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So who was the best miltary mind from Europe to aid the Americans during the Revolution?


Ralphie
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I concede to jsharr regarding the gentleman James Sharrock!  With that settled, we can consider who were the second-best European military minds to aid the Americans.

 

Of course, there is (ahem) Thaddeus Kosciuszko who set up the American positions at Saratoga, blocking Burgoyne's route to sever the New England states from the remainder.  His skill in setting up the position, coupled with Burgoyne's lack of respect for the American army, forced a battle on American terms.  The American victory convinced France to more openly aid the American cause.

 

Likewise, there is Baron von Steuben.  Neither a baron nor a general, he drilled the American troops to become one army instead several different armies from the several states.  He shortened the list of commands in loading and firing a musket/rifle so the American forces fired at a higher rate than the British. The American army improved so much it fought the British (recognized as the best in the world) to a draw at Monmouth in NJ.   The British retreated, leaving the Americans in possession of the field and, technically, the victory.

 

The Marquis de Lafayette served with Washington, acquitting himself quite well in several battles where he was given command.  He represented American interests in the King's court in France which resulted in greater French aid to the American cause.  He also served at Yorktown.

 

One might make a case for Comte de Grasse, the Admiral who defeated a British fleet then took his naval forces to Yorktown.  His defeat of the British fleet allowed him to blockade Cornwallis without concern for attack from the sea, so sealing Cornwallis' fate.

 

And in an odd sense, one might pose that the British generals Howe, Clinton, and Cornwallis were the finest European military minds to 'aid' the American cause.  A number of mistakes and misjudgements they made helped secure American independence nearly as much as the others mentioned above.

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I'd say it was Lord Howe. But the thing that surprises us in this day and age was that none of the British generals were under any obligation to cooperate with one another.

 

Had Howe supported Burgoyne in the Saratoga campaign, the war might have ended that year. As it was, he was more inclined to work with his brother Admiral Howe to take Philadelphia

 

But that was the nature of military operations in the empire at that time: an officer was given a command and some general idea about his objective, and then the rest was up to them.

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