In a previous thread it was mentioned that Civil War battles almost never ended in pursuit of the beaten enemy the way Napoleon or somebody would have done, that staff work and tactics in the ACW were awful, and soldiers had no idea how to use long range rifles and ended up pulverizing each other in hand to hand combat that left them in no condition to chase the enemy.So the question is, why were burger military tactics so caveman-tier? European warfare was conducted like a sophisticated ballet routine.and I can't think of any European battle that had soldiers beating, stabbing, and firing at point blank range in a disorganized mob like you had at Shiloh or the Angle in Spotsylvania.No wonder the European powers brushed off the ACW and didn't take it seriously as a source of strategic lessons.
>>7085505Well that poster was categorically wrong so there’s that.
I wouldn’t say they were that retarded but it was a war fought mostly by amateurs. You had some ambitious politician at the head of a regiment full of farm boys, factory hands and clerks going up against similar opponents. West Pointers are regular army troops were spread thin. It took a couple of years before things were better organized.
No surprise. We didn't have the centuries old tradition of European militarism. It was a frontier country settled only about 260 years at that point and nobody had ever fought a battle or led an army with more than a few thousand men.
Chickamauga and Gettysburg were the two largest battles of the war with 32,000 and 40,000 casualties respectively. For comparison, Austerlitz had around 45,000 casualties. Eylau had 52,000 casualties. Waterloo had 55,000. The single greatest Napoleonic battle, Borodino, had 70,000.In battles more contemporary to the ACW, Solferino had 39,000 casualties and Sadowa had 53,000.
>>7087406I’d say Leipzig was greater than Borodino.
Also, Fredericksburg had the single greatest concentration of troops on the field in any battle, with 110,000 Union and 78,000 Confederate. European battles often had as much as half a million men on the field.
Most soldiers just did spray and pray, as much as was possible with single shot weapons anyway (aim and shoot blindly). Few bothered to learn how to use the sights on their guns. After battles were over, muskets could be found with multiple cartridges jammed in them as during the heat of battle, a soldier would often forget to put a percussion cap on and not realize the gun had not gone off.
>>7085505>In a previous thread What thread? Whoever told you all of that was a fool, I'm afraid.>at ShilohShiloh (and a good many Civil War battles) were rough bloodbaths because of the terrain you fucking brainlet, it had nothing to do with tactics.
>>7087651Terrain was a partial factor anyway. The countryside of the US was rugged compared with Europe's neatly manicured villages and farm fields.
>>7087822Exactly. If you're ever in Shiloh you'll notice how the entire thing is a network of dense forests and hills broken up with the occasional scrap of farmland. Fighting through it would have been an absolute bitch.
They were trying to create large armies (larger than anything ever before seen in the Americas) in a couple of months. The US Army in 1860 was 15,000 men strong, smaller than the armies of Denmark or Belgium. It was scattered all over the West and very few officers had experience with anything larger than a regiment. In the early battles of the war like First Bull Run and Shiloh, regiments simply disintegrated in action trying to maneuver around the field. Some had never even loaded their weapons prior to going into battle.In Prussia for comparison, privates were conscripts who served three year terms. Officers were all professionals. Brigade and division drill was common. And every year they practiced maneuvers. In 1861, the Prussian army expected 300 men with breechloading rifles could fight 900 men with muzzle loaders to a standstill. The wars with Denmark and Austria showed that 5-1 was not a problem.Soldiers were trained in marksmanship--gauging trajectories and how far their bullets would go. A Prussian brigade of 1000 men would have decimated 5000 American soldiers from the early war period in battle. And then the Prussians would have a real cavalry force to pursue the beaten enemy with, something totally lacking in the ACW.A Prussian army corps of 25,000 men could have easily taken on the entire 1862-63 Army of the Potomac.
Continued.In 1861 I think the American artillery would have had the edge as the Prussians still had muzzle loading smoothbores, though by the time of the Second Schleswig War they had breechloading rifles.The British army was very well trained. In the first year of the ACW I think a British army unit could have easily licked any American one. But by 1863 I'm not so sure if the British had as much of an advantage. Britain normally did not have any army units above the regimental level in peacetime, when they would organize brigade and up units, and their army was scattered around the globe.The Union and Confederate armies in the first year of the war were little more than barely trained mobs compared to even the Danish army, which was suffering from poor training and equipment due to money-grubbing politicians.But in 1863 the armies had plenty of experience and hadn't yet lost most of their best enlisted men and officers. The AOP of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg would have given any comparably sized European army a run for their money. And then there's still other controlling factors like the weather, terrain, and competence of the commanding officers (the German wars of unification certainly had their share of Burnside and Nathaniel Banks-tier generals).The Prussians' breechloading rifles would have been a challenge for the AOP to deal with, but with all other factors combined I think generals and luck would be the deciding factor.
>>7087978>BANKS WUZ A BAD GENERAL
>>7087983Fuck off you retard.
>>7087822I should also add. European armies did not have to deal with the summer weather of the Southern US. Europe north of the Pyrenees has mild summers for the most part, Prussian and French armies did not have to march in 30+ degree heat with 90% humidity.
The terrain was definitely a factor. European armies weren't trained to handle hills, woods, swamps, and bad roads. It was one factor in Britain's defeat in the US War of Independence--the British army was trained to fight a war in northwestern Europe, not the wild frontier country of the American colonies.
>>7087926>>7087978>picking Banks over HookerJokes aside, the lack of a serious professional army was definitely a major issue made worse by the fact that the officer corps was split between both sides of the conflict.Another thing worth considering is that, so far as I'm aware, the Americans never bothered with the European practice of military attaches in foreign wars. German officers played a significant role on both sides of the ACW following generals like Lee and Sherman, bringing home insights regarding the advancement of military doctrines after the war. As the first truly modern conflict, the ACW was a proving ground for the role of military and civilian technologies in war like repeating rifles and the use of rail cars.
>>7088018uwotm8?Sure, the Americas are rougher than Europe, but not rougher than all the other places Britain conquered. The main reason the British never outright conquered the Continental Army comes down to the American strategy of not engaging a pitched battle they couldn't win and British reluctance to pursue the Americans with adequate force.
The Second Schleswig War occurred during wintertime for its first month and a half. This is in north Germany/Denmark where day length at that time of year is 8-10 hours and it's foggy and rainy. Much of it was a siege of the Danish earthworks at Dyobbol and the Prussians had the necessary siege guns and pioneer battalions. The Prussian army was also good at delegating authority and having decentralized command. And fighting in open country was not really that open since fields were separated by high hedgerows.The armies in the Seven Weeks War and F-P War were huge in size, much bigger than anything in the ACW. At Sadowa almost half a million men were on the field. You're inevitably going to run into broken terrain like woods and hills with that many men present. Fighting in a forest won't help you against breechloading rifles since they just have more cover.The Austrians were in trouble when not in open country since their doctrine was to push forward en masse and give the enemy the bayonet.It's also rather impressive to think how most soldiers in the ACW never really learned marksmanship as late as 1864 and weren't given live fire drills as part of training--they didn't fire their weapons until actually in battle.
>>7088026>Another thing worth considering is that, so far as I'm aware, the Americans never bothered with the European practice of military attaches in foreign warsThey did though. McClellan was an official observer in the British army in Crimea and personally witnessed the siege of Sevastopol (that was why he had a huge boner for siege warfare).
>No wonder the European powers brushed off the ACW and didn't take it seriously as a source of strategic lessons.Is this even true? Two very comparable belligerents, both using many of the latest weapons and equipment, both schooled in the same institutions on the same tactics du jour...it could be argued that there's much more to learn from a close matchup than from a disparate one>>7088026See this guy makes more sense
I don't think contemporaneous European wars were actually models of military competence. Look at the Crimean War, the Austro-Prussian War, the Franco-Prussian War, the Italian War of Independence. If anything, the Prussians were a major outlier, ahead of everyone else in being able to organize and conduct major campaigns effectively. And people were able to subsequently learn from them, and adapt to new technologies.>>7088041I think you can say, as a general blanket statement, that the military capabilities of most places Britain conquered were not really comparable to the military capabilities of the American colonists, especially after the French began funding and supplying them, and certainly not comparable to the ACW-era American armies. Colonial wars are a different thing that's not really useful in comparison.
The needle guns were mentioned above - I think it's worth to note that Dreyse guns used by the Prussian army were far from perfect. The breech let quite much of the gas go, which caused in less energy given to a bullet. Soldiers were instructed to fire from the waist to avoid burning their face with the gas. Probably that's why it had effective range much lower than the French Chassepot or Norwegian Kammerlader. The needle tended to break every few hundred shots - it wasn't a good situation if a soldier had to put a new needle during the fight. Also, the gas let go through the breech made aiming difficult sometimes. By the 1860s it was a very outdated weapon anyway, being 20+ years old.The decentralized German style of command was certainly a factor as well.
>>7088163Arguably in WWI even the German army was the only one that could be called semi-competent. Everyone else was just unbelievably bad.
>>7088184yehhhh France and Britain were certainly less competent than Germany, especially early in the war, but I think "unbelievably bad" is harshItaly, Austria, Russia, certainly
I think the Army of the Potomac of 1864 could have handled the Prussian army easily. Didn't the Prussians develop a tactic for dealing with Napoleon? Didn't it go like this: "Never attach a French force when Napoleon is with them. If the French force in on the move with Napoleon leading them, then retreat." Now I realize the 1860s was not Napoleonic times but so had the US Army. They had been fighting a tenacious foe for many years. The US Army had repeating rifles and breach loading cannon. They had a Gatling gun!The needle gun was never produced in large enough numbers to equip an army. I think they made less than 1000.
