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Moment of Battle
#1
My material from an old forum. It is general history specific to many times and places. Not all of these battles have a 4T quality about them...but some do. Some may have defined significant aspects of times from antiquity to now. Here is a start for discussion:

‘Moment of Battle’ author James Lacey on the most pivotal military battles in history.
http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/24804...mp=sem_outloud

Lacey's choices?

Marathon 490 BC (First Greco-Persian War -- unlikely Greek victory, prevented the Persian conquest of Greece)
Gaugamela 331 BC (Alexander's campaign against Persia-- caused the swift disintegration of the Persian Army)
Zama 202 BC (Second Punic War -- Carthage broken to a client state)
Teutoburger Wald 9 AD (Early Germanic tribes destroy the Roman XVII Legion and stop Roman expansion into northern Germany)
Adrianople 376 AD (Huge defeat of Imperial Rome, gross weakening of Roman authority and power in the west).
Yarmuk 636 AD (allows Arab/Muslim conquest of the Levant, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain)
Hastings 1066 AD (Allowed Norman conquest of England)
Spanish Armada 1588 (Thwarted Spanish hegemony in western Europe)
Breitenfeld 1631 (First Protestant victory in the Thirty Years War, established a continuing Protestant-Catholic division in German lands)
Annus Mirabilis 1759 (several British victories in the Seven-Years War worldwide)
Saratoga 1777 (First Continental victory, American War of Independence)
Trafalgar 1805 (British naval victory over France, thwarted Napoleonic hegemony in southwest Europe and led him eastward to his ruin)
Vicksburg 1863 (Severed the Confederate States of America)
Battle of the Marne 1914 (Stopped a swift German thrust into France that would have decided the war)
Battle of Britain 1940 (Prevented a Nazi invasion of Great Britain, inspired Hitler to go east to his ruin)
Midway 1942 (First US victory against Imperial Japan -- unambiguous turning point)
Kursk 1943 (German offensive stalled, German tank capacities gutted, Soviet advance into central Europe effectively unstoppable)
Normandy 1944 (Arguable death-blow to the Third Reich)
Dien Bien Phu 1954 (Forced French departure from Vietnam)
Objective Peach 2003 (Allowed the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein)

I will give my comment on these choices and give some of my alternatives.

---------------

The most important of those battles may be the earliest ones for determining what cultural possibilities remain and what ethnic or religious identity is possible. Marathon is obvious because it prevents a Persian conquest that would have suppressed the rise of classical Greek culture with incalculable change afterward. Maybe the Golden Age of Greece still happens -- but I would not bet on it. Gaugamela allows Hellenistic culture to expand beyond the Levant as far as western India, with the spread of Greek esthetic norms into India and the fertilization of Indian culture (on effect being on the philosophical basis of Buddhism) with effects beyond India.



Zama? I would have chosen some other Punic defeat. A Punic conquest of Rome would have left a very different world -- one in which Semitic languages dominate in southwestern Europe. There would probably be no French, Spanish, or Portuguese language. Rome might be a micro-state of marginal interest to historians. The Punic Wars are of course critical to world history.

Teutoburger Wald? It prevented Roman expansion into the forested zones of central Europe. Germany would be German. German-speaking peoples soon came to dominate the middle of Europe, for better or worse.

Adrianople? The eastern part of the Roman Empire recovered, but at the expense of the stability of the West. In 100 years the Western Roman Empire would be no more.

Yarmuk? I can't overestimate that one. The still-powerful Byzantine Army was effectively severed, and the southern shore of the Mediterranean would be lost forever to the Classical World. Arab influence upon culture would spread in places from which it was finally ousted (Sicily, Spain, and Portugal). The Christian presence from Morocco to Libya would be destroyed, and once-influential Coptic Christianity would begin to dwindle.

Hastings? The final definition of English nationhood with the decisive transformation of the English language into the speech with a hybrid vocabulary (sheep/mutton).

Spanish Armada? The great storm that weakened the Spanish fleet allowed England to keep its independence and its Protestant identity -- and become the master of the High Seas. Without this victory, the British colonies from Newfoundland to Georgia never exist, and neither do the United States nor Canada.

Breitenfeld? This Protestant victory allowed northern Germany to remain Protestant. Germany would be ruled largely from Berlin and not from Vienna in the end. It also left some deep religious bigotry, much of which would be projected upon a people often identified with the letter "J", and we know how that ends.

Annus Mirabilis? I disqualify this one. Those were impressive victories, but they were many. We are looking at one victory and not several.

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Quote:Saratoga? I concur. Without this victory, the American struggle for independence withers and dies much like the anti-colonial revolt of Tupac Amaru II in Peru.
 
 Trafalgar? Enough said.
 
 Vicksburg? Better choice than Gettysburg (Confederate overreach), but I would have chosen some battle leading to Sherman's march through Georgia. My criteria involve a situation in which a powerful entity has a chance to win to one in which one of those entities is doomed. The American Civil War was more likely decided in eastern Tennessee. Chattanooga was the "Foundry of the South", and once it was gone the Confederacy lost much of its capacity to make weapons. The Confederacy would have done well enough without the rough frontier of Texas, insignificant Arkansas. and western Louisiana once it had lost New Orleans.
 
 Victory of the Marne? That prevented a rapid German thrust into France and swift victory in the West. In view of the collapse of Russia in the East, a German victory over France would have made Germany the arbiter of all in Europe.
 
 Battle of Britain? Probably more important than the Battle of Hastings. Reeling from a succession of defeats, the British finally got some victories that kept it from being consumed in the Devil's Reich. Hitler could not invade Britain; the Holocaust would be prevented in England through military force alone. Britain would eventually get an ally which would use the country as a collection of air bases for bombers and fighters -- and of course the final death-blow to the Evil Empire through the Normandy invasion.
 
 To give some idea of the cultural impact -- Star Wars IV: A New Hope seems heavily modeled after this death struggle between nearly-pure good and nearly-pure evil.
 
 Kursk? Germany had just been defeated badly at Stalingrad, but this offensive quickly led to a complete Soviet victory after which the Wehrmacht could only retreat -- sometimes with some order, and sometimes in complete disarray. Before Kursk, the Wehrmacht seemed to have a chance at the least to recover and get a stable line somewhere well to the east of the border of the Soviet Union at the start of Operation Barbarossa. Within a year the Third Reich was dead.
 
 Midway? I can hardly imagine more critical battle of the Pacific. If the United States lost Midway it would have lost Hawaii and had at most a defensive perimeter on the Pacific Coast. The Japanese would have conquered isolated Australia and New Zealand, perhaps while facing ferocious resistance by people who expected to be enslaved or slaughtered upon defeat. But those people would be defeated and decimated if not exterminated. Australia and New Zealand would probably be nearly depopulated and made 'magically' available for settlement by Japanese. Considering how badly the thug Japanese Empire treated people such as Koreans and Chinese similar to themselves in general appearance, let alone such people as the Vietnamese, Filipinos, and Burmese who could be starved if the Japanese military wanted the foodstocks, one can only imagine a Japanese-Australian war as a succession of massacres resembling Wounded Knee. Midway determined the fate of a continent -- even if that continent was 'only' Australia.
 
 The Normandy Invasion? That was several giant battles, strictly speaking. It proved the death-blow to the Third Reich, but only after the Reich was reeling in Italy and in Russia. The Allies broke out slowly and made decisive progress only after George Patton forced an assault to the south of German troops inland of the beachheads and destroyed those in the Falaise pocket, creating a disaster as severe as Stalingrad for the German Army and causing the German position in France to disintegrate. Within a year, the war was over. But was it the difference between a powerful Third Reich and a doomed Third Reich? Hardly. By then the Soviet armed forces were roughly at positions closely described by the Soviet border as of 1938 -- and Finland had been knocked out of the war.
 
 Dien Bien Phu? I can't figure why the French tried to stay in Indochina any longer than they did. They were disgraced there in World War II. But it was one colony. All of the former French Indochina would eventually fall to Commie rule -- but over twenty-some years after Dien Bien Phu.
 
 Operation Peach? Just look at the continuing presence of US forces in Iraq. Whoops!
Quote:Last edited by pbrower2a; 12-01-2015 at 07:44 PM.

OK -- my criteria are:
 
1. That both sides are considered powerful and so look before, but one side is utterly defeated, either being eventually absorbed by the victor of that battle (Gaugamela) or being stripped of  a huge chunk of its territory which it can never recover (Battle of Yarmuk) .

2. One side seems doomed, yet survives to become an eventual victor (Battle of Britain).

3. It is one distinct battle, let it be disqualified. The Normandy Invasion may have been a masterpiece of planning and execution -- and of course bravery of well-motivated troops -- but it is multiple beachheads. Likewise Annus Mirabilis.

4. Victory by an unexpected survivor allows that survivor to become a Great Power (Yarmuk again, Spanish Armada).

5. Genocide is committed in its wake or seems likely to be committed in its wake lest one side win. The British avoided both the Spanish Inquisition (Spanish Armada) and the Holocaust as well as a program of murderous repression (Battle of Britain).

6. Victory implies the survival of a people and its culture (as I see Midway for Australia or New Zealand) or defines what cultural and religious identity is possible (the Punic Wars -- is the western Mediterranean basin Punic or Roman in late classical times? Marathon, certainly, because if the Greeks did not win that battle there might never have been a Golden Age of Greece.

7. A political entity imperial in scale forms (Saratoga -- USA within six years) or is thwarted (Battle of the Marne).

8. A people or peoples scheduled for subjection maintain independence after the decisive defeat of would-be conquerors who choose not to return. Failure of the colonizer to return is the difference between Teutoburger Wald and Little Big Horn.

9. The struggle is not fore-ordained. Poland was doomed to defeat by its geometry in 1939. The battle is not simply the end of a doomed entity (let us say the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

10. The battle isn't noteworthy solely for its bloodiness.


B Butler;472959 Wrote:I have a soft spot for Vicksburg, not the siege, and not for taking the last major bastion on the Mississippi, but for Grant's marching a big army away from its chain of supply.  Grant took something of a risk, crossing the river south of Vicksburg and marching on the offensive without leaving troops behind to guard a supply train.  This allowed him to march fast and hit hard.  Prior to that crossing, even though the north had advantages in numbers, they were seldom able to exploit them as they spent too much of their force anchoring themselves to their supply route.

Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana in fact mattered little to whether the Confederacy thrived as a military power or failed. What mattered more was the Confederate ability to produce weapons, and once the Confederacy lost the foundries of Chattanooga it could never have the artillery necessary for then-modern warfare. It's easy to overestimate the significance of cutting off Texas because Texas is so important today. But the Confederacy was not operating on oil.

Quote:Without that first experiment in marching a large force out of supply, I doubt the March to the Sea would have happened.

It was easier after Vicksburg for the Union to enforce the naval blockade of the South because it had the Mississippi as a supply line for New Orleans. But if the Union capture of Vicksburg was a psychological blow, the campaign through eastern Tennessee and Sherman's march through Georgia effectively cut the South in two equal and ineffective halves politically and militarily and deprived the South of supplies and munitions. The Confederacy still had the desire in which to fight, but its communications were severed and its key supplies of food and munitions were cut off.

Quote:Also, prior to Vicksburg, the Army of the Potomac averaged about 6 miles a day on the road.  In the marches just prior to Gettysburg, General Mead parked the wagon trains to allow the troops priority on the roads.  Thirty miles a day was common.  The histories don't mention this change in marching doctrine save in describing how hungry and exhausted the Union forces were as the Battle of Gettysburg started.  Still, I see it as crucial.  Stuart was unable to execute a clean ride around the Union rear as the federal troops moved must faster than expected and got in his way.  Lee took the offensive on the second and third days of fighting because he knew where the Union forces were several days prior, knew they couldn't possibly have reached Gettysburg in numbers yet.  Lee thought he had a numbers advantage that didn't exist.

Gettysburg looks like a Confederate blunder. It looks like a pincer movement intended to cut the Union in half, but such would have failed. Those who know the topography of Pennsylvania recognize that once one leaves the fertile southeast of Pennsylvania near Harrisburg one enters some rough terrain. The only natural route north from Harrisburg is through a canyon. March through a canyon only if survival of troops and victory don't matter much because the enemy will have natural emplacements for picking off any advancing army and wagon trains with the artillery weapons of the day, whether javelins or Katyusha rockets. The Confederacy would have been wiser to turn east in an attempt to take Baltimore and cut off the formal chain of leadership.       

Quote:But the above is way down in the details.  How often does a battle really turn a war?  If Gettysburg and Vicksburg were decisive it was in giving Lincoln the victories he needed to win the election.

He could have suspended the election on the pretext that many of the States were unable to vote. Such is a choice that he was glad not to need to make. Winning the war mattered more to him than did the formality of an election.    

Quote:Midway was no doubt a big important battle that took the wind out of Japan's major offensive operations, but when the Essex class carriers started hitting the sea and the Hellcats took to the air, whatever happened earlier wouldn't have mattered a lot.  The Pacific War was one of attrition.  Japan was walking a doomed path from the start.

Hawaii is the last landmass in the Pacific Ocean on any naval route between Australia and New Zealand in the southwest and either Canada, the western United States, or Mexico in the northeast. If the Japanese naval forces could take Midway they were in position to take Hawaii and effectively cut off any possible Allied defense of the South Pacific from the US. Such would not have ended the Pacific War as such, but it would have cut off Australia and New Zealand. Australians and New Zealanders would have put up spirited defenses much like the Plains Indians did to the US Army -- but with a similar result in the end. Nobody could have been able to aid them in stopping a more powerful enemy with greater resources and more ammunition by the Japanese Armed Forces. The US would have been able to defend the Pacific Coast with comparative ease, but the Japanese would have never had to wage a naval battle of attrition against the USA because it could avoid it. Considering how badly the Japanese armed forces treated any captured Caucasians during WWII the Japanese conquests of Australia and New Zealand would have resulted in one Wounded Knee-style battle after another all the way to Perth, Hobart, and Wellington. Australia and New Zealand would be gone forever as large outposts of Western civilization and become part of the Far East indefinitely. That was potentially the naval equivalent of the Battle of Yarmuk, the battle that defined the Middle Ages. Just think: without the Battle of Yarmuk going as it did for the Arab Muslim armies, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt could be Christian countries.       

Quote:In a similar way, I am somewhat dubious about the entire list.  Did the battles listed actually turn the war involved, or were they just the most important incidents in conflicts that would have ended as they ended anyway even if a given battle went the other way.  D-Day was for sure important, but if the allies had been repulsed on the beaches could freeing up German Western Front troops and sending them back east have decisively defeated the Russians before the allies geared up to try again?

The United States was developing the atom bomb, and so long as it could deliver one to a German city, it could have destroyed the chain of command within the Reich. That would have taken until August 1945... but the Allies had a pretext for such -- the Holocaust. The German people were spared such a result not because they were white (something that Allied propaganda deliberately underplayed) but instead that Japan was still fighting in August 1945.  In any event, the D-day invasion was not enough to defeat the Third Reich. One of two things would have happened had the Normandy invasion failed: the Soviet Armies would have chased the German Armed Forces all the way to the Franco-Spanish border with "socialist republics" on the Continent except for Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, and Portugal (Stalin would have invaded Spain if given a chance) or the Allies would have had the atom bomb to decide things.  The Normandy did not so much defeat Nazi Germany as keep the Iron Curtain somewhere in the middle of Europe instead of at the English Channel and Gibraltar.

The Allies did have most of Italy under control, having taken Rome on June 4, 1944. British and American forces might have still landed in the Balkans with devastating effect upon the Reich. But that requires a battle that Lacey does not put in his list.

Quote:But playing games like "important battles" can keep an armchair historian amused.

Indeed.   I notice that none of the battles were in the Far East (ethnocentrism?) except for Midway, which ensured that the Far East did not include Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand, and Dien Bien Phu. None involved the Spanish conquest of the Inca and Aztec empires -- permanent destruction of impressive political orders. Not one is involved in any war for independence from Spain in the New World. Not one is in sub-Saharan Africa. I can think of two critical battles that Lacey neglected for their effects upon two medieval Empires. I will discuss those choices in my next post.

The Battle of Britain, Kursk, and Midway are toward the top of my list. World War II will have decided much that is possible from then. The colonial order withered and died; World War Ii was heavily a contest over colonial empires that now no longer exist.

There might again be wars as bloody as World War II, most likely between the Great Powers of the time (let us say India vs. Russia), but the colonial empires over which much of World War II was waged will not re-appear -- new material by PB).

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Quote: Some that I would include:
 
 al-Qadisiya, 636. It shattered any meaningful resistance of the Sassanid (Zoroastrian Persian) Empire and allowed the Islamification of Persia, Central Asia, Sind, Afghanistan, Bengal, and Indonesia. Zoroastrianism quickly disappeared as a major religion. As important as the Battle of Yarmuk for its consequences. The impressive Sassanid Empire disintegrated quickly as a political entity.
 
 (Is there any question that ad 636 is one of the critical years of human history?)
 
 Tours/Poitiers (probably somewhere between them), 732 -- Charles Martel stops and reverses the Arab invasion of Western Europe. Carolingian Empire (source of modern France and Germany alike) can form. Historical details are murky in the extreme.
 
 Manzikert, 1071. Effectively gutted the Byzantine Empire which until then was a major power. Although the Seljuk Turks would only start the process and others (the Crusaders and the Serbs) would contribute to its demise, the Byzantine Empire lost its breadbasket. Asia Minor went from being Christian and predominantly Greek and Armenian to Islamic and Turkish. The Ottomans might have been a different tribe of Turks, but they became the effective heirs of the Byzantine Empire and a superpower in southwestern Asia, southeastern Europe, and North Africa.
 
 Siege of Vienna, 1683. The high-water mark of Turkish expansion into central Europe. The Ottoman Empire had a chance to win; had it done so it would have knocked out the Hapsburg monarchy. As a music lover I note this for a cultural effect: in the real historical timeline, Vienna becomes the center of the musical world. Would the great flowering of post-baroque music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert have occurred had the Turks conquered Vienna had Turkish rule continued for a century there? Add such people as Liszt, Smetana, Dvorak, Schoenberg, and even Bartok. A huge chunk of the repertory of Classical music might not appear, which would be a huge difference.
 
 Adowa, 1896. Italy had designs on the Ethiopian Empire... and failed catastrophically. This was the only major defeat of European colonialists, and the Ethiopian Empire would survive until 1975 with the exception of a few years of Italian Rule -- ended by British liberators who chose to restore the empire. For the first time in a long time, European colonists were shown as something other than invincible.
 
 Tannenburg, 1914 -- if the Battle of the Marne prevented the swift German conquest of France, the German victory at Tannenberg sealed the doom of Imperial Russia. By February 1917 a revolution toppled Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov dynasty -- likely forever. In November 1917 Lenin would stage his coup and establish the world's first Socialist state, his Bolshevik dictatorship and the first totalitarian state. Even though World War I would not end as a German victory it would not end without political chaos. Lenin would dispossess aristocrats, financiers, and plutocrats; he would also offend holders of traditional values with his militant atheism as official policy. Aping Lenin, extreme socialists saw the post-war chaos as an opportunity for revolutions that would topple capitalism and Christianity. The Hard Right in central and eastern Europe established their own counter-revolution in fascism and National Socialism which would adopt the totalitarian repression of Bolshevism in the service of entrenched elites while using Bolshevism as a pretext for right-wing, anti-democratic revolutions. Because persons of Jewish origin figured heavily in Bolshevism, the European Right which had never shown much sympathy toward Jews became extremely hostile to all Jews under any circumstances. Such hostility would culminate in Babi Yar and Auschwitz.
 
 Many of the current borders in Europe exist as defined in 1919, with practically all of the States coming into existence in the aftermath of World War I now in existence even if they have been subjugated at some time in the mean. The collapse of the tsarist order made such possible. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Moldavia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan would not exist without the collapse of the Romanov Dynasty -- made possible by the Battle of Tannenberg.
 
