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Customer Discussions > History forum

Western Desert and Attempts at changing the direction of slime

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Showing 1-25 of 140 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 3, 2013, 5:31:00 PM PST
This is a bit of an attempt to clean up the garbage that has polluted this board of late by a number or posters, or more likely a few, posing as many. I even suspect some are paid to involve themselves in "pi$$ fights" .

The Question:

Western Desert

We have heard quite a bit about Monty and Auchinleck, but let me ask, would there have ever been a Monty or an Auchinleck if O'Connor (and Wavell) had been allowed to finished the Operation Compass campaign?

The Churchillian diversion into the fiasco in Greece was (in retrospect) a complete waste of effort. Had those energies been allowed to have come to fruition in early '42 (before the DAK arrived), does the Western Desert Campaign end right there?

No Monty, No Auchinleck, No DAK, No Rommel, No El Alamein, etc. I would say that both Wavell and O'Connor were a good deal more competent than Monty. How large would the reputation of these men been written if O'Connor not been captured, and no diversion to Greece? I am aware that this is all a crap shoot, but what are your thoughts?

I think that Monty could have been a good general ... if he had a babysitter. In France Ike was a poor babysitter.

"pi$$ fight"

And "pi$$ fight" is defined as any Neo-Nazi, pro-Israel, Anti-Israel, Neo-Nazi,Islamo- ... pro-Zionist, Anti-Zionist discussion involving Al, cattle prod, puppy, LAD, Ostrova, Kessler, Schwartz, and regrettably Rachel in right wing mode. There are other but can we give it a rest. I am going to add a bunch of these threads in the hopes a more interesting sort will, arrive!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2013, 7:58:41 AM PST
Bump, Holocaust, don't care, Nazism, don't care, ... hate speech and politics elsewhere please

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2013, 1:04:00 PM PST
R. Largess says:
Enlarge upon this, IGS. You're probably more up on it than anyone else.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2013, 1:39:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 5, 2013, 5:21:34 PM PST
R. Largess

In September 1940, an Italian force of 150,000 men advanced across the North African Desert into Egypt driving all before it. All that stood between the Italians and the Suez were 30,000 UK soldiers, the British counterstrike by O'Connor and his Western Desert Force advanced 500 miles in two and a half months took 120,000 POW's destroyed or captured about 400 tanks and over 1200 artillery pieces and annihilated the entire logistics infrastructure in North Africa, before the British effort ran out of steam. At which point the Western Desert Force, re-armed, re-set their logistical arrangements, refit their vehicles, and so on and prepped for round two and went again. But just after starting Churchill put the brakes on it and diverted to Greece, all troops that could be spared. This eviscerated Wavell and O'Connor's force. Worse yet, while scouting avenues for continued attack, O'Connor was captured. This loss and forestalling enabled the arrival of the DAK and the rest is history.

I guess my musing was, if O'Connor had been given the opportunity, he probably would have driven the Italians out of Africa entirely. There would have been no Rommel, no Afrika Korps, and not Montgomery. Perhaps the big British General's of the war would have been O'Connor and Wavell. As to what that would have meant in the big scheme, I don't know.

I just think that the Western Desert Force stands as one of the great unappreciated mechanized war operations of the entire war. Outstanding. But the DAK and Monty get all the credit.

As for the slime, if I never here from Al, puppy, LAD and all their neo-Nazi types or their opposite numbers on the other end of it the fanatics like Kessler, Ostrova, Schwartz, and others, again, it will be too soon.

I just think their pointless forays should go the politics board or some other discussion of race motivated idiocy.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2013, 3:03:34 PM PST
R. Largess says:
Didn't this end with a British armored strike across the desert which cut off the Italian line of retreat south of Benghazi?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013, 8:36:54 AM PST
It did, all that remained was to drive west to completely excise the the Italians

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013, 9:52:37 AM PST
R. Largess says:
Hm. It seems like an astounding victory, and it sounds like you're right, it would have been total if it hadn't been derailed by the Greece invasion. But what would the consequences have been for the Italians getting kicked out of N.Africa and British failure to support Greece? Maybe a German-Italian determination to drive the British fleet out of the Med., taking Malta and Crete?

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 3:55:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2013, 3:56:15 PM PST
patrick says:
I typed out a long detailed response yesterday, which then just frikking disappeared, I hadnt thought to save it in case as often happens on this idiotic site its just GONE to the Andromeda Galaxy, but..

I dont think they had much choice, re Greece. Im not sure if they foresaw at all what cats they were letting out of the bag by not just wrapping up what was left of Grazianos army, securing the North African shore Libya-Suez and effectively locking out the Germans and avoiding the entire 8th Army Vs DAKs campaign, including the Torch and Tunisia campaign..
But morally and politically, they HD to go to Greeces support, even though they must have known there was little chance of stopping the Germans with what they sent..
And theyd have avoided too the disaster which was nearly a triumph, in Crete..

but if they had just looked the other way and Greece fell under the Nazi boot with no attempt to aid them, what would we now be saying about THAT decision?

that was of course, the militarily ruthless and smart choice, aided just a little by perfect hindsight also.

