Notices
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Military strategists.

  1. #1 Military strategists. 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    twechar
    Posts
    24
    I notice someone has resurrected an old thread about Alexander the Great. Many would consider him to have been a great leader and strong on military tactics.
    Who do other members consider to have been the best military strategists of both the distant and recent past?
    I believe I have a sound grasp of these modern tactics altho' I still have to convince my superiors.
    Cpl. Cremola.
    (looking attractive in peaked cap and jodhpurs- Hermann Wilhelm Goering "lookalike".)


    Last edited by Corporal William Cremola; August 6th, 2011 at 03:26 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman okamido's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    37
    Subodai and Wellington come to mind right off the bat, especially if we leave off the big cheesses, ie: Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon.


    Last edited by okamido; August 9th, 2011 at 12:16 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,087
    Guderian - primarily responsible for the fall of France in 1940.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman okamido's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Guderian - primarily responsible for the fall of France in 1940.
    Guderian was a great innovative commander. Good choice.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    I always thought Patton was a good commander, but maybe there's no universal agreement on that. He was among the first to realize horse cavalry was on its way out and advocated for the US military to move toward mechanized solutions. In WW2 right after Normandy he was able to push rapidly ahead into German territory further than his enemies anticipated because he realized the combination of air support and mobility present in the US military would make that kind of speedy advance possible.

    I see that as the very most important trait of a modern commander: the ability to see the potential of new technologies before enemy commanders see it. There will always be new technologies emerging that change the game. If a commander places too much faith in tradition and experience, he/she will usually be the last to adapt to those changes.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,087
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I always thought Patton was a good commander, but maybe there's no universal agreement on that. He was among the first to realize horse cavalry was on its way out and advocated for the US military to move toward mechanized solutions. In WW2 right after Normandy he was able to push rapidly ahead into German territory further than his enemies anticipated because he realized the combination of air support and mobility present in the US military would make that kind of speedy advance possible.

    I see that as the very most important trait of a modern commander: the ability to see the potential of new technologies before enemy commanders see it. There will always be new technologies emerging that change the game. If a commander places too much faith in tradition and experience, he/she will usually be the last to adapt to those changes.
    In some ways Patton's 1944 strategy was quite similar to Guderian in 1940. One major difference is that the Germans in 1944 probably didn't have the resources to stop Patton while the French in 1940 suffered from bad generals, even though the Allied armies outnumbered the Germans.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    depends...
    Posts
    425
    Pershing went to Europe and changed the war, I think he could be considered great. Scipio Africanus, he scared off Hannibal's elephants at Zama with horns and led them through lanes of soldiers. And I'm pretty sure he went to Carthage against the senates orders, which in my opinion makes him more worthy of respect.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Sherman and Lee should figure large among Americans. Grant of course gets credit for recognizing he could loose every minor battle and still win the war by attrition.

    Was never a big fan of Patton. He was full of crazy in a bad way and seldom challenged by lack of resources compared to some of his betters that opposed him (aka Rommel) . The one large credit I'd give him for tactical genius is recognizing the Germans had shifted forces North just prior to the battle of the bulge and having built a good enough staff to quickly respond to the situation--either way though we had it in the bag by then, a few months delay is the best the Germans could hope for.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Why would you include Sherman? All he did was get the bright idea to go after the civilian population. That doesn't deserve respect. Is there some keen insight to his strategy that I'm missing and/or misunderstanding?

    Probably I like Patton because I somewhat identify with him. However I hadn't really thought about the fact the war was basically over when he did his best work.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Why would you include Sherman? All he did was get the bright idea to go after the civilian population. That doesn't deserve respect. Is there some keen insight to his strategy that I'm missing and/or misunderstanding?
    Perhaps and we've discussed it before. Like many wars, the center of gravity is often the people, a combination of their willingness to fight, their realization that war wasn't about honor, courage, but about death and destruction. He also fully realized from his participation at Vicksburg that much of the South was still well able to supply the war effect for much longer. His proposal would achieve two key objectives--physical destruction of supply nods and transportation systems and bring the full impact and horror of the war deep into the South. Each of these tactics were not unique, for example George Washington destroyed the agricultural base and many villages against Indians nations, and John Paul Jones brought the sea war to the shores of the British. Being a good student of history Sherman, was able to apply these to his war and despite being still infamous in the South, likely shortened the Civil War by a year or longer through his actions.

    As an aside I would have guess you'd really like Sherman. He did a lot of thinking out of the box!
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Nah. Even as silly as I think some of the rules of war are, I don't believe in fighting dishonorably against an enemy that is willing to fight honorably. I don't think it should be a race to the bottom. If Confederate soldiers had been dressing up like civilians or using those cities as refuge instead of gathering in garrisons where they could be engaged, I might feel differently, but I think no military commander should walk right past an enemy willing to fight them in open battle, and go after their women and children instead.

