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Old 05-27-2019, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,083 posts, read 2,824,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
If you're referring to the Little Bighorn debacle, that was led by Lieutenant Colonel Custer.

Custer held wartime ranks of general in the U.S. Volunteers and ranks of brevet general in the Army. In 1865 he was reverted to a rank of captain, then promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1866, a rank he still held at his death.
I started to say the same thing and paused to do a little reading.

As a brevet brigadier general, Custer's performance was pretty inept, including high unit losses. He was also the goat at West Point (lowest member of his class).

Which, given the general ineptitude of a lot of senior officers pressed into service and pushed up the ranks during the Civil War, doesn't get him into the five worst. But his team's later loss to the Indians, 268-31 or so, pretty much confirms he never should have had stars.
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:53 AM
 
582 posts, read 123,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
I started to say the same thing and paused to do a little reading.

As a brevet brigadier general, Custer's performance was pretty inept, including high unit losses. He was also the goat at West Point (lowest member of his class).

Which, given the general ineptitude of a lot of senior officers pressed into service and pushed up the ranks during the Civil War, doesn't get him into the five worst. But his team's later loss to the Indians, 268-31 or so, pretty much confirms he never should have had stars.
But I would guess that he was mentioned in this thread for his final act as a commissioned officer, where he was an O-5.

Also, I think people don't realize just how many generals have served in American history. Current law caps the number of general officers at nearly 500 (and I'm not counting the 160+ flag officer slots allotted to the Navy, because even though they are technically general officers, they are called admirals). In the Army alone, over 1100 generals served during World War II. There have been many thousands of stars, bearing the title 'General', in the Army, Marines and Air Force throughout the nation's history. Against that sort of competition for the handful of the worst of all, much more than mere ineptness will be needed.
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Old 05-27-2019, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,370 posts, read 18,470,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
List put together by amateurs. Grant was a terrible general who wasted lives. Had he not had the immense industrial and manpower of the North to refill his ranks, he would have lost. Lee could not replace his losses while Grant could. Giving Grant great credit for his generalship is like giving the guy with a minigun credit against a musket.
Grant was successful where all his predecessors, who had exactly the same advantages that Grant enjoyed, were beaten by General Lee. Obviously Grant understood how to use what he had and win with it, while McClellan, Pope, Burnside and Hooker did not.

And the apparent advantages were not as great as they would seem. The eastern theater of the war featured east/west running rivers which served as natural defensive barriers, and the battlefield arena itself was hemmed in by the ocean to the east and the mountains to the west. It was a defensive general's dream, unlike the western theater where the north/south running rivers served as natural invasion highways.

Along with those defensive advantages, the southern forces were commanded by Lee, the best general of the war, and the top subordinates of the Confederate army served under him. Lee wasn't saddled with Polks and Earl Van Dorns, he had Jackson, Longstreet, Stuart et al.

If having a size and supply advantage was all it took to beat Lee, how come only Grant was able to do it? How could anyone place Grant on a list of the worst generals when not only did he win where others failed, the war produced numerous candidates who were genuinely bad. Grant was as bad as Butler or Banks? Worse than Polk or Floyd?
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:39 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
4,763 posts, read 3,338,328 times
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I'll agree with the pro MacArthur folks here. His Southwest Pacific strategy was brilliant. Leap frogging through Japanese forces using amphibious landings, airborne troops and having the Fifth Airforce to engage enemy airpower, ground attack enemy troops and supply our own people on the ground.


One of the oddest things about the General was that he was a momma's boy from child to adult. When he entered West Point his mother moved into a hotel outside the academy and even badgered the superintendent about his progress.


In older adulthood and after a failed marriage the General had a half Scottish half Filipina mistress he brought from the islands to Washington DC. He was so worried that Momma might find out about his affair that he kept her hidden in a local hotel where her only visitor was the General.

