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September 07, 2007

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Little Big Horn, With a Difference

This past May, I made my fifth trip to the battleground at Little Bighorn, and was once more impressed by what a raving incompetent LTC George Armstrong Custer was. Apologists for Custer often cite the fact that an appreciable number of the warriors who opposed him had repeating rifles, while the 7th Cavalry troopers were armed with single-shot Model 1873 Springfield carbines. To those folks, I have two words: Rorke's Drift.

I'm referring to a battle in the Zulu Wars, in which 119 British infantrymen took on an estimated 5,000 Zulu warriors over the course of one night in January, 1879. (The odds against Custer were roughly 2,000 to 568.) The soldiers of No. 1 company of the 24th Regiment of Foot were armed with the .450 Martini/Henry single-shot rifle, comparable in most ways to the Springfield.

The two British commanders were not exactly the cream of the crop. John Rouse Merriot Chard, the senior lieutenant, was an engineer officer, not an infantryman. Gonville Bromhead, the junior lieutenant, was an infantry officer, but so deaf he should not have been in the service, and was considered reasonably dim-witted to boot.

But unlike Custer, both men used common sense: They built barricades, hunkered down behind them, and let their highly disciplined soldiers let the good times roll. When it was all over, the Brits had suffered 17 killed and 10 wounded, while the Zulus had lost over 500 warriors, and it was probably much more than that. Custer's command, on the other hand, killed 60 warriors (maybe 100) and suffered 268 killed themselves.

Weaponry is important, sometimes even decisive. But in the end it's leadership that matters most. Too bad the 7th Cavalry didn't have any.

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Comments

Michael King

I do not think that comparing the fight at Little Big Horn to that of Rorke's Drift is a fair comparison. In Rorke's Drift you had infantry fighting a defensive fight from defensive fortifications however hastely made. The LBH was a cavalry assualt where the assualting unit was overwelmed.
Custer was a Jack ass and prima donna that much is certain but in reality his views of the American Indian were the views that were pervasive throughout the United States and it's military at the time. Custer's errors were not very different than those of other Generals that conducted campains against the American Indian all the way back to colonial times. When one looks at the campains against the Mohawk of Upstate New York,the Shawnee of Ohio, the Seminole of Florida, and the early campains against the Apache one sees the arrogance of the persons in command and decisions that often led to the uneccessary deaths of the soldiers under thier leadership. After all most of the so called indian wars were won through attrition. There were so many more of us than there was of them.
Custer made tactical decisions based on the belief that the Indian was a savage and was incapable of coordinated combat and a belief in the superiourty of the civilized white men under his command.
I believe that it is wrong to Judge Custer by the standards of our day and time. He was a hero of the time and nothing we can say will change that. I guess that George Patton said it best when he said "America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser."
If Custer had of won at LBH it would not have mattered how many paid for the victory, we would not be having this discussion

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Rocky Mtn Hunter

I have been to the battlifield site. As I stood on top of the ridge looking out over the plains, it would have taken 20 times the # of US men to have won that battle. I've read a lot of Custer, who was a SMART A--,. If I recall he finished West Point near the bottom of his class. He was a know it all and would not listen to his scouts or any one else for that matter. The best offense is a good defence, of which Custer did not have. Other troops were on the way to the battle site, but Custer was Bull-Headed and would not wait for them. Too bad he got so many young men killed. So for History making a HERO out of him, they should tell it like it was. He was the kind of leader which the US has today. Our Commander in Chief is as Bull-Headed as Custer was. Our leader entered the US into the same battle plan as Custer, has no exit plan period. At least his Father had sense enough to not enter Bagdad,as at that point he had no exit plan either. Too bad his Smart _A-- Son did not take his fathers advise. I don't believe we will win in Iraq now or ever. The sooner Bush brings our brave troops home the better the US will be. We cannot continue to have our men/women killed daily plus the Billions of US dollar being wasted. Best we pack up and let the Iraq'ies fight out the Civil war that is now taking place. We never going to change those people. They got Saddam, thats when we should have left and let them continue to fight among themselves. I pity who-ever is the next President,as he has his hands full to repair the damage our brainless President got us into. My understanding is, that the only living thing left at the Little Big Horn was Custers Horse, correct? If you ever go west, by all means take the battlefield in and see the site for yourself. Will surely make one understand why we lost the battle plus the shortage of manpower and correct firepower. Ok, now I've opened the door, so let the cats out.

