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alwayzinit
25th Oct 2008, 15:49
Just seen in the "torygraph" that a conference the celebrate/ commemorate, depending on with side of the Channel you come from, said battle is to held......................in France:eek:

Not surprisingly it is to announce that:

1. The French actually won( well they would say that)
2. The English used jolly unfair tactics that actually killed people and even "brutally" chopped up some bod who was trying to chop up Our Harry V. Shocking stuff

and 3. Oh yes Les Filthy Roste Beoufs were in fact War Criminals!

You couldn't make it up.

The best thing is all the "experts are from France AH!:ugh:.

Good to see the Entente Cordial is alive and well!

tony draper
25th Oct 2008, 15:56
You just cant trust folks who wear cloth dinner plates on their heads.
Bounders to a man.:suspect::)

Captain Stable
25th Oct 2008, 17:03
Whether the plucky Anglais played by the (present-day) rules or not, whether the king's bodyguard chopped a bloke in bits or not, the questions they need to answer are:-

1) Who won eh Pierre (or Gaston or Jean or whatever yer name is)? :ok:
2) Er - that's it - Ed.

Nopax,thanx
25th Oct 2008, 17:12
My favourite part of the article was the parting shot -

"No English academics have been invited"

Apparently we used 'underhand tactics against an honourable enemy'

No laughing now........:p :}

Capot
25th Oct 2008, 17:29
Et qui s'amusent maintenant, mes braves, hein?

Nous controllons votre energie, le EU, et le futur du petit ile a l'autre cote de la Manche.

Qui a gagne a Agincourt? Pouf, qui s'en interesse?







Ou est Agincourt?

Philpaz
25th Oct 2008, 17:40
A French company may own our Energy, but France is hardly French anymore is it.
Less than half your population is of French Origin so your Empire has crippled you just as ours has crippled us. Its our colonys that win, not us.

Oh, and we bailed you out in 2 World Wars :cool:

Une entreprise franšaise peut possÚder notre Energie, mais France est Ó peine franšaise plus l'est. Moins que demi votre population est d'Origine franšaise si votre Empire vous a paralysÚ tout comme le n˘tre nous a paralysÚs. Ses nos colonies qui gagnent, pas nous.

Oh, et nous vous avons abandonnÚ dans 2 Guerres Mondiales :cool:

Capot
25th Oct 2008, 17:47
C'est "la moitie de", imbecile!

Et je ne peux pas faire les accents.......

c'est qui l'imbecile

Parapunter
25th Oct 2008, 17:54
Ta guele tous le monde. Voulez mon photo?:E

tony draper
25th Oct 2008, 18:16
They don't like it up em. :rolleyes:

ORAC
25th Oct 2008, 18:23
I think we should all just relax and let them make whatever claims they like. After all, when you haven't won many, every one counts. :cool::cool:

Captain Stable
25th Oct 2008, 19:44
Jock Lowe used to produce a great speech about Concorde, British contribution to European aircraft manufacture, etc., in which he pointed out that, pre-Concorde, Britain had a burgeoning aerospace industry, led Europe, many many companies producing all sorts of aircraft, and produced the world's first passenger jet.

Post-Concorde, France had the biggest non-American aircraft manufacturing set-up in the world, and we had a shed at Filton... :sad:

kevmusic
25th Oct 2008, 19:56
A few years ago I went for the guided tour around HMS Victory. When we got to an explanation of how gunnery worked on an eighteenth century battleship the guide was very good with his in-depth knowledge, pointing out the various bits of ironmongery and their purposes. However, "We'd love to show you some cannonballs", he said, "But we can't. The French have got 'em all".

Made me laugh then. Still does. :D

acmi48
25th Oct 2008, 20:48
I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food
trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! You mother was a hamster
and your father smelt of elderberries!

monsieur

Rollingthunder
26th Oct 2008, 02:26
- Gallic Wars
- Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian. [Or at ths time in history, a Roman -ed.]

- Hundred Years War
- Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman." Sainted.

- Italian Wars
- Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

- Wars of Religion
- France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

- Thirty Years War
- France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

- War of Revolution
- Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

- The Dutch War
- Tied

- War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War
- Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

- War of the Spanish Succession
- Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.

- American Revolution
- In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."

- French Revolution
- Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

- The Napoleonic Wars
- Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

- The Franco-Prussian War
- Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

- World War I
- Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States [Entering the war late -ed.]. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

- World War II
- Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

- War in Indochina
- Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

- Algerian Rebellion
- Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

- War on Terrorism
- France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be "Can we count on the French?", but rather "How long until France collapses?"

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage."

Or, better still, the quote from last week's Wall Street Journal: "They're there when they need you."

pigboat
26th Oct 2008, 03:23
Zoot alors! :ooh:

Charlie Foxtrot India
26th Oct 2008, 04:11
I have heard it said that the shortest history book in the world is "Great French Military Victories".

Now go away or I will taunt you a second time!

ehwatezedoing
26th Oct 2008, 05:46
This French bashing is getting old.

You are all just jealous :p
They might have lost every war (yeah, right!) but they are still fully around with their culture and way of life.
The French can enjoy one of the best food, wine and health care system.
I'm not even talking about the amount of vacation time they can get in a year.

Plus:
http://bp1.blogger.com/_FoQp60SZBUk/RdQdrTZquLI/AAAAAAAAAS8/-FgugntWiB4/s400/0099481324.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_

So who win the real war !? :E



Honest, like if I would give a sh!t about my own country past wins as long as me and my family could preserve and enjoy a good way of life into it.

Firestorm
26th Oct 2008, 08:58
Next thing you know they'll be telling us that a rifleman was off-side at Waterloo, so the match result is null and void. This from a nation that believes amphibians and garden molluscs to be a delicacy...

PLovett
26th Oct 2008, 09:34
The true history of Agincourt (with respectful acknowledgement to the poster of this on the arrse site):

What *Really* Happened at Agincourt....

The Flower of French Chivalry had formed up in immaculate order across the
field, magnificent in their finest, glittering imported armour, resplendent
in highly coloured livery and equipped with other rather camp accessories so
often favoured by the French.
"Pah! Assey 'y vous 'zis peetiful band of English ros'boef jesteurs! Zey
sink zey are a match for uz?" lisped the Dauphin, impatient to start
slaughtering as soon as possible.
"Hmmm - I 'av 'erd zat leetle island does produce mighty warrieurs
zometames?" said the Herald diplomatically.
"Orsefezzers and panzeur peedle - az zey sey over zere een zere feelthy
countray!" snapped the Constable of France. "We shall 'ave feenished zem off
before eet eze even tame for elevnensees - ah am only concerned zat zere are
not enough of ze batards for uz all to get a propere beet of carnage een!"

The Herald bit his lip and moved to the rear. He'd been down to the English
camp and had a look round. They were a scruffy bunch, that was true, but he
wasn't so sure the confidence of his commanders was fully justified. But
then he was only wearing a rather lightweight bumfreezer jacket instead of
plate armour, and was consequently more wary of the power of the English
longbow....

