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Most humiliating defeats in History

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Totenkopf, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto, 20th April 1836.

    Setting up a camp by the San Jacinto River, Santa Anna's Mexican army were gleefully overlooking a wood that the Texans were known to be hiding in. Displaying tactical brilliance, Santa Anna ordered his troops to take a siesta. At half past 3 in the afternoon, whilst the great man was himself enjoying a deep a refreshing sleep, his entire army was wiped out in only 18 minutes. Roused by the continueing noise from rowdy Texans attacking the encampment, Santa Anna, on realising his entire army was 'in a tight spot', he sprang up from his field camp bed, shouting "The enemy is upon us!", and disappeared, galloping away at great speed.

    Santa Anna cultivated a hero worship of Napolean, whom he modelled himself closely on, even going so far as to adopt Bonaparte's 'combed forward' hairstyle. He did, in fact, look nothing whatever like the Corsican, for Napolean was short and fat, whilst Santa Anna was tall, skinny, and had only one leg, which he held a burial service for after fighting the French in 1838. The funeral was attended by many well-wishers at Santa Paula cemetary.

    Santa Anna lacked almost all of Napolean's strategic gifts. In one inspired 'surprise attack' he dressed all his troops in enemy uniforms. The chaos was indescribable and the plan a total failure.

    Definately gets my vote for the Worst Tactician of all time, as well as taking the gong for the most humiliating defeat!
     
  2. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    Battle of Sluys

    English Navy near totally destroyed a large portion of the French navy while it was still in port, ensuring the hundred years war would be fought on the French continent.
     
  3. BlueDivision250

    BlueDivision250 Member

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    I'd say the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (Colombia today), in 1741, were the Spanish troops there defeated a widely superior English navy.

    The British invasion fleet was one of the largest in history, numbering 186 vessels (the Spanish Armada, in 1588 had 126 vessels), including ships of the line, frigates, fireships, and transports, with a total complement of 23,600 combatants and some 2,000 cannons. To counter this Blas de Lezo (the Spanish commander, who had lost his left leg and his arm in previous battles) had at his disposal just 3,000 regular soldiers, 600 Indian archers, and the crews and troops of six ships of the line: the flagship Galicia and the ships San Felipe, San Carlos, Africa Dragón and Conquistador. Vernon (the English commander) was pretty sure of the victory, and news were sent to London that Cartagena had been conquered even before the battle had started. Yet Blas de Lezo's tactics took Vernon by surprise. Blas de Lezo ordered all his vessels be sunk, thus blocking the port. A pit was dug around the city walls, in order to prevent a direct assault. Trenches were displayed in zig-zag, in order to avoid the effect of cannon fire. Two soldiers were sent to the English camp, feinting surrender, providing the assailants with false information about the Spanish positions. At night, the Spanish army charged by surprise, using bayonnets, forcing the English army to retreat, despite the fact that they were heavily outnumbered

    When the news that Cartagena hadn't been conquered reached London, and that the invading fleet had been humiliated by a much inferior force, king George II tried to avoid the truth from being printed, that's why it isn't famous. Poor ol' Vernon :D
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Battle of Gazala- Ritchie failed badly?!! End of DAK and Rommel so close! But instead it was the loss of Tobruk!

    Battle of Gazala

    Rommel’s initial success nearly overwhelmed the British forces behind the Gazala Line. However, the Afrika Korps’ success had one major problem – Rommel’s armoured columns were so successful that they moved too far from their supply lines – primarily fuel. Whereas the British forces were in close proximity to their supplies. The superior armour that Rommel had access to (in terms of quality) could not work without fuel.

    By May 28th, Rommel’s success was almost his downfall. His armoured units had moved too far from his fuel supplies.

    On the night of May 28th, Rommel himself searched for his supply convoy. After he found it, he personally guided it to where his Panzer divisions were. Critics of Ritchie claim that if he had been more aggressive in his strategy he could have taken great advantage of Rommel’s precarious position. However, by the 29th, the time had passed.
     
  5. efestos

    efestos Member

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    Operation Bagration 1944.

    It almost destroyed the Wermacht. Army Group Centre. 30 Disions.

    A good strike from the "Untermenschen" . I guess Adolph was wrong about the russian people.
     
    Totenkopf likes this.
  6. efestos

    efestos Member

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    Is there evidence that Auchinleck was aware of this? Or that he should know?
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I always thought it was Ritchie´s decision what finally happened...At least giving Rommel time to prepare his defences is not a very bright thing to do in my opinion...

    Battle of Gazala - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "Unaware of the extent of Rommel's desperate supply situation but buoyed by over-optimistic intelligence assessments of the casualties suffered by the German armour, Auchinleck strongly urged Ritchie to mount a counter-attack along the coast to take advantage of the German armour's absence and to break through to Timimi and then Mechili. However, Ritchie was more concerned by Tobruk's exposure and focused on bringing up reinforcements into the El Adem box and creating new defensive boxes opposite the new gaps in the minefield."
     