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 3:59:12 PM PST
patrick says:
I do perhaps naively ask, that if the North African campaign had been wrapped up and the Italian Axis position there completely terminated, if it was feasible that the Germans could have still used French North Africa, Algeria/Tunisia as a staging point for their own campaign there?
Id imagine its unlikely ..

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 5:26:03 PM PST

They may have tried it. It's still a longer drive to suez from Algeria. It would be interesting to see how the British countered that. There is a lot of sea between Marseille and Algiers and the RN in between. One wonders whether the UK would ask Spain for permission to use Mallorca just to make it a little rougher on the Axis. But I sense that it would be done once the Italians were driven off.

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 6:47:50 PM PST
R. Largess says:
In "Panzer Leader" Guderian says:"It seems to me, then, that we could ensure peace in the near future by advancing, first of all, to the mouth of the Rhone; then having captured the French Mediterranean bases in conjunction with the Italians, by landing in Africa while the Luftwaffe's first-class parachute troops seized Malta...It would plainly have been more advantageous to make a German-Italian landing in North Africa in 1940 than it was in 1941, after the initial Italian defeat in that theater." In other words Guderian is saying that instead of negotiating a peace with the French, the Germans should have proceeded to a complete occupation of mainland France and an invasion of French North Africa and then Egypt as a means of expeditiously imposing defeat on the British.

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 10:35:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2013, 10:37:47 PM PST
patrick says:
I imagine that with Tripoli blocked to them, although another start further West on the shore was not impossible, without that relative convenience the Germans and Hitler just cant muster even the half-hearted interest and effort that they at first entered the campaign with...the British (would have) already had their filip of --at last--outright field victory against one Axis partner and --at last--destruction of one large/significant Axis force, with the further bonus of even doing it with a smaller that result and headline event cannot be undone, even if it can be reversed afterwards.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2013, 5:33:21 AM PST
R. Largess says:
Yes - one can imagine Hitler feeling the need to bail out and reestablish the Italians, like he did with Greece, but on a large scale. Capture of Malta, establishment of air superiority everywhere the Luftwaffe could reach over the Mediterranean, and a powerful German force landed in Tunisia? So the climactic battle of WWII is not Russia, but for Egypt, with Britain fighting alone?

Posted on Apr 9, 2013, 8:18:26 AM PDT

!7 threads on Israel, Jews, and Zionism, interesting topics to be sure ... but 17

I think one and all. it is time to stop responding to Al (Bundy), Woodruff (puppy), LAD (A-Ƕɷɩɇ). and their venomous spleen filled ilk on the other side. It is time to cut them off, and simply not respond. C'mon guys! Don't play the game.

Posted on Jul 2, 2015, 4:36:07 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 8:58:31 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 7:44:04 AM PDT
What could they have done with the flood of Grants and Shermans that Monty wasted? They had to get by with a trickle of very poor Brit designed tanks. Any general could have beaten Rommel at EL Alamein, fixed position, no flanks for the DAK to turn, sitting right on top of their supply base when the DAK was at the absolute end of it's supply lines. Add in the flood of superior American designed and built tanks, vehicles and equipment and Rommel was destined for defeat regardless of the competence fo his opponent.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 7:49:29 AM PDT
Gregory G. says:

What a stupid general Rommel must have been to have placed his men in such a forlorn position.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 7:56:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 7:58:55 AM PDT
His orders were to capture Suez. To get there he had to get past El Alamein which was almost a perfect defensive position. If you'd bother to read about the Desert War, it was a logistics battle more than a military one. Either side could attack and gain ground until it hit the end of it's supply line, then the other side would counter attack and drive the first back. That went on until the flood of American tanks, equipment and supplies arrived and the 8th Army swamped the DAK with costly, wasteful frontal attacks which seem to be Monty's signature move as sweeping flanking moves were Rommel's.

Posted on Jul 2, 2015, 8:04:57 AM PDT
Gregory G. says:
Oh we are at this again are we?

"If you bothered to read about the Desert War..."


Nial Barr,

Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein

For example-

..all this coming from a person who never names his sources..

How about ..

Barrie Pitt,

The Crucible of War: Wavell's Command: The Definitive History of the Desert War - Volume 1

[[ASIN:0304359513 The Crucible of War: Auchinleck's Command: The Definitive History of the Desert

War - Volume 2]]

The Crucible of War: Montgomery and Alamein

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 8:15:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 8:18:59 AM PDT
So by posting the titles of books that you claim to have read, you are saying that the Western Desert wasn't ruled by logistics? And yes, here we go again. You are a Monty supporter and apologist, and I believe that he was a mediocre general that lucked into command at the right time and place for his command style to be effective. After the desert war, Monty never shone. None of his plans ever worked as designed and he was very good at blaming everyone else for his micromanaging and failure to envision enemy actions taken to counter his plans.

