Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Overview
Field Marshal
Field Marshal (UK)
Field Marshal is the highest military rank of the British Army. It ranks immediately above the rank of General and is the Army equivalent of an Admiral of the Fleet and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force....

 Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (icon; 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army
Eighth Army (United Kingdom)
The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations of the British Army during World War II, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns....

 from August 1942 in the Western Desert
Libyan Desert
The Libyan Desert covers an area of approximately 1,100,000 km2, it extends approximately 1100 km from east to west, and 1,000 km from north to south, in about the shape of a rectangle...

 until the final Allied victory in Tunisia.
Encyclopedia
Field Marshal
Field Marshal (UK)
Field Marshal is the highest military rank of the British Army. It ranks immediately above the rank of General and is the Army equivalent of an Admiral of the Fleet and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force....

 Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (icon; 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army
Eighth Army (United Kingdom)
The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations of the British Army during World War II, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns....

 from August 1942 in the Western Desert
Libyan Desert
The Libyan Desert covers an area of approximately 1,100,000 km2, it extends approximately 1100 km from east to west, and 1,000 km from north to south, in about the shape of a rectangle...

 until the final Allied victory in Tunisia. This command included the Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

, a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign
Western Desert Campaign
The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War, was the initial stage of the North African Campaign during the Second World War. The campaign was heavily influenced by the availability of supplies and transport. The ability of the Allied forces, operating from besieged Malta, to...

. He subsequently commanded Eighth Army in Sicily and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 before being given responsibility for planning the D-Day invasion in Normandy. He was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

 from the initial landings until after the Battle of Normandy. He then continued in command of the 21st Army Group for the rest of the campaign in North West Europe. As such he was the principal field commander for the failed airborne attempt to bridge the Rhine
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

 at Arnhem
Arnhem
Arnhem is a city and municipality, situated in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Gelderland and located near the river Nederrijn as well as near the St. Jansbeek, which was the source of the city's development. Arnhem has 146,095 residents as one of the...

 and the successful Allied Rhine crossing
Operation Plunder
Commencing on the night of 23 March 1945 during World War II, Operation Plunder was the crossing of the River Rhine at Rees, Wesel, and south of the Lippe River by the British 2nd Army, under Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey , and the U.S. Ninth Army , under Lieutenant General William Simpson...

. On 4 May 1945 he took the German surrender at Luneburg Heath
Lüneburg Heath
The Lüneburg Heath is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover, and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve...

 in northern Germany. After the War he became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

 (BAOR) in Germany and then Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

Early life

Montgomery was born in Kennington
Kennington
Kennington is a district of South London, England, mainly within the London Borough of Lambeth, although part of the area is within the London Borough of Southwark....

, London, in 1887, the fourth child of nine, to an Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 priest, the Revd Henry Montgomery, and Maud Montgomery (née Farrar). Henry Montgomery, at the time the Vicar
Vicar
In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

 of St Mark's, Kennington, was the second son of the noted Indian administrator, Sir Robert Montgomery, who died a month after Bernard's birth. Bernard's mother Maud was the daughter of the well-known preacher Frederic William Farrar
Frederic William Farrar
Frederic William Farrar was a cleric of the Church of England .Farrar was born in Bombay, India and educated at King William's College on the Isle of Man, King's College London and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for poetry in 1852...

, and was 18 years younger than her husband. After the death of Sir Robert Montgomery, Henry inherited the Montgomery ancestral estate of New Park at Moville
Moville
Moville is a town and coastal resort on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal, close to the northern tip of Ireland.-Location:...

, a town on the Inishowen
Inishowen
Inishowen is a peninsula in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in the north of Ireland. It is also the largest peninsula in all of Ireland. Inishowen is a picturesque location with a rich history...

 Peninsula of north County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

 in the west of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

.

However, there was still £13,000 to pay on the mortgage
Mortgage loan
A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan...

, a fairly large amount of money in the 1880s, and Henry was at the time still only a mere parish priest. Despite selling off all of those farms that were at Ballynally, "there was barely enough to keep up New Park and pay for the blasted summer holiday" (i.e., at New Park). It was a financial relief of some magnitude that, in 1889, Henry was made Bishop of Tasmania, then still a colony. He considered it his duty to spend as much time as possible in the outlying country of Tasmania and was away six months at a time. While he was away his wife, still in her mid-twenties, gave her children "constant" beatings, then ignored them most of the time as she performed the public duties of the bishop's wife. Of his siblings, Sibyl would die prematurely in Tasmania, and Harold, Donald and Una would all emigrate. In the absence of her husband, Maud Montgomery took little active interest in the education of her young children other than to have them taught by tutors brought across from England. The loveless environment made Bernard something of a bully, as he himself later recalled "I was a dreadful little boy. I don't suppose anybody would put up with my sort of behaviour these days."
Later in life Montgomery refused to allow his son David to have anything to do with his grandmother and he refused to attend her funeral in 1949.

The family returned home once for the Lambeth Conference in 1897, and Bernard and his brother Harold were educated for a term at The King's School, Canterbury
The King's School, Canterbury
The King's School is a British co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils in the historic English cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group....

. In 1901, Bishop Montgomery became secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the family returned to London. Montgomery went to St Paul's School and then to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, from which he was almost expelled for setting fire to a fellow cadet during a fight with pokers. On graduation in September 1908 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the 1st Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment
The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers
The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, previously titled the 6th Regiment of Foot and The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was an infantry regiment of the British Army. In 1968, it was absorbed, with the other Fusilier regiments, into the four-battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.-History:The regiment...

, first seeing service in India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 until 1913. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1910.

First World War

The First World War began in August 1914 and Montgomery moved to France with his regiment that month. He saw service during the retreat from Mons
Battle of Mons
The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British army attempted to hold the line of the...

, during which half his battalion was destroyed. At Méteren
Méteren
-References:*...

, near the Belgian border at Bailleul
Bailleul, Nord
Bailleul is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It is located in French Flanders near Lille.-Heraldry:-Media:...

 on 13 October 1914, during an Allied counter-offensive, he was shot through the right lung
Human lung
The human lungs are the organs of respiration in humans. Humans have two lungs, with the left being divided into two lobes and the right into three lobes. Together, the lungs contain approximately of airways and 300 to 500 million alveoli, having a total surface area of about in...

 by a sniper. A platoon
Platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

 sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

 came to assist him but was killed, falling on Montgomery. The German sniper fired at him until sunset. The body of the sergeant protected Montgomery and took most of the enemy fire, but Montgomery was hit once more, in the knee. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 for gallant leadership. The citation for this award, published in the London Gazette
London Gazette
The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published...

in December 1914, reads:

In early 1915, after recovering from his wounds, Montgomery was appointed a brigade major
Brigade Major
In the British Army, a Brigade Major was the Chief of Staff of a brigade. He held the rank of Major and was head of the brigade's "G - Operations and Intelligence" section directly and oversaw the two other branches, "A - Administration" and "Q - Quartermaster"...

 training Kitchener's New Army
Kitchener's Army
The New Army, often referred to as Kitchener's Army or, disparagingly, Kitchener's Mob, was an all-volunteer army formed in the United Kingdom following the outbreak of hostilities in the First World War...

 and in early 1916 returned to the Western Front as an operations staff officer during the battles of the Somme
Battle of the Somme (1916)
The Battle of the Somme , also known as the Somme Offensive, took place during the First World War between 1 July and 14 November 1916 in the Somme department of France, on both banks of the river of the same name...

