The All-Fail Military Team

May 2018
547
Michigan
#1
In the counter to a recent thread. The only guideline is the positions have to be at least plausible. For example, obviously the part-time stoner working at 7-11 would fail at being a general, but it isn't plausible.

National Leader: James Buchanan (considered by many to be the worst US president in history)

Chief of the General Staff: Conrad von Hotzendorf (the fail CoS of the Austrian Army in World War I)

Supreme Allied Commander: George Patton (decent field commander, poor at keeping a multi-national alliance together.)

Foreign Secretary: Napoleon Bonaparte (Brilliant general, his diplomatic blunder in Spain was but the tip of the iceberg in terms of his ability to conduct basic diplomacy)

Secretary of the Navy/First Sea Lord: Jimmy Carter or Winston Churchill (Carter mismanaged the DoD into fail, Churchill, while a great wartime leader, made serious mistakes as First Sea Lord)

1st Army (Expeditionary)
Commander: Luigi Cadorna
A true WWI 'donkey', worse than Haig or Nivelle by a longshot.


2nd Army (Counter-Insurgency)
Commander: Sir David Baird
A good field commander, his temparment and hate for the native Indians meant he was woefully unqualified to be Governor of Mysore after the Siege of Serignapatem. Thankfully, George Harris ignored seniority and put Wellesley in charge.

3rd Army (Reserve/Territorial)
Commander: I can't think of anyone who would specifically be a bad administrator. Maybe Wellington, whose blocking of needed army reforms seriously impacted performance in Crimea. I balk at this, solely on the basis that Wellington didn't seem too opposed to needed reforms when he was younger and commanding in the field.

1st Fleet: The French Navy of Napoleonic Wars

2nd Fleet: The Russian Navy of the Russo-Japanese War

Staff/Civilian Positions:

Liaison to the legislative body: Commodus. The guy just didn't know how to deal with the Roman Senate.

Head of Morale, Recreation and Welfare (and volunteer prostitute procurement): The Pope (a generic Pope). Sorry, but most soldiers aren't into children. And the Vatican isn't exactly where the cool parties happen. This one is tongue-in-cheek, as was my choice for the "All Star Military" thread.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,602
Sydney
#2
what an exciting proposition

Buchanan wasn't much indeed but he didn't had a war , some might say that he did absolutely nothing and avoided one .
Hong Xiuquan , the leader of the Taiping rebellion was mad , bad and lazy .
he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

Conrad von Hotzendorf is a brilliant choice for worst chief of the general staff

supreme allied commander , Napoleon , he was supreme at setting up coalitions against him , seven in all

as for commanding generals at army level Cadorna lead a long list of potential nominees
I have a weakness for Leopol I of habsburg at Morgarten
He put his strong army well stuck into a trap and got his armored knights butchered by a small number of Swiss peasants wielding rocks
Edward II of England who managed to get the best Army of the day with total superiority completely routed by the Scots at Bannock-burn
 
Mar 2016
563
Australia
#3
The French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars wasn't that bad; it was a fairly good navy, which just had the misfortune of going up against the best navy in the world. A better choice would be the Italian fleet during the 19th century (where I believe they actually lost an engagement with Austria, despite Austria having a sail ship and Italy having a modern iron-clad), or the Japanese fleet during the Imjin War, where they repeatedly were defeated despite having overwhelming numerical superiority.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,761
At present SD, USA
#4
The all fail team...

National Leadership:
Government Leader: Adolf Hitler
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Wilhelm Keital
Army Chief of Staff: George B. McClellan
Navy Chief of Staff: David Beatty
Air Force Chief of Staff: Ernst von Hoeppner

Army:
Commander: Maurice Gamelan
Infantry: Union Infantry at First Bull Run
Cavalry: US 7th Cavalry during Custer's campaigns in the west
Armor: Syrian Armored units in the Yom Kippur War
Engineers: Italian engineers in WW2
Heavy Artillery: French heavy artillery units between 1914-1915
Field Artillery: Spanish artillery from the Spanish American War
Special Forces: British 1st Airborne at Arnhem

Navy:
Commander: Zinovy Rozhestvensky
Carrier: French carrier Bearn
Battleships: British "battlecruisers" from the Battle of Jutland
Heavy Cruisers: The class to which the Vladimir Monomakh from the Russo-Japanese War belonged, Portland Class cruisers from WW2
Light Cruisers: Konigsberg class from WW2, Leander class from WW2
Destroyers: Japanese destroyers from WW2
Submarines: CSS Hunley
Aircraft: Gloster Sea Gladiator, Devastator, Val
Marines: Australian troops at Gallipoli in 1915

