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Tactical bias in generals popularity?

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    Posted: 29 Jul 2009 at 21:32
There it goes:

The other day someone was saying how Rommel was the greatest general, he never retreated, he never lost a battle, he never surrendered. Since I didn't know anything about Rommel, I went to the wikipedia entry and, lo! He was defeated, and he did retreat. Even more, he seemed to have been very weak on long term strategy by consistently weakening his supply lines due to his aggressive advances. The article said that he was a very strong tactical general.

This made me noticed that many highly esteem generals tend to be great tactician yet they suck at long term strategy.

Strategic generals, the guys who, you know, actually win wars, tend to be dismiss by statements like, "well, he had overwhelming power and resources." Well, yeah. Many tactical generals don't seem to think too much in these terms. If they did, they wouldn't engage larger forces unless it was unavoidable.


So why is there this bias to like more tacticians over strategists? Is it the romance of war showing his deceitfully beautiful head once again?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2009 at 00:53
I think I hear what you are saying. A good tactical general will reap the glory of victory, whereas a long term strategist will look at the bigger picture and take in his laurels on the political field. Ike versus Patton for instance are representative of their ilk. The 3'rd army had it's limitations till it was given the green light with full backing of allied might. That alone would not provide success unless it was in capable hands. Which it was. Both men had success within the roles they performed. In essence, and in comparison, Command and Control is as important in Rommel's time as it was with his era's predecessors. Cut off from resources and the best tactician will be left to devise a plan of limited potential capabilities. Even under such duress sometimes that can make or break the man. Perhaps that is why Rommel is remembered with fondness. He had interruptive support in his field of operations and had still endured. Hitler had been known to stub his armies in the dirt due to his lackluster strategical qualities. In the future, as in now, tactical moves may end up in the hands of computer nerds at HQ with tons of robotic drones at their finger tips.

As for bias and prestige doled out for the tactician instead of the strategist, I'm not so sure. Everyone likes a victor. It's the general on the field that reaps such glory - from his men. If not he becomes a scapegoat. Heads get chopped. Despite the full weight of a strong economy and solid backing of Kings, Sultans and Presidents, when the tactician failed he felt the brunt of their dismay. No one remembers a loser.

In a sense the tactician and Strategist are each invaluable to their cause. Both must accel in order for consistent victories to be produced.


Edited by Seko - 30 Jul 2009 at 01:01
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This is absolutely the case.  Read some of the recent conversation on the Paradox Interactive version of the Top 100 generals thread....  Suppose a general out-maneuvers an enemy in the Napoleonic Wars... is he remembered?  Or the general that fought a great battle to gain the same ends, but lost 15% of his army?  The ones who fought are remembered.

A more recent example is the comparison of Patton to George Marshall...  Who was in charge?  Who is remembered more?  Patton wasn't even as good as most people think...

An old example is Turenne vs. the Great Conde.  One fought the great battles; the other won the wars....

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Of course this is one of those topics that can be argued forever, and has a hundred points of view.
 
Part of the issue is the differences in warfare before and after 1815.  Part of that is technological, and part (a great part) is social - the view of the general by the "nation."  Yes, Bonaparte was an agent of the French Revolution, but he was also quite reactionary in some of his ambitions.  Actually, he was more like Frederick the Great - a monarch who led his armies in the field; was fully responsible for strategic thinking as well as the tactical orders on the day of battle.  In that sense, Napoleon Bonaparte was not a "modern" general at all, but the same as monarchs before him.
 
However, even though he was ultimately a loser, his luster is not diminished by that.  The years before 1815 exhausted France and she was never the power or political factor she had been before.  (Indian summer in the mid 19th c. notwithstanding.)  Napoleon's brilliance, tactically, and strategically, overshadows the decline of France as a power.
 
Conversely Wink, Charles XII of Sweden, although among the most brilliant tacticians of all time, is understood as a complete failure strategically, and lost Sweden's position in the Baltic for good.  (That probably was inevitable because of the disparity with Russia, but that is another argument.)
 