 One consequence is that Paul von Hindenburg became a war hero even after Germany capitulated after World War I and became President of the German Republic. As he was going senile in 1933 some charming, charismatic politician pulled the wool over his eyes. Enough said.
 
 Second Battle of El Alamein, 1942. The Axis Powers seemed in a fortuitous position in which to take the Nile Delta (in modern times as in ancient times a rich land of agricultural production) and destroy the British position in the eastern Mediterranean, destroy the inchoate Zionist settlement in Palestine, and connect to an anti-Allied, fascistic regime in Iraq, effectively cutting off Middle Eastern oil from the Allies. The Second Battle of El Alamein put an end to that -- and led to the swift advance of British forces in Libya and Tunisia, where they combined with fresh American troops to eliminate all Axis presence in North Africa with few mortal casualties on either side -- but few escapes of German or Italian troops to continue fighting in Europe -- including Italy.
 
 I give it precedence over the Normandy invasions because without this win and the subsequent success of the Allied invasions of Sicily and the southern mainland of Italy the Allies might have never tried the Normandy invasion.
 
 Two involving Conquistadores through "Trojan Horse" strategies:
 
 Tenochtitlan, 1521 -- Spanish conquest, under Hernán Cortés, of the Aztec Empire after some defeats that the Aztec rulers thought had finished off the Spanish.
 
 Cajamarca, 1532 -- Spanish conquest, under Francisco Pizarro, of the Inca Empire
 
 Native-American dynasties have never resurfaced in the New World.
 
 My guess on the critical battle of the Chinese Revolution/Civil War:
 
 Jinzhao, 1948 -- utter failure of the Nationalist forces to coordinate caused the Maoist capture of whole divisions and their war materiel, and access to much of the armaments industry of China. Part of the Lioshan Campaign, it reversed the relative strength of Communist and Nationalist forces. The Communists fully took over Manchuria and its industrial capacity and could soon -- and swiftly -- capture the North China Plain with the near-dissolution of the Nationalist Army in mainland China within a year.
 
 The Chinese Civil War is one of the swiftest overturnings of rule in so large a territory as has ever happened through warfare. One Great Power remains intact, but a political regime diametrically opposed to the previous regime completely supplants the earlier one.
Quote:Last edited by pbrower2a; 06-17-2013 at 06:44 PM.

My choices:

Marathon 490 BC (First Greco-Persian War -- unlikely Greek victory, prevented the Persian conquest of Greece)
Gaugamela 331 BC (Alexander's campaign against Persia-- caused the swift disintegration of the Persian Army, allows the spread of Greek philosophical and esthetic influences into India -- subtle influence upon Buddhism?)
Zama 202 BC (Second Punic War -- Carthage broken to a client state)
Teutoburger Wald 9 AD (Early Germanic tribes destroy the Roman XVII Legion and stop Roman expansion into northern Germany)
Adrianople 376 AD (Huge defeat of Imperial Rome, gross weakening of Roman authority and power in the west).
Yarmuk 636 AD (allows Arab/Muslim conquest of the Levant, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain)
al-Qadisiya 636AD (disintegration of the Sassanid Empire, Islamization of Persia, Central Asia, Sind, Bengal, and Indonesia possible, Zoroastrianism ruined as a major world religion)
Poitiers 732 AD (Arabs turned back in northwestern France, giving western Europe a chance to develop culturally, politically, and technologically)
Divine Wind, 1281 (prevented Mongol invasion of Japan -- Japan's equivalent of the Spanish Armada)
Spanish Armada 1588 (Thwarted Spanish hegemony in western Europe)
Breitenfeld 1631 (First Protestant victory in the Thirty Years War, established a continuing Protestant-Catholic division in German lands)
Siege of Vienna, 1688 (Cultural effect -- the Austrian victory over the Turks allowed the flourishing of the greatest era of music ever)
Saratoga 1777 (First Continental victory, American War of Independence)
Trafalgar 1805 (British naval victory over France, thwarted Napoleonic hegemony in southwest Europe and led him eastward to his ruin)
Third Battle of Chattanooga, 1863 (Confederacy doomed afterward to Sherman's thrust into Georgia and lost of its  munitions factories)
Battle of the Marne 1914 (Stopped a swift German thrust into France that would have decided the war)
Tannenberg 1914 (Russian early advantages irretrievably lost, Bolshevik Revolution and Nazism made possible)
Battle of Britain 1940 (Prevented a Nazi invasion of Great Britain, inspired Hitler to go east to his ruin, Normandy invasion made possible)
Midway 1942 (First US victory against Imperial Japan -- unambiguous turning point; kept Australia and New Zealand in the West instead of the Far East)
Second battle of El Alamein, 1942 (German and Italians routed from a strong position and forced incessantly out of Africa; fascist Italy made vulnerable)
Kursk 1943 (German offensive stalled, German tank capacities gutted, Soviet advance into central Europe effectively unstoppable)
Jinzhao, 1948 (Nationalists and Communists reversed in relative power in a short time due to Nationalist incompetence; Communists could take China)

Special mention: Siege of Troy, semi-legendary (we get the Illiad and the Odyssey out of that)
Tenochtitlan, 1521; Cajamarca, 1534 -- Spanish conquests, Trojan Horse methods,  of Mexico and Peru, dissolution of Aztec and Inca Empires, no subsequent possibility of any First Peoples tribe to establish dominion over any American state, Christianization of most of Latin America

I'm not putting Adowa on my list. Italy eventually invaded forty years later under a more ruthless regime and with military technology more overpowering. The Ethiopian Empire lasted only 80 years after Adowa.

I may not have twenty. I chose to drop Hastings because the Anglo-Saxons ultimately prevailed in language, and even if the Normans had successfully established Norman French as the permanent language of England... maybe such people as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Orwell would have written as convincingly -- in something resembling the speech of William the Conqueror. I chose El Alamein over the Normandy invasion because it allowed the invasion of Sicily, without which the Allies might have been chary of the Normandy invasion. The Divine Wind that thwarted a Mongol invasion of Japan allowed Japan to maintain its isolation and uniqueness. Tannenburg starts a road to ruin for the decrepit Russian Empire. The Confederacy, the last political entity dedicated primarily to the preservation of slavery, is a viable military power until it loses its ability to produce munitions.
 

A decisive battle in China that allows Mao to take over is far bigger than Dien Bien Phu because China is much bigger and more important in economics and military position than is Vietnam.

Basically a new interruption in the re-posting of material:

Somewhat new and worthy of contemplation. I happen to like my music long and structured, and I like it to offer a universe of emotions. The  Octet in F by Franz Schubert exemplifies that.





Had the Ottoman Empire defeated Austria in 1683, would music like this ever be written?

Hitler lost the war because of his atrocities, persecutions, and oppression. The Battle of Britain took place about as reports came out from Poland, and had it not been for those even Churchill might have accepted a sauve-qui-peut deal. Keep the colonies, restore pre-war governments in Holland, Belgium, Denmark, and Norway, recognize German hegemony in Poland and the Vichy regime in France... Churchill knew how Britain could be defeated, and even if war is always a zero-sum game it is not always complete loss for the survivors. But such implies a different character as leader of Germany, perhaps one who would have never set upon a course of conquest unless forced into it.

That's before I discuss the Soviet Union, a damnable order that would have fallen to any conqueror who promised free enterprise, freedom of religion, and an end to the brutal political order. Nazi satellite states from Estonia to the Caucasus would have satisfied the national aspirations of people other than the Jews. I can't say how long a puppet state in Russia would have lasted.

Victory comes from sapping the will of the other side to resist, which clearly contrasts Britain, America, and Free France from the Soviet Union and the Axis Powers other than Finland. There are reversals that allow the loser of one battle to survive and subsequently strike back harder or elsewhere. There are also reversals that turn a likely winner into a loser... or turn a stalemate into an irretrievable rout. Kasserine Pass? That was a US defeat... but soon afterward the US Army came back with a larger and better-trained force and within a few months had closed in on Axis forces that had gotten away from the British. Market-Garden? The Allies found better directions of advance than Holland.

Hitler exemplifies the worst sort of leader that a country could get through partially-democratic process: an anger-filled zealot who uses power with the ultimate purpose of self-glorification and the settling of old scores. Once someone is a leader he had better sacrifice some old enmities. Recent rivals could make desirable allies. Lacking caution, conscience, and kindness he could only bring disaster. But without question he had superb military, technological, and economic resources behind him. He signed onto strategies that none but his lackeys would sign onto, and some of those proved brilliant. Some of them turned into the greatest blunders of all time.

I listened to this music at a desperate point in my life. Not that I am that important, of course. Culture gives meaning to life. Without it we can easily have ugly souls.

Re: World War II

Hitler lost the war because of his atrocities, persecutions, and oppression. The Battle of Britain took place about as reports came out from Poland, and had it not been for those even Churchill might have accepted a sauve-qui-peut deal. Keep the colonies, restore pre-war governments in Holland, Belgium, Denmark, and Norway, recognize German hegemony in Poland and the Vichy regime in France... Churchill knew how Britain could be defeated, and even if war is always a zero-sum game it is not always complete loss for the survivors. But such implies a different character as leader of Germany, perhaps one who would have never set upon a course of conquest unless forced into it.

That's before I discuss the Soviet Union, a damnable order that would have fallen to any conqueror who promised free enterprise, freedom of religion, and an end to the brutal political order. Nazi satellite states from Estonia to the Caucasus would have satisfied the national aspirations of people other than the Jews. I can't say how long a puppet state in Russia would have lasted.

Victory comes from sapping the will of the other side to resist, which clearly contrasts Britain, America, and Free France from the Soviet Union and the Axis Powers other than Finland. There are reversals that allow the loser of one battle to survive and subsequently strike back harder or elsewhere. There are also reversals that turn a likely winner into a loser... or turn a stalemate into an irretrievable rout. Kasserine Pass? That was a US defeat... but soon afterward the US Army came back with a larger and better-trained force and within a few months had closed in on Axis forces that had gotten away from the British. Market-Garden? The Allies found better directions of advance than Holland.

