Inspired by the thread Robert E Lee stays entirely neutral, I wrote a comment about a proposal for a Robert E Lee who instead of fighting in the American Civil War, fights in the Paraguayan War. The idea was that he could fight on any 4 sides.

Is this possible? I really hope it is because this could be a great timeline.
 
Just one problem...

...Saw a picture with a caption that said they ran out of food and had to eat their troopers (horses). The ambiguity left my imagination reeling! But I am a fan of the South Cone, as many there know.

Robert E. Lee as a Paraguayan General? OMG time for Argentina and Chile or their antecedents. Annoying also for Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.

An independent Welsh-speaking Patagonia is what I want - and freedom for the Mapuche!
 
He could fight in both. the wars don't overlap.

Is he fighting for Paraguay? If so, he's got a tough job. You could put the greatest general who ever lived in the situation, and you still have to get around the fact that there are few weapons or trained military personnel, from private all the way up.

Maybe you could bring him in before the war and has a chance to train his army and leads the charge from the start. (Hmmmm. McClellan has a reputation for building up an army. maybe the two can go in together. just as plausible as the OP) once the war starts, though, bringing in a qualified general doesn't do much for Paraguay.

If he's fighting for Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil, he's got more options of action. The troops still aren't up to European standards of training, but they're getting there and most importantly, they have access to weapons and supplies. The big issue, though, wasn't quality of troops/leadership, but rather the bottleneck of getting into Paraguay. They were blocked by a most excellent position/fort on the river, and there were limited ways around that entry point.
 
Inspired by the thread Robert E Lee stays entirely neutral, I wrote a comment about a proposal for a Robert E Lee who instead of fighting in the American Civil War, fights in the Paraguayan War. The idea was that he could fight on any 4 sides.

Is this possible? I really hope it is because this could be a great timeline.
Good idea. Might want to mention this on the main thread.
 
He could fight in both. the wars don't overlap.

Is he fighting for Paraguay? If so, he's got a tough job. You could put the greatest general who ever lived in the situation, and you still have to get around the fact that there are few weapons or trained military personnel, from private all the way up.

Maybe you could bring him in before the war and has a chance to train his army and leads the charge from the start. (Hmmmm. McClellan has a reputation for building up an army. maybe the two can go in together. just as plausible as the OP) once the war starts, though, bringing in a qualified general doesn't do much for Paraguay.

If he's fighting for Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil, he's got more options of action. The troops still aren't up to European standards of training, but they're getting there and most importantly, they have access to weapons and supplies. The big issue, though, wasn't quality of troops/leadership, but rather the bottleneck of getting into Paraguay. They were blocked by a most excellent position/fort on the river, and there were limited ways around that entry point.

He actually died in 1870, right when the war ends, so you could engrave him in Paraguayan legend, as dying with Paraguay, or something.

He could fight for any of the Four Countries, but I was most interested in him fighting for Paraguay, as that seems the coolest of all 4 options.

Well, the war was fought for a very long 6 years, I have a few scenarios.

1 He comes in 1864 when the war starts, as he is neutral, but will still fight for Paraguay.

2 He comes in 1861 before the war starts, but when the war in America starts. He joins the military, with some kind of admiration of Paraguay (maybe from a young age) he has 3 years to train the Paraguayan army (Which is already high in numbers) and make it the best it can be.

As for fighting for the Triple Alliance, Robert E Lee could come fight for the same reason for the reasons above.

Interestingly, it would be nice to see, for example, he comes to Brazil, and in 1861, he modernizes the Brazilian military too somewhat European power.
 
The idea was that he could fight on any 4 sides.

ah, so you're talking geographically? Paraguay really only has one direction to go: south through Corrientes/Entre Rios and then paraguayan military can spread in multiple directions: through main part of Argentina (Buenos Aires and the northern provinces), to Uruguay, or to Brazil province of Rio Grande do Sul. From Paraguay itself, you can go north into Brazil, but that's a dead end as there's nothing much up there and while you can take a lot of territory, you can't get anywhere to win the war, as it's isolated by jungle/uncharted forest.

