Best U.S Army



  • Which historic army was the best?



  • Please express your thoughts if you vote other. I’m curious to see your opinions.


  • '12

    Equipment wise western allied tanks in WWII sucked compared to soviet or german.  Training wise, I doubt anything can beat a modern volunteer army like that of desert storm, combine that with the best equipment by far at it’s a slam dunk me thinks.



  • Joe Stillwells forces in the Burma during WW2. Merrill’s Marauders and other similar US combat units in that theater managed to do amazing things with minimal supplies in horrendous conditions.


  • '12

    Clyde you make a good points/examples, those forces were heroic in the epic sense.  But when I think of an army, I am thinking of a force of multiple divisions including logistical and combined arms support.



  • That is what the CBI was I thought? I know this is supposed to be about the best US army, but dose that mean an independent US army? The forces the US contributed to the CBI fell under the command of a US general (Stillwell) and were made up of various divisions, Merrill’s marauders were just the tip of the spear so to speak. Numerous others took place, not to mention a construction batallion made up entierly or african-americans, the only black troops to fight in pacific theater. I know there were all part of and subordinate to, the allied forces in that theater, so maybe that excludes them?



  • The problem is that these armies are being judged by their competition.

    We were better prepared in the Gulf than any of the others.  I don’t know how we could come to a real value on any of these.



  • @dinosaur:

    The problem is that these armies are being judged by their competition.

    We were better prepared in the Gulf than any of the others.  I don’t know how we could come to a real value on any of these.

    I’m surprised so far by the voting.



  • Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia is the only Army on the list that faced a vastly larger force and better supplied both in quanity and quality of equipment and repeatly defeated or checked the enemy.



  • I agree that Lee did a fantastic job with his resources, but I can’t say his Army was better.  It is just that his oponents army was so poorly led.

    I guess you have to have been in the army around 1990s to appreciate what a phenomenal crush Schwartzkopf gave the Iraqis.  On their turf, with a fantastic number of political constraints, he whacked the Iraqis so bad that General Powell felt he had to call an end to it (in the first quarter, instead of letting Schwartzkopf have a whole game).


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The speed of which the 5th or 6th largest army was destroyed and the lack of loses is really incredible. The economy of force and overall efficiency of this campaign is second to none.

    That has to be the best army in terms of execution of a strategy. As far as quality of troops based on what they had and the level of technology of the time, you might stay with Washington’s army as the best.



  • @dinosaur:

    I agree that Lee did a fantastic job with his resources, but I can’t say his Army was better.  It is just that his oponents army was so poorly led.

    I guess you have to have been in the army around 1990s to appreciate what a phenomenal crush Schwartzkopf gave the Iraqis.  On their turf, with a fantastic number of political constraints, he whacked the Iraqis so bad that General Powell felt he had to call an end to it (in the first quarter, instead of letting Schwartzkopf have a whole game).

    I can still remember my older step brother gone oversea to fighting in Desert Storm.



  • Even though the US Army during Desert Storm utterly overwhelmed the Iraqis in terms of training, leadership, and equipment, I think that an army that can emerge triumphant despite insufficient supplies and training clearly proves its effectiveness. That’s why I voted for Washington’s Revolutionary Army, which was outnumbered, outgunned, and lacked basic supplies, and even though it was defeated a majority of the time, its victories were descisive enough to disillusion and defeat the British.



  • @GrizzlyMan:

    Even though the US Army during Desert Storm utterly overwhelmed the Iraqis in terms of training, leadership, and equipment, I think that an army that can emerge triumphant despite insufficient supplies and training clearly proves its effectiveness. That’s why I voted for Washington’s Revolutionary Army, which was outnumbered, outgunned, and lacked basic supplies, and even though it was defeated a majority of the time, its victories were descisive enough to disillusion and defeat the British.

    The American Civil war wasnt won through breaking British resolve, there wasnt a great deal of resolve in the first place to fight for a land that at the time only had 25% of the GDP of the island of Jamaica. For the first time in centuries the British were fighting the British regardless who’s banner they served under. The British parliament had no apetite for a war where British citizens were killing each other, the resolve of the loyalist colonists was unwavering they wanted to continue the war long after British support was gone, instead the decided to go to Canada which made Canada a safe bet for staying part of the British empire for centuries to come.

