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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory !!

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  • Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory !!

    This was the title of a book that I read a while back. We are know of battles in which the heroic actions of one side or the other helped win the day in which defeat seemed all but inevitable. This thread will look at the other side, the side that had a sure victory, but, managed to blow it. So what IYO is the greatest example of this?
    Last edited by Priest; 27 Jul 04, 00:06.

  • #2
    I've got that book. It's a great one.

    In my opinion, it was me getting married. Rushed right into a double armed envelopment on that one. Outflanked, outfought, and outwitted.

    Cannae's got nothing on me...
    I have no problem at all with being proved wrong. Especially when being proved wrong leaves the world a better place, than being proved right...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JAMiAM
      I've got that book. It's a great one.

      In my opinion, it was me getting married. Rushed right into a double armed envelopment on that one. Outflanked, outfought, and outwitted.

      Cannae's got nothing on me...
      Face it James you just got ambushed.

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      • #4
        I'd say 'bush'wacked is the right term........


        "Have you forgotten the face of your father?"

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        • #5
          I am getting interested, can someone tell us more?
          a brain cell

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          • #6
            Originally posted by laszlo.nemedi
            I am getting interested, can someone tell us more?
            Geez you Hungarians arn't backwards in coming forward! I'm sure theres a limit to what Jam is willing to post about his wife on here
            Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Temujin
              Geez you Hungarians arn't backwards in coming forward! I'm sure theres a limit to what Jam is willing to post about his wife on here
              I'm really don't want to know any more than this.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Priest
                I'm really don't want to know any more than this.
                I would like to hear every dirty bits
                a brain cell

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by laszlo.nemedi
                  I would like to hear every dirty bits
                  Well by all means Laszlo. Oh James...Laszlo wants to talk to you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Do you own a Casino Laszlo?
                    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Temujin
                      Do you own a Casino Laszlo?
                      a brain cell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Back to the original question!

                        Back on topic (not on top of.. ), I think 'Pearl Harbour' is a classic 'snatching defeat ...'. Had the third wave been ordered in the Japanese could have crippled PH as a naval base for many months hamstringing American operations in the Pacific. This would have allowed them to focus south and west with bad ramifications for the British especially.
                        Signing out.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Full Monty
                          Back on topic (not on top of.. ), I think 'Pearl Harbour' is a classic 'snatching defeat ...'. Had the third wave been ordered in the Japanese could have crippled PH as a naval base for many months hamstringing American operations in the Pacific. This would have allowed them to focus south and west with bad ramifications for the British especially.
                          How many months?

                          I believe that one of the biggest hits to the Japanese's morale was to see the same battleships they had sunk in '41 opening fire against them in '43 and '44.
                          Let us not forget about the tremendous industrial capabilities of the USA in WWII. From resurfacing a sunken ship to rebuilding a destroyed base to building hundreds of new ships and thousands of aircrafts. It was not a country with a big army/fleet and restricted industrial facilities, as was Germany, but the exact opposite. So the key to victory would be to reduce the production by destroying factories and/or cut the supply of raw materials (something Japan - or anyone else for the matter - could not do).
                          The only thing the third wave could accomplice would be to finish the big battleships off and - most importantly - blow up the fuel tanks containing the Pacific Fleet's oil reserves. Big deal! The Americans salvaged the battleships anyway, and USA never had problems with oil. The attack on PH was a failure from the time the big flattops were not there, as they should be.
                          But let's assume that the IJN managed to sink all battleships and flattops and bomb the fuel tanks. How many months of operational freedom would the Japanese gain? The strategic objective of the attack was to provide 6 months of non-existing US Pacific Fleet. That it did. And afterwards all hell returned. Let's not forget that the next steps the japanese army would take, given additional freedom, would be to attack the big islands in the area south/southeast of Indochina. Not the usual frog-leaps of the Pacific, but operations requiring time (infantry in jungles etc). Major difficulties indeed.
                          The attack on Pearl actually proved to be good for the USA. It helped the Americans discard the obsolete battleship-based doctrine and focus on the air-naval combined operations, the aircraft carrier doctrine. If the battleships would not have been sunk on PH, they would have been sunk afterwards, in the first major naval battle between IJN and USN. But to dramatically change points of view led USN to the battle of Midway - a success.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by autir
                            How many months?
                            Estimates vary, but 9 months to a year are the most common.

                            It wouldn't have knocked the USA out of the war but the effect on the British could have been devastating. Historically, the IJN operated in the Indian Ocean sporadically and apart from damaging some installations on Ceylon actually achieved very little. But this was largely down to their concern with the USN operating in the Pacific. The American navy lacked tankers in 1941 so being forced to operate out of the West Coast ports would have been seriously limiting to the scope of the operations they could undertake. Imho the following are the likely consequences of Japanese naval operations in the Indian Ocean.

                            1) Serious disruption to supply routes to British troops in East Africa and the Middle East.

                            2) The same for the British Army in India and Burma meaning they would be less able to counter Japanese attacks in the area. They would also struggle to cope with Indian nationalist uprisings. A strong possibility that India could be lost by the British Empire - a devastating blow to British prestige abroad and morale at home.

                            3) Australia and New Zealand would be isolated, Australia itself would be under threat of invasion.

                            Ultimately US power would still have triumphed but it would have been a much harder and longer road.
                            Signing out.

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                            • #15
                              This is going back a stretch...

                              How about the Napoleonic "Battle of Marengo"? I'd have to scour my memory about this one, but a French General was asked if he could 'save' the initial 'Battle' that the French were withdrawing from, to which he replied: "No, but there IS time to WIN another one!", and then he proceeded to do just that!

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