3General Somehow Misses the Enormous Battle
The civil war had its fill of frankly embarrassing moves by its Union generals, but some errors can be hand-waved away with excuses such as "misinformation" or "my army is dead." However, "I couldn't find the battlefield of 25,000 men" doesn't really cut it.
Who Fucked Up?
At the battle of Shiloh, General Lew Wallace was given orders from General Grant for his division to serve as the reserves in case things got a little too messy. So he hung back, lit a cigar and relaxed. At 6am the order came for Wallace to move up and help out in the fight against the Confederates. So General Wallace moved his division out... in the wrong direction.
Wallace lead the march, no doubt giving them an inspiring speech all the while. His men were ready to fight the Rebs, for decency, for freedom, for America. A few hours later, noting the distinct lack of blood on their hands, they began to wonder if they were even in America anymore. Wallace's division had been wandering to the point where they were more lost than the cast of Lost on the lost island who had gotten lost in the jungle. Also, they're lost in time.
Seriously, where the fuck are we?
Somehow, not investing in a compass, map or a friend who could read road signs paid off for Wallace when his men found themselves at the rear of the Confederates, who were firing at Grant's men and doing a damn fine job of it. Wallace had unwittingly placed his army at a classic rear flank position and himself on the cusp of victory. All that was left for him to do was sound the charge, put the Rebel balls in the vice-grip known as Yankee Justice and within hours he'd be getting hammered in a tent with General Grant. Hell, he could even claim it was his idea all along, and go down in history as a military genius.
But he wasn't one. Instead, Wallace decided that the much more advantageous position he had accidentally marched to was still wrong, dammit, and a job worth doing was a job worth doing right. So, against all advice, he ordered his troops to turn around and go back to where they were supposed to go. This whole trip took a total of five hours.
The men finally reached their original destination, but by then the battle had moved. Rather than mark it all up to a brain fart, Wallace had his men march onwards to the fight. He finally got to Grant's position at 7pm. That's 13 hours of looking for a battle consisting of nearly 25,000 men, a spectacle that frankly shouldn't be that hard to spot.
"Are you sure that's our battlefield?"
When Wallace finally found Grant's army, he also found a lost battle and a reasonably pissed of General. Wallace, who cost thousands of Union lives and blistered countless Union toes, was removed from command.
2What Braveheart Looks Like Without the William Wallace Character
A couple of centuries after Breaveheart, the English and Scottish were still pretty much hating each other for everything and war was declared over the two nations for any reason at all. In this particular instance, King Henry the VIII of England wasn't pleased with his nephew, James V, king of Scotland, because he didn't turn up for a meeting with his old uncle. Henry sent a few thousand men to go pillaging, destroying and generally fucking up James's land. That's family for you.
Eventually the Scots decided enough was enough and sent a vastly superior force of around 18,000 troops to show them to the door. Things looked optimistic for the Scottish when they turned up outnumbering the English six to one in what would be called The Battle of Solway Moss.
Who Fucked Up?
When the Scottish turned up to the fight, they cracked their knuckles, tossed some cabers and waited eagerly for orders from their General. After a few minutes of looking around and pointing at each other, they suddenly realized there wasn't a commander present. No one was in charge.
So.. do we attack, or...?
The Scottish commander had been (unofficially anyway) Robert Maxwell. But he got sick and had to leave the army. He did this without taking care of the minor task of appointing someone to replace him.
When the British arrived, some of the Scottish fled the battle, some fought, some just stood their scratching their heads wondering why nobody was giving them the order to charge even though the British were right there, killing them. What, is this some kind of strategy? Are we trying to give them a false sense of confidence?
Finally the 3,000 English just walked up and captured the ones who were still around, eventually walking away with 1,200 prisoners. See, this is why we never got that Braveheart sequel.