That list has a few doozies. First, putting Rommel on the list is absurd. He was tactically and technically brilliant, and the defeats that were cited were beyond Rommel's control. The first, the battle of el Alamein, in which Auchinleck set up a defensive line and checked Rommel's advance, wasn't so much a defeat as the end of Rommel's momentum. He had routed a superior British force at the battle of Gazala Bir Hacheim and pursued them until he ran out of fuel and ammunition. Auchinleck's stand marked the end of his advance. At that point, Rommel began to withdraw with the intent of consolidating his position, but Hitler ordered him to hold his position and plan for an immediate resumption of the offensive, despite his logistics situation. Rommel did as ordered, and ended up walking into a nightmare scenario, as the British code breakers had intercepted and decrypted his OPORD for the attack, the Brits had a reinforced defensive position that was constantly being beefed up through resupply from Alexandria, which was just behind their lines, and the position was unassailable from the flanks, which could not be navigated. Rommel's options were a frontal assault against a hasty version of the Maginot Line, or withdrawal against orders. And even then, Rommel almost pulled it off.
Originally Posted by Starbuck
The second glaring error was putting MacArthur on the list. Blaming MacArthur for the Philippines debacle ignores the fact that he his defenses didn't start to fail until the supply situation became intolerable. Roosevelt decided to abandon the Philippines, and no resupply was attempted during the defense. MacArthur held out for months, with starving troops, antiquated equipment, no air capabilities and dwindling stocks of ammunition. The Japanese established air supremacy early on in the campaign, when they destroyed most of the US aircraft on the ground in a repeat of their Pearl Harbor raid. They were constantly pouring men and material into the islands, but it took them far longer to take the Philippines than they (or us) estimated. MacArthur's defense bought the US time to rebuild the Pacific fleet and begin the slow, vicious task of eliminating the Japanese from the Pacific, one island at a time. The writer's description of the Inchon landing ignores the fact that the landing site, while not heavily defended, was also one of the most physically treacherous landing locations in Korea, and that this was why it was lightly garrisoned. Nobody expected that a landing could be made there, which was why MacArthur chose it, and the result was brilliant. MacArthur's landing cut off the North Korean troops in the south and led to a route, which would have resulted in the end of the war if the Chinese had not invaded, and that invasion came because of a failure of US diplomacy, not MacArthur's tactics.
By way of comparison, the allies in Italy, faced with a similar situation, opted to land at Anzio, instead of further north, where they could have cut off the German retreat and forced a surrender. Kesselring actually expected this, and had prepared a fast retreat for his staff in the event that the allies landed north of Rome, where he didn't have the resources to repulse a landing. Instead, the allies landed at Anzio and sat on the beach, giving the Germans plenty of time to set up defenses. The result was that the allied forces had to fight over mountainous terrain against troops in prepared defenses, which ended up prolonging the war by months.
I could go on, but this dip has zero credibility. Just reading his byline should have set off alarms:
Jeff Danelek is a Denver, Colorado author who writes on many subjects having to do with history, politics, the paranormal, spirituality and religion.
As a general rule, I avoid the military opinions of flaky new age hacks. I'm sure that he has lots to say about crystals, pyramid power, crop circles and UFO conspiracies, but he should leave the military analysis to someone with a bit more standing.