Overestimated battles

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Koprulu Mustafa Pasha, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    There are certain battles in history seen as crucial but would with a different outcome have no crucial effect. Such as the battles of Tours, Vienna etc. (Muslim victory in such battles would not result in a conquest by Islamic Armies of Europe)

    What more battles are there?
     
  2. David T Well-Known Member

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  3. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    I'd say Zama. Even if Hannibal won another Cannae, Carthage had no realistic chance of even forcing a white peace, let alone making a comeback.
     
  4. stevej713 Well-Known Member

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    I'd argue basically any battle of the US Civil War. Alt histories usually show a Confederate victory here or there resulting in UK & France instantly declaring war on the US, who immediately throw in the towel.

    Also, I know these are post-1900, but Stalingrad and The Bulge. It was simply too late for Germany in both situations.
     
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  5. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Well, I would argue that the impact of a German Victory at Stalingrad would depend on how Stalin reacts to "his" city being taken. The Anglo/American-Nazi War shows what would happen if Stalin had taken the "violent overreaction brought about by his paranoia" reaction.
     
  6. Zincwarrior Well-Known Member

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    I would argue there is no reliable victory condition for the Axis for The Bulge. Even if all proposed mission objectives had been met it would not have materially stalled the Allied advance further than it did. Indeed by coming out of their defensive positions and attacking, the Germans did gave the Allies an auto win. It burned their remaining fuel and moved them away from their supply lines, which then eventually would be shredded by aircraft. Further, it effectively pulled their forces out of prepared defenses and drove their forces into a buzzsaw.

    I would disagree with Stalingrad. The Germans handily halted Operation Mars with the Soviets taking substantial casualties. Had the encirclement not occurred then the Germans are in a stronger position in the South, for either defense or offense. While the USSR would eventually overcome them, it might have added 6 months to a year to the war. My unenlightened $.02 anyway.
     
  7. Arnold d.c Well-Known Member

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    Gettysburg and Vicksburg. They’re oft touted by historians as the decisive battles that totally won the war for the Union.

    Gettysburg was a titanic clash on Northern ground but it did not neutralize the Army of Northern Virginia as a threat. Lee's army was badly depleted by the casualties but remained active and potent for another year. Everyone seems to forget that in 1864 the Army of Northern Virginia received as many as 25,500 replacements, bringing the number of men serving in Lee's army at one point or another up to 98,000 men. There also seems to be a mistaken idea that Lee never tried offensive action against after Gettysburg. Lee's Bristoe Station offensive after Meade's advance to Rapidan River to repeat the Second Manassas onto Meade is ignored. After the detachment of Longstreet from the Army of Northern Virginia and the departure of XI and XII Corps from the Army of the Potomac, Lee was still determined to take the offensive and strike Meade's rear. Not to mention Jubal Early's raid after the Overland Campaign.

    Vicksburg is more of a mixed bag. The impact of the loss of Vicksburg is overstated for the Confederates and understated and overstated for the Union. The paroled 30,000 Confederates went back into service for the Confederacy. At least two divisions made it back to join Bragg during the Siege of Chattanooga, many of them were not properly exchanged. The Mississippi River was only psychologically important, not commercially. For the Union, the true reward for conquering Vicksburg was the release of Grant’s Army of the Tennessee. But the Union squandered their victory by misuse of the troops that had been tied up by the Siege of Vicksburg. The Army of the Tennessee was broken up to support Banks (XIII Corps) and the Union forces in Arkansas. The rest of the army spent the rest of summer hunting guerillas, instead of following Grant’s suggestion to begin a campaign for Mobile.
     
  8. RousseauX Well-Known Member

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    Midway
     
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  9. GauchoBadger Gang Weeder (in a society)

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    Talas, 751 AD. Tang China could not project power in Central Asia any further, as they had to rely on nomadic proxies. I'd say that the Abbasid drive for expansion into the area, alongside the Tang dynasty's sudden almost-collapse when faced with the jiedushi rebellion of An Lushan, were much more decisive factors for explaining the slowdown of Chinese territorial expansion.
     
  10. stevej713 Well-Known Member

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    In that TL, changes were made to make Case Blue more viable, such as more winter clothing and no troops/vehicles sent off to N. Africa. Historically, the German army was depleted of its mobile units and converged on Stalingrad far beyond its supply lines without the ability to envelop the city or make a quick retreat. It was the perfect conditions for an encirclement the Germans could not escape from.
    Again, the Wehrmacht was a shell of its former Blitzkrieg-ing self by mid-late 1942. It was unable to execute the sort of armored pincer movements it had achieved in 1941. Without enough fuel for its mobile detachments, it was forced to make a head-on assault on Stalingrad and was subsequently unable to escape when the Soviets inevitably counterattacked. Operation Mars was altogether different in that the cream of the Wehrmacht was not being flanked by inferior Axis allies who routed at the first opportunity.
     
  11. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Without Spain, Carthage can't make a comeback, but Rome mostly can't send large enough armies to Africa to achieve decisive superiority over Carthage, and there was significant opposition to Scipio's expedition. If the Romans can only send about 20,000 men at a time, they can only win against the odds. If Hannibal wins at Zama, he would be able to subjugate Numidia again and secure Carthage's position in North Africa; without the clause about Carthage being unable to even defend itself without Roman permission and the presence of a powerful Numidian kingdom, Carthage would not be in a position to be wiped off the map. After the Battle of Great Plains, Scipio had offered them a relative white peace; with a large and victorious Punic army, the Romans can't really do much to improve their negotiating position.
     
  12. David T Well-Known Member

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  13. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    Although the immediate effects were explained above, a significant Carthaginian has big effects down the line: Would Rome be able to pull off a victory over the Seleucids at Magnesia ITTL?
     
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  14. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    Trafalgar, probably. Napoléon had already cancelled plans to invade England when it was fought, and realistically the best-case scenario for the French/Spanish there is a draw or very marginal victory - they are not going to decisively win.
     
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  15. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

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    This was still a pivotal battle and it was the capstone of a series of decisive maneuvers within the region during the early Abbasid period and Anxi Protectorate counters. The defeat at Talas allowed the Abbasid to gather more power in the region than previously and ultimately saw the compelte subjugation of Kwarezm, Sogdia and sectors of the Pamir ranges to the Abbasid and their removal from soft Anxi Protectorate dominance. A Tang/Anxi Protectorate victory, certainly has some positive effects for the Tang western policy; though this probably does not quell the Anxi Incident, as from what I gather, this was the doing of a particularly skilled individual, An Lushan. It should be remembered, that the Tang were not necessarily overextended; the battle of Talas was waged by the Tang's bureaucratic dominion, the Anxi Protectorate acting with authority of the Tang, with a large contingent thus of Turkic, Tocharian, Sogdian troops, in addition to what it received from its liege in the East (China).
     
  16. Atterdag Well-Known Member

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    Poltava - often seen as the battle that ended Sweden as a great power, but really the swedish army was starving to death far from territory that had already been captured by the russians.
     
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  17. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Borodino - Nappy’s victory did not help to win a campaign and according to Clausewitz he was more or less doomed by the time of a battle.
     
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  18. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Well, Livonia had been captured by the Russians after Poltava but clearly Charles could not go too far even in the case of success and Peter had a lot of reserves (he did I not even use all the available forces in a battle).
     
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  19. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    I think it's the other way around; Borodino often gets framed as a quasi-victory for the Russians, or a deliberate defensive stand that did what it was expected to do, when the Russians planned on winning the battle and beginning the counteroffensive.
     
  20. Albidoom Fuzzy Thing

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    Most, if not all the battles during the cursades.
     
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