    Its a myth that somehow the United States defeated the might of the entire British empire, at the time of the American war of independence the United States was a insignificant colony compared with Jamaica or India, the tax revenue was literally insignificant and actually 10-20 times lower than that in mainland Britian. The United States won the war for the same reason the United States lost the war in Vietnam, the powers that be couldnt be bothered winning a war for a country that at the time was considered a economic non event. Never was even a small portion of the might of the British empire brought to bare against the American independence movement had the British committed a large number of its forces, a bloody massacre would of ensued which people on both sides had no desire for.



  • @GrizzlyMan:

    Even though the US Army during Desert Storm utterly overwhelmed the Iraqis in terms of training, leadership, and equipment, I think that an army that can emerge triumphant despite insufficient supplies and training clearly proves its effectiveness. That’s why I voted for Washington’s Revolutionary Army, which was outnumbered, outgunned, and lacked basic supplies, and even though it was defeated a majority of the time, its victories were descisive enough to disillusion and defeat the British.

    The Revolutionary Army needed French aid to end the war.



  • i voted for the Third Army because it was facing good German units and had inferior equipment. also because it had some of the greatest leadership the US army has ever had excluding Washington.



  • I would have voted for Schwarzkopf’s Army had they fought the Soviet Army to a similar defeat as they dished out to the Iraqis.

    Lee’s Army got my vote.



  • The problem I had with voting for the Revolutionary Army under George Washington was that soldiers would sometimes retreat without orders. For example:


    Washington’s defeat [at Long Island] revealed his deficiencies as a strategist who split his forces, his inexperienced generals who misunderstood the situation, and his raw troops that fled in disorder at the first shots.[51] On the other hand his daring nighttime retreat has been seen by some historians as one of his greatest military feats.[52] . . . Heavy casualties mounted up between the Americans and the British and men on both sides fled out of fear.[60]


    It’s also worth looking at the casualty figures for the American Revolution. The united States had 50,000 casualties, compared to 20,000 casualties for the British Army, 8,000 dead for the Hessians, and 20,000 British sailors dead.

    There were bright spots to the situation. Washington was an exemplary leader of men. When his men’s courage wavered, he would yell to them to remember what they were fighting for. There were times when he placed himself in harm’s way in order to shame his men into standing their ground and fighting. As I understand it, the question is about the quality of the soldiers, not the general who exercised command. While Washington’s army sometimes endured great hardships, the fact that its soldiers sometimes retreated without orders means it was not the best fighting force Americans have ever fielded.

    Both Patton’s Third Army and Schwarzkopf’s Desert Storm force are difficult to evaluate for the same reason: the massive disparity they enjoyed in terms of available numbers or technology over their enemies.

    The Allied forces in Western Europe consisted of 5.4 million troops, as compared to about 1.5 million Germans on the western front. Nor should it be assumed that the forces under German command were all able-bodied German men of military age. Some were foreigners uneager to die for Germany, some were boys, some were old men, some were amputees; and many had been thrown into combat after having been inadequately trained. In addition to their 3.5-to-one numeric edge in combat troops, the Allies also enjoyed large-scale quantitative superiority in anything which could be produced in a factory: tanks, artillery, and military aircraft. General Patton was clearly the best general the Allies had, and belongs in any discussion about the best U.S. general in history. But it’s not clear whether the men under his command were the best soldiers in American history.

    Similar arguments can be made about Schwarzkopf’s Desert Storm force, except there the overwhelming American advantage was due to technological rather than quantitative factors.

    Perform the following thought experiment. Take some number of randomly selected soldiers, plus a sufficient number of their commanding officers, and give them WWII-style weapons and equipment. Give them adequate time to train and develop unit cohesion. Then throw them into a conflict like the Nazi-Soviet land war in the summer of ‘42. (I.e., a large-scale land war in which neither side has an overwhelming advantage.) How would those soldiers perform? How would the Gulf War soldiers have performed in such a scenario? That question is difficult to answer, because the Gulf War did not constitute a test of soldiers’ mettle on the same scale as did American involvement in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII.

