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Old 04-27-2013, 08:25 AM   #1
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Default Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

Debate who are the top ten and why.

Remember they don't have to be successful but
just have the aptitude to be successful in strategy and battle.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

what about hitler and general lee
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

Lee would definitely go up there to me. The guy was a HELL of a General, just as skilled as (if not moreso than, which I believe) his Union counterparts. There's a reason he was Lincoln's first choice to lead the Union Army. Too bad he was a Virginian before a citizen of the U.S... He led his army to several victories, losing in the end to an unbelievable disadvantage number and weapon-wise, but he took many actions that proved to be ingenious and successful for the time.

I dunno about Hitler, cuz he wasn't really a General. As a leader, he was influential, but he never made it far up the military ranks
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

Lee is definitely way up there. probably Grant too, i would say Washington as well because he had huge odds against the British and still managed to pull it off. Alexander the Great and Julius Ceaser, Do i even have to explain these two? Gengeis Khan of the mongols.
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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Originally Posted by voicesinmyhead View Post
what about hitler and general lee
Hitler was part of the reason the Nazis couldn't repel the United States towards the end of World War 2. He was not a great military commander.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Napoleon yet.

EDIT: Now if we want to talk great Nazi military strategists, The desert fox, Erwin Rommel, was a genius.
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

Thats who id forgotten! Napoleon was a military genius hes for sure one of the top 10.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

Alexander the Great: Starting at the age of 20, he spent 13 years conquering all of the known world, creating an empire that stretched from Greece to India. He was an excellent commander in the field, rarely losing more than a few hundred men in every battle. He never lost a single battle in his life.

Augustus Caesar: Roman history is not interesting to me, but Augustus was superior to Julius as a commander from what I've heard.

Genghis Khan: A man who took a group of barbarian natives and turned them into the world's most powerful elite military force, surpassing the knights of Europe and conquering 30% of the world under the great Khan's family. Never lost a battle as ruler, but was defeated in a tribal skirmish early in his life.

Gustav II Adolf: The inventor of modern warfare, entering the fray in a chaotic medieval world and developing concepts such as mobile field artillery, musketeer lines, battlefield communication, standardized weapons and rounds, as well as the most powerful warships of his time. Lost a few battles early in his life while using the old army, causing him to see the flaws of warfare and changing them to become more advanced.

Hannibal Barca: A warlord from North Africa who invaded the Roman Empire with great success, and despite some costly campaigns he held the world's mightiest empire by the throat at the height of his success. But as a common saying goes, Hannibal knew how to gain a victory but not how to use it: the Roman Empire managed to re-gather its forces and defeat Hannibal in the end.

Karl XII: As a teenager his povert country was attacked by all neighbors simultaneously, and he easily annihilated every army they sent at him. No matter the odds he always won, and his country could have won the war had he not been wounded (the generals that took over while he was being treated were incompetent and made him lose his entire army). Only lost one battle in his life; a minor skirmish where he had 43 men against 13,000...

Napoleon Bonaparte: A commoner who became emperor, and the first European ruler to actually hold everything under his control or influence, the only exceptions being Russia, Sweden and Great Britain. However, he had not foreseen the Russian winter and thus he was defeated and forced to abandon his conquests in eastern Europe.

There's six great commanders, and I am considering others... Oda Nobunaga who introduced modern warfare in Japan, Yi Sun-sin who easily defeated enormous navies, Attila the Hun who threatened the Roman Empire just like Hannibal did, Julius Caesar who although inferior to Augustus was a skilled commander in his own right, Otto von Bismarck who united Germany and Frederick the Great who made Prussia a great power... any more suggestions?