    Politically, the best outcome of war is served by shows of courage, not cowardice. Cowardly, but tactically advantageous moves will win fear, but bravery earns respect. Respect becomes legitimacy. Legitimacy enables the victor to establish order. The final goal of war is ultimately political in nature, so if you undermine that, then you may find that you and your men have fought, bled, and died for nothing.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    171
    I will say Miltiade and Themistocle, the strategei of the Medic wars. Especially Themistocle, he was a complex person, a real head of state but also a corrupted tyran.
    "Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
    Luxe, calme et volupté."
    (Baudelaire, L'Invitation au Voyage)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    but I think no military commander should walk right past an enemy willing to fight them in open battle,
    That piece of it is the entire idea of military maneuver--while not widely practiced in American military history as attrition, it is beyond a doubt one of the most unique and effective means to fight. When done right it destroys the enemies ability to fight without EVER fighting them at their strong points and sometimes not at all. Thinking your military should only fight directly and only against their military is a pre-Napoleonic and romantic view of warfare rarely ever used. By the time of the civil war it wasn't an strong expectation, though commanders often negotiate temporary gentlemen terms such as an hours cease fire to round up the dead and wounded etc.

    and go after their women and children instead.
    Mostly hype from the perspective of the looser for PR and sympathy or to vilify the winners. While I don't doubt some small groups got carried away it wasn't official policy to directly kill, rape or otherwise harm women and children. Notably we used the same style of misinformation with claims the Iraqi's were killing babies when they invaded Kuwait--unconfirmed, fabricated or greatly exaggerated lies to vilify the aggressor to get international support.

    Politically, the best outcome of war is served by shows of courage, not cowardice. Cowardly, but tactically advantageous moves will win fear, but bravery earns respect. Respect becomes legitimacy. Legitimacy enables the victor to establish order. The final goal of war is ultimately political in nature, so if you undermine that, then you may find that you and your men have fought, bled, and died for nothing.
    That's highly debatable. There probably isn't any higher form of courage than blowing yourself up to kill a few Americans at a military checkpoint, or to flying and killing oneself to fly an airplane into the Pentagon or driving a mini-sub into a WWII American destroyer--it often earns nothing but loathing. While demonstrations of courage can sometimes earn respect from the enemy it's far from certain and can draw the exact opposite.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    twechar
    Posts
    24
    I have always admired the military skills of the German Field Marshal, Gerd von Rundstedt, who came from the aristocratic Prussian military caste. I would have liked to have come from such a background myself!
    Acting Oberst Cremola.
    (recent free transfer to the Wehrmacht now under review)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    and go after their women and children instead.
    Mostly hype from the perspective of the looser for PR and sympathy or to vilify the winners. While I don't doubt some small groups got carried away it wasn't official policy to directly kill, rape or otherwise harm women and children. Notably we used the same style of misinformation with claims the Iraqi's were killing babies when they invaded Kuwait--unconfirmed, fabricated or greatly exaggerated lies to vilify the aggressor to get international support.
    The level of discipline in the Northern armies was deplorable. Sherman would have had to know he would have no hope of reigning in his men enough to prevent that kind of stuff. But I see your point about fabrications and exaggerations. His goals weren't genocidal, not directly anyway.

    Politically, the best outcome of war is served by shows of courage, not cowardice. Cowardly, but tactically advantageous moves will win fear, but bravery earns respect. Respect becomes legitimacy. Legitimacy enables the victor to establish order. The final goal of war is ultimately political in nature, so if you undermine that, then you may find that you and your men have fought, bled, and died for nothing.
    That's highly debatable. There probably isn't any higher form of courage than blowing yourself up to kill a few Americans at a military checkpoint, or to flying and killing oneself to fly an airplane into the Pentagon or driving a mini-sub into a WWII American destroyer--it often earns nothing but loathing. While demonstrations of courage can sometimes earn respect from the enemy it's far from certain and can draw the exact opposite.
    I think it takes more courage to live than it does to die. I suppose it's not so much courage as fearlessness that wins respect. If you blow yourself up it's because you want to be sure your enemy never gets the chance to retaliate. That shows desperation, not strength. On the other hand, if you brazenly march into your enemy's stronghold, kill all opposition and then spare the base commander, what you are showing is that you never really perceived your opponent to be a threat in the first place. That could be a bluff or a lie, but in the world of politics it is tremendously valuable.

    The most successful politicians in history, people like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or even Andrew Jackson, did well because they were able to look past the tactical necessities of the moment. They had an end game, something the USA seriously lacks these days.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. You might not like his tactics but Sherman was brilliant, applied an excellent solution to the problem that was seldom used. I hope you read his journals sometime--he had many insights into future wars as well predicting the stalled trench warfare and limited roll of calvary that would follow a half century later.