>>7088198The Russians did give the Ottomans a pretty bad spanking in the Caucasus campaigns, but the latter weren't a model of military competence and Enver Pasha was Nathaniel Banks-tier as a general.The British did a lot of awful moves especially the Somme attacks but they were the only army to rotate out soldiers regularly so they wouldn't get too much combat fatigue, so they didn't have as many issues with PTSD/shell shock as the French or whatever army.
>>7088201Eh? Not at all. The needle gun was the standard Prussian service arm at this time and the factory at Spandau cranked out 10,000 a year.
>>7086261This. you see a similar thing in the English Civil Wars
>>7088171FWIW the Danish army had experimented with breechloading rifles a few times in the 15 years prior to the Second Schleswig War, but they decided every time that it was too expensive, unreliable, and delicate. The Prussians didn't have a problem with this as they had properly trained 3 year conscripts and sufficient funding for their army which Denmark did not.The needle did break, but the solders had extra in the outer room of the backpack. So they simply told the man next to them, who pulled it out for them. So it could be changed in about a minute. Sure not perfect, but not really a issue when you got 200 men firing. The advantage of rate of fire and being able to load kneeling and laying down fare outweigh the disadvantages.But yes, against the French in 1870 the Prussian infantry were at a clear disadvantage.
>>7088201Do some more research. The standard ACW infantry arm from beginning to end was the muzzle loading single shot rifle-musket. Repeaters were rarely used and the Gatling Gun was never an official service arm, a few were privately purchased by soldiers with their own money.The Dreyse needle gun was introduced in 1841 and the Prussian army ordered an initial batch of 60,000. This was back when all other armies of the world had muzzle loading smoothbore muskets and mostly flintlocks at that. The Dreyse was not a standard issue weapon until the end of the 1840s and by the end of the 1850s almost all Prussian infantry had it, plus they had carbine versions for cavalry (pioneer troops had muzzle loaders in 1864 still because they weren't really expected to fight).The Prussian artillery in 1864 had a mix of weapons, including older smoothbore guns and newer breechloaders with a contact-detonated shell. Their siege guns were very effective 24 pounder breechloading rifles.
Good luck turning a bunch of hillbilly rednecks from farmlands into a professional army
>>7088280worked out in WW2
>>7088280>>7088290A look from a bigger scale than just a matter of weapons or discipline, of a single battle field:>A strategic concentration on the Washington-Richmond theater by either side would have been more likely to succeed if either side had also possessed an adequate conception of the military operational art, of thinking in terms of campaigns to link individual battles to the entire war effort. The Prussian and German armies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led the military forces of the world in developing the idea of operational art, with the US Army lagging well behind and not thinking systematically about operations as late as World War II. To the Germans, thinking beyond particular battles toward the most effective methods of conducting whole campaigns came to suggest especially the idea [...] of deploying mulitple autonomous forces in a single theater of campaign.Russel F. Weigley, A Great Civil War. A Military and Political History, 1861-1865, Bloomington 2000.
I'm not as much of an expert as some of you, so I'll stand by my statement that the AOP in 1863-64 could have easily taken on the Prussian army.
>>7088302I would repeat - I think it's a correct comparison between the US and German armies, but I think the US was closer to the norm for the period, and the German armies were more of an outlier.
>>7088308Clearly you aren't an expert.>full time professional conscript army versus a citizens' army of farmers turned soldiers>full time professional staff trained to fight the best armies in the world versus officers whose only combat experience was beating up a couple of Mexicans and Amerindians>breechloading vs muzzle loading artillery>breechloading rifles vs muzzle loading rifles>Proper staffs at all levels of command>army that encouraged independent initiative vs one that didn't.100 Prussians had 3+ times the firepower of 100 Union soldiers. and could shoot it from a prone position.Their artillery had much more firepower,Even if we ignore the quality of the soldiers and officers (where the Prussians had a clear advantage) The Prussians had such an advantage in firepower that the union infantry would have been shot to pieces.Putting the AOP up against a similar sized Prussian army made up of the corps that had fought against Denmark would be like a D-IA football team against the Patriots.
Also the fact that you even mentioned WWI just shows your lack of knowledge.By the time the US entered WWI in any relevant numbers the German army was finished. And the US lost way, way too many soldiers because they where not willing to learn from the Entente.
>>7088339AOP in 1864 actually had experience though. Officers were experienced from fighting confederates for 3 years, not just beating up indians.
which was a more difficult foe: American Indians or Second Empire France
It's hard to say, yet when Phil Sheridan was an official military observer in the F-P War, he wasn't impressed by either army at all and said there was nothing useful to learn from them.Overall I'd argue the major European armies of the day would beat an American one in a 1v1 engagement.But there are a lot of variables to think about. The British in the American Revolution and the War of 1812 had great difficulty dealing with the bad road network and rough terrain of the US since they were trained to fight in France, Ireland, or Belgium. European armies would not have been used to the climate in the US especially the South which has boiling hot summers compared to Europe north of the Pyrenees.And yes, Germany was tired out in 1918 and the US Army just finished them off. But claiming the US Army could beat the 1864 Prussian army because they beat Germany in WWII is like saying Vietnam could beat France in the 1860s because they beat them at Dien Bien Phu almost a century later.
>>7085505To a large extend the lack of infrastructure and topographythe USA was a lot more wooded, more enough terrain in general and fewer roads that where normally of worse quality. This combined with the rapid turn over of recruits. The larger distances and thus more tired troops. And cavalry usually not being in a position to charce a retreat into a rout. the tardedness of the burgers comes in finding a way to work around these problems. Such ordering divisions or core to flank more while the battle was on going. Keeping the cav as a close reserve to unleash on a beaten enemy. Or trying to lure the enemy into an exposed position to give battle or on the march.
>>7088383Lyl I'd like to imagine Moltke's army trying to perform the Vicksburg campaign. It ain't like fighting in northern France.>Nein, nein! Dieses 30 Grad Wetter und diese Mücken sind mir zu scharf! Ich gebe auf!
Until 1870 the French were seen as the best. that is why the style of uniforms in the US army was models on the French.And that's why Sheridan was disappointed.After 1870 you see the Prussian style pop up around the world.No matter how little or how much you think of the Union fighting man during the war, the fact is that he was mostly armed with a rifle musket... and he would be going up against a very well trained prussian soldier with a breach loaded rifle. And the Prussian knew how to use it effectively since live fire was done one a regular basic. (something that is by no way clear that the US soldier could)And the same is the problem with artillery. The Prussians was in the process of replacing their muzzle loaded guns with breachloaded guns. And they had very effective contact detonated shells. And they knew how to use the guns since they also did live fire on a regular basic.
>>7088339The Gatling gun was in existence in 1865. If we had to go over to Denmark to fight some unruly Danes, we would have made some more to take with us. We would also have made so more breech loading rifles and artillery to take with us. The reason we were using muzzle loading rifles instead of breech loaders was purely economics. I'm sure you are proud of your military heritage but don't insult my intelligence.
>>7088448It did but the US Army didn't use it, it used muzzle loaders. And then factoring in the limited training of officers and enlisted men. And I'm not insulting your intelligence. I'm saying that you are blinded by American myths--two different things.And just so we are clear, I'm talking about the Prussian army.(the Danish army was using rifle muskets and was really not well trained since the army had a limited budget even if it was larger than the prewar US army)
Please note I'm not not really criticizing the soldiers. Most of the issues was caused by the simple fact that the US before the war didn't have a real army. What it had was a small police force spread all over the continent with one company here and another there. Guys like Lee or Grant hadn't really commanded even battalion size forces before the war and now they had armies of 50,000 or even 100,000 men to command.Most regiments was lucky if they had an officer or NCO with any military experience.You simply didn't have the needed number of experienced NCOs and officers to build huge armies without the level of skills being very low.
on the issue of the american armies having gained quite a bit of experience fighting each other. if you spend years fighting a guy that goes into fits of autistic rage. And mastering how to beat him. That experience would not only not help you but probably hinder you fighting a fencer. The civil war was a lot more reliant on good ol cold steel. And when the Prussians went up against nations that favored cold steel they beat them badly.
>>7088448>we would haveson we aren't talking about "if we had to go up against we would have conjured up x"we are talking "they are 50 miles away and shit is going down as we are" If not I'd like to play the germanoboo card of claiming that if the Prussians knew they where going up against the Americans. They would have invented early steam panzers.
>>7088339>full time professional staff trained to fight the best armies in the world versus officers whose only combat experience was beating up a couple of Mexicans and AmerindiansTo be entirely fair Prussia was short on combat experience at the time--the last war they fought prior to the Second Schleswig War was against Napoleon half a century earlier.
a second bit about experience. it was not uncommon for European armies of the time to employ foreign officers in times of war. Or for European armies to send officers to go train up foreign troops.And any conflict saw a large number of military observers flocking to it to learn from it. Not to mention those engaged in colonial actions.And those officers that did not gain any experience abroad gained a lot by lessons given by those that did or from their writings. Even as mentioned the last war that the Prussians fought in being the Napoleonic wars. They made damn sure that all their new officers knew the battles as well as those that fought them.
