Military Review

Lost wins and senseless wins

Seeing that Pierre was ready to march on Italy, his adviser Keena asked him: “If God sends us a victory, what does she give us?” Pyrrhus answered: “If we win the Romans, we will master all of Italy.” “And what will we do when we take over Italy?” - “Sicily, a flourishing and crowded island, lies very close by.” “So, taking Sicily, will we end the march?” But Pierre objected: “How can we not go to Africa, to Carthage, if we reach it by hand?” - “But when all this comes true, what will we do then?” And Pierre said with a smile: "We will have complete leisure, daily feasts and pleasant conversations." Then Kiney interrupted him, asking: “What prevents us now, if we want, to feast and talk with one another at our leisure?”

Sometimes an attempt to understand some things directly, head-on, leads to not entirely correct results. Sometimes it is customary to perceive tactics and strategy as directly related things, but at different levels. And it is customary to somehow assume that the battles won by themselves somehow lead to victory in the war. It is precisely at the junction of strategy and tactics that the “paradox of the German army” is hidden in two world wars.

You can talk as you please and anything, but World War I and World War II (especially at the initial stage) brought glory to the German arms and German military equipment. However, that and the other war for the Germans ended in complete and devastating defeat.

This is what creates such a well-defined paradox, such a “cognitive dissonance”: the Germans fought brilliantly, but in the end lost. In principle, this result is not unprecedented: the legendary Hannibal, for example, scored a series of brilliant victories in battles with the Roman army, and neither before him nor after him did anyone succeed in repeating the same against the Romans, but he lost the second Punic outright.

Nestykovochka this occurs in the head of those who are trying to learn history: brilliant victories on the battlefields - and the complete and final defeat of the results. Moreover, the legendary and “memic” Napoleon Bonaparte is famous for practically the same: a long series of brilliant victories on the European battlefields, followed by the inglorious collapse of the empire. And we must honestly (honestly) recognize that the Napoleonic army was the best in Europe.

And Napoleon Bonaparte as a tactician did not know his equal. That is, it was either extremely difficult or even impossible to defeat him on the battlefield. And Kutuzov's strategy (to avoid a general battle at all costs) was not offered by them alone and carried a sufficiently sound grain: to arrange general battles with Bonaparte is the right way to death. Approximately the same reasoning was done by Fabius Cunctator (Slow), and it was on his behalf that the expression Fabian tactics arose (in fact, strategy).

It was he who, after an ingloriously lost battle at Lake Trasimene, categorically refused to get involved in decisive battles with the army of Hannibal. Hannibal could tear and throw and burn with the fire of the estate of wealthy Romans, but he could not get so much desired by him the general battle in the field. Smash Hannibal from the Romans turned out exactly one time: the battle of Zama. But this was enough to win.

Of course, we have the story that we have. But to analyze one and only one scenario is meaningless. Here some definite predestination is manifested, fate, evil fate, Kismet ... We, as it were, are actively moving from politics and the military sphere into the realm of mysticism and religion.

That is, it turns out, since Rome won, then all the actions of Hannibal from the very beginning were absolutely meaningless? He had to capitulate from Rome from the very beginning, or simply “suicide against the wall”? So it turns out? Or what? That is, if Hannibal lost in real life, then it was “predetermined”?

It is clear that there were wars / military operations that had no chance of success from the very beginning. A lot of them - the darkness. But I must say that here concerning Hannibal, he had fought 16 for years in Italy and the Romans could not beat him in open battle ... You say he had no chance? Yes, he could not realize his qualitative tactical advantage, but this does not mean that the chances quite did not have. In the words of his associate, Hannibal knew how to win, but not use victory.

No, when a war comes from the very beginning, it is a repentance and ends in defeat, then everything is clear. Examples of Hannibal, Bonaparte, Wilhelm II and many others testify just to the lost victories.

And even the Hundred Years War: until a certain point, the Britons won outright all, but the French’s refusal at a certain stage of major battles and the transition to the tactic of minor skirmishes suddenly turned the situation in no way in favor of the British. Yes, Clausewitz was certainly right that "only great decisive victories lead to great decisive results." But what if “great victories are unattainable”? Give up?

Napoleon Bonaparte had a powerful all-European army, and he had no equal as a “warlord” in the sense of being able to lead a battle, his final and crushing defeat seems to be a rather unlikely outcome. Unless we, of course, use mysticism and predestination in analysis.

The trouble of historians is that when analyzing historical events they use the “after-knowledge” too actively, that is, if Bonaparte lost, then so be it (analyzing the Italian campaign, they already have Waterloo in mind). A kind of "scientific religion." The misfortune and tragedy of Napoleon Bonaparte were precisely in the categorical inability to transform their victories into a final peace favorable to France. That is why in the 1815 year (100 days of Bonaparte) many of his experienced generals did not support this escapade. Everything is simple - they have already filled their fill ...

And it was already extremely clear to them that Napoleon could fight endlessly. They themselves were not ready to fight endlessly. As in principle, most of the soldiers / officers. That is, the problem was not in Waterloo, the problem was that by Waterloo, Napoleon had already “gotten” both the French and Europeans in general. It became clear to everyone in Europe that Napoleon is an endless war, this is one of the reasons for his defeat.

