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Frederick the Great and the Art of War

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  • Frederick the Great and the Art of War

    I cannot but help to see parallels between Frederick the Great and what Saddam Hussein tried to do (note that I am not comparing the two of them as men or leaders of armies).

    Frederick the Great of Prussia was able to retain his country (and expand it dramatically) by defeating the coalitions that came against him even though he got his butt kicked on the battlefield faily often.

    What do you think of Frederick the Great? Was he really great? What was his secret? Why was he so successful?
    Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
    Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


    "Never pet a burning dog."

    RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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    http://www.scv.org/
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  • #2
    Frederick the Great was so successful because of tactical skill ( like at Rossbach & Leuthen) strategic skill ( in 1757, when enemy forces advanced from all directions) and luck ( Peter III of Russia, who was a fan of Frederick, agreed to a peace treaty.)

    Sorry, but i don't see any parallel between the two men.

    Comment


    • #3
      Janos

      You have old Frederick turning over in his grave with such an insult as comparing him to Saddam. What do you mean? Frederick was a military genius and he won more battles than he losted. I consider him on the level of Napoleon. Reasons:

      (1) Tactic level he could survey a battlefield with his spyglass and within moments have a sound battle orders for a victory. He could see the key features to capture and how to deploy his army to take those features.

      (2) Strategically he knew which enemy army to attack first while giving ground or delaying a second enemy army. Defeat the first with brillant concentration and then rush upon the second army. Sometimes there was a third army to deal with. Only a master of war can do such wonders.

      (3) He knew his artillery tactics very well and may have invented light horse artillery to a great degree.

      (4) He was a genius with diplomacy and spying with the major powers and it keep a steady flow of English money to support his war effort.

      (5) He was very involved in serious recruiting, training, and equiding his army with the very best advance methods of the day plus that famous Prussian discipline.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bo Archer
        You have old Frederick turning over in his grave with such an insult as comparing him to Saddam.
        "note that I am not comparing the two of them as men or leaders of armies." -- me
        I would not insult any human, animal, or inanimate object (even a Frenchie) by comparing them with Saddam.

        Good answers from both of you, thanks.

        JS
        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


        "Never pet a burning dog."

        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
        http://www.mormon.org
        http://www.sca.org
        http://www.scv.org/
        http://www.scouting.org/

        Comment


        • #5
          I think the fact that Frederick defeated coalitions was just a coincidence. His greatest contributions were the creation of a large, well paid standing army, excellent use of interior lines and the ability to mass his men on a narrow front to gain a numeric advantage at the point of attack.
          Lance W.

          Peace through superior firepower.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lance Williams
            I think the fact that Frederick defeated coalitions was just a coincidence. His greatest contributions were the creation of a large, well paid standing army, excellent use of interior lines and the ability to mass his men on a narrow front to gain a numeric advantage at the point of attack.
            Excellent point.

            No one's mentioned it yet, so I will: one of the things he was famous for was for kidnapping men from around Germany. His grenadiers had to be 6 ft tall, and Prussia didn't have enough men that size, so his recruiters grabbed them where they found them.

            JS
            Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
            Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


            "Never pet a burning dog."

            RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
            http://www.mormon.org
            http://www.sca.org
            http://www.scv.org/
            http://www.scouting.org/

            Comment


            • #7
              I think that Frederick's father, Frederick William, was the one who had the obsession with tall grenadiers. His agents became famous for snatching people in the middle of the night from around Europe.

              : )

              Comment


              • #8
                Leglaen,

                Welcome to the forums. The continuing onslaught of Texans.
                Lance W.

                Peace through superior firepower.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I guess I don't quite understand the whole Saddam thing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think he was great, it would be like as is Saddam all of a sudden upped and took over Iran, Syrai and most of the middle east.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can anyone reccomend any books on this period or Frederick? I've read a translation of his writings, but little else.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Janos
                        I cannot but help to see parallels between Frederick the Great and what Saddam Hussein tried to do (note that I am not comparing the two of them as men or leaders of armies).

                        Frederick the Great of Prussia was able to retain his country (and expand it dramatically) by defeating the coalitions that came against him even though he got his butt kicked on the battlefield faily often.

                        What do you think of Frederick the Great? Was he really great? What was his secret? Why was he so successful?
                        Defining "Great" is always difficult, because there is no generally accepted definition of it. One person may consider the winning of many battles great, another the devising of revolutionary tactics, weapons, doctrine, another the winning (or regaining) of their nation's freedom as 'great'. Frederick was, in my mind, great, becuase of his leadership, his understanding of how a battlefield operates, how to overcome his army's weaknesses and exploit those of his enemies. Doctrinally, tactically, strategically, everything was clear to him. It is said that he inspired his men becuase he asked nothing of them that he did not expect of himself.
                        Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                        (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Janos
                          I cannot but help to see parallels between Frederick the Great and what Saddam Hussein tried to do (note that I am not comparing the two of them as men or leaders of armies).

                          Frederick the Great of Prussia was able to retain his country (and expand it dramatically) by defeating the coalitions that came against him even though he got his butt kicked on the battlefield faily often.

                          What do you think of Frederick the Great? Was he really great? What was his secret? Why was he so successful?
                          Jeff, like you I admire Fred and I dislike Saddam. I think Fred would have put up a more aggressive defense of his land. Fred was a master of maneuver (usually, although he had his failures, too) Saddam was simply a bully to whom he could bully and he shied away from anybody who could beat him up.
                          I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Janos
                            I cannot but help to see parallels between Frederick the Great and what Saddam Hussein tried to do (note that I am not comparing the two of them as men or leaders of armies).

                            Frederick the Great of Prussia was able to retain his country (and expand it dramatically) by defeating the coalitions that came against him even though he got his butt kicked on the battlefield faily often.

                            What do you think of Frederick the Great? Was he really great? What was his secret? Why was he so successful?
                            "Greatness" is fairly subjective, and so it is difficult to argue for or against. Perhaps a better honorific would be "revolutionary" or "evolutionary". IMHO, he succeeded because he did the unexpected, he took calculated risks (not risky chances). His opponents planned their tactics based on what they would do, not on their educated guess of what they felt Frederick would do.
                            Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                            (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Did Frederick the great and the first duke of Marlborough ever meet on the battle field ?
                              "SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM" - " If you want peace, prepare for war".

                              If acted upon in time, ww2 could have been stopped without a single bullet being fired. - Sir Winston Churchill

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