EDIT: I think that this is my top 10 list based on military success as well as any changes and reforms they made (not how powerful their armies were in comparison to each other, but rather how much they improved their original armies):

Spoiler:

1. Genghis Khan Temujin of the Mongol Empire
2. Alexander the Great of the Macedonian Empire
3. Gustav II Adolf of the Swedish Empire
4. Napoleon Bonaparte of the French Empire
5. Augustus Caesar of the Roman Empire
6. Julius Caesar of the Roman Empire
7. Karl XII of the Swedish Empire
8. Hannibal Barca of the Carthaginian Empire
9. Frederick the Great of the Prussian Empire
10. Oda Nobunaga of the Oda clan

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Old 04-27-2013, 06:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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Originally Posted by Ninja of Cao View Post

Spoiler:

1. Genghis Khan Temujin of the Mongol Empire
2. Alexander the Great of the Macedonian Empire
3. Gustav II Adolf of the Swedish Empire
4. Napoleon Bonaparte of the French Empire
5. Augustus Caesar of the Roman Empire
6. Julius Caesar of the Roman Empire
7. Karl XII of the Swedish Empire
8. Hannibal Barca of the Carthaginian Empire
9. Frederick the Great of the Prussian Empire
10. Oda Nobunaga of the Oda clan
problem with your list

1, Subutai isn't on your list..you epic fail for that considering he invented modern warfare, the meritocracy based system of the Mongols, was the first man to ever direct armies in real time using a system of rapid based communication signals to adapt and change the flow of the battle - the guy was khans second in command and while Khan was arguably the greater general Subutai made warfare and the system he invented..is one modern armies "rediscovered" at the age of modern warfare

2, Freddie is too low on your list- way, way too low what the Prussians did for military history is so monumentally underrated its sad

3, you put too many northern Europeans on your list Gustav I understand..Karl no. Also why is Augustus above Caeser?

4, what in the blue is that fruit loop Nobunaga doing there? Seriously...the hell? Did you watch an episode of deadliest warrior and mistake it for anything other than a pack of lies again?

I can understand you putting Toyotomi Hideyoshi...Usegi kenshin and Tekeda Shinzen,..in the lower half of the top sixty greatest commanders in human history..with Nobunaga being like..eighty second

but friggen top ten? LOOOOLLLLLL no...just no

same for Hannibal Barca he's a top twenty man..say fifteen or so..not top ten

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenrust View Post
Lee is definitely way up there. probably Grant too, i would say Washington as well because he had huge odds against the British and still managed to pull it off. Alexander the Great and Julius Ceaser, Do i even have to explain these two? Gengeis Khan of the mongols.
...Hitler was a tactical retard who gimped his own forces at every turn. The only smart decision he ever made was to order his men in Russia to take as many Commies with him as possible and even then that was to dig his forces out of the monumental hole the idiot dug them into..

Washington was a good general but top ten in human history? WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

he isn't even top 100

Ethan Allen, Nathaniel Greene and Benedict Arnold were all absolutely superior to him and they all make bottom 80 greatest generals..and that's being incredibly generous

no, no Ulysses S Grant..yeah one of the first people to employ a total war doctrine and invented modern strategy

the Vicksburg campaign is arguably one of the most influential events in the history of warfare that's brilliance form an American general

George S Patton and Dwight Eisenhower? top 20 greatest commanders in history on the bottom half...Grant top fifteen and we're not approaching that
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

ok i did not think of some of those (not good at history)
ok
napoleon
lee
washington
caesar
alexander the great
all great
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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ok i did not think of some of those (not good at history)
ok
napoleon
lee
washington
caesar
alexander the great
all great
Washington doesn't belong in the same league as those guys

he's not even remotely comparable

hell the American and British generals who were superior to him don't even compare
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

ok like i said not good at history and just knew he was a geneal don't know lots bout his military life
i just started learning bout him
i am a freshman i high school
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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Do i even have to explain these two?
Yes, because it is a debate.
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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Originally Posted by voicesinmyhead View Post
ok like i said not good at history and just knew he was a geneal don't know lots bout his military life
i just started learning bout him
i am a freshman i high school
alright my bad, though they wont teach you this in high school if you think history is awesome and military history bad ass you'll have to look this stuff up on your own...you get a very generalized version most of the time

Washington was a great general because he wasn't an ambitious jerk like Horatio Gates was, who ontop of being a miserable coward and a shoddy commander also wanted to be president for life before the country even existed, he used his connections and influence to try and ruin the lives of far more successful commanders like Allen, and Arnold and yeah even Washington

Washington on the other hand was not.. he knew his job was to hold the men together and to keep the British forces tied up and over extended in the north while Greene kicked the every lasting hell out of them in the south (sometimes by trolling them with fighting retreats)

