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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #31

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Originally Posted by rvsakhadeo View Post
You are right ! I want all the posters' attention to the write-up in the Hemingway novel " A Farewell to Arms " in which the Italian soldiers are described marching towards the front with many men crying ! Also note the passages when the retreating Italian army is combed by the Italian military police and officers and men are picked up at random for cowardice and desertion and shot ! I believe that the French soldiers also started crying when asked to march towards the front e.g.after the Nivelle offensive, they mutinied also.
I propose that any war in which the ordinary soldier went to the front crying, as well as the wars where mutiny on large scale occurred certainly qualify for being denoted as " futile ".
If the fighting person has lost all desire to fight, the war in his sector is futile by definition.
Agree.
Furthermore, Italians had to endure far an harder discipline (it was even re-introduced the practice of decimation, not used since Romans' times) and they were asked to make an offensive each 3 months, this was an average time higher than any contender in WWI.
Just it is not so surprising that Italian soldiers after 3 years of this regime just had their nerves broken.
John Keegan states that he highly doubts that any other soldiers both in Entente and Central Powers would have tolerated such an harsh regime of life.
Unique exception migh be Russian soldiers whose life conditions were simply awful.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:46 AM   #32

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What examples are there in history where a battle had no affect on the outcome of a war?
Most of them.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:58 AM   #33

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Originally Posted by xander.XVII View Post
Agree.
Furthermore, Italians had to endure far an harder discipline (it was even re-introduced the practice of decimation, not used since Romans' times) and they were asked to make an offensive each 3 months, this was an average time higher than any contender in WWI.
Just it is not so surprising that Italian soldiers after 3 years of this regime just had their nerves broken.
John Keegan states that he highly doubts that any other soldiers both in Entente and Central Powers would have tolerated such an harsh regime of life.
Unique exception migh be Russian soldiers whose life conditions were simply awful.
I wasn't aware they re-introduced decimation, thanks for the info there

Do you personally think this was a good idea, in terms of the fact they needed to maintain discipline in a very harsh environment, or just complete folly? What was the effect of this on morale?

These are just personal questions, so any information on your own perspectives, would be greatly accepted
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Old December 5th, 2012, 11:20 AM   #34

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Actually I didn't expect so many to reply with 'all wars are pointless' I was more interested in battles that had no significant bearing on the outcome of a war. Pointless, in the respect that it served no purpose to acheive anything for either side.
Very interesting OP. I can understand some of the comments here about certain battles having no discernible effect on the outcome of a conflict ... Dieppe was one example, somebody else said the Dardanelles, and others might be added - Dresden in '45 perhaps, or even the '44 Ardennes Offensive ... but the difficulty I have here is that even with the benefit of hindsight, trying to analyse all of the outcomes of any particular battle or event is an inexact science and prone to a lot of speculation and what-iffing.

A poor example perhaps, as it connects two wars, but had the Dardanelles never been attempted, then perhaps Churchill's career would have taken a different path and things been very different 25 years later.

Dieppe... yes it seems now like a ridiculous plan bordering on the suicidal, but I don't doubt that lessons were learned which eventually aided the success of the Normandy landings.

Speculation is always fascinating, but even looking backwards I don't know how possible it is to state categorically that any particular battle served no purpose or achieved nothing... the threads of history are so inter-twined that clear cause-effect relationships are endlessly debated.

Just my own thoughts ... I'm very interested to see what other examples people post.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #35

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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
I wasn't aware they re-introduced decimation, thanks for the info there

Do you personally think this was a good idea, in terms of the fact they needed to maintain discipline in a very harsh environment, or just complete folly? What was the effect of this on morale?

These are just personal questions, so any information on your own perspectives, would be greatly accepted
It maintained an absurd discipline which brought soldiers to distrust their high officers.
Italian soldiers maintained an high morale after all till the 11th battle of Isonzo, which was supponed the final hit to a defeated, the reality was different: Austrians were yes exhausted as well (they warned Germans they couldn't withstand any longer without a substantious reinforcement, this brought to German help at Caporetto) but they managed to block Italian offensive after our conquest of Bainsizza plain (which was the farthest point ever reached before Caporetto).
I consider the regime Italian soldiers had to live in totally pointless, it costed hundreds of thousand of lives without much gaining, more than 550,000 KIA for what? to what end?
When finally that idiot, Cadorna, was demoted from his command and more human general came (like Pétain with Frenchmen), Italian soldiers began to be treated as human being and not just as cannon fodder.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #36

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Originally Posted by xander.XVII View Post
It maintained an absurd discipline which brought soldiers to distrust their high officers.
Italian soldiers maintained an high morale after all till the 11th battle of Isonzo, which was supponed the final hit to a defeated, the reality was different: Austrians were yes exhausted as well (they warned Germans they couldn't withstand any longer without a substantious reinforcement, this brought to German help at Caporetto) but they managed to block Italian offensive after our conquest of Bainsizza plain (which was the farthest point ever reached before Caporetto).
I consider the regime Italian soldiers had to live in totally pointless, it costed hundreds of thousand of lives without much gaining, more than 550,000 KIA for what? to what end?
When finally that idiot, Cadorna, was demoted from his command and more human general came (like Pétain with Frenchmen), Italian soldiers began to be treated as human being and not just as cannon fodder.
Thanks for the reply!

I also believe it was a waste of life. I think the Austrians used Hutier tactics against them on a couple of occasions.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #37

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What examples are there in history where a battle had no affect on the outcome of a war?
The Battle of Trebia, the Battle of Lake Trasimene, and the Battle of Cannae.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:30 AM   #38

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Originally Posted by Fiver View Post
The Battle of Trebia, the Battle of Lake Trasimene, and the Battle of Cannae.
Reading the full question in the OP would reveal that these battles shouldn't be considered, they did actually have an impact on the war, economically, politically and militarily, especially Cannae. Suggesting they had no relevance to the main war is incorrect.

Last edited by markdienekes; December 6th, 2012 at 06:44 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:14 AM   #39
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Our Mark has a good point, it is actually not so easy to find battles that may qualify for the criteria of the OP stricto sensu.

Most of the examples mentioned in this thread would actually be just military blunders (actual or purported).

New Orleans 1815 would probably the best example so far of what the OP is ostensibly asking for.

There has been a good number of wars that have arguably been irrelevant for anyone involved, so any battle within those wars should automatically qualify for the OP; the infamous Soccer War immediately comes to mind
Soccer_War Soccer_War
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #40

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There's really no battle that has no impact on a war. Even New Orleans had the impact of making the Americans seem like they achieved a minor victory in an otherwise disastrous conflict.

The American Revolution actually had a few truly pointless battles like Germantown or Brandywine (Britain occupied Philly and then left). If these two battles, among others during the Revolution never happened, history would have been no different.

Same could also be said of some battles during Vietnam, but that was more since our commanders were incompetent while facing the greatest military genius of the 20th century (Giap). Thus, even if we ever knew how to exploit a victory, Giap and his brilliant general staff knew how to respond.
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