    Courage gets respect from the home team more than anything else. As an example, most of Al Qeada's leadership got great respect from their own men because of old battle scars earned as mujahideen like badges of their personal courage. Most American Soldiers not only don't respect them but would still shoot them on sight--Including this old Soldier. Should I show respect for the trigger man who blow a bomb up on my truck even though he had no rifle as opposed to my team's three machine guns and within two minutes a pair of F16s, and Apache gunships who could have brought hell and death to anyone around me simply by giving them the target and my initials? Hardly. The bomber showed great courage, more than most American Soldiers are ever asked to give (hopefully) but he didn't get my respect, or the respect from anyone on my team, or from the pilots that supported me. On the other hand he probably earned great respect from his family and tribe from the successful attack as well as some money from the insurgent organization.
    --
    I'd also disagree that Napoleon was a successful politician. I'd say he was terrible at it. Most of his enemies willingness to continue making war were due to his unwillingness to accept the economic and political norms of surrounding nations--he didn't' play well with others.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post

    Courage gets respect from the home team more than anything else. As an example, most of Al Qeada's leadership got great respect from their own men because of old battle scars earned as mujahideen like badges of their personal courage. Most American Soldiers not only don't respect them but would still shoot them on sight--Including this old Soldier. Should I show respect for the trigger man who blow a bomb up on my truck even though he had no rifle as opposed to my team's three machine guns and within two minutes a pair of F16s, and Apache gunships who could have brought hell and death to anyone around me simply by giving them the target and my initials? Hardly. The bomber showed great courage, more than most American Soldiers are ever asked to give (hopefully) but he didn't get my respect, or the respect from anyone on my team, or from the pilots that supported me. On the other hand he probably earned great respect from his family and tribe from the successful attack as well as some money from the insurgent organization.
    --
    Reading what you write about them, it sounds like you respect them quite a lot. That doesn't mean you can't hate them, or desire strongly to kill them. Not shooting back isn't what respect is all about.

    Think of Don Corleone in the God Father. People respect a mafia don, but it doesn't mean they love him. It just means the question of whether to go to war with him is one that a person makes when they're sober, not when they're drunk and trying to impress a lady.

    You gain that kind of respect by using your strength inefficiently and still winning. Beat a guy in single combat with one arm tied behind your back, and spare his life when it's socially acceptable to have finished him off, and any onlookers will be quite reluctant to challenge you. Showing you have the ability to win matters more than actually winning. If all you do is win, then people think they might fare better in round 2. Think of Alexander the Great building a land bridge to siege the city of Tyre. It may have been necessary or not, but it showed flamboyance. It sent a message to all the other towns that Alexander had a lot more force in storage than what he was actually bringing to the battle field most of the time.

    Alexander the Great

    Respect just means you don't take them lightly. Obama was not afraid to kill Osama Bin Laden, but he was quite afraid to deny him an honorable burial. Everyone is scared of what forces Islam might be holding in reserve. They have indeed won the respect game.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    I think we have different definitions of respect. I can appreciate and acknowledge a man's courage, which I've done in the preceding paragraphs and spent more than two decades as an officer studying how to encourage it among my Soldiers (or myself) if necessary, but if that courage is woefully misdirected, out of desperate necessity, from the deepest levels of superstitious irrationality, or brainwashed insanity, I don't have an ounce of respect for them. Such is the case for many of the insurgents trying to kill us. If demonstrations of courage and respect went hand and hand most US Soldiers would have deep respect for the insurgencies we've been fighting against the past decade, instead most US Soldiers only feel revulsion for their enemy--myself included.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; August 12th, 2011 at 02:43 PM.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Perhaps for you respect has more to do with finding common ground, or feeling like you could be happy about yourself if you were them. I think I would use a word more like "admiration" for that. Certainly there is nothing to admire in these people. They're weak willed individuals in the worst possible way. They want to live and die as children who never bore an adult's responsibility on their back. That's what signing over everything to a divine being and blowing oneself up does for you. It lets you die thinking life is really just so simple.

    As for respect in warfare, the goal of war is not to win, but to demonstrate your own superiority. If all you do is win, there will most certainly be another war. If you want a lasting peace, you have to make it clear that the next 200 attempts will all end in failure as well. Sherman may have hastened the North's victory, but Grant is the one who demonstrated the futility of the South's efforts with his attrition strategy. Clearly the South with its 9 million occupants was never going to win that game against the North's 22 million. There would be no benefit in trying for a second round. All Sherman taught them was that they needed to protect their cities better. All Sherman did was make it more vicious. The South could have simply matched his tactics if they wanted to win a second war.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_Washington
    Last edited by kojax; August 14th, 2011 at 03:07 AM.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •