Thursday, February 03, 2005

Auchinleck and Montgomery

Bernard Montgomery hated fluid battles. He always strove to fight setpiece battles, preferably where he had overwhelming force. Claude Auchinleck, and his key advisor, Eric Dorman-Smith, were experts in the sort of fluid battle that Rommel fought. They were as at ease with it as Rommel. They wanted to fight in a rather modern way, with mobile, combined arms teams, with decentralized command. They were the opposite extreme to Montgomery. When the Axis front collapsed after El Alamein, Montgomery was uneasy with a war of rapid movement, so that the result was that the Axis forces were able to withdraw without particular difficulty, until they reached Libya. Auchinleck would have run them down, and ended the war in North Africa, right then, in late 1942.

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