At the other end of the field, confidence was in somewhat shorter
supply.....
"I've humped this bloody stick for bleeding miles!" moaned Bill, a sturdy
archer with skeletal deformities, "what am I supposed to do with the ****ing
thing now?"
The usual cheery obedience of the English infantry was obviously wearing
rather thin, and Sergeant Brigand realised this was a critical moment. He
thought about it for a second, then smashed Bill round the head with his
rusty, second-hand gauntlet pillaged by his father at Crecy.
"Shaddap! Just set 'em up and do as yer ****ing told!" he snarled. "And
sharpen the ****ing end properly, ye lazy ****! That goes for the rest of ye
too!" Sure enough, Bill and the others got to work, grumbling quietly, but
not within earshot of the Sergeant or any of the noblemen who wandered
anxiously up and down the line.
"I wish I'd never come, I really do!" groaned John the Thatcher. "I'd just
be rolling out of bed with Big Nell the Milkmaid right now...."
"I know what you mean! The bloody catering's been a ****ing disgrace. I've
had the Katmandu Quickstep all the way from ****ing Harfleur! It's worse
than the bleedin' Glastonbury festival!" moaned Tom Carpenter, hewing away
at the end of his stake as he eyed the glittering French array with concern.
"It's all right for them - ****ing snails and froglegs for breakfast no
doubt, washed down wi' fancy wine an' stuff! Soft toilet paper - wet wipes -
the works! What chance 'ave we ****ing got I ask ye?" John winced and
clutched his stomach.
"****ing 'ell! I've got to go again! If the battle starts before I'm back,
sharpen me stake for me will ye?" he shouted, racing into the bushes at the
end of Tramcourt Wood.
"Chuffin 'eck!" cried Richard the Northener, "Me as well...." as he raced to
the rear, clutching his nethers in a most undignified manner.

King Henry looked anxious as he surveyed the position uneasily.
"Hells bells and buckets of blood - there's an awful of them your Grace!?"
said York uneasily.
"Mmmm... never mind, I said a prayer. We'll be fine...." Henry replied
coolly.
"Ah, if only a few of the men that do no work today were here with us now,
well, er, you know what I mean my liege?" said Westmorland anxiously.
"Nonsense!" snapped the King. " Who says so? Half our chaps are in the
bushes relieving themselves, that's all. Don't worry about it - chill out
will ye?" Westmorland looked unconvinced. If only Imodium had been available
in the 15th century he thought.... or even Kaolin and Morphine.....

Meanwhile, the French, lusty and over-confident as usual in their pathetic,
sneering, continental, arrogant, smug self-assurance, were champing at the
bit and raring to go, the fools.
At long last all was in order, and they slammed down their visors and
charged toward the thinly manned English line.....
The Herald, au fait with Crecy, Poitiers and numerous other battles, watched
them racing in the direction of St. Ayn Desasterre and shook his head. There
'd be tears before bedtime...

Back at the English position, the mighty thunder of hooves and the clank of
armour had a dramatic effect.
"Sound the alarum! All hands man your battle stations!" shouted the King,
and thousands of groaning men emerged from the bushes discarding their hose
in the rush, and took up positions without even washing their hands. Stomach
cramps notwithstanding, they bravely stood fast and clenched their
magnificent well muscled buttocks, as the huge wave of heavy cavalry
approached at full pelt, and the thunder of hooves shook the ground. Certain
they were about to be smashed into the mud at any second, they nevertheless
coolly prepared to face the end as English hooligans have in the face of
cavalry charges on foreign soil ever since, and brandished their
weapons.....

King Henry was hastily signing a note of surrender and agreements of safe
passage to Calais when suddenly the thundering stopped. He looked up in
astonishment to see that the French had halted dead in their tracks, some
fifty yards short of the English line. What was this? Had his prayers been
answered? He hastily hid the shameful documents in his sleeve and decided
what to do... only one thing for it. Send in the lads!

The first wave of French cavalry were in complete disarray, and cries of
"Zoot Alors!", "Sacre Blue!", "Mon Dieu", "Au Secours" and other expressions
called out by weedy Frenchmen in distress filled the air.
"Phworr! What ees zis - le batards are abusing ze chemeecal warfare! Eet ees
against all ze rules of chivalrey!" wailed the Dauphin, holding a lavender
scented handkerchief to his enormous nose.
"Mah Liege - wee must weethdraw immediately, or all ees lost! Zis stench ees
from 'ell eetself - what 'ave zey been eating for ****'s sake?" cried the
Constable in utter horror. Even Sir Angus McDevastator, in charge of the
Scottish contingent, was gagging and retching as he spluttered to his second
in command.
"Ye've got tae give 'em credit laddie - even Scotch lavvies are nae as bad
as that!" But even as he began to solemnly salute the grim faced Englishmen
ahead, the second wave of cavalry charged into the back of them, tipping
everyone into the mud....

Ten minutes later.....

"Well, I'd never have thought it, but it hasn't turned out to be such a bad
day after all?" said Bill brightly, ramming his bloodstained dagger through
the visor of a fallen Frenchman, producing a ghastly, gurgling scream.
"Nor me. Mind you, this is hard work - when do we get a break?" muttered
John, drowning one man in the mud by standing on the back of his neck as he
whacked another repeatedly on the head with a lead maul.
"Huh! These are made for camping - time we got proper hammers! Five hits and
he's still moaning..." he grumbled.
"Stop whining you idle layabouts, and get to bloody work!" growled Sergeant
Brigand, as he broke the neck of a wounded Frenchman floundering in the mud
with well practised ease.
"There's an hour and a half 'till lunch, and I don't want to see any
slacking! Then later on you can strip your sleeves, fib about your scars and
impress the neighbours... well, that's what the King said anyway. Until
then, ****ing pull your fingers out and look lively!"
"Huh... work, work work..." muttered Bill as he departed, slicing the purse
away from the Frenchman's neck and stuffing it into his quilted gambeston.
"I tell you what, in a couple of hundred years there'll be a civil war, and
his lot'll be first up against the wall..."

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 10:03
Much as one enjoys a bit of ribaldry with the French I must object to the belittling if Napoleon's endeavours (though he wasn't really French of course).

Napoleon reinvited warfare and stuffed it up the whole of Europe (apart from Blighty of course).

He occupied Moscow. The Nazis didn't achieve this. The Americans most certainly never will. The Brits were too smart to ever try.

Pummel the French in humour - but France wouldn't exist as it does today had it not won a lot of battles (well, apart from WWI and WWII of course).

Now beating France at rugby in World Cups is a different story......:}

Beatriz Fontana
26th Oct 2008, 10:58
You cannot possibly back-date today's standards of civilisation, surely?

Would the remains of the French aristocracy care to take the Republic to Strasbourg because the revolution was against their human rights?

I didn't think silly season ran on in to October.

CUNIM
26th Oct 2008, 11:28
Just after the first Gulf War, I had to attend a division meeting at work. Last in as usual, my boss - a Frenchman said "I don't know if I should speak to you today", I said "Why not?". He replied that he had seen the film Henry the fifth the previous evening which was all about Azincourt. He went on to say that there were about 25,000 French killed that day and twenty five Englishmen. I then said what was the problem? He replied that he thought that it was all due to our secret weapon, the long bow. Nah, said I, it was because we didn't have the bloody Americans on our side at that time.:E Well us English allus was happy to black the name of any other nation.

Just to even things up, I visited Colonial Williamsburg in Sept. You USA chaps do a good job on keeping your history alive:D We are aiming to return next year to continue our education.:ok:

Captain Stable
26th Oct 2008, 16:17
Good point, Cunim. Had the USA been on our side at Agincourt, the death statistics would have been rather different - 15,000 English killed, 14,995 of them by "friendly" fire.

I do have to hand it to the French, though - their cooking is quite exquisite. Their wines are unsurpassed - I like a nice Chilean or Aussie wine at times, but you can't beat a good Sancerre. Californian wine is also excellent, but only for cleaning drains.

