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Rising Sun*
04-07-2013, 10:04 AM
I may have started something about quotes along these lines a few years ago, but my latest discovery encourages me to start or re-start the idea.

Although the source of this quote by Eisenhower came from my current reading of a book (a lot of papers with informative writing on them sandwiched between covers - something virtually unknown to anyone born this century) I'm using an online quote for convenience to illustrate the attitudes of two of the greatest WWII theatre commanders.


MacArthur lost his most valuable aide [Eisenhower]. He would later deride him, the story goes, as "the best clerk I ever had," with Eisenhower responding, "I studied dramatics under MacArthur for seven years." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/macarthur/filmmore/transcript/transcript1.html

J.A.W.
04-14-2013, 06:47 PM
When under U.S. occupation prior to D-day the British complained that the G.I.s were..

"Over-fed, over-paid, over-sexed, & over here"

The 'merican retort was that the Brits were..

"Under-fed, under-paid, under-sexed, & under Eisenhower"...

Ealdwita
04-23-2013, 10:23 AM
"The Ruhr will not be a subject to a single bomb. If an enemy bomber reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Herman Goering; you can call me Meier!"
- Reichsmarshal Herman Goering, 9 August 1939.

"Just drive down that road, until you get blown up"
- General George Patton, (about reconnaissance troops)

"Men are basically smart or dumb and lazy or ambitious. The dumb and ambitious ones are dangerous and I get rid of them. The dumb and lazy ones I give mundane duties. The smart ambitious ones I put on my staff. The smart and lazy ones I make my commanders."
- Attributed to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, on how he selects officers for staff and command.

Rising Sun*
04-24-2013, 07:01 AM
Under pressure from MacArthur at the top, frantically shitting himself that if the Australians lost in Papua he'd be removed from his last command post, pressure came down to Major General 'Tubby' Allen as the field commander on the Kokoda Track who, unlike MacArthur and his Australian deputy commander Blamey who was in Papua, actually understood the terrain and problems in pushing back the Japanese, Allen drafted a reply to another uninformed demand from MacArthur to press harder:

"If you think you can do any better, come up here and bloody try."

His staff officers dissuaded him from sending it.

JR*
04-30-2013, 10:13 AM
The Rommel quote, above, looks like a shadow of a statement attributed to Generalmajor Kurt, Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, the massively aristocratic, sarcastic, snobbish and anti-Nazi general who commanded the Reichswehr in the 1929-'30 period. The quote, attributed to the general by his biographer (as repeated on Wikipedia) runs like this -

"I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."

Apart from the fact that there may be a lot of truth in this huge generalisation, it should be noted that General von H-E seems to have fallen into the "clever and lazy" category himself, so self-interest cannot be ruled out. Variations or derivatives of this quote have been attributed to a number of the general's protegés, including Erich von Manstein. It must have been influential. Best regards, JR.

Ardee
04-30-2013, 03:33 PM
Do apocryphal stories count? One of my favorites -- there are many slightly different versions - follows. I took it from the first web site I found, and its not the first version I read....

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked an aide in the early months of World War II if Hungary, which had just declared war against the United States, was a kingdom or a republic. “A kingdom, Mr. President”, the aide replied.
FDR: What’s the King’s name?
Aide: Hungary doesn’t have a King.
FDR: Then who runs the kingdom?
Aide: A Regent by the name of Admiral Miklós Horthy.
FDR: Admiral? Then Hungary must have a powerful navy.
Aide: Hungary has no navy; it doesn’t even have access to the sea.
FDR: Wars are often fought for religious reasons. What’s the main religion there?
Aide: Catholicism, Mr. President. But Admiral Horthy is Protestant.
FDR: Did this admiral declare war on us because of territorial claims then?
Aide: Hungary’s territorial claims are against Romania.
FDR: In that case, did Hungary declare war on Romania?
Aide: No, Hungary and Romania are allies.

Another one that sticks in my mind, also probably apocryphal, involved a captured British officer. He had been a part of armored column leading a successful counterattack of Matildas against the DAK. The Maltidas, at that point in the war, were too heavy for any of the German regular AT weapons to handle successfully, and the British ran riot until they ran into some Flak 88's. After being captured, the stereotypical Brit complained about how unsporting it was for the Germans to use AA guns against tanks. A German took a different view: "Jah! And we think it is unsporting of you to use tanks that only our 88's can stop!"

pdf27
04-30-2013, 04:45 PM
That's straight out of Yes Prime Minister!

J.A.W.
05-06-2013, 06:39 PM
"If all else fails, then a pig-headed refusal to face facts.. will see us through."

Lord Melchett , British WW1 'Red tab'

royal744
09-24-2013, 01:04 PM
OK, this isn't from WW2, but it's from William Tecumseh Sherman who, aside from laying waste to the state of Georgia, was also military governor of Texas after the Civil War:

"If I owned Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas..."

royal744
09-24-2013, 01:05 PM
Macarthur prefaced his remark to General Marshall with, "My staff...". Marshall cut him off and snapped, "General, you don't have a staff. You have a court."

muscogeemike
10-08-2013, 09:17 PM
The Rommel quote, above, looks like a shadow of a statement attributed to Generalmajor Kurt, Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, the massively aristocratic, sarcastic, snobbish and anti-Nazi general who commanded the Reichswehr in the 1929-'30 period. The quote, attributed to the general by his biographer (as repeated on Wikipedia) runs like this -

"I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."

Apart from the fact that there may be a lot of truth in this huge generalisation, it should be noted that General von H-E seems to have fallen into the "clever and lazy" category himself, so self-interest cannot be ruled out. Variations or derivatives of this quote have been attributed to a number of the general's protegés, including Erich von Manstein. It must have been influential. Best regards, JR.

This is the way I heard it:
I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief Kurt von Hammerstein, WWII German officer implicated in two plots against Hitler.

Rising Sun*
02-11-2015, 04:02 AM
In preparation for D-Day, the Allied Expeditionary Force Bombing Committee determined that Bomber Harris's Bomber Command should switch from Harris's preferred assault on Germany (which he thought could bring Germany to its knees, despite abundant evidence over several years that this was unlikely) to attacking railways and other transportation targets in France to prevent the Germans reinforcing their troops after D-Day. A member of the Committee was Professor (of zoology) Solly Zuckerman, who had been Tedder's scientific adviser in Italy. Harris wrote to his friend, the American Assistant Secretary for Air:

"Our worst headache has been a panacea plan devised by a civilian professor whose peacetime forte is the study of sexual aberrations of the higher apes."

Frankly Dude Really
02-25-2015, 04:31 AM
"

"Men are basically smart or dumb and lazy or ambitious. The dumb and ambitious ones are dangerous and I get rid of them. The dumb and lazy ones I give mundane duties. The smart ambitious ones I put on my staff. The smart and lazy ones I make my commanders."
- Attributed to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, on how he selects officers for staff and command.

Never heard of this from him before. I like to add/comment that many of the incompetent but narcissistic and ambitious managers we suffer from today in my company (and in politics in general) fall under the "dumb and ambitious" ones...dangerous indeed.