He was an average general but a fantastic soldier, he knew how to inspire and command, how to convince the people around him to go above and beyond the call of duty..Washington was also a master at lying his ass off, he was perhaps the greatest counter intelligence officer the US ever had until the CIA and the cold war...he could spread bull crap and misinformation, controlled a network of spies that rivaled Franklin and Adams ontop of that Washington knew how to lose battles and that's actually very important

they kept beating him, and beating him and beating him and because they kicked his ass so much they arguably lost the war

see the entirety of the British army world wide at the time was probably not more than a hundred thousand men..and they had to defend an international empire...they sent most of those troops to the colonies..which depleted a lot of their man power elsewhere

Washington knew, he didn't have to beat the British at all and that in fact beating the British might actually hurt the American cause..no Washington needed to buy time

buy time for France to attack English holdings all over the world throwing a massive army at them..some three hundred thousand French troops..out numbered the empire had to fight on every front..stretch their resources very thin...and would have to either..divert most of those British troops to fight the French and push them back..or give up the colonies or otherwise they'd be in big trouble

basically Washington was a master at BSing the enemy, trolling them and buying time...while making his men believe they could work miracles..

aside from certain iconic Victories Washington lost every battle he ever fought in his life..including the first battle of the seven years war which Washingtons commanding officer was directly the cause of..and Washington got blamed for

and even in that battle he turned a defeat into a victory

he was very good at that..but then again so were every single commander on the top ten list and they did it ten thousand times better than him

Subutai for example outnumbered in many cases ten to one decimated Eastern Europe overran and conquered thirty something countries..won over sixty battles...and is literally the only human being in the history of our species to ever do this

Subutai was so morbidly obese he couldn't ride a horse..they had to carry his fat ass on a cart with oxes...and he would command the battle field waving flags around from his stubby little arms like some...ancient Jabba the hutt

the man and his boss Khan were famous for false retreats and pretending to lose battles only to turn around and rout your army in a matter of moments..or you;d ride home and find your entire city destroyed and your reinforcements annihilated

he presided over campaigns that....basically ended the middle east as a civilization and did so much damage they still haven't recovered

you compare this...to what Washington did and you start to see why he doesn't rank up
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:27 AM   #14
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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problem with your list

1, Subutai isn't on your list..you epic fail for that considering he invented modern warfare, the meritocracy based system of the Mongols, was the first man to ever direct armies in real time using a system of rapid based communication signals to adapt and change the flow of the battle - the guy was khans second in command and while Khan was arguably the greater general Subutai made warfare and the system he invented..is one modern armies "rediscovered" at the age of modern warfare

2, Freddie is too low on your list- way, way too low what the Prussians did for military history is so monumentally underrated its sad

3, you put too many northern Europeans on your list Gustav I understand..Karl no. Also why is Augustus above Caeser?

4, what in the blue is that fruit loop Nobunaga doing there? Seriously...the hell? Did you watch an episode of deadliest warrior and mistake it for anything other than a pack of lies again?

I can understand you putting Toyotomi Hideyoshi...Usegi kenshin and Tekeda Shinzen,..in the lower half of the top sixty greatest commanders in human history..with Nobunaga being like..eighty second

but friggen top ten? LOOOOLLLLLL no...just no

same for Hannibal Barca he's a top twenty man..say fifteen or so..not top ten
1. But still, Genghis Khan was the one who united the Mongol tribes and turned them into a disciplined army. And I preferred to include nation leaders rather than generals, though perhaps Subutai should be added as well.

2. Frederick the Great was indeed a good military commander, but I don't consider him an extremely skilled leader. He retreated during some battles, lost some others and he simply wasn't a great conqueror compared to the above leaders.

3. Gustav II was the inventor of modern warfare, Gustav I was a liberator who didn't do much to change military. Karl XII is considered to be an amazingly skilled commander equal to Augustus, Julius and Hannibal. At the age of 18 he defeated 60,000 Russians with a force of 10,000 hungry, exhausted soldiers. He didn't lose any battle even when he was outnumbered 10:1, and his only actual defeat was the Skirmish at Bender (where he was outnumbered 300:1). He only lost the war due to the incompetence of his generals, and many historians have called him the greatest commander of the 18th century.