French women also know how to dress and present themselves. Your average English bint thinks the best way to attract a man is to show off as much pudgy, white, cellulite-laden flesh as she can manage. French women know more the value of "allure".

CUNIM
26th Oct 2008, 16:21
Yes Captain Stable, I too appreciate the French mode de la vie, but I just cannot resist a quick dig, especially at 0830 in the morning.

blue up
26th Oct 2008, 18:11
But surely it was WELSH archers who won the day? Just like Rugby but with less blood.


Het, bais, borth.

tony draper
26th Oct 2008, 18:22
I believe the Welsh Archers were the only one's who could be persuaded to cut the throats of the French prisoners,after the brave Frenchies had killed all the little boys at the baggage train of course,tit for tat and all that.
Historians try and keep that bit quiet though,I mean who would believe it? a Englishman reluctant to cut a Frenchman's throat, never happen.
:E

Captain Stable
26th Oct 2008, 20:10
Dunno about English Archers refusing to cut the throats of the froggies. Brian Aldridge wouldn't have had a problem with that, nor would Walter Gabriel...

The reason there are so many yew trees in churchyards is that yew was, of course, needed for longbows. Before enclosures, what with cattle wandering freely, they would feed on just about anything they found. Yew is poisonous to them, so it could be grown only where cattle couldn't get at it - i.e., in churchyards, which were the only walled-off areas around (barring the manor lord's vegetable garden, and woe betide anyone scrumping stuff from there...)

B Fraser
26th Oct 2008, 20:19
Apparently we used 'underhand tactics against an honourable enemy'

As did the Krauts with the Maginot Line. They walked around the side, stopping for a plate of moules and a beer in Belgium.

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 21:31
Well, I'm afraid in the midst of "hilarious" French bashing I must stick up for Napoleon.

Will the French bashers please name the myriad great generals above the little man?

Alexander?
Julius Ceasar?
Hannibal?
Genghis Khan?
Tamburlaine?

(my personal most under-rated favourite the Marquis de Montrose - but thats my whimsy).

None of the above are English or American.

Some charlie will, of course, say Montgomery. Tremendous general (and field marshall) - but he doesn't belong in the pantheon above.

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 21:31
Earlier this year, 'twas i the merrie month of May as one recalls, one had the occasion to visit the French embassy in these parts.

Me: Good morning.
Security bod: Bonjour, zee embassy she is shut today.
Me: Oh, merde.
Sec bod: Je suis Des O' Lait (the well known Frog/Irish comic but let;s get back to the action)
Me: Yes, I am sure you are. What's the problem.
Sec Bod: Le Jour de Victoire
Me: Yer what!
Sec Bod: Le Jour de Victoire
Me (irritated): What bloody 'victoire"
Sec Bod: Gallic shrug
Me: Well it weren't: Agincourt, Crecy, WW1, Napoleonic Wars, Trafalgar or any of them were it?
Security bod: Puzzled gallic frown
Me: Fer fecks sake mate, if we took a day off work every time we one summat (not footie) the feckin British embassy would never be bloody open!


Found out later the barstwerds has the (gallic) gall to take a day off bleedin work 'cos they had won the Second World War.

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 21:34
PS: Apologies for pisspoor spelling.

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 21:46
Well, I'm afraid in the midst of "hilarious" French bashing I must stick up for Napoleon.

Why?

Got stuffed in Egypt.
Got stuffed in Europe (a few times as one recalls).
Got stuffed at sea (quite a lot)
Got horribly stuffed in Russia.
Suffered from 'small man syndrome'
Deserted his army on a number of occasions

In his defence he was not a real Frog, of course. Just a jumped up islander from the med which prolly suited his first exile.

Now, if you want to put a REAL General up there for comparison, go on a diet and check out Slim.

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 21:56
I'm clearly engaging a superior military historian.

I give the field to larsnowpharter.

Napoleon was NOT a military genius, I repeat NOT a military genius and all modern armies all over the world should ignore his non-genius and banish him from the text books.

Scrub him Sandhurst - apparently he was crap and did NOT conquor Europe in a few years.

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 21:59
did NOT conquor Europe in a few years.

Well, yer got that bit right!

mocoman
26th Oct 2008, 22:02
Try googling "French Military Victories" and select the 'I'm feeling lucky' button.

:}

The result sums it up really.

;)

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 22:11
William Slim was one of the best soldiers - I'll give you that.

He doesn't make the pantheon though - my definition being ones who changed the world.

(Salahuddin and Baybars might qualify on those grounds?)

(I've got to be careful as Hitler might satisfy my criteria - oh dear)

Perhaps I over-egged it with Hannibal - though he was a canny chap.

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 22:23
The most amazing thing about Mr Buonaparte was the fact that his soldiers continued to follow him despite his record.

Which only goes to show yer how silly froggie soldiers could be.

Hannibal lost. So did Napoleon. Losers were never 'great generals'. They lost. Endex. ergo NOT great. Napoleon lost in spades and no trumps. Military genius...gi's a break!

Put Scipio Africanus up there on yer list, or Bellarius. To the best of my knowledge they were not French. But if the best yer can come up with is Bony........

He came second!

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 22:36
Lars - my last post was a sort of "okay made your point about Napoleon but I disagree with you however there is merit in a debate about military genius so lets talk".

In the hope you'd give us some insight into true military genius.

You haven't.

My ironic post earlier was droppping a few hints that if Napoloen was not a military genius then why is he in all the text books? (I'm afraid he is friend). I don't know your nationality but irony can get lost in translation. My apologies if so.

Got any idea?

Can you shed some light on this in addition to your excellent light hearted banter?

con-pilot
26th Oct 2008, 22:39
My ironic post earlier was droppping a few hints that if Napoloen was not a military genius then why is he in all the text books?

Cause he was a genius at losing? :p

Custer is in all the text books as well. ;)

Sorry, about that, carry on.

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 22:44
Ah...so they don't teach Napoleon at West Point then?

That might explain a few things.

Winning battles and stuffing it up superior forces against all the odds through logistic and tactical genius is a bit silly isn't it. Nothing to be learnt from that of course.

The text books will be packed in 25 years time of how to screw it all up when you HAVE got overwheming force.

I think I know who'll be writing those books.

:)

tony draper
26th Oct 2008, 22:50
Why do people admire these great historical butchers, why do they enthuse over the likes of Alexandra Napoleon and the rest of that ilk, Napoleon was probably the direct cause of the deaths of as many human beings as Hitler or Stalin in terms of the European population at that time.
How long before a butcher becomes respectable? a hundred years? two hundred? I understand busts of Stalin are again becoming popular in Russia and in other places as well, shall we see Busts of Hitler on the book shelves of the Inteligencia fifty years from now,or indeed sooner?
:E

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 22:55
Mr S,

Sorry mate. 24 yrs military service, military school or two and a little bit of staff college - and recall Friday night beer calls as being rather more memorable than the lectures on Mr B's lack of leadership skills.

Sorry to disappoint you.

In the end, it's the winning that counts. Your hero didn't. Simple as that really.

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 22:56
Good question TD.

Name me your military hero with no blemish on their copybook?

Richard Coeur de Lion wasn't averse to the odd massacre.

Henry V murdered a few prisoners at Agincourt.

King George II didn't mind a tad of genocide after a fruity kick-up at Culloden.

Hmmm.....

con-pilot
26th Oct 2008, 22:56
Ah...so they don't teach Napoleon at West Point then?


As a matter of fact they do, as well as Custer, as examples of what not to do.