Regarding Willy II: Germany at the time of 1914 was the strongest European power - the strongest army, the second most powerful fleet, the most advanced science in the world, the most powerful after the American industry. It is very difficult to say where this inevitable defeat is seen here. And yet the German army won a series of brilliant victories both in the east and in the west. But it all ended with surrender. As a matter of fact, after 30 years after 1914, Germany was crushed "in the trash."

As for the "protracted war" - on the one hand, the February revolution in Russia was not inevitable, on the other, riots in the French army began in 1917, almost there Petain himself pacified them ... To say that even in the summer of 1918, the situation of the allies was brilliant and the Central Powers are absolutely hopeless, the language does not turn. The allies, despite the superiority in resources, had their own big problems in the rear. Both in England and in France people are very tired of war.

It should be mentioned that the German army was the best among those who were fighting for organization / management and the losses there were lower than those of the French / British. So the ranting about the terrible superiority of the Allies over the Central Powers is somewhat exaggerated and somewhat emotionally expressed. That is, even in the long run (in conditions of lack of food and resources) the position of Germany was not completely hopeless.

But this is in the long run, but in the summer of 1914, the situation was not entirely in favor of the Allies ... As, however, in the fall. Theoretically, the Germans in 1914 might well have taken Paris, and that changed everything. They could win on the Western Front, but ... something prevented them. There was a superiority in the training, organization, preparation of the Kaiser troops, but the Germans could not extract any positive aspects in the strategy area during the initial period of the war. And the paradox turns out: the German army was better, but she lost ... The author strongly disagrees with the thesis that the army that won is always the best.

Once again: tactical superiority, even expressed in decisive victories over the enemy on the battlefield, does not in itself mean anything. This is just the material from which to build a big overall victory. With the “material”, the Germans had no particular problems either in the First World War or in the Second ... but with “construction”, “construction” there were serious questions.

But this in no way means that, being limited in resources, the Germans were initially doomed to defeat. Rather, they had certain difficulties with strategic planning ... As a result, their superbly organized army was faced with the need endlessly gain tactical victories with an increasingly unfavorable balance of power.

Achieve a common victory by destroying all enemy divisions are a bit over the top. As a result, they do not quite correctly conclude from the two world wars that no matter how strong the enemy is, he can be detained, exhausted, withstand before his onslaught, and defeated. Not entirely correct: if at the strategic level the same Germans, and the Japanese, were as strong as in tactics ...

A vivid example of “strategic madness” is the endless war of the Japanese Imperial Army in China. That is, one victory followed another, the Chinese fled ... but the most attentive observers soon noticed that all these numerous victories of the Japanese could not turn into one big general victory. For which, of course, both political (diplomatic) efforts and the work of the special services were needed, and much more. But first and foremost, proper strategic planning: outline a large real goal, to throw at her achievement all the means and achieve it.

But at the tactical level, the Japanese were almost invincible. That was misleading the Japanese generals. But is it really bad: after the victory, the victory ... But for some reason they “did not add up”. That is, the "massacre in Nanjing" is certainly "impressive", only a complete defeat of the Chinese army would have impressed much more. Or some "intermediate world". But did not grow together ...

And what if it was so impossible? Under the conditions of semi-feudal strife in China and the “all against all” war? Instead, in the conditions of the war against Britain and the United States, the Japanese were forced to spend a lot of resources on China, without receiving any reasonable returns and even without such a prospect.

And, for example, for the hypothetical "capture of Australia" they simply did not have enough free divisions ... Already at the beginning of the 1942 year, when the allies did nothing but drag off. But the "hypothetical seizure of Australia" (and even the opening of the land front there) would have been far more serious for the results of the war than any success in China. It is clear that in reality such an operation seems to be of little practical, but at the beginning of 1942, there was simply nothing to plan for it: almost the entire land army is fighting in China.

And even the breakthrough of Japanese on India by land (initially successful!) Was limited by the banal shortage of combat-ready units (who fought endlessly in the Middle Kingdom or were preparing to attack the USSR!). What if the Japanese had successfully invaded India on 1942? And if a popular uprising began there (prepared by Japanese agents?). And Rommel goes to Suezu ...

But the Japanese generals were “interesting people” - we have a “successful” war in China, and we will fight there ... And we don’t like the USSR either ... But in India the British didn’t have too many intelligent troops. And Australia is not a “bastion of freedom”.

This very “Chinese escapade” after 7 in December 1941 looked very strange: China, torn by civil war, was in no way capable of active offensive actions, Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists, left alone, would immediately cling to each other's throats ... but the Japanese continued to fight in China and even to win convincing victories ... For what, sorry, damn? In fact, the Japanese Empire waged two (!) Great wars, unrelated to each other (and was preparing to start a third!).

As a result, during the world (!) War, active offensive actions were conducted mainly by the Japanese fleet, the Japanese army fought in the "pampas", that is, in China. “Eh, Yamashita-san (a friendly clap on the shoulder), let's kill all the Chinese, what kind of life will come for true samurai ...”

That is, the paradox of brilliant victories / complete defeat at the end is a paradox only at first glance. Brilliant victories (which, of course, will be included in the history and military textbooks) for the sensible commander, politics (!) Are just steps towards some big goal. By themselves, they are for the most part completely meaningless. You can not live and fight for the history book.

