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Bernard Montgomery file photo [884]

Bernard Montgomery

Given NameBernard
Born17 Nov 1887
Died24 Mar 1976
CountryUnited Kingdom


ww2dbaseBernard Law Montgomery was born in Kennington, London, England, United Kingdom to Anglo-Irish Anglican priest Reverend Henry Montgomery and Maud Montgomery, née Farrar. Montgomery's father inherited his father Sir Robert Montgomery's estate of New Park at Moville in County Donegal, Ireland, United Kingdom soon after Montgomery's birth, along with a £13,000 mortgage on the property, which drove them to the edge of financial trouble. In 1889, Montgomery's father was made the Bishop of Tasmania, taking him away from home regularly as he traveled across the globe; meanwhile, his mother ignored her children much of the time. This developed him into a rebellious child. "I was a dreadful little boy", he recalled, "I don't suppose anybody would put up with my sort of behaviour these days." In 1901, the family returned to London as his father became secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Montgomery attended St. Paul's School, and then went on to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, England. At the latter, he was nearly expelled for setting fire to a fellow cadet during a fight with pokers. He completed his studies in 1908 and joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and with that unit he served in India until 1913.

ww2dbaseDuring WW1, Montgomery was deployed to France with his comrades of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. On 13 Oct 1914, during the First Battle of Ypres, he was shot by a sniper at the village of Méteren in France. With the bullet passing through his right lung, the wound was so critical that a grave was dug in preparation for his death, but he recovered. After recovery, he was promoted to the rank of brigade major in 1915 to lead training efforts. In early 1916, he returned to the front as an operations staff officer during the battles of the Somme, Arras, and Passchendaele. As a general staff officer, he participated in the battles of the Lys and Chemin-des-Dames before the war ended.

ww2dbaseImmediately following WW1, Montgomery commanded a battalion of the British Army of the Rhine in Germany. Upon his return to the United Kingdom, his rank was reverted to his regular rank of captain. In early 1920, he attended courses at the Staff College at Camberley, England. Later that year, he was promoted to the rank of brigade major to command the 17th Infantry Brigade at County Cork, Ireland, United Kingdom. He advocated fighting the war against the Irish rebels ruthlessly. "[I]t never bothered me a bit how many houses were burnt.... My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless", he wrote fellow officer Arthur Percival in a personal correspondence during this time. However, in light of modern conduct of war, he conceded that allowing the formation of a sovereign Irish nation was the only possible conclusion to the war.

ww2dbaseIn 1923, Montgomery was posted to the Territorial 49th Division. In 1925, he returned to the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a company commander. Shortly after, he became an instructor at the Staff College at the rank of major. In 1931, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and was posted to Palestine, Egypt, and India. While in India, he was an instructor at the Indian Army Staff College in Quetta, India at the rank of colonel. He was promoted to the rank of major general while serving in Palestine. He became the commanding officer of the 9th Infantry Brigade in 1937 at the rank of brigadier.

ww2dbaseIn 1937, Montgomery's wife Elizabeth received an insect bite in the arm which became seriously infected and required amputation; she contracted septicemia following the amputation and passed away in his arms. He dealt with his sorrow by occupying himself with work. They had been married since 1927, and had a son, David, who was born in Aug 1928. Elizabeth was the sister of a fellow officer Percy Hobart.

ww2dbaseIn 1938, Montgomery organized an amphibious landing exercise that impressed the new commander-in-chief of Southern Command General Archibald Wavell. He was promoted to the rank of major general and was given command of the 8th Infantry Division in Palestine. At that position, he was credited in quashing the Arab revolt. In Jul 1939, he was sent back to England to command the 3rd Infantry Division.

ww2dbaseThe United Kingdom entered WW2 on 3 Sep 1939 when it declared war on Germany. The 3rd Infantry Division was deployed to Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Realizing that the British and the French had little intention to invade Germany, Montgomery predicted a defeat should Germany decide to invade France, and trained his troops for tactical retreat, which paid off when the men of the 3rd Infantry Division effectively fell back toward the French coast. During Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British and French troops to the United Kingdom, he assumed command of the II Corps as Alan Brooke, the previous commanding officer, became the acting commander of the British Expeditionary Force. Upon his return to the United Kingdom in Jun 1940, he openly criticized the British Expeditionary Force leadership for the defeat, and was briefly relegated to divisional command, but was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. In Jul 1940, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and was placed in command of V Corps. In Apr 1941, he became the commanding officer of XII Corps. In 1942, he was a member of the team that planned out the Dieppe Raid which suffered disastrous results. He never took direct blame of the failure as Louis Mountbatten took on the role as the scapegoat.

ww2dbaseIn 1942, William Gott was selected as a field commander in North Africa, but he was killed during a crash. Alan Brooke persuaded Prime Minister Winston Churchill to select Montgomery as the replacement. He took command on 13 Aug, and immediately instituted a series of changes, including the creation of a mobile British armored corps and a set of new procedures for improved combined operations with the Royal Air Force. Also among the first things he performed was the destruction of all plans for falling back in the case of a strong Axis offensive. "I have cancelled the plan for withdrawal," he told his officers at his first staff meeting. "If we are attacked, then there will be no retreat. If we cannot stay here alive, then we will stay here dead." On 31 Aug 1942, he successfully repelled Rommel's attack against Alam el Halfa by successfully predicting the high ground as a likely target and prepared its defenses before the attack commenced. Some officers criticized for Montgomery's lack of aggressiveness for not counter-attacking when the Axis forces backed off in defeat, but the victory nevertheless began to build his reputation as an able commander. Montgomery later argued that his troops were not ready to go on an offensive at that time. He would only launch his men on an offensive when he was sure that victory was certain, and that victory would have to be decisive.