4. Oda Nobunaga did introduce firearms in Japan. But I guess you're right; Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen were both superior in terms of tactical leadership. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi? He failed miserably against Korea and the Ming Dynasty. So no, in that case Tokugawa Ieyasu should rank much higher than his old rival Toyotomi.

5. Hannibal defeated the Roman army several times, even at a great numerical disadvantage such as in the battle of Cannae. Of course the Romans were not commanded by Augustus or Julius, but they were still technologically superior to Hannibal. Yet he still won with superior strategy.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:50 PM   #15
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1. But still, Genghis Khan was the one who united the Mongol tribes and turned them into a disciplined army. And I preferred to include nation leaders rather than generals, though perhaps Subutai should be added as well.
then you're list is flawed and not accurate and certainly biased


Subutai invented modern warfare a thousand years before Gustav did and before men like Ike and Grant and Sherman and Patton were reinventing it

Khan did not do this..Khan did not win as many battles as he did, Khan was arguably the greatest leader of all time but Subutai has no equal

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2. Frederick the Great was indeed a good military commander, but I don't consider him an extremely skilled leader. He retreated during some battles, lost some others and he simply wasn't a great conqueror compared to the above leaders.
then you don't know how to rate these people you continue to act like one of those non expert twits that show narrated by that jerkoff from three hundred and lord of the rings

you don't need a flawless record to be one of the greatest commanders of all time..I just got done posting a hugeass wall of text highlighting why knowing how to lose a battle can make you a great general

defeat is an important part of warfare..knowing how to control the war and knowing your enemies limits there are many times when allowing him to win every battle and take half your nation is more important than actually beating him and will likely win you the war


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3. Gustav II was the inventor of modern warfare, Gustav I was a liberator who didn't do much to change military. Karl XII is considered to be an amazingly skilled commander equal to Augustus, Julius and Hannibal. At the age of 18 he defeated 60,000 Russians with a force of 10,000 hungry, exhausted soldiers. He didn't lose any battle even when he was outnumbered 10:1, and his only actual defeat was the Skirmish at Bender (where he was outnumbered 300:1). He only lost the war due to the incompetence of his generals, and many historians have called him the greatest commander of the 18th century.
Gustav belongs on the list Karl does not belong on a top ten list again you thinking having a flawless victory list makes for a top ten in human history commander..its an asinine belief - while Subutai gets it...he gets it for different reasons
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4. Oda Nobunaga did introduce firearms in Japan. But I guess you're right; Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen were both superior in terms of tactical leadership. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi? He failed miserably against Korea and the Ming Dynasty. So no, in that case Tokugawa Ieyasu should rank much higher than his old rival Toyotomi.
Hideyoshi was a superior commander to Nobunaga..and yes Ieyasu should rank above them both

why you ask? Because he knew to do nothing..but sit on his fat ass win some minor battles and then win the entire war and take over the nation

simply put..no Japanese commander deserves the top ten ranking..they're all bottom 80 minus Yamamoto


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5. Hannibal defeated the Roman army several times, even at a great numerical disadvantage such as in the battle of Cannae. Of course the Romans were not commanded by Augustus or Julius, but they were still technologically superior to Hannibal. Yet he still won with superior strategy.
and? He won countless victories..and lost the war

the roman republic lost almost every victory and destroyed him because they knew the value of allowing an enemy who's biting off more than he could ever chew to beat them up and choke on his gains until he couldn't possibly hold his gains and win...and they destroyed him and his entire civilization for it

that doesn't make him a good commander..that makes him bottom fifty material

get over it

you don't seem to get what it takes to be a great general
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:22 AM   #16
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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then you're list is flawed and not accurate and certainly biased


Subutai invented modern warfare a thousand years before Gustav did and before men like Ike and Grant and Sherman and Patton were reinventing it

Khan did not do this..Khan did not win as many battles as he did, Khan was arguably the greatest leader of all time but Subutai has no equal



then you don't know how to rate these people you continue to act like one of those non expert twits that show narrated by that jerkoff from three hundred and lord of the rings

you don't need a flawless record to be one of the greatest commanders of all time..I just got done posting a hugeass wall of text highlighting why knowing how to lose a battle can make you a great general

defeat is an important part of warfare..knowing how to control the war and knowing your enemies limits there are many times when allowing him to win every battle and take half your nation is more important than actually beating him and will likely win you the war