There are many “lost victories” in this life, but no less victories than senseless ones: in the ancient world there are few competitors to Alexander the Great, as a commander on the battlefield, and yes, he was almost perfect on the battlefield, and the army did not let him down to India, to India (!), Karl - this is already beyond good and evil ... Taking into account the management capabilities of that era, what kind of solutions could there be for India, even in the case of its successful capture?

And the question of the complete and final finishing of Darius, and the heroic march through the outskirts of the former Persian Empire, also raise many questions. Alexander seemed to be a very educated man for his era — Aristotle himself “formed it,” so it would be much more logical to expect more modest and cautious actions in Asia. It was absolutely impossible to hold such vast and culturally alien spaces to the Greeks, relying on the very limited human resources of Greece (not very loyal to the kings of Macedonia!).

Alexander was, of course, another “brilliant tactician”, but whether he was a strategist is a separate question. In general, the well-known fact that during his insane march through the Asian back streets, he managed to “make friends” with the former Persian nobility (ready to kiss the dust before him) and quarrel (without quotes) with his Macedonian comrades in arms (who are not ready to kiss ), already testifies to the "enormous intelligence." He certainly could win, but use his brilliant victories he turned out much worse (and was it even possible at such distances and the existing logistics?).

To his happiness or “happiness,” he remained invincible on the battlefield (if he lost one of the decisive battles to Darius, historians would explain this “easily” and “logically”), but take serious political dividends he got much worse. Smash the enemy army and conquer the enemy country - things are a little different. Certainly, if Alexander did not suffer such a sudden death, he could have gone west and conquered both Rome and Carthage (an interesting reversal of the story?), But it would not whom (information and logistics component would be lame in both legs). Then why?

Lost wins and senseless wins

Thus, strategic decisions in no way derive from tactical decisions, and victories / defeats themselves on the battlefields are still not “automatically” converted into anything. That is, the most brilliant tactical victory, as a rule, is meaningless outside the framework of the implementation of the strategic plan. And, oddly enough, cunning diplomats / sneaky special services / two-faced politicians may in some cases be much more useful than the most well-trained army and the most intelligent generals. “Strikes below the belt” has not been canceled yet (recall at least the memorable Berlin Congress). However, the “silver snuffboxes” have not yet come out of fashion.
Photos used:
Articles from this series:
The blockade of Germany, Hochseeflotte and alternatives to the Kaiser
Themistocles, Lee Sun Xing and the strategy of indirect action
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  1. Andrey Yuryevich
    Andrey Yuryevich 1 May 2018 05: 34
    It is clear that there were wars / military operations that did not have a chance of success from the very beginning. A lot of them are darkness. But I must say that with regard to Hannibal, he fought for 16 years in Italy and the Romans could not defeat him in open battle ... Say, he had no chance? Yes, he could not realize his qualitative tactical advantage, but this does not mean that there was no chance at all. In the words of his associate, Hannibal knew how to win, but not to use victory.
    the author did not describe how the wars ended earlier - the males dismantled the females. and riveted the fighters ....
    1. Hlavaty
      Hlavaty 1 May 2018 12: 04
      Quote: Andrey Yurievich
      the author did not describe how the wars ended earlier - the males dismantled the females. and riveted the fighters ....

      The author described the main thing - for victory, war must make sense. The ultimate goal. And this goal should not be forgotten in spite of any victories.
  2. The comment was deleted.
  3. Prutkov
    Prutkov 1 May 2018 09: 20
    I think that by the spring of 1918 Kaiser Germany had solved all its strategic tasks. All Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, the Baltic states was occupied. The “living space” for the Teutons would be enough for several more generations. And most importantly, all these conquests were consolidated by the Brest Peace. The Germans could end the war in the West with a calm heart and sit down at the negotiating table with the Entente. But together with the "living space" the Germans received a deadly virus of revolution. This virus killed the 2nd Reich.
    On the Napoleonic Wars, I would like to note that not only Napoleon made a mistake. The main mistake was made by Alexander 1, when he began, contrary to Kutuzov’s request, an overseas campaign in 1813. After the expulsion of Napoleon from Russia, Alexander 1 had the opportunity on his own terms to divide continental Europe with the French, leaving buffer states between Russia and France. In this case, in Europe there would be a counterweight to England. And so the Britons raked all the fruits of Russian victories in Europe. Russia remained the role of the "European gendarme." And gendarmes, as you know, few people love. What led to the unification of the "European wards" against the gendarme in 1854.
    1. Olezhek
      1 May 2018 09: 32
      The main mistake was made by Alexander 1, when, contrary to Kutuzov’s request, he began a foreign campaign in 1813. After the expulsion of Napoleon from Russia, Alexander 1 had the opportunity to share continental Europe with the French on his own terms, leaving buffer states between Russia and France.

