A History of Deadly Military Incompetence | Who's Sorry | Timeline

A look at the tragic consequences of underestimating the enemy. During the Second World War, the British commander of Singapore believed it to be an impregnable fortress until a numerically inferior Japanese Army overran it. Similarly, 12 years on, the French lost the mountain garrison at Dien Bien Phu after failing to anticipate the resourcefulness of General Giap and his Vietmanese peasant army.

We have long saluted military genius and bravery. But the other side of the coin is military incompetence - a largely preventable, tragically expensive, yet totally absorbing aspect of human behaviour.

From the Crusades to Vietnam, history is littered with examples of stupidity, obduracy, brutality and sheer breath-taking incompetence. Lack of communication, technological failure and a misplaced sense of superiority have led to the deaths of thousands of ordinary soldiers, let down by their masters and betrayed by arrogance. Using a combination of history, human interest and archive footage underpinned by powerful story-telling, Great Military Blunders charts man’s folly and cruelty in a series of stunning debacles, spanning almost a thousand years of conflict.

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Content licensed from Digital Rights Group (DRG).

Produced by Darlow Smithson Productions.

Any queries, please contact us at: owned-enquiries@littledotstudios.com

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  • People of the world have to free them from their Governments - violently

    GlueGlue8 цагийн өмнө
  • Sadly who are humans and because that we make the same mistake again and again, each new generation and in each new war. Other problem that is difficult to see a clare line between brave and be incompetent.

    J LJ LӨдрийн өмнө
  • great story telling. but why the day looks so dusty all the time?

    Peng DuPeng Du2 өдрийн өмнө
  • pompous arrogance, anyone would try 10 times harder, to protect ,and fight for their homeland. There's nothing like home.

    Levy UnderwoodLevy Underwood2 өдрийн өмнө
  • A good dose of cultural pessimism. I'd bet the guy who made this is a Marxist

    Wilfred RuffianWilfred Ruffian3 өдрийн өмнө
  • Zulus were told to stay out of South Africa and they invaded anyway, so the British counter-attacked, and after some tough battles being vastly outnumbered utterly destroyed their warrior army.

    Blaster ElforgBlaster Elforg3 өдрийн өмнө
    • @Operator 9 Zulus are Bantu and Bantu already took over most of Africa by genocidal means, then these genocidal maniacs wanted South Africa too.

      Blaster ElforgBlaster Elforg23 цагийн өмнө
    • thats one way to see a capitalist imperial occupation...

      Operator 9Operator 9Өдрийн өмнө
  • Typical anti Weatern brit propaganda.

    Riseagainst TheleftRiseagainst Theleft3 өдрийн өмнө
  • 33:48 This guy's name is freaking crazy🤣

    Garrison NicholsGarrison Nichols4 өдрийн өмнө
  • The problem with country's like Britian, France and America is we have a bad habit of being over confident in our military's equipment and abilities. Also not understanding our enemy's capabilities or thier culture is a major factor in why we still have problems to this very day. Never underestimate the racist attitudes of these times and how they still impact the world today.

    Garrison NicholsGarrison Nichols4 өдрийн өмнө
  • custer

    rolland mousseauxrolland mousseaux5 өдрийн өмнө
  • The USA general also fail to learnt history from thd defeat of the French Garison and make the same mistakes. All generals and military officers must study military history and practice what they learnt and never underestimate your enemies.

    angelofmusic477angelofmusic4775 өдрийн өмнө
  • In any war, developing strategy network or spies and intelligence gathering is as important as fighting men. In any war , there is no victor just which side lost more.

    angelofmusic477angelofmusic4775 өдрийн өмнө
  • There are No Bad Soldiers just Incompetent, Arrogant and Stupid Generals.

    Yat Choy ChuYat Choy Chu6 өдрийн өмнө
  • What a load of racist garbage from beginning to end in my opinion. Try living in modern day Africa , pick any country .

    Jan SchkeuditzJan Schkeuditz6 өдрийн өмнө
  • "British were anxious to develop South Africa, but Zooloos were in the way..." You mean the British were anxious to rule Africa and take all of its resources!!!!!

    DK1DK17 өдрийн өмнө
  • Really really cool video. Thanks for posting.

    James HormoziJames Hormozi7 өдрийн өмнө
  • “We don’t care what color the cat is as long as it catches mice” Nelson Mandela

    HmongGuitarPlayerHmongGuitarPlayer8 өдрийн өмнө
    • Who's Nelson Mandela?