(This is gonna be longer-winded than I wanted, but...)
 
After 1815, and the long peace, the nature of the military profession changed; society had started to change.  Successful generals sometimes were elected to political positions (Wellington, several US generals) or became technocrats who never led armies at all (von Roon, Moltke).
 
The tactician is the glamor boy, and also a lighning rod.  In the 19th century the newspaper correspondent, and then later the signal corps photographer, made him known to a wider public, and he more often rose or fell because of publicity.  U.S. Grant (a notorious drinker) became President of the United States - Geo McClellan (a far more military man) failed in war and consequently in politics.  Henry Halleck (an accomplished intellectual of note) failed in the field and became obscure.
 
Occasionally, before the 19th century, an unsuccessful tactical general might be guillotined in France or strangled in Turkey.  Later he just got fired or commanded a desk.  Seko is right though.  There is rarely a substitute for winning.  It is pretty obvious that the more you win, the better you are, so it seems a valid standard.
 
The seemingly inevitable example of E. Rommel will not go away, even though he was a flash in the pan.  Strategically he was doomed in Africa from the beginning.  He didn't win in Normandy either,
did he?
 
EDIT:  Anyone out there think Rommel would have been a success in Russia?  (Not!)
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 02:54
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How about: Generals do not win wars, supply and organization does. After all, can not "tactics" be reduced to that old apocryphal maxim said of Nathan Bedford Forest, "get there the fustest with the mostest"? 
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Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

How about: Generals do not win wars, supply and organization does. After all, can not "tactics" be reduced to that old apocryphal maxim said of Nathan Bedford Forest, "get there the fustest with the mostest"? 


Ah, but in most cases the generals were/are in charge of supply and organization.  Logistics.  It's just... there's no glory in that!
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Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

How about: Generals do not win wars, supply and organization does. After all, can not "tactics" be reduced to that old apocryphal maxim said of Nathan Bedford Forest, "get there the fustest with the mostest"? 
 
"An army marches on it's stomach."  -  Napoleon.  Smile
 
Anyone familiar with Montgomery C. Meigs?
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 04:32
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Logistics is important. Maybe the key factor in winning a prolonged war. Yet, by and of itself,  insufficient in producing positive results. An outstanding commander is also handicapped if not given resources to finish the job. Osman Pasha would hold out innumerable times against overwhelming odds but the cards were still stacked against him at Plevna. I would agree that the best bet would be a combination of the two, as all of you have already attested to. With supply and skill, in sufficient quantities and qualities (enough to bare fruit at the bargaining table) such an army can dictate terms on the field and in peace. Sometimes a great will come along bringing both spheres of command (startegy and tactics) under his leadership. Napoleon, Ataturk, and Cengiz Khan come to mind. 

Edited by Seko - 30 Jul 2009 at 03:03
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Meigs? Not at all. Who was he? Smile
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I'm interested in Pikeshott's choice of words in saying McClellan was a 'far more military' man than Grant.
 
I'd be willing to bet his leatherwork shone brighter and his brasses were more blinding and he stood more erect. But is that what 'military' means?
 
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Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I'm interested in Pikeshott's choice of words in saying McClellan was a 'far more military' man than Grant.
 
I'd be willing to bet his leatherwork shone brighter and his brasses were more blinding and he stood more erect. But is that what 'military' means?
 
 
Actually, McClellan had strategic understanding, and his plan for the 1862 Peninsula Campaign was sound.  The army (and the navy) did not as yet have either the experience or the organizational sophistication to make the campaign effective.  It was also of necessity an amphibious operation which is difficult even for experienced forces.  McClellan was also reluctant to fight in Virginia (never sure why).  At Antietam/Sharpsburg later that year he fought a huge battle and deterred Lee's move north onto Union soil.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 05:00
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Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Meigs? Not at all. Who was he? Smile
 
Montgomery Cunningham Meigs was a career soldier - Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army from 1861 til after the Civil War. 
 
