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Major Marcus Reno - Branded

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  • Major Marcus Reno - Branded

    “What do you do when you’re branded, and know you’re a man?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80Bp4N1PCcI

    I offer this short article for discussion:

    http://www.historynet.com/misreprese...arcus-reno.htm
    "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

  • #2
    Reno got a very bad deal after the Big Horn.

    Libby Custer needed a scapegoat after her beau saber got himself killed.

    He had an excellent combat record in the ACW, but he had not seen combat in 11 years, and had no Indian experience to speak of.

    He knew the plan he was carrying out was stupid, and he knew Custer would ruin him if he didn't see it through.

    As it was, he saved his command.

    He suffered terribly from PTSD. The tragedy is he died not long before his name was cleared.

    Reno was another victim of Custer's incompetance and vainglory.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

    Comment


    • #3
      What really ruined his name was when he got besotted with a MUCH younger lady. He had serious alcohol issues and was convicted of stalking the lady and being a peeping tom. Custer had nothing to do with this. He was convicted of Ungentlemanly Behavior.

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
        What really ruined his name was when he got besotted with a MUCH younger lady. He had serious alcohol issues and was convicted of stalking the lady and being a peeping tom. Custer had nothing to do with this. He was convicted of Ungentlemanly Behavior.

        Pruitt
        True, but Libby Custer and her supporters continually smeared him and Benteen. Reno's post-battle life is a textbook case of PTSD, and being reviled in print as having betrayed Custer certainly piled heavy stress upon a man who had reached his limit that bloody day.
        Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a measure of sympathy for Reno. He certainly had his faults. But I don’t believe he was a coward nor an incompetent.

          To start with, Custers orders to him were vague: “Take your battalion and bring them to battle and I will support you.” Or words to that effect. If I had heard that, I would have thought I was the vanguard of a regimental attack. I would have expected Custer to be coming up behind me after I engaged. Well, Reno took his battalion and brought the Indians to battle but he didn’t get supported.

          What Reno got was encircled. And he was going to get encircled whether he stayed mounted and continued his charge or dismounted to fight on foot. He simply didn’t have enough men. Then Reno realized his predicament and he BROKE OUT. Reno did not “retreat.” RENO. BROKE. OUT.

          A breakout from encirclement can be a desperate military maneuver and it’s often chaotic and it seldom goes smoothly. It’s an attack, not a retreat, but an attack in any direction you choose to go (“We’ve got to charge them!”). Reno could have done some things a lot better but he did LEAD THE ATTACK. And he led it with with a Bloody Knife’s brains on his face.

          It seems to have been after the attacking force, led by Reno, penetrated the rupture point that things started to get strung out. Especially during the river crossing. Eventually it was almost every man for himself going up the hill. Reno should have handled things better during that phase, for sure.
          "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by KRJ View Post
            I have a measure of sympathy for Reno. He certainly had his faults. But I don’t believe he was a coward nor an incompetent.

            To start with, Custers orders to him were vague: “Take your battalion and bring them to battle and I will support you.” Or words to that effect. If I had heard that, I would have thought I was the vanguard of a regimental attack. I would have expected Custer to be coming up behind me after I engaged. Well, Reno took his battalion and brought the Indians to battle but he didn’t get supported.

            What Reno got was encircled. And he was going to get encircled whether he stayed mounted and continued his charge or dismounted to fight on foot. He simply didn’t have enough men. Then Reno realized his predicament and he BROKE OUT. Reno did not “retreat.” RENO. BROKE. OUT.

            A breakout from encirclement can be a desperate military maneuver and it’s often chaotic and it seldom goes smoothly. It’s an attack, not a retreat, but an attack in any direction you choose to go (“We’ve got to charge them!”). Reno could have done some things a lot better but he did LEAD THE ATTACK. And he led it with with a Bloody Knife’s brains on his face.

            It seems to have been after the attacking force, led by Reno, penetrated the rupture point that things started to get strung out. Especially during the river crossing. Eventually it was almost every man for himself going up the hill. Reno should have handled things better during that phase, for sure.
            Well put.

            One thing we forget in our modern age is that the only form of tactical communication they had beyond the voice was trumpet calls, which were fairly limited.

            Reno must have been moving forward, aware that the scouts had reported that there were more Indians than the 7th had bullets, wondering how the hell Custer was going to support him.

            When he made contact he got his men into a skirmish line (getting splattered in the aforementioned brains), and was doing well until he realized that instead of cutting and running as was their custom, the Indians were establishing a base on fire while flanking him.

