Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Were the Comanches stronger than the U.S. military in the early 19th century?

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on June 27, 2016.

1024px-flag_of_the_comanche_nation-svg

 

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on June 27, 2016.

I have never seen a comparison, but some of my recent reading begins to make me suspect that was the case.

 

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on June 27, 2016.

I have never seen a comparison, but some of my recent reading begins to make me suspect that was the case.

If the answer is yes, then my next question is, when did the U.S. military surpass the Comanches? Was it around the time of the Mexican War?

But I asked some smart historian friends, and they said the answer is that, while the Comanches had some short-term battlefield advantages — numbers of weapons, fighters, and horses — they were vulnerable in the longer term to superior logistics and communications systems.

Again and again, one of the lessons of good history is that those are just as important to military power as is firepower, and sometimes far more important.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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