Iconic Photos

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Patton and Montgomery

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Generals Montgomery and Patton shake hands. The laughing faces of the two man can be deceiving–two heroes of the WWII didn’t get along very well at all. Two massives egos and two different opinions of how to defeat the germans meant they were always arguing. Montgomery was pompous, Patton reckless–this prevented both men from leading the Allied Land Invasion of Europe.

They turned natural rivalry into deadly competition to see who would or could get to Berlin first. In Sicily, both recklessly pushed their man to get of Massena first (After two weeks of fighting, Monty arrived just two hours after Patton relieved the city). On their push towards Berlin, Monty complained that he had been fighting harder than Patton whereas Patton complained that Montgomery’s 21st Army group got priority on the supplies. Both overlooked the fact that Monty was leading the main thrust (although both thought each other’s army was doing main thrust).

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

April 28, 2009 at 7:17 am

Posted in War

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. The caption to the photograph is a little misleading regarding the advance on Berlin. The counterpart to Montgomery’s 21st Army Group was Bradley’s 12th Army Group. Patton’s Third Army was part of Bradley’s army group. Neither army group was tasked to capture Berlin. The politicians agreed to leave that to the Soviets.

    An unfortunate press conference by Montgomery after the Battle of the Bulge contributed more than anything to the ill will between these officers. Incidently, after that press conference Eisenhower and Bradley were inclined to get rid of Montgomery as a field commander but cooler heads prevailed.


    May 24, 2011 at 3:54 am

  2. Patton and Montgomery had dangerous rivalries but Patton was the better general and lead with greater success than Montgomery. Montgomery’s planned invasion of Holland, OPERATION MARKET GARDEN was a total disaster. Initial intelligence was taken as an absolute and they planned on the German response to be ineffective as they believed that young boys and old men were defending Holland. When follow-up intelligence showed that armor and infantry were in Holland, the information was not conveyed. Montgomery wanted an invasion to his credit like Normandy or OPERATION OVERLORD was to Eisenhower. OVERLORD had it’s problems but the losses that MARKET GARDEN suffered were tragic. Over 9000 British Airborne troops died because of Montgomery’s miscalculation of German forces and strength. Landing Zones were set 10 miles away from objectives and equipment was not what was needed, i.e., radios had the wrong frequency crystals. Yet, by British accounts, MARKET GARDEN proclaimed a victory. Conversely, Patton had great successes in Africa and Europe, particularly in Bastogne. Although the 101st Airborne claimed they never needed rescuing, the fact that Patton was able to fight one engagement, go on a 100 mile march and arrive in Bastogne and re-engage was impressive. At the end of the war, Patton had a unique insight as to the trustworthiness of the Soviets. While his opinions and predictions were accurate, they were unpopular with Eisenhower and Truman. It resulted in him being relieved of command of the 3rd Army while Montgomery was named Chief of Staff of the British Army. If Montgomery had one superior ability over Patton, it was his ability to play politics, not lead troops!!!


    February 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

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