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10 of the Worst Modern Military Blunders

Updated June 20, 2019 5.4k views10 items

If you think the military is supposed to be the most efficient organization in the world, think again. Armies have made mistakes throughout military history and some were very costly. It is from these mistakes they learn, but sometimes, military blunders are repeated. These are some of the worst military blunders made in the 20th century, considered among the most significant blunders ever made in times of war, or even by a military force during peace time.

No one is perfect, though you'd hope that the biggest military blunders would be few and far between. Throughout US military history (and across the globe) mistakes unfortunately do get made and many lives are lost due to these wartime accidents. Some of these 20th century military blunders were made by the United States military, while others were made by the armies of other countries.

The one thing all these military events all have in common is that they are among the greatest military blunders from the modern era. Read on to find out more about these military screw ups and for a change of pace, click here to read about some of the most heroic men and women of World War 2, who you might not have already heard of.
  • The Maginot Line Defense

    The Maginot Line was a series of defensive fortifications along the German-French border intended to protect France from another German attack. Another structure with the same purpose was Eben Emael in Belgium. Both forts were easily defeated by the Germans because they were made for World War I conditions. The Germans used airpower and the new Blitzkrieg tactic. This showed that Allied thinking remained stuck in World War I.
  • After overcoming Allied defenses, the Germans pushed the Allies back to the port of Dunkirk in 1940. Confident that they were trapped, Herman Goering of the Luftwaffe boasts that only airpower is needed to finish off the Allies. Hitler agrees, holding back the panzers. The result: over 300,000 Allied troops escape to fight another day and make life hard for the Germans. 
  • Impatient to gain more ground, Hitler orders the invasion of Russia in 1941. It is badly timed, as when the Germans have gone deeper into Russia, the worst enemy arrives: winter. Snow and ice not only slow the troops, but also freeze equipment and weapons. The Russians however are used to fighting in winter, and they beat back the Germans. Not to mention the German Army is split on two fronts. 
  • Dieppe Landing

    Since seaways were often the only ways into Europe, the Allies attempted an amphibious landing on Dieppe beachin 1942, to see if they can capture beach forts and hold them even for a while. They were even armed with the new Churchill tank. The attack fails because the fortifications are too strong. Thousands of troops, mostly Canadian, are slaughtered on the beach. The lessons learned however are used in later operations, especially D-Day, where they employ specially designed vehicles called Hobart's Funnies to overcome the fortifications. 
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