I think the course name is, 'Famous losers'. :p

Now lets see now, just what two great famous military leaders invaded Russia from Europe. Hitler and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,?

You get three guesses, the first two don't count. ;)

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 23:00
Did I say "hero" Lars?

Please quote it back to me - it must've slipped out unconsciously.

Military genius yes.

Hero, no. I respect his fighting genius but not his person for no reason other than his evil massacre in the Levant. (and one of his ignorant ****ing soldiers shot the nose of the sphinx)

On your principle - was Rommel "crap" because he ultimately lost?

Credentials on the line here friend.

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 23:03
Ooops.

Just to be clear.

On the larssnowpharter principal Rommel was crap. Does everybody agree that Rommel was crap and wasn't a brilliant soldier?

Answers to Lars please.

I guess they don't teach Rommel at West Point either the losing moron.

Kyuck Kyuck!

tony draper
26th Oct 2008, 23:04
Well he fact is Mr Strelnikov, we chaps on the whole find good people boring,the great villains of history are much more interesting than the good folks,I'll warrant books about Napoleon outnumber books about say Francis of Assisi a thousand fold.
:rolleyes:

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 23:07
Name me your military hero with no blemish on their copybook?


Good question. In the military world your objective - to put it simply - is to defeat the enemy. One accepts that, these days, knowing your enemy is a difficult thing in itself.

Your question is worthy of its own thread. Prolly go on for ever. My three though would be - given the ethical standards of the time, and in no order:

Slim
Salhudein
Scipio

Strelnikov
26th Oct 2008, 23:15
TD,

You are by far the most learned chap on PPRUNE. I am interested in your opinion. I would like to know the opinion of a man who is pro military force and kicking the shit out of the unworthy yoof and hoodies (I don't necessarily disagree - erm - maybe).

Please - can you volunteer your squeaky clean hero in the British Empire (or anywhere)? I may be mistaken but you fall into the "Britain has gone to the dogs - we should hang the bastards" point of view so please - give me some clarity where you stand on the value of life.

Lars - thanks for finally engaging my question. Scipio I will have to look up to my embarassment!

tdf

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 23:17
Military genius yes.

With the greatest of respect, Sir:

1. Military geniuses do not lose.
2. They do NOT desert their men.

Leadership 101.

Something Boney was rather prone to.

As to me giving him the accolade of being your 'hero', why are you so defensive? You seem to expend a great deal of effort defending the indefensible.

Are you French or something?

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 23:19
Scipio I will have to look up to my embarassment!

Clue, mate:
there were two of 'em.

tony draper
26th Oct 2008, 23:25
Come come Mr Strelnikov,squeaky clean does not a empire build.:E

larssnowpharter
26th Oct 2008, 23:28
Well he fact is Mr Strelnikov, we chaps on the whole find good people boring,the great villains of history are much more interesting than the good folks,I'll warrant books about Napoleon outnumber books about say Francis of Assisi a thousand fold.

Mr D:

When one were a sprog one spent a bit of time in hospital. Kindly priest gave me a book called 'Lives of the Saints' or somesuch.

Frank was a bit of a star. He started off as a soldier, methinks.

One is thinking of parallels with another personal hero - Cheshire - but without the preaching to the birdies and bunnies theme.

tony draper
26th Oct 2008, 23:53
No doubt there have been a few interesting good folk about but on the whole they are a tad boring, just look who has become the hero of the book Tom Browns Schooldays, Harry Flashman, and who has emerged as the hero Thomas Harris's series of books,Hannibal Lector
:)

Strelnikov
27th Oct 2008, 00:02
Gentleman,

You both appear to be avoiding my question (though I concede you ave both made good points).

TD - you've rightly put down the admiration for evil bastards like Stalin/Hitler but I perceive you as a pro British "the good old days when we ruled the world" chap. Hence please find me your Empire hero with no blood on his hands.

Lars - you confuse me a little - you've made your point that war losers are poor soldiers but you haven't answered my Rommell question?

Lars - is Rommell a crap soldier? I'd like to see the debate that follows if you say Rommell was an losing arsehole.

Chaps - get off the fence and speak your minds.

S

Strelnikov
27th Oct 2008, 00:13
You've all gone quiet (and I've got to go to bed soon - there are railways to be built).

Con / Lars / TD

Can you please provide me with an argument that Rommel was a crap soldier (because Germany lost right)?

I'm getting a lot of avoiding "hilarious" wit (you're good Conny - keep at it). but I'm getting **** all intellgient articulated responses.

C'mon kids.

Lets talk about Rommel - he was shit right?

brickhistory
27th Oct 2008, 00:32
I'd like to see the debate that follows if you say Rommell was an losing arsehole.

It would seem that his losses outweighed his victories (of which he was only a division commander and under the direction of others).


France, 1940 - win (But it was A) France and B) not his direction of the offensive)

North Africa - loss

France II - loss

Ergo, he wasn't a successful general.

I can't comment on the arsehole part. I didn't know the man.

ZEEBEE
27th Oct 2008, 00:32
I have heard it said that the shortest history book in the world is "Great French Military Victories".

For those of you that have read Catch22, you will remember the Elderly Italian who espoused that the trick is in "losing" wars, not winning them.

"That's what makes Italy so strong!"

"All of the countries that win wars, disappear, while Italy, who has learned to lose, goes on and on"

Well worth revisiting.

Romulus
27th Oct 2008, 00:36
Lets talk about Rommel - he was shit right?

Brilliant tactically, weak strategically.

My "best" 5 generals by rough era

Ancient:

Alexander
Scipio Africanus
Hannibal
Fabius Cunctator
BelisariusHonourable mention to Leonidas

Horse and Musket types:

Napoleon
Marlborough
Stonewall Jackson
Charles XII
Gustavus AdolphusWW2:

von Manstein
Rommel
Slim
Guderian
Model
Wingate (personal favourite sp I had to go to 6...)Happy to chat about any and all.

R

Strelnikov
27th Oct 2008, 00:39
Ah...Brick...thank you. I am reassured by the entrant who knows a bit of history (I've got your book on my wish list waiting for it to fall below $30).

larssnowpharterlar insists that Napoleon was not a military genius because he, ultimately, lost his battle.

I disagree and suggested that by lars (gone missing) rules Rommel was also a failure and a crap soldier.

So, Brickhistory, do you also believe that Rommel was not a military genius?

Lets avoid semantics.

I don't want to help but....

Sandhurst, West Point kind of make big things about Rommel, Hannibal, Napoleon - but what do they know?

con-pilot
27th Oct 2008, 00:41
Lets talk about Rommel - he was shit right?

No, Hitler was, but then again you comparing apples to oranges. Rommel was not the leader/dictator of his country, as were Hitler and Napoleon. Let's keep the actors on the same stage shall we.

Oh, and Rommel still lost in Africa and lost France after D-day. Now, was that his fault or Hitler's?

Sorry, I did not see brick's reply, but add what he said.

Romulus
27th Oct 2008, 00:47
It would seem that his losses outweighed his victories (of which he was only a division commander and under the direction of others).


France, 1940 - win (But it was A) France and B) not his direction of the offensive)

7th "Ghost" Division achieved some remarkable things. Google Rommel crossing the Meuse for instance.

Rommel drove a tactical doctrine amongst his men that was ahead even of Heer standards, got involved directly and made it happen.

Many of the decisions were his at that level, if we are to exclude Generals who had to work under orders then the question needs reedefining as "Best supreme commander" which brings in the politicians...


