Post by keogh on Jun 28, 2017 1:49:43 GMT -5
Yes, the book Small Wars is a study of quite a few engagements of regular troops fighting irregular warriors throughout the 19th Century. From those fights, tacticians can see and develop certain patterns and expectations in combat based on prior examples in battle. What Callwell is proposing is all based on prior examples in combat against irregular forces. These basic precepts will be successful in most cases if followed correctly.
The assumption that Reno could have been successful by charging another 500 yards could also result in his forces flanked and trapped by that same movement. If you charge into a large number, you can become surrounded without the Indians even trying to surround you. You just jumped in the middle of a hornets nest. LOTS and LOTS of hornets. It is just as probable that Reno might have lasted less than 10 minutes. This would leave Custer to the same forces or maybe even more because Reno would be dead much earlier than his retreat from the valley. Without Reno's men, Benteen and the pack train would have been no match for the Indians. They hardly had enough to keep the Indians at bay with Reno. NO chance without Reno's men.
This would only hold true if the Indians received the charge without breaking and running away from the charging troopers. There are, of course, no examples in the Plains Indian wars where any group of Indians stood up to a cavalry charge, regardless of its numbers. Is it possible that these Indians would break all precedent and stand their ground against a cavalry charge? Perhaps. But the odds were against it as they had never done so before. At the LBH, as long as Reno advanced into the valley the warriors fell back from his advance. They only came out to attack and flank him after he stopped his charge and dismounted his men.
That would have been one hell of a mess....Can you even fathom how hard the battle would be to understand if that took place? 3 separate units wiped out. All miles from each other.
Certainly a possibility, however remote. One must always go with the odds. Callwell tells us that irregular troops don't stand up to an aggressive cavalry charge in most cases, regardless of their numbers. At the Battle of Smala (1843) 600 cavalrymen charged and destroyed a village of 6000 hostiles. These irregular hostiles certainly had the numbers to flank and destroy these cavalrymen in much the manner you describe above, yet they failed to do so. Instead they broke and ran, despite their overwhelming numbers. That is the difference between fighting conventional forces vs. small wars. The basic rules are very different from each other. What applies to one does not carry over to the other.