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Military incompetence

Military incompetence refers to failures of members of the military.

Often, some of the following factors can contribute to these failures:

  • A conservative and traditional attitude, often marked by the misuse or rejection of newer technology and the inability to learn from experience.
  • Rejection of information which challenges preconceptions.
  • Overestimating the abilities of one's own side and underestimating those of the enemy.
  • Indecisiveness and the inability to consider swift action, marked by a failure to exploit battlefield gains.
  • Over-persistence.
  • Frontal assaults and brute force over surprise, deception and/or tactical skill.
  • In defeat, the search for scapegoats and the suppression of information.
  • A belief in fate or luck rather than a rational assessment.

See also: First Afghan War[?]; Crimean War; Indian Mutiny; Boer War; most battles or campaigns in World War I - notably Verdun, Ypres and the Somme; World War II - Dunkirk, Pearl Harbor, Tobruk, Singapore, Dieppe, Arnhem; Tet Offensive, etc.

Further reading: On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, N. F. Dixon.

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