Hitler exemplifies the worst sort of leader that a country could get through partially-democratic process: an anger-filled zealot who uses power with the ultimate purpose of self-glorification and the settling of old scores. Once someone is a leader he had better sacrifice some old enmities. Recent rivals could make desirable allies. Lacking caution, conscience, and kindness he could only bring disaster. But without question he had superb military, technological, and economic resources behind him. He signed onto strategies that none but his lackeys would sign onto, and some of those proved brilliant. Some of them turned into the greatest blunders of all time.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#2
[Image: quote_icon.png] Originally Posted by B Butler [Image: viewpost-right.png]
You are looking at it in terms of destroying key infrastructure. I'm interested in the change in supply and marching doctrine. Both were important. If armchair historians have different interests, it's kind of hard to have a meaningful and decisive conversation.

Union strategy included breaking the Confederate economy so that it could no longer supply the critical implements of war. Such required a naval blockade and the capture of the effective 'military-industrial complex' (to use an anachronistic term) of the South. Take away the foundries, and the South could no longer produce the artillery and small arms, let alone any ironclad ships -- or repair or replace the rolling stock of its railroads or the rails themselves. The Confederacy fought hard to keep a part of Tennessee that was never particularly sympathetic to the Confederate cause; Chattanooga was the Foundry of the South, and once the Confederacy lost it it the Confederate armies lost their effectiveness.

At the Third Battle of Chattanooga the Union exploited the one great vulnerability of the Confederacy -- excessive centralization of its production of armaments. After that General William Tecumseh Sherman could make a long, narrow thrust through Georgia, effectively the geographic middle of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi River... and get away with it. The Confederacy lost its mobility and hence its ability to respond to such a thrust. This is much like the German attack to the English Channel from the Ardennes in 1940 that effectively cut the Allies in France and Belgium into two manageable pieces for the German Armed Forces -- which would have been the critical battle of the Second World War had the Nazis won in the West by knocking out Britain.

There is much debate as to what Lee intended in the Gettysburg campaign. There was a big argument after the war between Longstreet's supporters and most everyone else.

The south had a lot of Stonewall Jackson fans, though, who thought the Army of Northern Virginia was at its best when on the offensive, taking risks, turning flanks, and in general driving the conservative Union commanders nuts. This group thought Lee marched quickly north, spread out to make their intent unknown and divide the Union forces, then concentrate suddenly to overwhelm the opposition offensively in detail.

The Union was never as vulnerable as the Confederacy. Lincoln could have vacated Washington for Philadelphia or New York. The economy of the Union was more decentralized. The topography of central Pennsylvania is very different from that of northern Georgia, and the only natural route to the north from southeastern Pennsylvania to the Great Lakes is the Susquehanna canyon.

The Battle of Gettysburg was an over-reach, a blunder. But the Confederacy could retreat and regroup... and fight hard in Virginia for nearly another two years. The war in Virginia would go increasingly badly for the Confederacy after Sherman's march through Georgia as supplies dwindled for the Confederacy. The Confederacy fought hard and effectively until the battle of Petersburg, the death-blow for the Confederacy because the Confederacy no longer had enough troops to perform trench warfare to thwart a flanking move of the Union Army that then allowed the Union to evade the trenches at Petersburg and what was then a stalemate and then give the death blow to the Confederacy at Richmond. By taking Richmond the Union broke the chain of command of the Confederacy -- but such might not have been accomplished without Sherman's march through Georgia that severed the South and disrupted the mobility of troops that might have relieved the Army of Northern Virginia at the critical moment. -- and thrown the technological capacity of the once-formidable Confederate war machine back decades.

Recovery from a failure or a blunder negates the significance of a failure or a blunder. The Wehrmacht may have fallen short of a decisive victory at Moscow, but it was on the advance for nearly another year. It was mauled badly at Stalingrad due to the overreach of Hitler, but only after Kursk did things go uniformly bad for the Wehrmacht. The Battle of Kursk effectively decided that the Soviet Union would gain hegemony in central and Balkan Europe.

From what I have heard, the amateurs discuss how troops move -- but the experts discuss logistics, intelligence, and communications. That explains what made Lincoln and Churchill such superb wartime leaders.


Longstreet supposed the intent was to march north, find a strong defensive position too close to Washington for the Union to ignore, and try to fight a battle where the Confederates were behind stone walls on the high ground. Then again, Longstreet preferred the defensive. If more generals thought like Longstreet, there would have been more World War I style trench warfare during the Civil War. As is, after the defeat at Gettysburg, Lee dug in more. Without Stonewall, with Longstreet, Lee used the preferred tactics of his best available general. Gettysburg was a heavy price to pay for learning this lesson.

The loss of Stonewall Jackson crippled the Confederacy, compelling Lee to make mistakes that Jackson would never made. "Critical persons" -- political and military leadership -- can decide a war. A premature death of Churchill or Lincoln might have made their wars go differently -- and much to the worse for their sides.

You read Lee's own work, and you can get a third version of what they were trying to do. It was a large raid, roughly what Sherman did with the march to the sea. Lee was not seeking battle, either offensive or defensive, but would have avoided battle if he could. The intent was to make the Union look bad to shape election results. Alas, Meade changed the marching doctrine, which kept Stuart from reporting to Lee in a timely manner, thus denying Lee a scouting force. Without knowledge of what the enemy was doing, maneuver war became difficult. With the Union army close, Lee had to concentrate for battle, which meant he couldn't raid for supplies. That forced a major battle, which depleted his ammunition, which meant he would have had to retreat south whether he won or lost. It all fell apart. Still, tactically, the battle was a draw. The day after Pickett's Charge, both armies stayed on the field, but neither felt it was in position to take the offensive. Politically it was a Union victory as Lee had to retreat, but this was more for supply reasons than because his forces were significantly more crippled than the Union.

Lee assumed that Abraham Lincoln would have allowed a fair election that would have allowed him to lose the Presidency at a time of military distress. Of course Lincoln had a free and fair election in 1864 -- but not with military distress. Had he needed to impose martial law to win the war and cancelled or delayed the election he would have. Would FDR have allowed a free and fair election in 1944 after Britain had been knocked out in 1940, had the Japanese won Midway and were mopping up resistance in Australia and New Zealand and taken Hawaii, and had China and the Soviet Union collapsed, allowing Japanese forces to take Alaska, had the Germans taken over the British Royal Navy to threaten the American position in the Caribbean and the Gulf, with perhaps a defeatist movement using slogans like "Why die for the Jews?" against FDR?

All democratic orders have their limits.

You will still find armchair historians debating still about what the intent of the Gettysburg campaign was. The result was by all accounts bad for the south, but what shaped the loss is still muddled by the controversies that grew when Longstreet got too friendly with northerners after the war, which caused a lot of southerners to bash Longstreet. A lot of Civil War history written by Confederates in the immediate aftermath of the war had a lot more to do with whether the historian supported or hated Longstreet than anything objective. The echoes of that still linger.



People are still discussing Waterloo (two centuries later).


The Battle of Midway wasn't about islands. It was about destroying aircraft carriers. Midway was a target as it would force the Americans to commit to battle. Given US code breaking, for Nimitz it was an opportunity to ambush the mobile fleet.

If the Japanese had taken Midway, they would have had an island in range of US land based air and out of range of Japanese land based air. It would have been a liability, not a threat. It was early on in the war, though, and it isn't clear the Japanese had figured this out.

Maybe -- but before Midway, things were going well for Thug Japan. After Midway they didn't go so well. But note well -- communications, supply, and intelligence can be critical, as with the radar that gave the RAF the critical edge over the Luftwaffe or the Allied code-breaking. The Nazis were stupid enough to put such stock phrases as "Sieg Heil!" and "Heil Hitler!" in code.


The trick isn't so much in cracking a code, as the Union did to the simple Vigenère cipher that the Confederacy used. The trick is in preventing the enemy from knowing that his code has been broken. A broken code works to the extent that it seems like nothing more than simple bad luck.

What Midway did do was give the Americans a chance to take the initiative. Without a clear win at Midway, it is doubtful the US would have tried to land the First Marines at Guadalcanal. The airstrip there was the real threat to the supply line between the US and Australia.

Communications and supply determine what is sustainable and what isn't. That is the difference between the shrinking pocket at Dunkirk in 1940 having to evacuate or perish -- and Malta.

Again, one might make an argument that World War II was a war of attrition and supply. I might put the turning point at Stalingrad and El Alamein. It was then that enough US armament production was sufficiently on line to give the allies the edge that grew ever larger as time progressed. Mind you, if the Battle of Britain and the Atlantic hadn't been won, US production might not have come on line in time. It could have turned into a very different war.
Stalingrad had one mitigating effect for the Third Reich; it allowed an abortive German thrust into the Caucasus region to pull out of an untenable position and keep fighting. The Wehrmacht could fall back on its lines of communication and supply and fight back hard. After the Battle of Kursk such was ineffective. But then, mistreatment of people under Nazi occupation made a Soviet victory look like a deliverance.

Again, depending on one's field of interest, you can come to different and plausible opinions.

Maybe I need to get my hands on a certain book by Clausewitz.

Piercing the Reich, by Joseph Persico.

The Hogan's Heroes depiction of Nazi 'efficiency' pops up there -- but it is justified. The Gestapo was easy to infiltrate because it was a plainclothes outfit. The Wehrmacht and the SS were tougher.  One of the American agents got dragooned into the task of monitoring where German troops went... and relayed the information. Wartime governments make much of "Zip your lips, or sink our ships!" and "Loose talk costs lives!"... and that infiltrator was able to relay the information to Allied intelligence. That's one of the last things that the Germans would have wanted.

Many of the infiltrators were Socialist refugees from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. They knew the culture and the lingo. The Americans and British got good at forging documents -- often credentials lifted from German prisoners.  

Some countries fight smart. Some fight dumb.

Attila;474288 Wrote:The simple fact that Kursk is more important than Stalingrad makes this list a bad joke at best. The Soviets lost more troops during the battle of Stalingrad than all casualties of both the American and British combined through out the entire war. It was also the turning point of World War II. That battle proved the Fascist could be decisively beaten which was still questionable by your average man during the time.

