Military Hall of Shame- An examination of great military blunders




 
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April 5th, 2006  
r@n3g@de
 
 
My favourite subject: the blunders and the blunderers …. littering the annals of military history.

I know there was a similar thread titled: Biggest Blunders in Military History started by The Other Guy. As the thread developed the focus of the discussion changed from ‘blunders’ to ‘history, as I know’ or that was my understanding. Therefore, I want to resurrect this thread with due recognition to The Other Guy and all participating members in that thread.

I understand this is a subject, which is very flexible to personal understanding and knowledge. As some of the members have pointed out the blunders can be categorized at different levels- Strategic, Operational, Tactical levels. While strategic blunders are attributed to politicians (like Stalin refusing to accept the intelligence against German buildup or Hitler declaring war on the US to honour the Axis pact with Japan), operational and tactical blunders are mostly credited to military commanders. Not all the mistakes and defeats can’t bedubbed as blunders or disasters. Often then not, they are associated with the blatant disregard to lives of under command, poor planning, faulty intelligence, unfit, inapt or ambitious commanders, and most alarmingly political muddling in the operational level. I intend to classify and present a few such events which/who according to my perspective, deserves to be in the Military Hall of Shame. Few known and successful generals/ commanders may deserve place here also for individual event/battle (Monty of Arnhem) but not necessarily for the whole tenure of the engagement. While the causes for a particular debacle may be endless, the root is limited to only a few such causes. Of course, individual view on the matter will set the stage for deciding the sublime cause behind.

I am sure there will be differences in opinion. I encourage that and hope to refine my understanding and knowledge from that. I would also request the informed members to contribute spontaneously with their view with some elaboration.

I have made following broad categories and will try to discuss one by one. You are welcome to chip in.

Ø Underestimating Enemy
Ø Unfit Leaders
Ø Planning Disasters
Ø Intelligence Blunders
Ø Political Influence

Underestimating Enemy - Coming up soon

Unfit Leaders...
April 7th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by r@n3g@de
My favourite subject: the blunders and the blunderers …. littering the annals of military history.

I know there was a similar thread titled: Biggest Blunders in Military History started by The Other Guy. As the thread developed the focus of the discussion changed from ‘blunders’ to ‘history, as I know’ or that was my understanding. Therefore, I want to resurrect this thread with due recognition to The Other Guy and all participating members in that thread.

I understand this is a subject, which is very flexible to personal understanding and knowledge. As some of the members have pointed out the blunders can be categorized at different levels- Strategic, Operational, Tactical levels. While strategic blunders are attributed to politicians (like Stalin refusing to accept the intelligence against German buildup or Hitler declaring war on the US to honour the Axis pact with Japan), operational and tactical blunders are mostly credited to military commanders. Not all the mistakes and defeats can’t bedubbed as blunders or disasters. Often then not, they are associated with the blatant disregard to lives of under command, poor planning, faulty intelligence, unfit, inapt or ambitious commanders, and most alarmingly political muddling in the operational level. I intend to classify and present a few such events which/who according to my perspective, deserves to be in the Military Hall of Shame. Few known and successful generals/ commanders may deserve place here also for individual event/battle (Monty of Arnhem) but not necessarily for the whole tenure of the engagement. While the causes for a particular debacle may be endless, the root is limited to only a few such causes. Of course, individual view on the matter will set the stage for deciding the sublime cause behind.

I am sure there will be differences in opinion. I encourage that and hope to refine my understanding and knowledge from that. I would also request the informed members to contribute spontaneously with their view with some elaboration.

I have made following broad categories and will try to discuss one by one. You are welcome to chip in.

Ø Underestimating Enemy
Ø Unfit Leaders
Ø Planning Disasters
Ø Intelligence Blunders
Ø Political Influence

Underestimating Enemy - Coming up soon

Unfit Leaders...
Hello and welcome. I look forward to reading what you have to say and chipping in with my own comments.
June 13th, 2006  
Dean
 
 
Ok, time to have a bit of fun:
Underestimating the enemy: that one has to go to the Italians who underestimated just about everybody, but particularly the Ethiopians. They attacked an army of horse-mounted sword wielding cavalry with a modern (for the time) armoured force, and proceeded to win a war with a long drawn out campaign, when they should have trounced the Ethoipoans in two or three days. For good measure, they were then kicked out of Africa by the Brits, whose favourable kill ratios were the most spectacular of the war.

Unfit Leaders: General Ambrose Burnside.... 'nuff said!

Intelligence blunders: I would change this to "horrid decisions in the face of useful intelligence". The two prizes go to Marshal Montgomery who went ahead with Market-Garden (an airborne assault) in spite of the fact that a German Armoured division was known to be resting a few kilometers from the drop site.
The second goes to Stalin, who did not prepare for Barbarossa in spite of the fact that his intelligence services knew the date, time units commanders, axes of attack, reserves, and everything else. Stalin chose not to believe it, and we all saw the result.
Political influence: Has to go to Stalin for Barbarossa and to Hitler for his attempts to micromanage the war from before Stalingrad right up to the end. He managed to subjugate the German General staff, which was argueably one of the best in the world, and he replaced them with a buch of vapid, useless yes-men.

Dean.
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June 14th, 2006  
AussieNick
 
The Japanese for invading Kokoda. Severely underestimating the ability of a handfull of (admitadly rag tag, poorly trained and poorly equiped) Australians. Resulting in Japan's first land battle defeat in WW2, and it became the furthest reach of their advance, from which they were soundly beaten back across the Pacific (massive over-simplification of events there).
June 14th, 2006  
bulldogg
 
 
Operation Market Garden chief among many of Monty's blunders caused by his hubris.
June 14th, 2006  
Stanford Tuck
 
Unfortunately the Australians were not the first to defeat the Japanese in a land battle during WW2. The Chinese had been winning and loseing land battles with the Japs before (1930's) and during WW2.
Cheers
ST
June 14th, 2006  
bulldogg
 
 
Winning? The Chinese lost mate. The first record of a Chinese victory I could find in Western or Chinese history books was as a joint op with US forces in 1943.
June 14th, 2006  
Stanford Tuck
 
Look up the eighth route army around june 1938.
Cheers
St

research july 9 1942 . Nationalist forces in Jiangxi province.
Could probably ad a few more if you want?
Cheers
St
June 14th, 2006  
bulldogg
 
 
Better yet, give me a source, mate.
June 15th, 2006  
Stanford Tuck
 
G'day Bulldog,
A basic one on the net is Wikipedia Which I used because I am away from home and don't have my reference material with me ( I tend to not use the net as I don't realy trust some of the information). Another date is april 1938 Shantung province.
Cheers
ST