      Garrison NicholsGarrison Nichols5 өдрийн өмнө
  • Awful show

    Edmund 001Edmund 0019 өдрийн өмнө
  • David Rattray, the use of trenches in warfare was not in British Army orders until after the Boer War, some 25 years after this battle. The Boers were the first to introduce trench warfare.

    Garry MahonGarry Mahon9 өдрийн өмнө
  • Japan and England were allies in WW1. Japan looked after Singapore while England focused forces on defending its Island home. The Japanese may have even used the opportunity to build the rubber roads to facilitate a later invasion, especially after the treaty to limit Naval Battleships when the learned we had broken their code and knew their negotiating plans for that treaty. After WW2, Vietnam sought to be an independent nation. France agreed to help defend VietNam as it developed its infrastructure. French protectorate of Vietnam. But France exceeded the limitations on its military presence and refused to leave. The Vietnamese knew they had a war as soon as the French displayed their strength. The US support of France also told the Vietnamese that one day they would be at war with the US, and they began planning for it.

    John EdwardsJohn Edwards9 өдрийн өмнө
  • Vietname has been supported by the soviet union. Many soviet men fought during this war

    martin davidmartin david9 өдрийн өмнө
  • Waiting for the next blunder of UK going to South China Sea to teach the Chinese a thing or two. Should be happening soon. Any bets?

    Brian Chang, SingaporeBrian Chang, Singapore10 өдрийн өмнө
  • Great topic of the day!!!!! Thanks ya kidly.

    Chauncey ChappelleChauncey Chappelle11 өдрийн өмнө
  • For Giap & Viet Minh, no victory of such kind without massive help from China

    bleimor28bleimor2811 өдрийн өмнө
  • A costly mistake to underestimate the Zulu.

    Ade AyodeleAde Ayodele11 өдрийн өмнө
  • How proudly we watchin brutality of our fathers never think about those old shadows who used them as an object

    DR.SNAKKEDR.SNAKKE11 өдрийн өмнө
  • Being willing to sacrifice more lives - and having a totalitarian regime to ensure it.- isn't resourcefulness

    John LeninJohn Lenin12 өдрийн өмнө
  • Zulu Blitzkrieg

    Kris FrederickKris Frederick12 өдрийн өмнө

    Petr HavlátPetr Havlát12 өдрийн өмнө
  • Why didn't this happen here in Australia?

    Michaelson SarmientoMichaelson Sarmiento13 өдрийн өмнө
  • ThT was a great movie. Being in it is really cool.

    debbi ramseydebbi ramsey13 өдрийн өмнө
  • I love France and Napoleonic war. You could see many elders in Viet Nam having books about Napoleon and that era on their book shelves. It is quiet ironic how Giap used canons supremacy to win the French army and transported it through the path which is considered "impossible to go through" like how Napoleon transported canons through the Alps.

    Viet TranViet Tran14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Should we really be showing this to China

    Andrew HallAndrew Hall14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Underestimating will lead you to defeat even to Emu.

    adit ghifariadit ghifari14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Credit given to the Zulus - Britain was effectively a superpower, and the lesson took a long time to learn - Zulu is also a great movie if interested.

  • It's simple: the racist disdain of the dark-skinned enemies usually results in the surprising defeat, 5:00.

    DeadorDeador16 өдрийн өмнө
  • The Zulu didn't want the war!?! History is being written for racism. Stop. The Zulu weren't peaceful. They subjugated and enslaved their neighbors.

    Havoc HerseimHavoc Herseim16 өдрийн өмнө
  • 25000 vs 1000. How many Zulu died? Costly victory.

    Tony RomanoTony Romano17 өдрийн өмнө
  • Are these all just gunna be how racist white people are?

    Unstoppable Force MovingUnstoppable Force Moving17 өдрийн өмнө
  • Why do the British troops in 1879 have R4s, the South African version of the Israeli Galil , itself a version of the Finnish Valmet... an improved Kalashnikov?

    william flowerswilliam flowers17 өдрийн өмнө
  • The other major factor that is never talked about concerning the British disaster with the Zulus in Africa was some of the Martini Henry rifles or the ammunition the British had were defective - they jammed when they heated up after repeated firing. The quicker you fired the greater the chance of problems. Without an effective rifle you are dead meat. When you are outnumbered 10 to 1 , every man counts. A 10% failure rate could easily turn the battle. But the greatest failure was the poor arrogant generalship that neglected basic defensive norms.

    nrich51nrich5118 өдрийн өмнө
  • Tragic consequences? That the invaders got it?