A few months after Stalingrad Hitler still believed that he could go on the offensive -- as shown at Kursk. After Kursk the Wehrmacht endured one unqualified defeat after another. A stalemate seemed possible even after Stalingrad. After Kursk such was no longer so. The Wehrmacht could not stave off defeat even though it was falling back on its lines of communication and supply.

Quote:Why is Vietnam even on this list? To sell his book that's why. There was nothing world changing about Vietnam. Sure it raised some hell here in the states and drastically changed the Vietnamese but certainly was not world changing.

Absolutely! Which explains why I consider a critical battle in northeastern China that began Mao Zedong's rout of the Chinese Nationalists. China is now a superpower -- but who won the bulk of its territory in 1948 and 1949 determines much of what is possible today.

Quote:  He also does not mention the Battle of Ain Jalut, when the Malmukes decidedly beat the Mongols and basically stopped their impressive bid for world domination.

I missed that one. In my Eurocentric view I saw the Mongol retreat from central Europe lacking a critical battle determining who would rule Germany, France, and most of Italy. Probably Britain as well. Aside from the Caliphate the only political entity then capable of resisting the Mongols was the Byzantine Empire.* Of course I see the consequences of a Mongol conquest of central and western Europe rather slight. The Mongols invariably assimilated into the conquered people, adopting the culture and religion of the conquered.  They married the women of the old ruling elite, and all that I can say is that the last two stanzas of the Marseillaise

...qu'un sang impur/ abreuve nos sillons

would have been literal contempt of a political elite that had epicanthic folds leaving little question about their 'impure blood'.

Quote:At best this list is a very very very lop sided view from a Anglo-American perspective and is nothing but a marketing scheme to sell this book to white Americans. Where is Waterloo which ushered in liberal democracy across the globe? Where is the battle of Tours which solidified a Christian Europe instead of a Muslim Europe?

The paucity of battles in South and East Asia  and in any part of what is now Latin America showed an exaggeration of the role of the US and western Europe. The author fails to recognize the significance of the Battle of al-Qadisiya that made possible the Muslim/Arab conquest of Persia. Is the Indian subcontinent less important than North Africa?

Quote:Actually there are only two battles on this list I can agree with which is Marathon and Gaugamela.

Yarmuk, of course. Midway. Kursk. Saratoga.

You have some very important points.

*Comment on May 9, 2016: Maybe.  Just maybe.

Attila;474299 Wrote:This is a good point, Pizarro and the Battle of Cajamarca comes to mind. I think this battle won the largest land grab in human history. Which would be a world game changer in my opinion. Yet the author does not mention it? He brings up Vietnam instead.

It is hard to imagine any subsequent battles analogous to those of Tenochtitlan that destroyed the Aztec Empire or of Cajamarca that destroyed the Inca Empire. The Aztecs and Incas had allowed Cortez and Pizarro to infiltrate their capitals without realizing how much literal firepower and horsepower the Spanish had. They did not know guns and they did not know what horse-based cavalry could do.    


Quote:I would also have to disagree with you on the Battle of Midway. The Japanese were doomed no matter what. If they would have won that battle it at most would have put us back a year. Which means we would most likely have had more than 2 nuclear weapons. Worst case scenario would have been the Japanese under a Communist flag.

Midway is essential to maintaining supply lines between the US and both Australia and New Zealand. After Midway is Hawaii, the last set of significant islands before the North American mainland. Hawaii might not be an obvious base of any Japanese invasion of any part of North America even if it had gone under Japanese rule.

The big issue is not whether Hawaii remains under US rule and becomes the 50th State or becomes a part of the Japanese Empire; it is whether Australia an New Zealand can remain outposts of Western Christian Civilization after they are cut off. The Japanese of WWII were unqualified brutes whose sole virtue was religious tolerance. As badly as they treated Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, and Indonesians under occupation and their willingness to mistreat any prisoners of war of Caucasoid origin, I can only imagine how bestial their conduct would have been in Australia and New Zealand. The Japanese would have faced hard resistance  because the Australians and New Zealanders would have well known what was intended -- genocide followed by replacement with Japanese settlers. But even had the Japanese eventually been defeated in some ensuing war in -- let us say the 1980s -- the 'ethnic replacement' would be a fait accompli much like the 'removal' of First Peoples from most of the agriculturally-desirable parts of the United States. The Japanese could have no more assimilated the Australians and New Zealanders than they could have assimilated Indonesians into their brutal New Order. Australia and New Zealand would have become permanent outposts of Japanese civilization within ten years of conquest.

The Japanese had imitated many of the of the ways of European powers just to maintain independence; they had to imitate those powers to keep any national dignity. But they also adopted racist and colonial attitudes as vile as any in Europe or the US. They had their own concept of Manifest Destiny, their own racial pride, and their own militarism. They had abandoned the most humane aspects of their culture -- the pacifistic nature of Buddhism. The worst of the West includes the Atlantic Slave Trade, massacres of First Peoples (with Wounded Knee as a glaring examples) and the Holocaust. The Japanese Thug Empire had to be defeated and humbled.

This is opinion. Whole nations can go horrifically bad in a 4T -- a warning to any nation proud of its Dark Side. We Americans have our own Dark Side -- one that includes Wounded Knee and My Lai, brutal management as practiced by Henry Clay Frick, and racist violence that would shock South Africans. If America goes bad we may need similar defeat and humiliation if the rest of the world is to have any dignity.

Quote: It is telling that I see several key battles of World War II among the most portentious battles of human history; World War II was basically several wars -- but that I see only one post-WWII battle, and that in the Chinese Civil War that decided whether China would be under the Communists or the Nationalists. It is entirely possible that had the Nationalists won China would have become a democracy as Taiwan is today,
and the country would approach Japanese or at least South Korean standards of economic development. The Communists basically abandoned Marxism-Leninism as an economic philosophy but maintained the dictatorship.

Korean War? Very important to Korea, but I can easily imagine the relevance of the Korean War coming to an end. I can imagine a scenario in which the insane leadership of North Korea does something incredibly stupid, and the 'provisional' armistice becomes irrelevant. Korea, even if unified, is never going to be a Great Power for the simple reason that it is hemmed in by China and Japan.

Vietnam War? Probably no more significant than the War of Independence of Bangladesh, a more populous country.

India, Indonesia, and Pakistan achieved independence without wars against the colonial power. All in all, except perhaps for the Communist takeover of China, the independence of the Indian Subcontinent is the most significant political event since World War II.

If we wish to speak of an abominable genocide, there is likely no key battle in the victory of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. That said, it is hard to distinguish one pointless murder from another. The only comparable decimation of a people was of course the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler intended to kill every Jew in the world, and in view of the disproportionate achievements of Jews, success at such a crime would have retarded human advances in culture, industry, academia, and science. Just imagine a world with no Freud, Mahler, Einstein, or Kafka -- like most of the European continent today because of the Holocaust.

At the end of the Second World War, Nazi archives were captured, and among them were the plans and records of the Holocaust. The plans included the extermination of the large Jewish population of the United Kingdom. The plans for the extermination of British Jews could never be implemented -- because of the successful defense of a nation taxed to the limit of its abilities in the Battle of Britain. There would obviously be no Israel, either, and some of the best medical innovation in our world would not exist without Israel.

Cultural effects of such a battle can be subtle. Does anyone think rock-n-roll important? OK -- the Beatles were not Jewish... but it is hard to see (the most polished pop music group that has ever existed) getting a chance in a Nazified Britain. Their music is clearly not in line with Nazi ideology. But as a group -- their manager was Brian Epstein, a Jew, who would have certainly never been around in a Nazi Britain that mercifully never came into existence.
Quote:Last edited by pbrower2a; 01-07-2014 at 02:18 PM.

Here's one -- an obscure battle that defined what a large part of South America would be like: the Battle of Cuzco, 1781. A rising of the indigenous population of Peru against Spanish rule (non-Spanish people were compelled to work for a pittance and then were compelled to give the pittance back through severe taxation) came close to overthrowing Spanish colonial rule. Tupac Amaru II, who claimed descendency from the Incas, forged an alliance with the Afro-Peruvian population similarly abused and came close to victory.

The seeds of defeat came in, ironically, what should have been a decisive victory: the Battle of Sangrara that destroyed a Spanish force. The rebellious army failed to concentrate its forces upon Cuzco and instead went to seize outlying areas and went on indiscriminate massacres of the white population contrary to the orders of Tupac Amaru II. The Spanish used the usual methods of European armies (and the recently-victorious Continental Armies of a superpower that came into existence almost due north of Peru. Tupac Amaru II could, had things gone right, been another George Washington. Instead he was defeated and executed brutally.

To be sure, Spanish dominion in Central and South America (except in Cuba and Puerto Rico) would not endure only four more decades -- after the weakening of Spain during the Napoleonic conquest. But native populations of Latin America never got dominion anywhere -- ever.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#3
Vicksburg is 30 minutes from me.

I have relatives buried there from that siege. I can tell you from historical documents available in the museum at the Battlefield Park, it was brutal. They starved those people damn near to death. Not just the soldiers, but the townspeople too. The city graveyard has tons of graves all with the same round about period of death etched into it. The section where the kids and babies are buried from that time period are painful to see.

I'm not sure if you believe in ghosts or not, but that whole city, especially the old parts of it above the hill, are downright creepy as all get out after dark and even more so in the summer. There are places there you catch glimpses of things, and hear stuff that has absolutely no reasonable explanation what so ever. Vicksburg is a beautiful city and has stunning examples of pre-Civil War architecture. Natchez does as well, but Vicksburg is beautiful. Creepy, but beautiful. My favorite quilt pattern emerged from that battle and owes it's design to two women who lived through that siege, the quilt pattern is called "living on cornbread". It's unique in that it's origins came from being crafted out of corn meal bags and dyed with plants and painted with mud and blood to stain the material in the original. It also is on display in one of the museums in Vicksburg.

Ever want to experience the paranormal, go camping near the battlefield in early July, Late June, you won't do it twice, trust me on this, was one of the longest nights I have ever spent outdoors.
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#4
(05-09-2016, 07:33 PM)Danilynn Wrote: Vicksburg is 30 minutes from me.