    In contrast to the above, consider Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Even in defeat, this army generally achieved a 1:1 exchange ratio. More normal was the 2:1 exchange ratio seen in the Overland Campaign and elsewhere. During the entire U.S. Civil War, the North experienced twice as many men killed in action as did the South. These ratios occurred despite the North’s advantage in industrial capacity and its consequent ability to field much larger numbers of artillery than could the South. It is true that this industrial advantage was largely offset by the superior quality of the South’s generals. Even so, there can be no question about the fighting quality of the men under Lee’s command. Had those men found themselves in a Nazi-Soviet style land war, they would almost certainly have performed in an exemplary fashion. While the soldiers of Patton’s Third Army would also have fought well in a Nazi-Soviet style land war; I don’t believe they would have performed as well as the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia would have.



  • @KurtGodel7:

    General Patton was clearly the best general the Allies had.

    Not in the view of the German Generals who were asked this very question.
    They ranked him equal with Montgomery!



  • @Lazarus:

    Not in the view of the German Generals who were asked this very question.
    They ranked him equal with Montgomery!

    I did some research, and did not find evidence to support the above claim. The evidence I did find argues against it.


    On the German side of the conflict, there was little doubt that from 1943 on, Patton caused the greatest amount of concern to Germany’s senior command. Adolf Hitler himself was impressed by Patton, reportedly calling him “that crazy cowboy general”, and “the most dangerous man [the Allies] have.”[130] Referring to the escape of the Afrika Korps Panzerarmee after the battle of El Alamein, General Fritz Bayerlein opined that “I do not think that General Patton would let us get away so easily.”[131] Oberstleutnant Horst Freiheer von Wangenheim, operations officer of the 277th Volksgrenadier Division, stated that “General Patton is the most feared general on all fronts. [His] tactics are daring and unpredictable…He is the most modern general and the best commander of [combined] armored and infantry forces.”.[132] After the war, General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt revealed that “We regarded Patton extremely highly, as the most aggressive Panzer-General of the Allies. A man of incredible initiative and lightning-like action.”[133] General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel, who had fought both Soviet and Anglo-American tank commanders, agreed: “Patton! No doubt about this. He was a brilliant panzer army commander.”[134]
    In an interview conducted for Stars and Stripes just after his capture, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt summed up the predominant German view of the American general: "Patton, Rundstedt concluded simply, “he is your best.”[135]


    Having read the salient portions of the article about General Montgomery, I saw no quotes from German generals (or anyone else, for that matter) equating him to General Patton. My impression is that most non-biased observers, on both sides of the lines, considered General Patton to be a significantly superior general to General Montgomery.

    Montgomery was a good general. In 1940, he correctly predicted that the Allied plan to defend France would fail; and he prepared his own soldiers for the consequences of that failure. (Preparation which paid off.) His arrival in Egypt in late '42 yielded almost immediate benefits for Britain. His contribution to the Battle of the Bulge was good, but cannot be compared with the brilliance of Patton’s contribution.

    Montgomery was at his best when given time to build up for a methodical offensive. But unlike Patton, Montgomery didn’t seem to understand that when you succeed in pushing an enemy off-balance, your next step should be to go for his throat. Montgomery received part of the blame for the Allies’ painfully slow progress in Italy against badly outnumbered German forces.

    In late ‘44, Patton had wanted to strike at the heart of Germany, which was reeling from Patton’s earlier advances. Instead, Montgomery persuaded Eisenhower to allocate nearly all the Allies’ scarce fuel supplies to Montgomery’s failed, and poorly planned, Operation Market Garden campaign. (Montgomery had suggested Patton’s role be limited to defending the western shore of the Rhine.) Eisenhower’s decision to go forward with Operation Market Garden, instead of allowing Patton to move forward with his own requested offensive, gave the Germans facing Patton precious time with which to recover. Even so, Patton’s accomplishments in Europe were remarkable.