Air Force:
Commander: Billy Mitchell
Interceptor: Me 163 Komet
Escort Fighter: Messerschmidt Bf 109E
Ground Attack: Messerschmidt Bf 110
"Heavy" Bomber: Farman F.220
Medium Bomber: Bloch MB.131
Recon: Lublin R-XIII
Seaplane/Maritime Patrol: Latécoère 631 - mostly as the model never seemed to get out of the testing phase...
Trainer: Not sure if there is such a thing as a "failed" training aircraft...
Transport: Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant
Rockets: German V-2
 
May 2018
547
Michigan
#5
The French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars wasn't that bad; it was a fairly good navy, which just had the misfortune of going up against the best navy in the world. A better choice would be the Italian fleet during the 19th century (where I believe they actually lost an engagement with Austria, despite Austria having a sail ship and Italy having a modern iron-clad), or the Japanese fleet during the Imjin War, where they repeatedly were defeated despite having overwhelming numerical superiority.
I could see that: France was a great power. But the revolution killed or cashiered most of the talent as they went to war with the world's best Navy. Which did, sometimes kill their admirals (John Byng), but the Royal Navy captains like Pellew, Cochrane, Collingwood, Nelson were the naval equivalent, in terms of glory, of Napoleon's Marshals.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,761
At present SD, USA
#7
Okay I was like - whooaa. May I ask why?
In the escort role, its range was too short, which limited how well it could function when away from bases of supply. This hampered it in escorting German bombers over England coming from the south and meant they couldn't escort bombers flying from Norway. It did not have the range to protect Germany's bombers in the way that the P-51 would for the Allies. It did well in situations where the army was advancing over enemy airfields as it did over France in May-June 1940, and the with the F model in the Soviet Union and North Africa. And the G model did a decent job as an interceptor in the defense of German air space, but by the time they got to the G variant, the fighter was old and it couldn't compete against Allied fighters in the way it used to. And since we're looking at it in an escort role, as it was tasked with regard to escorting the bombers in the Battle of Britain, the E model's lack of range was a major problem that it never overcame.

Add in that it was built to have the smallest possible airframe, the Bf 109 had a host of other problems that plagued it and all its variants and thus hurt it in other roles as well. It had a complex start up and shut down procedure, meaning that if you didn't follow the process in order, you'll have trouble with take off or landing, contributing to a plane that had the highest accident rate of the war, particularly with new pilots fresh out of training. In addition, because of its small size, the cockpit was cramped for the average German and no variant had all around visibility, which limits how well the pilot can see behind him. Then add in its undercarriage... with its landing gear mounted so close together, the Bf 109 had this nasty habit of having the landing gear snap... another major reason why the plane had such a high accident rate. Not good, particularly in a protracted fight as WW2 became.

In this, fail.

Dead serious. The destroyer's role in WW2 was to serve as a scout and escort. It would thus serve as a warning to bigger ships of either incoming aircraft or submarines. They were also the principle weapon to use against submarines...

Japan's destroyers largely failed in both missions in the war. Kurita had destroyers escorting him at Leyte Gulf. In pure theory, they should have alerted him to the fact that what he'd run into was full of destroyers and escort carriers, not the WWI battleships of 7th Fleet or the fast battleships of 3rd Fleet. This was not done as the US destroyers went all out, holding off one of the most powerful Japanese forces in the Leyte Gulf Battle, all the while taking AP shells from Japan's battleships and cruisers, which thus did little damage and attracted an extensive amount of fire from nearly the entire Japanese force. That's a scouting fail for the Japanese destroyers in that battle. The Japanese southern force in the same battle also proved incapable of screening the Yamashiro and Fuso and thus protecting them from US torpedo boats and destroyers, and that was even before the US WWI battleships crossed the T. Scouting fail.

And throughout much of the Pacific War, Japan found itself the victim of the same sorts of tactics that the Germans used against the British. In this, Gato Class submarines had a field day on Japanese merchant shipping, which Japan never had a real answer for. And during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944, one US submarine managed to avoid the destroyers and attacked the Japanese flagship Taiho. The destroyers tried to sink the Albacore, but failed. Later another US submarine, the Cavalla, successfully damaged the Shokaku, and while it was damaged in return, it also survived being depth-charged. Anti-submarine fail.

How is that a failure??
It went into service in February 1864 and sank the same day. Yes, they can claim they sank a Union warship, but given that it sank in the same raid in which it sank the Housatonic is not a great success. Yes, it sank a ship, but it failed to break the Union blockade and is quite possible that when the Housatonic sank, it took the Hunley down with it. Thus, failure.
 
Likes: sparky
Apr 2018
181
India
#8
In the escort role, its range was too short, which limited how well it could function when away from bases of supply. This hampered it in escorting German bombers over England coming from the south and meant they couldn't escort bombers flying from Norway. It did not have the range to protect Germany's bombers in the way that the P-51 would for the Allies. It did well in situations where the army was advancing over enemy airfields as it did over France in May-June 1940, and the with the F model in the Soviet Union and North Africa. And the G model did a decent job as an interceptor in the defense of German air space, but by the time they got to the G variant, the fighter was old and it couldn't compete against Allied fighters in the way it used to. And since we're looking at it in an escort role, as it was tasked with regard to escorting the bombers in the Battle of Britain, the E model's lack of range was a major problem that it never overcame.