>>7087978>The British army was very well trained. In the first year of the ACW I think a British army unit could have easily licked any American one. But by 1863 I'm not so sure if the British had as much of an advantage. Britain normally did not have any army units above the regimental level in peacetime, when they would organize brigade and up units, and their army was scattered around the globe.Britain didn't use conscription until 1916. Their army had always been volunteers and generally the only people who enlisted were from the poorest, shittiest parts of the UK. The Duke of Wellington called his troops "complete scum". Officers were from higher social classes but generally not the highest or smartest people around (Wellington's own mother allegedly called him a smoothbrain). Despite that, they were a solid fighting force.The US army in the ACW was comprised of all social classes and generally the lowest human trash weren't volunteers but the conscripts and bounty men everyone hated having around.
Other factors to consider:>almost no professional officers in the ACW knew how to handle a large body of troops>quite a few soldiers in both armies were underage teenagers>educational and literacy levels could vary widely>neither army is ethnically homogeneous>ethnic and racial tensions are a definite problem in the Union army>desertion is a major problem>many Confederates deserted/defected/became guerillas/banditsTo create a professional army takes a lot of time and effort. Neither the Confederacy or the Union had the time or resources to develop a proper professional army.
The ACW was indecisive largely because of the volunteer armies. That's not to say there weren't many well-drilled units and competent officers, but generally they did not compare to the standing European armies.Most of the drill manuals and other military teachings had largely been derived from the French. And many prewar American militia organizations and early war units imitated famous European units, such as the Zouaves, because their actions were well known and they were seen as the leading example.For example, some of the American Zouave regiments were well drilled compared to other American volunteer regiments, but they did not have the training and experience to even come close to the original Zouaves. And few utilized true Zouave tactics which really called for experienced, well-drilled troops.
A few professionals (that never done any brigade level drill, rarely done battalion level and never even seen 1000 soldiers in one place outside of Mexico, not exactly a tough opponent) and 75,000+ volunteers with no military experience can't compete with an army made up of 100% professional officers and sergeants and privates that serve for 3 years where corp level drills is done every year.Privates that never do any live fire training compared to men who do it on a regular basic and get structured training in marksmanship.Now by 1863 the union soldiers certainly had become veterans, but they still don't know how to hit a target at range, they skill didn't know how to use large scale skirmishing to effect and the level of skills in the army was not something they could maintain, because of casualties and expiring enlistments.It is rather simple, you can't take an army of nothing and turn it into an army of 650,000 men in just two years... taking looses on the way, without some serious limited to how effective it will be.I actually find it rather impressive how well they did it. Especially on the logistical and "paper work" side of things.
One thing I like to add.I do think the US western armies were vastly superior when it come to operational mobility.Sure German soldiers could march well (as they showed in 1870 and 1914) but the way Sherman's men could do so over very poor roads... and cross streams and small rivers without much issue... Where Europeans armies (and AoP) would properly stop at wait for the engineers to build a bridge.That I find impressive. And is something that got way more to do with the character of the men, than any military structure or doctrine.
>>7088547In Prussia every able bodied male from 18 to 35 was liable for three years of military service and up to one month of reserve service. The US had nothing like that until the WWII draft. The Prussian system was so comprehensive that the IDF adopted it. So no man for man the Prussian Army was better trained and officers then the Union and Confederate armies. Not to say that both the Union and Confederate troops were not tough and brave.
Lee told a Prussian observer at Chancellorsville that he wished he had the Prussian army's level of training and discipline.
European countries and Israel had/have to pay very studious attention to the quality of their armed forced as a matter of basic survival. The US never had that pressing of a need.
>>7085505The prewar US army was 15,000 men. Spread between 2 factions that isn’t a lot of experienced soldiers. Also, hand to hand was rare even in the Civil War, only 2% of all casualties were bayonet wounds so your entire premise is wrong.
>cavalryAmerican cavalry were pretty poor. They were better at raiding and scouting than being a main strike force.>artillerySome European countries (much of Germany, Britain) have rifled breechloading artillery, the rest has rifled muzzle loaders. The rifles are also more accurate and more powerful than the American ones, and counter-battery fire is common in Europe but not really a thing in America.>logisticsEuropean logistics is much more experienced. Formations have a lot more staff, and as a consequence it's possible to concentrate and supply extremely large forces without much trouble.>small armsSome European countries have breechloading rifles but most in 1861 still have muzzle loaders.>use of small armsSome of the lesser European states like Denmark and Portugal had shitty armies, but most were a lot better than the US. French, Austrian, British, and Prussian arms training was much superior to the US and and in the case of the British in particular every single man is trained to a quality which would in the Union army make them either the probable regimental champion or amember of the US Sharpshooters. (literally, the training methods for the US Sharpshooters were based off the Hythe School of Musketry, in which every British regular was trained)>formationsThe typical method for American regiments involved flank companies experienced at skirmishing supporting a firing line. Some European forces were considerably more advanced, with the British having already adopted a doctrine which called for the skirmish line to be over half a mile ahead of the main body and for the skirmishers to rotate regularly.>disciplineIt's hard to find a good heading for this one which doesn't sound insulting, but the fact remains--European troops when ordered to make a bayonet charge would regularly do so and reach the enemy lines. It rarely happened in America despite weapons which were generally equal (or in the early war, inferior).
>>7088626The guy you're referring to was Justus Schiebert. He wrote afterwards that the way armies fought in the ACW was like 18th century warfare, as if you were back in the time of Frederick the Great. He said he couldn't believe anyone still fought a war this way in the 1860s.
>>7088448Was a Gatling gun ever fired in anger during the ACW, or even present on a battlefield? I recall they were used to protect the offices of the New York Herald during the Draft Riots but don’t even think they were fired then.
>>7088667It was used at Chickamauga and a few Navy ships had them as deck guns.
The above is not to say that the Union or the Confederacy in particular deserve blame for what happened to their plans for an efficient war. It's unsurprising - there simply were not enough experienced officers to go around, and you ended up with (say) someone who'd served only once in combat as a Lt. fifteen years prior becoming the fourth ranked general in the army on the basis of his reputation. There simply was not enough command experience to go around, and almost none of modern war, meaning that everyone pretty much had to try and reinvent centuries of tactics and control of large armies almost ex nihilo in practical terms.They were not successful. This does not mean the Union or the Confederacy had armies which were in some way deserving of blame, because for the most part they do not -it just means that professional, long-standing militaries with enormous officer corps and lots of peacetime experience handled a lot of things better, and that the American armies got set into bad habits because they had nothing to kick them out of said bad habits. But this is why Cleburne's rifle troops (literally trained out of a book, the Hythe exercise manual) ended up able to outfight (in a firefight) about three times their own number of Union troops, while Minty's saber brigade (trained by Minty, a cavalryman with European experience) were able to do things everyone else in the Union army had assumed were impossible.
>>7088595A lot of the westerners were loggers, railroaders and steamboat men. Man a captured Rebel steamboat, tear up or rebuild miles of railroad track, build a bridge, corduroy miles of road through a swamp...no problem.
I recall that at Shiloh, the AOTT had 17 total officers from the prewar regular army. All the rest had absolutely zero training or combat experience. But to be fair, nobody in the US was prepared for raising huge armies, a problem that resurfaced again in 1917.
>>7088525>The Duke of Wellington called his troops "complete scum".Though he did follow up by saying 'it really is wonderful that we should have made them the fine fellows they are'.
>>7088696It's also something he said while they were involved in pillaging an enormous quantity of wealth from the battlefield.In the 1860s in particular the British Army was actually quite respectable and not lowlife chav trash from the streets. It certainly didn't remain static for the entire 19th century, and as of 1861 it's a fairly good career--you go into it for roughly a decade, or two if you re-up (which many did) and you end up with a pension, while there's large second-line militia units (many of them only recently demobilized) and third-line volunteer units which tie the army to the population.
>>7088685The Jeffersonian idea that large standing armies were a danger to democracy held up to WWII and there tended to be the misguided notion that you could assemble a 100,000+ man professional army in a couple months if needed.
British rifle training was obsessive, there are accounts from Crimea of the excellent feats of marksmanship pulled off on the hapless Russians (the typical Union soldier at Gettysburg managed one hit for every 100 rounds fired). But then every European army had certain fields it was good at (French were good at uphill bayonet charges, Prussians at artillery, etc).
Comparing armies does not really work. A nations military is a microcosm of the parent society. All societies differ.The British felt our WWII armies were undisciplined louts, but we seemed to do okay anyway.
>>7088722Not really true. Montgomery for example thought Americans were excellent soldiers, but handicapped by the bad officers, especially at higher levels.British observations during the ACW are similar; the US rank and file were considered fine material, but the company and regimental officers simply didn't have much of a clue. I think that's a fair assessment. The professional officers were generally excellent, but the bulk of the volunteer officers were problematic. Some grew into the job, but that took time.
>>7088727Montgomery was certainly an expert in bad officers.
To be fair, Wellington wasn't trying to be mean, he was just saying it as fact. The British army attracted poor chav trash from the grungiest areas who couldn't find lodgings or employment elsewhere. Many criminals were also given the alternative of military service or jail/deportation. Their army was definitely degenerate scum and by all accounts the men were very proud of the title too.
think it all depends on what an army is fighting for, its just an opinion but I reckon an army will fight harder in defence of its homeland, as you know, us Brits spent most of our time attempting to expand an empire which in all honesty served only to rob and enslave black and brown people on the other side of the globe for the benefit of the posh class. Fighting to unite a country is a whole different ball game.