      Of course there is such a version, and I personally met it a long time ago.
      However ... here it is somehow weak to believe in "an agreement with Bonaparte" after his campaign in Russia
      Man, he was too unpredictable ... and inadequate (in politics)
      It is difficult to say what it all came out.
      Well, the Buonaparties in Russia behaved not at all like in Austria / Germany
      He behaved differently.
      Neither Vienna nor Berlin burned to the ground ...
      1. Antares
        Antares 1 May 2018 11: 18
        Quote: Olezhek
        Man, he was too unpredictable ... and inadequate (in politics)

        he was just more predictable than Petersburg. Which subscribed to the blockade of England and immediately wanted to break through it. Napoleon needed an alliance with Petersburg than with Austria. And he did not have a stronger rival than Petersburg and London. But he could solve the problem with someone only in alliance and neutrality with one of them.
        RI was also an unpredictable country during the years of the Russian-French wars / unions. And Napoleon was always ready to hit in the back (hand of England)
        I am sure that Napoleon would have resolved the issue with England, had he been in alliance with Petersburg (which until the end would have been with him, and not with London). But trade was at stake, English money for maintaining the army, and the same coup with a snuffbox (as the author of the article has well noted), which was better than all Napoleon’s diplomacy
        "They could not reach me in Paris, but reached me in St. Petersburg"
        1. Cartalon
          Cartalon 2 May 2018 09: 32
          Napoleon would not make any concessions, he clearly said this.
          1. victor50
            victor50 4 May 2018 09: 42
            But what about repeated attempts to start negotiations with Alexander, including through Kutuzov?
      2. Alone
        Alone 2 May 2018 18: 42
        Quote: Olezhek
        Neither Vienna nor Berlin burned to the ground ...

        Moscow at that time was not the capital of RI.
        1. AID.S
          AID.S 10 May 2018 08: 07
          Have you heard about the name "Mother See"? There was such a name "at that time."
          1. Alone
            Alone 12 May 2018 09: 47
            Quote: AID.S
            There was such a name "at that time."

            And what's next? The "Mother See" and the capital are interchangeable?
    2. hdgs
      hdgs 2 May 2018 19: 39
      Quote: Rods
      After the expulsion of Napoleon from Russia, Alexander 1 had the opportunity on his own terms to divide continental Europe with the French, leaving buffer states between Russia and France. In this case, in Europe there would be a counterweight to England. And so the Britons raked all the fruits of Russian victories in Europe.

      But nothing that back in 1812, Russia was forced to rise to Britain as laborers? With the ultimate task of eradicating Napoleon in Europe.
      For this, she received weapons, equipment, provisions, etc. etc. After all, the Russian army threw all heavy, and often light, weapons near Borodino. And there was simply nothing to fight with Napoleon. But with a pitchfork and axes you won’t get much.
      Throw Britain after the capture of Paris? It could be. But once. And today we would have long forgotten about such a country, Russia.
      Quote: Rods
      What led to the unification of the "European wards" against the gendarme in 1854.

      In fact, this led to the fact that after the victory over Napoleon, Russia imagined itself to be the "winner of Europe." And she began to speak in the wrong tone with the masters of the world of those times, the British. Then she was indicated her real place through the Crimean War.
      1. victor50
        victor50 4 May 2018 09: 51
        Quote: hdgs
        But nothing that back in 1812, Russia was forced to rise to Britain as laborers? With the ultimate task of eradicating Napoleon in Europe.
        For this, she received weapons, equipment, provisions, etc. etc. After all, the Russian army threw all heavy, and often light, weapons near Borodino. And there was simply nothing to fight with Napoleon. But with a pitchfork and axes you won’t get much.

        And where did they get this: about Lendlize0? Convoys also went to Murmansk? And when did they manage to arm Russia a few months after Borodin and the tonnage of the then ships? About the heavy weapons thrown near Borodino? In the absence of which Russia then only beat the French. Refer to the author of an alternative story, it would be interesting to see.
        1. The comment was deleted.
      2. VVK_VDB
        VVK_VDB 4 May 2018 22: 42
        Well it happened after. And in 1815, France, Austria and England entered into an alliance against Russia, even gathered to fight, the troops allocated. Napoleon found this agreement in Louis’s office and sent it to Alexander. Alexander generously forgave the cheaters. For Russia, Napoleon was an "fake" emperor, and therefore friendship did not grow together.
  4. dauria
    dauria 1 May 2018 09: 23
    victories / defeats on the battlefield themselves are not “automatically” converted to anything yet

    Well, sensible article. And look at the United States, who removed all the cream from the bloody massacre of the two world wars, in which they were almost bystanders ... A bunch of diplomats did the work of hundreds of Wehrmacht divisions among the Americans. To learn to us such.
  5. parusnik
    parusnik 1 May 2018 09: 26
    However, “silver snuff boxes” have not gone out of fashion yet.
    ... Or maybe he got confused in a scarf, stepped on the tip, fell, with his temple on the snuffbox that was lying on the floor ... and then colic happened ...
  6. samarin1969
    samarin1969 1 May 2018 10: 23
    Empires won masses of victories and held territories. So it happened differently. ... But Russia was often "unlucky" - the Seven Years War, World War II gave an insignificant result.
    But there will still be wars. And politicians will profit from this. ...
    Even the “Minsk” was a defeat.
    1. Olezhek
      1 May 2018 11: 49
      Even the “Minsk” was a defeat.

