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Subject: The Smallest Dumbest Moves in Military History. rss

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M·ANTONIVS·M·F·M·N
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Inspired the post about biggest mistakes. I was wondering if there were many examples of someone ignoring something small.....and then having to pay a completely unexpected price.

A seemingly small oversight.........Jackson never paid much attention to or spent any time developing night recognition techniques.


"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."

-Jackson, last words
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The picket around Stonewall Jackson......."By golly, I think we got us a rabbit over there Jeb, lemme get us some breakfast" BANG.

Oops......


an extension to Tony's.....that was the real story....
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Whoever was supposed to check the radio frequencies for Operation Market Garden.
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Mark D
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TonyClifton wrote:

A seemingly small oversight.........Jackson never paid much attention to or spent any time developing night recognition techniques.


"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."

-Jackson, last words


This is even more interesting then you think. Almost all the Union Calvary was off on Stoneman's raid to cut the Railroad line from Richmond that was supplying Lee. Hooker had kept only 500 Calvary troopers with him, which wasn't enough to screen his forces. After Jackson's smashing flank attack a good sized contingent of those forces found themselves behind enemy lines. When they discovered this they proceeded to charge the Confederates to try and break out. The Confederates were taken by surprise but were able to beat them back. But the word was spread through the men that the Union Calvary was likely to strike from anywhere, adding to the tension. Also it should be noted that it wasn't Jackson's fault that since they were in between two Divisions that Hill and Ewell both thought the other had informed their men of the scouting party.

If anything, the smallest miracle is the Three Cigars. Not only did this information manage to get bounced up the chain of command, but it just so happened that a member of McClellan's staff had gone to school with Lee's Chief of Staff and was able to verify the handwriting. Given McClellan's horrible use of the intelligence given to him via hot air balloons on the Peninsula (which told him multiple times he was grossly overestimating Confederate Strength) that he was able to salvage a draw with this info was a miracle.
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Robert Wilson
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General John Sedgwick

"Confederate sharpshooters were about 1,000 yards (910 m) away and their shots caused members of his staff and artillerymen to duck for cover. Sedgwick strode around in the open and was quoted as saying, "What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he repeated, "I'm ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Just seconds later he fell forward with a bullet hole below his left eye"
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dude163 wrote:
Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he repeated, "I'm ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Just seconds later he fell forward with a bullet hole below his left eye"


Generals probably said such things thousands of times in the war. This quote is remembered so well because of the immediate ironic outcome.
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Jason Fritz
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Assuming the Enigma code was safe.
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The USS Indianapolis not zig zagging during a war.
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When I read the topic just now I thought it said "The Smartest Dumbest Moves in Military History", which really had me pausing to think, in tight concentric circles, for a little bit...
laugh
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Nebelwerfer41 wrote:
Assuming the Enigma code was safe.


I'm not sure that was a 'small' dumb mistake... Doh! shake
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World War I gas attacks in unfavorable winds.
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Rainer Kraft
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Convoys ...in 1942 at the american east coast ... we don't need convoys.
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WebBard wrote:

If anything, the smallest miracle is the Three Cigars.


The very first thing that came to mind when I read this thread's title. Well done.

Another might be Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, also styled "Barbarossa" not learning how to swim, or at least avoiding dangerous parts of the River Saleph, or not wearing heavy armour while fording, whichever was the actual historical cause of his death.
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Whoever thought using written orders to wrap three cigars was a good idea.
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Captain Benteen: "I think it's safer over here."
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Whoever chartered Admiral Yamamoto's personal flights.
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* Assuming Japan wasn't a significant naval power in 1905. (Tsushimi Straits)

* "We can load our guns faster and win the gunnery contests if we keep these blast door open!" (Jutland)

* Assuming Japan wasn't a significant military power in 1941.

* Dismissing the translation staff because the declaration of war was secret until it was disclosed shortly quite a bit too late because his Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ambassador to the United States and his confidential assistant were lousy typists.

* Assuming the IJ Navy codes were secure (Midway and Yamamoto, among other cases).
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Little Mac believing the Pinkertons in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Over and over and over again.
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    There was a British officer in Boston that chose not to act nor elevate the news that Americans were beginning to dig in on Dorchester Hill. Had the British pressed even gently the Americans would have had to withdraw.