            That was unusual for Plains tribes, who tended towards a much more mobile, hit-and-run style.

            So he orders a withdrawal, knowing that he is not in deep kimchee with Custer.

            Once he gives that order his control of the fight is reduced to those who can hear his voice.

            People overlook that the company commanders failed to hold their units together during the withdrawal; Reno was not the only one in the chain of command.

            When they rallied at the bluff was when Reno was at his low point in the day; exhausted (like most of the men) from the forced march, shaken by the number and tactics of the Indians, at a loss as to what Custer was doing, he did little other than order his commanders to dig in.

            It should be pointed out that both Custer and Reno practiced the exact same tactics: make contact, skirmish, withdraw to high ground (Custer's command got cut up during the withdrawal, as evidenced by the trail of bodies and Indian reports), and fight dismounted. The difference was Reno reacted fast, and had a better rally point in mind; I suspect that the bluff was his fallback position even as he started his advance.

            Reno saved his men. There was nothing more that he could have done under the circumstances.
            Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
              People overlook that the company commanders failed to hold their units together during the withdrawal; Reno was not the only one in the chain of command.
              True, one man can only do so much. I just suspect that Reno was starting hit his limits after the river crossing. He seems to have led by example and made some good decisions up till that point. And then, as near as I can tell, he just joined in the mad scramble for the hill top.

              Reno saved his men. There was nothing more that he could have done under the circumstances.
              True enough. He was handed an impossible situation. Custer fans should not complain that he was unable to make chicken soup out of chicken poop.
              "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                ...Reno got a very bad deal after the Big Horn...Reno was another victim of Custer's incompetence...
                I agree.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Both Benteen and Reno were better officers and soldiers than Custer. And Custer's regiment was not even close to the best on the frontier.

                  Custer was the architect of his own defeat and destruction.
                  We are not now that strength which in old days
                  Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                  Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                  To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Massena View Post
                    And Custer's regiment was not even close to the best on the frontier.
                    The 4th United States Cavalry commanded by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie.
                    "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KRJ View Post
                      The 4th United States Cavalry commanded by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie.
                      Seconded.
                      Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is a lot of blame game that remains a constant in Little Bighorn discussions. There is really a lot of blame to go around, and that goes way beyond Custer and his subordinates. It's fashionable to lay it all on Custer. The 1976 Northern Plains War was set up to fail by ignorance, poor planning underhandedness and any number of other sins and omissions that started at the top of the chain of command. But rather than looking for victims and scapegoats. Let everyone be responsible for their own failings. Since he is the topic, consider Reno. His claim that the only instruction he got was to charge "and we will support you with the whole outfit," is ridiculous. That may have been that was all that Custer said to him personally. But we know that Custer's Adjutant, WW Cooke, and Miles Keogh, the senior captain in Custer's detachment, rode with him for some time after the units split. It's the adjutant's job to flesh out the details of the commander's order. To claim that he didn't get a more detailed picture of Custer's plans defies belief. But Cooke and Keogh were conveniently dead, There is no witness but the one with self-serving motives. . I doubt Cooke and Keogh were there to discuss the night life in Bismark. They were also there to bolster up Reno, who was facing his first engagement with Indians. More telling was him being damned with faint praise by the court of inquiry that he asked for. Paraphrasing here, while other officers may have done more to help his own command than Reno did, we find nothing to charge him with. That's far short of an exoneration. And that was after the officers, including Benteen, closed ranks and made sure that no one said anything particularly damaging. The civilians who testified were not bound by the same code of silence and their stories were a bit different.. Outside of the court, Benteen had plenty to say about Reno's incompetence. There are no "victims" here, not Custer, not Reno, not among the officers. They are responsible for their own action or inaction.
                        No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends John 15:13

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I always thought the Northern Plains Indians at Little Big Horn had a great deal to with why Custer and so many of his men died.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Exactly, so many want to put it on a white officer that screwed up, and they argue which screwup was worse. Everything fell right into place for the Lakota and Cheyenne. Their style of fighting meshed well with the circumstances, a lot of brave warriors, many in their teens, were responsible for the 7th Cavalry defeat.
                            After the Civil War, someone asked General Pickett why the Battle of Gettysburg had been lost: Was it Lee'’s error in taking the offensive, the tardiness of Ewell and Early, or Longstreet'’s hesitation in attacking? Pickett scratched his head and replied, “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.”
                            Last edited by MontanaKid; 20 Jul 18, 18:33.
                            No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends John 15:13

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