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Lloyd Ralston Fredendall Edit Profile

military , army officer

Lloyd Fredendall was a senior officer of the United States Army who fought during World War II.

Background

Lloyd Fredendall was born on December 28, 1883 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, United States.

Education

As a result of his father's connections in the service and with local and state politicians, Lloyd Fredendall secured an appointment from Wyoming Senator Francis E. Warren to enter the class of 1905 at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York.

Career

He became a major general in 1940 and took command of the 4th Inf Div at Ft Benning, Ga, in October of that year. Known as a troop trainer, Fredendal! headed the 2d Corps from 14 Aug 1941 and the 11th Corps from its activation on 15 June 1942. The relatively elderly general was picked by Eisenhower with some misgivings from a list of eight whom Marshall nominated to succeed Mark Clark as 2d Corps commander in England. Taking over on 10 Oct 1942, and immediately making a favorable impression on Eisenhower. the newcomer had less than a month to complete preparations for landing his Central TF on 8 Nov around Oran. His troops were the 1 st Inf Div, CCB of the 1st Armd Div, and the 1st Ranger Bn. “I bless the day you urged Fredendall upon me,” Ike wrote to George Marshall a few days after the landings and on 19 Nov he nominated Fredendall and Patton for promotion to lieutenant general. Six weeks later (1 Jan 1943) Fredendall’s 2d Corps was reconstituted with the 1st Armd Div and the 26th RCT (of the 1st Inf Div) and ordered to take the Tunisian port of Sfax. This would block the retreat of Rommel’s Pz Army Africa to join forces with von Arnim's 5th Pz Army. But the Germans frustrated Eisenhower’s “race for Tunis.” Forced onto the defensive, the 2d US Corps was stretched thin on a 80-mile front to cover the Allied right flank. Eisenhower ordered a standard deployment: a screen of reconnaissance forces along the wide front, strong points covering passes in the Eastern Dorsal, and a mobile reserve to counterattack when the enemy’s main effort was identified. But Fredendall posted his infantry on isolated djebels and scattered his mobile reserve forces in bits and pieces. Further, his well dug-in corps headquarters was 80 miles behind the front, at Tebessa. Eisenhower discovered this fatally flawed deployment on 13 Feb 1943 in the course of a belated command visit.

But Fredendall’s promotion to lieutenant general, which Eisenhower had recommended way back on 19 Nov 1942 (above), was approved on 1st June 1943. Fredendall took over the 2d Army Hq at Memphis, Tenn. This was a training command, and the general doubled as head of the Central Defense Command until Jan 1944. Awarded the DSM, Lt Gen Fredendall retired 31 Mar 1946 for physical disability (Cullum) and died 4 Oct 1963 in La Jolla, Calif.

Politics

At Eisenhower's recommendation, Fredendall returned to the United States. Eisenhower's aide made a report on Fredendall to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, where he communicated, without elaboration, Eisenhower's view that Fredendall should be reassigned to a training command. As a result, Fredendall spent the rest of the war in training assignments in the United States. Because he had not been formally reprimanded by Eisenhower, he was eligible for promotion to lieutenant general, which he duly received, along with a hero's welcome on his return to the United States.

While commanding the Central Defense Command and the U.S. Second Army at Memphis, Tennessee, Fredendall supervised training and field maneuvers, gave away brides, and at first even granted interviews to members of the press. However, after a sarcastic comment on his generalship by a Time magazine reporter, Fredendall changed his mind, and largely blocked further press coverage of his command. The widespread custom of theater commanders to transfer senior commanders who had failed in battlefield assignments to stateside training commands did not in any way improve the reputation or morale of the latter, who were now saddled with the difficult job of convincing a disgraced commander to take the lead in advocating radical improvements in existing army training programs—programs which, like Fredendall himself, had contributed to the embarrassing U.S. Army reverses in North Africa.