, Arras
Battle of Arras (1917)
The Battle of Arras was a British offensive during the First World War. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British, Canadian, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and Australian troops attacked German trenches near the French city of Arras on the Western Front....

, and Passchendaele. During this time he came under IX Corps, part of General Sir Herbert Plumer's Second Army. Through his training, rehearsal, and integration of the infantry with artillery and engineers, the troops of Plumer's Second Army were able to achieve their objectives efficiently and without unnecessary casualties.

Montgomery served at the battles of the Lys and Chemin-des-Dames
Third Battle of the Aisne
The Third Battle of the Aisne was a battle of the German Spring Offensive during World War I that focused on capturing the Chemin des Dames Ridge before the American Expeditionary Force could arrive completely in France. It was one of a series of desperate offensives, known as the Kaiserschlacht,...

 before finishing the war as General Staff Officer 1 and effectively chief of staff of the 47th (2nd London) Division, with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel. A photograph from October 1918 shows the then unknown Lt.-Col. Montgomery standing in front of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 (Minister of Munitions) at the victory parade at Lille.

Between the wars

After the First World War Montgomery commanded the 17th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, a battalion in the British Army of the Rhine
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

, before reverting to his substantive rank of captain
Captain (OF-2)
The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery...

 (brevet major) in November 1919. He wrote up his experiences in a series of training pamphlets and manuals. He then attended the army's Staff College
Staff College, Camberley
Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, was a staff college for the British Army from 1802 to 1997, with periods of closure during major wars. In 1997 it was merged into the new Joint Services Command and Staff College.-Origins:...

 before in January 1921 being appointed Brigade Major
Brigade Major
In the British Army, a Brigade Major was the Chief of Staff of a brigade. He held the rank of Major and was head of the brigade's "G - Operations and Intelligence" section directly and oversaw the two other branches, "A - Administration" and "Q - Quartermaster"...

 in the 17th Infantry Brigade. The brigade was stationed in County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

 during the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

. A cousin of Montgomery's, Lt Col. Hugh Montgomery
Hugh Montgomery (British officer)
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Ferguson Montgomery CMG, DSO was a British first-class cricketer and Royal Marine Light Infantry officer. Montgomery was born in India and was a cousin of Field Marshal Montgomery...

, had been assassinated by the IRA
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 in 1920 (see the Cairo Gang
Cairo Gang
The Cairo Gang was a group of British Intelligence agents who were sent to Dublin during the Anglo-Irish War to conduct intelligence operations against prominent members of the Irish Republican Army...

). IRA officer Tom Barry
Tom Barry
Thomas Barry was one of the most prominent guerrilla leaders in the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence.-Early life:...

 said that he "behaved with great correctness". Montgomery came to the conclusion that the conflict could not be won without harsh measures, and that self-government was the only feasible solution; in 1923, after the establishment of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 and during the Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

, Montgomery wrote to Colonel Arthur Percival of the Essex Regiment:
In 1923, Montgomery was posted to the Territorial 49th Division
British 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division
This military division was formed on 1 April 1908 as the West Riding Division in the Territorial Force of the British Army.- First World War :...

, eschewing the usual level of drill for tactical training. In 1925 he returned to the 1st Royal Warwickshires as a company commander and captain and was promoted major, In January 1926 he was appointed D.A.A.G. at the Staff College, Camberley
Staff College, Camberley
Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, was a staff college for the British Army from 1802 to 1997, with periods of closure during major wars. In 1997 it was merged into the new Joint Services Command and Staff College.-Origins:...

 in the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel, a position he held until January 1929 by which time he had been made a brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 lieutenant-colonel.

In 1927, he met and married Elizabeth Carver
Elizabeth Carver
Elizabeth Carver was the wife of Bernard Montgomery, who later became Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.-Early life and marriage:...

, widow of Oswald Carver
Oswald Carver
Oswald Armitage Carver was a British rower who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics. He died of injuries during the First World War....

, Olympic rowing medalist who was killed in the First World War. Their son, David
David Montgomery, 2nd Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
David Bernard Montgomery, 2nd Viscount Montgomery of Alamein CMG, CBE is a British politician, businessman, and promoter of good relations with South America...

, was born in August 1928. Elizabeth Carver was the sister of the Second World War commander Percy Hobart
Percy Hobart
Major-General Sir Percy Cleghorn Stanley Hobart KBE CB DSO MC , also known as "Hobo", was a British military engineer, noted for his command of the 79th Armoured Division during World War II...

.

In 1931 Montgomery was promoted lieutenant-colonel commanding the 1st Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and saw service in Palestine, Egypt, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. He was promoted to full colonel in 1934 and became an instructor at the Indian Army
British Indian Army
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj in India before the partition of India in 1947...

 Staff College
Command and Staff College
The Command and Staff College was established in 1907 at Quetta, Balochistan, British Raj, now in Pakistan, and is the oldest and the most prestigious institution of the Pakistan Army. It was established in 1905 in Deolali and moved to its present location at Quetta in 1907 under the name of Quetta...

 in Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, India. As was usual, Montgomery maintained links with the Royal Warwickshires and was later to take up the honorary position of Colonel-of-the-Regiment in 1947. Montgomery stirred up the resentment of his superiors for his arrogance and dictatorial ways, and also for his disregard of convention when it obstructed military effectiveness. For example, during the Second World War he set up a battalion brothel
Brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

 in Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

, Libya, regularly inspected by the medical officer, for the 'horizontal refreshment' of his soldiers rather than forcing them to take chances in unregulated establishments. He was quoted as saying that his men "deserved it".

On completion of his tour of duty in India, Montgomery returned to Britain in June 1937 where he became commanding officer of the 9th Infantry Brigade with the temporary rank of brigadier
Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

, but that year also saw tragedy for him; his wife was bitten by an insect while on holiday in Burnham-on-Sea
Burnham-on-Sea
Burnham-on-Sea is a town in Somerset, England, at the mouth of the River Parrett and Bridgwater Bay. Burnham was a small village until the late 18th century, when it began to grow because of its popularity as a seaside resort. It forms part of the parish of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge...