I have relatives buried there from that siege. I can tell you from historical documents available in the museum at the Battlefield Park, it was brutal. They starved those people damn near to death. Not just the soldiers, but the townspeople too. The city graveyard has tons of graves all with the same round about period of death etched into it. The section where the kids and babies are buried from that time period are painful to see.

I'm not sure if you believe in ghosts or not, but that whole city, especially the old parts of it above the hill, are downright creepy as all get out after dark and even more so in the summer. There are places there you catch glimpses of things, and hear stuff that has absolutely no reasonable explanation what so ever. Vicksburg is a beautiful city and has stunning examples of pre-Civil War architecture. Natchez does as well, but Vicksburg is beautiful. Creepy, but beautiful. My favorite quilt pattern emerged from that battle and owes it's design to two women who lived through that siege, the quilt pattern is called "living on cornbread". It's unique in that it's origins came from being crafted out of corn meal bags and dyed with plants and painted with mud and blood to stain the material in the original. It also is on display in one of the museums in Vicksburg.

Ever want to experience the paranormal, go camping near the battlefield in early July, Late June, you won't do it twice, trust me on this, was one of the longest nights I have ever spent outdoors.

As the Awakening-Era slogan said, war is harmful to children and other living things. Such could have applied no less to the American Civil War as it did to the Vietnamese Civil War. (We might as well recognize -- the war in Vietnam really was a civil war). I would guess that the most vulnerable people were children.

I am surprised that people speak of haunted houses, for which there might be some rational explanation -- birds or bats in the attic, a draft permeating the house, or a cat or raccoon having gotten into the cellar.  If any places should be haunted they would be battlefields and sites of mass murder (like fascist and communist killing grounds). Sunken ships? The Titanic ought to be a doozy. But the literature on ghosts goes only so far -- maybe ghosts can't stand water.*

...All in all I have my theory on what Abraham Lincoln was up to in 1861. He was going to abolish slavery, and he would have used the British model which had worked in the vast British Empire and would have worked in America. The British bought the slaves their freedom, which is what Congress did in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. The British freed slaves with no bloodshed.  America got a war, most likely over a misunderstanding. But the British freed their slaves in a 2T; Lincoln would have freed slaves without war in a 4T. Lincoln's timing was wrong.

Corn meal is tasty, but terribly deficient in nutrition.  Corn has practically no vitamins. People may have died as much of malnutrition (especially scurvy) as of starvation.

...That must have been a weird experience; June typically has the shortest nights of the year.

*If I were a ghost I wouldn't stick around some nasty place where I had died some horrible way. I'd rather haunt Yosemite National Park,
wouldn't you?
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#5
Quote Originally Posted by B Butler View Post
   Rumsfeld and others among the neo-con group also had a theory... that high tech was a wonderful force multiplier that would allow clean victories with few troops on the ground and few casualties.

   This isn't a bad theory if one has lots of money to spend and one is fighting a conventional war with front lines. Given guerrilla tactics one needs a lot more boots on the ground, not to mention patience.

   The practice worked well in Grenada, Panama, and in Kuwait. The US did not leave 'boots on the ground' -- that is, brittle targets for guerrilla attacks. "Get in, achieve objectives, and get out" has often proved the best military policy for the US.

   Donald Rumsfeld created the "higher-tech, fewer troops" approach to ground warfare. It leaves fewer targets on the ground but ensures that the troops on the ground are more effective. But that itself assumes that the upper leadership has limited objectives. Good military leaders and effective statesmen contemplate what can go wrong -- and thus prepare for bad events that might happen so that they can make such bad events never happen. Bad ones can't see anything going wrong. Dubya, history increasingly shows, was more a poseur than a statesman. Donald Rumsfeld created a military policy well suited to Reagan and the elder Bush, who at least showed some restraint. I just can't imagine any military doctrine suited to Dubya. Obama? It's back to Reagan.

   But "muddled objective" remains the key phrase. Some wanted to take out the standing army, depose Saddam, remove the weapons of mass destruction, and go home. Others wanted control of the oil, which required a puppet government of some sort, and plans for a long term stay. Others thought the US would be welcomed as liberators, that the locals would see the obvious superiority of western culture and democracy. All in all, transforming cultures and nation building at the point of a bayonet is hard enough when everyone was on the same page. Everyone was not on the same page.

   So it is hard to imagine that anything wouldn't be manifestly better than Saddam Hussein? To be sure, there was nothing wrong with Saddam Hussein that a well-tied rope and the appropriate drop wouldn't solve. Dubya could not understand that the United States could offend Iraqi sensibilities. "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (offering the horrible acronym -- OIL, referring to a commodity that would go from Iraqi control to the control of American and British oil companies). Loyal followers of Saddam Hussein were going to fight in full knowledge of what awaited them.

   Once Saddam and his fascistic Ba'ath Party were gone, the Iraqi people could see multiple alternatives, and semi-colonial rule was not a valid one. The Iraqis had their taste of colonial rule, and they didn't like it.

   The Republican unraveling coalition seemed to me an alliance of three quite different philosophies brought together as much by dislike of Democrats as common cause. There were neo-con militarists, Wall Street capitalists, and evangelical culture warriors. It seems each group had control of different branches of the US government, each pursuing a different agenda, without a common set of plans and priorities.
 
 Such remains an uneasy alliance working at cross purposes, in agreement almost exclusively in the idea that they want American liberalism dead. The evangelical culture warriors want One Nation Under God -- God as they see Him. Those Culture Warriors want people to focus on the Judgment of God above all else, including human needs, rational thought, and all earthly happiness. The followers of the Culture Warriors would commit themselves to peonage if such protected them from the Devil which manifests itself 'evil' from evolution to homosexuality; they have accepted Pascal's wager, trivializing happiness in This World in favor of the promise of Eternal Bliss*. The Wall Street capitalists obviously want the maximization not so much of paper profits but instead to get as big a share of the productive results of American capitalism as possible. They often fit a Marxist stereotype of profiteers who exact maximal productivity from people consigned to live on starvation rations. The neo-con militarists wish to expand captive markets and put more foreigners under the exploitative dominion of American capitalism. They find each other useful even if they have some doubts. American capitalists do not want their assets ruined in destructive war that might result in some other country dispossessing American plutocrats and ending the Good Life that our bureaucratic elites now enjoy, and they do not believe the theology of the Culture Warriors -- plutocrats want to enjoy their sybaritic excesses. Protestant fundamentalists would hate the plutocrats and militarists if they ever got to meet them and see the consequences of their raw desires (that humanity will either die horribly in wars in the service of the greediest of people or be exploited in "dark Satanic mills").

   We liberals need to start addressing the economic distress of poor white people, especially in the Mountain and Deep South. Can't we at least say that if working people have strong unions that get real pay that workers will be able to have more money to put to the service of God in the collection plate?

   But it seems too soon to start writing history books.

   Such remains either current events or the reverberations of recent events. Those, to the extent of their importance become history. That said, politicians who pay little attention to history (like Dubya) make very bad history.

   *If Pascal's wager were valid, then we would submit ourselves to slavery or allow ourselves to become sure victims of meat-grinder wars so that we could find a glorious Afterlife.

   Last edited by pbrower2a; 01-11-2014 at 05:03 PM.

[Image: quote_icon.png] Originally Posted by B Butler [Image: viewpost-right.png]
 
...(I)t seems a proper time to mention the Powell Doctrine. Eight questions...

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

I don't know that every state in every era should follow such a doctrine rigidly. If one is fighting for survival, or to avoid the intolerable, one does what one has to do. One can hire a think tank to fine tune an end game later. Still, I would hope that any US command authority would at least seriously consider each of Powell's questions.

Let's try the first Gulf War.


  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened? Yes -- preventing the rapid rise of a dangerous superpower
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective? Yes -- Iraqi armed forces out of Kuwait
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? Yes -- scrupulously and completely.
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted? Saddam should have taken the Soviet offer.
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? Saudi Arabia did not want US forces there forever.
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? Consequences of failure or inaction were worse.
  7. Is the action supported by the American people? Definitely.
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support? We got UN approval.

Saddam Hussein had plenty of opportunity to leave Kuwait. Most significantly, we let him believe that he could cut a deal with the Soviet Union through the diplomat Yevgeny Primakov that would have allowed him some appearance of controlling something. The elder Bush might have called the Soviet deal less than perfect -- but it would have worked. He would have been stuck with it, but what the heck? Saddam Hussein would have had to retreat from Kuwait and get his military machine trimmed back.

I suspect that George H W Bush wanted Primakov to succeed and get a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Meanwhile the US and its allies were consolidating more strength, ensuring that if the hammer had to come down it would come down even harder.

Now, for the Second Gulf War:


  1. The "need" for the President to have a military triumph
  2. No. We would be long-term occupiers of a country whose people would tire of us.
  3. Risks? Costs? What are those?
  4. Not starting a war based upon lies? That is the minimum standard.
  5. We will be seen as liberators -- forever.
  6. Great for war profiteers!
  7. Not for long even if Saddam Hussein got what he deserved (hanging).
  8. Hell, no! German intelligence, then very good due to the dual heritage, contradicted Dubya. When a top ally disagrees you are in trouble.
Quote:Last edited by pbrower2a; 03-30-2014 at 09:03 PM.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#6
(05-09-2016, 10:45 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: ...All in all I have my theory on what Abraham Lincoln was up to in 1861. He was going to abolish slavery, and he would have used the British model which had worked in the vast British Empire and would have worked in America. The British bought the slaves their freedom, which is what Congress did in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. The British freed slaves with no bloodshed.  America got a war, most likely over a misunderstanding. But the British freed their slaves in a 2T; Lincoln would have freed slaves without war in a 4T. Lincoln's timing was wrong.