    Dorchester Hill had such a commanding position on Boston and its harbor that the British had to abandon the city -- the heart and soul of the American Revolution.

    The British never regained control of the city, nor the continent it was attached to.

             Sag.


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RescueDeacon1 wrote:
Nagumo's critical mistake at Midway to reverse his arming decision and failure to spot the reserve for launch. Decks full of fueled planes half armed with muntions spread everywhere makes for a bad mix! Akagi was hit by just one bomb, but that was enough!


This is NOT what cost them the battle. The mistake was in the scouting (not having enough planes in the air) They should have known the carriers were there by then. Had he left the anti-ship weapons on the planes, those planes still would have been on the boat.There was not enough time to spot and launch them from the 1st warnings about carriers to the time the 1st few bombs hit.

In fact,the decks of the carrier were nearly empty at the 10:20 attack. (The Japs swapped weapons and fueled planes in the hanger not on deck)

you should read this: http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Sword-Untold-Battle-Midway/d...


-M


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If were going to do Midway, I list these:

1 Assuming the Americans were Beaten and would not look for a fight.
2 Not learning the lessons from the coral sea about fighting American carriers on even terms.
3 Splitting the carrier forces at Midway (leaving CarDiv5 out)
4 Spreading your navy across 1/4 the globe so that there is no reasonable way it can support itself.


-M
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WebBard wrote:
...Given McClellan's horrible use of the intelligence given to him via hot air balloons on the Peninsula (which told him multiple times he was grossly overestimating Confederate Strength) that he was able to salvage a draw with this info was a miracle.


NOt sure they were using hot air balloons to count confederate forces. This was left to Pinkerton and other spies. I think it would be difficult to count just using balloons. Also note, there's a fellow on Consimworld, Dave Powell who has done a careful study of numbers in the Penninsula campaign and concludes that the CSA probably had 120k+ in an around Richmond.

***

New Orleans 1862. Failing to remove some $6 million in gold which permanently crippled confederate finances.

Knoxville 1863, scaling ladders that were to short, same issue with the Crater Battle later in the year.

Shiloh; failure to pay attention to A.S. Johnston's wound

Petersburg 1864; Butler failed to attack undermanned lines.

Ft Moultrie 1776, failure to ascertain channel depth north of the island as the infantry was to ford this 9 foot channel.

Tarawa 1943, failure to note timing of tides, mapping the shoreline in general.

Gettysburg 1863; permitting Stuart to take most of cavalry with him on his raid.

Snake Creek Gap 1864; MacPherson simply failed to attack.

Germantown 1777; attacking British in barricaded house rather than pessing the attack. Same campaign: why Howe marched on Philadelphia rather than up the Hudson Valley.

Quatre Bras 1815; D'Erlon march between the two battles.

Waterloo: sending Grouchy in a pursuit operation with gobs of infantry, that's the part I dont get.

Pelielu 1944; attacking this island w/ little significance.

Arnhem 1944, failing to note width of dikes to support tanks.

Ft Ticonderoga 1777: failing to realize the nearby elevation, Mt Defiance could be an artillery platform.

Long Island 1776: leaving Jamaica Gap protected by 3 guys.
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Elwyn Darden
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This was defnitely too small to use in the other forum.

Story is from The Sky is on Fire by Ray Fredette. There was a Gotha and Stakken raid scheduled on London for about 28 planes, a big raid for these machines. The Commander of the raid dismissed the unfavorable weather report largely because the meteorologist was a mere Lieutenant. The flight took off at dusk from the coast of Belgium and flew into a strong headwind blowing them to the Northeast. They definitely knew someting was wrong when they were not over Britain a few hours after their planned bombing run, but because of cloud cover they were unable to verify their position until the morning sun revealed that they were still but a few miles away from the European coast, the Dutch coast to be exact. They did some quick calculations and determined that they could not reach Belgium against the headwind but that it might be possible to reach Germany if they turned to the Northeast. Most of the planes ended up ditching or landing and being interred by the Dutch for the remainder of the war. I seem to recall that only six made in back to Germany and of those only two managed a successful landing.
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Eric Feifer
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Quote:
"They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

"Generals probably said such things thousands of times in the war.


Sorta reminds me of King Harold at Hastings. I spy with my eye something that begins with A.
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Eric Feifer
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Assuming the JN-25b code was safe.
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