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  • Greatest General

    I throw out the thesis that the greatest General of the 20th Century was not Patton, MacArthur, Eisnehower, Zhukov, Rommel, Von Manstein, Bradley, Montgomery or other Europeans
    ...
    but the greatest General of the 20th century, by any measure was Giap.

    He defeated three first world powers while commanding the army of a third world country.
    Japan- defeated in detail
    France defeated in a coup de main
    USA defeated in spite of massive firepower


    On the US Army:

    "Grab them by the belt" summarized his tactics

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Just saw a program on TV last week called The Ghosts of War in which this reporter brings us back to the Vietnam war. There were several scenes of Giap and an interview made recently as he is now 92 (Don't quite know when the documentary was made, 2002,2003 or 2004?) he spoke to the reporter in french and described the attack on Dien Bien Phu. He managed to get some artillery pieces on top of the mountains surrounding the valley. Was interesting.
    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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    • #3
      I would agree that General Giap is one of the great military leaders of the century. He knew his enemy and what was necessary to defeat them and he knew his country and what it was willing to sacrifice for victory.
      Lance W.

      Peace through superior firepower.

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      • #4
        Never hurts when your enemy builds a fort in a valley.
        Delegate, MN GOP.

        PATRIA SI, COMUNISMO NO

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        • #5
          Re: Greatest General

          Originally posted by HPM1984
          I throw out the thesis that the greatest General of the 20th Century was not Patton, MacArthur, Eisnehower, Zhukov, Rommel, Von Manstein, Bradley, Montgomery or other Europeans
          ...
          but the greatest General of the 20th century, by any measure was Giap.

          He defeated three first world powers while commanding the army of a third world country.
          Japan- defeated in detail
          France defeated in a coup de main
          USA defeated in spite of massive firepower


          On the US Army:

          "Grab them by the belt" summarized his tactics

          Thoughts?
          No, not the best. Certainly talented, but not the best. He succeeded because his soldiers were willing to sacrifice themselves for a very vague concept, for fragmentary objective. Additionally he won because he was willing to use terrorism alongside soldiery. Finally he succeeded because his opponents were handcuffed by a government bureaucracy (US) and an army of which most of its officer corps were inexperiences at best, more towards incompetence. Absent his terroristic operations, he would not have fared so well.
          Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
          (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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          • #6
            Vo Nguyen Giap

            I admire Gen.Giap for his wit and willingness to sacrifice his men's life and limbs inorder to achieve victory against foreign invaders.He was smart enough to "recruit" the american public against the Vietnam war.Even though he has lost alot of men due to attrition they persevered and eventually counquered the south.He knew his opponents strength and weaknesses and he did not let his deficiency in technology deter his strategy.



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            • #7
              Re: Re: Greatest General

              Originally posted by hogdriver
              No, not the best. Certainly talented, but not the best. He succeeded becaus ehis soldiers were willing to sacrifice themselves for a very vague concept, for fragmentary objective. Additionally he won because he was willing to use terrorism alongside soldiery. Finally he succeeded because his opponents were hand0cuffed by a government bureaucracy (US) and an army of which most of its officer corps were inexperiences at best, more towards incompetence. Absent his terroristic operations, he would not have fared so well.
              I agree. Giap won at Dien Bien Phu only with the help of, yes, President Eishenhower. According to Military Historian Ted Morgan, "if Ike had approved Operation Vulture to rescue the encircled French fortress of Dien Bien Phu, the French might have won the battle and the war, averting a second Vietnam, in which the U.S. was mired for a dozen years."

              Operation Vulture contemplated sending B-29s from bases in Okinawa and the Philippines to carpet bomb Vietminh positions around Dien Bien Phu. Author Morgan continues: The French appealed to Ike for help in March 1950. Instead, Ike sent a token force of 10 B-26 bombers and some C-119 Flying Boxcars that could drop napalm and reveal Giap's artillery positions. The mantra in the U.S. administration and Congress was "No More Koreas."

              Some would say that this was part of Truman's legacy. The same lack of vision and will to use America's full power that characterized Truman's mishandling of the Korean War came to afflict the Eisenhower administration in the first Vietnam War. The fortress surrendered on May 7. Two months later came a cease-fire and the partition of Vietnam. A decade later, it was America's turn to fight a war in Vietnam.

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              • #8
                Re: Re: Re: Greatest General

                Originally posted by rludan
                I agree. Giap won at Dien Bien Phu only with the help of, yes, President Eishenhower. According to Military Historian Ted Morgan, "if Ike had approved Operation Vulture to rescue the encircled French fortress of Dien Bien Phu, the French might have won the battle and the war, averting a second Vietnam, in which the U.S. was mired for a dozen years."