Dr. Ralph

It seems to me that you were tired of politics and wanted to discuss guns and hunting just a while back RMH. Now every chance you get you attack our president.

Michael

Once a year I have to have my shot of Zulu, the movie about Rorke's Drift. (also the movie that launched Michael Caine's movie career) The idiot that ordered the men of Rorke's Drift to defend their station at all costs was another one of those REMF's (politeness restricts me from using the long version of REMF)who give insane military orders knowing they will not be present at the action. You failed to mention Dave, that more Victoria Crosses (The English version of the Medal of Honor) were awarded at Rorke's drift than any other military engagement in British history; 11 to be exact.
Most military historians agree that the mounted Plains Indians of America (Commanche, Kiowa, Sioux, etc.) were the greatest light cavalry ever. If the British had been up against 200-300 Native Americans on horseback, there would have been a lot of British scalps hanging from lodgepoles.

Mark-1

DP fails to mention a few days prior to Rorke's Drift the Zulu Army wiped out a British Brigade [3,000-men]. I can't spell the location.

What the Commanche, Blackfeet, and Iroquois were to North America, the Zulu's were to southern Africa, an influence and power way beyond their numbers.

BTY--I always thought it curious the Northern Plains Tribes by all accounts didn't have large numbers of horses until past 1700. Incredible what those people did with a horse in such a short time.

Little Bighorn--After reading the army's inquiry I came away with the opinion Reno's Retreat, for valid or invalid reasons, was the event that sealed Custer's Fate. At this point Custer had a fight front and rear.

JA Demko

"Most military historians agree that the mounted Plains Indians of America (Commanche, Kiowa, Sioux, etc.) were the greatest light cavalry ever."

They were fine light cavalry, no doubt. However, the military historians whose work I have read generally cite the Mongols, especially under Temujin, as the finest light cavalry ever.

Bigbenr

That's so sad. I thought the world of Larry; used to help him bring up his kids, as a matter of fact...
Not content to merely deface, you are compelled to destroy? I think Cheney had a hand in it too. He took out Miss Manners and he was going for Martha Stewart when the Bilderbergers stepped in and pulled her fat out of the fire. He got Billy Jack, though, and he got Hirohito and the Marlboro Man, so I'd say everybody had better just watch out, 'cause he's out to get us all.I am Queen of the Bilderberger, and much else besides. Beware!
I could have been a dancer, but I was not a pretty boy. You mocked my artistic efforts and made a soldier of me, and so I made you my whore, and dressed you in corpses. Now you will again feel the lash of my turgid pinata, upperclass idlers!

Dr. Ralph

Imagine if Genghis Khan had M1 Garands.

clay packer

What if Genghis Khan, or Crazy Horse had used turgid pinatas? Now that would have been a battle.

Chev Jim

Custer and his bloodthirsty mentors, Philip Sheridan and William Tecumseh Sherman, would be tried as war criminals if the Civil War had been governed by the Geneva Convention. My ancestors in Georgia, who were not slaveholders, had their farm burned and their personal possessions stolen by Union soldiers. Custer did, indeed, love to attack farmers and defenseless Native Americans. He was not brave--he was a fool crazed with bloodlust. I don't have any use for slavers, either. War criminals and slavers all belong in hell. I'm glad that Custer, at least, got his comeuppance while on earth. I do like to see justice dispensed on this side of death!

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Dr. Ralph: I do prefer to discuss Guns/Ammo/hunting but this blog opens the door sometimes to express one's feelings. The dicussion of Custer leads to the subject of our now president. Both are/were stuborn, bull-headed and refuse to lsten to reason or common sense. When you know you cannot win any situation,best to not engage others in your stupid desire. History has told the history of Custer and History will in time tell the true history of why we are in Iraq and it was not Saddam. As time goes by,the true reasons of our Pres and V-Pres for the stupid plan they dreamed up to invade that country. Just hope and pray our next pres/v-pres can l/2 way clean up this mess we into now.Had Custer listened to his advisors his demise would not have occured. I did not begin the discussion on Custer, Dave did. If he prefers politics not enter his Blog,then he should not give us the opportunity to express our feeling. Dr. Ralph,have you been to the Litle Bighorn Battleground? If you have not then by all means go. Appears this Blog discusses much more than it's intended purpose of which I do agree that Guns and Hunting should be the major discussion here. With the continued discussion of our guns being taken away if a Demo gets in the w-house by many on this Blog, I feel they need to know some true facts. The history of Custer is a prime example of what we are involved in now. So be it(your privelege) to defend our President. I will not, but will defend our gun ownership and hunting till I die. Good Hunting Doc.????

