Incompetent Commanders in History

In war, we learned about military leaders who led their men to their deaths and defeats. We also knew about their incompetence in handling their troops which led to a loss of morale in the army. The following are the military commanders who we all knew are infamous for their lousy military action and arrogance.

Adolf Hitler

Before World War II, German military theorists knew that Germany cannot win a war on 2 fronts. The German army only has to focus in either an east or a west campaign but never both because doing so would subject it to severe strain on resources. Moreover, Germany would make itself vulnerable to attacks from both sides. Adolf Hitler did not follow the original plan of sticking to just one front. After he is certain that Great Britain cannot be defeated by aerial bombardment alone, he decided that Germany would invade Russia. This move saved Great Britain from defeat and allowed it to even recover as the threat of German invasion was gone. The German invasion of Russia was a disaster for the Third Reich as a lot of Germans lost their lives and valuables resources were lost. This was the beginning of the decline of the German Army. Adolf Hitler was not known to be a skilled tactician but he made the decisions anyway and rejected the recommendations of his competent officers

Todo Takatora

He was a Japanese admiral during the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 16th century. He led his Japanese full fleet of 133 ships against a Korean navy of only 13 ships in the Battle of Myeongnyang. Most of his ships were destroyed or disabled. The Korean navy did not even lose a single ship. Because of this , the Japanese forces in the mainland of Korea were forced to retreat as they cannot receive the much needed supplies and reinforcements. This allowed the Korean navy to recover its previous losses and regroup for future campaigns against the Japanese invasion force.

George Armstrong Custer

He was an American cavalry commander during the US Civil War and Indian Wars. He was known for his lavish military clothes and a media publicity seeker for his personal exploits. He was infamous for  “Custer’s Last Stand” where his entire cavalry unit was completely annihilated in just a few hours by a combined tribe of  Cheyenne, Lakota  and Arapaho Indians in the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. He was known to be brave but reckless in the face of insurmountable odds. This battle was disastrous for the United States, but his name became a household legend in American history.

Robert Georges Nivelle

He was the French Commander-in-Chief  and the architect of the infamous “Nivelle Offensive” during World War I. This plan of his only caused more than 200,000 Allied Forces casualties without any significant territorial gain for the Allies. Worst, there were threats of mutiny in the French Army. This led to a change in the leadership of the French Army and Nivelle was sacked to appease the French army. He was later sent to Africa.

Douglas MacArthur

He was the American Commander of US Army Forces in the Far East and Commanding General of Allied Forces during the Korean War. He was a general with a high ego. His lack of military preparation for the Philippines before World War 2 led to its defeat at the hands of the Japanese in the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor. He left his American and Filipino troops in the Philippines under the advise of President Roosevelt and went to Australia with a promise of “I shall return” to the Filipino people.  During the middle phase of the Korean War, MacArthur said to President Truman that the Chinese would not enter the war and fight against the Americans. This was a gross miscalculation as a million Chinese army men invaded North Korea and pushed back the Americans to South Korea. As a final recourse, this made MacArthur suggest to Truman to use the atomic bomb against the Chinese but was vehemently rejected. MacArthur was then finally sacked and replaced by General Matthew Ridgway. In his return to the American homeland, he would talk to the media against Truman’s poor policies in Korea.