Even up to WWII the majority of officers were 90-day wonders and the vast majority of non-coms learned their jobs on the ground in the U. S. Army. The Marines and Navy fared a little better, especially with non-coms in both and Reserve Officers in the Navy. Believe it or not, USNR officers commanded most of the boats in the submarine fleet in WWII.The jail or the army practice has also persisted in the US.
>>7088756During Vietnam even draftees could be officers if they scored high in an IQ test and passed a six week "shake and bake" course. The US unlike some nations just does not want to maintain a Prussian style army. Then again people grow tired of the obligations of a Prussian style army even in Israel.
Nowadays the US military has a high degree of professionalism and army officers usually come from well-off backgrounds and are college-educated. Thankfully you can't buy your rank anymore.
In August 1914 when first engaging the BEF, many Germans thought the British rifle fire was actually machine gun companies.
>>7088701Given that the US has an ocean between it and every player that could threaten it, I don't really see a fault with that line of thinking. It goes back to the idea of keeping your own affairs in order and not getting involved in other nations' squabbles. Nowadays the army can't be criticized without getting you accused of being a hippie, communist, etc even when they're eating up hundreds of billions of dollars of budget fighting nonsense wars that do nothing to help ensure the security of their nation. A small professional core that's bolstered by volunteers and draftees when shit truly gets real is the best way live that philosophy.
>>7088779Yes but 1860s Britain had nothing in common with Napoleonic-era Britain just as WWI Britain had nothing in common with 1860s Britain. There's some of the same emphasis on elite trained troops, but the focus of that training is very different:1813: The English Gallop (double quickstep) and bayonet charges at a run.1861: This is the M1853 Enfield Rifle, the most accurate long arm in the world.1914: Rapid accurate fire at short to medium range, the Mad Minute, and off-bore shooting too (that bit being added post-Boer War)
>>7088808Just a light hearted quip, you know humor.
>>7088815You would be very surprised. I've seen someone seriously claim before that the British Army didn't change at all over the entire course of the 19th century and, for that matter, I've seen someone claim the British Army in 1861 was 50,000 strong. There's a terrible amount of ignorance on the subject.Waterloo was half a century earlier than that. That's a long time. That would be like claiming the US Army in 2019 is the same thing it was in the Vietnam War.
>>7088583Experience won't always beat training. The Iraqi army in 1991 folded like a tent despite ten years of experience fighting Iran.
You could ask the identical question about how the American irregulars compared to European armies in every conflict, from the Revolutionary War when a ragtag volunteer army outdid the English regulars through WWII, when the conscript Army of the United States beat the German Wehrmacht, which was regarded as the finest fighting machine on earth.
>>7088849>when the conscript Army of the United States beat the German Wehrmacht, which was regarded as the finest fighting machine on earththis is b8
I'd say the Continentals, the American regulars, rose to a level of equality with the British regulars but militia were far more important in their role of controlling the countryside than in actually facing the British, a role in which they were usually inept. Note too that the British were pretty good at irregular warfare themselves--Tory Rangers, Joseph Brant, William Caldwell and such.Note too the War of 1812 which again showed the superiority of regulars to militia, a superiority already shown during the Old Northwest Indian War of the early 1790s but subsequently disregarded.
The individualistic American spirit and dislike of authority has always been a factor. A French officer in the American Revolution wrote of the soldiers' dislike of obeying an officer's orders without question the way one would do in Europe.
>>7088849Not fair. The US Army in WWII was completely unlike the army in the Civil War. It had much better training and equipment. Logistics were infinitely superior. Officers were not appointed based on political qualifications and they were much better trained than Civil War officers.WWII soldiers had much better morale and far less desertion issues. A few men deserted in France but nothing like Civil War levels. American soldiers outnumbered German soldiers and in addition had far superior tactical air support.Most German casualties came from the Eastern Front. If we go by CEV the Wehrmacht beats the US Army 5-1.
>>7088877Also the US began rearming and conscripting soldiers in 1940. Many of these units were not deployed until second half 1942 which means they had two years to train and prepare. The 4th Infantry was formed in 1940 and not deployed until 1944, which means four years to prepare.
>>7088837That’s because the Iraqi Army was bled white from fighting Iran. Their best officers were dead and their best equipment little more than shambling wrecks by 1990.Seriously, the average Iraqi soldier probably ate better in American POW camps than they did in their own barracks.
>>7088877To be fair, most military defeats the British army suffered between the American Revolution and WWI were due to incompetent generals, not the enlisted men who were as good as any.
>>7088779>In August 1914 when first engaging the BEF, many Germans thought the British rifle fire was actually machine gun companies.This isn't actually trueThey were good shooters, though, this specific thing is just a myth
>>7088890In all fairness Iran was not exactly a formidible foe. Their army hardly had any modern equipment and they ended up sending 14 year olds with no shoes into battle. That experience Iraq had was not very useful against the well trained coalition forces with the best equipment in the world.
The AOP of 1864-65 would still lose to the Prussian army simply because the Prussians had better equipment, training, logistics, and organization.
European generals in WWI consistently praised the doughboys' give-em-hell toughness but criticized their inept officer corps who thought they knew better than the British and French despite no experience with anything bigger than a regiment and got men killed needlessly.
>>7088922>European generals in WWI consistently praised the doughboys' give-em-hell toughness but criticized their inept officer corps who thought they knew better than the British and French despite no experience with anything bigger than a regiment and got men killed needlessly.Britain had Douglas Haig though...
>>7088926Haig actually wasn't as dire as he's been painted. A lot of the stories about his supposed incompetence are false - for example, he definitely cared for his men in a big way, and his reaction to being shown the first Tank was to ask for as many as possible.
>>7088903Not him, but they were still pretty potent. Iranian infantry were extremely brave and their pilots proved more capable than Iraqi ones. Coalition forces had air control that allowed them to take few casualties, a ground-only battle would've resulted in them getting hurt more.
>>7088928He cared about his men, but not as much as he cared about his career.
>>7088964I base my assertions on his caring for his men not on his conduct during the war (though it was good) but on his post-war conduct - the Haig Fund, for example.I tend to be of the opinion that someone who offers criticism of an officer's actions would do well to proffer reasonable alternatives - and for Haig I simply see difficulty coming up with any.
>>7088968The same Haig who stated that tanks were an isolated WWI fad and nothing could instill fear as galloping horses and brandished sabers could? The Haig who's army thusly used more money for feeding chargers than for developing armoured warfare (where the brits did indeed have the cutting edge in their arsenal and lost it for reasons unknown) well into the 1920s?
>>7088974As soon as Haig saw tanks, he wanted them in large numbers as soon as possible. It's hard to criticize him specifically as the reason tanks got soft-pedalled, when it wasn't until after his death that the Experimental Mechanized Force was folded up.And the British and French were the only two armies in the world to be completely mechanized in 1939--the Germans even still used horses.But we may be getting off topic.I'll reiterate my view that the Civil War armies were rather good given their origin, but by necessity and by lack of instititional knowledge or training tended to produce a tactical environment that was some way behind the cutting edge of the time.
>>7088979I said chargers not horses - he was a cavalryman by trade (they didn't like their charges to be declared obsolete). I guess reminding everybody that he was a Bullington boy is a tad unfair, as in our days that pretty much disqualifies someone for anything.
>>7088926Hunter-Weston is a better example of the British proclivity for harboring staggeringly incompetent officers well after they had proven their lack of worth
>>7088849>the German Wehrmacht, which was regarded as the finest fighting machine on earth.The Wehrmacht in 1939 was arguably not as good as the German army of 1914. In 1914 all German males aged 18 to 35 had for decades done three years of service. This was not done in the Weimar era as the German army was limited to 100,000 men with no conscription. In 1939, the Wehrmacht had a few very well trained and equipped divisions. The rest was poorly trained and all their guns and logistics was horse drawn.
>>7088968Seriously, you mean that don't you, we are talking about the same man are we not. The same man that worked tirelessly right up until 1928 for his own cause, the same man that had Boraston Haig's personal secretary appointed as his official historian when the official unbiased historian was sacked, the same man that had it written that the reserves at Loos were placed too far back when in fact it was Haig himself who had placed them there. I could go on, yes there were better alternatives to so many of his plans, it was his wartime command that he will be remembered for not what he did after.
>>7088888Interesting that the 4th Infantry division had four years of training. That proves my point that we can't compare either the Confederate or Union Army to the American Army of WW2.
>>7089011The American armies of the Civil War bore the hallmarks of their creation - enthused but not "cool" under fire, willing but not skilled, without sufficient training for modern warfare. They're good for it, but that should not be construed to mean that they were better than any other army in the world simply because of experience - there are things experience alone won't teach you if you've not had the training, such as how to shoot targets at range.
>>7088837Just to be fair to the Iraqis during both recent wars; they were severely overwhelmed by superior military technology.
>>7089017This is fair enough, but Colin Powell was on record as stating that he didn't want to engage the Iraqi army without a 3-1 advantage in manpower. Perhaps McClellan was right when he protested that he couldn't capture Richmond without an overwhelming advantage in strength.
>>7089023Of course, European armies expected to be able to win quite handily with rather more modest numerical advantages because they were able to manoeuvre more effectively and concentrate at the point of attack. Take Solferino where the French clobbered the Austrians with an advantage of 1500 men out of armies of 130,000 each.
>>7085505>No wonder the European powers brushed off the ACW and didn't take it seriously as a source of strategic lessons.As if I didn’t need another indicator an actual ducking brainlet wrote this post.
>>7088995I don't doubt that the WWI German army was an effective fighting machine, but the Wehrmacht were no slouches and remained a powerful, deadly foe almost to the end.
It would be unfair to compare the disorganized mobs at First Bull Run, Wilson's Creek, and Shiloh to the well oiled machines that fought at Gettysburg and in the 1864 campaigns. I do agree with the notion that the Western Union armies were superior to the AOP.If a European army were fighting in the US, they would lose due to inability to deal with the terrain, road network, and climate while a US army fighting in Europe would likely lose to a European army handily.I would think Forrest, Minty, Sheridan, and Wilson would give any European army a run for their money.The 3" rifles were as good as anything in Europe save for the latest breechloading artillery and by war's end the US Army had loads of them plus ample and high quality small arms. Combat experiance is a quality all its own. Add in some good equipment and vaguely competent leadership and you have a very dangerous opponent.
>>7089056>If a European army were fighting in the US, they would lose due to inability to deal with the terrain, road network, and climate while a US army fighting in Europe would likely lose to a European army handily.I would think the Prussian or Austrian armies would have a hard time fighting in the US since they were really only trained for European terrain and climate conditions while the British and French might have an easier go of it as they had colonial empires and were used to being deployed in climates and terrain types alien to what was found in Europe.American troops though would be routed off the field if they tried to take on Prussia or Austria on their home turf.
>>7089076>>7089056But also the Seven Weeks War had armies vastly bigger than anything in the ACW.
The armies in the ACW were assembled out of expediency in a hurry. They got good by the late war to be fair, but even the 1864 versions of them wouldn't compare with a European army of the day. The US really didn't field a world class army until WWII.
European armies really didn't have that much experience in the mid-19th century though? There was a gap of a century between Waterloo and WWI with no major conflicts being fought.
>>7089091Are you Squidding me?Yes there wasn't a continent-wide conflagration between 1815 and 1914, but there were four major wars fought between 1853 and 70 with countless smaller ones in between. And I mean wars involving the major powers, not some two bit scrape between minor states like the Serbo-Bulgarian war in 1885.
We took on the British and spanked them twice so the French/Prussians etc shouldn't have been a problem.
>>7089110The War of 1812 was a tactical draw and we had to worry more about that Napoleon fellow than you. And as it turned out, the Napoleonic Wars were the last time we ended up fighting either you or the frogs (even though war threatened on a couple of subsequent occasions). And of course we fought Germany twice in the world wars, but that was a completely different era altogether. I don't think we would have fared well against the 1860s Prussian army at all.
FWIW I consider the Second Schleswig War a "minor" conflict because Denmark was not one of the big powers.
>>7089023Powell more likely was influenced by his experience as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army and then commanding American troops in Vietnam. No doubt it was why he loathed counterinsurgency campaigns. He was also smart enough to know it wasn't his business to play fair in a war.
>>7089085Yes they did remarkably well, but let's not kid ourselves. The armies in the ACW were nowhere close to the best European armies in training, tactics, staff work, usually not equipment, or discipline. Men who had never wore a uniform or maybe only reached captain in the prewar army were now commanding brigades, divisions, corps, and in a few cases armies. By European standards the tactics used by American armies were often antiquated or clumsily executed, a result of not having enough professional military officers at the start of the war and having to rely on political generals and the volunteers receiving only very rudimentary training.
>>7089141Also the contemporary US has major political constraints that make even comparatively minor numbers of casualties extremely unpalatable. >>7089150>The armies in the ACW were nowhere close to the best European armies in training, tactics, staff work, usually not equipment, or disciplineMost armies in Europe were also nowhere close to the best European armies in those things though.
>>7089231The Prussian, Austrian, Russian, British, French, probably even the Spanish and Swedish armies were above the level of anything in the US at that time. Some of the minor states like Portugal might be closer to US level.
To be honest the French didn't do very well in Mexico. In most cases it doesn't appear that European armies fared well when they had to fight in the Western Hemisphere.
>>7089270The Austrian and French armies were demonstrably significantly worse than the Prussian army during the period, at the least.
Wars tend to be won by the least incompetent army. And I would argue the Western Union armies were excellent in the last year of the ACW and would have easily taken on a European army on American terrain. The march through the hilly terrain of northern Georgia was tough going and required considerable physical endurance and being able to build bridges and pontoons on the fly.
>>7089334Granted this is a good point and the AOP never displayed the same aptitude at construction projects or skirmishing, which the AOTT and AOTC got really good at in the 1864-65 campaigns. The Western armies' mobility was impressive when you compare fighting over the same 100 mile stretch for most of the war.
>>7088482When Wilhelm I took over as emperor in 1861, the Prussian army not only lacked combat experience due to decades of peace, but its organizational system was very outdated. Luckily these problems were fixed before they embarked on any wars.
Andrew Jackson did thoroughly polish off an A-class British force at New Orleans.
>>7089359Not true at all. Those were not first rate troops and many had been in garrison duty for years.
>>7089361Some of those guys were Napoleonic veterans. And they still got humiliated by Jackson's ragtag army and their commanding general killed.If the British and French have one thing in common it's pomposity and arrogance. Marching from Chattanooga through Georgia and up into the Carolinas is nothing like campaigning in Europe. The climate, road network, and terrain were completely different.The British, French, and Russians all have their share of humiliating military losses in history.
>>7089361The 93rd Highlanders and the 85th Regiment Of Foot were veteran regiments with much experience against Napoleon. They may not have been the "cream" but they were excellent troops who positively did not come from garrison duty in some quiet theater. Jackson's force was almost completely made up of newly organized militia sprinkled with a few "regulars." Facts are stubborn things - so sayeth John Adams.
Trying to compare the War of 1812 which ended in a stalemate to the ACW half a century later is unfair. The US army wouldn't have been nearly as good as the 1860s British army (and obviously in 1812 it was much worse).
>>7089373Now I'm certainly not saying there werent veterans at New Orleans but anon is right in suggesting it wasn't the finest force we ever put in the field. Even so we should have won. We didn't. Yup we screwed up, but you make it sound like attacking field fortifications sound like a breeze. It isn't and that's why Andrew Jackson built them. He knew they were the great equalizer and he was proved more than correct.
The British commander, Ross was killed by a sniper and replaced by General Pakenham, brother-in-law of Wellington. He led the attack, in January, on New Orleans which was defended by Andrew Jackson, future president of America. The British were roundly defeated with the 4th suffering the loss of half their number, including Pakenham. Soon after this they sailed home.
The 4th Infantry was the only really experienced regiment at New Orleans, the rest weren't that experienced at all. And they fought a well-entrenched American force on its home turf. By the 1860s however the British are going to clean any American army's clock especially with the lessons learned from Crimea and the Sepoy Mutiny.
>>7089394Crimea and the Sepoy Mutiny were 40 years after New Orleans, they're completely irrelevant to the discussion. A totally ragtag mob of militia, regulars, free blacks, and pirates utterly smashed a professional army that had fought Napoleon. Regardless of whether all the British regiments were combat experienced, they sure as hell had more training and professionalism than Jackson's force.
>>7088383>And yes, Germany was tired out in 1918 and the US Army just finished them off.even thats a understatement, by the time american troops arrived on the battlefield in worthwhile numbers germany was essentially done, and even when the americans were launching a bona fide offensive it was smaller than the great allied one to the north
>>7088735his assesment of bradley and patton was spot on.
By the end of 1861, the Union and Confederate armies combined would not have been a match for any of the armies of Europe. However, when the war ended in 1865, four years of bloody conflict had formed them into a sizeable tough professional force that could have licked any European country with the possible exception of Prussia. The Union army had a million men under arms by the end of 1865.This is the reason why France abandoned its support for Mexican Emperor Maximilian when President Johnson informed the French ambassador that the US was fully prepared to enforce the Monroe Doctorine unless France withdrew its troops.
The typical ACW firefight was at a range of 150 yards. Proof of how poorly soldiers' accuracy was was how anyone walked away from the charges at Marye's Heights and Cemetery Ridge at all. If they'd had European training, Pickett's division would have ceased to exist in two volleys.
>>7089488Official Union army strength as of April 1865 was 1.5 million men but only half or so of those were actually PFD.
It's generally considered truth that the AOP was never as good again after Gettysburg, but its performance there was definitely a lot less than European standards as Pickett's Charge demonstrates.
>>7088227>this picture makes me feel like I'm there
1. Europeans might have learned a few things from the ACW about field fortifications and cavalry2. The European powers really didn't pay any attention to the war in the West at all, they only studied and sent observers to the Virginia theater3. The US was much less densely populated and a lot more rugged and woodsy than Europe. The summer weather particularly in the South where most all of the fighting took place was much hotter and more humid than in Europe.All things said, American armies would not handle Europe well but I also don't thin European armies would handle the US well.
