Bernard Montgomery

Montgomery in North Africa

Montgomery in North Africa

This article is about a British officer in World War II. He took part in Battle of France, North African Campaign, Italian Campaign, Battle of Normandy and so on.

Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (London, 17 November of 1887 to Alton, Hampshire, 24 March of 1976) was a British military with the rank of field marshal who had a role in the Second World War, especially in North African Campaign (the desert war).

Bernard L. Montgomery was born in Kennington, London, in 1887 and was the fourth son of a total of nine children. His parents were an Anglican bishop, Henry Hutchinson Montgomery, and Maud Farrar. His father was assigned to Tasmania and he in that place had a very difficult childhood amid the strict Victorian mores that prevailed over family in corporal punishment for the slightest mistake, which added to the lack of warmth of home, it had Bernard being transformed into a rebellious youth.

The family returned to London in 1897 and the young Bernard joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Upon graduation, he joined the First Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. In September 1908, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and was sent to India until 1913. He was promoted to Lieutenant (First Lieutenant) in 1910.

At the beginning of the Great War, Montgomery was transferred to France with his regiment, which suffered from heavy casualties at the Battle of Mons in Méteren, while leading a group to launch a counter offensive. He was seriously wounded in the chest on 13 October of 1914 by firing a persistent sniper. If not for the sergeant who came to his aid, Montgomery would certainly have been shot dead. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

In 1916, he returned to the front and in 1918 was appointed as Chief of Staff of the 47th Division, which reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Montgomery served in the military missions of the Rhine, Ireland and Palestine. One of his family, Hugh Montgomery, was assassinated by members of the IRA in 1920. Bernard Montgomery in 1923 participated in establishing the Irish Free State, carrying out harsh reprisals against the rebels in the Irish civil war. In 1927, he married Elizabeth Carver who gave his only son, David, born in 1928. He served in India in command of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which caused discomfort to his superiors by Puritanism exercised in applying the discipline of his soldiers.

In June 1937, while serving as the commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade in Quetta, India, a poisonous insect stung his wife Elizabeth, causing a sepsis and death despite of the medical efforts. This loss was overwhelming and just working hard in the martial field could withstand the impact of this sensitive death.

In 1938, he organized an exercise of landing amphibious, which impressed the new commander in chief of Southern Command, General Wavell. He was promoted to major general in October 1938 and took command of the 8th Infantry Division in Palestine. There, he suppressed an Arab revolt before returning in July 1939 to Britain.  He was promoted to general in 1938.

After the outbreak of World War II, he was sent to France where he fought under the command of the 2nd Corps to withdraw the so-called disaster of Dunkirk. Between July 1940 and April 1941, he was the commander of the 5th Corps, and the commander of the 12th Corps between April and December 1941. In 1942, he obtained the command of British Eighth Army (known as the Desert Rats) in North Africa. Facing the general Erwin Rommel in the battles of El-Alamein, Battle of El Alamein and Second Battle of El Alamein, the British army was superior in equipment and human effective. However, Montgomery led the battle with caution, preferring the security to the brilliance of the victory.

During the war, British intelligence, being aware of the repeated German efforts be removed by an attack, covered it with a double called Clifton James in order to confuse the Germans, who appeared in some ceremonies and public events of less importance. Clifton James had studied all his gestures and cheated on more than one occasion to the enemy intelligence.

The Second Battle of El Alamein began on 23 October, 1942 with an artillery bombardment of German positions. The attack could not have come at a worse time for the Germans as the Marshal Rommel was convalescing in Austria and the German commander in office, George Stumme, died of a heart attack at the start of the British attack. Finally, Rommel arrived, the Germans held out in their positions and was held by the 9th Australian Division. Montgomery struck again on 1 November, 1942. Rommel and his men withstood the attacks, but on 4 November ordered his troops to withdraw, before the danger of being surrounded by the British.

After the fall of Tunisia, it landed in Sicily and Italy. Competition remained fierce during the liberation of Italy with the American general, George S. Patton leading the British wing during the Operation Overlord in Normandy. He was promoted to Marshal of France during the campaign.

Planned and convinced Eisenhower to make the disastrous Operation Market Garden in Holland, whose tactical objective was to capture a series of bridges over major rivers in the Netherlands (under German occupation) and the establishment of a corridor through which forces of the Allied could cross the river Rhine, the last natural barrier before entering Germany. Planning and development of this operation and its consequences have resulted in the most terrible defeat in history, with the significant cost of elite soldiers meant to the Allies. These facts still questioned him in his biographies and are the subject of the film A Bridge Too Far.

Marshal Montgomery died of unexplained causes on 24 March, 1976, at his home in Isington near Alton, Hampshire, at 88 years of old. After a funeral ceremony in the chapel of St. George at Windsor, he was buried in Holy Cross, Binsted.

Although he was considered as a brilliant strategist and was blind, had good skills as an organizer of operations, he was a very courageous soldier and present in the line of fire, a believer and a great influence over their soldiers, which is more modest, and was very rigorous in the application of military discipline.

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