  8. efestos

    efestos Member

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    Well you mentioned the "Operación Goodwood" in the beggining of this thread ... IMHO, the most humilliating of the Battle ofGazala is that the british admitted their inferiority in "modern" warfare. So they wanted to fight something like WWI battles.¿?
     
  9. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I think this could go under the heading of daring vs. prudence.
    Correct me if I'm wrong please, because what Ritchie did strikes me as somewhat very close to a habit of Monty of bringing up reinforcements and building up superiority before taking action. Some generals are too daring and eventually bite off more than they can chew. Others are overly prudent. The successful ones generally can balance daring and prudence. I call them prudently daring.
     
  10. efestos

    efestos Member

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    And what about the Battles of Khalkhin Gol?

    The Japanese launched the attack, and the battle result in a total defeat of the sixth Japanse army. ... Eh! Sixth Army encircled, Zhukov, Soviet victory ... Where I have read something similar? :D
     
  11. David James

    David James recruit

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    Can we really count it as an embarassing defeat? As far as I know (I've not read alot on the subject) it was a surprise attack before the US knew they were at war with Japan, so there wasn't really anything they could do about it.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Agreed, it must have been very hard for the generals to decide whether to jump into the lion´s mouth or not but like we have seen some generals seem to have had some kinds 6th sense. They almost always knew the right decision without hesitation. One of my favourite situations about choosing the right general is the question " But is he also lucky?" I think it was Napoleon who asked this.
     
  13. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    I think being a general also involves a bit of luck on the battlefield. For instance, making the right call when your opponent makes the wrong one. For a bare-bones example, deciding to make a frontal assault on the enemy, The enemy, however, has just decided to move their line back to a more defend able position. The withdrawal at the time of the tack exposes their lines and their withdrawal turns into a route. Things would have been different had they chosen to remain in place.
     
  14. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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    Operation Goodwood was supposedly from the 18th to the 20th of July. Postponed for a few Days due to Torrential rains that lasted till the 24th. And was relaunched on the 25th and lasted till around early morning of the 27th with the German Counter attacks. I Think the Humiliating defeat was the Tank Battle which was launched on the 18th east of Caen on the open plains of the Orne Valley, till today the largest Tank Battle ever lost by Tommy.
     
  15. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Battle of Megiddo, 1918. RAF aircraft wiped out the Turkish Seventh Army on the Nablus-Beisan road through the Wadi Fara into the Jordan Valley, destroying all transport, artillery and heavy equipment.
    This allowed British forces to cross the Jordan, capture Damascus, and end all effective enemy resistance in Palestine by the end of October.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Megiddo_(1918)
     
  16. Duckbill

    Duckbill Dishonorably Discharged

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    Er.....

    The RAF did not wipe out the Turkish Seventh Army (Actually my source says it was the Turkish Eighth Army that ceased to exist, while the Seventh Army fell back to the east in disorder).

    The RAF interrupted communications, bombed rail junctions, and enemy headquarters, but it was, as always, the ground forces who won the battle. XXI Corps broke the Turkish lines allowing the Desert Mounted Corps to advance..... and so on.

    Duckbill
     
  17. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well, it does actually say-
    "Waves of bombing and strafing aircraft passed over the Turks every three minutes and although the operation had been intended to last for five hours, the Seventh Army was routed in 60 minutes."
    Wasn't the 8th Army annihilated along the coast route by Allenby's forces?
    http://www.specialcamp11.fsnet.co.uk/General%20der%20Infanterie%20Alexander%20von%20Falkenhausen.htm
     
  18. Duckbill

    Duckbill Dishonorably Discharged

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    TH,

    I am using Ernest and Trevor Dupuy's, The Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. To The Present, p.988. The information comes from their description of the Battle of Megiddo. I have to admit the reference to the Eighth Army ceasing to exist might be an aside of some sort, but it is not clear at all. The authors do not say the Seventh Army was destroyed. The word "routed" is probably a good description.

    Will check further to find out about the demise of 8th Army.

    Duckbill
     
  19. Duckbill

    Duckbill Dishonorably Discharged

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    TH,

    According to BG Thomas E. Griess’ The Great War: The West Point Military History Series, pp. 95-97, Tells us that by 21 September, both Eighth and Seventh Armies were destroyed in the Battle of Megiddo (Sept 19-25) The Fourth Army on the Turkish left managed to escape, but was caught by the Arabs a few days latter. The West Point map (linked below) shows the setup as well as the pursuit.

    http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/web03/atlases/great%20war/great%20war%20%20maps/ww1%2050.jpg

    Duckbill
     
  20. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Cheers DB. Probably fair to say that the air attacks destroyed the Seventh Army as an effective fighting force.
     

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