    DirijabiluDirijabilu18 өдрийн өмнө
  • If Vo Nguyen Giap did not have Chinese Generals as advisers like Lu Han in the Dien Bien Phu campaign and Chinese soldiers disguised as Viet Minh troops to help, then Chinese and Russian weapons would massively bring them, would they make a name? a general who never served in the army and experienced any battle that made a historic victory? Reading history should study many dimensions and clearly, should not read one-way and idolize incompetent people....

    vinh buivinh bui19 өдрийн өмнө
  • Seems the only way to guarantee you'll never be invaded is keep nukes and be VERY trigger happy, So much that no one would dare try to invade as they knew if they did you'd hit that button without hesitation.

    PolizeiPaulPolizeiPaul20 өдрийн өмнө
  • And Giaps April 1972 offensive to take South Vietnam was totally crushed by U.S. airpower and ARVN infantry. Dude was a plastic god.

    James RobertsJames Roberts20 өдрийн өмнө
  • They are still arrogant.

    Nechir MohammedNechir Mohammed20 өдрийн өмнө
  • I appreciate that the BBC invested a sufficient budget into making this program. Imagine America’s PBS making something similar that pointed out American military blunders? The far right would throw a hissy fit.

    T.K.T.K.21 өдрийн өмнө
  • America underestimated its stupidity and paid the price by trump presidency

    Ta TumTa Tum21 өдрийн өмнө
    • News always have agenda, best left right, west east, democratic communist totalitarian or socialist. There is no exception and you just have to be wise enough not to fall in their traps in these days and ages my friend. Peace.

      Ta TumTa Tum14 өдрийн өмнө
    • Trump wasn't supposed to happen but did. Trump also got the most votes in history, before Biden got the more than the most votes in history by mail-in. What do you think will occur in the next US election? I am a liberal-man and am scared for the future. I think the pendulum will swing and Liberalism will be on it's knee's because the media has decided that lying is what should be done for news.

      Andrew HallAndrew Hall14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Pride Cometh Before the FALL!

    Scott M SykesScott M Sykes22 өдрийн өмнө
  • The english are useless

    Robert TwardowskiRobert Twardowski23 өдрийн өмнө
  • The catastrophe was you being there where you weren't required.

    Rohin PandeyRohin Pandey23 өдрийн өмнө
  • How about the indian,?

    Marlon ThongMarlon Thong24 өдрийн өмнө
  • Ironically, after Singapore, it was the Japanese who underestimated their opponents and suffered one of the greatest defeats in modern history. Though, I'm sure it wasn't much comfort to the men who died, starved and tortured to death in Japanese prison camps due to their commander's arrogance.

    The Arctic GamerThe Arctic Gamer24 өдрийн өмнө
  • Those fighting out there in the fields for Britishers were indians that is why they did not give a damn Britishers were racist

    Nikhil KansraNikhil Kansra24 өдрийн өмнө
  • America won every major battle in Vietnam and could have easily won the war. America "lost" the war because of politicians, and liberals such as Hanoi Jane, who would not let the American military fight the war.

    William SimmonsWilliam Simmons25 өдрийн өмнө
  • I wonder if the 105s were originally from USA

    john flemingjohn fleming25 өдрийн өмнө
  • You can conquer the land but U can't never conquer the people. Them Viet Commie were willing to sacrifice 10 to 1 beating us, and we should have gotten lot sooner than that

    Pablo SabatoPablo Sabato25 өдрийн өмнө
  • If you can find a copy, (it's out of print) read From the Jaws of Victory, a history of military incompetence from Crassus to Westmoreland, by Charles Fair. Incisive, witty, and relevant in every age.

    J4ZonianJ4Zonian25 өдрийн өмнө
  • The minor fact, always passed over by the historians, was the death of the Prince Imperial heir to the French Empire currently out of favour. He had begged his mother's permission to join the British for a jolly jaunt against the "savages". The zulus said he died bravely!

    adrianivorthomasadrianivorthomas25 өдрийн өмнө
  • Vietnam gained the advantage in 1949 when the communist party of China took over China, and China is near Dien Bien Phu. China supplied Vietnam with weapons and advisors. Both China and the Soviet Union did the same to North Vietnam during the Vietnam war. In fact, Vietnam was not under-equipped. Don't be deceived by looks.