ww2dbaseIn the next month, Montgomery started to receive great quantities of supplies from the United States, including large numbers of tanks. In Oct 1942, Montgomery decided that he was ready to launch Operation Lightfoot. On 23 Oct, the two forces engaged at the Battle of El Alamein, and 12 days later Montgomery achieved his decisive victory, capturing 30,000 Axis prisoners. For this victory, he was knighted and promoted to the rank of general. He continued to use his superior firepower to put pressure against the Axis forces, pushing the Axis lines back time after time, leading to the end of the Desert War. In North Africa, Montgomery showed his capabilities in leadership, careful planning, and willingness to cooperate with the Royal Air Force. He was awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States for his Desert War victory. "Before Alamein we never had a victory," said Winston Churchill later, "after Alamein we never had a defeat."

ww2dbaseTo the men, Montgomery became the officer who defeated the dreaded Erwin Rommel. His popularity was gained not only through victories, but also his efforts to win the hearts of his men. He made sure that he was visible to the front line soldiers, speaking to them as much as possible. On one of the visits, he visited an armor unit, and spoke with the crew of a tank; one of the tankers gave him a black beret of the Royal Tank Regiment, which he wore for the remainder of the war, becoming part of his signature look. Some of his methods for troop support were unorthodox, however, such as setting up a brothel in Tripoli, Libya to satisfy the men's sexual needs. It received approval from the men who needed this type of service, but it also added distance between Montgomery and the other officers who found brothels immoral and unacceptable.

ww2dbaseMontgomery was next placed in command of the Eighth Army for the invasion of Sicily, Italy. From the onset, his leadership style and battlefield tactics conflicted with those of his American counterpart George Patton. The conflict grew into a personal rivalry between Patton and Montgomery in which Patton moved his troops into territory originally assigned to Montgomery, complaining that Montgomery's troops were advancing too slowly while boasting victories for engagements that should had been fought by the British. After the completion of the Sicily invasion, Montgomery and the Eighth Army were deployed to southern Italy, moving north along the eastern side of the Allied front along the Adriatic coast. He fought a series of tough battles against well-entrenched German forces, and he was once again criticized for moving too slowly. He blamed the lack of coordination between ground and air forces in Italy, as well as political opportunism exhibited by some Allied commanders. He was transferred out of Italy on 23 Dec 1943 for the upcoming cross-Channel invasion.

ww2dbaseUpon his return to England, Montgomery was given the 21st Army Group which encompassed all Allied ground forces that would take part in Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandie, France. He had wished for the responsibility of overall Allied command, but was unable to secure the position due to politics since the United States contributed greatly to the campaign in both men and materiel. While commanding the British elements closely near the French city of Caen, his troops were bogged down, and were not able to take the city until Jul 1944; he originally set the goal for the British and Canadian troops to conquer Caen within days of the landing. This delay gave his political opponents such as Omar Bradley and George Patton opportunities to further criticize him. Nevertheless, once Caen was captured, he was able to use it as a pivot point that eventually led to the major German defeat at the Falaise Pocket. Once the Allied forces secured their footing in France, Montgomery found himself still unable to obtain the position of the Supreme Allied Commander, again for political reasons, as the overwhelming majority of Allied personnel in Europe were American. To appease him, Churchill offered him the title of field marshal.

ww2dbaseMontgomery offered Eisenhower his suggestion for an aggressive assault against Germany. He proposed to Dwight Eisenhower a thrust into the Netherlands to control several key bridges in preparation for a subsequent armor assault across Germany's flat northern plains. Accepted by Eisenhower, Operation Market Garden was launched, but it met a complete failure with heavy loss of lives. Eisenhower, disappointed with the defeat, transferred Montgomery from the front lines to become the commander-in-chief of British occupation forces, but he stressed that Montgomery's skills were not to be doubted. "Those critics of Montgomery who assert that he sometimes failed to attain the maximum must at least admit that he never once sustained a major defeat", said Dwight Eisenhower. Addressing the criticism that Montgomery lacked aggressiveness, Eisenhower responded that "caution and timidity are not synonymous, just as boldness and rashness are not!" These words of Eisenhower's were rather generous considering Montgomery's attitude toward Eisenhower bordered on insubordination. During a one-on-one planning session for Market Garden between Montgomery and Eisenhower, Montgomery lectured Eisenhower as if Eisenhower was a child. Eisenhower waited until Montgomery paused for breath, and interrupted; "Steady Monty," Eisenhower said. "You cannot talk to me like this. I am your boss." Montgomery, his ego suddenly deflated, mumbled his apologies; "Sorry, Ike".

ww2dbaseWhen the Germans embarked on the Ardennes offensive on 16 Dec 1944, known as the Battle of the Bulge to the Western Allies, the US 1st Army was split in two groups by the Germans. While Bradley maintained communications with the southern group, he lost touch with the northern group. Montgomery was the nearest Allied officer to the northern units of the US 1st Army, so he absorbed the American units into his command. German General Hasso von Manteuffel of the 5th Panzer Army praised his opponent's quick decision, noting that

Montgomery's contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough.

ww2dbaseAs the Germans began to lose their initiative, Eisenhower ordered Montgomery to go on an offensive on 1 Jan 1945 in an attempt to envelope the German forces. On the grounds that his men were not prepared to march through a snowstorm, he delayed his attack for two days, by which point the bulk of the German forces escaped what could had been a pocket.

ww2dbaseDuring the Allied advance to the Rhine River, Montgomery's careful planning directly led to the low casualty rates among his units. His 21st Army Group was ordered to swing north to take Hamburg, Germany and to seal the base of the Danish peninsula to block a potential Russian westward advance beyond Berlin. On 4 May 1945, in a tent in the region of Lüneburg Heath in Lower Saxony, Germany, he accepted the surrender of German forces in northern Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

ww2dbaseAfter WW2, Montgomery served as Eisenhower's Deputy Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe. In 1946, he was made 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. Between 1946 and 1948, he was Chief of the Imperial General Staff. In 1949, his mother passed away; he did not attend her funeral, claiming that his work schedule would not allow his attendance. As the Chairman of the Western European Union's commanders-in-chief committee, he achieved little as he could not agree with his French land forces chief. In 1951, Montgomery once again became Eisenhower's deputy, this time at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; his NATO tenure were generally well-regarded in terms of his achievements, but characteristic of his career, he continued to make political opponents. After Eisenhower's departure from NATO, Montgomery continued to serve under successors Matthew Ridgway and Al Gruenther until he retired in 1958 at the age of 71. He wrote and published several books based on his memoirs; El Alamein was published in 1948, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Montgomery in 1958, and Normandy to the Baltic in 1968. He harshly accused Eisenhower and other Allied officers of poor leadership during WW2, which ended some friendships and created some enemies. Perhaps it was because of his lack of political tactfulness that he was among the few in his peers who were never raised to an earldom.

ww2dbaseMontgomery passed away in 1976 at his home in Alton, Hampshire, England. After a funeral ceremony at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, England, he was interred in the Holy Cross Churchyard in Binsted, England.

