What kind of man was Field Marshal Montgomery?

Extracts from Montgomery's report on the North Africa campaign 1942-43

Catalogue ref: WO 214/19

Sources a

Divisions were split up into bits and pieces all over the desert; the armour was not concentrated; the gunners had forgotten the art of employing artillery in a concentrated form.

If changes in the higher command had not been made early in August, we would have lost EGYPT.

Source b

In Eighth Army we had:
A new Army Commander.
Three new Corps Commanders.

Of all these new appointments at G.H.Q. and at Eighth Army only one Officer had fought in the desert before and that was General Lumsden, 10 Corps. All the rest, including myself, were from England and were fit and fresh - new brains on an old problem.

GOTT was to have commanded Eighth Army. I am convinced that this appointment was not sound and might have led to disaster. GOTT was one of the old regime

Source c

An essential feature of my plan was that every Commander in the army, right down to the Lt. Col. level, should know my whole plan, how I meant to fight the battle, what issues depended on it, and the chief difficulties the enemy was up against.

I was also determined that the soldiers should go into the battle having been worked up to a great state of enthusiasm.

This was essentially an Army battle, fought on an Army plan, and controlled carefully from Army HQ. Therefore, everyone must know how his part fitted in to the whole plan; only in this way could perfect co-operation be assured.

I therefore assembled all Commanders in each corps, down to and including Unit Commanders, and addressed them on the following dates:

19 October: 30 Corps.
13 Corps.
20 October: 10 Corps.

As a result of these addresses all Commanders knew exactly what I wanted, and how I intended to fight the battle.