almost anyone who has crossed rivers in the west can identify good land for a ford. Custer spent 9 years on the plains crossing western rivers and creeks If Custer could cross anywhere why did he not attack?
Yes...I think that is well established both in his Civil War histories and in Indian Wars accounts of his uncanny ability to find routes.
He had several Crows with him that would have discussed where the various fords were on the LBH as they rode down Reno/Ash Creek earlier.
And if this master ford finder knew there was a ford why did he only take 2 troops?
You don't KNOW that there is a ford...you only know a good area where one MIGHT be found, and you go down to make sure, IF that was what he was doing. Personally, I think he went to a ford up north to make an attack on the rear of Ford B, but found that he either was blocked, or that he heard Keogh in trouble and had to turn on the defensive suddenly. I suspect the latter.
And it worked like a dream at the LBH. Reno did the right thing.Benteen did the right thing and McDougal did the right thing.And Custer's little plan went down the toilet.All new students of conz's tactics take note.
That's why we study this...so we get better subordinates that Reno and Benteen. We'd rather have men like Weir and French in charge, see?
That's why we study this...so we get better subordinates that Reno and Benteen. We'd rather have men like Weir and French in charge, see? Or Elliot or Fetterman.Keep studying.
Yes, you are exactly right. <g> Elliot and Fetterman were MUCH better cavalry leaders than Reno or Benteen were, and more respected by their peers, I think. They were very aggressive, optimistic, and "mission-oriented" as we say in the Army today.
Yes, you lose a lot of them that way, but you also win more battles that way...MOST of the time, as cavalry history attests.
I think we'll keep our firebrands. Warfare would be so DULL without them...and pretty indecisive. Decisive, but risky, warfare is why God created Hussars in the first place, eh? Armies that don't have at least a few of these don't win wars.
Elliott & Fetterman . . . ended up dead chasing after Indians.
While being aggessive may have some good points . . . stupidity doesn't.
Some of the best officers who fought Indians DIDN'T end up dead: Crook (minus the Rosebud fiasco), McKenzie, Reynolds, Miles, to name a few.
Other "firebrands" who ended up dead: Custer & Grattan. Not the best company to be in if you wanted to be successful AND alive!
That's right...do YOU want to live forever?!
It was the great Hussar icon LaSalle that said "any Trooper who lives beyond his 30s is not a good Hussar."
Being smart is very good, as long as you have the Hussar attitude to go with it. You take risks...sometimes you lose, but most of the time you win.
Remember in the Civil War, the Troopers of the 1st Vermont, when attached to Custer's brigade in the Valley, are recorded to have said, "We knew that many of us would die with Custer, but we wanted to be where the action was."
Cavalrymen are supposed to be VERY aggressive. We HOPE that we live to tell about it, but that is not a prequisite for being a good Cavalryman.
Most aggressive Cavalry leaders, and their men, DID live, like Merritt, Kilpatrick, Emory Upton, or Creighton Abrams. Many did not...Custer, Farnsworth, Stuart, Elliott...