Dwight Eisenhower, The Crusade in Europe
Anthony Read and David Fisher, The Fall of Berlin
Jewish Virtual Library
Spartacus Educational

Last Major Revision: Mar 2009

Bernard Montgomery Interactive Map


Montgomery observing the field, Egypt, Nov 1942Oliver Leese, Harold Alexander, Winston Churchill, Alan Brooke, and Bernard Montgomery at Tripoli, Libya, date unknown
See all 135 photographs of Bernard Montgomery

Bernard Montgomery Timeline

17 Nov 1887 Bernard Montgomery was born in Kennington, London, England, United Kingdom.
19 Oct 1937 Elizabeth "Betty" Carver-Montgomery, wife of the future Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery and sister of Major-General Sir Percy Hobart, passed away.
10 May 1940 General Bernard Montgomery's forward units arrived, just after dark, to take up their designated positions on the eastern approaches to Brussels. They were were fired upon by Belgian soldiers who took them for German infiltrators.
11 Jul 1940 Bernard Montgomery was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.
12 Aug 1942 Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery arrived in Cairo, Egypt.
13 Aug 1942 Bernard Law Montgomery officially took command of the British Eighth Army in North Africa after the original choice commander, William Gott, was killed.
6 Oct 1942 In Egypt, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery issued his final plan for 8th Army's offensive. Instead of first going all out to destroy the enemy armour, he would eat away at the enemy's holding troops, who were for the most part unarmoured, and use his own advantage in tanks to prevent the enemy mobile units from interfering. Without their infantry divisions to hold the line, providing firm bases for the mobile forces, the enemy's armour would be at a grave disadvantage and their supply routes would be constantly threatened. The main attack would be made by Lieutenant-General Oliver Leese's 30th Corps in the north on a front of four divisions. Brian Horrocks' 13th Corps in the south would stage diversionary attacks to mislead the enemy, while Herbert Lumsden's tank-heavy 10th Corps was held back to prevent 30th Corps from being interfered with. Artillery and air plans were to be carefully prepared with the battle set to commence on 23 Oct 1942.
11 Nov 1942 Bernard Montgomery was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.
10 Aug 1943 Bernard Montgomery was awarded the title of Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit of the United States.
31 Dec 1943 General Montgomery left his beloved British 8th Army in Italy to take up his role in the planning of the summer invasion of Europe in which he would command all land forces.
3 Jan 1944 In Italy, General Bernard Montgomery received orders to return to Britain for his new role as the commander of British troops in the Allied Expeditionary Force.
7 Apr 1944 Bernard Montgomery briefed his generals regarding the invasion of France, predicting the city of Caen would be captured on the first day of the invasion.
20 Jun 1944 Bernard Montgomery was awarded the title of Grand Commander of the Order of King George I of Greece.
1 Sep 1944 Montgomery was promoted to the rank of field marshal.
10 Sep 1944 Bernard Montgomery received a visit from Dwight Eisenhower at Brussels, Belgium during which Montgomery criticized Eisenhower's broad front strategy and demanded his army group to be the sole offensive force as current strategy placed the other two army groups in poor positions to launch attacks into Germany. Eisenhower responded "[s]teady Monty, you can't talk to me like that. I'm your boss."
31 Oct 1944 Bernard Montgomery was awarded the Virtuti Militari V Class of Poland.
25 Mar 1945 British General Montgomery issued a non-fraternization order as British troops entered Germany.
3 May 1945 A German delegation met with British Field Marshal Montgomery on Luneberg Heath, outside Hamburg, Germany, offering the surrender of all their forces in northwestern Germany - A total of more than one million men.
22 May 1945 Field Marshall Montgomery was designated as commander of British occupation troops, as well as a British member of the Allied Control Commission in Germany.
5 Jun 1945 Field Marshal Montgomery and General Eisenhower were awarded the Order of Victory, the Soviet Union's highest award.
2 Aug 1945 Bernard Montgomery was awarded the Order of the Elephant of Denmark.
16 Jan 1947 Bernard Montgomery was awarded the Order of Suvorov 1st Class of the Soviet Union and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dutch Lion of the Netherlands.
24 Mar 1976 Bernard Montgomery passed away in Alton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Vinod Moonesinghe says:
10 Dec 2006 12:18:51 AM

The article contains several inaccuracies and is rather one-sided. Montgomery brought the British 3rd Division back to Dunkirk intact.
Montgomery was not demoted after Normandy. He continued to command 22nd Army Group, but the US Armies were detached because of political considerations. Vide Chester Wilmot The Struggle for Europe.
The tardiness of the advance in Normandy was not due to a failure on Montgomerys part, but a failure by the US troops in the face of the far better german Army. Ultimately, the US breakthrough based on the Anglo-Canadian hinge at Caen was only managed by using overwhelming force against an enemy whose best troops were stuck on the British sector.
The subsequent halt of the allies had much to do with logistical factors. Market Garden failed mainly because of the German troops having recuperated faster than had been expected.
This article detracts from Eisenhowers essential genius as a manager, which complemented Montgomerys superior battlefield experience.
The article fails to mention how Eisenhower had to turn to Montgomery to extricate the US troops when they were falling victim to the Nazi Ardennes offensive.
Montgomery was not a messiah, but he was a fairly good soldier.
2. btom says:
15 Aug 2007 01:50:25 PM

