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Discussion in 'Politics' started by Gatoravatara, Nov 8, 2019.
PS Zama was his third loss... in a row. G'burg was Lee's first.
@Gatoravatara He refuses to answer this now but Im pretty sure Avatara used to admit/brag about WORKING (likely student intern) for the Grand Kliegel Robert Byrd.
Get out? House...........nevermind.
I hate that term because it is unoriginal. It is a cliche. As for my opinion regarding Lee, it is not original. I’m not the first to suggest he’s overrated. Pickett thought he was overrated long before I was born. It remains a minority opinion, but I think the consensus is moving in my direction. Alex.
I thought Lees strength was people followed him.
Had Jackson lived, the first day’s failure to take Culp’s Hill may have gone differently, but it’s hard to know as that whole day may have gone differently. And while I agree that Buford and Reynolds quite probably ensured a Union victory with their decisions, the other key in those first few hours was who Reynolds happened to have with him: the Iron Brigade. The “Black Hats” were one of the few Union units the troops in Lee’s army actually feared. (No doubt it was the Michiganders that made it a tough unit. ) Given the size of the two army’s and their respective positions, as well as the terrain, the Army of the Potomac should have won the battle; they were also the beneficiaries of some good fortune and several blunders by their opponents.
B. H. Liddell-Hart’s Scipio Africanus is one of my favorite historical books of all time. There is a push within modern military historiography to puncture larger than life figures like Lee by emphasizing their flaws and building up their compatriots as to reduce their relief. In many respects, Lee the genteel and gallant southerner is anathema to everything the modern world tells us we ought to prefer in a male role model. So he is usually impugned with the spirit of this critical animus rather than with a sober recitation of his accomplishments, failures, talents, shortcomings, and character. As you may perhaps agree, Lee has rarely been equaled as a leader and figure of devotion among his army. He inspired by his mere presence, unshakable confidence and Herculean efforts with frightening regularity as far as his opponents were concerned, even the redoubtable Grant. All that men could have done under the circumstances, his men did. There is also a tendency to consider Lee’s strategy and grand strategy with anachronistic and perhaps ill conceived modernism. We are supposed to agree for instance that the confederacy should have pursued guerrilla strategy, a bigger version of the partisan warfare prosecuted by Forrest or Mosby — the alleged true military geniuses of the confederacy. I think there is a problem with this line of thinking. In the first place, Lee was familiar with the praxis of guerrilla warfare and its implications based on both Indian fighting and the Mexican campaign. Consequently his rejection of this strategy ought to command some gravity, rather than be dismissed as evidence that he lacked the stomach needed for the fight. So why would Lee, who must have carefully studied the Peninsular War and Napoleon’s nightmare in the snow at West Point among others, and who was moreover equipped with lived experience of partisan warfare and asymmetric campaigns, have rejected guerrilla strategy outright, even when strongly espoused by many of his trusted subordinates and the political leadership of the confederacy itself? The answer is multifaceted, but its thrust is simple grand strategy in every sense of the word. Partisan and guerrilla warfare destroys the filial bonds of society and the opportunity for future reconciliation. Lee knew that the confederacy must either stand in its own right, or at some point be reconciled to its brethren in the victorious north. If you reckon the generous, pacific, and humble spirit displayed by Lee in the postwar environment, when he could conceivably have served as a focus for renewed resistance, it is obvious that reconciliation was always his Plan B. We owe a debt to Robert E. Lee and it is a miserly soul who refuses to acknowledge it. As for Hannibal at Zama... did his defeat sully his triumphs? Very few great captains can claim an unblemished record, and I haven’t even suggested that Lee is a great captain. But I think, given the limitations of command that you hint at, he found a way to turn most of his debits into strengths. And I think that’s the true mark of a military genius. I also think it’s a bit ridiculous to hold him responsible for the personal fallings of his subordinates. We don’t do it with other military leaders.
Mosby was not present at Gettysburg - he was still in Virginia. Mosby, by the way, spent the remainder of his days after the war defending Stuart’s actions. Personally I don’t agree with his reasoning, but I have to admit his knowledge of the situation far surpasses mine.
I’m a big L-H fan... Abrams started making me read him 30 years ago. Short reply because I’m thumbing in my phone... I’m not a Lee basher nor a Jackson fan boy (same with Hannibal/SA), but I have been an excellent student of all of them, warts and wins. In the end, beginning with fateful decisions at Gettysburg, I really think Lee was old and tired and just pushed “all in” and lost. The other thing with Jackson was he was the ONLY one of the lot that understood what a game changer rifled muskets were while others (Lee included) were stuck in the very Napoleonic tactics/campaigns you mention... and I mean Union leadership didn’t understand it either. Last thing, and I mention this in my Midway movie review... I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I read my first books about Hamilcar Barca, Hannibal, and the Punic Wars, and yes, I’m human, Hannibal will always be a favorite and FU*K Scipio Africanus! ... even if he kicked Hannibal’s ass... three times in a row... when it ultimately mattered! One last thing... one cannot credit Lee’s postwar humility without first fully crediting Grant’s massive, unpopular, gracious and correct recommendation to bestow that option to be humble to Lee, and all Confederate soldiers, in the first place.
