Pressing on to the Rhine, his men crossed the river in March and helped encircle German forces in the Ruhr. He was rewarded for his service with promotions to Field Marshal, Bridgadier General, and Viscount. [104] General Friedrich Dollmann of the 7th Army had to commit the newly arrived II SS Corps to stop the British offensive. Explore {{searchView.params.phrase}} by color family {{familyColorButtonText(colorFamily.name)}} The Campaign In North Africa 1940-1943: Personalities, Lieutenant General B L Montgomery, General Officer Commanding Eighth Army, watches the... Field … "[116] The French Resistance had launched Plan Violet in June 1944 to systematically destroy the telephone system of France, which forced the Germans to use their radios more and more to communicate, and as the code-breakers of Bletchley Park had broken many of the German codes, Montgomery had—via Ultra intelligence—a good idea of the German situation. [103], On 18 June, Montgomery ordered Bradley to take Cherbourg while the British were to take Caen by 23 June. [216], Montgomery twice met Israeli general Moshe Dayan. Eventually, attacking from a distance no longer seemed to him the best option and he decided to take a more direct approach to fighting the enemy. Gegen unseren Vergleichssieger kam keiner gegen an. Instead of carrying out the advance to Arnhem he ought to have made certain of Antwerp". He was rewarded for his service with promotions to Field Marshal, Bridgadier General, and Viscount. He subsequently commanded the British Eighth Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily and the Allied invasion of Italy and was in command of all Allied ground forces during the Battle of Normandy (Operation Overlord), from D-Day on 6 June 1944 until 1 September 1944. [112], On 7 July, Montgomery began Operation Charnwood with a carpet bombing offensive that turned much of the French countryside and the city of Caen into a wasteland. [105] Epsom had forced further German forces into Caen but all through June and the first half of July Rommel, Rundstedt, and Hitler were engaged in planning for a great offensive to drive the British into the sea; it was never launched and would have required the commitment of a large number of German forces to the Caen sector.[106]. Montgomery bitterly resented this change, although it had been agreed before the D-Day invasion. Antwerp was a deep water inland port connected to the North Sea via the river Scheldt. [156] Starting that same day, SHAEF's naval commander, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, had urged Montgomery to make clearing the mouth of the Scheldt his number-one priority, arguing that as long as the mouth of the Scheldt was in German hands, it was impossible for the Royal Navy to clear the mines in the river, and as the Scheldt was mined, the port of Antwerp was useless. With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, his division was deployed to France as part of the BEF. [141] Montgomery began his offensive into the Suisse Normande region with Operation Bluecoat with Sir Richard O'Connor's VIII Corps and Gerard Bucknall's XXX Corps heading south. [153], On 9 September, Montgomery wrote to Brooke that "one good Pas de Calais port" would be sufficient to meet all the logistical needs of the 21st Army Group, but only the supply needs of the same formation. He envisaged a ninety-day battle, with all forces reaching the Seine. She respected his ambition and single-mindedness, but declined his proposal of marriage. [214], The 1960 paperback edition of Montgomery's memoirs contains a publisher's note drawing attention to that broadcast, and stating that although the reader might assume from Montgomery's text that Auchinleck had been planning to retreat "into the Nile Delta or beyond" in the publisher's view it had been Auchinleck's intention to launch an offensive as soon as the Eighth Army was "rested and regrouped". [95] Rommel followed up this success by ordering the 2nd Panzer Division to Caen while Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt asked for and received permission from Hitler to have the elite 1st Waffen SS Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and 2nd Waffen SS Division Das Reich sent to Caen as well. He was educated at St Paul's School and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and commissioned into the … [20] Montgomery's marriage had been extremely happy. [91] In conjunction with the Anglo-American landings at Salerno (near Naples) by Lieutenant General Mark Clark's US Fifth Army and seaborne landings by British paratroops in the heel of Italy (including the key port of Taranto, where they disembarked without resistance directly into the port), Montgomery led the Eighth Army up the toe of Italy. [97] By contrast, the "American school" argued that Montgomery's initial "master plan" was for the 21st Army Group to take Caen at once and move his tank divisions into the plains south of Caen, to then stage a breakout that would lead the 21st Army Group into the plains of northern France and hence into Antwerp and finally the Ruhr. [210], He was chairman of the governing body of St. John's School in Leatherhead, Surrey, from 1951 to 1966, and a generous supporter. Overall direction was assigned to the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, American General Dwight D. [143] At the same time, Montgomery ordered Patton—whose Third Army was supposed to advance into Brittany—to instead capture Nantes, which was soon taken.[143]. [22] Montgomery was hit once more, in the knee. If we are attacked, then there will be no retreat. [27] He was promoted to colonel in June 1934 (seniority from January 1932). [40], Both of Montgomery's stepsons became army officers in the 1930s (both were serving in India at the time of their mother's death), and both served in the Second World War, each eventually attaining the rank of colonel. [104] Epsom began well with O'Connor's assault force (the British 15th Scottish Division) breaking through and with the 11th Armoured Division stopping the counter-attacks of the 12th SS Division. Completing the course, he was again made a brigade major and assigned to the 17th Infantry Brigade in January 1921. Kennedy Hickman is a historian, museum director, and curator who specializes in military and naval history. A short time later, tragedy struck when Elizabeth died from septicemia following an amputation caused by an infected insect bite. Along with Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Montgomery is the most celebrated of British generals and had the ego to match, or even exceed, his reputation. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Bernard Law Montgomery (17 Nov 1887–24 Mar 1976), Find a Grave Memorial no. Increasingly known for his outspoken views on a variety of topics, his postwar memoirs were severely critical of his contemporaries. Henry Montgomery, at that time Vicar of St Mark's Church, Kennington, was the second son of Sir Robert Montgomery, a native of Inishowen in County Donegal in Ulster,[13] the noted colonial administrator in British India, who died a month after his grandson's birth. [146] The so-called "Falaise Gap" was closed on 22 August 1944, but several American generals, most notably Patton, accused Montgomery of being insufficiently aggressive in closing it, about 60,000 German soldiers were trapped in Normandy, but before 22 August, about 20,000 Germans had escaped through the "Falaise Gap" to fight another day. This led to an exasperated Eisenhower telling Montgomery that the question was not the command arrangement but rather his (Montgomery's) ability and willingness to obey orders. [27], While on holiday in Burnham-on-Sea in 1937, Betty suffered an insect bite which became infected, and she died in her husband's arms from septicaemia following amputation of her leg. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough. [140] One of Montgomery's staff officers wrote afterwards that it was "common knowledge at Tac that Churchill had come to sack Monty". Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC, DL (/məntˈɡʌməri ... ˈæləmeɪn/; 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), nicknamed "Monty" and "The Spartan General",[10] was a senior British Army officer who served in the First World War, the Irish War of Independence and the Second World War. The German/Italian armoured corps infantry attack was stopped in very heavy fighting. Of Bernard's siblings, Sibyl died prematurely in Tasmania, and Harold, Donald and Una all emigrated. [122] The British bombing had badly smashed the German front-line units; e.g., tanks were thrown up on the roofs of French farmhouses. Eisenhower responded "[s]teady Monty, you can't talk to me like that. If we cannot stay here alive, then we will stay here dead",[71] he told his officers at the first meeting he held with them in the desert, though, in fact, Auchinleck had no plans to withdraw from the strong defensive position he had chosen and established at El Alamein. [99], As the campaign progressed, Montgomery altered his initial plan for the invasion and continued the strategy of attracting and holding German counter-attacks in the area north of Caen rather than to the south, to allow the US First Army in the west to take Cherbourg. The 3rd Division was deployed to Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Six days after Montgomery took command of the northern flank, General Patton's 3rd Army relieved the besieged American forces in Bastogne. [169], Montgomery pulled away from the First Canadian Army (temporarily commanded now by Simonds as Crerar was ill), the British 51st Highland Division, 1st Polish Division, British 49th (West Riding) Division and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, and sent all of these formations to help the 2nd British Army hold the Arnhem salient. [29], After the First World War Montgomery commanded the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers,[30] a battalion in the British Army of the Rhine, before reverting to his substantive rank of captain (brevet major) in November 1919. Montgomery attended St Paul's School and then the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from which he was almost expelled for rowdiness and violence. Suffering heavy losses in Normandy would diminish British leadership and prestige within its empire and on post-war Europe in particular. [69], Montgomery was determined that the army, navy and air forces should fight their battles in a unified, focused manner according to a detailed plan. On December 23, 1943, Montgomery was ordered to Britain to take command of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all of the ground forces assigned to the invasion of Normandy. Although he still wore a standard British officer's cap on arrival in the desert, he briefly wore an Australian broad-brimmed hat before switching to wearing the black beret (with the badge of the Royal Tank Regiment and the British General Officer's badge) for which he became notable. Seeking to attend the Staff College, he persuaded Field Marshal Sir William Robertson to approve his admission. [153] The Canadian historian Terry Copp wrote that the commitment of this much firepower and men to take only one French city might "seem excessive", but by this point, the Allies desperately needed ports closer to the front line to sustain their advance. Continuing to see action during the retreat from Mons, Montgomery was badly wounded during a counterattack near Méteren on October 13, 1914. [20], The family returned to England once for a Lambeth Conference in 1897, and Bernard and his brother Harold were educated for a term at The King's School, Canterbury. Later, when this plan had clearly failed, Eisenhower wrote that Montgomery had "evolved" the plan to have the US forces achieve the break-out instead. Instead, Montgomery insisted that this Directive was a consistent part of a master plan that he had devised long before the invasion. [31] He had not at first been selected for the Staff College in Camberley, Surrey (his only hope of ever achieving high command). Dept. The risky plan required three Airborne Divisions to capture numerous intact bridges along a single-lane road, on which an entire Corps had to attack and use as its main supply route. Montgomery was then ordered to prepare plans for the invasion of neutral Ireland and to seize Cork, Cobh and Cork harbour. After the war, Montgomery was made commander of the British occupation forces and served on the Allied Control Council. "[68], Montgomery's assumption of command transformed the fighting spirit and abilities of the Eighth Army. At Méteren, near the Belgian border at Bailleul, he was shot through the right lung by a sniper, during the First Battle of Ypres. Alan Brooke, chief of the British Imperial General Staff, wrote: "Ike knows nothing about strategy and is quite unsuited to the post of Supreme Commander. [140] On 20 July, Montgomery met Eisenhower and on 21 July Churchill at the TAC in France. [225], Montgomery's grave, Holy Cross churchyard, Binsted. Making numerous visits to the front lines, he diligently endeavored to raise morale. Churchill, p. 420. Known to be difficult to work with, "Monty" was nevertheless exceptionally popular with the British public. 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