      belay I would just write it down in the treasury of Russian diplomacy ..
  7. Yura
    Yura 1 May 2018 10: 25
    I liked the article very much, such a philosophical approach allows you to look at things “by and large”, which in turn, using previous experience, allows you to see the pattern and build the ultimate goal. It is impossible to embrace the unimpressed, and there is no reason to.
    1. Mikhail3
      Mikhail3 2 May 2018 11: 31
      Totally agree with you. Although the view of management, to which the author of the article neatly leads, is not so much philosophical as systemic. Just as part of a systematic approach to management, it turns out not too beautiful position for the site of this topic.
      The fact is that military victories, as well as the generals and even the marshals who achieved them ... have exclusively subordinate, local significance. Conventional theses such as "world fame" and other trinkets, in the framework of a truly effective management approach, do not matter at all.
      How is a large-scale task solved? The only true algorithm is to determine the main goal that you want to achieve at this stage. And then all the local tasks that occur every second in the developed large system are subordinated primarily to the achievement of this main goal.
      If your system is a single army, then victory in some kind of battle may be its goal. Well, simply because in case of defeat the army will disappear under the blows of the enemy or will be disbanded by the government. But under no circumstances can an army be an independent unit for setting a large-scale goal. As it cannot be taken separately, only the whole organism, no less.
      The state may have a goal. For this, it must be realized by someone as a whole, for which it is only worth setting large-scale tasks. And military victories, and maybe defeats, depending on conditions, are just some of the movements that should be undertaken.
      About this author and interprets. Napoleon loved to play, was a general who received power as a prize for well-aimed shooting. Well, he won the game ... until he blew. And the fact that millions of French lost together with him, so he never took them into account. They were beyond the scope of their favorite game.
      1. Yura
        Yura 2 May 2018 12: 24
        Quote: Mikhail3
        not so much philosophical as systemic

        Perhaps it will be more accurate. You have a great comment, about the same thoughts hovered in my reading the article, but you have clearly articulated them into understandable, so to speak, theses.
        1. Mikhail3
          Mikhail3 2 May 2018 15: 39
          I have such a talent) It does not help to live, but I can always explain something that I myself understand. True, the brain cannot stop, not that machine. So often you "drop by" where you shouldn’t be and shouldn’t. Sometimes I think - damn this understanding! One sadness and a headache ...
  8. sevtrash
    sevtrash 1 May 2018 10: 45
    There is a universal principle - large battalions are always right. Of course, not only and not so much in the literal sense. Nowadays, large battalions are a large, efficient economy with large resources invested in human potential, fundamental science, R&D, etc., followed by quality battalions.
    1. Mikhail3
      Mikhail3 2 May 2018 15: 42
      Those who shoot better are right. Small spool but precious. Great Fedor, and a fool ...
  9. Antares
    Antares 1 May 2018 11: 23
    Good article.
    War is only a means of redistributing resources. The main thing in it is the fixed result.
    War for the sake of war is not profitable (if it does not ruin more than your enemy than you)
    Therefore, you can endlessly fight with someone but without fixing the result (agreement, approval of other countries, the neutrality of neighbors) translates the state into an eternal war without result.
    The author forgot about Karl 12. He wanted to give the same general battle and he was also driven like Hannibal throughout the “boot” of Russia, where he was chilling (winter turned out to be one of the harshest), starving (Peter's army used scorched earth tactics) and without resources ( of the same gunpowder) came to the walls of Poltava and could not take it. Exhausted and there, she lost the battle completely.
    The same case.
  10. Molot1979
    Molot1979 1 May 2018 15: 08
    The example of Germany is not quite well matched. Yes, and with Hannibal, if you think about it, too. For the First World Germany, she could have tried to convert tactical victories into strategic ones if someone was going to come to an agreement with her at all. Neither England nor France did not want this deal, and their position was more solid than that of Germany. The Germans could force the allies to sit at the negotiating table by taking Paris. They could not take it. The topic of conversation for diplomats did not take place. With III Reich even better - the goal of the war itself was unattainable. The occupation of the USSR to the Urals? But was it even possible with available resources? Choosing between trimming sturgeon and trying to achieve their goals, the Germans chose the latter and sentenced themselves. What about Hannibal? What purpose could he set apart from the complete destruction of the Roman state and the city of Rome? No. And for Rome, peace with the Carthaginians was generally impossible, for them it was a matter of life and death. However, it cannot be said that Hannibal did not understand the problem at all. He understood, tried to undermine the Roman Union from the inside, let go of the Roman allies without ransom, and generally campaigned for the freedom of Italy. But nothing happened, the allies of Rome did not buy. But the Capua, who nevertheless decided to try their luck, the Romans took and severely punished. The reasons for the defeat are the stupid and cowardly policies of the Carthaginian government, which hated Hannibal and the huge resource advantage of Rome over Hannibal. So he made a mistake not when he went to Rome, or, there, not offering the Capitol a profitable peace, but when he went on a campaign without making an overturning coup in his capital and not securing himself a solid rear.
    1. Olezhek
      1 May 2018 15: 51
      Germany could well try to convert tactical victories into strategic ones if someone at all was going to negotiate with her. Neither England nor France wanted this deal, and their position was more solid than that of Germany. To force the Allies to sit down at the negotiating table, the Germans could have taken Paris. Could not take it.

      And the capture of Paris is the basis of their strategic plan.
      then why not? Why not take?

      With III, Reich is even better - the goal of the war itself was unattainable. Occupation of the USSR to the Urals? But was it even possible with cash resources?

      And why bother with the USSR?