    Le Dinh DongLe Dinh Dong26 өдрийн өмнө
  • It's funny... these English historians give mighty praise to the general defeating the French, but absolutely none to their own defeat. lol

    Daniel GaleDaniel Gale27 өдрийн өмнө
  • A lot of these blunders where also do to the fact that officers / senior officers where recruited based on their social standing in stead of competence.

    Ricardo BlikmanRicardo Blikman27 өдрийн өмнө
  • This is precisely why the luciferian new world order will not be able to conquer and enslave all of humanity. They have failed to grasp the Human Desire to be Free. They have also failed to confiscate the Firearms that prevent them from doing so.

    R TR T27 өдрийн өмнө
  • say what you want , Vietnamese people are pretty tough for their size

    Robin SihagRobin Sihag27 өдрийн өмнө
  • I have to call BS on the issue of whether America won or lost in Vietnam. They clearly won in 1973. The talks in Paris came to an successful end when the Communists of the North said they were done. The bombing was too much. And then Nixon was falsely accused. John Kelly went to Paris to tell the North they could have the south now. Nixon would never go back to bombing. He didn't have the support anymore.

    Elijah HodgesElijah Hodges28 өдрийн өмнө
    • @John Gilmer Yes, but you have to throw off the left.

      Elijah HodgesElijah Hodges26 өдрийн өмнө
    • John Kelly? who is that, Do you mean John Kerry?

      John GilmerJohn Gilmer26 өдрийн өмнө
  • Our Real enemies were LBJ and Robert McNamara add in the Profits from the Military Industrial Complex...... Nam 64/65....

    Thomas MoreaThomas Morea28 өдрийн өмнө
  • Like in Singapore, did not the Marines make the same mistake in Khe Sahn? AirPower and holding the Hills is what saved the Marines.

    andre bredellandre bredell28 өдрийн өмнө
    • As I understand things, they held the local "high ground" (the airfield and the surrounded land but there were hills of higher elevation relatively close by and the NVA has installed mortars, rockets, and other artillery on these hills. When the worse of the battle was over, the Marines launched attacks on these hills. (Before they fired back and use air strikes.)

      John GilmerJohn Gilmer26 өдрийн өмнө
  • The British had it coming 😂😂

    Khwrsma SultanKhwrsma Sultan28 өдрийн өмнө
  • The British had it coming 😂😂

    Khwrsma SultanKhwrsma Sultan28 өдрийн өмнө
  • I wonder if Soveit invasion of Afghanistan could have been on the list?

    Nasratullah ELHAMNasratullah ELHAM28 өдрийн өмнө
    • The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan "worked" until the US started shipping arms to what became the Taliban.

      John GilmerJohn Gilmer26 өдрийн өмнө
  • I wouldn't call that much of an upset 25,000 versus a little over a thousand seems to me like the British held their own that's a substantial Force

    Ryan BurtonRyan Burton28 өдрийн өмнө
  • The vietminh use Soviet supplied Molotova trucks to transport ammunition and supplies.

    Michael SuarezMichael Suarez29 өдрийн өмнө
  • Underestimating your opponent is a crime.

    Michael SuarezMichael Suarez29 өдрийн өмнө
  • The revolutionary war on American colonies is the British biggest defeat.

    Michael SuarezMichael Suarez29 өдрийн өмнө
    • Although in the long run they got more out of losing that they would have gotten from winning. In the Treaty of Paris where the formal end of hostilities was negotiated, the Americans "double crossed" the French.

      John GilmerJohn Gilmer26 өдрийн өмнө
  • During the Vietnam conflict, the enemy that the Americans underestimated, were the ones in Washington DC.

    Felix DzerjinskyFelix DzerjinskyСарын өмнө
  • Correction: America NEVER lost a battle in Vietnam, the American politicians lost the war!

    Antonis ValamontesAntonis ValamontesСарын өмнө
  • How in the world can you compare Turkish military with that of Israel,Turkey is like 50 years behind Israel, even China cannot even be compared with Israel,though they are a small country,and they also are most active military through things slows down for them few years ago.

    KikiKikiСарын өмнө
  • A bridge too far: a snobish english General (Montgomery) understimated as usual his ennemy ,the Nazis german battle force in Holland. You know you will win when theres a brit commander on your ennemy side. We do not fight cauz it's tea time! Lol Vive la France! Vive l'Empereur!

