Academic journal article Military Review

ASSAULT ON SICILY: Monty and Patton at War

Academic journal article Military Review

ASSAULT ON SICILY: Monty and Patton at War

Article excerpt

ASSAULT ON SICILY: Monty and Patton at War, Ken Ford, Sutton Publishing, Gloucestershire, England, 2007, 272 pages, $36.95.

Colorful personalities and their bold adventures make for better wartime press than the grim reality of thousands of Soldiers in battle. During World War II, no two figures served this need better than goodnatured rivals Bernard Montgomery and George S. Patton, walking caricatures of the archetypal British and American warriors. Ken Ford's latest work, Assault on Sicily, attempts to reconcile the public personas of these leaders with the reality of the one battle in which they fought as equals: the invasion of Sicily.

Ford is British, but Montgomery comes off the worse in his comparison. Living off his fame from El-Alamein, Monty attempts to push the Americans to the sidelines in the Sicily campaign. His overly cautious nature, however, ensures that the Axis forces have ample time to organize a solid defense. Meanwhile, Patton-a bold tactician, yet also a dutiful Soldier-waits obediently during the critical days of the battle, guarding the British flank instead of seizing the initiative with his characteristic audacity. Ford seems entirely sympathetic to Patton until he gets to the slapping incidents; then, the general turns into a monster.

Monty's and Patton's flaws aside, Ford ultimately blames the campaign's mismanagement on Field Marshal Harold Alexander and General Dwight Eisenhower. …

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