    Since becoming operational in Normandy on 1 August 1944 until 9 May 1945, [General Patton’s] Third Army was in continuous combat for 281 days.[3] It had advanced farther and faster than any army in military history, crossing 24 major rivers and capturing 81,500 square miles of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns.[3] With a normal strength of around 250,00-300,000 men, the Third had killed, wounded, or captured some 1,811,388 enemy soldiers, six times its strength in personnel.[3][87][88] By comparison, the Third Army suffered 16,596 killed, 96,241 wounded, and 26,809 missing in action for a total of 139,646 men, a ratio of enemy to U.S. losses of nearly thirteen to one.[89]


    While no one can reasonably dispute the fact that Montgomery was a very solid general, his achievements fall well short of Patton’s. The very favorable exchange ratios achieved by Patton’s Third Army confirms that Patton’s offense-oriented instincts were valid. Patton favored rapid advances, going for the enemy’s throat when he was off-balance, and decisive actions intended to encircle or destroy large numbers of enemy soldiers. This aggressiveness resulted in much lower Allied casualty figures for the military benefit than Montgomery’s slower, more cautious, plodding tactics would have. The Third Army’s 13:1 exchange ratio was many times better than that achieved by the European forces under General Eisenhower’s European command as a whole.



  • Then your research was not thorough enough:

    _“What did the Germans think of their Western opponents? They were diffident in expressing an opinion on this matter, but I gathered a few impressions in the course of our talks. In reference to the Allied comanders, Rundstedt said: “Montgomery and Patton were the two best that I met. Field Marshall Montgomery was very systematic. He aded: “That is alright if you have sufficient forces, and sufficent time.” Blumentritt made a similar comment. After paying tribute to the speed of Patton’s drive, he added: “Field Marshall Montgomery was the one general who never suffered a reverse. He moved like this” – Blumentritt took a series of very deliberate and short steps, putting his foot down heavily each time.” --”

    The German General Talk", pp.257-58, by B.H. Liddell Hart_

    The original quote above has been altered by later authors  to make it look like it was about Patton alone

    The Wiki  article says:

    _Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt summed up the predominant German view of the American general: "Patton, Rundstedt concluded simply, “he is your best.”[135]
    Footnote ‘135’ states:

    Hanson, Victor Davis, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day", New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0684845024 (1999), p. 13_

    A third rate book is used to alter history and distort Rundstedt’s quote.
    Wiki is at the mercy of those with agendas and the above is a perfect example where the original interview is ignored in favour of a garbled altered account that better fits the myth perpetuated by the Patton fan boys.
    .

    The  figures given for 3rd Army are complete fiction and Montgomery was several steps above Patton in the food chain.



  • @Lazarus:

    Then your research was not thorough enough:

    _“What did the Germans think of their Western opponents? They were diffident in expressing an opinion on this matter, but I gathered a few impressions in the course of our talks. In reference to the Allied comanders, Rundstedt said: “Montgomery and Patton were the two best that I met. Field Marshall Montgomery was very systematic. He aded: “That is alright if you have sufficient forces, and sufficent time.” Blumentritt made a similar comment. After paying tribute to the speed of Patton’s drive, he added: “Field Marshall Montgomery was the one general who never suffered a reverse. He moved like this” – Blumentritt took a series of very deliberate and short steps, putting his foot down heavily each time.” --”

    The German General Talk", pp.257-58, by B.H. Liddell Hart_

    The original quote above has been altered by later authors  to make it look like it was about Patton alone

    The Wiki  article says:

    _Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt summed up the predominant German view of the American general: "Patton, Rundstedt concluded simply, “he is your best.”[135]
    Footnote ‘135’ states:

    Hanson, Victor Davis, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day", New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0684845024 (1999), p. 13_

    A third rate book is used to alter history and distort Rundstedt’s quote.
    Wiki is at the mercy of those with agendas and the above is a perfect example where the original interview is ignored in favour of a garbled altered account that better fits the myth perpetuated by the Patton fan boys.
    .

    The  figures given for 3rd Army are complete fiction and Montgomery was several steps above Patton in the food chain.

    One possibility is the one you seem to have embraced: that there is only one real Rundstedt about the best Allied general or generals, that Liddel Hart reported it correctly, and that the original quote was deliberately altered by the authors of third-rate history books in an effort to perpetuate “myths” favored by “Patton fan boys.”