Matt

I seem to remember seeing a bumper sticker a while ago that read "Custer had it coming". 'Nuff said. Despite being a complete history nut (or perhaps because of it), I won't go into a long-winded essay about why all the excuses for Little Bighorn (poor intel, jammed casings, the decision to leave the Gattlings home, etc, etc) are bull. The reason Custer's men got scalped (His well-cultivated lock of hair did not adorn some tee-pee, by the way. A sign that the Sioux considered him a better warrior than nearly all historians) was his arrogance, pure and simple. Military history is awash with battles (or slaughters) in which a modern army is sent limping away by forces of "savages" due mostly or entirely to a commander's inability to recognize his opponent's strengths to the point where he makes criminally absent-minded mistakes. Little Bighorn, Adwa, Islandwana... take your pick.

Speaking of Islandwana (the battle Mark-1 alluded to but couldn't spell), a few words on the Zulu War and the comparison to Little Birhorn. Little Birhorn happened because of one commander's screw-ups. Islanwana (one of the most infamous f***-ups in British military history) happened due to REMF mishaps, along with a couple freak happenings. Despite being outnumbered 1,700 to 20,000, the British effectivly owned the first stages of the battle. The high rate of fire from the Martini-Henry rifles kept the Zulu army (or impi) far enough away and out of their effective range. Unfortunately, the Zulu War was fought at the period in history when mussle-loading firearms had just recently been removed from the battlefield. The British army has always been notorious for moving at the spead of a glacier concerning new technology. Apparantly, the quartermasters did not quite understand that up to 10 rounds a minute means a lot of ammunition is being spent and somebody has to restock that... fast! Ammunition was not being delivered nearly fast enough from the rear supply areas to the battle line. Eventually, the British right flank was forced to retreat due to this fact. Their retreat coupled with a timely Zulu thrust forced the entire British line to retreat back to camp. While this meant more ammunition, this also meant a tighter defense being fought much closer to the Zulus... and here is where ballistics come into play. The British retreat was for all intents and purposes, orderly but rushed. The Zulus were able to advance on their heels quickly and closed the gap by around 200 yards. The British either did not have time or did not think to adjust the sights on their rifles. It did not help that by some quirk of fate, a partial eclipse picked that moment to occur further reducing range estimation. Due to non-adjusted sights, the next shots would have gone straight over the Zulu's heads. By the time the Brits thought to fix this mistake, the Zulus were within the camp and it would have been all over.

Now on to Rorke's Drift. The two battles occured on the same day (January 22, 1879). First note, the Zulus who fought at Rorke's Drift were not the same ones at Islandwana but a seperate detachment. I loved the movie "Zulu" but that's one point they got dead wrong. Anyway, at Rorke's Drift the British had the advantage of fighting the ENTIRE battle from the safety of the stockade... ammunition was never a concern. Also, the battle of Rorke's drift was fought at a far closer range (100 yards vs. 600 to 400 at Islandwana) making the question of sight adjustment moot. Just point, pull the trigger, and add another notch to your stock. Rorke's Drift is very deserving of its status as one of history's greatest battles. However, it should still be understood that while at Islandwana and Little Bighorn the defenders had to fight in poor formations and were plauged by disasterous failures from the brass (ammunition shortage/Custer's arrogance), at Rorke's Drift the Zulus basically threw themselves up against a firing squad. Had you taken the same men who fought at Rorke's drift with the same weapons under the same leaders and swaped them with the 7th Cavalary, they would have been slaughtered as well.

Just for the record, a couple months after Rorke's Drift, the British fought the battle of Meyer's Drift which turned out to be only slightly less of a disaster than Islandwana. However in this case, the Tommies had the advantage of a fortified position (a wagaon lager) but the disadvantage of poor planning (the commanding officer pitched his tent outside the lager) and worse leadership (the officer who took over abandoned his men as soon as he could find a fast horse). The leason of all these stories? Fortifications and technology cannot replace good, old-fashioned stupidity. Custer could have been behind the stone wall at Fredricksburg (Civil War buffs know what I mean) with ray guns and I still would not have wanted to be with his command.

