Sunday, May 01, 2005

When you pit an indecisive committee against Rommel, it's hardly fair

Just think about the indecisive British committee commanding the 8th Army at Gazala, fighting against Rommel, and "it hardly seems fair". Rommel's command style was to lead from the front, so that he set an example for his troops, and so that he knew the situation on the ground. The British style, developed by the command team that Auchinleck had put in place, was to discuss everything and take votes. General Neil Ritchie was nominally the army commander, but he must have been insecure enough to rely upon his corps commanders. There is a photo in Correlli Barnett's book that shows Lt-General Norrie (30th Corps), Lt-General Gott (13th Corps), and Lt-General Ritchie poring over a map, presumably during the battle. You can imagine that they were most of the command-committee team.

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