Turn Off Ads?
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

  1. #1
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    7,441

    History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    In WWII who was the better General?

    Patton was on the winning side but he had an unending supply of men and equipment. Also, he was not shuttled off to a distant theater. He was a damn good motivator of men, and he understood mechanized warefare when few others in the American millitary did.

    Rommel was on the losing side, and had most of his army captured in N. Africa. He was, however, hamstrung by supply and manpower issues (and by Hitler being an evil idiot). What he did with the handcuffs on was amazing.

    I think the key question in these "match ups" is would Patton have been as successfull had he been in Rommel's sitation and vice versa.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Overlooking GABP
    Posts
    4,437

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Hard to tell. Rommel was more of a tactical and strategic genius, but Patton understood how to push his men to the limit better than any commander in US history. If I had to make the call, I think Patton would win out in an even head to head based on pure determination.

  4. #3
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Bristol, just around the corner from ESPN
    Posts
    8,694

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Take Rommel, give the points.

  5. #4
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    12,324

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Rommel is one of the most over-rated generals in history (right behind Monty). von Rundstedt was the much better military leader and Germany's best General might have even been Guderian. I think von Rundstedt would have been a worth adversary for Patton, but not Rommel. His leadership in regrouping the retreating German Army in Holland was a brilliant.

    Rommel seems to be held in high regard in the west mainly because he happened to be the guy who was in charge in the west and in North Africa. But if you read any German historians, Rommel is widely considered incompetent and one of the worst generals they had in WWII. He was known to cozy up to the press, especially photographers to help build his reputation.

    He was notorious for being overly agressive, even reckless, and regularly disobeying orders. He never listened to the experts on logistics, which was probably his downfall in Africa. The other officers hated hated the guy because he was all about himself and he never listened to anyone.

    When ordered to stay on the defensive in Africa, he instead went on a major offensive against Britian. While it looked like a brilliant offensive, they failed to take Tobruk and didn't capture anything of real significance (ports). The worst part was this was in early 1941 when the invasion of Russia was coming. Many of the Nazi leaders were irate that he would waste such resources that were going to be used in Barbarossa (telling that in the most critical campaign of the war, Rommel was not included). And while they finally captured Tobruk after 4 tries, his best accomplishment in Africa was probably the retreat.

    His lack of communication with other German leaders cost them big time after his victory at Kasserine, which wound up costing them the overall initiative. His lack of concern for logistics left no evacuation route for German troops and they ended up surrendering 200,000 troops in Tunisia.

    His vaunted Atlantic Wall held up the Allies for all of a half day. Perhaps his most significant goof was his complete misinterpretation of the conditions with which the Allies would begin their invasion. The fact that at such a critical time, he decided to leave for his wife's birthday was inexcusable. He wasn't there for D-Day. And while I hold that he was not a great general his presence in Normandy might have changed the course of that battle. The Germans suffered from decision paralysis on June6 because no one wanted to make important decisions. Had Rommel been there, the Panzer groups that were close by might have been moved to the Normandy beach area rather than sit quietly by as the Allies established a beach head. I hope his wife had a happy birthday because his presence with her cost the Germans big time. So for the two most significant losses his troops experienced (round 2 of El Alamein and Normandy) he was absent.

    Some historians speculate that this is a big reason why his reputation has remained intact over the years. Others have suggested that it was Monty's high praise of Rommel's brilliance in North Africa that built up his reputation to begin with. BUt for whatever reason, he's held in high regard by the west, but is considered a boob by his countrymen. My opinion is that when most British and Americans think of the German Army, Rommel is who they associate with it. And he was never part of the eastern front where Russia experienced its greatest defeats (this is key when it comes to Rommel's reputation). In reality, if you break down his actual military tactics and accomplishment, his record is quite poor. He might be the most famous German milatry personality of the war, but he's not one of the best.

    And contrary to the belief of many, Rommel was opposed to the plot to kill Hitler.

    So my answer is Patton in a laugher.
    Last edited by MWM; 02-10-2007 at 12:12 PM.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  6. #5
    Pagan/Asatru Ravenlord's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Williamsburg, OH and the wilds.
    Posts
    8,992

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    MacArthur.
    the store for all your blade, costuming (in any regard), leather (also in any regard), and steel craft needs.www.facebook.com/tdhshop


    yes, this really is how we make our living.

  7. #6
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Bellefontaine, Ohio
    Posts
    26,656

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    The PECOTA on Patton is simply unreal.