Steve C

I’ve seen numerous remarks about Custer’s bravery, which I dispute. Custer’s personality and character indicate his acts were driven by arrogance and recklessness.

Custer was the poster child for bravado, not bravery. Same for many people that we call "heros" today.

Blue Ox

yawn....

Dr. Ralph

blah blah blah... Custer's an idiot... blah blah blah... W's an idiot... blah blah blah ... war is bad... blah blah blah... peace is good... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Mike Diehl

"What happened to "Malace towrd none, charity for all"?"

No malice, but I don't compromise with people who try to paint the rebellion as a noble cause or as victims of a war they started.

"Custer couldn't hold Lee's water bucket."

I completely agree with you. Few people could carry Lee's water bucket. That's why Lee was offered command of the Army of the Potomac shortly after Sumter. In the end I think it is fair to say that Grant *could* carry Lee's water bucket and rucksack too, as well as his own, and that fortunately made the difference. But there's no denying that Lee and also Longstreet had lots of talent.

"Imagine what history could have been if that sonofab**** Boothe hadn't shot Lincoln!"

Hard to know. "Malice towards none and charity towards all" was a good philosophy, but it should not extend to romanticizing a cause that was unjust from the get go. As long as whoppers like "The War of Northern Aggression" continue to be bandied about by southerners, Lincoln's sacrifice was, to the degree that opinion is widely shared, in vain.

Matt Mallery

Dave,

Did the Zulus have repeating rifles? If so, then I can understand the point you make. However, if the Zulu had spears and sheilds, then you merely illustrate the point others make when they say that Custer lost because his men were not on the cutting edge of technology and the Plains Indians were.

Also, Custer's own racism is what got him killed. He had originally been assigned to the 9th Cavalry of Buffalo Soldiers, but thought that he was too good to lead black men, and was reassigned to the 7th instead. If he had put aside his prejudice, who knows how long he would have lived.

coach ike

dear dave,

270 win vs. 308 win and why?

Chev Jim

I don't know if the Civil War could accurately be termed, "The War of Northern Aggression," but there is absolutely no paucity of facts showing that the North was deliberately keeping the South in a colonial position. The following link, describing "Pittsburgh Plus," is just one such instance: http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:GSuLNg4uAqYJ:www.apnotes.net/ch24.html+%22Pittsburgh+plus%22+Alabama+steel&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9&gl=us
Perhaps nothing was worse than the plantation system, which was based upon slavery. It would have been a national disgrace if the United States had entered the 20th century with slaves. My problem with the Union's conduct of the war, however, is that it engaged in "total warfare," deliberately destroying homes and farms and condoning looting. Many innocent people lost their homes and all personal possessions for a war they did not want. My great-grandfather was drafted into the Confederate army, but stated after the war that he hoped that he never killed a "Yankee," because he thought the war was a huge mistake. Bad feelings still linger some 150 years later because the level of destruction engendered by the North was unnecessary for victory, just as the fire bombing of Dresden was unnecessary for the allies to win the war. In the case of the Little Big Horn, a US Army officer who disdained the people he "liberated," and who scarcely regarded Indians as human beings was finally called to account for the error of his ways. As both a Southerner and a Native American, I have little regard for the criminal acts of Sherman, Sheridan and Custer. I have no love for slaveowners, either. My guess is that they will all be dancing with each other in hell.

Old Yukon

Dave's right; weaponry is far less important than leadership. However, battles are won by tactics, not leadership -- although sheer luck is often a greater factor (for example, Midway). Five thousand Zulus should have overwhelmed the British at Rourke's Drift in a manner of minutes, regardless of weaponry. Islandwana was a great disaster not because British tactics failed per se, but because "native" troops holding one part of the British line lost discipline at an inopportune moment. (Relying on ill-prepared troops can be seen as a tactical failure.)