. The bite became infected, and his wife died in his arms from septicaemia following an amputation
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

. The loss devastated Montgomery, but he insisted on throwing himself back into his work immediately after the funeral. In 1938, he organised an amphibious combined operations landing exercise that impressed the new commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

, Southern Command
Southern Command (United Kingdom)
-History:The Command was established in 1905 from the Second Army Corps and was initially based at Tidworth but in 1949 moved to Fugglestone Farm near Wilton in Wiltshire....

, General Wavell
Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell
Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, PC was a British field marshal and the commander of British Army forces in the Middle East during the Second World War. He led British forces to victory over the Italians, only to be defeated by the German army...

. He was promoted to major-general in October 1938 and took command of the 8th Infantry Division in Palestine. There he quashed an Arab revolt before returning in July 1939 to Britain, suffering a serious illness on the way, to command the 3rd (Iron) Infantry Division. On hearing of the rebel defeat in April 1939, Montgomery said, "I shall be sorry to leave Palestine in many ways, as I have enjoyed the war out here".

Second World War

Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. The 3rd Division was deployed to Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force
British Expeditionary Force (World War II)
The British Expeditionary Force was the British force in Europe from 1939–1940 during the Second World War. Commanded by General Lord Gort, the BEF constituted one-tenth of the defending Allied force....

 (BEF). Montgomery predicted a disaster similar to that in 1914, and so spent the Phoney War training his troops for tactical retreat rather than offensive operations. During this time, Montgomery faced serious trouble from his superiors for his attitude regarding the sexual health of his soldiers. However, he was defended from dismissal by his superior Alan Brooke
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO & Bar , was a senior commander in the British Army. He was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War, and was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944...

, commander of II Corps. Montgomery's training paid off when the Germans began their invasion of the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 on 10 May 1940 and the 3rd Division advanced to the River Dijle
Dijle
Dyle or Dijle or historically the River Dyle in English, is a river in central Belgium, left tributary of the Rupel. It is long. It flows through the Belgian provinces of Walloon Brabant, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp...

 and then withdrew to Dunkirk with great professionalism, returning to Britain intact with minimal casualties. During Operation Dynamo
Operation Dynamo
The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and the early hours of 3 June 1940, because the British, French and Belgian troops were...

 — the evacuation of 330,000 BEF and French troops to Britain — Montgomery assumed command of the II Corps after Brooke had taken acting command of the whole BEF.

On his return Montgomery antagonised the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 with trenchant criticisms of the command of the BEF and was briefly relegated to divisional command. He was however made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. In July 1940, he was appointed acting lieutenant-general, placed in command of V Corps
V Corps (United Kingdom)
V Corps was an army corps of the British Army in both the First and Second World War. It was first organised in February 1915 and fought through World War I on the Western front...

, responsible for the defence of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

 and Dorset
Dorset
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

, and started a long-running feud with the new commander-in-chief, Southern Command, Claude Auchinleck
Claude Auchinleck
Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, OBE , nicknamed "The Auk", was a British army commander during World War II. He was a career soldier who spent much of his military career in India, where he developed a love of the country and a lasting affinity for the soldiers...

. In April 1941, he became commander of XII Corps responsible for the defence of Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. During this period he instituted a regime of continuous training and insisted on high levels of physical fitness for both officers and other ranks. He was ruthless in sacking officers he considered would be unfit for command in action. In December 1941 Montgomery was given command of South-Eastern Command
Aldershot Command
-History:After the success of the Chobham Manoeuvres of 1853, a permanent training camp was established at Aldershot in 1854 on the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief, Viscount Hardinge...

 overseeing the defence of Kent, Sussex
Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

 and Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

. He renamed his command the South-Eastern Army to promote offensive spirit. During this time he further developed and rehearsed his ideas and trained his soldiers, culminating in Exercise Tiger
Exercise Tiger (1942)
The 1942 Exercise Tiger was the code name for an Army-level military exercise held by Commonwealth forces in the United Kingdom during the Second World War....

 in May 1942, a combined forces exercise
Military exercise
A military exercise is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat...

 involving 100,000 troops.

Montgomery's early command

In 1942, a new field commander was required in the Middle East, where Auchinleck was fulfilling both the role of commander-in-chief Middle East Command
Middle East Command
The Middle East Command was a British Army Command established prior to the Second World War in Egypt. Its primary role was to command British land forces and co-ordinate with the relevant naval and air commands to defend British interests in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region.The...

 and commander Eighth Army
Eighth Army (United Kingdom)
The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations of the British Army during World War II, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns....

. He had stabilised the Allied position at the First Battle of El Alamein
First Battle of El Alamein
The First Battle of El Alamein was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, fought between Axis forces of the Panzer Army Africa commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Allied forces The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert...

, but after a visit in August 1942, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, replaced him as C-in-C with Alexander
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis was a British military commander and field marshal of Anglo-Irish descent who served with distinction in both world wars and, afterwards, as Governor General of Canada, the 17th since Canadian...

 and William Gott
William Gott
Lieutenant-General William Henry Ewart Gott CB, CBE, DSO and bar, MC , nicknamed "Strafer", was a British Army officer during both the First and Second World Wars, reaching the rank of lieutenant-general when serving in the British Eighth Army.-Military career:Educated at Harrow School he was...

 as commander of the Eighth Army in the Western Desert
Western Desert Campaign
The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War, was the initial stage of the North African Campaign during the Second World War. The campaign was heavily influenced by the availability of supplies and transport. The ability of the Allied forces, operating from besieged Malta, to...

. After Gott was killed flying back to Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 Churchill was persuaded by Brooke, who by this time was Chief of the Imperial General Staff to appoint Montgomery, who had only just been nominated to replace Alexander as commander of the British ground forces for Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

.

A story, probably apocryphal but popular at the time, is that the appointment caused Montgomery to remark that "After having an easy war, things have now got much more difficult." A colleague is supposed to have told him to cheer up – at which point Montgomery is supposed to have said "I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about Rommel!"

Montgomery's assumption of command transformed the fighting spirit and abilities of the Eighth Army. Taking command on 13 August 1942, he immediately became a whirlwind of activity. He ordered the creation of the X Corps
X Corps (United Kingdom)
The X Corps was a British Army formation in the First World War and was later reformed in 1942 during the North African campaign of the Second World War as part of the Eighth Army.- First World War :...