    When you go to war, one must not only understand the ugliness and reality of war; but also never let it get in the way of the main objective of war - to break things, kill/overcome the enemy, and win. That is the reality of war.

    Guys like Patton and Sherman knew that.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  8. #7
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    7,441

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    His lack of concern for logistics left no evacuation route for German troops and they ended up surrendering 200,000 troops in Tunisia.
    Rommel was acutley aware of the logistics situations in Africa. He had this to say about it, "Not only had no replacement material arrived, but with an almost unbelievable lack of appreication of the situation, the supply authorities had actually sent only three thousand tons to Africa during June, as compared with the real requirement is sixty thousand tons, a figure which was never in fact attained. "The Rommel Papers" BD Liddel-Heart. Harcourt Brace. 1951, pg 243.

    I don't think you can lay the supply issues at Rommels feet when the Itallians failed to secure the Med. That said, he was at the helm when the entire Africa Korps was defeated/captured. His agressive "attack at all costs" approach with such a tenious supply route was ill-advised once the tide started to turn against them.

    Patton also frequently pushed his forces past his supply chain also. "The Millitary 100" Michael Lee Lanning. Carol Publishing Group 1996. Pg 347

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    His vaunted Atlantic Wall held up the Allies for all of a half day...I hope his wife had a happy birthday because his presence with her cost the Germans big time. So for the two most significant losses his troops experienced (round 2 of El Alamein and Normandy) he was absent. .
    He was absent for the begining of El Alamein becuase he was ill and in Germany for medical treatment. "Atlas of World War II Battle Plans", Stephen Badsey, Helicon Publishing 2000. Pg 103. But his ill-timed trip away from the front in Normany was definatley a blunder. Wermacht command pegged the landing dates and locations and Rommel's reasoning for being gone (wife's birthday, hopeing to meet with Hitler to secure more troops, rough seas in the channel) ring flimsy to me.

    As you pointed out MWM, maybe the outcome would have been the same, but the Normandy beaches where exactly where Rommels "attack, attack, attack" battle plan would have been best employed. (But thank God for our boys he wasn't there).

    I don't think the quick defeat of the Atlantic wall can be laid soley at Rommel's feet. Heinz Guderian said, "the German Navy's costal mine-laying effort was still in a state of pronounced weakness...Reconnaissance by the Luftwaffe and Navy was completely inadequate and the reports from the intelligence serivce were of dubious character...The Navy had no patrol vessels at sea...As on many previous days the Luftwaffe did no conduct reconnaissance flights". From "Normandy to the Ruhr with the 116th Panzer Division" Heinz Guderian, Aberjone Press. 2001 Pg. 26. The lack of Navy and air cover were beyond Rommels control. The biggest failure IMO, was the lack of intelligence so they could better locate the landing sites instead of trying to defend the entire coast-line and thinning out their troops (again, thank God they did).

    All in all, however, I agree with you MWM that a mythos has grown up about Rommel over the years. He experienced success early on with fresh supplies and against lesser opponents. He ran roughshod over the British in Africa early on but as supply issues and Hitlers idiocy reared their head he, IMO, failed to recogonize that attack at all costs would not work in the long run. Much like Lee, he won battles and bled his army dry in the process.

    Paton, however, was able to acheive great success mostly against a weakened army and with non-stop supplies. Would he have been as successfull with dwindling supplies, useless allys and Hitler to deal with? I don't know. Additionaly, his mouth and ego cost him opportunities to use his tallents in more battles.

    I think both are star-crossed figures who were both tallented and deeply flawed.
    Last edited by Ltlabner; 02-10-2007 at 10:06 PM.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

  9. #8
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    12,324

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Oh, I would never say the quick defeat of the Atlantic Wall was solely his responsibility. There were all kinds of failures that day from the German end. And I'm also very aware of why he wasn't in El Alamein and clearly he's not entirely to blame for that defeat. My point is that for the two most critical battles of his tenure, he was absent. Whether that was his fault or not is not relevant for the point I was making. I think it helps him escape some of the culpability because you couldn't look at decisions during those battles and tie them directly to him. It was actually indecision that killed the Germans in Normandy. Has anyone with any decisiveness been present on June 6, it could have been a completely battle.

    The one thing we disagree on is how seriously he took the logistics problems in North Africa. It's not like these problems weren't easy to forsee. And you said yourself his "attack at all costs" mentality came back to bite him at times. He lacked foresight and Africa is a great example. They should never have found themselves in the situation they found themselves in at Norht Africa, and Rommel put them there. He was told to defend their holdings there, and he ignored that with complete disregard for the logistical nightmare it would create. And it's not like his victories in North Africa were coming against elite British soldiers.