Google him.  An extremely important general who never commanded in the field.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 05:00
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George "I want more soldiers" McClellan was a disgrace to the good name of generalship. He already had more than twice the troops of the enemy. He had his enemy's capital at gun point and yet he did nothing. As one union soldier said later "if he had 1 million men in the field he still would say "I want another million" even if he was facing a damn company".
 
As for tactical generals vs Strategic ones, well, without sound tactical performance having the strategic brains will be of no use. Battles are one on the battalion and division levels not the field army or army group levels. This is why Russia lost so much in Barbarossa. They simply had few qualified soldiers who could command battalions and brigades. It was on this level where the Germans excelled in the early stages of WWII.
 
Plus many of the "strategic" moves are nothing but tacitcal moves but on a macroscale. Rommels moves in France with his division were of the same shape as Soviet field armies piercing through the German AGC lines during Bagration. The only problem is that some generals go too far with what they have and this is what Rommel did. He was just 30 km from Alexandria, just one last sprint and he is where the oil and food is. But this didn't happen. He failed and this is why he lost. He gambled like many other soldiers. I am certain that had he won the story would be different and those damning him would be praising his "military genius".
 
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Even I have to concur that McClellan was an ass if we've ever seen one in the role of a general.
 
Now, I'd suspect that we can only rate the people who brought in the victories since no matter how good the base back home is, then if the chap in the head of the armies is a loser the possibilities that the home staff has organized do not materialize. Therefore, it is all upon the tactical chaps if we want to get the job done.
 
Note that for some reason, it would seem that speaking of WWI then the strategic people are more well known.
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Al Jassas and rider,
 
Don't be too hard on George.  There is always a learning curve in war, and he happened to be on the front end of the curve.  Richmond had been well entrenched with field works, and the CSA would need fewer troops than the USA to defend the city.  Johnston knew a prolonged siege would put Richmond in danger, so he took the initiative and gambled on an offensive.  It worked.
 
The restricted area of the James River peninsula worked against a Union offensive as much as it protected the Union flanks.  There was neither enough room for any flanking movement, nor enough troops for a frontal assault.  The army simply was stretched too thin at the time. 
 
At Antietam, McClellan fought a strong battle and gained a tactical victory.  He was criticised for not pursuing - with an exhausted army.  The same criticism was laid on Meade after Gettysburg.  There is only so much that tired troops can do (like after a three day battle in stifling heat with little rest and little time for nourishment).
 
In the last year of the war, when the US army was a million strong, Richmond-Petersburg were still entrenched well enough to make siege work very costly for Grant.  (Of course the Army of the Potomac was about 105,000 in that theater.)
 
I am just stating that everyone was still learning to fight a war on that scale, and whatever early reverses were experienced, someone had to get the blame for it.  McClellan had a reputation for caution in re casualties; Grant took them by the bucket full.  By 1864, it was obvious that the latter approach was the one needed to win the war.  
 
   


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 09:19
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Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Meigs? Not at all. Who was he? Smile
 
Montgomery Cunningham Meigs was a career soldier - Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army from 1861 til after the Civil War. 
 
Google him.  An extremely important general who never commanded in the field.
 
 


Impressive man and credentials. Quartermaster general, Union logistics tsar, and picked the location for the Arlington National Cemetery. I found this next tidbit of info interesting. As McClellan was feigning illness while commander of the Potomac, Meigs told Lincoln to consult with McClellan's divisional commanders instead and thus engage the enemy. Soon, a jealous McClellan miraculously rebounded.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2009 at 06:42
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I'm interested in Pikeshott's choice of words in saying McClellan was a 'far more military' man than Grant.
 
I'd be willing to bet his leatherwork shone brighter and his brasses were more blinding and he stood more erect. But is that what 'military' means?
 
 
Actually, McClellan had strategic understanding, and his plan for the 1862 Peninsula Campaign was sound.  The army (and the navy) did not as yet have either the experience or the organizational sophistication to make the campaign effective. 
Then his strategy was wrong wasn't it? Good strategy takes account of available resources. Actually my reading of the Peninsula campaign was simply that he was afraid of losing.
Quote
 It was also of necessity an amphibious operation which is difficult even for experienced forces.  McClellan was also reluctant to fight in Virginia (never sure why).  At Antietam/Sharpsburg later that year he fought a huge battle and deterred Lee's move north onto Union soil.
 