    A second possibility–one which you do not seem to have considered–is that Rundstedt may have said different things at different times. In the quote you mentioned from Liddell Hart, Rundstedt described Patton and Montgomery as the “two best” he’d met. But in that quote, he did not indicate whether he thought those two were equally good, or whether he felt one was better than the other. His remark that Montgomery’s approach was “alright if you have sufficient forces, and sufficent time,” seems to leave the door wide open to concluding that Patton was the more flexible and the better of the two generals. While he did not make such a remark in the quote from Liddell Hart’s book, it’s entirely possible he said as much at some other time.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that the quote from Liddell Hart’s work is the only recorded comparison Rundstedt made between Patton and Montgomery. According to the quote you provided, Liddell Hart wrote that the German generals were “diffident in expressing an opinion on this matter.” The quote from Bumentritt which followed did not contain any comparison between Patton and Montgomery. Instead, he simply praised the things Patton did well (the speed of his advance) and the things Montgomery did well (advancing methodically and never suffering a reverse). Not even the quote from von Rundstedt indicated that he thought Montgomery was Patton’s equal–merely that he was among the two best generals the Allies had. (Which very well could have been the case.)

    The Wikipedia quote which mentioned praise for Patton among the German generals cited five sources: Carlo D’Este, Martin Blumenson, Brian Sobel, Tim McNesse, and Victor David Hanson. D’Este is the source for:


    General Fritz Bayerlein opined that “I do not think that General Patton would let us get away so easily.”[131]


    Blumenson is the source for:


    Oberstleutnant Horst Freiheer von Wangenheim, operations officer of the 277th Volksgrenadier Division, stated that “General Patton is the most feared general on all fronts. [His] tactics are daring and unpredictable…He is the most modern general and the best commander of [combined] armored and infantry forces.”.[132]


    Sobel is the source for:


    After the war, General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt revealed that “We regarded Patton extremely highly, as the most aggressive Panzer-General of the Allies. A man of incredible initiative and lightning-like action.”[133]


    McNesse is the source for:


    General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel, who had fought both Soviet and Anglo-American tank commanders, agreed: “Patton! No doubt about this. He was a brilliant panzer army commander.”[134]


    Victor Davis Hanson is the source for the fifth quote–the one from von Runstedt, which you claimed was deliberately altered. You’ve already described Hanson’s book as a “third rate history book.” Do you intend to similarly attack the other four sources in order to support your claims about German generals, Patton, and Montgomery?

    You also wrote, “The  figures given for 3rd Army are complete fiction and Montgomery was several steps above Patton in the food chain.” You seem to be asserting as fact that of which you have no actual knowledge. Patton’s Third Army consisted of both tank and infantry units; making a 13:1 ratio more credible than would have been the case had it been infantry-only. If you have actual data from a credible source to refute the figures for the 3rd Army, please provide it.

    Your statement that Montgomery was “several steps above Patton in the food chain,” is ambiguous. If it’s a claim that Montgomery was a better general than Patton, it’s simply false, and almost not worth debating. (Especially not when you employ emotion-laden labels–such as “Patton fanboys” in an effort to discredit those who disagree with you.) If your intention was merely to point out that Montgomery had more rank/clout than Patton, your statement would be correct, but of dubious relevance. How does the question of the two generals’ respective ranks tie into your claim that the figures given for the 3rd Army are “complete fiction”?



  • If you check back and find the full set of figures given for 3rd Army (i.e the total of tanks destroyed ect) then you will find the numbers greatly in excess of reality.

    claim: Tanks and armored cars 3,833  destroyed by aircraft

    Check the number of German tanks /AC lost in the last year of the war and tell me how a small part of the Allied Army destroyed the  vast majority of the knocked out vehicles. Add the  tanks claimed by Patton’s TD’s (Tank destroyers with the Third Army knocked out 648 enemy tanks and 211 self propelled guns) and the figures get more fantastic.

