Thursday, October 18, 2007

If at first you don't succeed

Reading the Day of Battle with its stories of mishaps at Anzio, Salerno and other Italian locales, I recalled a book that has long sat on my wish list, America's First Battles. The book looks at the first land battles of the US Army in conflicts from 1776 to 1965. In each case the first battle, such as Kasserine Pass, Manassas and Long Island, the US Army fared poorly and eventually developed into an effective force for that particular conflict. The book examines why this is the case. Iraq would make for an interesting inclusion in a future addition. In that case, a spectacular initial battle was followed by years of falling behind.

On the topic of Manassas, it is a little strange that the US Navy has a USS Chancellorsville, named after one of the greatest victories of the CSA over the USA. It's hard to think of other circumstances where the losing side is so honored. This site mentions that Churchill wanted an HMS Cromwell, but the Crown wasn't keen. Cromwell had to make do with a tank.

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