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How would you rank the greatest US generals?
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HeartOfDixie Offline
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Post: #41
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 01:22 PM)john01992 Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 12:58 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 11:50 AM)Phillip26r Wrote:  It's an odd thing, being considered great. What does that mean? If it means getting men to buy into your cause and being effective in completing a mission, then I think Washington and even N.B. Forrest have to be included.

To include Lee means to gloss over his order for Pickett's charge. To me, that is one of the biggest blunders in military history.

If it had worked, the charge, the war would have been over. It's only a blunder because it didn't pan out.

it didn't pan out because it was a terrible idea. this isn't risk where it comes down to the role of dice and random chance of something going wrong.

Why was it a terrible idea?

At no point before or since did the South have that kind of strength and that kind of firepower at the same place. If the attack had been successful the Army of the Potomac would have disintegrated and Washington would have fallen in a few weeks. Besides, the Army of Northern Virginia was on one hell of winning streak.

The risks were high, but so was the reward.
07-10-2014 01:29 PM
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49RFootballNow Offline
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Post: #42
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 01:29 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 01:22 PM)john01992 Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 12:58 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 11:50 AM)Phillip26r Wrote:  It's an odd thing, being considered great. What does that mean? If it means getting men to buy into your cause and being effective in completing a mission, then I think Washington and even N.B. Forrest have to be included.

To include Lee means to gloss over his order for Pickett's charge. To me, that is one of the biggest blunders in military history.

If it had worked, the charge, the war would have been over. It's only a blunder because it didn't pan out.

it didn't pan out because it was a terrible idea. this isn't risk where it comes down to the role of dice and random chance of something going wrong.

Why was it a terrible idea?

At no point before or since did the South have that kind of strength and that kind of firepower at the same place. If the attack had been successful the Army of the Potomac would have disintegrated and Washington would have fallen in a few weeks. Besides, the Army of Northern Virginia was on one hell of winning streak.

The risks were high, but so was the reward.

Frontal assaults are generally a bad idea. When you add the fact that as usual the ANV was out-manned and outgunned to the scales then it does seem like Lee was having a very bad day.

Historians believe in general that he should have reenforced Longstreet's and Ewell's forces on either side and attempted to do a double envelopment around Little Roundtop and Culp's Hill respectively. There was very little threat of Meade ordering a reverse Pickett's Charge to the ANV's center and it would have pulled AOP forces to the extreme ends of their lines to prevent an envelopment.

Once they lost one of their two "anchor" spots, Meade would have been forced to pull back from Cemetery Ridge or risk losing a significant portion of the AOP in a route to both or either side.

Either way that would have left the AOP largely intact if in a weakened state. Using a boxing analogy; Lee was going for a knockout punch, when he should have been trying to damage his opponent's arm so he couldn't fight.
(This post was last modified: 07-10-2014 01:56 PM by 49RFootballNow.)
07-10-2014 01:55 PM
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UofM_Tiger Offline
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Post: #43
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 01:55 PM)49RFootballNow Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 01:29 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 01:22 PM)john01992 Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 12:58 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 11:50 AM)Phillip26r Wrote:  It's an odd thing, being considered great. What does that mean? If it means getting men to buy into your cause and being effective in completing a mission, then I think Washington and even N.B. Forrest have to be included.

To include Lee means to gloss over his order for Pickett's charge. To me, that is one of the biggest blunders in military history.

If it had worked, the charge, the war would have been over. It's only a blunder because it didn't pan out.

it didn't pan out because it was a terrible idea. this isn't risk where it comes down to the role of dice and random chance of something going wrong.

Why was it a terrible idea?

At no point before or since did the South have that kind of strength and that kind of firepower at the same place. If the attack had been successful the Army of the Potomac would have disintegrated and Washington would have fallen in a few weeks. Besides, the Army of Northern Virginia was on one hell of winning streak.

The risks were high, but so was the reward.

Frontal assaults are generally a bad idea. When you add the fact that as usual the ANV was out-manned and outgunned to the scales then it does seem like Lee was having a very bad day.

Historians believe in general that he should have reenforced Longstreet's and Ewell's forces on either side and attempted to do a double envelopment around Little Roundtop and Culp's Hill respectively. There was very little threat of Meade ordering a reverse Pickett's Charge to the ANV's center and it would have pulled AOP forces to the extreme ends of their lines to prevent an envelopment.

Once they lost one of their two "anchor" spots, Meade would have been forced to pull back from Cemetery Ridge or risk losing a significant portion of the AOP in a route to both or either side.

Either way that would have left the AOP largely intact if in a weakened state. Using a boxing analogy; Lee was going for a knockout punch, when he should have been trying to damage his opponent's arm so he couldn't fight.