, which contained all armoured divisions to fight alongside his XXX Corps which was all infantry divisions. This was in no way similar to a German Panzer Corps. One of Rommel's Panzer Corps combined infantry, armour and artillery units under one corps commander. The only common commander for Montgomery's all infantry and all armour corps was the Eighth Army Commander himself. Correlli Barnett commented that Montgomery's solution "...was in every way opposite to Auchinleck's and in every way wrong, for it carried the existing dangerous separatism still further." Montgomery reinforced the 30 miles (48.3 km) long front line at El Alamein, something that would take two months to accomplish. He asked Alexander to send him two new British divisions (51st Highland and 44th) that were then arriving in Egypt and were scheduled to be deployed in defence of the Nile Delta. He moved his field HQ to Burg al Arab, close to the Air Force command post in order better to coordinate combined operations. Montgomery was determined that the Army, Navy and Air Forces should fight their battles in a unified, focused manner according to a detailed plan. He ordered immediate reinforcement of the vital heights of Alam Halfa, just behind his own lines, expecting the German commander, Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

, to attack with the heights as his objective, something that Rommel soon did. Montgomery ordered all contingency plans for retreat to be destroyed. "I have cancelled the plan for withdrawal", he told his officers at the first meeting he held with them in the desert. "If we are attacked, then there will be no retreat. If we cannot stay here alive, then we will stay here dead."

Montgomery made a great effort to appear before troops as often as possible, frequently visiting various units and making himself known to the men, often arranging for cigarettes to be distributed. 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 next to the British General Officer's badge) for which he became notable. The black beret had been offered to him by a soldier upon climbing into a tank to get a closer look at the front lines. Both Brooke and Alexander were astonished by the transformation in atmosphere when they visited on 19 August, less than a week after Montgomery had taken command.

First battles with Rommel

Rommel attempted to turn the left flank of the Eighth Army at the Battle of Alam Halfa
Battle of Alam Halfa
The Battle of Alam el Halfa took place between 30 August and 5 September 1942 south of El Alamein during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. Panzerarmee Afrika—a German-Italian force commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel—attempted an envelopment of the British 8th Army,...

 from 31 August 1942. The German/Italian armoured Corps infantry attack was stopped in very heavy fighting. Rommel's forces had to withdraw urgently lest their retreat through the British minefields be cut off. Montgomery was criticised for not counter-attacking the retreating forces immediately, but he felt strongly that his methodical build-up of British forces was not yet ready. A hasty counter-attack risked ruining his strategy for an offensive on his own terms in late October, planning for which had begun soon after he took command. He was confirmed in the permanent rank of lieutenant-general in mid October.

The conquest of Libya was essential for airfields to support Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and to threaten the rear of Axis forces opposing Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

. Montgomery prepared meticulously for the new offensive after convincing Churchill that the time was not being wasted. (Churchill sent a telegram to Alexander on 23 September 1942 which began, "We are in your hands and of course a victorious battle makes amends for much delay.) He was determined not to fight until he thought there had been sufficient preparation for a decisive victory, and put into action his beliefs with the gathering of resources, detailed planning, the training of troops—especially in clearing minefields and fighting at night—and in the use of 252 of the latest American-built Sherman tanks, 90 M7 Priest
M7 Priest
The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and...

 self-propelled howitzers, and making a personal visit to every unit involved in the offensive. By the time the offensive was ready in late October, Eighth Army had 231,000 men on its ration strength including British, Australian, South African, Indian, New Zealand, Greek and Free French units.

El Alamein

The Second Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 began on 23 October 1942, and ended 12 days later with the first large-scale, decisive Allied land victory of the war. Montgomery correctly predicted both the length of the battle and the number of casualties (13,500). However, soon after Allied armoured units and infantry broke through the German and Italian lines and were pursuing the enemy forces at speed along the coast road, a violent rainstorm burst over the region, bogging down the tanks and support trucks in the desert mud. Montgomery, standing before his officers at headquarters and close to tears, announced that he was forced to call off the pursuit. Corelli Barnett has pointed out that the rain also fell on the Germans, and that the weather is therefore an inadequate explanation for the failure to exploit the breakthrough, but nevertheless the Battle of El Alamein had been a great success. Over 30,000 prisoners were taken including the German second in command, General von Thoma, as well as eight other general officers. Rommel, having been in a hospital in Germany at the start of the battle, was forced to return on 25 October 1942 after General Stumme
Georg Stumme
Georg Stumme was a World War II German general most notable for his brief command of the Axis forces at the beginning of the Second Battle of El Alamein.-Biography:...

 – his replacement as German commander – died of a heart attack in the early hours of the battle.

Tunisia

Montgomery was knighted
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

 and promoted to full general
General (United Kingdom)
General is currently the highest peace-time rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It is subordinate to the Army rank of Field Marshal, has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank....

. The Eighth Army's subsequent advance as the Germans retreated hundreds of miles towards their bases in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 used the logistical as well as the firepower advantages of the British Army while avoiding unnecessary risks. It also gave the Allies an indication that the tide of war had genuinely turned in North Africa. Montgomery kept the initiative, applying superior strength when it suited him, forcing Rommel out of each successive defensive position. On 6 March 1943, Rommel's attack on the over-extended Eighth Army at Medenine
Medenine
Medenine is the major town in southeastern Tunisia, south of the port of Gabès and the Island of Djerba, on the main route to Libya. It is the capital of Medenine Governorate.- Overview :...

 (Operation Capri
Operation Capri
The Battle of Medenine, also known as Operation Capri, was a German counter-attack at Medenine, Tunisia, intended to disrupt and delay the 8th Army's attack on the Mareth Line. The German attack started on 6 March 1943, failed to make much impression and was abandoned at dusk on the same day...

) with the largest concentration of German armour in North Africa was successfully repulsed. At the Mareth Line
Mareth Line
The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French between the towns of Medenine and Gabès in southern Tunisia, prior to World War II...

, 20 to 27 March, when Montgomery encountered fiercer frontal opposition than he had anticipated, he switched his major effort into an outflanking inland pincer, backed by low-flying RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 fighter-bomber support.

This campaign demonstrated the battle-winning ingredients of morale (sickness and absenteeism were virtually eliminated in the Eighth Army), co-operation of all arms including the air forces, first-class logistical back-up and clear-cut orders. For his role in North Africa he was awarded the Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

 by the United States government in the rank of Chief Commander.

Sicily

The next major Allied attack was the Allied invasion of Sicily
Allied invasion of Sicily
The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis . It was a large scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. It launched the Italian Campaign.Husky began on the night of...

