Bernard Law Montgomery was a steadfast and dedicated military leader known for his self-control, charisma, and courage. Despite physical challenges and adversity, he rose through the ranks due to his merits, leading armies to victories and establishing himself as a global military leader. Montgomery prioritized the morale of his troops, was a meticulous organizer and delegator, and committed to preserving human life wherever possible. His story is one of resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment to duty.
What made Bernard Law Montgomery a great military leader?
Bernard Law Montgomery was a steadfast and dedicated military leader, known for his self-control, charisma, and courage. He rose through the ranks due to his merits, leading armies to victories and establishing himself as a global military leader. Despite physical challenges and adversity, Montgomery remained undeterred, showcasing resilience and an unwavering commitment to duty. Notably, he prioritized the morale of his troops, was a meticulous organizer and delegator, and committed to preserving human life wherever possible.
The Unshakable Bernard Law Montgomery
On August 22, 1945, a Miles Messenger aircraft dropped from the sky near Oldenburg, Germany. Its engine cut out midair, carrying on board British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery. The plane barely managed a crash landing, leaving the pilot and a staff officer unscathed. Montgomery sustained two broken lumbar vertebrae, battered and bruised from the landing. Despite the excruciating pain, Montgomery remained steadfast and determined to attend an assembly of the 3rd Canadian Division, where he was to present valor medals and address them.
This astonishing feat of self-control was one of Montgomery’s most incredible acts. With a fractured spine, he marched on to review the Canadian troops, hiding his suffering behind his unflinchingly calm demeanor. This was a general who had led these men across Europe, through the D-Day landings, Caen, and the Battle of the Scheldt.
Montgomery tried to make a speech, but his crash injuries overpowered his will. He had to cut his speech short and return to his headquarters. This episode might not have made the annals of World War II history, but it showcased what made Montgomery a great military leader.
Montgomery’s Critics and His True Character
Despite his extraordinary feats, Montgomery’s critics have often accused him of being self-serving and incompetent. They portrayed him as a timid, deskbound general, constantly afraid of the enemy. His physical appearance and mannerisms have been subject to ridicule and satire, often overshooting in their misrepresentations of Montgomery. The New York Times’ obituary published in March 1976 was a particularly vicious attack, filled with inaccuracies and demeaning comments.
However, Montgomery’s actions as a military leader tell a different story. This is the story of an earnest, hardworking officer who subordinated his interests for his sense of duty and discipline. He wasn’t born with advantages that sped his career. He rose through the ranks due to his merits, leading armies to victories and establishing himself as a global military leader.
Montgomery was a force of nature – short and wiry, physically courageous, and charismatic. He excelled at sports as a young man, and his skills as a military man were recognized early on when he received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for leading his men in hand-to-hand fighting in the trenches of World War I.
Montgomery’s Journey Through War
After being shot by a sniper in World War I, Montgomery was presumed dead. But against all odds, he survived and returned to England for surgery. His recovery was miraculous, but his injuries left him with lasting complications. These complications, however, did not deter him from continuing his military career. He was committed to becoming the best warrior he could be.
Montgomery was known for his spartan lifestyle and his dedication to his troops. He lived and worked among his soldiers, visiting factories to encourage civilian workers on the homefront, and always seeking to make himself useful. His deep sense of faith, which he practiced independently, served as an inspiration to his men during the war.
Montgomery: A Leader Who Understood His Troops
Montgomery understood the importance of morale. He knew what it took to motivate men to fight, and he focused on building their morale. His transformative leadership was evident when he took command of the British Eighth Army in North Africa in 1942. They had been defeated repeatedly by German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel until Montgomery took command and electrified the Eighth Army with his dynamic presence.
While Montgomery’s talent at improving morale is often recognized, his abilities as an organizer and delegator have been somewhat overlooked. He was also a gifted communicator, fluent in multiple languages, and had extensive international experience. Despite his forthright manner and blunt speaking style, he handled his staff and junior commanders with skill and respect.
Montgomery’s Positive Command Style
Montgomery was a cheerful general. He often smiled for the cameras and projected a friendly, approachable air. He believed in leadership that ignited the positive and constructive traits in others. His goal was to uplift the spirits of his troops and inspire them to believe in victory.
Despite his cheerfulness, Montgomery was meticulous and careful in deploying his forces. He was mindful of preserving human life whenever possible and committed to winning battles with the least possible loss of life. He also routinely took measures to relieve his fatigued combat troops with fresh reserves to avoid over-exhausting them.
Montgomery’s Connection with U.S. Troops
Montgomery also made efforts to connect with American troops. He visited U.S. wounded in hospitals and personally introduced himself to every American combat unit he would command during the D-Day invasion. He felt deeply affected by the sacrifices made by all Allied troops in World War II, and he did not view himself as deserving of personal praise for their victories.
Montgomery: Putting Himself Last
Towards the end of World War II, Montgomery found himself without a home. His home and belongings in Portsmouth had been destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing, leaving him homeless. Despite his personal challenges, Montgomery continued to dedicate himself to public service, even after the war.
Indeed, Bernard Law Montgomery’s story is one of resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment to his duty. Despite the numerous criticisms and misrepresentations, his actions tell the story of a man who put duty first and himself last, a truly admirable military leader.
Bernard Law Montgomery was a military leader who showed great self-control, courage, and dedication. Despite facing physical challenges and adversity, he rose through the ranks and became a global military leader. He always prioritized the morale of his troops and was very organized1. He also cared about preserving human life and took measures to avoid unnecessary casualties. Despite facing criticism, Montgomery’s actions showed that he was a dedicated and admirable leader who always put duty first.