History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

Watch History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

  • 2015
  • 1 Season

In History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach, you’ll study these crucibles of history to gain a better understanding of why a civilization took-or didn't take-a particular path. This course examines some of the world's most notable examples of military misfortune, from the destruction of a Roman army at the Battle of Carrhae to the tragic landings at Gallipoli in World War I.

History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach
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Seasons
The Great Blunders: Four Paths to Failure
24. The Great Blunders: Four Paths to Failure
September 25, 2015
Review the conflicts in this course to determine the major recurrent errors leading to such blunders. Then, turn to the final case study: a location and culture encompassing modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan that has been the target of some of history's greatest conquerors and empires across more than 2,000 years.
Operation Market Garden: A Bridge Too Far-1944
23. Operation Market Garden: A Bridge Too Far-1944
September 25, 2015
Operation Market Garden is routinely listed among the great military mishaps of World War II. Investigate the Allies€™ numerous errors in planning, organization, and execution in this bold air/land mission, from underestimating the Germans€™ resistance to ignoring important intelligence to making unrealistic timetables.
Dieppe Raid: Catastrophe on the Beach-1942
22. Dieppe Raid: Catastrophe on the Beach-1942
September 25, 2015
From conception to execution, the Dieppe raid was filled with unclear objectives and poor planning. Why did the Allies undertake such an ill-fated attack on this German-occupied French city? Find out here, along with a detailed account of what went wrong-from bad timing to overambitious strategies to unexpectedly difficult terrain.
World War II: Royal Navy Goes Down-1941-42
21. World War II: Royal Navy Goes Down-1941-42
September 25, 2015
Examine two of the worst naval disasters in the Britain's history, the causes of which include both grossly underestimating and overestimating the enemy: the sinking of the Royal Navy's most technologically sophisticated battleship by Japanese bombers in December 1941 and the destruction of merchant ships in Convoy PQ 17 by Germans in July 1942.
Gallipoli: Churchill Dooms Allied Assault-1915
20. Gallipoli: Churchill Dooms Allied Assault-1915
September 25, 2015
With World War I bogged down in trench warfare, Britain attempted to break the stalemate-which had tragic results in the Gallipoli campaign, an infamous episode of military incompetence. See where the Brits went wrong, from poorly allocating resources to giving the Turks ample time to prepare.
Tannenberg: Ineptitude in the East-1914
19. Tannenberg: Ineptitude in the East-1914
September 25, 2015
The Battle of Tannenberg was a brilliant victory for the Germans-made possible by the many errors committed by the Russians. Discover how the Germans turned the tables on Alexander Samsonov, fragmenting and tearing apart his once seemingly invincible battalions, leaving them lost in a nightmarish landscape of forest and bogs.
Colenso: The Second Boer War-1899
18. Colenso: The Second Boer War-1899
September 25, 2015
The Boer War's Battle of Colenso marked a turning point in military tactics, as the British forces clung to obsolete methods of fighting in the face of new weaponry and tactics. Explore how the stubborn determination of the British commanders to utilize outdated techniques resulted in a completely ineffectual attack.
Adwa: Italy's Fiasco in Ethiopia-1896
17. Adwa: Italy's Fiasco in Ethiopia-1896
September 25, 2015
Learn how overconfidence, miscommunication, and miscalculation were all displayed by the Italians at Adwa in Ethiopia, resulting in one of the greatest victories of a native people over an imperial power during the colonization era-a rare indigenous civilization that succeeded in establishing itself as an independent modern nation.
Isandlwana: 25,000 Zulus Undetected-1879
16. Isandlwana: 25,000 Zulus Undetected-1879
September 25, 2015
How could an army accompanied by cannon and rocket artillery be wiped out by Zulu warriors wielding spears, clubs, and a smattering of outdated firearms? Find out in this account of one of the most shocking and humiliating British defeats from the Napoleonic Wars up to World War I.
Greasy Grass: Custer's Last Stand-1876
15. Greasy Grass: Custer's Last Stand-1876
September 25, 2015
Military historians still argue over what happened and who was at fault in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Examine why this battle between George Custer's cavalry and the Lakota and their allies remains one of the most infamous in American history, and see how this rare victory for the indigenous tribes ultimately hastened their defeat.
Crimea: Charge of the Light Brigade-1854
14. Crimea: Charge of the Light Brigade-1854
September 25, 2015
Although a minor incident, the Charge of the Light Brigade has gained a reputation as both a glorious moment in the history of warfare and one of the greatest military blunders of all time. Follow the disastrous chain of events that lead the British to attack the wrong target.
Afghanistan: Khyber Pass Death Trap-1842
13. Afghanistan: Khyber Pass Death Trap-1842
September 25, 2015
Propelled by paranoia about Russian plots, the First Afghan War was an unmitigated disaster for the British. See how their attempt to protect the East India Company's interests resulted in the entire Army of the Indus-16,000 soldiers and camp followers-being wiped out by Afghan tribesmen.