At Antietam he should have crushed Lee and failed to do so, even though he had teice the manpower, though whether you would call that a tactical or strategic failing I'm not sure.  He also failed to follow-up and push after Lee across the Potomac, a definite strategic error. If McClellan had handled his forces properly, instead - again - of preferring to avoid combat, there would possibly never have been a Gettysburg.
 
In the climate of the day, it's true it was enough of a 'victory' - since it wasn't actually a defeat- to enable Lincoln to make the Emancipation Proclamation, but that was politics, not strategy or tactics. And also not McClellan's doing.
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Graham,
 
The strategy was sound.  Secure communications; protected flanks; the turning out of Johnston from his position south of Richmond and forcing him back upon the capital.  The decision to advance both in the west down the Mississippi and also upon Richmond was due to the demand for "quick victory."  That was a reflection of the demand of the nation for results which characterized post 1815 warfare.  The Union forces in 1862 did not have sufficient troops to do both and also to occupy territory - the country was too vast.
 
McClellan sought a determination in the field that was characterized by his training as an engineer - siege work to reduce the enemy.  This wasn't fast enough for the press, and consequently for Lincoln.  I am not even sure if the 1862 US army had sufficient siege artillery to conduct the campaign in that way, but I am saying the strategic conception was sound. When Grant and Meade made their approach to Richmond later, it was from the same direction.  
 
This is the difficulty the tactician has in modern times.  He is often expected to win fast, regardless of resources readily available; no excuses allowed.  Experience gained from the learning curve is at a premium due to....inexperience.  Lack of immediate success causes the tactician's superiors to lose confidence (political pressures).  McClellan withdrew from the Peninsula on orders from his superiors, not because he wanted to.  Archer Jones makes the point in How the North Won that McClellan's plans were beginning to make headway, but it was not fast enough for Lincoln.
 
So George failed.  That is true.  He may have been too concerned with the welfare of the soldier and the army.  Grant succeeded by chewing up Union soldiers and Confederates alike because he had far more to lose.  He, like Sherman, understood modern warfare.
 
The successful general became president; the failure is made fun of on AE.
 
   


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 07:26
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Any attempt at curing McClellan from the "slows" either through History or just simple rationalization is doomed to failure, specially if one fully understands the impact of M.C. Meigs. He along with another Southerner loyal to the Union, Winfield Scott, were the actual elaborators of what did produce victory: the Anaconda Plan. In effect, Pike, your "endorsement" of McClellan's "on to Richmond" mentality is akin to the German rush to Paris in 1914, which in effect generated the bloody stalemate of 1915-1917. Naval blockade and seizure of the strategic (as well as commercial) foci of the Confederacy proved far more effective as the catalyst for Southern collapse than the carnage in Virginia.
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 30 Jul 2009 at 08:43
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Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I'm interested in Pikeshott's choice of words in saying McClellan was a 'far more military' man than Grant.
 
I'd be willing to bet his leatherwork shone brighter and his brasses were more blinding and he stood more erect. But is that what 'military' means?
 
 
Actually, McClellan had strategic understanding, and his plan for the 1862 Peninsula Campaign was sound.  The army (and the navy) did not as yet have either the experience or the organizational sophistication to make the campaign effective.  It was also of necessity an amphibious operation which is difficult even for experienced forces.  McClellan was also reluctant to fight in Virginia (never sure why).  At Antietam/Sharpsburg later that year he fought a huge battle and deterred Lee's move north onto Union soil.
 


It's a rare occasion, but i will have to disagree with you here pikeshot. General Winfield Scott was the ultimate strategist the US had ever had in the 19th century. But was viewed as too old to serve in the field and what with command given to the younger generation of generals that made up the civil war era. It goes without saying that it was his anaconda plan that was ultimately and eventually used to bring the war to it's final conclusion.