The US War of Independence was won with considerable help from France and Spain, you didn't win it yourselves by any stretch. Britain was also fighting in India, its resources stretched thin, and many British did not want to fight their American cousins, this was partially why they had to rely on German mercenaries.Mexico in the 1840s was not exactly a formidable opponent and the US Army easily outclassed them.As for the Spanish-American War, no question that Spain's navy was rubbish. As for the Spanish army, they inflicted a considerable amount of casualties on a much larger American force at San Juan.
>>7089525>1. Europeans might have learned a few things from the ACW about field fortifications and cavalryEuropean armies already knew fortifications like a science and most American cavalry doctrines were derived from European military manuals.>2. The European powers really didn't pay any attention to the war in the West at all, they only studied and sent observers to the Virginia theaterPartially understandable since the Virginia theater was the one with conditions closest to Europe and it was close to the coast/major US cities and easier to travel to. It highlights some interesting omissions, too--for example, at Gettysburg there's the famous incident where a regiment wheeled out of line to take the attacking Confederates in the side. On a European battlefield that would often quickly be capitalized on by the integrated cavalry support to the infantry division and the line is smashed.
>>7089525Also the F-P War was hardly an example of outstanding generalship on either side.
>>7089549The French didn't get into the American Revolution until 1778, the fourth year of the war and it was the American victory at Saratoga that convinced them to do so. And they really only did it to screw Britain over, not because the colonists' grievances mattered to them any. It is true that we owe France and Lafayette a great debt, don’t forget that it was our successes at Boston and Saratoga and France’s desire to advance their own colony interests and revenge for the outcome of the Seven Years War that convinced the French government to form an alliance with the Americans
>>7089579Sure I'm not denying the French weren't in it for largely selfish reasons. Point is though that the only European power the US defeated by its lonely was Spain in a war that lasted all of three months. The War of 1812 being a stalemate and Britain was distracted elsewhere, they weren't trying to beat the US so much as make it go away.
>>7089380New Orleans resembled a lot of Civil War hopeless frontal assaults on piles of dirt and logs manned by burger hicks with muskets and rifles. A half century later the Yankees and Farragut blew right through there. Having steam powered warships that could come up the Mississippi made all the difference and there were almost no ground actions involved.
Also it should be noted that the fighting in Cuba and Puerto Rico in the S-A War was done by regular army troops not volunteers so they had better than average training.
if the trent affair had escalated to war how would the US have fared?
No European army of the mid-19th century fought a four year war with 2300 distinct engagements, land and naval operations over a theater as vast as the ACW was fought over (from New Mexico to Pennsylvania).
>>7089607That's not a good comparison because European wars tended to be over with much quicker. The Austro-Sardinian War, Second Schleswig War, Seven Weeks War, and Franco-Prussian War were over in less than a year. Remember--initially the Lincoln Administration assumed they'd lick the Confederacy in one summer, which if they had an army comparable to Prussia's, could have been entirely possible.
Naval strength though. The US Navy had 600 warships in 1865.
>>7089611Sure but it's not like they were fighting in an area as vast as the ACW was fought over or that they had to deal with American geography and road conditions.
>>7087916I've been in the area quite a bit and it's still kinda rough today
>>7089614All the same, the Royal Navy in the 1860s was like the modern day US Navy--nothing else on the planet could touch it. The French navy was quite solid as well. Although the US Navy in the ACW had a lot of ships, the quality of them was sketchy.1) Purpose built wooden warships. These were quite rare in comparison to the size of the Navy.2) Converted wooden or iron non-armoured warships. These were very vulnerable to damage because their hulls were not built with sidewalls.3) Armoured vessels. These were not all that common and often had significant problems in design and use - in particular just about all the monitors were vulnerable to spalling - and by 1865 other powers had significantly surpassed them. I'd take Achilles against several Canonicus at once.
>>7089621The Wilderness/Chancellorsville battlefield is a lot more open today because back then, it was all tangled second growth forest with tons of vines, thorns, and shrubs. After 150 years, the woods have transitioned to an open old growth forest.
If ACW ground action was amateur hour, what about the naval conflict? While the Union kept most of the officers and ships and a few notable commanders in the CSN were old Navy men, much of the naval action was DIY, especially the bland. Cranky Yankee inventors like Eads and Ericsson turning out ironclads and the ironclad Rebel rams. The Virginia is a meme but similar steampunk monsters like the Arkansas and Albemarle were built in the middle of swamps partly by slabs labor and manned from army and artillery units. The Ellet flotilla on the Mississippi was run by civilians early on and the crews were little better than river pirates. Civilian blockade runners played a huge role in the Confederate war effort. In a lot of ways the war on land was more professional.
Using the Franco-Prussian War to claim European superiority isn't fair anyway because it was six years after the ACW ended when the armies had newer equipment than what existed in 1861-65.
>>7089639The Prussian army still had the Dreyse needle gun in 1870, a weapon that had been introduced 29 years earlier.
The logistical difficulty of trying to get troops from Europe to North America would be a huge problem. Britain struggled to get a few thousand troops to Canada in 1861-62.
>>7089623Funny, I just made a naval post. Agreed that Civil War ironclads were sketchy and were little more than self propelled floating batteries with jinky armor, intended for inland or coastal waters. Still, they were cool, especially the river war in the west. There’s never been anything like that before or since...when has ramming been a standard tactic in the last few centuries?
>>7089648Yes and the French had the Chassepot which was introduced after the ACW ended.
>>7089661If the Chassepot was so great why did the French have to purchase leftover US muzzle loading rifles from the ACW?
>>7089665That was because most of the Chassepots belonged to the army that got captured whole at Sedan and other French armies had older equipment. Point is the Chassepot was post-Civil War and the army with it got spanked by Prussians with a 29 year old rifle.
The regular U.S. Army in its level of competence was not so bad when compared to European armies considering its mission, budget, and size. The volunteers, meanwhile...
>>7089680Except the regulars were scattered all over the West. Battalion drill was rare and brigades and divisions had not existed in the US Army since the Mexican War. All of which means officers had very limited training and experience.The Danish army was the same size roughly as the US Army in 1860 but it was organized at the brigade level and did drill exercises every fall. Of course Denmark is slightly smaller than South Carolina so it's easier by far to move troops around the country--by steamship, you can travel from one end of Denmark to the other in two days.Of course the US regular army had volunteers, not 18 month conscripts like the Danish army used.But point is being spread out so thin over a huge continent and having not even brigades in peacetime greatly limited how much the US army could train.
Even the Austrians who loved their attack columns and the use of the bayonet, actually had 1/3 of their infantry in open order. Their line was 3 ranks deep, but the rear rank was used as skirmishers... and armed with rifles with better sights.
As backwards as the ACW May have been compared to the euro war machine, it was also the first railroad war, of course playing a huge supply role but also in tactics. Several battles were decided by the rapid movement of troops by rail. Of course the north had a more advanced network and the ability to manufacture locomotives and rails but the also administered it better with the USMRR operating near the fronts and the private lines cooperating with the war effort (and getting rich in the process) By contrast, the state owned southern lines were bitchy with the military and didn’t allow their equipment to leave the state, and the government never came down hard on them or nationalized anything...states rights and all.The south had a decent rail system st the start of the war but it wore out and was cut at critical points. Yankee forces became skilled at wrecking track—“Sherman’s neckties” heated rail twisted around a tree” couldn’t be salvaged by southern ironworks.So laugh at us yokels and our incompetent generals and poor marksmanship but the ACW was metal af when it comes to railroads.
>>7089703The problem the Austrians tended to have was twofold - firstly their rifle range estimation wasn't very good, they had NCOs pass on estimates to the troops and issuing orders was problematic due to the 20 odd different languages their troops spoke. The other was the attack columns, which they adopted after the French beat them with balls-out attack charges at Solferino and moved faster than they could realign their sights.
One of the issues we had during the African wars was that British extended order formations couldn't generate sufficient firepower density to stop native spearmen getting into melee range. Hence "artillery formations" or the old two rank close order line/square were reintroduced based on the experience at Isandlwana. Rorkes' Drift was, despite the film, fought mostly with fire and mostly at night.The problem was not new. In the US war of independence the British regulars dispersed into extended order and could easily deal with American riflemen, but they had more serious problems with their 3 rank close order musketmen who could often generate enough firepower to repel these open order charges. When this happened real stand up fire fights developed.One example was at Camden, where Lord Rawdon's Brigade (2nd and 5th American regts, 1st Royal North Carolina and 1st North Carolina volunteers) in extended order was stopped by Gist's 2nd Maryland Brigade and in close order spent an hour shooting at each other, and the rebels put in a bayonet charge that almost broke the American infantry. Cornwallis however wheeled the 2/71st (in close order) into the American flank and threw them into flight.
>>7089672Yes. The French sent out their A-list troops with the best equipment including Chassepots and after that army got swallowed up at Sedan, they were down to the dregs and had to frantically buy surplus ACW muskets.
According to Joseph Bilby's "Civil War Firearms" while the Europeans were far ahead of the US in firearm development we were far ahead in production methods, in the early 1850's the British visited the Harper's Ferry and Springfield Armories to study our manufacturing processes studying and purchasing stock shaping and lock-making machinery then hired Master Armorer Burton to supervise production in British government armory in Enfield.Some US army observers visited Prussia in the 1850s and were denied a request to visit the Spandau armory where the Dreyse needle gun was produced since the Prussians considered it a state secret.