Look no further than the statement that El Alamien was won only after the American landings in Torch for a summary of the contributors accuracy and partiality. Torch occured after the Axis were defeated 12 days after the start of the battle as Montgomery predicted.
3. Iona Anderson says:
28 Aug 2007 10:51:15 AM

this is a good website to research on feild and it makes it interesting to!
4. Anonymous says:
27 Oct 2007 04:00:37 AM

During the operations in the lodgement area (Normandy), Montgomery bossed First U.S Army as part of the Twenty-first Army Group and exercised his allied authority with wisdom, forbearance and restraint. I could not have wanted a more tolerant and judicious Commander, (General Omar Bradley)
5. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
27 Oct 2007 04:09:47 AM

In fact General Sir Brian Horrocks related that Montgomerys biggest critic was the Deputy Supreme Commander, Air Marshall Tedder. Tedder and Montgomery had not seen eye to eye since El Alamein, and the former was constantly badgering Ike to have Monty replaced. Fortunately Eisenhower and Churchill had better judgement.
6. dj the cool guy says:
8 Nov 2007 06:54:39 PM

hyuk hyuk hyuk, blaaa blaaa, hes coool!
7. Anonymous says:
14 Mar 2008 07:13:18 AM

Good web to find info
8. Anonymous says:
31 Mar 2008 07:21:17 PM

9. Anonymous says:
25 Feb 2009 09:23:15 AM

your too cool
10. parsifal says:
8 Mar 2009 03:00:41 AM

This article has so many untruths and inaccuracies. It is the equivalent of what MacDonalds is to fine cuisine. If the rest of the site is of the same intellectual standard, it is not worth viewing. The site admin should remove and replace it, even the Wikipedia article of Monty is more balanced.
11. Anonymous says:
23 May 2009 01:48:27 PM

a very interesting and detailed account of Field Marshall Montgomery's contribution to both World War I and II.
12. ritika says:
8 Dec 2009 06:14:19 PM

it is a very nice and sensetive story.
13. Anonymous says:
11 Dec 2009 11:44:40 AM

nice comments yea it involves alot of wrold war I and II but it was nothing i wanted
14. Anonymous bitccchh(: says:
20 Feb 2010 12:06:30 PM

i had to do a project on him. ITS SOO *** ING HARDD >.<
15. Anonymously Anonymous says:
27 Apr 2010 05:48:44 PM

thanks for his page it really helped on my project
16. Anonymous says:
19 May 2010 12:59:57 PM

nice web page
17. Anonymous says:
25 May 2010 10:14:45 AM

this is a great website, thanks for the help!
18. steve Montgomery says:
31 May 2010 11:52:48 AM

he was a good soldier
19. Eric MacDonald says:
25 Jun 2010 04:54:36 AM

This is an incredibly biased article which does not seem to understand the basic history of the period, and the main characters involved.

The truth is that General Montgomery was in fact the overall land forces commander for the Battle of Normandy, and the battle was fought, from the beginning, according to his plan. All land forces during the battle came under Monty's command, and Eisenhower did not take command of the ground forces until 1st September 1944, a decision was to have incredible repercussions on further development of the war on the Western Front. Arguably, the war lasted several more months than necessary, and cost many thousands of Allied lives, because Eisenhower had never commanded troops in battle, and even as land forces commanders, still did not do so. His decisions were always late, based on inadequate information, and usually disastrous for the cause of ending the war quickly. Montgomery's plans, however, were a detailed way to exploit is greatest victory, in Normandy, and would have taken full advantage of the general collapse of German forces after that great battle. Eisenhower, however, did not understand how battles worked, and therefore let victory slip through the Allied grasp, and extended the war as a consequence. Though arguably a great Allied Supreme Commander, Eisenhower as a failure a field command, and his name should not go down as a great general, being the direct cause of as many Allied casualties as were the Wehrmacht. Montgomery certainly had a way of rubbing the Americans the wrong way, but had his lead been followed, the complete disaster of Allied strategy in the last four months of 1944 could have been avoided, and we would now regard Montgomery as one of the greatest generals in history, which is no less than the truth. This essay gets low makes for failing to understand some of the stresses and strains which forced Mongomery out of overall land forces command, and therefore stole from him a victory that should rightfully have been his.
20. Anonymous says:
25 Aug 2010 11:46:09 AM

i was interested in learning more about clifton james who posed as monty in the days prior to d-day but theres no mention of him here his story was told in the film "i was monty's double"
21. Anonymous says:
28 Sep 2010 12:42:50 PM

helped me with homework
22. Martyn says:
28 Oct 2010 06:30:02 AM

Monty may have had a part in the planning of the Dieppe Raid but once it became clear to him that the Royal Navy and RAF wouldn't support it he called for it to be scrapped. When he went to Africa to take command of the 8th Army the plan had been scrapped and he had no knowledge of its resurrection when Mountbatten put it into effect. To place any blame on Montgomery for that operation is unfair because he not only called for it to be canceled indefinately but believe to have been scrapped and no knowledge of it being launched until after the event.

The Patton/Montgomery rivalry was entirely onesided on Patton's side. Montgomery was genuinly impressed with Patton's use of mobile armoured warfare and was the only man in the allied camp to censer reports of Patton's slapping incident. Montgomery did criticize Patton for ignoring military targets in favor of attempting to take a position that would give him personal glory even if it was militarilly unimportant but he did praise him as the best thruster/attacker in the Allied forces.

Montgomery strongly opposed Operation Baytown - the invasion of the boot of Italy - because it was based on the assumtion that the Germans would fight there where as Montgomery was convinced they only use the region for delaying purposes and thus it would be a waste of effort. He was proved correct.

Montgomery never wanted to be Supreme Commander because that position had too much to do with Politics, he only wanted to be Ground Forces Commander.

Throughout the planning and execution of Operation Overlord - a plan he was respsonsible for improving and finalizing - he was Ground Forces Commander in charge of both British/Commonwealth and American forces. Overall responsibility for success and failure for both British and American forces throughout that campaign is Montgomery's - direct responsbility for the tactical successes and failures are Bradley's and Dempsey's.

