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US II Corps in North Africa, Relief of Fredendall

Discussion in 'North Africa: Operation Torch to Surrender of Tuni' started by 4th wilts, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    That is probably right. Marshall was quite protective of the men he selected for his staff and actual field commands. That is why Eisenhower got his career during the war. He had Marshall's complate confidence and rarely made a mistake that could not be reversed. Fredenhall was another matter. He couldn't cooperate either British (Fredenhall had Anglophobia) or French and was a bad field commander. Alexander who was not impressed with first test of US Army at Kasserine Pass remarked acidly to Eisenhower "I am sure you have men better than that" (referring whom I wonder) Still Eisenhower couldn't bring himself to sack Fredenhall and did it reluctantly after Harmon and Bradley's critism of him. He actually believed all would be well until he was relieved from command of 2nd US Corps. Referring Fredenhall Eisenhower remarked while he was sent back to States "Too bad he was an effective regiment commander." Maybe that was the problem. He did not command anything larger than a regiment.

    Same thing happened with US military atteche Colonel Bonnar Fellers affair in Egypt. After it became clear that he was Rommel's best source of intelligence during 1942 he was packed and sent home (he was an Anglophope too constantly sending reports that British were fighting patheticly and finished in North Africa ) but then MacArthur took Fellers to his own staff basicly promoted him to Brig General and covered him , advaced his career during South East Pacific Campaign and occupation of Japan. Eisenhower was so hostile to Fellers that he once remarked "Any friend of Bonnar Fellers is an enemy of mine !" As long as you have right connections you will be covered no matter how badly you screw things up.
     
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  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The screw up intel wise was not really Feller's fault though. He wanted to use military codes from what I recall but was forced (by the Embassy staff I believe) to use a diplomatic code which the Germans and Italians had broken.
     
  3. mconrad

    mconrad New Member

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    7+8=15
    I get it.
     
  4. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    Flunked out of West Point not once but twice, and still got to be a 3 star general.
     
  5. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    Until the organization of 18 Army Group under Alexander, the Allied command structure in NW Africa was terribly confused.Eisenhower gets some blame for this but for a long time he could not persuade the French to put their forces under British or American commanders. (Giraud was the problem, actually--Juin and Koeltz were reasonable.) I believe that Anderson wound up with responsibility for most of the front, but he was a cold, distant man with a low opinion of the US Army, and he did not inspire anyone. Fredendall, by contrast, was a noisy, blustery sort who ignored both the British and the French whenever he felt like it--which was frequently. The air command structure was equally fragmented, with Doolittle (US 12th AF) and Welsh (RAF) running their own shows and ignoring both each other and the ground forces of all three nations. None of this made for quick responses to field emergencies, and Eisenhower didn't help because he spent much of his time in Algiers handling political matters. (He didn't want to do that, but nobody else could or would deal with them.)

    At this point in his career Ike was very new to his job, and he did not yet have the requisite determination or ruthlessness. Marshall liked him, but he had been very junior in the prewar army and most of the other leading US generals in NW Africa had been his seniors. The Old Army was a small place where everyone knew everyone, and I think Ike had trouble accepting the fact that he was going to have to hurt old friends and damage careers for the sake of efficiency. (Ike learned fast, though; when he finally appointed Patton to head II Corps, he told him to be 'perfectly cold blooded' with inefficient officers).

    As to Fredendall...I agree that 'kicking him upstairs' was a mistake. In fairness, however, it should be said that Fredendall had done well in pre Pearl Harbor manuevers and in the TORCH landings, so Marshall may have thought that giving him a second chance in a training command would be acceptable. Also, I do not know how much of Fredendall's personal misconduct (drinking, hiding in his famous cave bunker) ever reached Marshall's ears.
     

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