Omar Bradley

Topics: Omar Bradley, George S. Patton, World War II Pages: 5 (710 words) Published: November 11, 2009
Bradley did not receive a frontline command until early 1943 after Operation

Torch. He had been given VIII Corps but instead was sent to North Africa to serve under

George S. Patton. He became head of II Corps in April and directed them in the final

battles of April and May. He then led his corps onto Sicily in July. In the approach to

Battle of Normandy Bradley was chosen to command the substantial First United States

Army First Army. During Operation Overlord he commanded three corps directed at the

areas codenamed Utah Omaha. Later in July he planned Operation Cobra, the beginning

of the breakout from the Normandy beachhead. By August, Bradley's command, the

newly created 12th Army Group, had swollen to over 900,000 men and ultimately

consisted of four field armies. It was the largest group of American soldiers to ever serve

under one field commander.

Unlike some of the more colorful generals of World War II, Bradley was a polite

and courteous man. First favorably brought to public attention by correspondent Ernie

Pyle, he was informally known as "the soldier's general

After the German attempt to split the US armies at Motrain, Bradley's force was

the southern half of an attempt to encircle the German Seventh Army and Fifth Panzer

Army in Normandy, trapping them in the Chamois pocket. Although only partially

successful, the German forces still suffered huge losses during their retreat.

The American forces reached the “Siegfried Line” or “West wall” in late

September. The sheer scale of the advance had taken the Allied high command by

surprise. They had expected the German to make stands on the natural defensive lines

provided by the French rivers, and consequently, logistics had become a severe issue as


At this time, the Allied high command under Eisenhower faced a decision on

strategy. Bradley favored a strategy consisting of an advance into the Saarland, or

possibly a two-thrust assault on both the Saarland and the Ruhr Area. Newly promoted to

Field Marshal, Bernard Montgomery argued for a narrow thrust across the Lower Rhine,

into the open country beyond and then to the northern flank into the Ruhr, thus avoiding

the Siegfried Line. Montgomery's arguments and the eagerness of George Marshall and

Henry Arnold to use the First Allied Airborne Army, ultimately carried the day, leading

to Operation Market-Garden. The debate, while not fissuring the Allied command,

nevertheless led to a serious rift between the two Army group commanders of the

European Theater of Operations. Bradley bitterly protested to Eisenhower the priority of

supplies given to Montgomery, but Eisenhower, mindful of British public opinion, held

Bradley's protests in check.

Bradley's Army Group now covered a very wide front in hilly country, from the

Netherlands to Lorraine and, despite his being the largest Allied Army Group, there were

difficulties in prosecuting a successful broad-front offensive in difficult country with a

skilled enemy that was recovering his balance. U.S. First Army had difficulties in the

Aachen Gap and the Battle of Hurtgen Forest cost 24,000 casualties. Further south

George Patton's U.S. Third Army lost momentum as German resistance stiffened around

Metz's extensive defenses. While Bradley focused on these two campaigns, the Germans

had assembled troops and materiel for a surprise offensive. Bradley’s command took the

initial brunt of what would become the Battle of the Bulge.

Bradley used the advantage gained in March 1945 after Eisenhower authorized a difficult

but successful Allied offensive in February 1945 to break the German defenses and cross

the Rhine into the industrial heartland of the Ruhr area. Aggressive pursuit of the

decaying German troops by Bradley's forces resulted in the capture of a bridge across the

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