                Operation Vulture contemplated sending B-29s from bases in Okinawa and the Philippines to carpet bomb Vietminh positions around Dien Bien Phu. Author Morgan continues: The French appealed to Ike for help in March 1950. Instead, Ike sent a token force of 10 B-26 bombers and some C-119 Flying Boxcars that could drop napalm and reveal Giap's artillery positions. The mantra in the U.S. administration and Congress was "No More Koreas."

                Some would say that this was part of Truman's legacy. The same lack of vision and will to use America's full power that characterized Truman's mishandling of the Korean War came to afflict the Eisenhower administration in the first Vietnam War. The fortress surrendered on May 7. Two months later came a cease-fire and the partition of Vietnam. A decade later, it was America's turn to fight a war in Vietnam.
                p.s. The French appealed in January 1954, not March 1950. Sorry for the error.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SGT Long
                  Never hurts when your enemy builds a fort in a valley.
                  that's about it! in a vally...in the low swampy ground....defending a huge airstrip....during the rainy season.

                  holy crap! Oh the hubris! No wonder the arty commander shot himself soon after the shelling began....
                  Givin' you the scoop, the poop, the skinny and the scuttlebutt since 1969!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fenrir
                    that's about it! in a vally...in the low swampy ground....defending a huge airstrip....during the rainy season.

                    holy crap! Oh the hubris! No wonder the arty commander shot himself soon after the shelling began....
                    Here's the holy issue: Had Ike decided to launch Operation Vulture, do you think the B-29s would have been able to successfully carpet bomb and destroy Giaps' forces surrounding Dien Bein Phu?

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                    • #11
                      I don't even believe that Giap was the best military leader in Vietnam, let alone the entire 20th century. HE didn't defeat 3 world powers. 3 world powers were defeated while he served in his nation's military. Tactically he was overmatched on many occasions, and his strategy of outlasting his enemies was more dependant on his troops' willingness to perservere than on any genius on Giap's part.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rludan
                        Here's the holy issue: Had Ike decided to launch Operation Vulture, do you think the B-29s would have been able to successfully carpet bomb and destroy Giaps' forces surrounding Dien Bein Phu?
                        not a chance! look at how effective the B-52's were on the ho chi minh trail. granted the trail was on a much grander scale that the siege works at DBP, but the USAF of the late 60's was vastly improved from the USAF of 1954.
                        Givin' you the scoop, the poop, the skinny and the scuttlebutt since 1969!

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                        • #13
                          I can agree that Giap has earned his placed in history as one of top rated military commanders of the world but maybe not the number one position. History proves that no one can conquer a nation with a vast hinterland of difficult terrain while it is rallied to popular revolutionary movement. British could not beat us. Japanese could not beat Chinese. Many could not beat Russians. Thus French Japanese and US failed to beat Vietnamese. It silly to claim US could have won Vietnam or China and only failed because of liberal govt. or other excuses. Dien Bien Phu was a great battle victory rated high in world history. It's wrong to belittle it. The french tactic was one they used a number of times before and fairly successful they believed which was to plant a stronghold in the middle of hostile territory solely in order to invite enemy attack and kill as many as you can. A kill zone. Giap had a surprise for the french this time. He did the impossible task of moving by hand heavy artillery to mountain tops which was the key to victory. Naturally, US arrogantly like most great power ignore history's lessions inculding the French fresh defeat. Esinhower people at the peace treaty settling the war assisted in creating craving out of Vietnam a new nation named South Vietnam. He send the first advisors and resources to this artifical political enitity therefore setting the stage for an American disaster.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fenrir
                            not a chance! look at how effective the B-52's were on the ho chi minh trail. granted the trail was on a much grander scale that the siege works at DBP, but the USAF of the late 60's was vastly improved from the USAF of 1954.
                            Sounds like you're grasping for straws. Ho Chi Minh Trail was an "invisible" jungle-covered trail several hundred miles long. Dien Bien Phu is a localized, highly identifiable discrete target (the disposition of the enemy was known). It was pefectly ideal for carpet bombing and utter destruction by B-29's. I can imagine as B-29s start raining bombs on them, one can almost hear a horror-stricken Giap scream, "Aahhh, Damn B-29s, #@*#!!, Get Me Outta Here!!!"

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                            • #15
                              that's about it! in a vally...in the low swampy ground....defending a huge airstrip....during the rainy season.
                              My point exactly. It's a bit like suggesting crazy Horse was a military genius based on the ineptitude of Custer.
                              Delegate, MN GOP.

                              PATRIA SI, COMUNISMO NO

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