Gustav belongs on the list Karl does not belong on a top ten list again you thinking having a flawless victory list makes for a top ten in human history commander..its an asinine belief - while Subutai gets it...he gets it for different reasons


Hideyoshi was a superior commander to Nobunaga..and yes Ieyasu should rank above them both

why you ask? Because he now to do nothing..but sit on his fat ass win some minor battles and then win the entire war and take over the nation

simply put..no Japanese commander deserves the top ten ranking..they're all bottom 80 minus Yamamoto




and? He won countless victories..and lost the war

the roman republic lost almost every victory and destroyed him because they knew the value of allowing an enemy who's biting off more than he could ever chew to beat them up and choke on his gains until he couldn't possibly hold his gains and win...and they destroyed him and his entire civilization for it

that doesn't make him a good commander..that makes him bottom fifty material

get over it

you don't seem to get what it takes to be a great general
1. My history teacher has, unfortunately, never mentioned Subutai. But after looking up some information about him at the library I see your point; he should be included in that list quite highly.

2. I disagree that it is good to let an enemy win, because regardless of a battle result it is never good to sacrifice troops. For example, the World War I generals who ordered pointless suicide charges against machine guns doesn't deserve to be mentioned in this thread at all. But indeed, defeats can also be used to reach a strategic goal. Warfare is not just about killing as many of them as possible.

3. Karl XII had much greater military deeds than most people know. He worked out advanced strategies and lived exactly like a soldier, eating with them, sleeping in a simple tent, dressing in an officer's uniform, always fighting in the front lines and enduring the same hardships as they did. This was a huge morale boost for the men compared to generals who stayed far behind the battle line.

4. Indeed Yamamoto was the best Japanese commander in history, or at least I think so. But what about Togo Heihachiro? He annihilated the Russian Imperial navy with ease and was considered to be the best admiral of his time.

5. True. Perhaps it is just his fame that has made people believe in his superior tactical skills; he was inferior to Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan by far, and arguably Attila the Hun was equally skilled. At least Attila posed a huge threat against Rome just like Hannibal did.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:42 PM   #17
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2. I disagree that it is good to let an enemy win, because regardless of a battle result it is never good to sacrifice troops. For example, the World War I generals who ordered pointless suicide charges against machine guns doesn't deserve to be mentioned in this thread at all. But indeed, defeats can also be used to reach a strategic goal. Warfare is not just about killing as many of them as possible.
world war 1 was still applying 1800's warfare with generals that ignored the lessons learned in the American civil war and the Crimean war against modern technology

for their arrogance millions died

however losing a battle, losing troops when it can force your enemy to overextend himself tax his supply lines and the like is hardly a fools decision

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3. Karl XII had much greater military deeds than most people know. He worked out advanced strategies and lived exactly like a soldier, eating with them, sleeping in a simple tent, dressing in an officer's uniform, always fighting in the front lines and enduring the same hardships as they did. This was a huge morale boost for the men compared to generals who stayed far behind the battle line.
none of this describes "one of the ten greatest commanders to ever exist in ten thousand years of recorded history" I need more data!

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4. Indeed Yamamoto was the best Japanese commander in history, or at least I think so. But what about Togo Heihachiro? He annihilated the Russian Imperial navy with ease and was considered to be the best admiral of his time.
great Admiral and mentor and inspiration of many Admirals that commanded fleets during world war two not just Japanese commanders

modernized and did amazing things I don't mind him on the list however Russia faced nightmarish issues of sailing their ships out of Eastern Europe instead of the pacific, their leaders were incompetents appointed by using their families connections..they were beyond their supply lines over extended and IIRC at least one or two vessels were running on fumes

Togo beat up a bunch of babies...