    Claim : The Third had killed, wounded, or captured some 1,811,388 enemy soldiers, six times its strength in personnel

    515,205 of those were taken in the last week of the war

    The 13:1 ratio you give includes the vast number of POW’s taken at the end of the war. As the Allies ended up with 5 million POW’s then you could do the same calculation for all the other Allied Generals.
    The  figures are hype. Consider the source and ask yourself is it partial.

    As for the quotes well simply giving an author is not good enough.
    When you have the full quotes and context (i.e someone being asked ‘who is the best U.S General’ is not going to say Montgomery) then you can speak with authority.
    Wiki is not a credible source but a starting point for those after the full facts…
    Thre quote I gave is from a respected author and  complete. It has been (deliberately) altered in other books.
    My quote trumps yours and the plain truth is the German Generals (or 3 of the most senior) did not say Patton was ‘the best’



  • @Lazarus:

    If you check back and find the full set of figures given for 3rd Army (i.e the total of tanks destroyed ect) then you will find the numbers greatly in excess of reality.

    claim: Tanks and armored cars 3,833  destroyed by aircraft

    Check the number of German tanks /AC lost in the last year of the war and tell me how a small part of the Allied Army destroyed the  vast majority of the knocked out vehicles. Add the  tanks claimed by Patton’s TD’s (Tank destroyers with the Third Army knocked out 648 enemy tanks and 211 self propelled guns) and the figures get more fantastic.

    Claim : The Third had killed, wounded, or captured some 1,811,388 enemy soldiers, six times its strength in personnel

    515,205 of those were taken in the last week of the war

    The 13:1 ratio you give includes the vast number of POW’s taken at the end of the war. As the Allies ended up with 5 million POW’s then you could do the same calculation for all the other Allied Generals.
    The  figures are hype. Consider the source and ask yourself is it partial.

    As for the quotes well simply giving an author is not good enough.
    When you have the full quotes and context (i.e someone being asked ‘who is the best U.S General’ is not going to say Montgomery) then you can speak with authority.
    Wiki is not a credible source but a starting point for those after the full facts…
    Thre quote I gave is from a respected author and  complete. It has been (deliberately) altered in other books.
    My quote trumps yours and the plain truth is the German Generals (or 3 of the most senior) did not say Patton was ‘the best’

    In reference to the quote about the Third Army, I agree that taking 515,000 prisoners in the last week of the war represents a much easier task than capturing the same number of German soldiers in, for example, 1942 would have. But even if you completely discount those last 515,000 soldiers captured, that still leaves 1.3 million killed, wounded, or captured against losses of 140,000 men killed, wounded, or captured. That’s better than a 9-to-1 ratio; whereas Montgomery failed to achieve even a 1-to-1 ratio in Market Garden. Nor am I aware of other operations in which he achieved a significantly better ratio than 1-to-1.

    You wrote, “My quote trumps yours and the plain truth is the German Generals (or 3 of the most senior) did not say Patton was ‘the best’.” The conclusion you’ve drawn here goes well beyond anything even remotely supported by the quote from Liddell Hart’s book. First, the quote only mentioned two German generals by name. Of those two, one of them did not even come close to making a comparison between Patton and Montgomery. Only von Rundstedt’s quote even addresses your central contention; and then only by defining Patton and Montgomery as “your two best.” If (for example) someone had defined Generals A - J as “your ten best,” would that comment necessarily imply that the person making it felt that A - J were all equally good? No? If “your ten best” doesn’t mean “all ten are equally good,” why does “your two best” have to mean “both generals were equally good; and any subsequent statement which might imply otherwise is an obvious fabrication”?



  • @KurtGodel7:

    That’s better than a 9-to-1 ratio; whereas Montgomery failed to achieve even a 1-to-1 ratio in Market Garden.

    You would have to know how many German POW’s 21st Army Group had in May 1945 to give an informed opinion on that. You are winging here becsause you have no like-for-like numbers.
    Perhaps you could give me Patton’s exchange ratio for a specific battle How well did Patton do whilst  stupidly banging his head on the walls of Metz?

    I have provided the only COMPLETE quote here, question and answer. The meaning is obvious but if you want to spend hours analysing every full stop and comma  to twist the meaning then be my guest.


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