Steering clear of any reference to Kenny Rogers’ songs, sometimes you need to know when you need to throw in the towel. Look past your pride and see if you can salvage something, even if you know you are losing.
I had found a historical example that was amazingly stupid a leader could fail. Francisco Solano Lopez, who was refusing to surrender, hung on until the end. He even sent a rag tag remainder of his army into a guerrilla struggle, which did not serve the people of the Paraguayan territories.
The kicker was the Battle of Acosta Nu, which In my words was a lopsided shit show. The vast majority of the soldiers on the Paraguayan side were children, many of them not being anywhere near teenage or adulthood. The Brazilians pursued the escaping remainder of the forces and dispatched the bewildered to Fidler’s Green, even beheading begging children.
(The children fighters are memorialized on Children’s Day August 16th in Paraguay).
A smart leader would know that it could be a detriment to continue to the war. The irony is that this was 1869, which in much of the world had some concept of “parlay” or gentlemanly agreements during war. It took someone who refused wise council or of pigheaded intentions to carry on.
(Please note that I overlooked the Brazilian’s refusal to stop their end of the campaign. Often a surrender or an outright destruction of an enemy is required for victory. For what I read, it didn’t seem that the Paraguayan leadership made the appropriate level of gesture to end the war, come to terms).
Death does serve some purpose, but with that level of loss, it seems frivolous.