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Alternative Civil War Combat?

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Alternative Civil War Combat?

Post by MarkManRed on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:31 pm

The high casualties of the Civil War are always attributed to the outdate combat tactics coupled with the advanced weaponry of the time. So it makes me curious, what other alternatives could they have used? What sort of tactics would have been better suited for the war? The majority of the guns that were in action were single shot muskets, most of which were very accurate during the Civil War era, making the "Ordered Ranks" and "Straight Lines" a recipe for slaughter. Would have a guerrilla approach been better? Or some sort of other shooting arrangement? I am aware that by the end of the war trenches had become very complex, but that is more of a defensive development than a real tactical change. I have yet to think of a viable offensive alternative. Any thoughts?

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Re: Alternative Civil War Combat?

Post by thomascgty on Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:38 pm

I think a guerrilla warfare could have been a better. Standing in columns and rows only makes each combatant like a bowling pin waiting to be shot.

I am not sure how the psychology works during that time but landmines are effective traps reducing casualty on your own forces but inflicting more damage to your enemies. But then again, the Confederate lacked war resources compared to the Union has. And to the fact that it was thanks Jefferson Davis the Union army improved its armaments before the war.

Just a hunch, but warfare in Asia uses landmines and other methods that the West sees as "barbaric". One is the use of hunting traps when fighting inside a forest.
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Re: Alternative Civil War Combat?

Post by MarkManRed on Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:14 am

Exactly. It's an interesting question to ponder. I do know that land mines were used against Sherman's army as they marched through Georgia, but as stated the South just didn't have the means to produce a sizable number. I'm beginning to think that they really were stuck during that time in a tactical sense. Take WW1 for example. Weaponry continued to advance, but the bottom line remained: Out maneuver the enemy, find the best ground, and dig in! This being the case, Civil War battles were won or lost before they even began. The actual strategy was in getting to the most defensible ground first. By WW2 there were all sorts of offensive options. Paratroopers, strategic armor movements, air raids etc..
But with musket warfare, I just don't see any sort of offensive alternative other than overwhelming numbers.

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Re: Alternative Civil War Combat?

Post by confederateson1342 on Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:02 pm

I think that they should have used a defensive-offense. For example dig into certain positions and create defensive areas and create stages as they retreat tied in with guerrilla warfare. Kind of like what happened in the revolutionary war. I am sure some tactics like this was used, it is a very useful tactic if you are out numbered and limited ammo. But if they let the union forces come for them and attack defensive Confederate positions and then when the Confederates have to retreat they have another stage of defense and keep wearing union troops down until there was nothing left. This would have been useful instead of trying to drive into the north, then you get battles like Gettysburg. Especially when the union troops used tactics like they did when they set up defensive positions on top of hills.

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