      And for Rome, the world with the Carthaginian was generally impossible; for them it was a matter of life and death. At the same time, it cannot be said that Hannibal did not understand the problem at all. He understood, tried to loosen the Roman union from the inside, let go without the redemption of the Roman allies, and in general led the agitation for the freedom of Italy. That just did not work, did not buy the allies of Rome

      And then there was Macedonia "in the background" ....
      Yes, there were many options.

      and in the vast resource advantage of Rome over Hannibal.

      not really a fact ...
      1. Molot1979
        Molot1979 4 May 2018 15: 43
        Now, Olezhek, we will analyze all the questions. Why didn’t they take it? Probably because not every battle ends in victory. The Germans lost the battle on the Marne. And over the next three years they could not change this fact. Not taking Paris to negotiate was pointless. It’s just that the author speaks of the Second Reich as a state that won ONLY loud victories, and this is far from the case. There were defeats. And some of them are such that ten high-profile victories will not outweigh.
        Why attacked the USSR7? There are many reasons for this. Obvious: picking up by force is better than paying money - this is about our resources. Ideological hatred is also an important factor. Finally, an attempt to strip England of its last potential ally in Europe and thereby force the British to sit at the negotiating table. This is now visible to the evil irony of the entire enterprise: trying to solve the not the most difficult problem with England, Hitler spent so many resources that if he had put them into action against the Island, he would have ripped it a kilometer deep. But then the future was not yet fulfilled and Adik seriously counted on success. And who knows, if he had proposed an IVS world in November 1941, Stalin would have refused him or not. But the sturgeon was not curtailed, and we had to perforce, and fight to the death, to the last. And Aloizich got stuck, that bird, and disappeared completely.
        About Macedonia. It was somehow she, but the phalanx did not grow together to heroize the fields of Campania. Tied Philippe in Greece, lost time and pace, and there Hanni Baalu ​​Tryndets arrived. The Romans were able to avoid a war on two fronts.
        What does it mean, not a fact? In isolation from the main base, with virtually no support for the rear in the form of money and soldiers in enemy territory ... Eat at the expense of local resources? Yeah, only any village can be robbed only once, at the end of it coals remain. Soldiers die from disease, old age or wounds, and with whom to replace? Gallam? So they do not know how to fight in a civilized way, in the phalanx. The cavalry is again shrinking, and with whom to replace the Numidians? And Rome has at hand all the resources of Italy. The war of attrition for Carthage is a clear path to defeat. The course of the war was decided by two factors: firstly, Hannibal did not have a rear. There were his enemies. Secondly, it was not possible to destroy the Roman Union. How many times did the Carthaginian defeat the Romans? At least three times arranged a massacre. But each time Rome put up a new army. And so it continued until Zama loomed on the horizon. So there were chances, but floated away. Not so the stars turned.
        1. Grafova Irina
          Grafova Irina 4 May 2018 22: 19
          Funny set out, but in fact, to a first approximation, even very true hi
  11. nivander
    nivander 1 May 2018 16: 57
    oh well --- Scythian tactics acted for the time being. Could Hanibal have finished off Rome - could he have been even a little politician. Could Naples defeat Russia, if he could have married Alexander’s sister. Was there a chance for Kaiser to defeat the French in 1914 — yes, he could put 20 km from Marne to Paris in a straight-French uniform with a very weak map. They just got lucky-- their bluff (clumsy show-off) frightened the Prince of Prince Albrecht that instead of patching up a dent (MIRACLE-UDO on the Marne) and sending troops bypassing (like 1871) he made a "Run to the Sea" ---- On every accomplished historical fact in AI there is a more shaggy version
    1. populist
      populist 1 May 2018 18: 06
      Could Naples defeat Russia, if he had married Alexander’s sister

      Could not. This marriage did not want Alexander.
      1. nivander
        nivander 1 May 2018 18: 17
        tse buv Pavel’s project, Alexander also doesn’t mind - England flooded her legs and clapped her hands
        1. Antares
          Antares 1 May 2018 20: 37
          Quote: nivasander
          tse buv Pavel’s project, Alexander also doesn’t mind - England flooded her legs and clapped her hands

