Polish government-in-exile acquiesced, with Sosabowski relieved of his command just after Christmas 1944.For the men of PIPB it was an earth shattering blow."
     
  11. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    I've read quite a bit about the Sosabowski issue, and its hard to come to any other conclusion than that he was on the receiving end of events. Certainly he doesnt seem to have been an easy character, but in that respect he was hardly the only one in NW Europe in 1944. I think it was quite wrong of Browning to write to VCIGS recommending the dismissal of an officer of another country as if he was British. If in his opinion Sosabowski's conduct required a negative report then so be it, but it does smack of a stitch-up.
     
  12. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    I will try it again sorry
     
  13. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    William F. Buckinghams book,
     

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  14. TomTAS

    TomTAS Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    Reading William Buckingham Arnhem 1944 which tells of Browning egging on Monty for Market Garden you see Browning was really a political commander with No battle experience.. On the other hand you had General Sosabowski who saw the writing on the wall for what it was.. The German's reaction time Brownings falier to get his Man into Arnhem his holding back Intell about SS Panzer Div in the area the list goes on with this one.. Taking 32 Gliders of the South Staffs just to show his face in Holland tasking Gavin with getting the Groesbeek Heights and not going right for the Nijmegen bridge... Its not wonder he was kicked out after Arnhem and the command given to Major General Gale...

    Cheers
    Tom
     
  15. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    To add to Toms mention of Browning Lieutenant-General Frederick Browning as for the Gliders which it says in the link totalled 38 he took to fly in his HQ it seems just another nail in the coffin of his reputation......... man was all spit and polish and what he said went at the cost of other mens lives.
     
  16. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    The Browning story is quite an interesting one. I had read Buckingham's book, and I found it one of the most well-written books about Arnhem. Its very hard to disagree with his views about Browning. I always suspected there was more to him than meets the eye.

    Last year I did some preliminary research about Browning, with the view to possibly writing a biography. It turns out that he had a very distinguished service during WW1, winning the DSO as a Lieutenant, and becoming Rawlinson's ADC. In the inter-war years however it looks like he - perhaps not surprisingly for a succesful Guards officer - became more of a political soldier, and owed his success to being well-connected (apparently he was a protege of Mountbatten and Churchill). Apart from a spell as Adjutant of Sandhurst, he spent virtually all of the inter-war period on Regimental duty in London. It does seem that he did well using his connections plead the case for Airborne Forces early in the war, but that operational command was not his forte. Even when the war started he wasnt given an active command until 1940. Its sad in a way, that he felt he had to see active service - there were several Generals such as Adam, Nye, etc who saw none or very little active service but played a very important part in administration and what we would now call force-generation.

    After the war it seems that Browning had some mental health problems, and was arrested for drink-driving near his home in Cornwall. I read a volume of letters by his wife - Daphne Du Maurier - that was quite illuminating to say the least.

    Anyway, I was informed by the archivist of the Grenadier Guards that somebody else is already well advanced in writing a biography, ie, 'leave off'. Knowing what Regiments can be like about their own, and how protective Browning's family have been of his reputation, it should be interesting to see how it turns out...
     
  17. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Hi, I am sure I read somewhere that when Urquhart arrived at Brownings HQ in NIJMEGEN after getting out of OOSTERBEEK, he asked to see BROWNING who was in bed in his pajamas, in the film A BRIDGE TO FAR he comes down in uniform, I have often pondered if there was something more BROWNING could of been doing with the remnants of his troops just 9 miles up the road, pajamas or not,than go to bed. To me this is the measure of the man. A self opinionated social climber. who could have appointed better qualified people around him.But to be top dog he picked people he thought less experianced than himself, and then he blamed the poles,B---dy cheek
    rant over LOFTY
     
  18. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I will await this book on Browning with intrest wonder what it will or wont reveal about him and Arnhem;)
     
  19. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    I will await this book on Browning with intrest wonder what it will or wont reveal about him and Arnhem;)

    I think it depends whether its 'official' or 'unofficial', and whether the author is into airbrushing history or not ;)
     
  20. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    [IMG=http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/360/sosato1.jpg][/IMG]

    As one can see here there was a letter from Montgomery to Sosabowski, so its not correct to say that the British ingnored him!

    I always found it load of nonsense that he/brigade was awarded the Dutch Willemsorde, other people also deserved it and if, it should have been given it should have been given to the 1st British Airborne Division including the Polish Parachute Brigade.
     

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