For Paraguay, the best option is to have him arrive a few years before the war and have both Lopez's (the elder one was in power til '62, and you're having Lee get started a year earlier. the younger was in France at the time of Lee's arrival, so I wonder how it would play to see him return to find Lee in command?) fall in love with him and grant him unlimited power. Aside from the question of why Lee would abandon his country in a time of need, you have the problem that the younger Lopez was in love with himself and fancied himself a top general, jealous of any other military officers (the army was basically a horde with Lopez at the top and all subordinate officers stripped of any real power). Given a couple years in this hand wavium situation, though, a capable general with Lopez' backing could do wonders. Lopez spent mostly on his own palace/self and on the military, so Lee would get a lot of the supplies he wanted (getting everything is unrealistic given the short time frame and the limited ability of the country to spend). With such a scenario and Lee leading the charge, I'd say it's easily plausible to have him take Corrientes, Entre Rios, Uruguay, Buenos Aires and Rio Grande do Sul. the only real military power in the region of the triple alliance is Argentina, and a quality army can neutralize them before Brazil can get it's act together. IF Brazil decides it is in it for the long haul, Lee has the problem that it's navy (assuming it isn't decimated as OTL) can't hold off the superior Brazilian navy forever. It would be stretching it to have Lee lead a troop northward from Rio Grande do Sul through undeveloped forest to get to populated Brazil. He's conquered a lot of country that he needs to guard and Paraguay doesn't have the base to support such grande military actions. Of course, perhaps a sane commander recognizes that you don't take on both Brazil and Argentina at the same time, so he would go for one first, then the other. It has to be Argentina first, as Paraguay can't get to populated Brazil without going through Argentina, and that leads you right back to OTL. Brazil is still a tough nut to crack, especially if they militarize while Lee is busy absorbing parts of Argentina.
 
An Earlier assassination of Lincoln along with other guerilla warfare and terrorist acts leave Radical Republicans in charge when the war ends

They choose Revenge over Reconciliation. The execute as many high level Confederate politicians and military officers they can get their hands on.

Lee and a few other Confederate commanders escape the noose. They find themselves in Paraguay. The Confederate diaspora flocks to Asunción.

The Confederates organize. "Lee's Legion" is formed.

The Legion becomes the crack force sent in to plug the holes and win battles.

Despite the extra help the war is still doomed to failure.

Lee confronts Lopez about him committing his country to the kind of destructive war Davis had wanted to commit to in the South.

Lopez arrests Lee. The Legion seizes the capitol freeing Lee and taking Lopez.

Lopez traded for a Peace treaty.

Lee dies from effects of being imprisoned.

Paraguayan Republic is proclaimed.

Many of the Confederate soldiers marry the widowed women in the country.

Robert E. Lee becomes the Republic's "Moses". James Longstreet becomes it's first President.



 
An Earlier assassination of Lincoln along with other guerilla warfare and terrorist acts leave Radical Republicans in charge when the war ends

They choose Revenge over Reconciliation. The execute as many high level Confederate politicians and military officers they can get their hands on.

Lee and a few other Confederate commanders escape the noose. They find themselves in Paraguay. The Confederate diaspora flocks to Asunción.

The Confederates organize. "Lee's Legion" is formed.

The Legion becomes the crack force sent in to plug the holes and win battles.

Despite the extra help the war is still doomed to failure.

Lee confronts Lopez about him committing his country to the kind of destructive war Davis had wanted to commit to in the South.

Lopez arrests Lee. The Legion seizes the capitol freeing Lee and taking Lopez.

Lopez traded for a Peace treaty.

Lee dies from effects of being imprisoned.

Paraguayan Republic is proclaimed.

Many of the Confederate soldiers marry the widowed women in the country.

Robert E. Lee becomes the Republic's "Moses". James Longstreet becomes it's first President.



I was thinking he arrives in 1861 instead, and has 3 years to modernize the Paraguayan military.
 
ah, so you're talking geographically? Paraguay really only has one direction to go: south through Corrientes/Entre Rios and then paraguayan military can spread in multiple directions: through main part of Argentina (Buenos Aires and the northern provinces), to Uruguay, or to Brazil province of Rio Grande do Sul. From Paraguay itself, you can go north into Brazil, but that's a dead end as there's nothing much up there and while you can take a lot of territory, you can't get anywhere to win the war, as it's isolated by jungle/uncharted forest.