    It's not that I think he was without his strengths, he was just in over his head commanding an entire theatre and has somehow managed to solidfy a reputation in the west a great military commander when he wasn't all that good. He was more famous than he was good, and he never had to command an army on the eastern front, which is another reason he's been able to retain such a reputation. If he was such a great commander, why would he not be used at all in the most important operation in the entire war? Germany has some great military leaders in WWII who most people have never heard of. I might be being a little hard of him, but it's more because he's hyped to a level much higher than he merited. And FWIW, I'm also not the biggest fan of MacArthur for some of the same reasons. And I'm a huge fan of Omar Bradely, who often gets overlooked by casual WWII observers.

    And we're researching and referencing now? Boy, I'm going have to start doing my homework to participate. I've always had a policy of not doing research for posting on this site. I might have to rethink that now. I'm now in my 30s, my memory isn't as good as it used to be.
    Last edited by MWM; 02-10-2007 at 11:41 PM.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  10. #9
    bomarl1969
    Guest

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    I think our best Generals were (no particular order)

    Stonewall Jackson
    James Longstreet
    Robert E. Lee (Gettysburg exception)
    JEB Stuart
    George Washington
    George Patton
    Douglas MacArthur
    William Tecumseh Sherman
    U.S. Grant
    Norman Schwarztkopt (Those Iraqi's were lucky I had an army or else I would have been forced to go in there and beat the tar outta every man that came in my perameter. And I WANT HOLYFIELD!!!

  11. #10
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    7,441

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    It's not that I think he was without his strengths, he was just in over his head commanding an entire theatre and has somehow managed to solidfy a reputation in the west a great military commander when he wasn't all that good. He was more famous than he was good, and he never had to command an army on the eastern front, which is another reason he's been able to retain such a reputation. If he was such a great commander, why would he not be used at all in the most important operation in the entire war?

    And I'm a huge fan of Omar Bradely, who often gets overlooked by casual WWII observers.

    And we're researching and referencing now? Boy, I'm going have to start doing my homework to participate. I've always had a policy of not doing research for posting on this site. I might have to rethink that now. I'm now in my 30s, my memory isn't as good as it used to be.
    I agree with your para 1. That's a fantastic point about the differences of being a great general in the framework of someone else's army, and being incharge of the entire theater yourself. And your question of why he was in what was basically a "backwater" theater as opposed to being a part of Barbarosa is a very good one.

    I like Omar too, although he lost some points when he backed operation Cobra which was illadvised and deadly to a lot of US troops.

    Nah, no research and referencing needed to participate! I was just in the mood to drag a few books off the shelf and this thread gave me an excuse to do it.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

  12. #11
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    12,324

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Hmmm, not sure I agree on Cobra, which ironically was actually planned by Patton. It was a deadly operation for many US troops with a lot of screwups that wound up killing our own men, but the question becomes how much more deadly would the stalemate have been. The Allies just weren't getting anywhere in Normandy. They needed to break out. I fall into the "something had to be done" camp. Was Cobra the right answer? That's a question that could have another thread by itself. Did it wind up being very successful? Absolutely. But it could be another question similar to the ones about Rommell and North Africa - at what cost?

    Heck, even Ike supported Market Garden, which is the very definition of ill-advised. That Monty was quite a character. And talk about not ever listening to anyone else....
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  13. #12
    Member ochre's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    4,266

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    The fact that enigma was cracked by the allies renders most comparisons enigmatic at best...

    Pretty easy to disrupt logistics when you know when and where the convoy is going to be. It also tended to screw up what should have otherwise been a fairly normal distribution (somewhat random) of ships that were intercepted in the Mediterranean. I would guess that to some degree a General in that kind of situation would have to calculate the odds of such efficient disruptions as being pretty remote. The biggest key to the North African campaign, and perhaps the general war in Europe, was the fact that the Allies were able to hide the fact that they had broken enigma.
    4009



  14. #13
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    7,441

    Re: History Buffs - Patton vs Rommel

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    Heck, even Ike supported Market Garden, which is the very definition of ill-advised. That Monty was quite a character. And talk about not ever listening to anyone else....
    I totally agree with you about Monty. He beat Rommel but did so when Rommel was deprived of needed supplies and had overextended himself.

    Then he hit the skull-bong and came up with Market-Garden.

    Completley over-rated.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25