Why did 51st Highland Division Fail? A case-study in command and combat effectiveness

Anthony King

Abstract


Celebrated for its performance in North Africa and Sicily, 51st Highland Division performed unexpectedly poorly during the Normandy Campaign. It is widely accepted that a principal cause of this decline in combat effectiveness was the division’s new commander, Major- General Charles Bullen-Smith, who had replaced the highly popular Douglas Wimberley in late 1943. Using the anomalous performance of the Highland Division as a case-study and focusing on the specific failings of Bullen-Smith, this paper seeks to examine the relationship between command and combat effectiveness.


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