>>7089742I would definitely argue we didn't have as good manufacturing tech for firearms. The Springfield and H-F armories were pretty good but they weren't as advanced as the Enfield armory. The British used more machine tools and less hand labor which ensured more consistent quality of their firearms. But even with state of the art British machine tools, the US had no foundry capable of producing metal as good as what the British had. Remember--steel was very rare and expensive in the US until the 1870s onward and only used for silverware and medical instruments. When Cornelius Vanderbilt wanted to build steel railroads, he had to import steel from Britain.Britain was also the biggest source of high grade iron, although it could also be gotten from Sweden and Norway.Steel aside, files needed to finish guns had to be purchased from Britain as well.
>>7089762Funny I didn't know we were _that_ dependent on a foreign nation to manufacture rifles. I did not know it took some serious industrial espionage to remedy this defect.
>>7089767It's one reason the Trent affair is such a fascinating divergence. Essentially all barrels used to manufacture weapons in the US either sourced iron from Britain or were imported as barrel blanks from Britain. (The Confederates found a suitable iron bed to produce rollable iron with the assistance of someone from M&M before they ran out of skelps, but the Union either plain didn't have that option or didn't discover it).Of course, an army doesn't need to belong to an autarky for it to be an effective army, but it's useful to correct misconceptions when they come up.
>>7089767Wait, didn't we manufacture our own service rifles since the 1790s?
>>7089769Yes but with older technology that required a lot of manual labor. And we didn't have iron as high grade as what Britain did.
For my own story with the British, they have an undeniable tactical advantage in terms of their training and weaponry, and a massive strategic advantage in terms of the Royal Navy. Essentially they can shuttle an army to the Union coast and attack wherever they please. However, the success of these attacks will depend on the skill of the commanders involved and the battles going the way the British want. There's British commanders in this period who it could be argued are exceptional, and others who are...well...not.
>>7089784Don't forget logistics and economics. Gotta get war material to the armies and someone has to pay the bill.
>>7089784In the case of Trent specifically, for the British to pay is actually quite easy--they had more money than they knew what to do with and were cutting taxes during this period as the government was running excessive budget surpluses.As for shipping things over, it's not as hard as you might think so long as there's a couple of dozen steamers to take up - most of the supplies sent to the Crimea were handled by the British and that's actually further.
And we have to ask the most important question...Just why is the UK and US coming to grips? It could be the Trent Affair but then several other disputes were handled by diplomacy between the two countries so...The same for France? Well maybe the Mexican expedition but then again that was done while the US was in a bloody civil war and evidently nothing really important was going on in Europe.. Prussia? Just what in the shit could bring the US & Prussia into conflict?
Britain would most certainly not have gone to war with the US in 1862 for a number of reasons.>dependence on US grain imports especially as British harvests during this period were bad>it had been not all that long since the Crimean War ended in what was at best a stalemate, so nobody in Britain wanted to go war again>also nobody had any desire to fight the United States
>>7089808Britain didn't import that much grain relative to total consumption and grain is easily sourced from wherever. The US sold a lot of grain to Britain simply because they weren't able to send it southward for a while and it was cheap as well.And all evidence indicates the British felt insulted by the Trent Affair and there is no reason to suppose the people wouldn't have been chomping at the bit to put those smartmouth burgers into their place.
>>7089821The grain imports from the US were because Russia had had a drought and its 1861 harvest was poor so Britain had to buy American grain instead. And no matter whether some Royal Navy officers wanted to go to war and slap some Americans around, most of the British public really didn't want to fight a disastrous trans-Atlantic conflict over an intercepted mail packet.
If the British joined the American people in the North would be overcome with a surge of patriotism, seeing as how their old enemy wants to divide the nation. And the Irish who were mostly reluctant to fight the South would jump at the chance to fight John Bull.
>>7089831Harvests across the entire Northern Hemisphere were poor that year due to the Dubbi Volcano eruption. And the US was awash in surplus grain that would normally be sold to the South.And like I said, grain is easily sourced from wherever. Britain bought a lot of Russian grain but it didn't stop the Crimean War from happening. Also Britain got a more than satisfactory conclusion out of the Crimean War as Russia was prevented from grabbing Constantinople and the Russians then laid low and didn't try any more imperialistic ventures until the 1870s.
The AOP as it was in spring 1863 would not beat the Prussian army at all. The Prussians were still in the process of switching to all breechloading artillery but what they did have still beat the US guns in range, rate of fire, and quality of shells. The Prussians had far superior training at every turn. George Meade bitched that barely any AOP soldiers knew how to shoot.By 1865 it's even more lopsided--the AOP has lower quality troops as many veterans have gone home or been killed/disabled and their places taken by conscripts and bounty men. By now the Prussians have mostly all breechloading artillery plus battle experience from the Second Schleswig War.
>>7089895>By 1865 it's even more lopsided--the AOP has lower quality troops as many veterans have gone home or been killed/disabled and their places taken by conscripts and bounty men. By now the Prussians have mostly all breechloading artillery plus battle experience from the Second Schleswig War.Not so sure. The AOP has better officers and cavalry in 1865 than 63. Though I still think the Western armies were superior to it.
The outstanding quality of the ACW is how rarely battles in open country led to the total destruction of the losing army or an effective pursuit like what happened in European wars.
Armies destroyed since 1775:>Saratoga (British army captured by Americans)>Yorktown (British army captured by Franco-American force)Napoleon destroyed several armies over the years, the Allies a few in the closing years of the Napoleonic Wars.>Crimea--none>Franco-Sardinian War--none but the Austrians knew they couldn't win>Second Schleswig War--none but the Danes were utterly defeated and sued for peace>Seven Weeks War--Austrian army smashed at Sadowa but not destroyedCivil War:>Grant captures three armies whole (Ft. Henry and Donelson, Vicksburg, and Appomattox)>Jackson captures the Harper's Ferry garrison whole>Robert Milroy's army is destroyed at Winchester>Johnson was about to be destroyed when he surrendered to Sherman>Thomas's two armies essentially ended the Army of Tennessee as a viable fighting force at Nashville--the remnants went east to face Sherman, the rest were dead, captured, or went home, meanwhile Forrest was ended as a viable force at SelmaFranco-Prussian War:>one entire French army captured at Sedan, the other besieged, trapped, and forced to surrenderAfter that we don't see another whole army destroyed until Santiago in the Spanish-American War and the Boers in the Boer War via attrition.
The AOP was organized more in the European model than the Western armies which never really operated above the brigade level. Their corps and divisions, especially in the AOTT, were pretty much irrelevant.
>>7090039Russo-Japanese war:>One whole Russian army trapped at Port Arthur, two others driven backIn WWI we see only the Germans were consistently able to destroy opposing armies.
>>7089705In fact the Prussians studied the use of railroads in the ACW extensively, something they'd never really paid attention to before. They made thorough use of railroads in the German wars of unification.As for cavalry in the ACW fighting dismounted, that was due to the terrain and the kind of strategic raiding that Stuart and Forrest did wasn't something the Prussians found practical in Europe, at least not the parts of Europe they cared about.
>>7089654>Britain struggled to get a few thousand troops to Canada in 1861-62.BTW, some of these soldiers got bored with duty in Canada so they deserted and joined the Union army.
>>7089895Obviously so. The Prussians had a far superior army to the US and it beat two of the best armies in the world (France and Austria) and one second rate army (Denmark) in each case only a few months of action, not four years. The Prussian army of 1861 would have captured Richmond by summer's end as Lincoln had originally hoped for while the AOP of 1864 would have been pasted by the Austrians at Koniggratz.
>>7088213The Brits were also the first ones to really think operationally and involving combined arms in modern war.
The US armies of the Civil War are more like the hastily assembled French levee-en-masse of 1793-95 than anything.
>>7085505I know I'm late, but EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ THIS:http://johnsmilitaryhistory.com/cwarmy.html
1. The Army of the Potomac was not as good as the best European armies2. Prussia beat some of the world's best armies but they never had to march very far and the theater of operations was tiny compared with the enormous expanse that the Civil War was fought over. They didn't have to deal with roads that turned into bottomless mud when it rained or tons of hills, forests, and swamps, and they didn't have to march in 32 degree Southern summer weather.4. Prussia didn't have to deal with guerillas or partisans either
>>7090154It's 545 miles from Berlin to Paris. Distance from Washington to Richmond is 100 miles.
>>7090129You compare them to long service regulars and they might not stack up in terms of discipline or marksmanship, but for valor and ingenuity they compare wonderfully to any European foe. Rosencrans for instance undertook maneuvers that would give any European general pause for how skillfully he forced the enemy back, and Sherman's march in 1864-65 was audacious indeed. Grant, who smashed two armies in his career, could be compared to any European general in the preceding half century quite favorably.Lee of course got attention in Europe (deservedly so) for his exploits with a smaller army snaring bigger fish from summer 1862 to summer 1863. I don't think anyone can question the fighting spirit or elan of the Army of Northern Virginia.In sum total though, I think that in terms of what was accomplished in 1861-65 with the material available, you have to give credit where credit is due. Any foreign army meeting them on their own turf would probably not enjoy it.
>>7090178But the object of the thread is not "how well did the armies of the Civil War do given where they started". It's about where they ended up compared to those regulars - the regulars against whom you seem to suggest a comparison is unfair.