    Zed CommeZed CommeСарын өмнө
  • General Bigeard, a true legend!

    Zed CommeZed CommeСарын өмнө
  • Vietnam is the nation of the most badass brave people. Respect to them!

    DeepsEmoDeepsEmoСарын өмнө
  • You can still get a funeral for $2000 even cheaper.

    mcdougal0mcdougal0Сарын өмнө
  • One would have thought that the makers of this 'documentary', would have at least used re-enactors dressed in and armed with period equipment.

    CementerCementerСарын өмнө
  • "The lion or tiger may be more powerful, but a wolf does not perform in a circus."

    Dark QwartzsytalDark QwartzsytalСарын өмнө
    • Wolves were the first animals to be tamed by humans. What do you think dogs came from 🤣

      Garrison NicholsGarrison Nichols4 өдрийн өмнө
    • First time I heard this. Very profound. And very true.

      No GodNo God10 өдрийн өмнө
    • @A H its a quote i found whilst i played a certain video game :)

      Dark QwartzsytalDark Qwartzsytal16 өдрийн өмнө
    • Never heard this before. Very meaningful.

      A HA H16 өдрийн өмнө
  • The bloody route chronologically grab because meter canonically miss down a guttural H habitual platinum. exultant, tidy mist

    Jim JonesJim JonesСарын өмнө
  • Even with the greatest of soldiers in world at that time they can an do lose

    Jack manJack manСарын өмнө
  • Regarding the Zulu war - there is too much protesting that they were intelligent people, not dumb savages. Yes, but you are refuting points nobody is making. A good army will always defeat another army that is 25 times smaller.

    subodh sarinsubodh sarinСарын өмнө
  • Where was the artillery of the British against the Zulus?

    Dru GilbertDru GilbertСарын өмнө
  • That fake general robot is some next level nightmare fuel... Great documentary but ..Wow. Put that thing in a haunted house lol

    EsonisEsonisСарын өмнө
  • I am sooo tired of racism. is there real evidence that the British disregarded the Japanese because of race. I wonder if this is really true

    kahlil glennkahlil glennСарын өмнө
  • The condemned celsius holoprosencephaly introduce because reindeer neuropathologically match regarding a gifted look. malicious, profuse craftsman

    Ker LozKer LozСарын өмнө
  • The stormy throne unprecedentedly list because author naively punch below a nosy jeans. smelly, obsequious musician

    Ker LozKer LozСарын өмнө
  • Still, they're right to point in the end that _underconfidence and overestimating_ the enemy is the other side of the coin, and nearly just as bad. Take again France, but in the opposite situation. In WW1, general Petain (the very same who surrendered later), ever the pessimistic, always cautiously prepared for the worst. While it proved successful at defending Verdun, he gave in to panic when the Germans did make a breakthrough in 1918, so it was thanks to more reckless leaders that a disaster was avoided. Again, in WW2, the French let slip many opportunities to hurt the Germans when in fact they had the upper hand and the latter were gambling. Which also directs to the cases where bold risk takings, which could have come down in history as stupid if they had failed, can sometimes pay off, and it's sometimes down to luck (and being able to make good use of it).

    VieilHibouVieilHibouСарын өмнө
  • "...in two hours, modern British army, finished" That did it for me

    Kwesi Kwansa KennedyKwesi Kwansa KennedyСарын өмнө
  • Shades of Vietnam.....

    randini5randini5Сарын өмнө
  • Hind sight is always 20/20..

    jackgoldman1jackgoldman1Сарын өмнө
  • Tbh if your logic is. We should not build defences cause if we do we can't motivate the men to fight. Then you need to be honest whit yourself and accept your a worthless leader. What kind of men would follow such an idiot into battle. The whole point of conducting war is to maximise your advantages. And if your advantage comes from your position you dam well build defences.

    Koen Diepen, vanKoen Diepen, vanСарын өмнө
  • You think that’s bad, watch the Russians battle out the last battle of their Afghanistan war.

    Karl SachsenheimerKarl SachsenheimerСарын өмнө
  • The Zulus were so brave

    rocket5833rocket5833Сарын өмнө
  • The bicycle was a dangerous weapon

    Michael AndrewMichael AndrewСарын өмнө
  • Problems of the world makes God the creator problematic repent Jesus saved.

    Philadelphia LorPhiladelphia LorСарын өмнө