In my view, McClellan was neither a strategist nor a tactician. In a word, he was a better business man than general. But granted, he was a most able organizer who eventually made the army more of a cohesive fighting unit then what it was as a mob with guns prior to his taking of command. He was what the Army needed at that time, but once it became organized, he became it's worst advocate of getting on with the job at hand.

What made McClellan most most nervous about fighting in Virginia was his unfortunate paranoid belief that there were rebels behind every tree waiting too destroy his army. His primary intelligence officer, Pinkerton (Who was no military man), certainly did not help matters very much by always inflating rebel forces that he would be facing. McClellan never knew that he always had the rebels outnumbered at least 2-1 and sometimes even more than that.

Even during the battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg and with General Lee's battle plans in his hands (A gift given to him by fortune, but with a curt dismissal of luck), McClellan could have destroyed Lee's Army. But at best was only able too fight him to a draw and then further let Lee leave the field unmolested, living to fight another day. That is what ultimately proved the end of his career in the military as far as Lincoln was concerned, which in the end his view is what mattered the most!

It eventual took Three Northern Generals who understood and finally implemented Gen. Scott's Anaconda plan. Grant in overall charge. Gen. Sherman implementation of his plan to march to the sea. And with Gen. Sheridan in overall command of the Grant's US Calvary arm had proved the end of Confederate dominance over the Union army.
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Gentlemen,
 
Please re-read my posts.  I am not claiming George McClellan was a success.  The thread is about tactical vs strategic generals.  I stated that the peninsula strategy was sound.  It was.  I said McClellan fought a battle at Antietam and blunted a Confederate advance into the north.  He did.
 
He was not the man for the job because the nation demanded more than West Point training.  It demanded someone who would fight and win battles, no matter what the cost.  These were modern times.  Maneuvering and strategic pussyfooting would not suffice. 
 
At least Panther recognizes that the Army of the Potomac was benefitted by McClellan's organizational ability and his effect on morale.  He was better suited to staff duty but that is not what fell his way.  He was not a fighting general, but "Fightin' Joe Hooker" had no more success than Little Mac.  The commander the army needed was Grant.  He understood that the way to fight a war was to come to grips with the enemy and fight him.  The nastier it was, the sooner it would be over.
 
It is out of the scope of this thread, but that US approach to war followed through to the 20th century, especially in the Second World War and also in Viet Nam.....sucessfully in the first; not so much in the second.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 30 Jul 2009 at 09:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2009 at 21:04
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Gentlemen,
 
Please re-read my posts.  I am not claiming George McClellan was a success.  The thread is about tactical vs strategic generals.  I stated that the peninsula strategy was sound.  It was. 
Overlooking the points above about whose strategy it was, timing is as important a factor in strategy as geography. The drive up the peninsula was only strategically sound if it was done fast, forcing the South to bring down whatever troops it could to Richmond's defence, with McDowell hard on their heels.
 
McClellan's dilatoriness gave Jackson time to do his famous vanishing trick with the sudden reappearance in the Shenandoah, leading to his threat on Washington, and absolutely preventing any reinforcement from McDowell coming south, as well as panicking Washington into giving McClellan the ultimatum to attack Richmond or pull out.
 
That can hardly be dismissed as 'tactics'; it was a failure to recognise the strategic importance of time. 
Quote
I said McClellan fought a battle at Antietam and blunted a Confederate advance into the north.  He did.
He was not the man for the job because the nation demanded more than West Point training.  It demanded someone who would fight and win battles, no matter what the cost.  These were modern times.  Maneuvering and strategic pussyfooting would not suffice. 
'Modern times'? 'Manoeuvring and strategic pussyfooting' were hardly sufficient for Nelson or Napoleon.
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 30 Jul 2009 at 21:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 03:44
Well, Napoleon's (or one of his) key element(s) was the speed by which he manouvered. Also, he was always ready to fight battles (because, I suspect that not doing so would have played into his disadvatage). Therefore, I'd say that Napoleon was quite modern a general (even if his basis for beign such was different).
 