Add in that it was built to have the smallest possible airframe, the Bf 109 had a host of other problems that plagued it and all its variants and thus hurt it in other roles as well. It had a complex start up and shut down procedure, meaning that if you didn't follow the process in order, you'll have trouble with take off or landing, contributing to a plane that had the highest accident rate of the war, particularly with new pilots fresh out of training. In addition, because of its small size, the cockpit was cramped for the average German and no variant had all around visibility, which limits how well the pilot can see behind him. Then add in its undercarriage... with its landing gear mounted so close together, the Bf 109 had this nasty habit of having the landing gear snap... another major reason why the plane had such a high accident rate. Not good, particularly in a protracted fight as WW2 became.

In this, fail.
Didn't know this much. However all that proves that it had serious faults. Has there ever been a machine without any fault? You yourself have mentioned that Bf-109s were successful in France, North Africa and Soviet Union. Then how can it be the all time failure? I'd say compared to early war soviet fighters, especially MiG-3 and LaGG-3 the Bf-109 was a top notch fighter.

Without a bulged canopy its nigh impossible to have a good view of the rear. All the other successful WW2 fighters had this feature. Zero was particularly unique in having one huge, braced and almost bubble shaped canopy. The Bf-109 from this perspective was indeed lacking. However, compare it with the LaGG and MiG-3.

lagg3_1.gif mig3.gif

You can't see **** behind you in either bird. MiG design bureau wouldn't learn this until MiG-29s. About the landing gear, the LaGG's tail landing gear almost invariably snapped due to failure of hydraulics. Also it had an under powered water cooled engine and antifreeze was not available. In Russia. Range of both aircraft were pathetic (700 km) compared to the Bf-109 (850). However one must admit that these two were not intended for cross channel escort duty, no one in his right mind would even think of that. LaGG'c avionics were shot off to hell from the beginning. The plane's nose often pitched up for no reason, making tight turns and recovering from a nosedive were impossible. Quite aptly the Russian pilots called it - Guaranteed Varnished Coffin. And guess what, over 6000 of these junks were made before they moved to La-5s. As for the MiG, it was the undisputed champion of losses among all Soviet planes. I will not go into the technicalities of the MiG. Instead just read this -

"During a meeting in Moscow on December 23 1941, in the presence of Stalin, Mikoyan, Petlyakov, Mikulin, Ilyushin and many other, the delays by factory directors in shifting production of MiG-3s and AM-35As into Il-2s and AM-38Fs was discussed. As a result, Stalin sent an angry telegram: "You have deceived our country and our Red Army. Our Red Army needs Il-2s as much as it does bread and water. Szenkman is producing one Il-2 per day, and Tretyakov is producing one to two MiG-3s. This is an insult to the country and to the Red Army. We need Il-2s, not MiGs. This is your last warning". The telegram led to the immediate suspension of MiG-3 production, while production of the Il-2 grew rapidly, even beyond the planned volume."

Source - MiG-3

Note - Expert pilots became aces in these pieces of crap also.

As for the other two points I'll come back later.
 
Likes: sailorsam
Feb 2019
77
Serbia
#9
Head of State:Charles II of Spain
Head of Government: Dirk Jan de Geer
Army Chief of Staff: George, Duke of Cambridge
First Sea Lord: John Jervis ( He had his achievements but as First Lord of the Admiralty caused a great deal of damage to the navy in 1803 and as a result the navy was rather under-prepared at the start of the Napoleonic Wars.)
Field Commanders: Prince Frederick, Duke of York (A weak field commander but a decent reformer and administrator.)
Archduke John of Austria, William Howe, Maurice Gamelin, Von Rennenkampf.
Admirals: Henrik Horn, Pierre Villeneuve.
Infantry:Russian infantry in the early Great Northern War
Cavalry:? (Maybe the Mameluke cavalry during Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign?)
Engineers: Italian Engineers in WW2
Navy: the Russian navy during the Russo-Japanese War
Diplomats: Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles XII of Sweden (Brilliant commanders but terrible diplomats.) Graf von Berchtold .
 
Likes: frogsofwar
Apr 2018
181
India
#10
Dead serious. The destroyer's role in WW2 was to serve as a scout and escort. It would thus serve as a warning to bigger ships of either incoming aircraft or submarines. They were also the principle weapon to use against submarines...

