Who was the worst American general or battlefield tactician? -


Read more about If you have a brain, you like the generals on the Confederate side best, that's only natural. As far as wishing the Confederate side had won? Definitely not, but there ar

Military Medals Store

  International Military Forums > >

User Name
Password

 
August 2nd, 2004   #1
David Hurlbert
 

Who was the worst American general or battlefield tactician? info


....and why?
 
-
AVG Advent calendar: daily offers
August 3rd, 2004   #2
IrishWizard
 
May get some bashing but I think it was Ulysess S. Grant. Never really proved himself strategically. Would just attack non-stop. Was careless when it came to lives of men, but knew it had to be done. Basically a early form of what the russians did at stalingrad in WWII. Just keep sending men non-stop till the enemy can't hold anymore. He lost many many battles, but only advanced because of the numbers of men he had and how weak the CSA was in the west.
 
August 3rd, 2004   #3
David Hurlbert
 
Fortunately, most poor tacticians and/or battlefield leaders seldom acquire the rank of admiral or general in the U.S. military system. Nonetheless, in our brief history, we have had our share of idiots or poor military leaders on the battlefield. As for Grant, IrishWizard you will get no bashing from me because I agree. However, when it came to massive ego, pompous behavior, and being accredited with the single greatest military defeat in U.S. history, complete with exhortations to duty, punctuated by exaggerated narcissistic personality disorder, General Douglas MacArthur had no equal.

His pompous behavior was best illustrated by his assault on the American veterans of World War I. The Great Depression's worst year about 25,000 World War I veterans, many of whom were decorated American combat heroes – walked, hitch-hiked or rode the rails to Washington, D.C. Organizing themselves into a vagrant army of sorts, they squatted with their families in along Pennsylvania Avenue and pitched an encampment of crude self-made shacks and tents on the banks of the Anacostia River in an effort to obtain their promised war bonus pensions. In June 1932, President Hoover ordered MacArthur to peacefully route the crowds. MacArthur used tanks, four troops of cavalry with drawn sabers, and infantry with fixed bayonets to meet the ragged bunch of men, women, and children with tear-gas. Following the cavalry charge, came the tear-gas attack, routing the Bonus Army from Pennsylvania Avenue and across the Eleventh Street Bridge. Disregarding orders – a common theme throughout his career – MacArthur decided to finish the job by destroying the “Bonus Army” entirely. After nightfall, the tanks and cavalry leveled the jumbled camp of tents and packing-crate shacks. It was all put to the torch. There were more than one hundred casualties in the aftermath of the battle, including two babies, suffocated by the gas attack and most of the peoples lost all their personal possessions.

Okay he had no respect for American wartime veterans, but what about his tactical skills as a military leader? In one word, terrible! How could anyone consider General Douglas MacArthur to be a brilliant tactician when he is known for leading the single greatest military defeat in U.S. history, the loss of the Philippines. It is remarkable how MacArthur escaped any reprimand, kept his command and got his fourth star on December 17th and a Congressional Medal of Honor for "gallantry and intrepidity" at Bataan where he spent part of only one day for an inspection. He was awarded the medal after he had already fled and deserted his troops. His ultimate reward was orders to leave the Philippines with his family while his soldiers were subjected to the deadly brutality of the Bataan Death March. The losses were horrific with over 31,000 Americans 80,000 Filipino troops, and 26,000 refugees on Bataan. And let’s not forget about the battle “retaking of the Philippines” in which 600,000 civilians were killed.

The Imperial forces destroyed half his air force in one assault and within weeks invaded Luzon. Forced to abandon his Corregidor headquarters in 1942, he escaped to Australia, where he made the memorable pledge that became the Allied motto in the Pacific: “I came through, and I shall return.” MacArthur had been soundly defeated, yet I am amazed how he became an instant national hero and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In addition and perhaps not coincidentally, MacArthur was given $500,000 and his staff $100,000 upon leaving the Philippines. In today's money, $500,000 is equivalent to about $5 million. The $35,000 given to him to cover expenses was invested in the stock market and made him a millionaire by war's end.

Furthermore and despite MacArthur's boasting about always bypassing enemy strongholds, he planned to invade New Britain and capture the heavily defended base at Rabaul. Only orders from the Joint Chiefs of Staff prevented this potential bloodbath. Undoubtedly many other islands would have been better off bypassed. Nonetheless, some consider the war in Korea have also been a costly one. Total U.S. casualties during the war numbered approximately 136,000 killed, missing in action, and wounded. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when one considers that General Douglas Macarthur’s conduct during the initial phase of the Korean War. Many historians suggest that Macarthur’s ‘agenda’ brought USA and USSR extremely close to the brink of World War 3.

