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  • #46
    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Indeed, and this can be said of all three Silesian wars. Although one shouldn't play down the tactical qualities he displayed at Rossbach and Leuthen. His preference for an oblique marching order over the standard practice of the day enabled a number of early successes, especially against enemies who were unaware of this tactic (Rossbach can be seen in this light). Once this 'trick' had been recognised Frederick was unable to score victories that were meaningful in the course of the war. Lobositz and Liegnitz were costly victories and the three battles I mentioned in a previous posts were costly defeats. Effectively Frederick was reduced to fighting a war of attrition that he had no hope of winning, prolonging it by managing his withdrawals (no mean feat I happily concede) and praying for some kind of politically inspired miracle .... which he got!

    It should be recognised that Frederick inherited a well armed, well trained and highly disciplined infantry from his father and it was these who enabled his successes during the first two Silesian wars. Indeed at Mollwitz Frederick fled the field believing the battle to be lost, only the 'iron walls' of his infantry saving the day. Much is made of Frederick's ability to make quick and decisive moves but this needs to be seen in the light of the political system he operated in compared to his opponents. Prussia was small, he was the absolute monarch who was his own commander-in-chief and battlefield commander, he was also young and, at least when he invaded Silesia on 16 December 1740, he had a 'war chest' that exceeded that of his rivals. He was fortunate, although he made the most of that good fortune. That good fortune stayed with him to enable Prussia to survive despite prodigious losses (estimated at 10% of its population during the Third Silesian War) and indeed expand. I would argue that the epithet 'Great' is more deserved from his administrative and social skills as demonstrated post-conflict than his battlefield exploits.
    He was mostly kept afloat inthe SYW by British money. Without that, he was doomed.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
      He was mostly kept afloat inthe SYW by British money. Without that, he was doomed.
      Iirc the British subsidy accounted for 20% of total expenditure over the period it was granted. I suppose he might have managed without it but given the strategically tenuous position Prussia was in it seems likely that Prussia would have been crushed and its land redistributed amongst the victorious powers and/or their allies.
      Signing out.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
        The prosecution advances the Seven Years' War as evidence of lack of vision and blind luck.
        Noted... Reminds me of several sports teams over the years that win championships and over time people forget the luck factor and the role it played.

        Regardless though, still +1 for the Prussian martial tradition.
        "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
        -Omar Bradley
        "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
        -Anonymous US Army logistician

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Javaman View Post
          Regardless though, still +1 for the Prussian martial tradition.
          This remark comes as a surprise. I would have expected you had learned your lesson at the hands of FM and broderickwells.

          +1 compared to whom? Other German states? Austria? Poland?
          BoRG

          You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Major Sennef View Post
            This remark comes as a surprise. I would have expected you had learned your lesson at the hands of FM and broderickwells.

            +1 compared to whom? Other German states? Austria? Poland?
            Lesson? At what point is Frederick NOT considered a great general? Great generals are far from flawless and often make mistakes on their way to actually achieving greatness.
            We discussed a comparison of German and Polish martial traditions in small part but hardly got into anything of real depth, so what lesson are you referring to?
            "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
            -Omar Bradley
            "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
            -Anonymous US Army logistician

            Comment

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