 (Operation Husky). Montgomery considered the initial plans for the Allied invasion, which had been agreed in principle by Eisenhower and Alexander, to be unworkable because of the dispersion of effort. He managed to have the plans recast to concentrate the Allied forces, having Patton's Seventh US Army land in the Gulf of Gela (on the left flank of Eighth Army, which landed around Syracuse in the south-east of Sicily) rather than near Palermo in the west and north of Sicily. Inter-Allied tensions grew as the American commanders Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

 and Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

 (then commanding II US Corps under Patton), took umbrage at what they perceived as Montgomery's attitudes and boastfulness.

Italian Campaign

During the autumn of 1943, Montgomery continued to command the Eighth Army during the landings on the mainland of Italy itself
Allied invasion of Italy
The Allied invasion of Italy was the Allied landing on mainland Italy on September 3, 1943, by General Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group during the Second World War. The operation followed the successful invasion of Sicily during the Italian Campaign...

. In conjunction with the Anglo-American landings at Salerno (near Naples) by Mark Clark
Mark Wayne Clark
Mark Wayne Clark was an American general during World War II and the Korean War and was the youngest lieutenant general in the U.S. Army...

's 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. Some criticism was made of the slowness of Montgomery's advance. The Eighth Army, responsible for the eastern side of the Allied front, from the central Apennine mountain spine
Apennine mountains
The Apennines or Apennine Mountains or Greek oros but just as often used alone as a noun. The ancient Greeks and Romans typically but not always used "mountain" in the singular to mean one or a range; thus, "the Apennine mountain" refers to the entire chain and is translated "the Apennine...

 to the Adriatic coast
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

, fought a succession of engagements alternating between opposed crossings of the rivers running across their line of advance and attacks against the cleverly constructed defensive positions the Germans had fashioned on the ridges in between. The Eighth Army crossed the Sangro river in mid-November and penetrated the German's strongest position at the Gustav Line but as the winter weather deteriorated the advance ground to a halt as transport bogged down and air support operations became impossible. Montgomery abhorred the lack of coordination, the dispersion of effort, and the strategic muddle and opportunism he perceived in the Allied effort in Italy and was glad to leave the "dog's breakfast" on 23 December.

Normandy

Montgomery returned to Britain in January 1944 to take command of the 21st Army Group which consisted of all Allied ground forces that would take part in Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

, the invasion of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

. The COSSAC
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force , was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of SHAEF throughout its existence...

 staff (Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander) had conducted the preliminary planning for the invasion since March 1943. Montgomery concluded that the COSSAC plan was too limited, and advocated expanding the plan from a three-division to a five-division assault. As with his takeover of the Eighth Army, Montgomery travelled frequently to his units, raising morale and ensuring training was progressing. At St Paul's School on 7 April and 15 May he presented his strategy for the invasion. He envisaged a ninety day battle, ending when all the forces reached the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

, pivoting on an Allied-held Caen
Caen
Caen is a commune in northwestern France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department and the capital of the Basse-Normandie region. It is located inland from the English Channel....

, with British and Canadian armies forming a shoulder and the US armies wheeling on the right.

During the hard fought two and a half month Battle of Normandy that followed, the impact of a series of unfavourable autumnal weather conditions disrupted the Normandy landing areas and seriously hampered the tactical delivery of planned transportation of personnel and supplies which were being carried across the English Channel. Consequently, Montgomery argues in his literary account that he was unable to follow his pre-battle plan precisely to the timescales planned outside of battle. It should be noted that the extension of the battle plan by one month was the cause of significant retrospective criticisms of Montgomery by some of his American peers, including the much respected Bradley and equally controversial Patton.

Montgomery's initial plan was, most likely, for an immediate break-out toward Caen
Caen
Caen is a commune in northwestern France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department and the capital of the Basse-Normandie region. It is located inland from the English Channel....

. Unable to do so, as the British did not get enough forces ashore to exploit the successful landing, Montgomery's advance was checked. When it appeared unlikely that the British Second Army would break out, Montgomery's contingency was designed to attract German forces to the British sector to ease the passing of United States Army through German defences to the west, during Operation Cobra
Operation Cobra
Operation Cobra was the codename for an offensive launched by the First United States Army seven weeks after the D-Day landings, during the Normandy Campaign of World War II...

. This series of battle plans by the British, Canadian and American armies trapped and defeated the German forces in Normandy in the Falaise pocket
Falaise pocket
The battle of the Falaise Pocket, fought during the Second World War from 12 to 21 August 1944, was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy...

. The campaign that Montgomery fought was essentially attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

al until the middle of July with the occupation of the Cotentin Peninsula
Cotentin Peninsula
The Cotentin Peninsula, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula, is a peninsula in Normandy, forming part of the north-western coast of France. It juts out north-westwards into the English Channel, towards Great Britain...

 and a series of offensives in the east, which secured Caen and attracted the bulk of German armour there. An American break-out was achieved with Operation Cobra and the encirclement of German forces in the Falaise pocket
Falaise pocket
The battle of the Falaise Pocket, fought during the Second World War from 12 to 21 August 1944, was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy...

 at the cost of British sacrifice with the diversionary Operation Goodwood
Operation Goodwood
Operation Goodwood was an attack launched on 18 July 1944, during the Second World War, by the British army to the east of the city of Caen...

.

Advance to the Rhine

The increasing preponderance of American troops in the European theatre (from five out of ten divisions at D-Day to 72 out of 85 in 1945) made it a political impossibility for the Ground Forces Commander to be British. After the end of the Normandy campaign, General Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 himself took over Ground Forces Command while continuing as Supreme Commander, with Montgomery continuing to command the 21st Army Group, now consisting mainly of British and Canadian units. Montgomery bitterly resented this change, although it had been agreed before the D-Day invasion. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 had Montgomery promoted to field marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 by way of compensation.

Montgomery was able to persuade Eisenhower to adopt his strategy of a single thrust to the Ruhr
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 with Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

 in September 1944. It was uncharacteristic of Montgomery's battles: the offensive was strategically bold, but poorly planned. Montgomery either didn't receive or ignored ULTRA intelligence which warned of the presence of German armoured units near the site of the attack. As a result, the operation failed with the destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division
British 1st Airborne Division
The 1st Airborne Division was a division of the British airborne forces during the Second World War. The division was formed in 1941, after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill demanded an airborne force...

 at the Battle of Arnhem
Battle of Arnhem
The Battle of Arnhem was a famous Second World War military engagement fought in and around the Dutch towns of Arnhem, Oosterbeek, Wolfheze, Driel and the surrounding countryside from 17–26 September 1944....

 and the loss of any hopes of invading Germany by the end of 1944.

Montgomery's preoccupation with the push to the Ruhr had also distracted him from the essential task of clearing the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

 during the capture of Antwerp; and so, after Arnhem, Montgomery's group was instructed to concentrate on doing this
Battle of the Scheldt
The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations of the Canadian 1st Army, led by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands during World War II from 2 October-8 November 1944...

 so that the port of Antwerp could be opened.