That's really every leader's strength. You are only as good as your team.
I was going to reply to him with, “Yeah, same with Hitler!”
Best thread we’ve had in a while and it’s got nothing to do with Jeff Sessions. Alex.
Abrams? Robert B “Bruce” Abrams, by chance? I think this is closer to the truth than your post earlier where you said he (& Hannibal) were lazy, complacent, and arrogant. I think there was some desperation at play in July of ‘63. (I do think the arrogance was a factor too, though it was the arrogance of thinking his soldiers were far superior to those opposing him.)
His older brother, John (middle brother of the three), was my mentor and a father figure to me. I first worked for him when he picked me to be his driver (I was a 19D in Bravo Troop with a Bradley) when he was the RCO of the 11th ACR. Last time I saw Bruce was at the funeral last April. I’m still close with Ms. Ceil and his daughters, especially Elizabeth. As for my use of talk like “lazy,” I’ve been posting quick n dirty from my phone all day (like now)... and would be more eloquent/thought out in front of my laptop.
Bruce was three years ahead of me in HS; the same year as my sis. Despite my being an obnoxious freshman, he was really nice to me. Mostly I was intimidated by the seniors, but he was always approachable and always had time for guys like me. You just knew he was going places and not just cause of who his Daddy had been. A very impressive family.
It was really interesting watching him (Bruce) grow into the family name. I think he was uncomfortable in it as a young Lieutenant and Captain because his dad was long dead and both his older brothers had multiple combat commands in Vietnam (some while dad was in charge of Vietnam)... they were their own men with nothing to prove (so to speak) while Bruce had to find his own self and not try to live up to the name of a legendary ghost. Find himself he did, and my boss talked to him about it a lot... obviously it worked out fine! Amazing for sure... one dad, three sons, 13 stars among them.... and the M-1 tank to boot. And yes, they did it in their own right. When my Abrams was a Colonel, he told me that name could get you to LTC maybe COL, but not beyond that. I worked for two others sons of retired LTGs, they made it to LTC. For one, it was correct (and has training accident deaths on his hands for getting that far when he probably shouldn’t have), for the other, he was a phenomenal commander (my first troop commander in Germany), but he cost himself in a PC environment gone bad, but it was his fault. As for the books, I was enlisted when I drove for him and he’s the one that worked me to get my commission. We would go to the field sometimes for 3-4 weeks at a stretch. Before we went, he’d give me a list of books to get from the library for me to read in the field and discuss them. That’s when I started reading L-H (and the other British guy), Jomini, Clausewitz, Guderian, Manstein, Giap, Sun Tzu, Alastair Horne, Killer Angels, Lee’s Lieutenants (all 3 volumes)... he gave me boxes of books that I still have, many of them signed and noted to him from pretty historic people. He also established my relationship with the Patton family which was pretty special. Edit: JFC Fuller was the other Brit.
Let’s define overrated and underrated. Ask 1,000 people to name Germany’s best WWII general and of the ones who come up with a name at all, the most common answer will be Rommel. Ask WWII historians and the most common answer will be Mannstein. So, is Rommel overrated and Mannstein underrated? It depends on your pool of 1,000 people. Ask 1,000 people to name America’s greatest general and you’ll get a lot of Lees and Pattons. How many Ridgeways? People know “Bull” Halsey, not Ray Spruance or Charles Lockwood. I don’t think anybody reading this has anything but respect for Lee. Surely none of us oppose “genteel” and “gallant” male role models. The pajama boys tend to avoid the PF. Let’s have fun with this. Any strong feelings about any of these guys? Genghis Khan or his general who I can’t remember Tamerlane Alexander Julius Caesar Suvorov Gustavus Adolphus Pizarro Ho or Giap Guderian Ike Bill Slim Sherman Zhukov Have at it. Alex.
Great stuff. Bruce was a fair bit younger; he graduated HS in ‘78. I have a hard bound set of Lee’s Lieutenants somewhere that belonged to my Dad. For some reason, I have never gotten around to reading them - will one day hopefully.
Yeah, John was 11-12 years older with sisters in between. I graduated in 85, then went to Germany for 4 years and that’s when I worked for him the first time. I didn’t meet Bruce until around 1992 when my wife and I went from UF on spring break to visit the Abrams at Ft Hood. Bruce came to visit when we were having dinner one night and that’s when I met him the first time.
Oh boy! I remember when we did this last time! PS Manstein.
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