Would the confederacy have won if not for southern pride??

Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
As a disclaimer this is strictly from the standpoint of military tactics.. thank god they lost...


Imho most of not all of the confederacies major military blunders were all couched in southern pride.. so I wonder how it goes if they had taken a more logical and unemotional approach..

For example..

1) Firing on sumner was of zero strategic value and was ONLY about politics.. there were like 80 guys totally surrounded and about to starve.. hell they could let them be resupplied and the fort was still basically meaningless..

They sacrificed “the moral high ground “ politically just because they didn’t want sumner to besmirch southern honor..

2) marching on the north...

IMho napoleonic tactics were dead.. and had been for a generation at least , even though the military brass refused to drop it..

When you attack a fortified position using napoleonic tactics , when the enemy has even civil war area weaponry.. your screwed.. and both sides found that out the hard way..

So if the south played defense in depth tactics, and let the union break over and over again on their fortified positions..

How long till the northern population taps out??

Remember we have removed a lot of what functionally pissed the norther people off...










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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,211
Kansas
As a disclaimer this is strictly from the standpoint of military tactics.. thank god they lost...
It is an interesting question. The North was never really stretched in terms of resources. The idea of defense in depth really did not exist yet as a tactic. But if the South tried for the moral high ground and only campaigned on a defensive basis it might have slowly drained the angst out of the North
 
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Oct 2019
23
America
Personally I dont think so. I'm a bit biased but I'll try to back myself up a bit. For one Firing on Sumter was (in my undertsanding) what actually started the war as Lincoln wasn't going to send Federal Troops unless the south attacked first. Marching on the north I will agree was stupid but if they could have taken a quick overwhelming victory they might have won. But they didnt have any generals with the skill or the manpower to achieve this. Also I feel that with the total war strategy of the north the southern population would tap out long before the north'.
 
Mar 2018
896
UK
If you know you don't have the resources in the long run, you don't base your entire strategy on making the fight as long as possible. You do your best to make sure the war is over quickly.

In the context of the time, the Prussians did this lots in the 18th and early 19th century, and it worked well for them. It was the obvious thing for the south to do.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,779
Dispargum
The South did get something by firing on Sumter - they pulled the Upper South off the fence and got them to secede. The South almost got the border states into the Confederacy as well, but of course almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
 
Jan 2019
180
Finland
As a disclaimer this is strictly from the standpoint of military tactics.. thank god they lost...


Imho most of not all of the confederacies major military blunders were all couched in southern pride.. so I wonder how it goes if they had taken a more logical and unemotional approach..

For example..

1) Firing on sumner was of zero strategic value and was ONLY about politics.. there were like 80 guys totally surrounded and about to starve.. hell they could let them be resupplied and the fort was still basically meaningless..

They sacrificed “the moral high ground “ politically just because they didn’t want sumner to besmirch southern honor..

2) marching on the north...

IMho napoleonic tactics were dead.. and had been for a generation at least , even though the military brass refused to drop it..

When you attack a fortified position using napoleonic tactics , when the enemy has even civil war area weaponry.. your screwed.. and both sides found that out the hard way..

So if the south played defense in depth tactics, and let the union break over and over again on their fortified positions..

How long till the northern population taps out??

Remember we have removed a lot of what functionally pissed the norther people off...
I think you are maybe overstating the napoleonic tactics? For sure increased firepower of small arms and artillery had made frontal assaults riskier, but packing a lot of men closely together was also the most effective way of delivering firepower at (hopefully a weakpoint of) an enemy line if well coordinated with artillery. What you're suggesting with defence in depth sounds more like WW1 with a continuous front which was not possible in the ACW.
 
Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
I think you are maybe overstating the napoleonic tactics? For sure increased firepower of small arms and artillery had made frontal assaults riskier, but packing a lot of men closely together was also the most effective way of delivering firepower at (hopefully a weakpoint of) an enemy line if well coordinated with artillery. What you're suggesting with defence in depth sounds more like WW1 with a continuous front which was not possible in the ACW.
I disagree completely...

I think it was tradition to line up and attempt to turn flanks and such, but was probably outdated long before the war..

And if you look at those who shined... most broke the normal military rulebook..

Sherman, Forrest.. exc..defense in depth had not been invented yet lol.. so a lot of pipe dream here..
But I do not think the north is willing to spend the men that would take..



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Jan 2019
180
Finland
I disagree completely...

I think it was tradition to line up and attempt to turn flanks and such, but was probably outdated long before the war..

And if you look at those who shined... most broke the normal military rulebook..

Sherman, Forrest.. exc..defense in depth had not been invented yet lol.. so a lot of pipe dream here..
But I do not think the north is willing to spend the men that would take..



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I think that's an over simplification. Delivering shock via the firepower or a charge of a mass of men was still a perfectly valid tactic at the time. You still had field armies squaring against each other so that "he who defends everything defends nothing" would apply there. There was the campaign by Grant where he relentlessly attacked the Army of Virginia, who frequently had set up field fortifications and had the Army of the Potomac assaulting them and forcing them to withdraw and that seems as close to defence in depth that was possible. It didn't work out for the South.
 
Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
I think that's an over simplification. Delivering shock via the firepower or a charge of a mass of men was still a perfectly valid tactic at the time. You still had field armies squaring against each other so that "he who defends everything defends nothing" would apply there. There was the campaign by Grant where he relentlessly attacked the Army of Virginia, who frequently had set up field fortifications and had the Army of the Potomac assaulting them and forcing them to withdraw and that seems as close to defence in depth that was possible. It didn't work out for the South.
Valid is relative..

They were having 40% casualty rates (from memory) ..

I think mass fighting should have died with melee weapons.

Guns changed the game.. completely and the “proud military tradition “ narrative was WAY deeper the farther back I history you go.. and a lot of times their daddy was a general and their daddy was a general..

I think that led to them hanging on to a dead tactic.

Line was definitely not more efficient than the cover to cover, mixed with going prone we use today.

I think guns made line fighting as irrelevant as they made horse archers.... but for literally all of human history they had been doing battle in shield walls. I think it took until the end of the civil war for the world to realize it...


Well or for that “proud military tradition “ to admit it...


(The “proud military tradition” term is not me taking a shot at them... they have ample reasons to be proud of their military traditions. The game just changed)




I’m not sure line fighting s



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Jan 2019
180
Finland
Valid is relative..

They were having 40% casualty rates (from memory) ..

I think mass fighting should have died with melee weapons.

Guns changed the game.. completely and the “proud military tradition “ narrative was WAY deeper the farther back I history you go.. and a lot of times their daddy was a general and their daddy was a general..

I think that led to them hanging on to a dead tactic.

Line was definitely not more efficient than the cover to cover, mixed with going prone we use today.

I think guns made line fighting as irrelevant as they made horse archers.... but for literally all of human history they had been doing battle in shield walls. I think it took until the end of the civil war for the world to realize it...


Well or for that “proud military tradition “ to admit it...


(The “proud military tradition” term is not me taking a shot at them... they have ample reasons to be proud of their military traditions. The game just changed)




I’m not sure line fighting s



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The tactics of the time were informed by the weaponry of the time. There had been light infantry who did use cover and took shots at their own discretion, but they weren't able to hold off an advance of an infantry assault column, for that you needed another to oppose it. Or if there wasn't mass formations of infantry the dispersed infantry could be overrun by cavalry. In any case, it's best to assume that there was a survival of the fittest in terms of war and if we think that we know better then it's because we anachronistically transplant what works for us to them. They were just as smart as we are and used what was available to them to their best effectiveness.