Top 10 British Commanders of World War II

The Top Ten
1 Bernard Montgomery

A veteran of World War I and the Irish War of Independence, Great General of the British Army, entered the Second World War as a divisional commander within the British Expeditionary Force, defending France and then took command of II Corps during the evacuation at Dunkirk. After several Corps appointments was placed in command of South-Eastern Command before being dispatched to Egypt to take command of the Eighth Army, following the death of William Gott. Won the Second Battle of El Alamein and played a crucial role in the completion of the North African Campaign. Then led the Eighth Army during the Battle of Sicily and then the invasion of Italy itself. Was transferred back to the United Kingdom to take command of the 21st Army Group and led all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord. Following the conclusion of this campaign, relinquishing the role of Ground Forces commander, he continued to lead 21st Army Group throughout the rest of the 1944-1945 North West Europe Campaign.

2 Louis Mountbatten

Supreme Allied Commander of SEAC. Under him were such famous generals as William Slim and Joseph Stilwell.

3 Hugh Dowding

Leader in World War I of an RFC Squadron. Commander of the Battle of Britain. Deservedly credited with saving Britain from defeat.

4 William Slim, 1st Viscount of Slim

Truly and inspiring general who turned a disaster into a colossal military victory yet possessed none of the same character flaws which plagued Monty.

Commander of the "Forgotten Army", Uncle Bill turned a lost war in Burma to a British victory over the Japanese despite the lack of support from the British goverment and commanding an army which consisted of men of different nationality. He's also a pretty cool guy. Even his own men calls him Uncle Bill. He certainly is the best British commander of WW2

5 Charles Portal

Strong advocate of area bombing. Took over as head of the RAF after the Battle of Britain. Continually launched air raids against Germany, especially targeting civilian populations.

6 Arthur Harris

Assisted Charles Portal in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany.

7 Alan Brooke

Commanded the II corps of the British Expeditionary Force at the Battle of France. Later served as the Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

A Corp Commander in the BEF then later Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

8 Claude Auchinleck

Organised the Home Guard to protect against Operation Sea Lion. A quick response to the Iraq revolt impressed Churchill, who appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the North Africa forces. Frequent disagreements with British command, coupled with significant loss of territory against Rommel, forced him to be reassigned back to India. He fared better in this theatre, successfully mobilising Indian forces against the Burma invasion.

It is forgotten that he was sent to Narvik early in the war to sort out the mess and command the evacuation of the British troops from Norway. His most vital task was when he appointed himself to command the Eighth Army because nobody else was good enough. He withdrew the Eighth Army from the shambles at Mersa Matru, created the defensive position at El Alamein and defeated Rommel in the First Battle of Alamein. Given the circumstances, he was arguably one of the very few field commanders who could have achieved that feat at that stage of the war.

9 Viscount Gort

A World War I hero, he played a major role in mobilising and arming the British forces during the Phony War. He took command of the British Expeditionary Force for the German invasion of France, and despite courageous fighting, was overwhelmed by German military tactics. When his troops were trapped in Dunkirk, he disobeyed orders from French and British command to attack and decided to evacuate, a decision which saved the lives of over 300,000 soldiers.

Commanded Army during Battle of France and safely managed his forces evacuated from Dunkirk.
Also took over stewardship of Malta as Governor in 1942 at the most crucial point of one of histories most crucial and overlooked battles.

10 Harold Alexander

The last British soldier to evacuate Dunkirk, replaced Auchinleck from command at North Africa, and turned the tide in the Allies' favour. Defeated the Germans in North Africa. Staged a successful invasion of Italy, and as Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces liberated it in 1944 before becoming Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Headquarters, responsible for all military operations in the Mediterranean Theatre.

Actually got Britain winning after taking over in the Western Desert supremely in command over Monty at El Alamein; Monty wS just a better self-publicist.

The Contenders
11 Andrew Cunningham

Possibly the best naval commander in the RN during the war, making do with antiquated ships to salvage dire situations. Responsible for overseeing Taranto (1940) where the Italian Regia Marina was dealt a crippling blow that stopped them being a serious threat to British Mediterranean interests.

12 Dudley Pound
13 Richard O’Connor

Of all the Desert Generals on all sides, O'Connor was as good as any of them. His capture by the Germans meant that he never became the household name that he deserved.

Defeated the Italians despite being outnumbered five to one. Was one of Montgomery's favourites I have heard.

The brilliant tactician who inspired Rommel.

14 Arthur Tedder
15 Keith Park

The man who commanded the RAF cover of the evacuation of Dunkirk and he commanded in the Battle of Britain, the most crucial battle of the war. Unfortunately due to political squabbling his name was written out of the official history of the battle but he was the actual field commander who led the RAF in the battle. Later in the war he defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Malta relieving the Siege of Malta and thereafter for the invasion of Sicily and Italy. He was#, by far, the RAF's most successful Fighter Commander of the War.

16 Bertram Ramsay

The organiser and commander of the evacuation at Dunkirk and, later in the war, the organiser and commander of the entire flotilla that landed the allied armies on the beaches of Normandy.

17 Roy Urquhart

The man in charge of the first british airbone devision in Arnhem, the Netherlands during operation Market Garden, september 1944. The operation was a collosal military disaster, due to ground army, advancing from Belgium getting behind scedual. Of the 10.000 man that landed in Arnhem, Roy Urquhart managed to safe 2000 and guide them to the other side of the river the Rhine, where they regrouped with the just arriving ground army. In 1945 he received the Dutch bronzen leeuw for his bravery at Arnhem.

Before Arnhem he served in the North African campaign.

18 Henry Maitland Wilson
19 Oliver Lesse
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