Sunday, September 29, 2013


This is coolbert:

Extracts from the wiki entry of Chickamauga with comment:

1. Fog of War.

From a previous blog entry:

"The fog of war is a term used to describe the uncertainty in situation awareness experienced by participants in military operations. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign."

"War is an area of uncertainty; three quarters of the things on which all action in War is based on are lying in a fog of uncertainty to a greater or lesser extent. The first thing (needed) here is a fine, piercing mind, to feel the truth with the measure of its judgment." - - Clausewitz.

"The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently — like the effect of a fog or moonlight — gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance." - - Clausewitz

That combat commander at whatever echelon not able to make decisive and totally certain 100 % accurate judgments during battle. Uncertainty based on a continuous and sometimes overwhelming amount of  inaccurate, erroneous, incomplete, and quite often misleading information! AND on occasion throw deliberate misinformation as presented by the adversary into the mix!


"The land between Chickamauga Creek and the LaFayette Road was gently rolling but almost completely wooded ... In the woods no officer above brigadier could see all his command at once, and even the brigadiers often could see nobody's troops but their own and perhaps the enemy's. Chickamauga would be a classic soldiers battle,' but it would test officers at every level of command in ways they had not previously been tested. An additional complication was that each army would be attempting to fight a shifting battle while shifting its own position. ... Each general would have to conduct a battle while shuffling his own units northward toward an enemy of whose position he could get only the vaguest idea. Strange and wonderful opportunities would loom out of the leaves, vines, and gunsmoke, be touched and vaguely sensed, and then fade away again into the figurative fog of confusion that bedeviled men on both sides. In retrospect, victory for either side would look simple when unit positions were reviewed on a neat map, but in Chickamauga's torn and smoky woodlands, nothing was simple."- - Steven E. Woodworth

That "fog of war" both figurative and almost literal. Those enormous and dense and long-lasting clouds of black powder smoke often hanging closely to the ground for an extended period after a mass discharge of rifles, creating a "smoke screen" further limiting an already limited visibility.

2. Elan' and dash.

It being generally conceded that during the American Civil War the soldiers of the Confederacy possessed the greater amount of elan' and dash. More spirited and energetic action.

Elan' and dash during that period NOT always such a good idea when used in a reckless way. Advancing units across open ground in closed and clumped formations as in the Napoleonic style of warfare NOT a good idea. Units too susceptible to decimation or even obliteration in almost an instant.

"It seems to me that the elan' of the Southern soldier was never seen after Chickamauga. ... He fought stoutly to the last, but, after Chickamauga, with the sullenness of despair and without the enthusiasm of hope. That 'barren victory' sealed the fate of the Confederacy." - - Confederate Lt. Gen. D.H. Hill

That the soldiers of the Confederacy at Chickamauga even when out-numbering the enemy and fighting on their own territory, gained only a Pyrrhic victory of sorts, that Union army beaten and in retreat but only just so and living to fight another day must have been disheartening.

AND not only Chickamauga but even more so the Battle of Franklin, the secessionist forces themselves routed and leaving the scene of combat in disorder and disarray, that ONLY TIME DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR WHEN CONFEDERATE TROOPS DID SO!


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