What he should have done was follow Longstreet's advice and retire to a defensible position and let the battle come to him, like at Fredericksburg.
07-10-2014 02:04 PM
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49RFootballNow Offline
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Post: #44
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 02:04 PM)UofM_Tiger Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 01:55 PM)49RFootballNow Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 01:29 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 01:22 PM)john01992 Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 12:58 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  If it had worked, the charge, the war would have been over. It's only a blunder because it didn't pan out.

it didn't pan out because it was a terrible idea. this isn't risk where it comes down to the role of dice and random chance of something going wrong.

Why was it a terrible idea?

At no point before or since did the South have that kind of strength and that kind of firepower at the same place. If the attack had been successful the Army of the Potomac would have disintegrated and Washington would have fallen in a few weeks. Besides, the Army of Northern Virginia was on one hell of winning streak.

The risks were high, but so was the reward.

Frontal assaults are generally a bad idea. When you add the fact that as usual the ANV was out-manned and outgunned to the scales then it does seem like Lee was having a very bad day.

Historians believe in general that he should have reenforced Longstreet's and Ewell's forces on either side and attempted to do a double envelopment around Little Roundtop and Culp's Hill respectively. There was very little threat of Meade ordering a reverse Pickett's Charge to the ANV's center and it would have pulled AOP forces to the extreme ends of their lines to prevent an envelopment.

Once they lost one of their two "anchor" spots, Meade would have been forced to pull back from Cemetery Ridge or risk losing a significant portion of the AOP in a route to both or either side.

Either way that would have left the AOP largely intact if in a weakened state. Using a boxing analogy; Lee was going for a knockout punch, when he should have been trying to damage his opponent's arm so he couldn't fight.

What he should have done was follow Longstreet's advice and retire to a defensible position and let the battle come to him, like at Fredericksburg.

A defensible position he most likely wouldn't have found till he was back in Virginia; and thus the entire point of the campaign, which was to achieve a major victory on Union soil, which at that point in the war would have probably resulted in Great Britain and France calling for a peace conference, would have been negated.

Lee needed a victory and he allowed that overriding fact cloud his tactical judgement.

One of the great what-ifs of Gettysburg is what if Ewell had taken Culp's Hill on the first day as he was told to do. Or to put it another way, what if Jackson had lived to take Culp's Hill at Gettysburg, because he would have.
(This post was last modified: 07-10-2014 02:33 PM by 49RFootballNow.)
07-10-2014 02:14 PM
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HeartOfDixie Offline
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Post: #45
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
It's one of the most argued over things of the civil war. Still, his logic was clear and had it worked he would have been remembered even more fondly than he is today.
07-10-2014 04:41 PM
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bitcruncher Offline
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Post: #46
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
And if McClellan hadn't been an incompetent coward, he'd have won the Civil War long before it actually ended and gone down in history as something other than the fool he was.
07-10-2014 04:53 PM
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HeartOfDixie Offline
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Post: #47
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
McClellan was neither incompetent or a coward. He was cautios and had rank incompetence aroun him, specifically in intelligence.
07-10-2014 05:05 PM
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bitcruncher Offline
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Post: #48
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 05:05 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  McClellan was neither incompetent or a coward. He was cautios and had rank incompetence aroun him, specifically in intelligence.
McClellan was an incompetent coward. He had a chance to take Richmond, but was afraid of 2 logs disguised as cannons. President Lincoln twice requested that he attack, and he didn't. So he was recalled, forced to resign, and replaced by Grant. Although by the time Grant took command, Richmond was no longer within reach of the Union Army, which prolonged the war.
07-10-2014 09:43 PM
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Kaplony Offline
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Post: #49
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 09:43 PM)bitcruncher Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 05:05 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  McClellan was neither incompetent or a coward. He was cautios and had rank incompetence aroun him, specifically in intelligence.
McClellan was an incompetent coward. He had a chance to take Richmond, but was afraid of 2 logs disguised as cannons. President Lincoln twice requested that he attack, and he didn't. So he was recalled, forced to resign, and replaced by Grant. Although by the time Grant took command, Richmond was no longer within reach of the Union Army, which prolonged the war.

To be fair, before and during Operation Overlord we expended tons or ordinance and valuable troops to neutralize casements with only telephone pole guns, and this was with the advantage of hundreds of aerial recon photos.
07-11-2014 12:00 AM
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bitcruncher Offline
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Post: #50
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
Patton had an entire army that was nothing but balloons, cardboard, and set designs. And the Germans were afraid of Patton because of it. But if you let your fears rule you in wartime, you've lost the battle before it even starts.
07-11-2014 11:08 AM
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HeartOfDixie Offline
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Post: #51
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-10-2014 09:43 PM)bitcruncher Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 05:05 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  McClellan was neither incompetent or a coward. He was cautios and had rank incompetence aroun him, specifically in intelligence.
McClellan was an incompetent coward. He had a chance to take Richmond, but was afraid of 2 logs disguised as cannons. President Lincoln twice requested that he attack, and he didn't. So he was recalled, forced to resign, and replaced by Grant. Although by the time Grant took command, Richmond was no longer within reach of the Union Army, which prolonged the war.