If you would have put the Americans on Sword and Juno with their good ground and Monty"s Army Group on Omaha and Utah, the Americans would have been romping in the German rear while Monty would have been stuck on the beaches claiming that his air and naval gun support was ineffective. As it was, he had the good ground and wasted it with a bad case of the slows. On D Day he had all the advantages, running from the best beaches with the lightest defenses, to good tank ground behind them for his attack, to the funnies to get his armor through the German minefields and obstacles.

Posted on Jul 2, 2015, 8:26:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 8:35:24 AM PDT
Gregory G. says:
The Battle of El Alamein was won by the fighting infantry-Aussies,Kiwis,Indians,English and Scots (51st Highland) or South Africans,by the 6 pounder A/T gun of the motorized brigades and by the 25 pounder field gun.

The main British armour could not breakthrough until the very late stages to actively engage the German armour.

Supercharge was a failure on the 2nd of November and the final breakout did not start to occur until the following day.

At all times the infantry were required to attack,overcome the enemy defenses and break the anti-tank line before the tanks could successfully get they Shermans,Valentines..or Stuarts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 9:00:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 9:02:33 AM PDT
El Alamein was won in spite of Monty's plans by Commonwealth Infantry. No unit, either Armor or infantry ever made it's target on time, and that was typical of forces under Monty's command throughout the war. The only reason he was able to overcome Rommel's defenses is that he outnumbered the DAK about a hundred to one (700 vs 70) in tanks, had far more infantry and artillery and a superiority in supplies that can't even be measured. Monty just hammered at the DAK until it ran out of fuel and bullets and had to retreat. It was a typical, wasteful Monty plan. He had total naval superiority and failed to use it at all. A smart commander would have had the Royal Navy transport a force into Rommel's rear and land it at some lightly defended place, oh say like Tobruk for instance, which would have threatened the DAK's supply lines and Rommel would have had to retreat without Monty losing a single man or tank in frontal attacks at El Alamein. Monty then could have used his numerical and technological superiority to harry the DAK to destruction as it retreated. Monty never used seapower and failed to use airpower effectively throughout the war. He was a WWI style infantry general. Monty always had aerial supremacy and total naval supremacy and wasted both. It took him over 14 days of attrition to defeat the DAK at El Alamein. Even then he never managed to capture any serious percentage of the DAK, it was allowed to break contact, retreat to regroup and fight another day.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 9:30:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 9:32:44 AM PDT
One reason I never show my sources is that over my lifetime I have read thousands of books on history and WWII in particular. At this late date I can't remember what facts came from what books. Sometimes I get confused with facts from real history books and "facts" from historical novels. That's why I am always willing to admit mistakes when they are pointed out to me.

Posted on Jul 2, 2015, 9:51:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2015, 10:44:55 AM PDT
Gregory G. says:
Taking your points one by one.

How would you know whether all the British and Commonwealth infantry and armour units never reached its objectives on time in WW2?

It is simply a slur on the performance of all Commonwealth forces in WW 2 and is....laughable.

Montgomery did not have any major landing type craft in the Med at this time.

So how large a force could he have landed at..say..Tobruk?A logistics..ah well.

The co-operation with the air was pretty good at Alamein

American equipment did not win the battle.It was scarcely deployed until the final stages.

Rommel chose the ground precisely because his flanks were very well protected,and the front was relatively constricted.By mining and entrenching he chose the nature of the battle-otherwise he was a mighty silly general indeed.Which,of course,he wasn't.

Montgomery had a perfect horror of the horrendous casualties of the Great War-after all,he was severely wounded in it.What he desired was a "tidy" battle best suited for his heterogeneous mix of units rather than the wasteful tactics of the *Jock columns* and the massacre of the unprotected infantry as had occurred in previous battles..Gazala..Battleaxe..etc...

His desire for a quick breakthrough was consistently thwarted by the Axis defenses and the very potent German anti-tank gun line-be they Pak 38's or 88's

That was a fact of military life at the time.Be they Shermans,Crusaders,Valentines.Grants..they were simply shot to pieces when they were exposed to the gun line.

As they were on the Bourgebus ridge less than 2 years later.

Montgomery had to be aware at all times-but especially in Normandy, that he was fielding the last of Great Britain's armies...and that heavy casualties could not be replaced.

Was he a great general?The vast majority of his soldiers felt very proud of having fought under his command.Did he make mistakes?Yeah-sure did,every general does.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2015, 10:14:01 AM PDT
Gregory G. says:
Sorry RMS..

I had not read your post when I was typing lets forget about *demolishing* which,I admit,is pretty churlish and just settle down to a good old feisty discussion.. ;-)
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