Last edited by msgsing; 05-27-2019 at 05:47 PM..
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Elysium
6,511 posts, read 3,590,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
Just read a lengthy bio on MacArthur and I agree with you...
I remember the history of General MacArthur's performance as an Assistant Division Commander in WWI. From that alone I would say that the nation got a positive return of the investment put into that particular soldier
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:00 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
7,104 posts, read 9,859,453 times
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Default DEFEATED: These are the 5 Worst U.S. Generals Who Ever Served

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban_Guy View Post
McClellan and MacArthur seem to be mentioned quite often on these types of lists.

No doubt MacArthur wasn't a very nice person, and quite overrated as a general.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...r-served-58912





10 Reasons People Have Called General Douglas MacArthur a “Jerk”
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I'm going to question the legitimacy of any list of bad American generals which fails to include General William Hull. He is the fellow who during the War of 1812, surrendered his entire force defending Detroit without putting up a fight, to an inferior force which was running a bluff.
McClellan and MacArthur are not even close to being the worst generals in American history. I would argue that MacArthur was actually a good general. Especially if you consider all the lousy generals in the Civil War, both Union and Confederate, the Revolution and the War of 1812 in which Grandstander mentions a good example.

Just for starters, when Lincoln replaced McClellan with Burnside, the result was the Union disaster at Fredericksburg, something McClellan would never have done.

Some high level Civil War generals worse then McClellan:
- Ambrose Burnsides
- Nathaniel Banks
- Benjamin "Beast" Butler
- Don Carlos Buell
- Braxton Bragg
- John Bell Hood (as a full general)
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:00 PM
 
Location: London
4,336 posts, read 3,627,262 times
Reputation: 1977
Pershing. The end of WW1 was decided upon - date and time. Pershing sent in men that were killed to seize German held territory that he could have walked into a matter of hours later. Pure buffoonery.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:08 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
4,763 posts, read 3,338,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John-UK View Post
Pershing. The end of WW1 was decided upon - date and time. Pershing sent in men that were killed to seize German held territory that he could have walked into a matter of hours later. Pure buffoonery.

Yes. There was public outrage here after this happened and even a Congressional investigation I believe that went nowhere.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:27 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
7,104 posts, read 9,859,453 times
Reputation: 6407
Quote:
Originally Posted by John-UK View Post
Pershing. The end of WW1 was decided upon - date and time. Pershing sent in men that were killed to seize German held territory that he could have walked into a matter of hours later. Pure buffoonery.
You can make an argument that Pershing's frontal assaults were a terrible idea but like I said there were some really bad generals in American history that make Pershing (or McClellan and McArthur) look like pure genius.

If anything else, Pershing was able to navigate the politics of the time and managed to build up an American Army in Europe instead of allowing Americans to be put piecemeal into British and French units like the Allies wanted them too. Having a large independent American army was invaluable once the Versailles peace conference began.

Since your British, you might be interested about General James Abercrombie. He is an example of a bad general when America was part of the British Empire. He ordered the disastrous frontal assault against the French at Fort Ticonderoga in upper New York. He continued to launch costly assaults even after the first failed and he also did not bring up his artillery. The 42nd regiment, the original Black Watch, lost half its men at Ticonderoga because of Abercrombie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_...cer,_born_1706)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carillon (Battle of Fort Carillon - Fort Ticonderoga)
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Texas
35,056 posts, read 19,171,984 times
Reputation: 20633
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
List put together by amateurs. Grant was a terrible general who wasted lives.
Grant beat everyone he faced.

Everyone

Quote:
Had he not had the immense industrial and manpower of the North to refill his ranks, he would have lost. Lee could not replace his losses while Grant could. Giving Grant great credit for his generalship is like giving the guy with a minigun credit against a musket.

Macarthur was actually an outstanding general. His mistake was assuming Truman would be willing to use total force against the Chinese to keep them out of the war. In failing to do so, Truman let down the world in a manner that extends to today. Macarthur should not have argued with Truman, but Truman felt Macarthur would be a unbeatable political opponent in the next election. It was politics of the highest order, not generalship that got Macarthur.
Mac failed to heed the intel he was given that large units of Chinese were crossing the Yalu to face overextended US forces far into N Korea. The resulting retreat made the Korean War a stalemate.
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