Yamamoto slugged it out with some of the greatest naval minds since Horatio Nelson and did so knowing he was doomed and still managed to make the fight so desperate the US would have come to the table had it not been for mid way

mind you I still agree that he should get a lot of credit

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5. True. Perhaps it is just his fame that has made people believe in his superior tactical skills; he was inferior to Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan by far, and arguably Attila the Hun was equally skilled. At least Attila posed a huge threat against Rome just like Hannibal did.
you can make a case for Hannibal being top fifteen and that's legit

Atilla had the problem of not knowing how to rule conquered lands at all and some other flaws as well
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

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world war 1 was still applying 1800's warfare with generals that ignored the lessons learned in the American civil war and the Crimean war against modern technology

for their arrogance millions died

however losing a battle, losing troops when it can force your enemy to overextend himself tax his supply lines and the like is hardly a fools decision



none of this describes "one of the ten greatest commanders to ever exist in ten thousand years of recorded history" I need more data!



great Admiral and mentor and inspiration of many Admirals that commanded fleets during world war two not just Japanese commanders

modernized and did amazing things I don't mind him on the list however Russia faced nightmarish issues of sailing their ships out of Eastern Europe instead of the pacific, their leaders were incompetents appointed by using their families connections..they were beyond their supply lines over extended and IIRC at least one or two vessels were running on fumes

Togo beat up a bunch of babies...

Yamamoto slugged it out with some of the greatest naval minds since Horatio Nelson and did so knowing he was doomed and still managed to make the fight so desperate the US would have come to the table had it not been for mid way

mind you I still agree that he should get a lot of credit



you can make a case for Hannibal being top fifteen and that's legit

Atilla had the problem of not knowing how to rule conquered lands at all and some other flaws as well
1. Agreed. And that's why I don't think that any WWI leaders should be mentioned in history as "good commanders". At least not the ground commanders; I'm sure there were some competent admirals in the Great War.

But still, sacrificing troops should be the last resort if you can do the same thing in a less bloody way.

2. Just the fact that he could win such a great victory as the Battle of Narva in 1700 as a teenager shows his natural skill as a tactician. He was often outnumbered 4:1 and won decisiviely at all times. In 1708, he had utterly crushed a coalition of Denmark-Norway, Saxony, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia with a 1:15 kill ratio.

Karl XII made realistic and completely possible plans for Sweden to conquer all of Northern Europe, and he was always completely fearless of the enemy. And while Russia had enormous, slow-moving armies with heavy and immobile cannons, Karl XII preferred to lead his forces in small groups with light field artillery. He saw the value of mobility over firepower, enabling him to easily take the battle to where he wanted it to be fought, as well as surrounding them. He had two major flaws, though: he was not very experienced in defense since he had only fought offensive battles before, and he was always described as too brave for his own good. He always fought in the frontline, which eventually caused him to get killed in action. But before that, he had led about 25,000 Swedes to kill 300,000+ enemies while losing less than 5,000. Today he is celebrated as the greatest commander of the 18th century.

3. Well, all good generals in history must have some sort of advantage to win. And what better advantage is there than enemy incompetence?

4. He was a good tactician but not a good strategist (meaning he won a lot of battles but couldn't win the war)?
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:15 PM   #19
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Default Re: Who are the top ten military generals of all time?

Why has no one mentioned that chinese general. The one who wrote, The Art of War?
I think it was Tun Szu? Not really sure if thats how its spelled, but he should rank up there. Then there's Lee. Then Alexander the Great. Then Napolean... Not really sure about him cause he met his end to the Russian's 'General Winter' You would think that he would be more prepared for that...
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:24 PM   #20
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1. Agreed. And that's why I don't think that any WWI leaders should be mentioned in history as "good commanders". At least not the ground commanders; I'm sure there were some competent admirals in the Great War.

But still, sacrificing troops should be the last resort if you can do the same thing in a less bloody way.
There were competent Admirals and I'd argue the American and Canadian commanders and to a lesser extent the French commanders during the first world war don't really deserve such a bad rep

the Canuks and the Yanks realized what was happening over there was a disaster and when they got involved the tide turned because they flooded the war with fresh troops and troops trained based off principles learned during the Crimean and civil war

the French were dragged into Trench Warfare and really did make it into an art form

The British navy also kicked ungodly amounts of ass

as to wasting troops that depends..Hitler for all his idiocy and horrible ineptitude arguably kept Germany alive for another two or so years by ordering his troops to "die taking as many Russians as possible with you"

Rome destroyed Carthage and became the dominant power on earth by sacrificing almost two hundred thousand Romans

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2. Just the fact that he could win such a great victory as the Battle of Narva in 1700 as a teenager shows his natural skill as a tactician. He was often outnumbered 4:1 and won decisiviely at all times. In 1708, he had utterly crushed a coalition of Denmark-Norway, Saxony, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia with a 1:15 kill ratio.