I have far more often seen an account saying that during the early days Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union.  If he could have won an early victory the slaves might not have been freed.  The abolitionists were very disgusted with Lincoln's handling of the war and its goals prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.  As the war became longer and deadlier Lincoln shifted positions as much for political reasons as moral.  He ran for president on a platform of not ending slavery where it already existed, but preventing it from spreading westward into new territory.  Of course containment was problematic from the southern perspective.  If all new states were free, the south would in time lose control of Congress and abolition was apt to come.
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#7
(05-09-2016, 11:49 PM)Originally Posted by B Butler  Let\s try the first Gulf War. Wrote:
  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened? Yes -- preventing the rapid rise of a dangerous superpower
    [Mike]This is really grasping
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective? Yes -- Iraqi armed forces out of Kuwait


  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? Yes -- scrupulously and completely.


  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted? Saddam should have taken the Soviet offer.


  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? Saudi Arabia did not want US forces there forever.
    [Mike]Um no there wasn't any exit strategy, hence we got Iraq II.



  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? Consequences of failure or inaction were worse.
    [Mike]This is a strange point. The outcome of this conflict was crusaders in the Muslim Holy land and the Iraqi embargo (two of the three pretexts given for the al Qaeda-US war.)  Had we done nothing, Bin laden would have likely stayed in Arabia, there would have been no 911, no Afghan war, no Iraq II and no ISIS.


  7. Is the action supported by the American people? Definitely.


  8. Do we have genuine broad international support? We got UN approval.

    [Mike]I can't think any US war since WW II has truly met the Powell Doctrine.  I thought that was the objective of it, to prevent foolish wars like the Gulf War.
Reply
#8

" 'Moment of Battle’ author James Lacey on the most pivotal military battles in history.
http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/24804...mp=sem_outloud

[Image: 061413_dobbs_lacey.jpg]

The 20 Battles That Changed the World
video.foxbusiness.com
‘Moment of Battle’ author James Lacey on the most pivotal military battles in history.




Lacey's choices?

Marathon 490 BC (First Greco-Persian War -- unlikely Greek victory, prevented the Persian conquest of Greece)
Gaugamela 331 BC (Alexander's campaign against Persia-- caused the swift disintegration of the Persian Army)
Zama 202 BC (Second Punic War -- Carthage broken to a client state)
Teutoburger Wald 9 AD (Early Germanic tribes destroy the Roman XVII Legion and stop Roman expansion into northern Germany)
Adrianople 376 AD (Huge defeat of Imperial Rome, gross weakening of Roman authority and power in the west).
Yarmuk 636 AD (allows Arab/Muslim conquest of the Levant, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain)
Hastings 1066 AD (Allowed Norman conquest of England)
Spanish Armada 1588 (Thwarted Spanish hegemony in western Europe)
Breitenfeld 1631 (First Protestant victory in the Thirty Years War, established a continuing Protestant-Catholic division in German lands)
Annus Mirabilis 1759 (several British victories in the Seven-Years War worldwide)
Saratoga 1777 (First Continental victory, American War of Independence)
Trafalgar 1805 (British naval victory over France, thwarted Napoleonic hegemony in southwest Europe and led him eastward to his ruin)
Vicksburg 1863 (Severed the Confederate States of America)
Battle of the Marne 1914 (Stopped a swift German thrust into France that would have decided the war)
Battle of Britain 1940 (Prevented a Nazi invasion of Great Britain, inspired Hitler to go east to his ruin)
Midway 1942 (First US victory against Imperial Japan -- unambiguous turning point)
Kursk 1943 (German offensive stalled, German tank capacities gutted, Soviet advance into central Europe effectively unstoppable)
Normandy 1944 (Arguable death-blow to the Third Reich)
Dien Bien Phu 1954 (Forced French departure from Vietnam)
Objective Peach 2003 (Allowed the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein)..."

-I'm glad to see that Waterloo, the most pointless battle in history, is NOT on the list. Napoleon could have annihilated Wellington and Bluecher's armies to the last man and France would still have ultimately gotten its a$$ kicked by all the other armies bearing down on them, i.e., just like what happened in 1813, except this time, the Allies would have started out closer, and France had fewer allies (i.e., by June 1815, NONE).

"Spanish Armada? The great storm that weakened the Spanish fleet allowed England to keep its independence and its Protestant identity -- and become the master of the High Seas. Without this victory, the British colonies from Newfoundland to Georgia never exist, and neither do the United States nor Canada." 
-Even if the Armada had landed an army in England, said army probably wouldn't have faired too well stuck in England. Not that it wasn't important, but most people over rate it.


"Annus Mirabilis? I disqualify this one. Those were impressive victories, but they were many. We are looking at one victory and not several."
-Almost exactly what I thought, except my word was "cop out".

"Kursk? Germany had just been defeated badly at Stalingrad, but this offensive quickly led to a complete Soviet victory after which the Wehrmacht could only retreat -- sometimes with some order, and sometimes in complete disarray. Before Kursk, the Wehrmacht seemed to have a chance at the least to recover and get a stable line somewhere well to the east of the border of the Soviet Union at the start of Operation Barbarossa. Within a year the Third Reich was dead."
-Grossly over-rated. Soviet casualties were far higher than German losses (i.e., at a rate that the Germans could have sustained). Any chance that the author is still stuck in the discredited "Prokhoroka was the Greatest Tank Battle in History" thing?

"The Normandy Invasion?"  
-Operation Bagration was a bit bigger, catastrophe-wise, than Overlord.

I'll get around to more, of course. ?
 
Reply
#9
(05-11-2018, 03:05 PM)JDG 66 Wrote:
" 'Moment of Battle’ author James Lacey on the most pivotal military battles in history.
http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/24804...mp=sem_outloud

[Image: 061413_dobbs_lacey.jpg]

The 20 Battles That Changed the World
video.foxbusiness.com
‘Moment of Battle’ author James Lacey on the most pivotal military battles in history.




Lacey's choices?

Marathon 490 BC (First Greco-Persian War -- unlikely Greek victory, prevented the Persian conquest of Greece)
Gaugamela 331 BC (Alexander's campaign against Persia-- caused the swift disintegration of the Persian Army)
Zama 202 BC (Second Punic War -- Carthage broken to a client state)
Teutoburger Wald 9 AD (Early Germanic tribes destroy the Roman XVII Legion and stop Roman expansion into northern Germany)
Adrianople 376 AD (Huge defeat of Imperial Rome, gross weakening of Roman authority and power in the west).
Yarmuk 636 AD (allows Arab/Muslim conquest of the Levant, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain)
Hastings 1066 AD (Allowed Norman conquest of England)
Spanish Armada 1588 (Thwarted Spanish hegemony in western Europe)
Breitenfeld 1631 (First Protestant victory in the Thirty Years War, established a continuing Protestant-Catholic division in German lands)
Annus Mirabilis 1759 (several British victories in the Seven-Years War worldwide)
Saratoga 1777 (First Continental victory, American War of Independence)
Trafalgar 1805 (British naval victory over France, thwarted Napoleonic hegemony in southwest Europe and led him eastward to his ruin)
Vicksburg 1863 (Severed the Confederate States of America)
Battle of the Marne 1914 (Stopped a swift German thrust into France that would have decided the war)
Battle of Britain 1940 (Prevented a Nazi invasion of Great Britain, inspired Hitler to go east to his ruin)
Midway 1942 (First US victory against Imperial Japan -- unambiguous turning point)
Kursk 1943 (German offensive stalled, German tank capacities gutted, Soviet advance into central Europe effectively unstoppable)
Normandy 1944 (Arguable death-blow to the Third Reich)
Dien Bien Phu 1954 (Forced French departure from Vietnam)
Objective Peach 2003 (Allowed the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein)..."

-I'm glad to see that Waterloo, the most pointless battle in history, is NOT on the list. Napoleon could have annihilated Wellington and Bluecher's armies to the last man and France would still have ultimately gotten its a$$ kicked by all the other armies bearing down on them, i.e., just like what happened in 1813, except this time, the Allies would have started out closer, and France had fewer allies (i.e., by June 1815, NONE).

"Spanish Armada? The great storm that weakened the Spanish fleet allowed England to keep its independence and its Protestant identity -- and become the master of the High Seas. Without this victory, the British colonies from Newfoundland to Georgia never exist, and neither do the United States nor Canada." 
-Even if the Armada had landed an army in England, said army probably wouldn't have faired too well stuck in England. Not that it wasn't important, but most people over rate it.

Quote:"Annus Mirabilis? I disqualify this one. Those were impressive victories, but they were many. We are looking at one victory and not several."
-Almost exactly what I thought, except my word was "cop out".

Yes, indeed.


Quote:"Kursk? Germany had just been defeated badly at Stalingrad, but this offensive quickly led to a complete Soviet victory after which the Wehrmacht could only retreat -- sometimes with some order, and sometimes in complete disarray. Before Kursk, the Wehrmacht seemed to have a chance at the least to recover and get a stable line somewhere well to the east of the border of the Soviet Union at the start of Operation Barbarossa. Within a year the Third Reich was dead."

-Grossly over-rated. Soviet casualties were far higher than German losses (i.e., at a rate that the Germans could have sustained). Any chance that the author is still stuck in the discredited "Prokhoroka was the Greatest Tank Battle in History" thing?

Nazi Germany could have survived Stalingrad, which it did for two years. The series of disasters on the Eastern Front of course culminated in the ultimate defeat of the "Kingdom of Satan" in the streets of Berlin.  Stalingrad was a severe mauling of the Third Reich, and the arguable turning point. After Kursk, Nazi Germany lost the means of resisting the inevitable defeat by the Soviet Union.

I attribute the defeat of Nazi Germany to its horrific brutality toward conquered peoples, without which even the British might have surrendered after Dunkirk. Hitler was cruel enough to maintain the system of collective farming in the occupied Soviet Union and to not exploit the desires for people in the occupied USSR (the Baltic countries and Ukraine, especially) for independence. Giving even a sham independence to Croatia gave Hitler a desirable military ally, if one of similar brutality. German troops had to watch their backs all the way from the 1938 border with Poland all the way to the Eastern Front, something that American and British troops didn't have to do. The Holocaust was a severe waste of people who had assimilated into German life more readily than any other -- and wasted German military and logistical resources.