North Africa - loss

Fair's fair Brickie!

With a tiny influx of chronically undersupplied men he turned around an army that had been chased all through Africa and ran the numerically and logistically vastly superior Allies through the mill.

That is/was brilliance.

His impact on morale and propoganda was also enormous.

And he resisted the worst excesses of the Nazi regime, although contrary to some popular schools of thought he was almost certainly a Nazi at some point, otherwise it is very unlikely he would get to lead Hitler's bodyguard.


France II - loss


Gave vastly superior forces one hell of a bloody nose though.

And had he had the panzers near the beaches as he desired a "close run thing" could have become a major disaster.


Ergo, he wasn't a successful general.


Nope, Hitler wasn't a successful conqueror, many of his generals good, awe inspriing and even world changing generals.

Strelnikov
27th Oct 2008, 00:54
Conny,

I was put down by a learned military historian (it would seem) on the grounds that Napoleon was not a military genius because he ultimately lost.

You jumped on his bandwagon (with hilarious wit I must observe - good stuff conny).

I suggested that by the same rationale Rommel must also have nothing to offer military knowledge.

Now you appear to have side-stepped that one and started yapping about Hitler.

Why? The question is was Rommel a great military leader or not? Y/N (It's a binary question - go for it - forward stick - backward stick).

If you (great military historians) agree Rommel was crap then I'll accept that Napoleon was not a military genius.

But one suspects one knows who is walking on "talking shite" thin ice.

Mwah!

S

Strelnikov
27th Oct 2008, 01:04
Sorry kids - I really must retire.

Your lack of response is kind of gratifying.

Back to history school Conny, Lars, Brick and Toady.

con-pilot
27th Oct 2008, 01:06
Sorry, your attempt to redirect my answer to suit you will not work.

Therefore, before I reply further to your inquiry about 'Rommel being a military genius' you need to define exactly what you consider the definition of a 'military genius'.

Actually you need not to supply an exact definition of a 'military genius', a general definition will serve adequately.

No attempt at humor here. Sorry, as you seem to enjoy it so much. :hmm:

Besides that, just what did you not understand when I initally replied to your question (was Rommel a shit) with this answer.

No, Hitler was

brickhistory
27th Oct 2008, 01:28
Romulus, I don't offer criticism of Rommel. He was a very, very good general.

However, he lost.

Tends to lower the ranking in history.

con-pilot
27th Oct 2008, 01:32
Strelnikov, I hate to disappoint you, but I as well, have a degree in History. Not Military History, but in 'Post World War Two European' history.

PLovett
27th Oct 2008, 02:41
Since this thread has suffered a massive drift I feel compelled to continue its errant path.

Napoleon:
Yes, he made some monumental stuff-ups and they cost him dear but Waterloo wasn't one of them. In Wellington's words, it was a near run thing. Napoleon was let down badly by the general who he sent to keep Blucher on the run. If that general (who's name escapes me totally) had done his job, Blucher would not have been able to join the battle and turn the tide as Wellington was very nearly being overrun at the time.

Rommel:
A brilliant leader of men whose ability to make do with limited resources was outstanding. Given my belief that every war since the "second" US Civil War has been more about logistics than anything else there was no doubt that once the US entered the WW2 the axis powers were going to be defeated. In North Africa Rommel was faceing a foe who had far more resources and men that he could ever contemplate but what he managed to do in the face of that was still outstanding. Incidentally, Romulus, I don't think he was ever a Nazi. He was never Hitler's bodyguard, that role fell to the Schutz Staffel Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, I think Rommel was Hitler's aide or adjutant but I stand to be corrected.

Incidentally, on logistics, what Hitler's generals were able to do with less in the face of massive numbers of men and resources on the Eastern Front pays investigation. I have read that much of NATO doctrine for meeting a Russian invasion of the West was based around the Wermacht tactics and organisation during WW2.

As an aside, I have never thought very highly of Montgomery. It would appear that he only ever had one idea of attack, very nearly stuffed that up at El Alamein and relied heavily on vastly superior force.

Incidentally, if ultimately losing was the basis for disqualification as a brilliant commander then you would also have to exclude Lee, Jackson (yes I know he was shot by his own men but he shouldn't have been where he was without securing a safe passage back to his own lines), Bedford, Forrest and countless other Confederate leaders, nearly all of whom were better at their job than their Federal counterparts.

con-pilot
27th Oct 2008, 02:53
A brilliant leader of men whose ability to make do with limited resources was outstanding. Given my belief that every war since the "second" US Civil War has been more about logistics than anything else there was no doubt that once the US entered the WW2 the axis powers were going to be defeated.

Not really wanting to add to the thread drift, but what the heck.......

It is my understanding that the Germans captured an American truck convoy and in one of the trucks they discovered a birthday cake that an American mother had sent her son who was serving in France. When the German Commanding General of that area was informed of this fact, he realized the war was lost, because if the United States had the resources and the logistic capabilities to send a birthday cake to a common US enlisted man, all hope was lost.

But then again, I believe Napoleon was responsible the invention of canned food.

CoodaShooda
27th Oct 2008, 03:43
What, no mention of Zhukov or Ivan D. Chernyakhovsky?

Or one of the few capable WW1 commanders, Sir John Monash.

Wiley
27th Oct 2008, 07:10
Everyone thought very highly of Rommel in North Africa, including the common Allied soldiers. (Or so my dad, who was a c.A.s. in North Africa, assures me.) I think it would be safe to say he was a rather large cut above the average as a soldier and a general.

However, what the myth makers so frequently and conveniently forget to mention is that he operated in North Africa with a tremendous tactical and statregic advantage from the day he arrived at least up to the beginning of 1942, for he was privy to the daily signals sent back to Washington by the US military attache in Cairo, because, unknown to the British at the time, the Germans had broken the (then neutral) Americans' codes.

Mindful of gaining and continuing to receive Lend Lease assistance from the US, the British gave the US Military Attache far more access to their daily plans than might have otherwise been the case (he was allowed to attend daily planning sessions and to be briefed in detail of planned operations, all of which he faithfully transcribed each evening and sent on to Washington), so Rommel started most days with detailed information on the 8th Army's dispositions and plans, an enormous advantage for a commander having to make do with a smaller force than his opposition.

Where the British had to keep all bases covered, Rommel was frequently in the position where he could concentrate his forces (or the cream of his forces) in exactly the right place at the right time, with predictable results.

This doesn't mean he wasn't brilliant. But it needs to be said his apparent 'clairvoyance' on the battlefield in North Africa was somewhat assisted. Anyone who's been there and done that, or even played a war game will know that when the 'fog of war' descends, as it always does within hours if not minutes of any engagement or operation starting, good intel. is everything, and actually knowing with some certainty what your opponent is doing or plans to do means 99% of your problems are solved.

Rommel also had a very good eye for self-promotion, a trait he shared with the British general who eventually defeated the Germans (if not Rommel, as the purists will insist upon saying) in North Africa.



My vote for one of the top 5 generals is probably one few Brits have even heard of - John Monash. Convenienty ignored now by most British historians, but had the Great War had continued, Monash, a Jewish colonial citizen (milita) soldier pre the war, was slated to take over as commander of all British forces in France, if only because he was the only general on the Allied side in late 1918 who kept winning every battle he was sent to fight.

Romulus
27th Oct 2008, 08:04
Napoleon:
Yes, he made some monumental stuff-ups and they cost him dear but Waterloo wasn't one of them. In Wellington's words, it was a near run thing. Napoleon was let down badly by the general who he sent to keep Blucher on the run. If that general (who's name escapes me totally) had done his job, Blucher would not have been able to join the battle and turn the tide as Wellington was very nearly being overrun at the time.


That would be Marshal Grouchy. Note however that Napoleon was present during the initial withdrawal of teh Prussians who moved northward in parallel with Wellington rather than along their own lines of communication which would have had them moving East.

Exceptionally sensible and clever thinking and totally contrary to what was expected. The French certainly didn't follow up with any great skill it must be said.





Rommel:
Incidentally, Romulus, I don't think he was ever a Nazi. He was never Hitler's bodyguard, that role fell to the Schutz Staffel Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, I think Rommel was Hitler's aide or adjutant but I stand to be corrected.


Erwin Rommel: Biography from Answers.com (http://www.answers.com/topic/erwin-rommel)

In part:

"In the early part of World War II, Rommel commanded Hitler's personal military escort"

Rommel commanded the personal bodyguard, not Liebstandarte SS Adolf Hitler which was the later formed SS Division (ultimately Panzer Division). ROmmel was personally responsible for Hitler's own bodyguard, protection squad, call it what you like.

That would tend to indicate he was exceptionally well trusted and in all likelihood a genuine Nazi (at least at that time). As far as I am aware historians have never been able to confirm his membership of the party however and his diaries, published as "The Rommel Papers" give no indication either way.



Incidentally, on logistics, what Hitler's generals were able to do with less in the face of massive numbers of men and resources on the Eastern Front pays investigation. I have read that much of NATO doctrine for meeting a Russian invasion of the West was based around the Wermacht tactics and organisation during WW2.

Absolutely.

As much as Rommel's legacy is questioned due to his running beyond logistical support in the desert the same can be said of the German commanders in the East.


Incidentally, if ultimately losing was the basis for disqualification as a brilliant commander then you would also have to exclude Lee, Jackson (yes I know he was shot by his own men but he shouldn't have been where he was without securing a safe passage back to his own lines), Bedford, Forrest and countless other Confederate leaders, nearly all of whom were better at their job than their Federal counterparts.

Absolutely.

Losing, whilst putting a certain question about capability, is no barrier to greatness. What is achieved in a given situation over an ongoing period makes greatness i.e. demonstrate a repeated capability to rise well above the level of expectation.

Romulus
27th Oct 2008, 08:06
Thats a fine entry but according to our military genii (who appear to have gone quiet and gone home) Toady, Larsphartsomething (hilarious name what?), Brick and Con Pilot disagree and Napoleon was not a military master.

I defer to their greater military knowledge - I just build railways.


Interesting, who for?

Anyway, I'm always up for a debate about generalship and will happily ignore those who claim Napoleon was anything other than brilliant unless they wish to engage is genuine debate.

I'm glad you like the list, how would you place yur choices? Not for interrogation but for debate.

R

Romulus
27th Oct 2008, 08:15
However, what the myth makers so frequently and conveniently forget to mention is that he operated in North Africa with a tremendous tactical and statregic advantage from the day he arrived at least up to the beginning of 1942, for he was privy to the daily signals sent back to Washington by the US military attache in Cairo, because, unknown to the British at the time, the Germans had broken the (then neutral) Americans' codes.

<snip>

so Rommel started most days with detailed information on the 8th Army's dispositions and plans, an enormous advantage for a commander having to make do with a smaller force than his opposition.

Where the British had to keep all bases covered, Rommel was frequently in the position where he could concentrate his forces (or the cream of his forces) in exactly the right place at the right time, with predictable results.


Bear in mind that this argument is very much a two edged sword. The Allies had Ultra/Bletchley Park decoding everything of the very detailed reports that Hitler insisted on receiving.

The Allies trhoughout the war had far more GOOD intel at their disposal than Rommel or any other German ever did.

Rommel also lost his entire experienced intel capability at Alamein when they were used as part of a Kampfgruppe to shore up the numbers and were captured.




This doesn't mean he wasn't brilliant. But it needs to be said his apparent 'clairvoyance' on the battlefield in North Africa was somewhat assisted. Anyone who's been there and done that, or even played a war game will know that when the 'fog of war' descends, as it always does within hours if not minutes of any engagement or operation starting, good intel. is everything, and actually knowing with some certainty what your opponent is doing or plans to do means 99% of your problems are solved.

Sort of.

Stalin was provided with copious volume of intel pre Barbarossa at great risk of exposing the whole Ultra codebreaking capability but chose to ignore it as a "Western tirck".

Knowing what to do with information, knowing what to trust and what not to trust is essential.

Choosing where and when and even if to strike is critical

Plus you need to have your troops prepared for what you want them to do.

My vote for one of the top 5 generals is probably one few Brits have even heard of - John Monash. Convenienty ignored now by most British historians, but had the Great War had continued, Monash, a Jewish colonial citizen (milita) soldier pre the war, was slated to take over as commander of all British forces in France, if only because he was the only general on the Allied side in late 1918 who kept winning every battle he was sent to fight.

Agreed.

Have you read the Oxford Uni Press bio of Monash?

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Wiley
27th Oct 2008, 09:00
Point taken about Ultra, Romulus, and I was going to mention the very point you made, but thought I was rabbitting on too long (as is my wont).

However, I understand that the American intercepts from the evening before were made available overnight to Rommel (ie, within a matter of hours) so that he had near real time access to the British plans and dispositions for that day. Ultra usually took much longer to be decoded and disseminated, and much of the time, the information gathered wasn't passed on to those in the field, for fear that the Germans would learn the Enigma codes had been broken if the Allied forces reacted with apparent foreknowledge. (The attack on Coventry was one good example of this, as was the hunt for the Bismarck, where Ultra intercepts allowed Blertchely Park to know exactly where the ship was, but the RN forces searching for it were not given the co-ordinates.) However, I agree that the Allied code breaking played a huge part in assuring the Allied victory.

Rommel allowed himself to use the very detailed information that fell onto his desk each morning to great effect, but perhaps won and even greater victory by, with superb self-promotion, convincing his enemy that it was his superior generalship that had him countering their every move and attacking exactly where his enemy was weakest.

One amusing (for an Australian at least) aspect of this was the really poor opinion the British had of the Australian troops in North Africa, whose discipline and general behaviour when not on the battle line left much to be desired, particularly in British eyes. (Although many of the Australian officers would agree to a large degree with their British colleagues, they understood the advantage of keeping 'a long leash' on men who in battle, felt they had a proud tradition to live up to - that of their fathers in WW1 - and so usually delivered the goods in battle.)

The US Attache faithfully transmitted to Washington the low opinion the British had in the undisciplined Australians, and on a number of occasions, Rommel committed his troops against the part of the line held by what he knew that the enemy commander deemed to be second class troops.

His soldaten got a collective bloody nose on some occasions when he did commit them against the Australians, the first time at Tobruk, where the Wermacht suffered its very first, if not defeat, then 'no victory' of the war. The Germans were appalled when the Australians, on the orders of their commander, allowed the Panzers to overrun them, to be dispatched over open sights by their artillery, (much of it captured Italian equipment manned by non artillerymen), and then came out of their bunkers and started killing the German infantry, who thought they were merely mopping up, as had been the case in every other theatre of war up to that point.

Captain Stable
27th Oct 2008, 09:37
In all the arguments about Rommel, I am surprised that nobody has mentioned Wellington in this vein?