McC was a strategist and knew that risking the Army would mean defeat for the Union. The was was going to be won in the west.

His intelligence, and Union intelligence in general, was terrible and consistently overestimated the size of Confederate forces.

Being cautious he didn't want to risk his army, especially if the Confederate army was bigger than him, as his intelligence often idioticly suggested.

He also knew the fighting spirit, morale, and effectiveness of his individual units were often inferior.

You add all that in to his interment knowledge of the anaconda plan and McC knew he didn't have to win the war himself, but he could lose it in 2 days.
07-11-2014 11:42 AM
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bitcruncher Offline
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Post: #52
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
McClellan lost his job as a result of his decisions, which isn't a good indicator for military prowess. Grant won the war, not McClellan.
07-11-2014 12:39 PM
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Post: #53
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 11:42 AM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  The was was going to be won in the west.

A point too often overlooked. While Gettysburg was going on, Vicksburg was falling. Unless Lee had been able to get all the way to DC and capture Lincoln, the loss of Vicksburg would trump any confederate victory at Gettysburg.

I've always thought that the better opportunity for Lee ended at Antietam/Sharpsburg the prior year. At that point, the confederacy still had enough of the west to be a reasonable country. And thanks to McClellan's usual ace intelligence, he didn't have a clue where Lee was until somebody left his battle plan behind with three cigars. And Lee was close enough to DC to pose a serious threat.

There's always this idea that a confederate win in a battle on union soil would have induced Europe to intervene, but I think the Europeans were totally happy to be hands off this one.
(This post was last modified: 07-11-2014 01:21 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
07-11-2014 01:20 PM
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HeartOfDixie Offline
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Post: #54
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 12:39 PM)bitcruncher Wrote:  McClellan lost his job as a result of his decisions, which isn't a good indicator for military prowess. Grant won the war, not McClellan.

And Grant didn't do it in Virginia.
07-11-2014 01:49 PM
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Post: #55
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 01:49 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 12:39 PM)bitcruncher Wrote:  McClellan lost his job as a result of his decisions, which isn't a good indicator for military prowess. Grant won the war, not McClellan.

And Grant didn't do it in Virginia.

If not there, where?
07-11-2014 02:04 PM
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South Carolina Duke Offline
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Post: #56
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
Gettysburg as it ended was a draw really. Neither side WON anything. Lee was allowed to retreat without any attack.

Now IF Jeb Stuart would have successfully attacked from the rear as intended and the Artillery Cannonade would have been better organized, and Pettigrew would have supported Pickett like he was to have, things would have been different.

Agreed Vicksburg was still of much greater importance by dividing the Confederacy and taking control the Mississippi River and cutting off all supplies.

Regardless, Lee and Jackson are two of the most celebrated military leaders ever!
(This post was last modified: 07-11-2014 02:05 PM by South Carolina Duke.)
07-11-2014 02:04 PM
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HeartOfDixie Offline
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Post: #57
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 02:04 PM)UofM_Tiger Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 01:49 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 12:39 PM)bitcruncher Wrote:  McClellan lost his job as a result of his decisions, which isn't a good indicator for military prowess. Grant won the war, not McClellan.

And Grant didn't do it in Virginia.

If not there, where?

The Western theatre.
07-11-2014 03:16 PM
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Post: #58
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 11:08 AM)bitcruncher Wrote:  Patton had an entire army that was nothing but balloons, cardboard, and set designs. And the Germans were afraid of Patton because of it. But if you let your fears rule you in wartime, you've lost the battle before it even starts.

Just like you lose it if you disregard the intelligence at hand, like Market-Garden in WWII and San Jacinto in the Texas Revolution.
07-11-2014 03:35 PM
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Post: #59
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 03:35 PM)Kaplony Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 11:08 AM)bitcruncher Wrote:  Patton had an entire army that was nothing but balloons, cardboard, and set designs. And the Germans were afraid of Patton because of it. But if you let your fears rule you in wartime, you've lost the battle before it even starts.
Just like you lose it if you disregard the intelligence at hand, like Market-Garden in WWII and San Jacinto in the Texas Revolution.
Or Napoleon at Waterloo, and Hitler with the Russian winter.
07-11-2014 04:41 PM
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Post: #60
RE: How would you rank the greatest US generals?
(07-11-2014 03:16 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 02:04 PM)UofM_Tiger Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 01:49 PM)HeartOfDixie Wrote:  
(07-11-2014 12:39 PM)bitcruncher Wrote:  McClellan lost his job as a result of his decisions, which isn't a good indicator for military prowess. Grant won the war, not McClellan.

And Grant didn't do it in Virginia.

If not there, where?

The Western theatre.

He had success there no doubt, but the war would have gone on much longer if he had not put Lee through the grinder in Virginia while Sherman was destroying Georgia.
07-12-2014 09:56 AM
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