In the end one wins a war by either exterminating an enemy (consummately difficult as well as potentially objectionable to the conquering people) or giving the enemy nothing for which to fight. The demonic empire continued to fight in effect to keep its leaders from facing the judgment, both worldly and theological, that they so richly deserved -- execution followed by damnation to a new tenth circle of Hell newly created for the most egregious sinners of time -- sinners that Dante Aligheri could never imagine. 

Quote:"The Normandy Invasion?"  
Quote:-Operation Bagration was a bit bigger, catastrophe-wise, than Overlord.

I'll get around to more, of course. ?
 

Death blow to the Third Reich. Hitler and his followers would have retreated all the way to the Franco-Spanish border just to stave off being captured and executed had the western Allies not given the Third Reich the definitive stab in the back.  The Normandy invasion effectively kept much of Europe from ending up in Stalin's empire. Of course, I can only imagine how long it would have taken for one of Stalin's large puppets (Germany, most likely) to split with Stalin or his successor on some interpretation of Marxism-Leninism with some ensuing great war. Within eleven months after D-Day, Adolf Hitler had blown his brains out in his bunker.  I am tempted to believe that Nazi Germany could have survived nearly a year longer had Nazi rule put its last fight up along the Pyrenees. Without the D-Day invasion, such countries as Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and France are 'socialist' republics', perhaps to this day; any other result such as an attempt for subjected states to rebel against the USSR constitutes another horrific war instead of the comparatively-bloodless revolutions of 1989. Even the Korean war goes badly for the causes of freedom and capitalism.

Operation Bagration was another death blow to the Third Reich, but note that it did not start until just after D-Day. Also within eleven months, Josef Goebbels had committed suicide.  But this is not one battle even if it is a death-blow to Nazi Germany. But that was by a matter of days, and Stalin loved to coordinate his military strikes with Anglo-American strikes.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#10
I'm having an awful time using the quote bar for now, and I may have lost track of who's who. Oh well. Life goes on...

--

BB: "Dien Bien Phu? I can't figure why the French tried to stay in Indochina any longer than they did. They were disgraced there in World War II. But it was one colony. All of the former French Indochina would eventually fall to Commie rule -- but over twenty-some years after Dien Bien Phu."

-Further down, Attila questions why anything about VietNam is on the list. I agree. If the Communists had one the Cold War, then it could be seen as a harbinger, but they didn't. 

--

BB: "I have a soft spot for Vicksburg..."

PBR: "Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana in fact mattered little to whether the Confederacy thrived as a military power or failed."

-It is nice that Lacey avoided the Eastern fixation by choosing Vicksburg over Gettysburg.

The importance of Vicksburg was:

1) 30,000 rebels temporarily taken out of the game, which allowed 30,000 US troops back in (after the parole controversy was dealt with);

2) "The Father of Waters rolls unvexed to the Sea" (well, after Port Hudson fell on 9 JUL).

The CSA east of the Mississippi did need western cattle, to some extent (the other big source at the time was Union-tilting southern Florida. 

--

BB: "The United States was developing the atom bomb, and so long as it could deliver one to a German city, it could have destroyed the chain of command within the Reich. That would have taken until August 1945... but the Allies had a pretext for such -- the Holocaust. The German people were spared such a result not because they were white (something that Allied propaganda deliberately underplayed) but instead that Japan was still fighting in August 1945..." 

Use of the atomic bomb pre-supposed air supremacy. It really wouldn't have done to send a B-29 over the Third Reich with an a-bomb and have it get shot down. ?

--
BB: "I have a soft spot for Vicksburg, not the siege, and not for taking the last major bastion on the Mississippi, but for Grant's marching a big army away from its chain of supply.  Grant took something of a risk, crossing the river south of Vicksburg and marching on the offensive without leaving troops behind to guard a supply train.  This allowed him to march fast and hit hard.  Prior to that crossing, even though the north had advantages in numbers, they were seldom able to exploit them as they spent too much of their force anchoring themselves to their supply route."

-IIRC, Johnston and Pemberton's forces initially outnumbered Grants forces south of the Yazoo and east of the Mississippi. Same thing was true at Ft. Henry/Ft. Donelson.

--

BB: "Adowa, 1896. Italy had designs on the Ethiopian Empire... and failed catastrophically. This was the only major defeat of European colonialists, and the Ethiopian Empire would survive until 1975 with the exception of a few years of Italian Rule -- ended by British liberators who chose to restore the empire. For the first time in a long time, European colonists were shown as something other than invincible."

-I don't really disagree, but I'm not really agreeing, either. I don't think anyone was putting Italy on the same level as Britain or France.

--

BB: " Second Battle of El Alamein, 1942. The Axis Powers seemed in a fortuitous position in which to take the Nile Delta (in modern times as in ancient times a rich land of agricultural production) and destroy the British position in the eastern Mediterranean, destroy the inchoate Zionist settlement in Palestine, and connect to an anti-Allied, fascistic regime in Iraq, effectively cutting off Middle Eastern oil from the Allies. The Second Battle of El Alamein put an end to that..."

-I doubt the Axis had the fuel to get to Alexandria by OCT 1942, and Operation Torch was right around the corner, anyway.

--
Someone mentioned Ain Jalut. 

-IIRC, the Mongols were already on their way back, so it might be one of those over-rated battles. Sort of like the controversy over Tours.
 
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#11
I would indeed have added the victory at Tours over the Moors in 732; it allowed the growth of Western Civilization.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#12
(05-14-2018, 08:51 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: I would indeed have added the victory at Tours over the Moors in 732; it allowed the growth of Western Civilization.

I think that I do. Sometimes the site is understood to be Tours, and some times Poitiers. Charles Martel makes Charlemagne (and much else) possible.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#13
(05-14-2018, 08:51 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: I would indeed have added the victory at Tours over the Moors in 732; it allowed the growth of Western Civilization.

There is the debate, as I mentioned:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tours

...start at "Historical and Macrohistorical Views".

Looks like I'm caught up here.
My Turn.  Cool

Under-rated operation #1: Operation Husky (Sicily).

Husky finally knocked Italy out of the Axis. The Germans know had to suddenly take up the slack in (of course) Italy, the Balkans, and on the Eastern Front as well. The diverted troops were a nice chunk of the surplus that the Germans had previously used for attacks (e.g., Kursk). All this was at minimal cost to the Allies, so very cost effective. In the long run, more important than Kursk, anyway.

Under-rated operation #2: Fort Donelson.  ...Fort Donelson was a psychological blow to the Confederacy in general and Tennesseans in particular. It guaranteed the loss of Columbus, Kentucky (“the Gibraltar of the West”), the “Great Western Iron Belt” (a major iron producing region), and Nashville, Tennessee (the state’s capital and a vital communications hub). Easier to quantify were the millions of dollars’ worth of supplies that the Federals captured at Fort Donelson and the millions of dollars’ worth of property that the Confederates destroyed to prevent its falling into Yankee hands. This included two partially constructed gunboats.

     The number of Confederate soldiers who surrendered (over 13,000) was unprecedented at that point in the war. This alone qualifies Fort Donelson as a Confederate disaster. To put the sum in perspective, the Confederates lost more prisoners at Fort Donelson than they had during the entire war up to that time. A different comparison shows that the Confederates lost more prisoners at Fort Donelson than the Federals had in every engagement during the war up to that point. The ramifications were immediately understood, as paroled U.S. soldiers petitioned the government to be exchanged for a return to duty.   
 

    Although the Confederates would suffer catastrophes aplenty in the coming years, the only Federal surrender to rival Fort Donelson was at Harper’s Ferry during the Antietam campaign in September 1862... 

    What if the men who were captured at Fort Donelson been able to fight at Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862? If the Confederates had fought and held on 16 February, and even if they had lost as many as 4,000 additional killed and wounded and additional 2,000 captured, the 8,000 additional evacuees would have been available for future operations. Admittedly, not all of those 8,000 men could have fought at Shiloh. In the period of time between 16 February and 6 April 1862, typical attrition (death, desertion, and discharge) might have amounted to 3 percent, cutting that number down to 7,760. Accounting for those who would have been sick, under arrest, or absent (about 30.3% of total strength, or 2,351) still would have added about 5,409 additional men to the 41,669 who were actually “present for duty or extra duty” on the first day at Shiloh. That would have resulted in roughly 12 percent more combat power, assuming that these men would have been as competent, as well equipped, and as well supplied as the average Confederate soldier in that battle. This increase in combat power certainly would have resulted in heavier losses for Grant’s Army of the Tennessee on 6 April, and if it had resulted in them being thrown back an additional kilometer toward Pittsburg Landing or Owl Creek, it might have resulted in disaster. Had Lew Wallace’s men arrived earlier, Grant might have been saved, but not because the reinforcements marched to the battlefield more quickly, but because the battlefield would have marched more quickly towards them. At the very least, Beauregrad’s Army of the Mississippi would have been in better shape to face the Yankees the next day, and for month’s afterward. [modified from my Master's Thesis]
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#14
Candidate Operation: Long Island, AUG 1776. I'm including both the Battle of Long Island, the Siege of Brooklyn Heights, and the evacuation. You might object that it was more than one battle, but the operation took less than 96 hours from the beginning to the end, and  was territorially contiguous. Each event flowed seamlessly into the next. Besides, it's all on a single Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Long_Island ?

The troops at the Battle of Long Island, and those trapped on Brooklyn Heights weren't the only Patriot troops by a long stretch (they weren't even the only ones in the NYC area), so it might be an exaggeration to claim that the Revolution would have died on Long Island if Washington's forces had been wiped out (as they probably should have been), but it would have been a lot harder. Would the victories of Trenton and Princeton have rejuvenated the Revolution after such a disaster? Most of the victors of Trenton were survivors of the Long Island operation, so they might not have even been enough guys to win at Trenton. The same thing goes for Princeton, or any number of operations thereafter (Saratoga, Brandywine, and later).

Washington himself could have been killed or captured (he came very close several times). What would have happened, militarily, to the Revolution without Washington? His most likely replacement would have been Charles Lee. Ugh. We'd have been lucky if Lee still got himself captured. Politically, how many men would have rejected the temptation at Newburgh? Even if we'd won the war against the Crown, we could have ended up being Mexico with a larger proportion of white people. You could argue that we might as well have lost.
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