When the surprise attack on the Ardennes took place on 16 December 1944, starting the Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

, the front of the U.S. 12th Army Group
U.S. 12th Army Group
The Twelfth United States Army Group was the largest and most powerful United States Army formation ever to take to the field. It controlled the majority of American forces on the Western Front in 1944 and 1945...

 was split, with the bulk of the U.S. First Army
U.S. First Army
The First United States Army is a field army of the United States Army. It now serves a mobilization, readiness and training command.- Establishment and World War I :...

 being on the northern shoulder of the German 'bulge'. The Army Group commander, General Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

, was located south of the penetration at Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 and command of the U.S. First Army became problematic. Montgomery was the nearest commander on the ground and on 20 December, Eisenhower (who was in Versailles) transferred Courtney Hodges
Courtney Hodges
General Courtney Hicks Hodges was an American military officer, most prominent for his role in World War II, in which he commanded the First United States Army in Northwest Europe.-Early life and military career:...

' U.S. First Army and William Simpson
William Hood Simpson
General William Hood Simpson was a distinguished U.S. Army officer who commanded the U.S. Ninth Army in northern Europe, during World War II, among other roles....

's U.S. Ninth Army
U.S. Ninth Army
The Ninth United States Army was one of the main U.S. Army combat commands used during the campaign in Northwest Europe in 1944 and 1945. It was commanded from its inception by Lieutenant General William Simpson...

 to his 21st Army Group, despite Bradley's vehement objections on national grounds. Montgomery grasped the situation quickly, visiting all divisional, corps, and army field commanders himself and instituting his 'Phantom
GHQ Liaison Regiment
GHQ Liaison Regiment was a special reconnaissance unit first formed in 1939 during the early stages of World War II and based at Pembroke Lodge, a Georgian house in Richmond Park, London.- History :...

' network of liaison officers. He grouped the British XXX Corps as a strategic reserve behind the Meuse and reorganised the US defence of the northern shoulder, shortening and strengthening the line and ordering the evacuation of St Vith
Sankt Vith
St. Vith is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège, and in the German speaking community in Belgium. It was named after Saint Vitus....

. The German commander of the 5th Panzer Army, Hasso von Manteuffel
Hasso von Manteuffel
Hasso-Eccard Freiherr von Manteuffel was a German soldier and liberal politician of the 20th century.He served in both world wars, and during World War II was a distinguished general...

 said:

The operations of the American 1st Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery's contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. 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.

Eisenhower had then wanted Montgomery to go on the offensive on 1 January to meet Patton's army that had started advancing from the south on 19 December and in doing so, trap the Germans. However, Montgomery refused to commit infantry he considered underprepared into a snowstorm and for a strategically unimportant piece of land. He did not launch the attack until 3 January, by which point the German forces had been able to escape. A large part of American military opinion thought that he should not have held back, though it was characteristic of him to use drawn-out preparations for his attack. After the battle the U.S. First Army was restored to the 12th Army Group; the U.S. Ninth Army remained under 21st Army Group until it crossed the Rhine.

Montgomery's 21st Army Group advanced to the Rhine with operations Veritable
Operation Veritable
Operation Veritable was a Second World War pincer movement conducted by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group to clear and occupy the land between the Rhine and Maas rivers. It took place between 8 February and 11 March 1945. It was a part of General Dwight Eisenhower's "broad front"...

 and Grenade
Operation Grenade
During World War II, Operation Grenade was the plan for the U.S. 9th Army to cross the Roer river in February 1945.On 9 February, the U.S...

 in February 1945. A meticulously planned Rhine crossing
Operation Plunder
Commencing on the night of 23 March 1945 during World War II, Operation Plunder was the crossing of the River Rhine at Rees, Wesel, and south of the Lippe River by the British 2nd Army, under Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey , and the U.S. Ninth Army , under Lieutenant General William Simpson...

 occurred on 24 March. While successful it was weeks after the Americans had unexpectedly captured the Ludendorff Bridge
Ludendorff Bridge
The Ludendorff Bridge was a railway bridge across the River Rhine in Germany, connecting the villages of Remagen and Erpel between two ridge lines of hills flanking the river...

 and crossed the river. Montgomery's river crossing was followed by the encirclement
Ruhr Pocket
The Ruhr Pocket was a battle of encirclement that took place in late March and early April 1945, near the end of World War II, in the Ruhr Area of Germany. For all intents and purposes, it marked the end of major organized resistance on Nazi Germany's Western Front, as more than 300,000 troops were...

 of the German Army Group B
Army Group B
Army Group B was the name of three different German Army Groups that saw action during World War II.-Battle for France:The first was involved in the Western Campaign in 1940 in Belgium and the Netherlands which was to be aimed to conquer the Maas bridges after the German airborne actions in Rotterdam...

 in the Ruhr
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

. Initially Montgomery's role was to guard the flank of the American advance. This was altered, however, to forestall any chance of a Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 advance into Denmark, and the 21st Army Group occupied Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 and Rostock
Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

 and sealed off the Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 peninsula.

On 4 May 1945, on Lüneburg Heath
Lüneburg Heath
The Lüneburg Heath is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover, and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve...

, Montgomery accepted the surrender
Surrender (military)
Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and eventually become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A white flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.When the...

 of German forces in northern Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. This was done plainly in a tent without any ceremony. In the same year he was awarded the Order of the Elephant
Order of the Elephant
The Order of the Elephant is the highest order of Denmark. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively bestowed on royalty and heads of state.- History :A Danish religious...

, the highest order in Denmark.

Later life

After the war Montgomery became the C-in-C of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), the name given to the British Occupation Forces and the British member of the Allied Control Council. He was created 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, of Hindhead in the County of Surrey, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1946 for the military commander Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, commemorating his crucial victory in the Second Battle of El Alamein in the Egyptian town of...

 in 1946. He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1946 until 1948, succeeding Alanbrooke, but was largely a failure as it required strategic and political skills he did not possess. He was barely on speaking terms with his fellow chiefs, sending his VCIGS to attend their meetings and he clashed particularly with Arthur Tedder, who as Deputy Supreme Commander had intrigued for Montgomery's dismissal during the Battle of Normandy, and who was by now Chief of the Air Staff. When Montgomery's term of office expired, Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS was a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955...

 appointed General (later Field-Marshal) William Slim as his successor; when Montgomery protested that he had told his protegé General Crocker, a former corps commander from the 1944-5 campaign, that the job was to be his, Attlee is said to have given the memorable retort "Untell him".