>>7090181My point is that most comparisons are disingenuous here since they are not being fair to the US Volunteers. Knock out the long service and discipline of the regulars we keep seeing touted and what's the difference with what is accomplished on the battlefield?Second Bull Run is a brilliant battle by any standard and the AoNV troops ran out of ammo in that fight and still carried on to rout Pope from the field. That's a feat worthy of any regular force with volunteer troops.Grant's Vicksburg campaign? A brutal slog through swampy terrain with bad roads and hot Mississippi weather, and the end result is comparable to the Prussians marching on Paris, as is the Overland Campaign which incurred brutal casualties, and the volunteers kept going to accomplish the siege of Petersburg. What feats of valor there are any different from regulars? What maneuvers in that campaign can be said to be worse than European regulars?The results on the battlefield do matter, and quite frankly you compare the campaigns carried out by both sides in the Civil War and you can't really say they're any worse than what regulars did in Europe.
The Virginia theater would be more comparable to the German wars of unification than the West as it had a small operational area and relatively good roads.
>>7090195Sort of but most European roads were paved while Virginia's were dirt roads that turned to mud when it rained. Virginia summer weather is also blazing hot which is not the case in northern Europe. The Prussians also never had to fight in a twisted second growth forest at least twice where nobody could see more than a few feet in front of them.
>>7088771Prussia was also an authoritarian Old World monarchy, the kind of army it had wasn't very compatible with the democratic culture of the United States.
>>7090219It depends on how you define "democracy". Prussia did have a parliamentary government with universal male suffrage, though with a few odd rules and bonuses based on your socioeconomic level. So did France. Oddly, Britain had the most restrictive franchise yet it's held as the shining beacon of democracy and parliamentary government in Europe.
>>7089648The Dreyse was a remarkably shitty weapon, it was more excellent tactics than anything that allowed Prussia to win so many times. And I'm not sure if the touchy Dreyse would operate that well in the hot, humid climate of the South or not get fouled by dust from the unpaved roads. And even though they performed so well in the German Wars of Unification, they ended up down the road losing two world wars and becoming forever the bitch of other powers due to suicidal strategic decisions.The French? Mexico and Sedan. 'Nuff said.The British got embarrassed a couple of times in colonial wars by underestimating what their opponent was capable of, much like how the US Army underestimated the Chinese in Korea.
>>7090240The original model Dreyse used an acorn shaped projectile which was terribly inaccurate; in 1855 this was replaced by a round more comparable to the Minie ball in shape, after the Prussian army had at this time also adopted a Minie rifle. M1839 percussion muskets were converted to Minie rifles and older smoothbore muskets (the M1809-39, converted from flintlock to percussion) were dumped and the US government actually bought these museum pieces and assigned them to Western regiments, so desperate were they for anything that would shoot.For some reason a lot of repro shooters have the old "acorn" ball which was well out of service by 1861.
Comparing the 1862-63 AOP to the Prussian army of 1866 or even 70 is unfair given how quickly technology advanced during this period. And why only debate the AOP versus the Prussian army? Europe had mucho many countries with armies of variable strength and capability.It wouldn't be fair to assume the US Army operated the same way as European ones coming from a different set of martial, cultural, and political circumstances, and having a much different terrain and climate.
>>7090264But we're not comparing the AOP to the Prussian army of 1870, but the Prussian army of the early 1860s which would still easily win due to superior training, tactics, and artillery. And Prussia is being discussed because it had one of Europe's foremost armies. It wouldn't be fair to use a second-rate army like the Danish or Portuguese one for comparison.
Keep in mind that the ACW broke out when European armies were dumping Minie rifles en masse for breechloaders. If it had happened in 1858, Britain wouldn't have been offering a mountain of M1853 Enfields at fire sale prices, nor would Austria be doing same with M1854 Lorenz rifles as they needed them for the war with France the following year.The US could have only gotten old percussion smoothbores and even in 1861-62 they eagerly bought them up.
>>7090264The AOP of 1864-65 was easily the equal of any European army in armaments.
>>7090285Um, no it wasn't. They didn't have more than a small number of breechloading weapons, almost everyone had muzzle loaders, and not even uniform armament. The artillery wasn't at all comparable to what Prussia or Britain had.
Seems to be a great deal of discussion about the armaments in use by major armies at the time. While it is true this certainly contributed to the effectiveness of each one, what about strategic thinking? Who had the best strategists and planners?
>>7090294Sherman and Grant both showed they knew how to run a war most definitely. I have seen routine claims of brilliance regarding how Grant handled Vicksburg by many sources, while Sherman vs Johnston is considered a classic campaign (the approach to Atlanta). Plus making Georgia and then South Carolina 'howl' is considered a major cause in the breaking of Confederate morale around Petersburg (and the increasingly high to the point of disastrous desertion rate by the Confederate troops there). The maneuvering by which Rosecrans ran Bragg out of Tennessee without a fight was also a masterpiece.Moltke was also a master. Anyone would have him, Grant, and Sherman up there in the pantheon of great generals.So were Lee and Jackson.I've never heard anyone say any such compliments about Austrian, French, or Danish generals of the period.The British had plenty of dunderpate officers too in Crimea.
>>7090304The Vicksburg campaign was six months of bumbling and groping blindly before Grant figured out how to win. And the March to the Sea did little to help win the war other than destroy property and leave thousands of Southern civilians homeless and starving.
>>7090304>I've never heard anyone say any such compliments about Austrian, French, or Danish generals of the period.That's because Americans in general know fuck all about European conflicts of the period. The British don't teach much about Crimea in school either, just a paragraph or two and then on to colonial wars.In Germany itself the wars of unification are little covered in school compared to the world wars. Sadowa is only important to Czechs.As for the Second Schleswig War, the official reports written by the Danish army staff are very factual and detailed and also draw on Prussian reports for a source. Even then, books about the ACW are easier to find in Denmark itself than books about the Second Schleswig War. I could name ten ACW generals off the top of my head, but I couldn't tell you the name of a Danish general in 1864 without looking it up.The 1859 Italian war is hardly mentioned at all beyond a line or two about the Red Cross.So it's strange how even European history classes deal with the ACW in more detail than European wars of the period, while hardly anyone remembers the Italian war. But an average bookstore in Copenhagen will have plenty of books on the ACW in both English and Danish. Of course they also have books about the SSW, but nothing about the Seven Weeks or F-P War unless you go to a shop that specializes in military history and even then it might be hard to find much.
>>7090333>The British don't teach much about Crimea in school either, just a paragraph or two and then on to colonial wars.Even then, they often completely miss major points about the Crimean War. I've been interested in military history since '15 or so, but I was over 20 before I even heard about the Battle of the Alma or Inkerman while Balaclava is essentially "Into the Valley of Death". I suspect more has been written about the Stonewall Brigade than about the entire Hythe system.
Sherman was basically a theater commander, running the West as fully as Nimitz and Eisenhower did their respective theaters in WWII. And Grant's style of strategy was basically ad-lib as you go along.Also Sherman gets shit on unjustly by Lost Causers, although it goes without saying that Southern historians were not kind to him and Sheridan. However, Sherman accomplished his campaign with less than half the casualties Grant took in Virginia and did more than any other Union general aside from Grant to bring the war to a conclusion.
>>7090344Grant was nominally general-in-chief in 1864-65, but he basically took over the handling of the AOP from Meade and had little time to pay attention to stuff happening outside of Virginia. And Sherman emerges as the real hero for rejecting Grant's suggestion that he chase after Hood and instead do the March to the Sea.
>>7090329>The Vicksburg campaign was six months of bumbling and groping blindlyUtter tripe. Failed canals and felled Confederate trees aside it was a slow moving but properly executed campaign. Should he have just marched up to the city from the start?>did little to help win the war other than destroy property and leave thousands of Southern civilians homeless and starving.Dixieboo detected. Gutting the untouched heartland of your enemy does in fact win wars, and thank Christ you'll never be in charge of anything if if can't see that. Plus, the Savannah Campaign is preceded and followed two separate campaigns where Sherman mauled the Army of Tennessee far worse than the AOP was ever able to do to the ANV.
>>7090362>Plus, the Savannah Campaign is preceded and followed two separate campaigns where Sherman mauled the Army of Tennessee far worse than the AOP was ever able to do to the ANV.Actually that was George Thomas who btfo the AOT after Sherman assigned him to go chase after them ("Tell Hood if he goes to the Ohio, I will give him rations. My business is in Georgia.") And of course Hood being an utter dumbass who wrecked his army at Franklin in a suicidal frontal assault and got most of his generals killed. Thomas then just delivered the finishing death blow at Nashville.
>Georgia suffered a swath of destruction 30-60 miles wide and 265 miles long. Sherman's army caused the loss of 10,000 horses and mules, 13,000 cattle, 500,000 tons of fodder, 13 million tons of corn, and untold numbers of pigs, chickens, sheep, and vast quantities of produce. The Union army also demolished around 300 miles of railroad tracks. Southern railroads could already barely cope and this destruction caused further difficulty in trying to supply food to Lee's army entrenched around Petersburg.>During the march through the Carolinas, further devastation was caused. One South Carolinian reported that along a 60 mile front, railroad tracks were "twisted into grotesque shapes, showed where the railroads had been, and the absence of the voices of poultry, sheep, or kine from the desolated fields and ruins along the roadside proclaimed the reign of famine and despair. The country was as swept clean of food as is a man's face of his beard by a well-plied razor."Attila the Hun would have been proud.
>>7090329>nd leave thousands of Southern civilians homeless and starving.They sent their sons into the Confederate army, they weren't innocent victims.