Incidentally, my great-great uncle was 1st. Lt. aboard HMS Undaunted taking Napoleon for his trip into exile in Elba.

tony draper
27th Oct 2008, 10:22
Dunno why they took the buggah all that way,we could have poisoned him here or shot him whilst trying to escape.
:rolleyes:
"Monsoir why the cell door you have left open"
"Go on Mr Napoleon you can go"
"Sacre' ble you are setting me free"
"Indeed ,just you run up that road there,ignore those chaps with the muskets"
:rolleyes:

Captain Stable
27th Oct 2008, 13:28
Would have taken him longer getting back from India. Sadly, though, the politicos who exiled him didn't know their Madras from their Elba... :}

Hat, coat, door... :=

Romulus
27th Oct 2008, 14:16
One amusing (for an Australian at least) aspect of this was the really poor opinion the British had of the Australian troops in North Africa, whose discipline and general behaviour when not on the battle line left much to be desired, particularly in British eyes. (Although many of the Australian officers would agree to a large degree with their British colleagues, they understood the advantage of keeping 'a long leash' on men who in battle, felt they had a proud tradition to live up to - that of their fathers in WW1 - and so usually delivered the goods in battle.)

The US Attache faithfully transmitted to Washington the low opinion the British had in the undisciplined Australians, and on a number of occasions, Rommel committed his troops against the part of the line held by what he knew that the enemy commander deemed to be second class troops.

Not sure on that one Wiley.

Rommel held our lads in great esteem, as did Monty. Monty even gave them the position on the right of the line, traditionally the position taken up by the elite units.

As for the Hun in question, well, here's a quote from his diaries after capturing some Diggers at Tobruk:

"Shortly afterwards a batch of some fifty of sixty Australian prisoners was marched off close beside us - immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle" Rommel Papers, 1953, p132

Hardly the thoughts of a man who deemed us second class troops.

R

Blacksheep
27th Oct 2008, 14:41
I sat beside Ruislip Duck Pond one sunny summers day, chatting with an eldery chap.

He was a German who had served as a tank driver at Alamein.

He said they were expecting an attack and went to bed under the shelter of their tank. Long before dawn the bombardment began and they stayed under the tank until it stopped. "Here comes Tommy!" they said when the shelling stopped, and they jumped into their tanks and headed towards the Britisher positions. In his own words:

"Ve see zer tank. Boom! Ve shoot zer tank!"
"Ve shoot many Britisher tank..." :( (pulling a sad face)
"...sometimes, ve shoot zer Italian tank!..." :) (smiling conspiratorially)
"....unt sometimes ve shoot zer Cherman tank!" :} (laughing his socks off)
"If you want to live you don't wait to see who's in your sights in such a situation. So, ve drove around in circles shooting at tanks until ve run out of fuel. Then Tommy came along, so ve surrendered."

Didn't sound much like the sort of splendid tactical affair described by Generals in their memoirs. In fact it sounds rather like the total f**k up that most battles seem to be when they are going on.

He who f**ks up least, wins.

ORAC
27th Oct 2008, 15:35
If you want to talk about generals and logistics, don't forget General Slim and the Burma campaign. General Kiszely of the Defence Academy rates Slim as "perhaps the Greatest Commander of the 20th Century."

Tempsford
27th Oct 2008, 15:50
On the whole, having a higher level of leadership, superior equipment and effective, trained manpower over your adversary does help. It does not always add that a greater quantity of the above rather than the quality as defined will succeed. Also, learning from one's mistakes, admitting that you made a mistake and using that to your advantage is a very potential weapon.

On many fields of combat, it has been the smaller, more effective force which has won the day. Examples are the Boers who were well led, equipped with quality equipment and trained in field tactics.

I have just read General Slim's autobiography for the second time. What the allied troops did in Burma against huge odds was quite remarkable. Starting with one disaster after another and gaining strength from experience turned the tables over what was initally a vastly superior Japanese Force in most areas.

Temps

Wiley
27th Oct 2008, 21:56
Read the account of the captured Diggers at Tobruk and my dad was one of those blokes 'on the right' at Al Alamein, Romulus. But I can assure you, British accounts of North Africa, Crete, (and the last effort on WW2 in general, was it by Max Hastings?), marks the AIF as a total shower and utterly second rate. An opinion, as you state, not shared by the Germans and Japanese, who faced them.

The Aussies held an unusual double prize: they were the first to beat the Germans (at Tobruk, perhaps better said as "the first NOT to be defeated by the Germans) and the first to defeat the until then unstoppable Japanese, (at Milne Bay). See Bill Slim's comments in his (auto?)biography on the enormous heart that victory gave him and his 14th Army in Burma on learning that the Japanese could be beaten.

Tempsford
28th Oct 2008, 00:15
My grandfather was in Greece, Crete and North Africa, including Tobruk etc. My Uncle was in Burma. I am sure they would appreciate being excluded the plaudits, being British. They both left the UK in 1939 and were fortunate enough to return...6 years later.

As a matter of fact, my grandfather said that the best troops he fought alongside were South African. I will not comment on the ones that he was least impressed with.

They may not have been 'diggers', but they were there.

Temps

Romulus
28th Oct 2008, 07:00
Read the account of the captured Diggers at Tobruk and my dad was one of those blokes 'on the right' at Al Alamein, Romulus. But I can assure you, British accounts of North Africa, Crete, (and the last effort on WW2 in general, was it by Max Hastings?), marks the AIF as a total shower and utterly second rate. An opinion, as you state, not shared by the Germans and Japanese, who faced them.


Can't say I can remember many off the top of my head but here's one I remembered well enough to Google up:

"My God, I wish we had [the] 9th Australian Division with us this morning."
Maj. Gen. Freddie de Guingand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_de_Guingand), Chief of Staff, Allied Land-force Headquarters Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SHAEF), D-Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Normandy), 1944.

Hardly uncomplimentary!

Certainly some niggle at the lower officer and other ranks but where it mattered the knowledge was there that the ANZACS were damn reliable. Woefully equipped but damned inventive at making do.

It's actually one of the reasons I am here apparently, grandfathers met when serving with 9th Australian and 7th Armoured or somesuch.

notmyC150v2
28th Oct 2008, 09:54
I can't believe that in all this discussion about the "greatest generals" no one has mentioned Julius Caesar.

He did not lose a single battle (although he did have a few draws) and he won some of the most amazing battles and sieges the world has ever seen.

Who can ignore the genius of Alesia where he circumvalated a citadel twice and fought off 250,000 from the outside and 60,000 from the inside with 30,000 men.

In the end the only ones who could kill him were his own former supporters who were sick of being over shadowed by his brilliance.

For modern Generals I think Monash is right up there with Lord Wellington.

In my opinion (poor as that is) Bonaparte won some brilliant victories but his shortcomings as a General shone through in the poor follow up and his inability to hold on to what he had won. Certainly I can understand the military academies studying his battles and learning from his tactics, but I think the longer lasting and biggest lesson he leaves is how not to run a war.

As for Rommel, I agree with the posts that say he was brilliant with the tools he was given and it could have been a very different war if he was given his head without intervention from his nutty leader. Mind you the same goes for any number of efficient German Generals at the same time.

Remember that the genius of Generals is normally decided by the victor at the end of the war. We see everything through rose coloured glasses produced by a victorious government.

As for the french,

Nothing but a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys.

The American President carries around a briefcase with the nuclear codes in case he has to go to war. The French President carries around a bag with a white towel in it, just in case...:}:}:}

Blacksheep
28th Oct 2008, 11:31
If we're on about great Generals and leadership what about Ghenghis? (the ancient warrior not the Engineer) For complete success there is only one way to fight:

"Kill all those who oppose you."