Montgomery was then appointed Chairman of the Western European Union
Western European Union
The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

's commanders-in-chief committee. Volume 3 of Nigel Hamilton's Life of Montgomery of Alamein gives a good account of the bickering between Montgomery and his land forces chief, a French general, which created splits through the Union headquarters. He was thus pleased to become Eisenhower's deputy in creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's European
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the central command of NATO military forces. It is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons...

 forces in 1951. He was an effective inspector-general and mounted good exercises, but out of his depth politically, and his exacting manner and emphasis on efficiency created ill-feeling. He continued to serve under Eisenhower's successors, Matthew Ridgway
Matthew Ridgway
Matthew Bunker Ridgway was a United States Army General. He held several major commands and was most famous for resurrecting the United Nations war effort during the Korean War. Several historians have credited Ridgway for turning around the war in favor of the UN side...

 and Al Gruenther
Alfred Gruenther
Alfred Maximilian Gruenther was the youngest World War II Major General and after the war, as a four-star General, served as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 1953 to 1956.-Biography:...

, until his retirement, aged nearly 71, in 1958. His mother died in 1949; Montgomery did not attend the funeral, claiming he was "too busy". He was chairman of the governing body of St John's School
St. John's School, Leatherhead
St. John's School, Leatherhead is a public school in Surrey, England. It has about 420 male pupils and 60 female pupils, and from 2010 it will be fully co-educational....

, Leatherhead
Leatherhead
Leatherhead is a town in the County of Surrey, England, on the River Mole, part of Mole Valley district. It is thought to be of Saxon origin...

, Surrey from 1951 to 1966 and a generous supporter. Montgomery was an Honorary Member of the Winkle Club
Winkle Club
The Winkle Club is an internationally famous charitable organization formed in 1900 by Hastings fishermen to help the under-privileged families of Hastings Old Town, in East Sussex, in the south of England....

, a noted charity in Hastings, East Sussex, and introduced Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 to the club in 1955.

In 1953, the Hamilton Board of Education in Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

, Ontario, Canada, wrote to Montgomery and asked permission to name a new school in the city's east end after him. Viscount Montgomery Elementary was billed as "the most modern school in North America" and the largest single-storey school in Hamilton, when the sod was turned on 14 March 1951. The school officially opened on 18 April 1953, with Montgomery in attendance among almost 10,000 well-wishers. At the opening, he gave the motto "Gardez Bien" from his own family's coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

.

Montgomery referred to the school as his "beloved school" and visited on five separate occasions, the last being in 1960. On his last visit, he said to "his" students:

Let's make Viscount Montgomery School the best in Hamilton, the best in Ontario, the best in Canada. I don't associate myself with anything that is not good. It is up to you to see that everything about this school is good. It is up to the students to not only be their best in school but in their behaviour outside of Viscount. Education is not just something that will help you pass your exams and get you a job, it is to develop your brain to teach you to marshal facts and do things.


Before retirement, Montgomery's outspoken views on some subjects, such as race, were often officially suppressed. After retirement these outspoken views became public and his reputation suffered. He supported apartheid and Chinese communism under Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, and spoke against the legalisation of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, arguing that the Sexual Offences Act 1967
Sexual Offences Act 1967
The Sexual Offences Act 1967 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom . It decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men, both of whom had to have attained the age of 21. The Act applied only to England and Wales and did not cover the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces...

was a "charter for buggery" and that "this sort of thing may be tolerated by the French, but we're British – thank God." However, several of Montgomery's biographers, including Chalfont (who found something "disturbingly equivocal" in "his relations with boys and young men" ) and Nigel Hamilton (2002) have suggested that he may himself have been a repressed homosexual; in the late 1940s he conducted an affectionate friendship with a 12-year-old Swiss boy. One biographer called the friendship "bizarre" although not "improper" and a sign of "pitiful loneliness"

Montgomery's memoirs (1958) criticised many of his wartime comrades in harsh terms, including Eisenhower, whom he accused, among other things, of prolonging the war by a year through poor leadership—allegations which ended their friendship, not least as Eisenhower was still US President at the time. He was stripped of his honorary citizenship of Montgomery
Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...

, Alabama, and was challenged to a duel by an Italian officer. He was threatened with legal action by Field-Marshal Auchinleck for suggesting that Auchinleck had intended to retreat from the Alamein position if attacked again, and had to give a radio broadcast (20 November 1958) expressing his gratitude to Auchinleck for having stabilised the front at the First Battle of Alamein. The 1960 edition of his memoirs contains a publisher's note (opposite page 15) drawing attention to that broadcast, and stating that in the publisher's view the reader might assume from Montgomery's text that Auchinleck had been planning to retreat and pointing out that this was in fact not the case.

Montgomery was never raised to an earldom like his wartime contemporaries Harold Alexander, Louis Mountbatten and even Archibald Wavell, but unlike them he had never been a Theatre Supreme Commander or held high political office. An official task he insisted on performing in his later years was bearing the Sword of State
Sword of State
A sword of state is a sword, used as part of the regalia, symbolizing the power of a monarch to use the might of the state against its enemies, and their duty to preserve thus right and peace.It is known to be used in following monarchies:...

 during the State Opening of Parliament
State Opening of Parliament
In the United Kingdom, the State Opening of Parliament is an annual event that marks the commencement of a session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is held in the House of Lords Chamber, usually in November or December or, in a general election year, when the new Parliament first assembles...

. His increasing frailty, however, raised concerns about his ability to stand for long periods while carrying the heavy weapon. Ultimately, those fears were borne out when he collapsed in mid-ceremony in 1968 and did not perform this function again. A favourite pastime of the British press during these years was to photograph Montgomery cashing his old age pension cheque at the local social security
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

 office. Due to his eminence, the British public assumed Montgomery was wealthy and did not need the money. In fact, he had always been a man of modest means and it caused him great anguish that many believed he was taking taxpayer money he did not need. Another blow was a break-in at his home. Despite his making a televised appeal for the return of his possessions, the items were never recovered.

Death

Montgomery died from unspecified causes in 1976 at his home Isington Mill, Isington
Isington
Isington is a hamlet in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 1.4 miles southwest of the village of Bentley, and 3.9 miles northeast of Alton, just south of the A31 road....

 near Alton
Alton, Hampshire
Alton is a historic market town and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of the English county of Hampshire. It had a population of 16,584 at the 1991 census and is administered by East Hampshire district council. It is located on the source of the River Wey and is the highest town in...

, Hampshire, aged 88. After a funeral ceremony at St George's Chapel, Windsor, he was interred in the Holy Cross Churchyard, Binsted
Binsted
Binsted is a village and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. The village is about four miles east of Alton. The nearest railway station is 1.8 miles northeast of the village, at Bentley....

.