          not only London (although he was the "evil genius" who directed Petersburg)
          The mother of Alexander I, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, was much more radical. She considered Napoleon a "fiend of hell" and rejected the very possibility that one of her daughters would marry a "monster."
          In 1808, the prospect of an official marriage proposal from Napoleon to the 20-year-old Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna became absolutely real.
          Maria Fedorovna, suspecting that her son could still sacrifice her sister in the name of state interests, began to force the engagement of Catherine with her cousin, Prince George of Oldenburg.
          In September 1808, a congress of European sovereigns and ministers was held in Erfurt. The meeting was hosted by Napoleon, and his main guest was the Russian Emperor Alexander I.
          At this meeting, Napoleon made an official proposal to Alexander about marriage with his sister Catherine.
          The Russian emperor, depicting extreme regret on his face, said that, unfortunately, Ekaterina Pavlovna was already preparing for the wedding with Georg Oldenburgsky. This wedding really took place in April 1809.
          Napoleon, however, did not want to back down and turned his eyes from Ekaterina Pavlovna to her younger sister, Anna Pavlovna. In this case, Alexander refused because Anna was too small - at that time she was only 13 years old.
          Napoleon would be ready to make concessions by faith and in her 15th birthday.
          At the very beginning of February 1810, Napoleon received a new dispatch from Kolenkur, which stated that Alexander was still sympathetic, but could not get the approval of the upcoming marriage from his mother, Maria Fedorovna.
          The emperor of France realized that they would not give Anna Pavlovna his wife and, without giving Kolekur an order to stop negotiations, he immediately invited the Ambassador of Austria, Count Schwarzenberg, to the hunt. There the first conversation took place, in which Napoleon announced his readiness to make an official proposal to the Austrian Princess Maria Louise.
          The Austrians accepted the offer right away. Marie Louise in marriage gave birth (Josephine was barren) heir.
          Anna's descendants still "rule" the Netherlands
          History cannot be turned back. But then there was a historical moment. But London money and personal emotions in St. Petersburg decided the course of history.
    2. Cartalon
      Cartalon 2 May 2018 09: 41
      Hannibal was a politician and excellent, he simply went in cycles on one strategy, to defeat the Romans in Italy and make peace on his own terms, and the Romans did not make peace and brought the war outside Italy, Carthage had not a few chances, but it was bad with coordinating actions, the senate waged war on Rome; on the Carthaginians, Hannibal, the senate and the Hannibal brothers waged their wars with little interaction with each other.
    3. Molot1979
      Molot1979 4 May 2018 15: 48
      This is how Bonya could marry Alexander’s sister? And where is your Austrian? To the monastery? And how did the presence of a Russian wife influence victory in the war? Or was the sister of three armies worth it?

      About Marna - nonsense. There were not enough two buildings that went to East Prussia. As a result, not ripening either there or there. And 20 km became an irresistible distance. Do the Germans stick to Schlieffen’s plan? Who allowed the temporary surrender of East Prussia? Then history, rightly, would have taken a different path. This is really a random fluctuation: the nerves are upset.
  12. Glory1974
    Glory1974 1 May 2018 19: 37
    Interesting article. Gives food for thought. Recalled "Theory of games." There is the concept of a “game with a nonzero sum.” As applied to military science, it means that one does not have to lose in the battle and the other wins. There may be an option when both opponents lose, or both win.
  13. tiaman.76
    tiaman.76 1 May 2018 23: 41
    good analysis
  14. Stas1973
    Stas1973 2 May 2018 10: 50
    Regarding strategic goals and logistics, I disagree fundamentally with the author of the article. What about Genghis Khan? I repeated exactly the same thing as Alexander, only in a different direction, and nothing, somehow everything worked. According to historians.
    1. Blackmokona
      Blackmokona 2 May 2018 13: 46
      The state of Genghis Khan, like the state of Alexander, shattered very quickly. That one of these shreds then long and stubbornly held Russia is already a misfortune of eternal strife caused by the idiotic hereditary system
  15. Operator
    Operator 2 May 2018 13: 04
    "Hannibal, for example, won a series of brilliant victories in battles with the Roman army, and neither before nor after him did anyone succeed in repeating this against the Romans," a mistake.

    At the end of the 4 century BC the Gauls led by Brenna captured the entire Apennine Peninsula and burned Rome, with the exception of a small fortification on Capitol Hill. The Gauls did not storm the Capitol because of the huge redemption of gold offered by the Romans.

    Greek Hannibal compared to Gall Brenn just a baby laughing
    1. Olezhek
      2 May 2018 19: 19
      Grek Hannibal


      For the Carthaginians, historically, the main enemies were just ... the Greeks (not Romans!)
      1. Operator
        Operator 2 May 2018 20: 23
        I apologize: Carthage is a Phoenician colony in Africa. The ruling class of Carthage, including the genus Hannibal Bark, were ethnic Phoenicians.
  16. Sergey-8848
    Sergey-8848 2 May 2018 17: 52
    To raise bread, to collect taxes, to bribe neighbors, to set off against each other, and sometimes simply to incline competitors. This is one of the sides of the strategy of the Romans. The second - just hanging around Gaul and rob rogue, constantly getting on the face, and accumulating a hundred enemies in the corners of the empire. Roads, aqueducts, and marble statues — yes, of course, but when it came to money — then the Romans exceeded the Latins, which is why they lasted for another thousand years. For which I thank them, because without them we would have been as clumsy as Europeans.
  17. a housewife
    a housewife 3 May 2018 13: 45
    the peasants have nothing to do, here they are and make war. Some are satisfied, others are dying. It would be more brains, would be engaged in their own countries, there would be more use. How many people have been destroyed in vain over the centuries. How many resources are spent on weapons. As they fought for the cave and mammoth leg, they still haven’t divided a bone.
  18. EvilLion
    EvilLion 3 May 2018 14: 08
    And Napoleon Bonaparte as a tactician knew no equal. That is, on the battlefield it was either extremely difficult or impossible to defeat him. And Kutuzov’s strategy (to avoid a general battle at all costs) was by no means offered to them alone and carried a sufficiently sound grain: to organize general battles with Bonaparte was the sure way to death.

    The author is stupid and disgraced. Kutuzov then stupidly had less power, and he knew that. Under Borodin, on the other hand, a batch of approximately equal numbers of troops gave an approximately equal result, and even Clausewitz considered this to be just logical, since the level of training of commanders in highly standardized European armies was approximately the same, namely, as tactics on the battlefield, which and poorly managed due to objective reasons, Napoleon Kutuzov could not surpass. And Suvorov was hardly superior to Europeans in tactics, his successes were determined even before the battle, to come as soon as possible, to achieve the effect of surprise, to beat the enemy in pieces.