Bradley was a big Monty-Basher in his own right but he never criticized Monty for the delay in capturing Caen. He said that the British role - as per the plan - was to draw the German's onto them to ease the American breakout and that it only appeared to be a failure at Caen because people generally rated success in terms of territory taken not in term of enemy drawn to a position and held down.

Montgomery's promotion to Field Masrhal was decided before Overlord finished and was given to him as a reward for overseeing the two biggest Allied victories to date - El Alamein and Overlord - in addition to soothing the British public who would otherwise have just seen their most successful field commander ousted from command of the allies just to sooth America's ego.

Monty was under illutions about his promotion to Field Marshal. It was just a title and offered him no further power, in fact, in effect, he had been demoted from the Allied Ground Forces Commander to commander of the least powerful Allied Army Group employed in Western Europe.

Eisenhower required no coersion to support Market Garden, once the plan was presented to him he insisted it go forward. Montgomery was not re-assigned after Market Garden and remained in command of 21st Army Group until the end of the war.

At the Battle of the Bulge Montgomery placed Horrock's Corps on the Muese River crossings and sent his Liason Officers into the American lines to find out what was happening before the order came for him to take over command of 1st and 9th US Armies from Bradley. Monty was the only Allied Commander to have a completely clear picture of the situation in the north and when it became clear Bradley had to be replaced it was for more than just administrative purposes that Montgomery was chosen.
23. Anonymous says:
7 Nov 2010 01:53:52 PM

I have been reading a number of articles regarding World War 2, and I my self have not found a single piece of information about "Robert William Atkinson" who fought along side Montgomery in second command if anyone would like this piece of information for any homework please do so. He was a Cumbrian man who lived and died in Cumbria, as he worked and owned for "RW Atkinson" he was commonly known as Bob. he had two children, and after he passed away building a home for his family his son who also was a builder who carried on the business until he retired however still running "Thacka Lea Caravan Park" which his mother and father started due to their passion for caravanning.
24. why do you care says:
2 Feb 2011 11:46:22 AM

25. Anonymous says:
4 Mar 2011 07:38:19 AM

It helped me for homework
26. Anonymous says:
28 Apr 2011 11:37:08 AM

my granddad knew montgomery, and he says monty is known for saying "gather round chaps".
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13 Jul 2011 04:34:02 PM

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28. Anonymous says:
27 Aug 2011 11:43:51 PM

What was his impact, significance, imporance and contribution to the war?
29. GRATE OR WHAT ?????? says:
9 Oct 2011 02:58:46 AM

This was very halpful and helped me with my homework and made it all easier to understand
thanyou amillion I bet I am going to get the best grade ever on this I'll tell you If i do thoughI know I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
30. Anonymous says:
14 Nov 2011 10:05:50 AM

31. Anonymous says:
12 Jan 2012 02:19:09 PM

it is well known that once out of africa as a commander montgomery was little more than comic relief for the german general staff who feared patton greatly
32. John Cornell says:
10 Feb 2012 04:52:55 AM

""it is well known that once out of africa as a commander montgomery was little more than comic relief for the german general staff who feared patton greatly""

Stop getting your information from silly movies and crap Ameruican 'documentaries'. The Germans in general never feared Patton. They never sent their best units into the areas Patton was advancing through.

In fact the Germans chose the AMERICAN sectors in which to attack (Mortain, Ardennes, Saarland) because they considered them weaker than the British sector under Montgomery.
33. Martyn says:
22 Feb 2012 04:18:27 PM

Anonymous said: "it is well known that once out of africa as a commander montgomery was little more than comic relief for the german general staff who feared patton greatly"

I am reminded of the quote about Monty attributed to Erwin Rommel: "The war in the desert ceased to be a game when Montgomery took over."
34. lazarus says:
2 Jul 2012 10:09:54 PM

One of the best Monty stories. During a stop at a Canadian HQ group during some of the heavy fighting aroun Caen, Monty was growing increasingly agitated at the vociforous and profanity laced Canadian R/T. Finaly, in exasperation; he turned to Brigadier Harry Foster and crossly remarked "If the words ' *** ' and 'left flank' were eradicated from the English language, the Canadian Army would be left speechless and immobile!"
35. claudia says:
4 Aug 2012 02:36:45 PM

is a *** son of a bitch
36. Anonymous says:
26 Sep 2012 01:28:59 AM

Thanks for the sentence:-
"He would only launch his men on an offensive when he was sure that victory was certain, and that victory would have to be decisive."
that is why his men talked of "a Monty" to mean a sure, certain victory.
A pity he didn't live up to his reputation in Market Garden. Thanks also for "Montgomery's careful planning directly led to the low casualty rates among his units." To win battles with a low casualty rate is a wonderful virtue in a general.
I do recommend the sympathetic 3 volume biography of Monty by Nigel Hamilton to any young man who wants to be successful in his career. Monty was extremely successful.
37. Anonymous says:
26 Sep 2012 05:47:56 AM

Monty was an airbag just like OB. He gets credit for leadership but was an egomaniac. Market Garden was a failure because of him.
Alam el Halfa was planned before he got to Africa and he had ULTRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
38. JL says:
26 Sep 2012 06:45:17 AM

He was shot at Meteren France, not in Holland.
39. Arm Chair Field Marshal says:
27 Sep 2012 01:16:15 PM

I enjoy the arguments that "Had Ike listened to Monty" or "Had Ike listened to Patton" the war would have been over by Xmas. I don't think the politics of the day would have allowed Ike to favor one commander over the other.

