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December 04, 2022, 11:15:30 PM

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Please choose which decision was the most significant in the context of that particular war

Lee's decision to invade Pennsylvania, resulting in the Battle of Gettysburg
5 (38.5%)
Napoleon's decision to withold the Guard at Borodino
2 (15.4%)
Villeroi's decision to actively seek battle at Ramillies
1 (7.7%)
Raglan's decision to entrust Nolan with orders for Cardigan at Balaclava
0 (0%)
The Young Pretender's decision to return north after reaching Derby
5 (38.5%)

Total Members Voted: 13

Author Topic: Decisions in military history.....  (Read 510 times)

Offline George1863

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 46
Decisions in military history.....
« on: June 26, 2022, 06:05:22 PM »
These are the kind of questions that keep me endlessly awake at night. I haven't seen a poll for a long while and so thought I would try one in the hope that the LAF community might enjoy it. In each case, I can argue both ways, but at the moment incline towards '2' or '3'. Thank you in anticipation of your time to consider and respond.

Offline jon_1066

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 693
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2022, 06:53:24 AM »
All seem more operational rather than strategic.  Eg sending in the guard at Borodino doesnt secure Napoleons line of retreat from Russia or bring back all the soldiers hed already lost.  So I would say none would change the overall strategic picture.

Offline frank xerox

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 328
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2022, 12:13:42 PM »
Prince Charlie marching on London might well have.
George the whatever was ready to do a runner and there could have been a return to Stuart rule and end to the Union, the survival of Gaelic culture, huge implications for what became the British empire. Its a biggie

Offline Cubs

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4711
  • "I simply cannot survive without beauty ..."
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2022, 12:36:22 PM »
I'll be honest, I probably don't know enough about enough of them to post anything sensible, but as already stated by Jon, I often regard the 'what ifs' of individual battles as being of relatively small impact in the grander scheme of things.

What if Harold's Saxons hadn't charged off their defensive position on Senlac Hill? Well, the Normans would still have been present in large numbers and would likely have retreated to fight another day, all the while bringing in more reinforcements from the continent.

What if Chelmsford hadn't divided his forces, leaving a shaky chain of command behind on the eve of Isandlwana? The defeat of the Zulus would have been brought forward a few months.

But if the Persians hadn't somehow lost their cavalry before the battle of Marathon (no-one really knows what happened to it - one likely answer is they were reimbarked on transports, or perhaps they were detached for scouting and foraging - but they seemed to have played no part) then the entirety of the world's history may have been changed, with Greek 'Western' civilisation being eradicated by Persian 'Eastern' influences, with the knock-on effect on both Europe and Asia.
'Sir John ejaculated explosively, sitting up in his chair.' ... 'The Black Gang'.

Paul Cubbin Miniature Painter

Offline jon_1066

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 693
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2022, 03:32:14 PM »
Prince Charlie marching on London might well have.
George the whatever was ready to do a runner and there could have been a return to Stuart rule and end to the Union, the survival of Gaelic culture, huge implications for what became the British empire. Its a biggie

An army marching another 130 miles further from its supply base is not a slam dunk campaign winning sweep aside everything moment.  It is highly unlikely his forces would have gone with him, its unlikely they get to London and take the city and win.  Then what?  A hostile populace and undefeated army still to face.  It would have caused material harm to the Hannovarians but not been a fatal blow to what was ultimately Parliaments cause - a protestant succession.

Offline George1863

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 46
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2022, 04:43:38 PM »
@Jon_1066

My line of reasoning is that had Kutuzov's army beem smashed at Borodino (as the Prussians at Jena), the Tsar would have been more likely to sue for peace. This I think was Napoleon's great gamble in not wintering at Smolensk. I am not suggesting that even with the Guard committed, this would certainly have happened; but I do think that in not committing the Guard and/or other reserves, Napoleon allowed Kutuzov's army to withdraw and reform, ultimately making his own withdrawal from Moscow inevitable.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2022, 04:48:39 PM by George1863 »

Offline George1863

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 46
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2022, 04:56:34 PM »
I would add also that the decision made by Lee and Villeroi certainly concern strategy: both chose to seek battle when it could have been avoided for a number of months (though for very different reasons). I think only the Crimean question is more one of personal judgement than strategy, but I would argue for strategic consequences (an army without light cavalry is blind, to paraphrase someone or other - as Lee found at Gettysburg in the absence of Stuart).

Offline has.been

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 6406
Re: Decisions in military history.....
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2022, 04:49:50 PM »
All interesting 'What if?' s & each worth a game or mini-campaign
to try out various theories.

Quote
What if Harold's Saxons hadn't charged off their defensive position on Senlac Hill? Well, the Normans would still have been present in large numbers and would likely have retreated to fight another day, all the while bringing in more reinforcements from the continent.

William was late in his crossing. The Saxon fleet had retired for the season. It is doubtful
he could have persuaded (even if he could have got a message across) people to re-enforce
his so far unsuccessful invasion. 'Wot cross the channel in this weather?'
If the Normans were still 'present in large numbers' what would they be eating?
At Senlac Harold was effectively the cork in the bottle. He had troops still arriving & the
rest of England to feed them. No threat from the Vikings anymore. All he had to do was
NOT loose. A draw would have been enough to make winning the campaign very likely.
well that's my tuppence worth. See what fun these 'What if' s  are. lol lol lol

 

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