Botched invasions

Dec 2018
5
New Zealand
Would Dieppe count?
Technically speaking Dieppe was a raid, not an invasion - there had been no intention to establish a permanent lodgement in occupied Europe. Also despite its failure, a lot of valuable lessons were learnt from it which ultimately led to the success of the D-Day landings.
 
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Sep 2017
754
United States
Right, Caesar's trip to Britain was a smashing success, just like his jaunt across his bridge into Germany. I don't know anything about Severus, though. There certainly *were* setbacks and defeats in Britain, just as most anywhere, that's just how things go, eh? But actual failed invasions, not all that many for the Romans.

Matthew
The only thing I know to come from Caesar's two invasions was the installment of a friendly king in the second, though politically the whole thing was pretty nice. From what I've read about Severus, he mustered forces to invade Caledonia but the campaign ultimately failed and the Romans had to settle for the boundary at Hadrian's.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,676
Cornwall
Good grief, what??? Why not just write off ALL historical accounts as fiction? Caesar is one of our best and most accurate sources! Nothing in them is outlandish or implausible. It *is* likely that the section with the geographical description of Britain is a later addition by someone else, but otherwise, how many of us were there to contradict his word? Weird...

Matthew
I think it's the "Alexander the Great, was he all that?" camp :lol:
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,965
MD, USA
The only thing I know to come from Caesar's two invasions was the installment of a friendly king in the second, though politically the whole thing was pretty nice.
The political result was the entire goal. Romans mounted campaigns outside the Empire to raise cash from loot, and to further their political careers by adding glory to their image. Not a lot of good loot in Germany, so glory it was. And for Caesar, it worked. Whatever was left to happen in the area that had just been campaigned through was pretty much irrelevant. Sure, it was nice to be able to say that you had established a friendly ruler or gotten however many kings to submit to Rome, since that let you claim you had made a nice peace. And it was true! But if it turned out to be temporary and your puppet got beheaded next year and the raids started all over again, no problem, that just means the next Roman consul in the area gets to launch his own campaign in the same area. Glory for him, too!

From what I've read about Severus, he mustered forces to invade Caledonia but the campaign ultimately failed and the Romans had to settle for the boundary at Hadrian's.
But do the historical accounts say that he got his butt kicked out of there, or that he was forced to give up a planned permanent conquest? If not, it might have just been a campaign with no intent to add territory to the Empire. (Honest questions, I don't know the answers!)

Matthew
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Caesar faced an extremely hostile senate. His opponents were looking for the smallest reason to bring him down. If any of his claims were fabricated, his opponents would have screamed it far and wide. It would have been risky for him to even exaggerate his successes.
Not to mention that some of the men who accompanied him on campaigns as officers were either relatives of political foes, or were political opponents of Caesar later in their careers. That included Titus Labienus who later commanded troops in battle against Caesar in the civil war, the younger brother of Marcus Tullius Cicero - who also threw in with the Boni and was captured at Pharsalus - and some of Caesar's assassins. One of those assassins, Gaius Trebonius, had not only been one of Caesar's legates during the Gallic War but had also commanded troops during the second invasion of Britain.

If major sections of Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars were outright fabrication it would have seen the light of day.
 
Sep 2017
754
United States
But do the historical accounts say that he got his butt kicked out of there, or that he was forced to give up a planned permanent conquest? If not, it might have just been a campaign with no intent to add territory to the Empire. (Honest questions, I don't know the answers!)

Matthew
As far as I can tell, it seems as though he wanted to permanently extend Roman borders north and failed to. Not to say some positive results didn't come of it but it looks like the war aims were not met.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,337
Barbarossa.

End thread...
With Barbarossa the main problem was the invasion itself. There were a lot of mistakes, but the main problem was underestimating the difficulty of the task.

The 4 I mentioned in the OP, Napoleon in Russia, US in Canada, Britain in Afghanistan, in Scotlland in England in 1513, were all really badly mishandled, as well as being pointless and bad ideas.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,971
Sydney
Dieppe does count , a text book example of how NOT to manage an invasion

My personal favorite and quite obscure , the 1688 French invasion of Siam ,
the project had been sold as support for Christianizing Thailand by French priests who exaggerated grossly local support
it was like stirring a wasp nest an abject disaster
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,308
Multiple Roman invasions of various parts of Britain I believe largely failed
Not quite. Caesar made two expeditions to Britain during his ten year Gallic campaign in order to disrupt british support for gallic tribes (the two were closely interrelated) and the kudos of being the first to attack the mysterious land across the Channel. But mostly he just wanted to find the sources of silver he had heard rumours of (Cicero laments the failure of this enterprise in one of his letters). Both expeditions nearly came to grief because of weather but technically weren't failures militarily.

However, Caligula had designs on Britain, raised three legions for the purpose, and played soldier all the way to the Channel where the legions promptly refused to embark on grounds of superstitious caution. Caligula was not impressed, but instead of the usual hard discipline and command, his sense of humour got the better of him thus he ordered his tough Roman legionaries to collect seashells, claiming that Neptune was his actual enemy so he would plunder the booty offered by the sea. The joke was lost on the Senate, and another rumour of madness circulated.

Claudius decided to affirm his position by conquering Britain (he would accept the surrender of the southern tribes personally) by using the same three legions. They mutineed again, but this time they were successfully persuaded to embark.