The History Channel showed a program on America's 5-star generals and admirals. While I do think that they earned their reputations, they did not win the war alone. There were plenty of more junior officers without whom the war would have been lost. I'd like to know who are the best American 3 and 4-star generals of WWII. These include such people as: Courtney Hodges (1st Army) Mark Clark (5th Army) Walter Krueger (6th Army) Alexander Patch (7th Army) Robert Eichelburger (8th Army) William Simpson (9th Army) Jacob L. Devers (6th Army Group) John C. H. Lee (Services of Supply) Walter Bedell Smith (SHAEF) Jonathan Wainwright Geoffrey Keyes Ira Eaker (8th Air Force) Carl Spaatz (8th Air Force) Lewis Brereton and many, many others
I'd like to avoid Patton if possible, because he's received far too much attention.
My top 5 includes:
1) Patch - led XIV Corps and 7th Army very well in both Pacific and Europe. 2) Devers - the most neglected US commander of WWII 3) Krueger - intelligent and thorough commander who made MacArthur 4) Lee - heavily criticized for his opulence, he nonetheless supplied SHAEF well. 5) Bedell Smith - an organizer of victory
On 1 Mar 1999 17:24:20 GMT, 'Scott A. MacKenzie'
My quick comments on your list.
A good, competant, solid commander.
ARGH. Not my favorite. He had lots of bad luck (no one in charge of a Churchill pet project ever comes out looking good) but I don't think much of his skills, (esp. when he went for Rome instead of pursuing the retreating German forces; he would not have been able to chase far, because of logistics, but he could have trapped and destroyed some of the retreating forces.)
The reason Doug looked so good.
Another competant, solid general. I believe he was the first general to request a heavier tank than the Sherman. And also the only man to command large bodies of troops in the ETO and PTO, which says much for his adaptability to conditions.
The other reason Doug looked so good.
Kim Philby thought he was his most dangerous opponent several years later. A shrewd man, of good intelligance. Perfect in his role.
Got screwed over by MacArthur. Otherwise, not of much distinction. I believe at Bataan he made a couple of mistakes, that lead to the premature loss of the first defensive line.
I think they get under-attention, and Lemay gets more than his fair share. These two men killed the Luftwaffe (as much as Generals can).
Hap Arnold seemed to be more concerned with PR flak over area bombing in the ETO than he was in the PTO. I have no idea why. The USAAF in fact area bombed in both theatres, but, Eaker and Spaatz were much more guarded in their comments about it than was LeMay in the Far
I would nominate: MGen Alexander Vandegrift, USMC. Commander of 1stMARDIV at Guadalcanal
MGen Roy S. Geiger, USMC. Only Marine officer to command Army sized unit. (10th Army on Okinawa)
MGen Pedro delValle, USMC. Outstanding commander of artillery (11th Marines) and laster commander 1stMarDiv
There are a lot of little Generals who are never mentioned who played important roles in WW11. The last roster I saw of the organization I was in list 28 General Officers.
I'll nominate Truscott, who commanded 3rd Infantry Division, VI Corps, and in 1945 had his pick of Army commands. He is one of the reasons Patch looks so good, since Seventh Army faced its greatest challenges with Truscott as a corps commander.
Patton is the obvious choice. The thing is there are were so many outstanding American 3 and 4 star generals that picking a few out of the bunch is difficult. Do you like the Army Air Force, who had Doolittle, Kenney, Spaatz and Eacker (somebody correct my sleep deprived spelling PLEASE!). The Marines had Vandergrift, H.M. Smith and Geiger. The Army had 2 other army commanders worthy of note in Europe, Simpson and Hodges, and 2 more in the Pacific, Kruger and Eichelberger. Army Corps commanders included Walker, Middleton and Ridgeway to name but 3.
There were some outstanding ones, sure. But too many were between mediocre and fair.
Hodges doesn't have enough written about him even in passing, which I think unfair (one would think Patton was the only Army commander under Bradley). But Hodges was a mediocre commander, not worth any study except for the fact that at his HQ the maps showed even the *battalion* positions, 3rd Army HQ maps rarely showing even the regiments. But that's minor. Hodges seems to have gotten the job because he was, well, old enough for it and around long enough to have earned it due to the lack of any suitable alternatives. He didn't make waves, I suppose, and did not make what either Bradley or Ike thought were big mistakes (Ike and Bradley rarely recognized them, anyway, judging by Hurtgen Forest being an acceptable operation).
Collins was superior to those people, though they were all solid and in no danger of being relieved at any time save for some political reasons we have little knowledge of.
'Word has it that the first choice for the name of the Yugoslav war was: 'Operation: Get me a Legacy.' The report remains unconfirmed.'
And, of course, Patch of Seventh Army. Patch seems to have run a good Army. He had the unenviable task of going through the Vosges, and succeeded. In his army, the replacement system generally worked, since he made sure units were pulled out of the front lines to get replacements. He allocated sufficient force for the drives through the Vosges, unlike Hodges in the Huertgen. He was ready for the Nordwind offensive and contained it well. His initial successes might be credited to Truscott, who commanded VI Corps when it was Patch's only corps, but his army seemed to work smoothly afterwards also.
For that matter, Truscott spent some time commanding Fifth Army in Italy. I am not as familiar as I should be with that part of the campaign, but Truscott proved superb as a division and corps commander. I'd list him as an army commander worthy of note.