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Posted on Nov 17, 2008 in Armchair Reading

January 2009 Issue – 50 Battles That Shaped Our World

By Armchair General

January 2009 Table of Contents
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In this issue, you’ll learn

  • Why America’s government can’t understand its enemies
  • What General Montgomery C. Meigs says about his experiences in Bosnia and Iraq
  • Al-Qaida’s media strategy
  • How 50 battles shaped the world in which we live




See past issues of Armchair General



  1. enjoyed the article discussing Rommel at Normandy. He and von Rundstedt had skewed tactical proposals-Rommel wanted to fight positional warfare, but it should have taken place inland, whereas von Rundstedt desired to make his stand inland, but he wished to commit mobile forces, rather than to utilize positional warfare. The failure of the Wehrmacht in 1944 shared numerous common denominators with the failure of the French Army in 1940-spotty air support, over reliance on fixed defenses, too many layers of command and control (compare Hitler leading from Bergtesgaden to Gamelin commanding from Vincennes),diluted armor concentrations and poor signals and communications. In the end the Atlantic Wall doomed whatever course of action the Germans chose. They should have recalled their WWI experience, employing a layered defence in depth, with pre stocked munitions, rations and fuel caches well beyond the range of naval gunfire. It would be an infantry and artillery based defense, which would hinder the Allies mobility and dilute USAAF and RAF target oppurtunities- The panzers would remain in the east, as Guderian had wished where the might have saved Army Group Centre that summer-In this scenario Kesselring or perhaps Heinrici, would be a better choice as an overall commander in teh West

  2. I also really enjoyed your article on the 50 most decisive battles in history, and am particularly glad that the 1948-49 Huai-Hai Campaign during the Chinese Civil War is included, after many decades of omission due to unfamiliarity.

    Given that the Peoples Republic of China is a rising world power and a strategic competitor to the traditional “Western World”, this decisive battle should be included. Had the Chinese Communists not defeated their Nationalist rivals in this campaign, not only would they have not won the Chinese Civil War as quickly as they did, but the course of the Cold War in Asia would have been quite different. There would have been no Inchon, Dien Bien Phu or Tet Offensive had there been no Communist regime in China.

    One comment about the Huai-Hai Campaign entry in the article needs to be strongly mentioned. The listing of the opposing commanders is actually INCORRECT, in that the FIRST names, rather than the last names are listed. Chinese names are given in patronymic order, last name first.

    Hence the Communist PLA commanders were Liu Bocheng (Central Plains Field Army C.O.), Deng Xiaoping (CPFA commissar and future leader of China), Chen Yi (East China Field Army C.O.), Su Yu (ECFA deputy C.O.), and Tan Zhenlin (ECFA deputy commissar) These were the members of the General Front Committee that oversaw PLA operations during the campaign, which should have been listed as (Liu, Deng, Chen, Su and Tan).

    For the Nationalist Army, the commanders were Liu Zhi (Xuzhou Bandit Suppression HQ CO), Du Yuming (Xuzhou HQ deputy CO), Huang Botao (7th Army CO), Qiu Qingquan (2nd Army CO), Huang Wei (12th Army CO), Li Mi (13th Army CO) and Sun Yuanliang (16th Army CO), of whom Huang Botao and Qiu Qingquan were killed during the campaign, while Du Yuming and Huang Wei were captured by the PLA. Thus they should have been listed as (Liu, Du, Huang, Qiu, Huang, Li and Sun), although listing them by last-name only would cause some confusion.

  3. Some of this commentary may be more suitable for the “what if?” thread, but the actual outcome of the Battle of Khalkin Gol would qualify it as a battle that shaped the world. Relatively little has been written about is has it occurred in one of the world’s most remote regions between the world’s two most closed societies. The Soviet victory allowed her to gamble with the Siberian Army in 1941 to save Moscow, defeat the objective of Barbarossa and to keep the USSR in the war. Khalkin Gol brought the talents of Georgi Zhukov to the forefront and history records how much they were later utilized. Lastly, Khalkin Gol redirected that Japanese achivement of the goals of the Tanaka Memorial, from the army to the Navy, and a collision course with war with the US.

    As far as the “what if?” is concerned, a Japanese victory would have denied Stalin his Siberian ace-in-the-hole to spare Moscow, may have banished Zhukov to a gulag or a penal battalion and allowed the Japanese Army to hold sway in military policy, with efforts directed against the Russians and Chinese, and away from the US, denying the golden opportunity granted to Britain of the Pearl Harbor attack. The US would remain the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’, but would not become an active participant until Stalin was forced to sign a separate peace treaty with Hitler. This may have delayed US involvement in North Africa for at least another year

  4. A very, very great issue–very probably the best to date! I especially enjoyed the article on Rommel’s Normandy Panzer Strategy, as well as the feature article on 50 Battles that shaped our world, and the four regular columns of Forgotten History, Legendary Combat Units, Great Warriors, and Badges of Honor. The Great Warriors feature on the Red Army Tankers was especially good. It is issues like this one that cause me to always renew my subscription to your magazine. Thanks for all the great work!

  5. Hi. Good site.


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