According to the Khan, how one goes about it doesn't really matter.

obgraham
28th Oct 2008, 17:53
Not being much of a student of "generalship", but merely following this thread, it would appear to me that Good Generalship is closely associated with Dictatorship.

Never quite figured out why the favorite hero of the Freedom Loving French was a Dictator and Murderer.

tony draper
28th Oct 2008, 18:01
"I did not seize the Crown!, I found it lying in the gutter, so I picked it up, with my sword"
:rolleyes:

larssnowpharter
28th Oct 2008, 18:33
I can't believe that in all this discussion about the "greatest generals" no one has mentioned Julius Caesar.

I think he did get an honourable mention a few pages back in this thread. However, since he was not French (notwithstanding his conquest of Gaul; another times the frogs came second!) he really should not be here.

But, if we are doing thread creep; yes, he was remarkable and not just as a general. He had superb tactical skills, his strategic thinking was 'non paraleil' (oops, soory about that!).

My favourite campaign of his, though, was when he was fighting against Pompey in the Balkans. Hugely outnumbered, under-supplied etc he still managed to win. And up against another proven general with a similarly equipped and trained army.

My only concern about him and the pedestal he has been put on is that most of what we know about him was actually written by him in the 'Commentaries'. Wonderful Latin and all that but I would compare it with studying the history of WW 2 by reading Churchill's 'History of the Second World War'.

Captain Stable
28th Oct 2008, 20:05
Julius Bloody :mad: Caesar should be banned from the lists totally. Julius Bloody :mad: Caesar wrote half the bloody :mad: books I had to bloody well read, translate and understand on bloody :mad: Tuesday and Thursday :mad: afternoons in school. MY GOD he was a :mad: boring author. At least Sophocles wrote some decent sex and violence - good, juicy stuff. :ok:

CoodaShooda
29th Oct 2008, 00:14
Was Sun Tzu a general?

galaxy flyer
29th Oct 2008, 03:34
I think he was, but his nomination would be the unknown general who won the war without fighting for a moment, hence, unknown to history. That could have been an unknown politician, also.

GF

lowerlobe
29th Oct 2008, 03:41
On a lighter note...

How many French soldiers does it take to defend Paris?

It's never been tried so no one knows...

notmyC150v2
29th Oct 2008, 05:24
My Grandad had what he thought was a unique piece of French military memorabilia.

It was a French infantary rifle.


-



-


-

Never been fired, only dropped once... :}


Of course when we had it valued we found out that they were very common and as such weren't worth squat.

Wiley
30th Oct 2008, 13:44
Was Sun Tzu a general?I don't know, but he did command an 'army' of the Emperor's favourite concubines, (after he took up the Emperor's challenge as to whether he could turn any group into an effective army). He did so by clubbing - (or was it beheading?) ...whatever... to death the Emperor's favourire bedmate who, along with the rest of te ladies called out ontothe parade ground, thought it was all bit of a laugh... and suddenly a bunch of giggling females took to their drill with some alacrity.

I read a story once, possibly fanciful, that Napolean carried around with him a translation of Sun Tzu's principles of war from his very early days, but after a string of victories, thought he was too good at the business of war to need to follow them any more... with the inevitable result that led to two prolonged island holiday tours.

If we can go down to 'mere' half colonels, I'd like to include Ralph Honner in my list of greats,the man who, after an exemplary showing in North Africa, took over an undertrained, thoroughly defeated and disheartened Militia batallion (the 39th) who'd been whipped at every encounter by the seasoned Japanese who were advancing over the Kokoda Track. Recognising it wasn't the calibre of the men that was wanting, but the leadership they'd endured to that point, at the Battle of Isurava, he put the most disgraced unit at the point of the expected first contact with the advancing Japanese in what was to THE make of break battle of the campaign to that point.

They held the Japanease for four days before they had to retreat, but so bled them, the Japanese were unable to make that final effort at Imita Ridge that would surely have won the Kokoda campaign - and quite likely changed the whole face of the war in the Pacific.

His post battle 'St Crispian's Day' speech to the survivors of the battle was captured on camera by war correspondent Damian Parer, another extraordinary man who, although he commanded no one, probably had a greater positive effect on the home front at a very desperate time than ten generals. So good were his dispatches and footage from the front, the Yanks couldn't bear to admit he was a foreigner, and dubbed an American voiceover to his commentaries.

Capt.KAOS
30th Oct 2008, 17:01
We know now that Rommel knew much more of the Allies in Africa than they thought in those days. The British Ultra code-breaking establishment was reading more and more German codes as time went on, yet Rommel was still surprising them. Part because under Italian command he used Italian codes and part of Rommel using hand-to-hand couriers.

The US entering the European war liaisoning with the British helped Rommel even more. The Italians were able to to compare the American and British codes accelerating the damage done by the mentioned American liaisons. Now Rommel was reading the Allied mail instead of the other way around. We now know that Rommel knew details down to the the geographic deployment of even hidden fuel depots and minefields. It was a huge advantage that made the Allies who fought him, believe he was even more of a mind-reading tactical genius than he actually was.

Rommel was for his own country controversial. The Nazi's didn't like him because he didn't agree with their philosophy and seemed to simply use Hitler for his own career advancement. The Army didn't like him because he was too friendly with Hitler and an officer who seemed more concern with his own career rather than the best interests of his troops, Italian or German.

PS Post War my vote goes to Gen.Marshall, he won the peace.

Tyres O'Flaherty
30th Oct 2008, 18:36
let's not forget that ULTRA effectively enabled Britain to send much of Rommel's supplies to the bottom of the med, probably to the point where it had a decisive impact on his campaign

Tempsford
30th Oct 2008, 19:17
If is purely Commanders and not restricted to land forces, Admiral Andrew Cunningham would aslo feature in my list of great commanders.

Temps

garp
1st Nov 2008, 20:12
An excellent read on a 'real' hero is "Happy Odyssey - The Memoirs of Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, Carton de Wiart 1950". From the Boers war, he enlisted whilst lying about age and nationality, over WW1 to WW2. Losing an eye and an arm, picking up the Victoria Cross (only Belgian ever), crashing into the sea, escaping from prison and becoming the personal represantative of Churchill with Chiang Kai Sheck.

Adrian Carton de Wiart's autobiography is one of the most remarkable of military memoirs. He was intended for the law, but abandoned his studies at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1899 to serve as a trooper in the South African War. Carton de Wiart's extraordinary military career embraced service with the Somaliland Camel Corps (1914-15), liaison officer with Polish forces (1939), membership of the British Military Mission to Yugoslavia (1941), a period as a prisoner of war (1941-43), and three years as Churchill's representative to Chiang Kai-shek (1943-46). (Churchill was a great admirer.) During the Great War, besides commanding the 8th Glosters, Carton de Wiart was GOC 12 Brigade (1917) and GOC 105 Brigade (April 1918). Both these commands were terminated by wounds. He was wounded eight times during the war (including the loss of an eye and a hand), won the VC during the Battle of the Somme, was mentioned in dispatches six times, and was the model for Brigadier Ben Ritchie Hook in the Sword of Honour trilogy of Evelyn Waugh.

Amazon.com: HAPPY ODYSSEY: Adrian Carton de Wiart: Books (http://www.amazon.com/HAPPY-ODYSSEY-Adrian-Carton-Wiart/dp/1844155390)