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Speech by General Montgomery - 13/03/1944

Discours du général Montgomery - 13/03/1944

Support Weapons Battalion
R.c. 25 March 1944
According to the distribution plan

I make known and read in front of all the troops General Montgomery's speech, delivered on 13 March 44 to the detachments of the 1st Armoured Division.

"I wanted to see you greatly, because we intend to go into battle, you and I, together!
Today I finally meet you! I have come from Italy, where I commanded the 8th Army, to now take command of the Army Group in this country.
Above all I have decided to get to know all the soldiers who will fight under my command. I wanted to get to know you, to look at you, because I am certain that our relationship will make this struggle easier. I am in favour of a very close relationship between the command and its subordinates, because they are fighting together.
That is why I have passed along your lines, so that I can look at you attentively and so that you have the opportunity to see me. I looked at you and each of you looked at me. We looked at each other; we got to know each other and I see that this is good, because we will fight the Germans together.
As you know, land and air armies are now being formed in this country, so that the Allied military forces can attack Europe. This attack is called the second front. Simple reasoning shows that the second front has already begun!
I am being asked the question: When will the second front start?
In this case I always give the same answer: the second front exists, the second front has already begun!
You no doubt remember the time of the struggle against the Germans in North Africa and the fact that they were thrown out of it. At that time, we said to ourselves that our next goal would be to eliminate Italy from the war.
We started the bombing and when it was successful we crossed the Mediterranean. The result of our action is known: Italy was forced to withdraw from the war. We achieved our goal without great difficulty.
With exactly the same way of acting we are now facing the Germans. We are constantly bombing this country with planes, day and night. We are destroying their capital, their cities and their industry. I consider this to be a very good start. Once the bombing is over, we will cross the sea to defeat the Germans once and for all. This is the best strategy for the battle to come. And that is why I maintain, that the second front has begun!
The German soldiers are very good soldiers and they have a lot of combat experience. I have met soldiers here among you who once fought against me near El Alamein and Mareth. Now these soldiers are with us and they will fight with us against the Germans. I repeat: the German soldier is a good soldier, but the British and Allied soldiers are much better. Now our soldiers have considerably better fighting tools and they are much more valiant than the German soldiers. It is important not to forget that.
Our meeting today is a great pleasure and at the same time a great event for me. During this week I will meet every soldier with whom I will then go into battle.
I see you, I talk to you and I appreciate this, because it produces this mutual trust that we must support. As I passed through your ranks I began to feel a great trust in you. When I looked at you, I thought: these are good soldiers, they want to fight against the Germans. They want to beat the enemy!
But trust cannot exist on one side only.
I am convinced that this is not enough. You must also have great confidence in me. So that nothing that we will be forced to do in the future will be difficult and there will be nothing that we cannot accomplish together.
I declare that the Polish Armoured Division is subject to me and will go to fight with me. In its time I will take it and then you and I, together, will defeat the Germans, all the Germans! This is a great event! You will take part in the fight because you are incorporated into the Army Group of which I am the leader. It's really a very big event! I don't want to keep you any longer. I am leaving to see your comrades-in-arms, who are gathered elsewhere.
I am finishing.
I can tell you that our meeting is a great pleasure and a great honour for me, because I have made sure that you are good soldiers. I am impressed by what I saw during my inspection! I am certain that you and I, together, will defeat the Germans.
So, goodbye. We meet again."

For an exact copy
orderly officer

To: Squadron Commanders
Economic Platoon Commander - original to be returned

(Translation: Maria Sawicka - Steven Duda)

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