In this book written by Harold Winton, the most interesting part is that of the Six Commanders that steered the ship of the United States to victory in the war that occurred in Bulge. The war occurred between the United States and Germany whereby Hitlers soldiers aimed at taking control of the Anglo-American in Europe. Our overall overview will focus on this paper will be inclined to the manner in which the American Commanders executed their plans in their path to victory. in narrowing down to the specific objective of this paper, the preparations and the execution of the war techniques in the war of Bulge by one of the Commanders and his group of soldiers are well discussed in this work.
Overall, the number of Commanders in the Bulge war that represented the United States was six. They included; Leonard Gerow, Troy Middleton, Matthew Ridgway, John Milikin, Manton Eddy, and J. Lawton Collins (Winton, 341). In the discussion presented in the book regarding these Corps Commanders, the author, Winston prepares a long story of the early life of each of these commanders, their areas of specialization and up to the time they were allowed to assume duty as corps Commanders in this assignment of proving to the Germany rule by Hitler that the USA was in charge of the Europe regions that had been claimed by Hitler. The war revolved around the region of the Ardennes which was in the northern France, eastern Belgium and the western part of Luxembourg (Winton, 95). It was a forested region in Europe as well. Hitler with his push for the war to secure the region and prove to the world he was governing a super-power; Germany, he chose his commanders. Winton clearly informs us that to a large extent the army official he put in charge knew that they were going to fail, but due to the dictatorial nature of the ruler, Hitler they had to do exactly as he said.
On the other hand, the United States recalled their army and assigned the six corps; III, V, VII, VIII, XII and XVIII. These Corps Commanders had different roles in the battle of the Ardennes and it is a point worth noting that they had special training in war at the CGSS and Army War College in their country. The role played by the United States Corps Commanders in the war, as well as the manner in which they structured themselves was a major contributor of the victory that they earned against Germany soldiers. Their structure was based on the aspects of giving army and army group commanders the chance to particularly focus on the right types of combat power in the places that they perceived to be appropriate during the war. Due to the ever evolving necessities of the complex battlefield, they also engaged in calculated moves of executing their power combats in the right time in response to the enemys kind of approach. Therefore, the main group of soldiers in this discussion will be that led by the Corps Commander Milikin, III Corps (Winton, 355).
III Corps and Commander Milikin
This army was operating to the southern part of the Ardennes that had a penetration into the region (Winton, 94). They were based in a France city known as Nancy and they were in the final stages of preparing an attack on the Germany army at the Saar region. Being led by a fresh Milikin who had not been in a rough confrontation before as a commander, he was fresh and inexperienced. During their preparation to make an offensive on the Germany army, there were some contradicting situations that occurred in their path. One of the instances was when they were commanded to relocate their headquarters from Nancy to Luxembourg and their area of command had changed to just overnight to the 9th and 10th AD. This was contrary to the expectations and the instructions that had been offered to them by the overall commander of all the Corps commanders that issued the directions as presented to him from the main headquarters in the U.S. Their first assignments were to relief Bastogne and take it from the Germany army. The area within which they were supposed to conduct their attacks was filled with wood and had both small village and some towns that were considered to medium and these towns controlled the main road junctions. This aspect was a tactical one. A challenge arose in their operations and this was the presence of the River Sure and this was compounded by the lack of support from the air. These challenges are proved to be obstacles to Corp Commander Milikin. It proved to be an uphill task when it was realized that they this III corps had staff that was new to combat led by the fresh corps Commander Milikin. As they advanced their enemys backyard, they also discovered that they were faced by tough terrain, weather that was not friendly in conjunction to the capability the enemies possessed. Commander Milikin divided his army into three divisions. One of the groups was led by Major General Horace which was termed as the 80th ID who was to take his group in monitoring the enemy in the region to the east. There was also the 26th ID to the central part and lastly the 4th AD whose place of handling was to the west (Winton, 187). Although they were put into this kind of structure, Commander Milikin ordered them to perform the attacks abreast. In each of these divisions, their operations were made easy as they were provided with an ample allocation that was accompanied by a battalion of corps artillery. In the process of issuing commands o the positioning and areas to be guarded by different corps groups, Milikin realized that the left flank was not safe as it was not guarded at all. Therefore, out of his initiative, he developed a plan that he termed as the Task force Lion. In his plan, he deployed a few soldiers in his reserve army that consisted of reinforced corps engineer battalion whose main purpose was to at least send signals of any threat that might arise from the west. He did this in order to reorganize his reserve team in case a warning was sent early to their headquarters that there was impending assault from the enemy. This was in the 21st of December 1944 and by that evening; Corps Commander Milikin with his lack of experience in such kind of combat had ensured that his III Corps were ready to launch their massive attack on the Germans from the southern flank in the 22nd of December 1944 (Winton, 188). At this juncture, it is clear to the role played by the Corps Commander Milikin in preparing his camp for the battle. This marked the first phase in the camp of Milikin. It is also noted that Bernard Montgomery a commander as well doubted the capability of the staff and the Commander Milikin of the Third Corps army as he claimed that he was not sure whether they were strong enough to accomplish the mission that they were assigned to do.
In the book, the writer explains how leadership traits in the six commanders were exhibited especially in the one that I am interested in writing about in this paper; Commander John Milikin. Third Corps offensive initiative was launched on the 22nd of December in the year 1944. During the confrontation, the III Corps army did their best in fighting back the Germans who had shifted their attention to the south in their attempt maintain the control of Bastogne (Winton, 188). Since Hitler had ordered his army to concentrate to the south and ensure that they did not lose Bastogne, therefore, they caused many causalities in Milikin' camp. The German attacks made the situation wanting and were becoming tough in the south. After combined forces from the Allied Zone together with the U. S. Corps Army, the battle came to an end as the Germans retreated. The United States declared its victory in the 3rd of February 1945.
In this discussion, there are several aspects of leadership that are being conveyed to us about the leaders that existed in history especially in the military. Although Commander Montgomery questioned his believe in Milikin being strong enough to handle the battle, he was proved wrong as the freshman put on an outstanding performance in the battlefield. The rewards that were presented to the six Corps Commanders were of honor though according to the writer, Milikin was not fairly awarded because it would have been better to hand him a promotion (Winton, 359) . He argues that this was the reason behind his quiet retirement from military. On the other hand, leadership is not about experience only, but the use of the skills that are already at ones exposure to lead the society to meet their laid down goals.
In the narration, it was clear that the leadership of the six Corps commanders was a successfully one since it was their collective responsibility to work as a team regardless of the fact that they had been leading different teams. This was noticed when the artillery ammunitions had run out of stock in the south. The message was communicated through the Third Army, to the VIII Army until the information was conveyed (Winton, 364). Out of these efforts some of which were not within the set plans, they managed to play a big role in helping their allies in the Europe by defeating Hitler and his men who wanted to invade the region. It is of great honor for these six leaders sine they count in the history of the world as exemplary figures that are to be emulated. It goes without say that during this period of war there were many misunderstandings that might have caused the enemy to win, but the leaders that were in charge put aside their differences and worked in unison.
Winton, Harold R. Corps Commanders of the Bulge. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas, 2007. Print.
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