Battle Of The Little Bighorn Battle Analysis

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The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, is one of the most significant battles in American history. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, commander of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, performed a series of devastating tactical mistakes based off inaccurate assumptions and assessments on the size and fighting capability of the Northern Plains Indians, led by their fearless leader Crazy Horse. The Northern Plains Indians who would capitalize on these mistakes with overwhelming numbers and superior tactical action; killing all 210 Soldiers under Custer’s direct command and killing another third of his divided force. This paper will use the United States Army’s four step battle analysis methodology to analyze the Battle of…show more content…
Sheridan devised a strategy that would use three columns, in a three-pronged formation, that would converge and force the non-conforming Northern Plains Indians back to their reservation (Urwin, 2015). Colonel John Gibbon would lead the eastern column out of Fort Ellis, Montana; Brigadier General George Crook would lead the southern column out of Fort Fetternman, Wyoming; and Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry would lead the western column from Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territories (Neumann,…show more content…
Unlike with today’s technology, the ability to forecast weather at the time was nonexistent in 1876, except for what was observed at the start of the day based on key indicators such as temperature and cloud cover. However, it is likely that similar weather conditions that exist now, existed during the battle; with extremely cold nights and blustery hot days, reaching upwards of 100 degrees. According to Neumann (2001), on the 2nd of June, the campaign experienced snow. Unlike the unpredictability of the weather, the terrain was easily identifiable. The wide expanse of the plains and the abundant ridgelines provided excellent observation where entire valleys, rivers, and creeks could be identified and used to determine avenues of approach and key terrain; such as water and grazing sources for horses and the mule train carrying Custer’s supplies. Likewise, it is assumed that the Indians, being in their natural environment, would have also used the same techniques. Obstacles that would complicate movement would have been swollen rivers and creeks from the winter snow melt along with washouts and unstable hillsides near water locations. This would make fording rivers difficult at times and require the Indians and Army columns to occasionally extend their direction of travel to find suitable crossing locations. Lastly,

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