American Advantages American Advantages Why the British Should Not Have Defeated the Americans in the Revolution In the second half of the eighteenth century, the British were faced with rebelling colonies. Finally realizing that they had to fight to keep their colonial possessions, the British sent troops to America. Once the battles began in America, the British were not impressed with the colonial military, but the weak militias soon proved to be effective. With foreign aid from France, American devotion, and the lack of British vigor, the Americans soon discovered the open doors of independence. In my opinion, the American advantages and the British disadvantages proved to be the downfall of the English in the American Revolution.
Even though the British army was larger, the American army proved to have talented fighters. The Continental Army and the state militias were essentially the two military organizations of the Americans. Throughout the war, the Americans employed only 231,771 men, which meant that the American forces rarely numbered over 20,000. Compared to the British, the American army was small, but their military tactics and skills were excellent. From a distance of 200 yards, an American rifleman could easily kill a British soldier.
Many men observed that the British plainly fired in the general direction of the Americans, while the Americans aimed for the heads of the British. Also, the Americans had many more competent and talented leaders. George Washington and Benedict Arnold were two of the most brilliant American leaders. During this time period, the British firing techniques were not effective. The commanders lined up their troops in lines, one line in front of the other.
Then, the British soldiers fired, knelt down, and then reloaded their weapons. While the British were standing in the open, the Americans used guerrilla tactics and fired upon the British while using the trees as protection. When the British retreated, they marched in a single file line. Brilliantly, the Americans ran ahead of the retreating British and picked them off with their rifles. Almost defenseless to this American technique, the British lost many soldiers.
The British hired German mercenaries, Hessians, which proved to be an unreliable source of troops. Overall, the British did not win the war because the Americans knew how to fight effectively with their limited troops. With some foreign aid from France, the Americans found that they held an advantage in supplies. At one point in time, the Americans were using 90% provided French gunpowder. Also, the French provided a strong navy which protected the American coastline.
France fought against the British because they wanted revenge, and they also wanted to reclaim some territory that they had lost in the Seven Years War. Fortunately, the Americans were supplied with French money, armies, and supplies, so I would have predicted an American win. One of the greater advantages that the Americans held was that the British underestimated them. Even before the war began, an anonymous British officer bragged that the Americans could be beaten by an experienced sheep herder. This remark clearly shows that the British thought that the Americans were weak.
In fact, the confident British did not push to accelerate the war in 1775 and 1776. The Americans won the war because Lord Howe, a British leader, and his troops did not fight to destroy, but rather fought to control. If Howe would have fought to destroy, the Americans could not have fought back. England did not win the war because they were unprepared and over confident. In my mind, the Americans cherished a moral advantage that came from their belief in seeking freedom.
Even in defeat, the Americans optimistically looked forward to the next battle and planned their strategy. Many Americans held the idea that they were going to fight until they won independence, or they would die fighting. This tenacious confidence proved to be the most effective fighting technique of the Americans. On the other hand, the British held the attitude that they were only keeping a bunch of weak farmers under control. From the British point of view, America acted as a giant trading post used to benefit England.
The English stupidity combined with other disadvantages denied them even a chance of winning the war. Overall, there were many miscellaneous advantages that the Americans held. England was over 3,000 miles away from America. This meant that fresh troops, orders from superiors, money, and supplies were months away from where the battle was fought. The Americans were defending their homeland, so American or French supplies were usually near to support the revolutionary cause.
Also, the British fought an offensive war, while the Americans only defended themselves. America was so undeveloped that it did not have a capital or central nerve center where the British could concentrate their attacks. As a result, the British had to conquer all of America to win the war. From the British point of view, the war must be won without the alienation of the Americans. Fortunately, this impossible task was never accomplished.
In retrospect, the Americans held many advantages which propelled them to independence. French financial aid, talented leaders, strong confidence, and excellent marksmen combined perfectly for the Americans to defeat England. England, overconfident and separated by 3,000 miles of ocean did not have a chance to win the war. The advantages of America were far too great to compare them to the advantages of the British. In my mind, the British had lost the war even before it started.