There is little comparable between the Plains Indian way of fighting and the Zulu way of fighting, other than that they were superbly brave and able fighting men. Zulus were organized into an highly disciplined army maintained by compulsory service. Arms and tactics were highly standardized, regimented, practiced and drilled, and under direct control of generals and officers. The Plains Indian warrior fought voluntarily as an individual to protect family and tribe as a matter of individual pride and honor. The chiefs led by example of their own individual courage and initiative. They were not battlefield commanders. (The one glaring exception -- that proves the rule -- is the Nez Perce under the leadership of Joseph and his brother chiefs. Still, whatever athority they exercised was based on consensus, not command structure.) The purpose of Zulu war was to crush the enemy completely. The purpose of Plains Indian war was to "count coup" and prove one's own courage in the face of the enemy.

During the Civil War, neither the Lincoln Administration nor any of its higher military leaders advocated total war -- which is the complete destruction of the enemy, including if necessary, noncombatants and infrastructure. Non-combatants' rights were generally respected by formal military leaders on both sides, although guerillas of North and South, some in uniform, had little respect for anyone. They were sometimes little more than bandits and murderers; however, this was not generally the policy of either government. The accusations against Sherman's campaigns have been proven to be exaggerated; he aimed almost exclusively at military targets such as stores of supplies and railroad transportation, not civilians. The Lincoln adminsitration's purpose was re-unification of the country and fellow Americans, not the destruction of the South. Some sieges of Southern cities did resemble instances of total war, however, bombarding a fortified city with artillery has always put civilians in danger; the South was as aware of this when they developed their defenses as was the Union. Grant, who indeed practiced effective but bloody "steam roller" tactics, showed considerable conciliation at Appomatix Courthouse, not blood lust. Looting and pillaging did occur but were not official policy of either government.

On the other hand, the Confederate Army and Secret Service intiated a number of abhorrent practices, some of them clearly war crimes. The Confederacy initiated the use of torpedoes, including electrically detonated anti-shipping mines and land mines, then called sub-terra torpedoes. They ignored the Union's protest of this barbaric weapon, which remains a scourge today, costing many innocent lives, as must have also happened in the Civil War. The South's Secret Service used terror tactics, trying to spread yellow fever via garments and blankets used by fever victims. It also developed different formulae of "Greek fire" which were used to attempt to set fire to hotels in New York City, tactics aimed at civilians and intended to spread fear. How far up the Confederate government knowledge and approval of these activities went is subject to speculation, but they were known among Confederate legislators and military administrators in Richmond.

The South was hardly unified in its anti-Union sentiment. Secession was achieved largely by illegally suppressing pro-Union Southerners and such oppression increased during the war. Pro-Union Southerners were watched by the Confederate Secret Service and sometimes jailed upon mere suspicion of supporting the Union. Confederate militia regularly harassed and sometimes robbed, looted and killed Southerners suspected of having Unionist sympathies. This occurred even in states such as Maryland and Kentucky. It was an oppressive, one party, slavery-based society, oppressive not just for those of us of African-American heritage, but anyone and everyone, particularly if they disagreed with either slavery or secession. It had to be in order to maintain itself.

The Confederacy started the war when it fired on Fort Sumter. The Union's only crime against the Confederacy at that point was to elect a potentially abolitionist President. However, in the minds of too many Southerners, that was the worst crime possible, the embodiment of all their fears. On the other hand, the Confederacy demanded all Union property -- confiscating it when convenient, a clear violation of any concept of property rights or government.

The Constitution grants states no right to withdraw. Therefore, any such right must come from a "higher" source, such as that cited by the Declaration of Independence, i.e. Natural Law. Natural Law may indeed allow secession, but it however holds that "all men are created equal." The very purpose of the Confederacy was to deny this; therefore the Confederacy, under both Constitution and Natural Law, was an illegal, or at least an extra legal, entity, not a valid government.

The Constitution contains the definition of the crime of treason in Article III, Section 3. (It is a restrictive definition, limiting the accusation of treason and preventing its overuse in punishing dissenters or pacifists.) Everyone who fought for the Confederacy, who supported its war effort, or gave their allegiance to the illegal government making war on the United States, qualified.