So who were the real tacticians and strategists behind winning the war in the Pacific Theater? The brilliant minds of naval leaders like Admirals William F. Halsey, Chester W. Nimitz, and Raymond A. Spruance were the real tacticians and heroes behind MacArthur’s claims to success in the Pacific Theater.
 
August 3rd, 2004   #4
LeatherNeckRVA
 
MacArthur was a WW1 veteran and was doing his duty. He had retired from military service before WW2 and lived in the phillipines to help govern the country, he had neither the troops or the supplies to hold the phillipines and his landing at Leyte is considered miraculous. He also made several brilliant landing behind the 38th parallel in Korea with Inchon being the most noteable. Calling MacArthur a poor strategist should be sacrilege as far as I'm concerned, his actions towards the bonus army have no impact on his abilities as a tactician. And you shouldn't skip over his highly decorated performance in WW1 where he was designated the youngest divisional commander in the field. I'm not really going anywhere with this other than I like MacArthur......alot.
 
August 3rd, 2004   #5
David Hurlbert
 
LeatherNeckRVA, like all the opinions expressed in these posts, I have no less respect for yours because we disagree over MacArthur. Furthermore, you have every right to like the man as I do to dislike him. However and in your words, “his [implying MacArthur’s Plan] landing at Leyte is considered miraculous.” I totally agree with you in that this was a brilliant plan. Unfortunately, you gave the credit for this plan to the wrong person. Based on the fact that naval reconnaissance revealed very limited Japanese activity in the Philippines, Admiral Halsey proposed this plan to land directly on Leyte in October. This plan actually led to a change in strategy and was quickly approved by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, who were at that time attending a Quebec Conference. Strategically, Admiral Halsey’s plan was brilliant, because it would force the Japanese to split their forces in the Philippines and practically force the Japanese Combined Fleet to come out in the open to meet the threat. So as I previously noted, “The brilliant minds of naval leaders like Admirals William F. Halsey, Chester W. Nimitz, and Raymond A. Spruance were the real tacticians and heroes behind MacArthur’s claims to success in the Pacific Theater.”
 
August 3rd, 2004   #6
LeatherNeckRVA
 
point taken
 
August 4th, 2004   #7
Mark Conley
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dh76513
LeatherNeckRVA, like all the opinions expressed in these posts, I have no less respect for yours because we disagree over MacArthur. Furthermore, you have every right to like the man as I do to dislike him. However and in your words, “his [implying MacArthur’s Plan] landing at Leyte is considered miraculous.” I totally agree with you in that this was a brilliant plan. Unfortunately, you gave the credit for this plan to the wrong person. Based on the fact that naval reconnaissance revealed very limited Japanese activity in the Philippines, Admiral Halsey proposed this plan to land directly on Leyte in October. This plan actually led to a change in strategy and was quickly approved by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, who were at that time attending a Quebec Conference. Strategically, Admiral Halsey’s plan was brilliant, because it would force the Japanese to split their forces in the Philippines and practically force the Japanese Combined Fleet to come out in the open to meet the threat. So as I previously noted, “The brilliant minds of naval leaders like Admirals William F. Halsey, Chester W. Nimitz, and Raymond A. Spruance were the real tacticians and heroes behind MacArthur’s claims to success in the Pacific Theater.”
Now...this was the same Admiral that based on inadequate intelligence, withdrew his main battle fleet from the shore landing force in order to annialate the decoy Japanese fleet while two other japanese task forces snaked their way to the landing sites.

One got nailed big time in the strait. the other was more successful and made it to the landing areas, and was totally in reality unopposed (Battleships and cruisers against destroyers and jeep carriers? Meat on the table for the Japanese)

I believe if it hadn't been for the courage and sacrifice of the ships of Taffy 1, Taffy 2, and Taffy 3, these landings would have had a much different outcome. And Halsey would have been remembered alright..for a great ship slaughter (his own, not theirs).

Guys, even the greatest make mistakes...please remember that.


“If we should have to fight, we should be prepared to do so from the neck up instead of from the neck down.”— General James H. Doolittle, USAAF
 
August 4th, 2004   #8
David Hurlbert
 
Mark, I agree with you and the point that everyone makes mistakes is a very well established truth, but this truth was neither accepted nor understood by MacArthur. Unlike us and the many other leaders in the Pacific Theater, however, General MacArthur took credit for all the victories while blaming others for all the losses. And this is just one more reason why I think he was not a good leader.
 
August 4th, 2004   #9
Mark Conley
 
 
roger that...
 
August 4th, 2004   #10
David Hurlbert
 
“I am not young enough to know everything.” Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900).
 



Tags
american, battlefield, general, tactician, worst

MilitaryClothing.com