Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alamein, almost self-destructs in one of the great public demonstrations of the truth behind the Proverb “pride commeth before the fall.” On January 7, 1945, to a group of reporters, Monty plays loose with facts and truth, and in essence, claims credit for saving the Allies in the Bulge. Montgomery pronounces to the press that his leadership combined with battlefield support from quick acting British troops make the difference. Monty on Monty: “I was thinking ahead” and took the steps to insure the German advance was stopped. And the battle was to Monty one of the most “interesting and tricky battles I have ever handled.” Montgomery then insults the American generals maintaining American troops were great fighting men if provided suitable leadership.
"I am fed up with being treated like a moron by the British. There is no national honor nor prestige left to us. Ike must go. He is a typical case of a beggar on horseback; he could not stand the prosperity." General Patton 1945
Montgomery directly plays to Hitler's plan to split the Allies. He almost succeeds. In all, America’s role in the fight is underplayed and he, as the leader, and the British troops, are the heroes. Montgomery is already disrespected and disliked by his American counterparts because of his cautiousness in the field, his egotism, and never-ending willingness to disparage his American Allies. Field Marshal Montgomery is disdainful of the American Army from start of the war, saying that the American Army did not know how to fight and never will. Yet, Montgomery fails in Normandy to close the noose at Falaise, allowing many trapped Germans to avoid capture. Monty stopped Patton's drive into Germany. His pet and ill-advised, Market-Garden campaign, the battle behind the book "A Bridge too Far" diverts gas and supplies from Patton's army and a wide open advance into the Reich. At Antwerp, Montgomery (as well as Eisenhower) is accountable for the Sheldt fiasco which delays the use of the port for supply. American contempt for Montyincludes the conviction that his incompetence extends the war. And now this latest pronouncement burns American officers with a deeper hatred of Monty. Galling are the facts that Americans alone, not the British, stop the German advance. Infuriating is the knowledge that once Montgomery has temporary command, true to form, he gets in the way and botches American counter-attacks through his meddling and overly cautious set-piece style.
Americans of all ranks are enraged. American Generals, led Gen. Omar Bradley, complained loudly to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Montgomery must go. Another internal battle for Ike erupts. This time, Eisenhower reaches the end of his patience. Ike trumps Monty and goes directly to Churchill, not General Alexander, with the demand: Either Montgomery goes or he Ike resigns. Ike played this hand from a position of strength. The Germans are stopped at Nordwind, thanks in measure to the 44th Division. Churchill fully knows that America will not stand for Montgomery over Ike. America is the economic and military force to success. Montgomery is redressed by Churchill and the British Chief of Staff Alexander and told to go and patch up his differences with Ike or else, be sacked.
On January 18, Churchill addressed Parliament and announced, in no uncertain terms, the truth. The "Bulge" was an American battle and an American victory. A humiliated but, history proves, an unrepentant Montgomery seeks forgiveness from Ike, and both remain to the end of the conflict, in command.