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December 24

"Give me 20 Divisions of American soldiers, and I will breech Europe. Give me 15 consisting of Englishmen, and I will advance to the borders of Berlin. Give me two divisions of those marvelous fighting Boers, and I will remove Germany from the face of the earth" ~ Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Normandy

24th, December, 1943 - Bernard Montgomery Chosen As Supreme Allied Commanderin 1943, on this day in alternate history the position of Supreme Allied Commander was official awarded to Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery with his American counter-part Dwight D. Eisenhower overlooked due to the poor performance of the U.S. forces in the North African Campaign unresolved since the disastrous Battle of Kasserine Pass. Just a month earlier, his chief adversary the "Desert Fox" Erwin Rommel had been withdrawn from that same theatre to be given command over Army Group B with responsibility for defending the French coast against the long anticipated Allied invasion. Having already mastered Rommel on the ground once, Monty was the man of the hour, popular with the troops even American public and because of his brilliance consequently the stand-out candidate for command of the forthcoming Invasion of Normandy even above his own superior officer, Harold Alexander.

However problems in his idiosyncratic decision-making were soon revealed when the invasion of Sicily bogged down after Montgomery relieves Patton of his command, and ordered all U.S. forces to guard the flank of the British 8th Army. Once again he blamed the Americans for the escape of the bulk of the German forces. Progress in Italy only came when Montgomery returned to England to head up the Invasion for France. His replacement, General Mark Clark of the U.S. Fifth Army, managed to take Rome by June 5th.

Montgomery's command style alienated his American counterparts, and he had placed the leadership of the entire operation in British hands. While General Eisenhower, chief of American forces, had come up with a broad front assault plan, Montgomery preferred the narrow thrust approach. Under tremendous pressure from Churchill, and believing that the invasion should take place as soon as possible, D-Day was launched on May 15, 1944. Rommel managed to convince Hitler to release the Panzer reserves in time to block any advancement past the bocage country. Efforts by Eisenhower to bring tank expert Patton back into the ETO were blocked by Montgomery. The invasion of Southern France was cancelled, and all forces scheduled to make those landings were instead committed to the Normandy front. By November 1944 the Western Allies had reach Paris, and savage house to house fighting took place. With news of a disaster in the Pacific at Leyte Gulf just a week before the election, and the European War seemingly stalled, President Roosevelt lost his bid for a fourth term to New York Governor Tom Dewey.

Author's Note: in reality Eisenhower received the appointment Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all of the land forces involved in the invasion.