Karl XII made realistic and completely possible plans for Sweden to conquer all of Northern Europe, and he was always completely fearless of the enemy. And while Russia had enormous, slow-moving armies with heavy and immobile cannons, Karl XII preferred to lead his forces in small groups with light field artillery. He saw the value of mobility over firepower, enabling him to easily take the battle to where he wanted it to be fought, as well as surrounding them. He had two major flaws, though: he was not very experienced in defense since he had only fought offensive battles before, and he was always described as too brave for his own good. He always fought in the frontline, which eventually caused him to get killed in action. But before that, he had led about 25,000 Swedes to kill 300,000+ enemies while losing less than 5,000. Today he is celebrated as the greatest commander of the 18th century.
I can see him as top fifteen

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3. Well, all good generals in history must have some sort of advantage to win. And what better advantage is there than enemy incompetence?
and a lot of the greatest generals also faced down incompetence but they also didn't

I'm not saying he's unworthy at all I just don't know if I'd rank him as high as Yamamoto..is all Yamamoto is on the same level of people that dance around Nelsons level..

he's certainly up there... the man made Japan a great power with his brilliance


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4. He was a good tactician but not a good strategist (meaning he won a lot of battles but couldn't win the war)?
he was a good commander but an awful general

A general needs to think of the bigger picture not just "how much territory can I grab and armies can I destroy" especially when facing an enemy that can replace all of their losses in a time table that measures "how fast can our black smiths make armor and weapons to replace the lost" and can very easily feed said forces

while..yours either need to cross the alps and deal with the gauls and the likes..or fight the Roman navy and siege Roman ports every time you need reinforcements which is gonna eat up a lot of said reinforcements


and your greatest asset is an animal that can't survive in that climate without a lot of specialized care and something as simple as losing a tooth can kill it (seriously Elephants need a lot of dental love man)

If Barca had somebody like Pompei or Bradley or Eisenhower as his commanding General with Hannibal act as the hammer while said commander thinks of the other aspects and can channel Barca it would have meant the end of Rome

but Hannibal was greedy and like a glutton careless wolfing down food he was fed too much of Italy by the Romans

and he choked


it's why I'd put Khan or Subutai above Alexander Alexander had no idea how to hold all the territory he gained..if it wasn't for his Generals like Selucas and Ptolemy there would have been no Helenization and despite their best efforts his empire fell apart

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Why has no one mentioned that chinese general. The one who wrote, The Art of War?
I think it was Tun Szu? Not really sure if thats how its spelled, but he should rank up there. Then there's Lee. Then Alexander the Great. Then Napolean... Not really sure about him cause he met his end to the Russian's 'General Winter' You would think that he would be more prepared for that...

Tsun Zu may not have existed or may have been a name used by several different generals recording common sense military tactics in an ancient "academy manual" over the course of a century or so

a lot of the anecdotes that talk about his life seem to be a pack of lies...essentially its like ninjas..they never existed until someone wrote about them in the 1800's then all of a sudden you had crap like the Iga school popping up in Japan claiming centuries of history, "ninja martial arts" "weapons" and such like...but it all came into existence with suspiciously accurate centuries of "history" that was likely a fruad due to the popularity of the story

did units of assassins and off the book mercenaries exist in ancient Japan? of course they did...they existed everywhere there was a civilization in human history

did they call themselves Shinobi? Hell no..they probably called themselves what the hired guns of the old school Mafia did "professionals"

same for Tzun Su a lot suggests he was entirely a made up person..where a bunch of generals got together and compiled their accumulated experiences in

as for the Napoleon the Russian Winter and the British empire beat him...and the British more than the winter..he effed Russia up something horrible before retreating..

The Russians also destroyed their crops and industry to make it impossible for Bony to replenish lost resources...and doing that crippled their nation for decades after...so that's not exactly a mark against Boneparte more than it is a mark against the Russians

these guys were so badly crippled by the invasion that fifty some years later Brittan threatens war with Russia and they hastily sell off Alaska to the Americans out of desperation because they needed the money and couldn't afford to defend it
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