Legacy

His portrait (by Frank O. Salisbury
Frank O. Salisbury
Francis Owen Salisbury was an English Methodist artist from who specialised in portraits, large canvases of historical and ceremonial events, stained glass and book illustration. In his heyday he made a fortune on both sides of the Atlantic and was known as “Britain’s Painter Laureate”...

, 1945) hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

A statue of Montgomery can be found outside the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 (the M.o.D.) in Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

, alongside those of Field Marshal Lord Slim and Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO & Bar , was a senior commander in the British Army. He was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War, and was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944...

. Another statue of Viscount Montgomery can be found in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Belgium, watching a Montgomery Square. Another statue of Montgomery is in Southsea, Hampshire, opposite the 'D' Day Museum.

Montgomery gave his name to the French commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 Colleville-Montgomery
Colleville-Montgomery
Colleville-Montgomery is a commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northern France.-Sights:* The ChurchBuilt by Saint-Vigor, Bishop of the city of Bayeux , during the 11th and 12th centuries, it has two choirs and a Romanesque nave.The first bay consists in barrel vaults...

, Normandy.

The Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and her Empire...

 holds a variety of material relating to Montgomery in its collections. These include Montgomery's Grant
M3 Lee
The Medium Tank M3 was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called "General Lee", named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and the modified version built with a new turret was called the "General Grant", named after U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant.Design commenced...

 command tank (on display in the atrium at the Museum's London branch), his command caravans as used in North West Europe (on display at IWM Duxford), and his papers are held by the Museum's Department of Documents. The Museum maintains a permanent exhibition about Montgomery, entitled Monty: Master of the Battlefield.

His Rolls Royce staff car is on display at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, Deepcut, Surrey.

The Montgomery cocktail is a martini
Martini (cocktail)
The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" and E. B...

 mixed at a ratio of 15:1, facetiously named that because Montgomery supposedly refused to go into battle unless his numerical advantage was at least that high. Following severe internal injuries received in the First World War, Montgomery himself could neither smoke nor drink.

Honours and awards

  • Viscount
    Viscount
    A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

     (UK
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    , December 1945)
  • Knight of the Order of the Garter (UK, 1946)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (UK, 1945) KCB – 11 November 1942, CB – 11 July 1940
  • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (UK, 1914)
  • Mentioned in Despatches (UK, 17 February 1915, 4 January 1917, 11 December 1917, 20 May 1918, 20 December 1918, 5 July 1919, 15 July 1939, 24 June 1943, 13 January 1944)
  • Distinguished Service Medal
    Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
    The Distinguished Service Medal is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United...

     (USA, 1947)
  • Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit
    Legion of Merit
    The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

     (USA, 10 August 1943)
  • Member of the Order of Victory
    Order of Victory
    The Order of Victory was the highest military decoration in the Soviet Union, and one of the rarest orders in the world. The order was awarded only to Generals and Marshals for successfully conducting combat operations involving one or more army groups and resulting in a "successful operation...

     (USSR, 21 June 1945)
  • 1st class of the Order of Suvorov
    Order of Suvorov
    The Order of Suvorov is a Soviet award, named after Aleksandr Suvorov , that was established on July 29, 1942 by a decision of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR. This decoration was created to award senior army personnel for exceptional leadership in combat operations...

     (USSR, 16 January 1947)
  • Croix de Guerre (France, 1919)
  • Knight of the Order of the Elephant
    Order of the Elephant
    The Order of the Elephant is the highest order of Denmark. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively bestowed on royalty and heads of state.- History :A Danish religious...

     (Denmark, 2 August 1945)
  • Grand Commander of the Order of George I
    Order of George I
    The Royal Order of George I is a defunct order of Greece.- History :The order was founded in 1915 by King Constantine I in honor of his father, George I. It was only the second Greek order to be created after the Order of the Redeemer in 1833, and remained the second senior award of the Greek...

     (Greece, 20 June 1944)
  • Silver Cross (V Class) of the Virtuti Militari
    Virtuti Militari
    The Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war...

     (Poland, 31 October 1944)
  • Grand Cross of the Military Order of the White Lion
    Military Order of the White Lion
    The Military Order of the White Lion , also known as the Military Order of the White Lion "For Victory", was an award established on 9 February 1945 to reward military merit, either personal acts of bravery or leadership....

     (Czechoslovakia, 1947)
  • Grand Cordon of the Seal of Solomon (Ethiopia, 1949)
  • Grand Officer with Palm of the Order of Leopold II
    Order of Leopold II
    The Order of Leopold II is an order of Belgium and is named in honor of King Léopold II. The decoration was established on 24 August 1900 by Leopold II as king of the Congo Free State and was in 1908, upon Congo being handed over to Belgium, incorporated into the Belgian awards system...

     (Belgium, 1947)
  • Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm
    Croix de guerre
    The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

     (Belgium)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Dutch Lion
    Order of the Dutch Lion
    The Order of the Netherlands Lion is an order of the Netherlands which was first created on 29 September 1815 by King William I of the Netherlands....

     (Netherlands, 16 January 1947)
  • Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Norway) (1951)
  • Médaille militaire
    Médaille militaire
    The Médaille militaire is a decoration of the French Republic which was first instituted in 1852.-History:The creator of the médaille was the emperor Napoléon III, who may have taken his inspiration in a medal issued by his father, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland...

     (France, 1958)
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France, May 1945)
  • War Cross 1939 (Czechoslovakia, 1947)

Quotations

  • "The US has broken the second rule of war. That is, don't go fighting with your land army on the mainland of Asia. Rule One is don't march on Moscow. I developed these two rules myself." Quoted in Chalfont's Montgomery of Alamein.

  • "Well, now I must go to meet God and try to explain all those men I killed at Alamein."

See also

  • Afrika Korps
    Afrika Korps
    The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

  • M. E. Clifton James
    M. E. Clifton James
    Meyrick Edward Clifton James was an actor and soldier, notable for his resemblance to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery...

     (Montgomery's double during the war)
  • Famous military commanders
  • Irish military diaspora
    Irish military diaspora
    The Irish military diaspora refers to the many people of either Irish birth or extraction who have served in foreign military forces, regardless of rank, duration of service, or success....

  • North African Campaign
    North African campaign
    During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

  • Panzer Army Africa
    Panzer Army Africa
    As the number of German armed forces committed to the North Africa Campaign of World War II grew from the initial commitment of a small corps the Germans developed a more elaborate command structure and placed the now larger Afrika Korps, with Italian units under this new German command structure,...

  • Western Desert Campaign
    Western Desert Campaign
    The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War, was the initial stage of the North African Campaign during the Second World War. The campaign was heavily influenced by the availability of supplies and transport. The ability of the Allied forces, operating from besieged Malta, to...


External links

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