British Mistakes During the Revolutionary War
December 17, 2012
Topic: Was American success in achieving independence due more to General Washington’s strategic skill or to British blunders?
While there are numerous contributing factors to America’s success in achieving independence, the most critical factor can be attributed to the series of British mistakes throughout the conflict. Prior to the onset of the Revolutionary War, the British government faced serious challenges, both politically and fiscally. The conclusion of the French and Indian War coupled with the fighting in Europe, India and the West Indies, left Britain with considerable debt and with few to little allies. The British government saw America as a way …show more content…
Failure to Maximize Sea Power
Mahan advocates a successful navy must adopt and utilize an offensive strategy. From the onset of the American Revolution, the British did well in meeting this requirement and until the French entered the war, the British displayed an overwhelming naval superiority over the Americans, largely due to the fact that the American colonists did not have any naval forces. In the end, however, the British failed in sustain naval superiority when France and Spain entered the war. Their inability can be attributed to several critical areas; failure to adequately reinvest in the replenishment of its fleet, failure to train and equip its service members, and failure to effectively leverage naval forces in key campaigns; Saratoga and Yorktown in particular. The 3000 mile supply chain, limited resources, piracy and lack of synergy among leadership and shipping agencies did not allow for the British fleet to organize themselves for sustainment purposes nor establish, enforce and maintain sea power. Mahan maintains the two major strategies for a strong sea power is a powerful Navy and a wide reaching commerce (Mahan, Sea Power, p. 539). In order to adequately defeat the enemy, Britain needed to capitalize on the lack of naval power prior to France’s entrance into the war. By not taking appropriate steps to keep France out the war, the British effectively positioned