For Paraguay, the best option is to have him arrive a few years before the war and have both Lopez's (the elder one was in power til '62, and you're having Lee get started a year earlier. the younger was in France at the time of Lee's arrival, so I wonder how it would play to see him return to find Lee in command?) fall in love with him and grant him unlimited power. Aside from the question of why Lee would abandon his country in a time of need, you have the problem that the younger Lopez was in love with himself and fancied himself a top general, jealous of any other military officers (the army was basically a horde with Lopez at the top and all subordinate officers stripped of any real power). Given a couple years in this hand wavium situation, though, a capable general with Lopez' backing could do wonders. Lopez spent mostly on his own palace/self and on the military, so Lee would get a lot of the supplies he wanted (getting everything is unrealistic given the short time frame and the limited ability of the country to spend). With such a scenario and Lee leading the charge, I'd say it's easily plausible to have him take Corrientes, Entre Rios, Uruguay, Buenos Aires and Rio Grande do Sul. the only real military power in the region of the triple alliance is Argentina, and a quality army can neutralize them before Brazil can get it's act together. IF Brazil decides it is in it for the long haul, Lee has the problem that it's navy (assuming it isn't decimated as OTL) can't hold off the superior Brazilian navy forever. It would be stretching it to have Lee lead a troop northward from Rio Grande do Sul through undeveloped forest to get to populated Brazil. He's conquered a lot of country that he needs to guard and Paraguay doesn't have the base to support such grande military actions. Of course, perhaps a sane commander recognizes that you don't take on both Brazil and Argentina at the same time, so he would go for one first, then the other. It has to be Argentina first, as Paraguay can't get to populated Brazil without going through Argentina, and that leads you right back to OTL. Brazil is still a tough nut to crack, especially if they militarize while Lee is busy absorbing parts of Argentina.

Could Lee do any type of Trench warfare in the war against Brazil, and Uruguay, and instead push all other forces on Argentina, then after they knock them out, they go too Brazil, then Uruguay?
 
Could Lee do any type of Trench warfare in the war against Brazil, and Uruguay, and instead push all other forces on Argentina, then after they knock them out, they go too Brazil, then Uruguay?

To really answer, you need to narrow down the time frame of Lee's entry.

In my opinion, the war for Paraguay is won or lost in the opening phase. Paraguay needs to sweep down and take Uruguay. U is not an issue, militarily. Paraguay didn't lose because they couldn't fight two fronts (which there really wasn't two of - Entre Rios is one long front). They lost because they had a sucko army/navy. With a competent general with a semi competent army, the opening phase can be won. if most of the opening major battles are won, P has control of Uruguay, Entre Rios, and Corrientes. Brazil would have no major military force left in the area. P could then turn it's attention to Buenos Aires, looking to knock Argentina out of the war before Brazil regroups and sends forces down. Certainly, a battle hardened Lee could use lessons learned in the US civil war and use defensive positions to effect (it's not really a mountainous terrain, and I don't believe it's heavily forrested, so it's going to be tough to use geography as a defensive ally). But, Paraguay has to take a commanding position in the region in a hurry. a long war does not favor P. I'm no military tactical mind, but I would say that baiting the enemy into attacking and expending resources, while conserving your own, is a viable strategy here or there depending on the circumstance. Overall, though, my goal in the opening phase is to knock out U and B in the region, then assault A. P has to be the aggressor to the point of gaining access to the open sea and the outside world. They can't stop and trench up long term at anything short of a port, which means Montevideo or Porto Alegre. U/B are going to be easier targets, and you have to vanquish one side or the other, quickly. I'd be afraid that going after A first leads to a longer affair which no leaves Uruguay/western Rio Grande do Sul as a staging ground for Brazilian troops coming south.

If paraguay loses the opening phase, the war is lost. Trench warfare is part of what P used to prolong the war so long (that and the Parana River), but that was only delaying the inevitable. If Lee comes in after the first phase is lost, he might as well stay home. Only a miracle saves P at that point.
 
If Argentina is forced to make peace with Paraguay, probably via military defeats causing the Argentine Civil Wars to flare up again, then Paraguay has basically won. Brazil can't really get to Paraguay (they tried to attack Paraguay from the north, and they suffered massive losses from marching through swamps and jungles), and Paraguay doesn't need to conquer anything from Brazil like Rio Grande do Sul. Uruguay's force is minimal (and Uruguay has its own internal issues), and will easily sue for peace as well.

