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Teutoburg Forest, Little Bighorn, And Maiwand: Why Superior Military Forces Sometimes Fail

Length: 104 pages2 hours


Usually in history it seems that the technologically advanced society has a greater advantage in warfare than more primitive societies. For most battles this seems to hold true; however, there are exceptions to this rule. This document examines three different battles in history where a primitive, tribal force was able to decisively defeat a better-equipped, more advanced army. Following the introduction the second chapter focuses on the Romans versus Germanic tribes at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest; the third chapter investigates Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn; and the fourth chapter discusses the Battle of Maiwand in the Second Afghan War. Although each of these battles has its own unique circumstances that contributed to the victory of the primitive forces, three main themes link each of the battles. In each battle the technologically advanced army followed predictable tactics. The primitive armies employed new tactics that generally served to negate some of the technological advantages of the superior force. And finally, cultural influences played a role in strengthening the resolve to fight despite apparently poor odds. In each of the battles these factors combined with others to produce a victory over a technologically advanced foe.

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