I disagree with the conclusion that Monty's lack of tact cost him an earldom. I believe only Harold Alexander was made an earl. Monty was made a viscount, as were Slim of Burma and Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

Indeed, it is clear from Brooke's diary that Monty reached the heights he did because Brooke believed in his ability and promoted him accordingly. But even Brooke found him difficult, commenting at one point that "Monty is doing what he does best - training troops and making enemies."
40. Melbourne says:
12 Nov 2013 08:28:29 AM

It is now known that Rommels early African success's came about largely by information obtained on British Army movements via U.S. Army observers transmitting information which was then picked up by the Italian fascist Spy networks and passed onto Rommel. Operation Torch cannot be credited with the reversal of British success in North Africa.
41. Anonymous says:
3 Jan 2014 11:10:50 AM

While there is a Meteren in the Netherlands,you may to refer to Meteren in France as the Netherlands were not even involved in Worl War I
42. KKarin says:
14 May 2014 10:13:15 PM

A well written and reasonable accurate biography. The author obviously spent many hours if not days getting information and confirming fact, which he built this bio around. Monty was a horrible military man. He was ignorant of proper etiquette, manners, respect for your seniors and a man that was impotent as well as a man whom was limp when a hard choice had to be made. He was just not a manly man. He was also immoral and with such character that offends all decent people, I mean he set up whore houses for adulterous sexual relations, which is unacceptable and shows that he is truly of little and poor character. NO OTHER LEADER OF MEN HAS EVER DONE THAT IN RECENT TIMES!!! That aside I don't know what proof or evidence there is AT ALL confirming your unfounded claims that if Eke listened to him the war would have been shorter and cost less lives, money, and material. Had Monty obeyed orders and taken the estuary and allowing tens of kilotons of supplies to be infused into the ETO each day the supply needs of the war machine would have been eased significantly, there would not have been a forced halt for 2 month of the 3rd Army as well as others. Patton could have gone into Germany as the Siegfried line was empty prior to the halt. The enemy was in shambles and being routed with little hope or possibility to be able to refit, re-soldier, reequip, retrain, rest and produce or move weapons from other area to be entrenched with the other units and defenses. The Russians alone would have not lost millions of men as well as saving so many German civilians who were raped and killed by the brutal on slaughter of the russian (Soviet) horde, and of course saved US, British, French, Canadian, Austrialian and many others. Monty had no respect for his superiors including Churchill who ordered him to take action multiple times and each time he said "my men are not ready". Well any idiot knows that it is HIS JOB to make sure they are ready. When Patton arrived at Africa he was told that in 10 days he was to attack. Did he say "Oh I just got here, I don't even know where my men are heck I don't even know where my panties and bra are." as monty would have said? OH Course NOT. He was a soldier, responsible for Turing men into warriors and honing a once disorganized force of men into a well disciplined, trained, self respectable harden killers, who where born to fight, trained to kill, and prepared to die. And in ten days that is what he did, not by using sluts and soft kind words while talking to the men under you and sip tea, but by demanding that they act like the Warriors their were trained to be, and to take pride in who they are, how they look and how they act so as to develop pride, honor, strength of character and not to think they are the best bad *** around, rather they know they are the Biggest Baddest *** around and that all those that stand before them will die or yield. This is what self worth is and think how morale was boosted by this mans charisma and actions. Before D-day every German and other leaders not privy to the actual D-day plan, KNEW PATTON was the leader. He was without a doubt the only General whom would lead such a massive force. The whole slap thing was thought to be misdirection/misinformation to confuse the Jerry's. Monty was almost one of Germanys greatest allies, b/c of his disrespect, egocentric mind set, and his superiority complex(as result from his own inferiority and needing to constantly build himself up by making rude and nasty disrespecting comment to and about other...I actually pity the little man, I really do feel sorry for him, yet I must continue speaking the truth and educating those whom have only listen to Marxist/leftist people) he nearly cause the dissolution of the allied collation as result of his actions and lack of actions. He was bad mouthing many of the US, French, Indian, Dutch and other leaders. HE belittled the most powerful man in the world at the time, Eisenhower(who said shut the F**k up I am YOU BOSS! BOY!). During the Ardennes offensive which he was unable to do anything when it was really needed and even after the Jerry's offensive was halted and he was ordered to attack, he refused saying his men were not ready. 2 week prior was when Eke ask anyone to send 3-6 div. to relieve Bastogne, the only one who had the foresight to prepare for such a situation was of course old blood and guts Patton, who said he could have 3 div there in 48hr. Monty who was not at the meeting his aid was said it is impossible, and of course as usual he was wrong, showing how short sighted he is, b/c unless he has at least 15 to 1 advantage attacking is not possible.(there is a drink named after him b/c cause he always wanted such an unreasonable and overwhelming ratio, the drink is 15 parts gin 1 part vermouth[Hemingway came up with this, no joke. google it]). Yet even with 2 weeks he still could not ready his men and did not provide aid. However, during a January press meeting he had the arrogance to claim the victory his, not mentioning the thousands of US men who gave their lives to halt the surprise offensive. He should have be dismissed right then and there just like Harry S. Truman did to that asshole MacArthur(Korea not WW2). Yet the Brits needed a hero and Eke new that, as well as the fact that they deserved a hero for all the hardship they had endured(Why could it have been a real hero though, like Audie Murphy...well that a little to big of a hero..anyway) Even before all that happen monty failed to accomplish the goals he set out for himself from the start of D+1. (I'll take Caen in 24hr after D-day start..) Even before the start of D-day he was ready to send men 140 mile for an open beach landing in the WORST CHANNEL Storm in decades. Can you imagine the loses if they listened to that maroon. NO DD tanks would have landed on ANY beach, many landing craft would have floundered, the men would have been unable to fight due to sea sickness that would have been many times worse then what it was. The Ranger units almost definitely would have failed to take out point do hoc(Spelling) b/c none of the climbing equipment would have work if they would have found the landing point at all(recently they discover that the long exposure to salt water caused many of the rocket grapplers to fail, if things were worse all would have failed). Plus the paratroopers would have been totally useless as there is no way to hang onto gear in that kind of storm, everything is ripped off(I've done accelerated free fall in many different weather events and I know that no mater how tight you tie it on, its either going to be ripped off you or its going to snap your neck and disable or kill you) Also, the Gliders would have all died. No way landing in those conditions. Plus most the German generals who had gone away (including Rommel) would have been on site! The naval support would have been useless b/c of the storm or would have killed allied soldiers b/c of inaccurate short falling fire support b/c the seas would be so rough. Well enough is enough(not going to even go to op. market garden, I am sure that you all have had your blinders removed and you can see the light of truth in what that sorry little man was really like. Someone said that Rommel complemented him, well them me retort one complement for with many complements for a truly great leader. This info comes from multiple sources:

General Henri Giraud was incredulous when he heard of Patton's dismissal and invited him to a banquet with President de Gaulle gave a speech placing Patton's achievements alongside those of Napoleon. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin stating that the Red Army could neither have planned nor executed Patton's rapid armored advance across France.
The German High Command was noted to have more respect for him than for any Allied commander after 1943.[128] Many German field commanders were generous in their praise of Patton's leadership. Erwin Rommel credited Patton with executing "the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare." Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, chief of staff of the German Army, stated that Patton "was the American Guderian. He was very bold and preferred large movements. He took big risks and won big successes."Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring noted that "Patton had developed tank warfare into an art, and understood how to handle tanks brilliantly in the field. I feel compelled, therefore, to compare him with Generalfeldmarschall Rommel, who likewise had mastered the art of tank warfare. Both of them had a kind of second sight in regard to this type of warfare." Referring to the escape of the Afrika Korps after the Battle of El Alamein, Fritz Bayerlein opined that "I do not think that General Patton would let us get away so easily." In an interview conducted for Stars and Stripes just after his capture, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt stated simply of Patton, "He is your best.
43. Gene Cole says:
26 Sep 2014 05:50:42 AM

A fairly good article, somewhat biased toward Monty. He was the best general the Brits could come up with, but, while he was a wizard of set piece operations, he was not at his best in mobile situations.
44. Anonymous says:
22 Apr 2015 07:38:08 AM

awesome site
45. Anonymous says:
17 May 2015 01:36:42 PM

omg i have to write a 3 page essay on him grr this is gonna be soo hard
46. Anonymous says:
29 Jul 2015 12:42:24 AM

Hi, I have read your remarks which state: 'Some of his methods for troop support were unorthodox, however, such as setting up a brothel in Tripoli, Libya to satisfy the men's sexual needs. It received approval from the men who needed this type of service, but it also added distance between Montgomery and the other officers who found brothels immoral and unacceptable."
As far as I know, my Uncle served in the 8th Army and he told us how Monty closed down brothels!!!! I have also read this in books which state that he also gave sharp warnings about venereal disease and poor latrine practices.
47. Anonymous says:
4 Nov 2015 11:00:13 PM

German and American views of Patton ( KEEP IT OBJECTIVE... YEIDE ! harry yeide interesting bookwith german point of view of patton ubtil he adds to much personal bias.)