If Paraguay needs territorial gains, it will be settling all disputes with Argentina and Brazil in its favour (including Misiones and Formosa) as well as at best grabbing Corrientes and Entre Rios. A more minimal Paraguayan victory might have them gain some nice treaty rights on the Parana River in addition to frontier gains from Argentina (modern Formosa and Misiones).

Attacks on Rio Grande do Sul are foolish outside of occupying Brazil while Argentina is thrown into chaos.
 
If Argentina is forced to make peace with Paraguay, probably via military defeats causing the Argentine Civil Wars to flare up again, then Paraguay has basically won. Brazil can't really get to Paraguay (they tried to attack Paraguay from the north, and they suffered massive losses from marching through swamps and jungles), and Paraguay doesn't need to conquer anything from Brazil like Rio Grande do Sul. Uruguay's force is minimal (and Uruguay has its own internal issues), and will easily sue for peace as well.

If Paraguay needs territorial gains, it will be settling all disputes with Argentina and Brazil in its favour (including Misiones and Formosa) as well as at best grabbing Corrientes and Entre Rios. A more minimal Paraguayan victory might have them gain some nice treaty rights on the Parana River in addition to frontier gains from Argentina (modern Formosa and Misiones).

Attacks on Rio Grande do Sul are foolish outside of occupying Brazil while Argentina is thrown into chaos.
I agree for the most part. If Corrientes is taken, Missiones goes with it, unless Missiones is given to Brazil as a peace offering. Once Argentina loses Corrientes, though, Missiones is an island Argentina can't access or protect, so Missiones is lost to Argentina.

IF war is going on between Paraguay and Brazil, the western part of Rio Grande do Sul gives Brazil access to cutting off communications between Asuncion and all points south of the Parana River. If war is hot, Rio Grande is an active war zone. I wouldn't invest it needlessly, as it would be a provocation (and an additional burden to protect), but I think portions of it are up for occupation during phase one of the war. It can be used as a chit to get Brazil to quit the war. a lot depends on how Brazil reacts to losing phase one. Once Brazil is whole hog intent on defeating Paraguay, the entire region is fair game.
 
To really answer, you need to narrow down the time frame of Lee's entry.

In my opinion, the war for Paraguay is won or lost in the opening phase. Paraguay needs to sweep down and take Uruguay. U is not an issue, militarily. Paraguay didn't lose because they couldn't fight two fronts (which there really wasn't two of - Entre Rios is one long front). They lost because they had a sucko army/navy. With a competent general with a semi competent army, the opening phase can be won. if most of the opening major battles are won, P has control of Uruguay, Entre Rios, and Corrientes. Brazil would have no major military force left in the area. P could then turn it's attention to Buenos Aires, looking to knock Argentina out of the war before Brazil regroups and sends forces down. Certainly, a battle hardened Lee could use lessons learned in the US civil war and use defensive positions to effect (it's not really a mountainous terrain, and I don't believe it's heavily forrested, so it's going to be tough to use geography as a defensive ally). But, Paraguay has to take a commanding position in the region in a hurry. a long war does not favor P. I'm no military tactical mind, but I would say that baiting the enemy into attacking and expending resources, while conserving your own, is a viable strategy here or there depending on the circumstance. Overall, though, my goal in the opening phase is to knock out U and B in the region, then assault A. P has to be the aggressor to the point of gaining access to the open sea and the outside world. They can't stop and trench up long term at anything short of a port, which means Montevideo or Porto Alegre. U/B are going to be easier targets, and you have to vanquish one side or the other, quickly. I'd be afraid that going after A first leads to a longer affair which no leaves Uruguay/western Rio Grande do Sul as a staging ground for Brazilian troops coming south.

If paraguay loses the opening phase, the war is lost. Trench warfare is part of what P used to prolong the war so long (that and the Parana River), but that was only delaying the inevitable. If Lee comes in after the first phase is lost, he might as well stay home. Only a miracle saves P at that point.

Didn't Paraguay also lose because of a huge disease outbreak that killed tons of their men? Paraguay certainly has the manpower to push an offensive, and defend at the same time. I remember Paraguay being called the "Prussia of South America"

I said at the start of the thread, Robert E Lee comes before the war in 1861, which gives him 3 years to modernize the Paraguayan military before the war starts. Maybe he could get a couple of railroads and to a better job at training Paraguayan forces.
 
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