Japan's destroyers largely failed in both missions in the war. Kurita had destroyers escorting him at Leyte Gulf. In pure theory, they should have alerted him to the fact that what he'd run into was full of destroyers and escort carriers, not the WWI battleships of 7th Fleet or the fast battleships of 3rd Fleet. This was not done as the US destroyers went all out, holding off one of the most powerful Japanese forces in the Leyte Gulf Battle, all the while taking AP shells from Japan's battleships and cruisers, which thus did little damage and attracted an extensive amount of fire from nearly the entire Japanese force. That's a scouting fail for the Japanese destroyers in that battle. The Japanese southern force in the same battle also proved incapable of screening the Yamashiro and Fuso and thus protecting them from US torpedo boats and destroyers, and that was even before the US WWI battleships crossed the T. Scouting fail.

And throughout much of the Pacific War, Japan found itself the victim of the same sorts of tactics that the Germans used against the British. In this, Gato Class submarines had a field day on Japanese merchant shipping, which Japan never had a real answer for. And during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944, one US submarine managed to avoid the destroyers and attacked the Japanese flagship Taiho. The destroyers tried to sink the Albacore, but failed. Later another US submarine, the Cavalla, successfully damaged the Shokaku, and while it was damaged in return, it also survived being depth-charged. Anti-submarine fail.
Beg to differ. None of these situations would arise until late in the war and all of them cannot certainly be counted as failures of Japanese destroyers. Remember that the US had an enormous technological advantage over the IJN - radar. By 1944 almost all American ships were equipped with surface search radar. Compared to this the only a handful of IJN destroyers had radars mounted and even those were vastly inferior. Even in Palawan Passage the entire Centre Force was detected by US subs using radar whereas the subs were detected (and ignored by Kurita) only by radio messages by Yamato's radiomen. Also Japan's inability to replenish its losses (both ship and personnel) affected its destroyer force quite badly. The entire Centre Force had only 15 destroyers to screen an armada of 5 battleships, 10 heavy cruisers and 2 light cruisers. Compare this with the loss of HMS Barham where 8 RN destroyers failed to maintain an effective screen for 3 battleships (U-331 was once detected but it was ignored) against one U-Boat.

The Battle of Samar was a story of incredible bravery of all ships of Taffy-3. Especially Samuel B Roberts, Johnston and Gambier Bay. It cannot be counted solely as a failure of IJN destroyers alone.

The southern battle, the Battle of Surigao strait was nothing but a massacre. How is it even possible for four destroyers to put up an effective screen for two battleships and one heavy cruiser moving single file? And Admiral Oldendorf's armada - 6 battleships, 4 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, God knows how many PT boats and 28 destroyers!! And talk of scouting, the PT boats harassed the formation almost all along the length of its journey. What could those 4 poor ships do other than going to hell in battle? And that they did quite readily, only Shigure survived.

The reason IJN couldn't protect its merchant shipping was that it never seriously used its destroyers as convoy escorts. Most of the destroyers were used up as fleet destroyers and later there were not many left. But in that capacity, especially early in the war IJN destroyers did a fantastic job. In those days even US ships didn't have serious radars and commanders were not very enthusiastic about it either. Unlike the traditional three shot policy, IJN gunners practiced to score on first shot at night (They observed the flashes from enemy guns for ranging) and were incredibly successful. Both their torpedo doctrine and the weapon itself was vastly superior compared to the Americans'. The idea was to come in a hyperbolic curve and launch the spread in a conical shape at the tip of the hyperbola (Example - sinking of USS Barton by Amatsukaze).

The success of these can be seen in the Battle of Java Sea, First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and most importantly, the Battle of Lunga Point. In the latter engagement a couple of torpedo salvos from seven of Raizo Tanaka's destroyers put Minneapolis, New Orleans and Pensacola out of action and sunk Northampton while suffering the loss of only one destroyer (Takanami). Note that all these Tokyo Express destroyers pulled this off without any element of surprise (all had been detected by radar).

Destroyers/destroyermen can only be as effective as the overall naval policy permits them to be. They should be used for fighting or escorting but definitely not for supplying jars of jam and cans of pork from Japan to a godforsaken south pacific volcanic rock. Also even the best of machines become obsolete due lack of new technology and it's neither the machines' nor the men's fault that policymakers were dumb idiots.

My opinion is somewhat influenced by "Japanese Destroyer Captain" by Captain Hara Tameichi but I write this after consulting both Wikipedia and historian Anthony Tully's combinedfleet.com. IMHO, the destroyers and carriers (and to some extent the cruisers) were the only things that actually saw the navy through the war. I have no idea what is meant by IJN submarine force and as for its vaunted battleships (Yamato and Musashi being the two most useless), using them as floating casinos would have been more beneficial (Those pagoda masts look ideal for decoration by colored lightbulbs) for the economy. And Admiral Yamamoto could have made millions using his skills instead of dying for nothing and being known as a great commander for achieving almost nothing.
 
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