My apologies to those who remain aplogists of the CSA, but all of this can be easily confirmed through readily available history.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Dr. Ralph;We now see what type Doctor you may/may-not be. It's a Dr. of English, right? I bought two additional books on Custer today. One is Custer, the life of General Custer by Jay Monaghan: the other one is much older titled Favor The Bold;Custer the Civil War Years by D.A. Kinsley. History of the past is now more interesting to me than the present. I suppose that trend will follow others as well. To sad our scholars of today never teach the real History of our country. This new league of educators a far cry from those of 72 yrs ago. To bad I stepped on your toes with my article on our now President.I was only trying to point our, that Custer and W cut from the same mold, both losers. Many years down the road, history will reveal our W's true role in Iraq. From todays news of the ground commander in Iraq, we better plan on a long drawn out stay in that country.If I heard correctly, he is requesting an additional 30K troops. If this happens, the draft will surely return, as what person in his right mind would volunteer to be sent to Iraq in 30 or so days with little training. In the meantime, I will try to continue to hunt with my 30-06's and 25-06's and let the Big-Boys in DC run the country. End of my discussion of Custer and Bush period. Time for me to begin checking 0's and pratice for a big old Elk in Montana, /Lope in WY/Deer in Colorado. Shoot straight and often. PS; At age 72, I kinda figure I can discuss most anyone/anything I so desire and hunt as long as my old disabled/handicapped cane/crutched walking body will allow.Shoot often and straight.

Matt

Old Yukon, first of all, the British right flank at Islandwana was forced to retreat due to lack of ammunition BEFORE the native units fell back.

To say that Sherman's actions were exagerated is in the same historical mindset as claiming the Holocaust or Rape of Nanking were overplayed. Sherman himself said after the war that much of what happed on his March to the Sea was criminal.

To say that the use of torpedos even comes close to a war crime boggles the imagination.

Most of the actions of the Confederate Secret Service had no ties to the actual Confederate government, including the attempts to burn New York. In addition, the North used numerous similar plans, KNOWN to be officially planed, including the so-called Dahlgren Raid: an attempt to assasinate Jeff Davis.

Secession may not have been 100% supported in the south but since when has ANY political movement been completely supported? Still, support for the war was quite high. The South did not see the anti-draft riots that the norht experienced. And keep in mind when secessionists in Maryland were discussing leaving the Union, Lincoln had the Legislature imprisioned and Baltimore placed under martial law.

Concerning the acts of Confederate militias, there is little if any defense for the actions of some "units", particularly in Missouri. Just keep in mind two things. First, there were an equal amount of northern militias running around rampant. Two, while those who claimed to rob and murder for the south earned an official rebuke (and never any actual support) from the CSA, those doing it for the north were tolerated and in some cases supported. One of the more imfamous was even a U.S. Senator.

Your idea of why secession is illegal is warped at best. The Constitution very clearly states all rights not given to the federal government belong to either the people or the individual states. The Constitution says nothing about the states not being able to seceed. So by secession not being prohibited outright, it becomes a state's right. Why do you think not a single case has EVER been brought to court arguing the legality (or illegality) of secession?

Treason relates to a citizen of the United States warring against the United States. When the south seceeded, they were no longer citizens of the United States but of the CSA. Concerning legality, the Civil War is in the same category as the American Revolution.

Finally, before you start stomping your feet and pissing and moaning about yet another old "Lost Causer" southerner who spends his weekend standing guard on the Mason-Dixon Line, I was born in New York. I have no relatives who fought in the Civil War on either side. I have a Damned Yankee accent that would make it easier to mistake me for a Chinaman than for a southerner. I am not trying to resurect the War of Northern Agression... I just have an incredably low tolerance for the historically-FUBAR ramblings of revisionists such as yourself, Holocaust deniers, people who claim George Washington was black (no seriously, I have heard school teachers say it), etc.

Black Rifle Addict

Hey boys; this topic has gone stale...lets stop beating the dead horse.

jerseyboy

the core of the outcome of both battles was a result of the leadership. Custer arguably is either, brave, evil, stupid, great, or any combination of the above. it really does not matter. a good leader is committed to the accomplishment of the mission however a leader is also responsible to the personell under their command and knows how to balance risk vs. reward. custer acted foolishly ignoring his recon and attacking a numerically superior force after seperating his force and without supplies when he could have waited for reinforcements.he risked the lives of his men to accomplish a goal that was not worth the reward at that moment.

the ENGINEER (not even an infantry offier) Lt. in charge at rourke's drift understood the importance of defending a fortified position and not making a run for it (thereby not risking his men).

a leader is responsible to the men in their command. they place there lives in his hands. and i think this basic tenant is the greatest difference between the battles.




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