Russia: Napoleon Retreats in the Snow-1812
12. Russia: Napoleon Retreats in the Snow-1812
September 25, 2015
Napoleon made many mistakes in his campaign to invade Russia, a fatal miscalculation that led to his downfall and blemished his legacy as a brilliant general. Investigate his errors here, from appointing his inept brother to an important role to using unimaginative frontal assault tactics, which resulted in a bloodbath.
Culloden: The Bonnie Prince Blunders-1746
11. Culloden: The Bonnie Prince Blunders-1746
September 25, 2015
Prince Charles Edward Stuart disembarked a French warship onto the shore of Scotland intent on restoring the House of Stuart over England and Scotland. As you delve into the battle of Culloden, notice how his rivalries, poor decisions, and waffling led to failure against the firepower and professionalism of the British.
Cartagena: High Walls, Short Ladders-1741
10. Cartagena: High Walls, Short Ladders-1741
September 25, 2015
The most spectacular battle of the War of Jenkins' Ear was a massive amphibious assault launched against the Spanish port city of Cartagena, Colombia. Trace how this expedition began with great enthusiasm among the British but ended in failure and embarrassment, due primarily to the enmity that arose between Britain's top-ranking naval and army officers.
Nagashino: Taking Swords to a Gunfight-1575
9. Nagashino: Taking Swords to a Gunfight-1575
September 25, 2015
The Battle of Nagashino was the culmination of a multi-generational conflict with some of the most memorable battles and colorful figures in Japanese history. Although both armies possessed guns, only one commander employed them to maximum effect. Delve into the battle and consider why mere access to a new technology isn't sufficient for victory-one must also understand how to use it effectively.
Courtrai: Knights versus Shopkeepers-1302
8. Courtrai: Knights versus Shopkeepers-1302
September 25, 2015
At the Battle of Courtrai in 1302, a French army of the finest knights equipped with the best available arms and armor was beaten by what many viewed as an undisciplined rabble of Flemish shopkeepers bearing improvised weapons. Delve into the battle and learn the mistakes leading to the knights€™ defeat.
Kalka River: Genghis Khan's General-1223
7. Kalka River: Genghis Khan's General-1223
September 25, 2015
More than 40,000 Russians were slain at the hands of the Mongols at the Kalka River, including six princes and 70 noblemen. Examine the factors that led to the allied army's defeat, from underestimating the Mongols to repeatedly allowing their leader, Subotai, to maneuver his opponents onto ground of his own choosing.
Fourth Crusade: Byzantium Betrayed-1204
6. Fourth Crusade: Byzantium Betrayed-1204
September 25, 2015
Innocent III initiated the Fourth Crusade to recapture control of the Holy Lands from Muslim rulers, but Crusaders ultimately rampaged through Christendom. Learn what led to the brutal attack and looting of the city of Constantinople, a supposed ally of the Crusaders and the seat of the Greek Orthodox branch of Christianity.
Barbarian Gate: Adrianople-378, Pliska-811
5. Barbarian Gate: Adrianople-378, Pliska-811
September 25, 2015
Although waged 400 years apart, the battles of Adrianople and Pliska share a number of curious similarities. Explore how both defeats were triggered by the Romans€™ mistreatment of immigrant €œbarbarian€ groups from the north-who might otherwise have been converted into allies-and overconfidence on the part of the Roman emperors.
Red Cliffs: Cao Cao's Bad Day-208 A.D.
4. Red Cliffs: Cao Cao's Bad Day-208 A.D.
September 25, 2015
Even outstanding commanders can have a bad day, as evidenced by one of the most celebrated conflicts in Chinese history: the battle of Red Cliffs. How did general Cao Cao get fooled by an obvious ploy that set his armada ablaze-particularly when he had previously used such tactics himself?
Carrhae: The Parthian Shot-53 B.C.
3. Carrhae: The Parthian Shot-53 B.C.
September 25, 2015
The Roman military suffered one of its most humiliating defeats at the hands of the smaller Parthian force at the Battle of Carrhae. Discover how this shocking defeat involved glaring intelligence failures, overconfidence, and poor decisions, as well as crafty use of terrain and exploitation of weakness.
Syracuse: Athens's Second Front-413 B.C.
2. Syracuse: Athens's Second Front-413 B.C.
September 25, 2015
From initiating a second front with a new enemy to dividing supreme command among multiple generals, see how failures of decision-making and leadership spelled disaster for the Greek city-state of Athens in the outcome of the Peloponnesian War, fought with Sparta.
Petersburg: Union Digs Its Own Grave-1864
1. Petersburg: Union Digs Its Own Grave-1864
September 25, 2015
Follow the chain of events that led to the Civil War's ill-fated Battle of the Crater, a notable example of what can happen in warfare when a plan goes awry due to poor leadership, last-minute changes, and other unclear objectives. Then, look at the phenomenon of military blunders and what they teach.
Description

In History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach, you’ll study these crucibles of history to gain a better understanding of why a civilization took-or didn't take-a particular path. This course examines some of the world's most notable examples of military misfortune, from the destruction of a Roman army at the Battle of Carrhae to the tragic landings at Gallipoli in World War I.

History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on September 25, 2015.

Where to Watch History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach on demand at Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy and Hoopla.

  • Premiere Date
    September 25, 2015