When you googled it you did look at the satelite picture right? Much of the plain of the river was probably forest at that time. The picrute I'm looking at now shows some pretty extensive forrest still. Of course I suspect they are just minor brush by Costa Rican standards. You have real tropical rainforest there correct?
The Battle of Little Big Horn offers to posterity that all important memo to all military commanders and decision makers - never underestimate your enemy.
And Custer was not alone. Remember Isandlwana and the overconfidence of Lord Chelmsford; Colonel Hicks and his mirage chasing of the Mahdi in the Sudanese desert; and of course the Italians at the Battle of Adowa, who like Custer, split their forces into three with the same consequences as at Little Big Horn.
RF wrote:On Channel 4 TV in Britain a couple of years ago there was an ''alternate explanation'' for the defeat of Custer, in which it was claimed that the Sioux were as well armed as the US cavalry, including Winchester and Springfield rifles and that these were the main weapons used by the tribes and not the bow and arrow, and this was the main reason for Custer's defeat - he was simply outgunned.
Is this the case?
The battle was reconstructed on the basis that Custer's group was specifically identified by the tribal chiefs once Custer had split his forces, and the native Indian attack was concentrated on that group along with their best weapons. Sitting Bull according to the account did not have the firepower to take on the combined cavalry force with a certainty of winning a fire fight - the fire instead was concentrated on the smaller group.
Custer divided his forces and sent a small group to advance northward through the valley bottom, hopefully drawing the oppossing forces southward down the valley. Meanwhile he could advance with his main body northward quickly along the ridge line, to quickly reach the Native American encampment farther north.
A problem here was that except for the river bottom it was mostly open country as Steve has described, and Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull's forces could see his dispositions and manuvers along the ridgeline and hill slopes for miles and miles. These ridgelines are populated with sage brush and bunch grass and do not offer any cover. Certainly his dust trail would have marked his advance. He certainly did not have the element of surprize. However, he seemed to assume that he did.
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