Originally Posted by The Immortal Watch Dog
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
I can see him as top fifteen
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
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
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
1. The trench war was probably the greatest mutual military disaster in any conflict, yet the generals kept ordering their troops to charge against machine guns with bayonets... wasting human lives like that is insane. I can understand that you could sacrifice a regiment or two to keep the enemy occupied while the rest of your army moves in behind, or something like that, but to just charge meaninglessly and think it will solve anything? No, there was no leadership skill in the trench war. Only afterwards when the "real" battles begun with the introduction of tanks, and in the air and in the sea.
2. It should also be noted that Napoleon Bonaparte called Karl XII his superior when speaking of historical commanders.
3. Japan had some great modern naval commanders and some skilled commanders in the feudal age (Takeda, Uesugi and Tokugawa). Unfortunately, most of their field commanders relied too much on the skill of the soldiers rather than tactics. And even though the Empire of Japan maintained a well-trained and well-equipped military (superior by Asian standards and a very difficult fight by western standards), their officers kept doing the World War I mistake and sacrificed their elite troops in suicide charges. Plus, many soldiers commited suicide - in my opinion it would have been more effective and more honorable to fight to the death.
4. Alexander the Great was a celebrated ruler by much of the Persian people, and he held his empire together very well. But after his death he had no equal in military or administrative skill, which is why the great empire collapsed.