“Everybody loves a winner,” as the saying goes, and we typically celebrate the victorious commanders and their triumphant armies, navies or air forces. But how should we judge those that fought on the losing side– military history’s “lost causes”? Should the unsuccessful outcome of their battles and wars negate the battlefield accomplishments they did achieve? This issue we present several revealing articles about leaders and forces fighting in lost causes.
The subject of John W. Mountcastle’s Battlefield Leader is Confederate partisan ranger John S. Mosby, the Civil War’s “Gray Ghost.”Although Mosby’s phenomenal success in unconventional operations led to a huge area of northern Virginia being nicknamed “Mosby’s Confederacy,” he ultimately could not forestall final Union victory.
Gerald Swick’s Battle Studies traces the participation of Romania’s armies as German allies on World War II’s Eastern Front.Yet despite some notable success during Germany’s 1941 invasion of Russia, Romanian3d and 4th armies’ failure to repel a powerful Soviet counterattack ensured the stunning Axis defeat at the turning-point Battle of Stalingrad.
World War II’s Eastern Front is also the setting for Hal Wert’s article on the little-known Latvian Legion. Caught between two ruthless dictators – Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin – some Latvians made a “devil’s pact” with the Nazis and fought with German forces against the Soviets who had brutally occupied the Baltic nation in 1940.
John Sutherland’s timely Special Report reveals what readers must know about today’s ongoing crisis in the Middle East – a situation that hopefully will not turn out to be a lost cause for the United States and its regional and global allies. Sutherland explains the multiple schisms fueling the region’s violent upheavals that have led to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL)and other terrorist organizations.
Richard Armstrong’s What Next, General? challenges readers to change the outcome of a famous lost cause in naval history. Playing the role of British Admiral Tom Phillips,commander of the Royal Navy warships Prince of Wales and Repulse, readers must choose a strategy to halt Japan’s December1941 opening war offensive in the Pacific.
Other interactive articles this issue place readers in the role of a U.S. Marine sergeant facing German machine guns on World War I’s Western Front in 1918 and in the boots of a British commander leading paratroopers to capture a key Argentine position in the1982 Falklands War.
We also present Ralph Peters’ insightful Crisis Watch column, as well as ACG’s exclusive interview with Mary Eisenhower, Ike’s granddaughter. And we round out the issue with articles on several wide-ranging subjects: King Richard I and the 1192 Battle of Jaffa; the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts, 1901-48; Britain’s master of the battlefield, the Duke of Marlborough; and our must-read reviews of games, books and DVDs.
Jerry D. Morelock, PhD, “Armchair General” Editor in Chief
Originally published in the March 2015 issue of Armchair General.