However, if we look before Napoleon, then the wars were all about manouvering -- J. Churchill is critized because he engaged in battle and suffered (high) losses; he would have been the general that could have won the Civil War due to his means at any point though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 04:25
Quote 'Modern times'? 'Manoeuvring and strategic pussyfooting' were hardly sufficient for Nelson or Napoleon.


I may be wrong, but I thought that maneuvering is the basis of modern nation-to-nation warfare. Trying to force a quick direct confrontation between two armies create trench warfare conditions with modern defense technology.


And to use the U.S. Civil War as an example, Lee seemed to be only to happy to maneuver back and forth and to delay any confrontation that wasn't necessary, since he had less forces and resources.

Lee is probably one of the worst strategic generals of all time since many narratives say that he knew that the war couldn't be won for the South. Then why fight it in the first place? Why commit treason and desertion for a cause that was lost to begin with?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 04:44
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Quote 'Modern times'? 'Manoeuvring and strategic pussyfooting' were hardly sufficient for Nelson or Napoleon.


I may be wrong, but I thought that maneuvering is the basis of modern nation-to-nation warfare. Trying to force a quick direct confrontation between two armies create trench warfare conditions with modern defense technology.
I said they weren't sufficient, not that they weren't necessary or advisable. In the end though, as Nelson sort of said, you put your ship alongside the enemy and board her.
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And to use the U.S. Civil War as an example, Lee seemed to be only to happy to maneuver back and forth and to delay any confrontation that wasn't necessary, since he had less forces and resources.
Which as I tried to piint out was where McClellan's strategy was weak: he gave Lee the time he wanted to build a pre-emptive attack in the north (of Virginia).
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Lee is probably one of the worst strategic generals of all time since many narratives say that he knew that the war couldn't be won for the South. Then why fight it in the first place? Why commit treason and desertion for a cause that was lost to begin with?
Sometimes you fight for a cause that is lost because you figure you owe it to the people you are fighting for. Bruce Catton for one at least is anyway convinced Lee thought he could win, certainly up until Gettysburg. You don't actually have to defeat an enemy in the field to win a war: you just have to break his will to fight. That I think is what Lee was relying on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 07:48
HUGO! Lee didn't commit treason. He stayed loyal to his country and fought for it like any patriot and man should.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 10:18
Koit,

He was a commissioned officer of the U.S. Army when the civil war started. He had just been promoted a few weeks before he deserted to aid the enemy. In other countries, after the war, he would have been hanged for treason. It is outstanding about the U.S. that the victors didn't do this.

But if we want to explore more this issue, we can start a new thread
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 11:37
Hold it a second, folks. Loyalties were a bit more complicated in the political landscape of "America" prior to the 1850s. Recall the outcome of the famous "Treason Trial" Jefferson planned for Burr. The loyalty to one's country was a bit more complicated than an identity with the national government and it did take the Civil War to resolve the "sovereign state" issue--although the theory behind Reconstruction did not help matters as a consequence of its de facto recognition that Secession did take place. Yet, Lee did not "desert" his military command in the US Army, he resigned his commission. In contrast, Scott, another Virginian, did not resign his commission, but he was a political paladin of the generation before Lee.

Edited by drgonzaga - 31 Jul 2009 at 14:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 13:51
I'm surprised Hannibal has not been mentioned. A great tactician, could destroy Roman armies time and time again, but never really did anything with his victories. He won the battles, but lost the war. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2009 at 17:19
Hello to you all
 
Actually Hannibal was probably one of the greatest strategists ever. The problem is, he didn't recieve any help from politicians back home.
 
He went on a systematic rampage throughout Italy, managed to convince several cities to abandon Rome or be neutral and some even to ally themselves with him and only need more troops to finish the job. But he never got those troops and the funding never came so I don't blame him for what happened.
 
 
Also, Lee didn't desert, he knew better. He resigned his post and joined the Virginia militia, which if I am not mistaken he was a member of before the war. The Virginia militia was the main part of the confederate army.
 
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