German general Günther Blumentritt, a key planner of the invasions of France and Poland, wrote in a study for the U.S. Army after the war, “We regarded General Patton extremely highly as the most aggressive Panzer General of the Allies, a man of incredible initiative and lightning-like action…. His operations impressed us enormously, probably because he came closest to our own concept of the classical military commander.”
Alfred Jodl, who served as Hitler’s chief of operations from 1940 until the end of the war, told American interrogators, “He was the American Guderian. He was very bold and preferred large movements. He took big risks and won big successes.”
General Heinz Guderian himself, after Germany’s surrender, told his Allied captors, “From the standpoint of a tank specialist, I must congratulate him for his victory since he acted as I should have done had I been in his place.”
Major General Eberhard Rodt, who led the 15th Panzergrenadier Division against Patton’s troops during the Allied push toward Messina, thought the American Seventh Army fought hesitantly and predictably. He wrote in an immediate postwar report on Sicily, “The enemy very often conducted his movements systematically, and only attacked after a heavy artillery preparation when he believed he had broken our resistance. This kept him regularly from exploiting the weakness of our situation and gave me the opportunity to consolidate dangerous situations.”
General George C. Marshall wrote to Eisenhower on October 21, 1943: “It seems evident to us that Patton’s movements are of great importance to German reactions and therefore should be carefully considered. I had thought and spoke to [Eisenhower’s chief of staff, Walter Bedell] Smith about Patton being given a trip to Cairo and Cyprus but the Corsican visit appeals to me as carrying much more of a threat [to northern Italy].” Eisenhower replied, “As it is I am quite sure that we must do everything possible to keep [the Germans] confused and the point you have suggested concerning Patton’s movements appeals to me as having a great deal of merit. This possibility had not previously occurred to me.”
To give the Normandy landings the best possible chance at success, the Allies wanted the Germans to believe that the main invasion in France would take place at Pas de Calais in July, and that Normandy was a feint to draw German forces south. The fictitious First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG) would conduct the equally fictitious landings; Eisenhower appointed Patton, who had arrived in London on January 26, as the faux commander.
Thanks to false information fed through double agents, by March 23 the Germans began associating Patton with FUSAG. But they had not yet conclusively identified him—or anyone else—as the commanding general. On April 1, Germany’s Foreign Armies West noted, “It seems possible that [Patton] has taken command of the First or Ninth Army in England.”
None of the surviving pre-invasion records from the command of Army Group B, responsible for defending northwestern France, mention Patton outside the FUSAG order of battle. In contrast, the Germans methodically recorded the statements and meetings of Montgomery and Eisenhower, and bombarded their agents with questions about Montgomery’s movements.
This attention was not misplaced: Montgomery led the Allied ground forces in the invasion, while Patton was relegated to the sidelines until he was placed in command of Third Army nearly a month after D-Day. Montgomery would show himself to be methodical and cautious in his advance, which the Germans had observed of him in North Africa. But in the weeks to come, Patton’s agility and boldness would finally demand attention from some of Germany’s finest commanders.
The Germans received only scattered reports of Third Army’s activities until August 10, when they first realized that a powerful enemy force was turning north from behind Seventh Army. General Montgomery’s troops were simultaneously (cautiously?) smashing through the German front to link up with Patton. That morning, Patton, confident Third Army could close the gap and encircle Seventh Army near the town of Falaise, stood on the brink of one of the greatest victories of the war.
Then, at 11:30, Patton had one of the worst breaks of his life. To avoid friendly fire, Bradley ordered the Americans to halt while the British (failed?) closed the gap. The Germans were able to extract thousands more troops—including a large portion of their staff officers, who were then able to reconstitute the German defensive lines with surprising speed.
Nevertheless, Third Army’s breakout and sweep around the German flank established Patton among enemy commanders as a Panzer General, a master of mobile armored warfare in their own style. Whenever tanks were heard in the streets outside the headquarters of Germany’s Army Command in the West, Field Marshal Gerd von Runstedt would joke, “Can this be Patton?” Seventh Army’s chief of staff, Rudolf Freiherr von Gersdorff, later observed, “The American breakthrough at St. Lô-Avranches, led by General Patton, was carried out with operational genius and unprecedented dash.” The earliest recorded enemy conversation in which Patton is clearly identified also occurred during this time. On August 21, the commanding general of the 21st Panzer Division, Edgar Feuchtinger, reported: “The situation is completely out of hand. From Chartres, Patton has turned north with part of his army and is advancing on the Rouen area. No one seems able to stop him.”
Following this fine performance, German commanders again found Patton’s generalship to be hesitant during the Lorraine Campaign, just as their counterparts had in Tunisia and Sicily. These men included some of Germany’s top armored commanders, Eastern Front veterans who had led troops during such fierce battles as Kharkov and Kursk.
The Germans, unaware of the Allies’ supply issues, credited their counterattacks throughout the withdrawal for Third Army’s seemingly hesitant advance. Lieutenant General Hermann Balck, who took command of Army Group G in September, thus did not think highly of Patton—or any other opposing commanders—during this time. Balck wrote to his commander, Runstedt, on October 10, “I have never been in command of such irregularly assembled and ill-equipped troops. The fact that we have been able to straighten out the situation again…can only be attributed to the bad and hesi­tating command of the Americans and the French, [and that our] troops…have fought beyond praise.”
Looking back on his battles against Patton throughout the autumn, in 1979 Balck recalled, “Within my zone, the Americans never once exploited a success. Often [General Friedrich Wilhelm von] Mellenthin, my chief of staff, and I would stand in front of the map and say, ‘Patton is helping us; he failed to exploit another success.’”
On December 16, 1944, Germany launched one of its last massive attempts to reclaim the destiny of the Third Reich. In the same blitzkrieg style that had served so well in France in 1940, the Germans pushed into the heavily forested and mountainous Ardennes region of Belgium, creating the bulge in the front for which the resulting battle would be named.
Patton, in the meantime, had anticipated a German offensive and was prepared to wield his armored forces with the speed and relentlessness he longed for. In just four days, three of his Third Army divisions turned their advance 90 degrees and trekked over 100 miles through ice, snow, and fog—an extraordinary feat for heavy vehicles and exhausted men. Patton’s spearheads arrived at Bastogne on December 26, driving into the flank of the German offensive and reaching the city’s beleaguered defenders. But a lack of cold weather gear and one of the region’s harshest winters hampered subsequent Allied efforts. The German hold on Bastogne finally broke on January 9, 1945; even then, the Germans were not pushed back to their former line until January 30.
Patton’s finest moment was thus lost on the Germans, as the long struggle to reclaim Bastogne overshadowed (how can such a rescue be overshadowed by a German retreat?)his lightning-quick arrival.
The commander of the Fifth Panzer Army, Hasso von Manteuffel, aimed a dismissive, indirect critique at Patton’s efforts at Bastogne, writing in his memoirs that the Americans did not “strike with full élan.”
Patton’s opponents noticed his aggressiveness and speed: Hans-Gustav Felber, the Seventh Army commander during this time, wrote after the war, “The enemy was now willing to take greater chances than up to the present…. The German leadership had encountered a particularly determined and daring opponent in the person of the commander of Third U.S. Army, General Patton.” Once Patton’s spearheads got moving across the open country beyond the Ardennes, Gersdorff recalled, “there was nothing left but to let the armored columns roll and try to cut their lines of communication behind them.”
Hermann Balck, who had expressed thanks for Patton’s mistakes in France, said years later, “Patton was the outstanding tactical genius of World War II. I still consider it a privilege and unforgettable experience to have had the honor of opposing him.”
48. Anonymous says:
5 Nov 2015 02:25:17 PM

To Anonymous #47:
Dude- Take a breath!
49. Anonymous says:
18 Nov 2015 02:25:49 PM

Thank you for the well-organized and helpful information.
50. Anonymous says:
4 Apr 2017 08:44:37 PM

I believe his wife had an "insect" bite, not an "inspect" bite.
51. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
5 Apr 2017 04:32:39 AM

Thank you, anonymous of 4 Apr 2017, the typographical error has been corrected.
52. Jan Brouwer says:
22 May 2017 12:34:57 PM

The strategic objective of operation Market Garden was establishing a bridgehead between Arnhem and the IJsselmeer.
53. Anonymous says:
2 Jun 2017 10:31:51 PM

was he called MONTY OR MONTE to his men
54. Anonymous says:
4 Jun 2017 09:48:05 PM

Is anything known of his second name, Law. Was it a family name?
55. Anonymous says:
31 Jan 2018 07:06:09 AM

to be honest i dont kow who this is
56. anonymous says:
24 Feb 2020 05:39:52 AM

For how long did General Hodges' 1st US Army serve under Montgomery's command?

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More on Bernard Montgomery
Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of France and the Low Countries
» Battle of Alam el Halfa
» Second Battle of El Alamein
» Operations Pugilist and Supercharge II
» Conclusion of the Desert War
» Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender
» Operation Avalanche
» Advance to the Gustav Line
» Normandy Campaign, Phase 1
» Operation Market Garden
» Battle of the Bulge
» Crossing the Rhine

» Declaration Regarding the Defeat of Germany and the Assumption of Supreme Authority by Allied Powers

Related Books:
» Alamein: War Without Hate
» Eisenhower's Armies
» Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War
» The Battle for the Rhine

Bernard Montgomery Photo Gallery
Montgomery observing the field, Egypt, Nov 1942Oliver Leese, Harold Alexander, Winston Churchill, Alan Brooke, and Bernard Montgomery at Tripoli, Libya, date unknown
See all 135 photographs of Bernard Montgomery

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