    Alexander of Macedon lived in a simpler era, then you could just order to pay taxes to his treasury, and both the peasants plowed and plowed, only the local king shared with the new master. Personally, for themselves, both A.M. and Genghis Khan could benefit, their descendants, of course, lost everything on logistics and military mediocrity.
    1. Olezhek
      3 May 2018 20: 21
      the level of training of commanders in the highly standardized European armies was about the same, and it was precisely how Napoleon Kutuzov could not be superior as tactics on the battlefield, which was also poorly controlled for objective reasons.

      MGM - let's not flatter ourselves.
      Kutuzov did not equal Napoleon as a tactician and did not assert this.
      And I didn’t want to fight him even under Borodino
      Because Napoleon was stronger as a tactician

      Under Borodino, a batch of roughly equal in number of troops gave an approximately equal result.

      There everything was rather unsteady and unreliable
      Napoleon could well win
  19. naidas
    naidas 3 May 2018 14: 21
    for victories you need only those who want to fight.
    Hannibal lost a significant part of his own and replaced them with mercenaries in Spain, the priority was changed to fight for their homeland to fight for the loot. Also Macedonsky and the Second World War (after the losses in 1941, the Germans recruited soldiers from satellite countries from 1942 (here the Ukrainians broke away)
  20. EvilLion
    EvilLion 3 May 2018 16: 53
    the legendary Hannibal, for example, won a series of brilliant victories in battles with the Roman army

    I have been walking in Italy for years and have not achieved anything => Dnar. Others managed to capture a lot of things in 10 years.
  21. EvilLion
    EvilLion 3 May 2018 17: 04
    With the French and Germans, everything is much simpler, they were originally the initiators of the redivision of the world, which was arranged not in their favor, and each time they began to beat them together. At the same time, the 1-2 of serious miscalculations turned out to be enough for the feil, in particular, Hitler’s purely military slip in the USSR, so no one imagined the opportunity to win quickly at 1.01.1942. Then the allies organized themselves. And the WWII ended in a purely military defeat, though not like in the 45.

    What the Japanese have forgotten in China is also a question, it was possible only to drive the peasants to camps, but it was unproductive, full control over the high-tech industry was more important.
    1. Olezhek
      3 May 2018 20: 22
      Hitler's pure military slip in the USSR, so that at 1.01.1942 the opportunity to win quickly was not seen by anyone

      In the summer of 1942, the Red Army was smashed into trash ...
      1. Begemot
        Begemot 4 May 2018 10: 37
        In general, then, the Barbarossa Plan collapsed in October 41, and in January 42 it became clear that the blitz krieg goes into a war of attrition, the summer of 42 - an attempt to decide the outcome of the company from the second call, is relatively successful only in the south, but neither Stalingrad nor oil the fields of the Caucasus cannot be taken, and in 43 it becomes completely clear that the war is lost.
        1. hdgs
          hdgs 4 May 2018 12: 51
          Quote: Begemot
          Actually, then, the Barbarossa Plan crashed back in October 41

          The Barbarossa plan ended on July 12, 1941.
          Quote: Begemot
          and at 43 it becomes completely clear that the war is lost.

          This becomes clear on September 24.09.1941, 2, when the USSR entered WWXNUMX on the side of the Anglo-Saxons. To do this, he had to join the anti-Hitler coalition by signing the Atlantic Charter, which was unprofitable for him. Those. everything happened on the terms of the Anglo-Saxons.
          After this, the Germans could only rely on the van der Waff.
          1. Begemot
            Begemot 7 May 2018 09: 08
            I think this is a question of terminology. The plan has deadlines and goals. I consider WWII from the point of view of the USSR, the plan of Barbaross 12.07.1941 went beyond the deadlines allocated for the defeat of the USSR, but the goals remained the same, and in October it became clear that the goals were unattainable even taking into account the shift in terms. Until November 42, the USSR did not have enough resources to go on a full-scale offensive, and with 43 Germany could not stand the race to exhaustion. The participation of the Anglo-Saxons at this point was limited to operations in Africa, the Pacific Ocean and land lease.
      2. EvilLion
        EvilLion 29 January 2019 14: 22
        The unfortunate operation near Kharkov on the scale of the whole war did not guarantee anything there. But there is also such a factor as the Germans pull up the mob in the spring of the 42 of the year. reserves, which began to be raked in the fall, and while the existing units near Moscow were trying to hold the front, to train.
  22. brain city
    brain city 14 May 2018 16: 51
    The mice came to the owl, complain:
    - We, the mice, are the smallest, weakest, everyone offends and gobbles up.
    What to do?
    Eagle owl thought, thought - he says:
    “You, mice, need to turn into hedgehogs.” Be prickly - and you are wrong
    just going to eat.
    The mice ran away, joyful:
    - Yes Yes! Turn into a hedgehog! Let's save!
    After a while, they return to the owl and timidly ask:
    - You said you have to turn into hedgehogs ... BUT HOW ???
    Eagle owl thought, thought:
    - Fuck you, mice! I am not a tactician - I am a strategist !!!