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My list of the ten best generals of all time

by stickythighs
Tags: generals, list, time
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Erasmuz
#55
Sep2-09, 11:49 PM
P: 6
I absolutely agree that Khalid deserves a mention. He did an excellent job putting down revolts and expanding the Caliph's power throughout the Middle East, as well as combating the Saracens and the Byzantines: both being large and impressive empires.

Concerning the inclusion of Genghis Khan, I do agree that he should be on the list, but I think one of his generals, Subodai Bahadur, should get a mention as well. Seriously an impressive guy, both tactically and strategically.
Erasmuz
#56
Sep3-09, 12:34 AM
P: 6
My top ten list (sorry, just ancient generals. I'm still not sold on comparing modern and ancient combatants.):

1. Subodai Bahadur
2. Alexander the Great
3. Genghis Khan
4. Khalid ibn Walid
5. Hannibal Barca
6. Qin Shi Huang
7. Flavius Belisarius
8. Julius Caesar
9. Samudragupta
10. Charles Martel
punictrader
#57
Oct27-09, 08:58 AM
P: 4
Okay this is my top 10, feel free to ask why some where left off and others added.
Also forgive my spelling, alot of this is from memoery

1.Hannibal Barca- The Greatest Tactican of all time. At the start of the 2nd Punic war Rome enjoyed a 7-1 manpower advantage over the Carthagians, see cendors figure for 225 bc. In spite of this massive stragic advantage Hannibal was able to run roit in the 1st 3 years of the war with 3 major victories at Trebia, Lake Trasimne and Cannae. Cannee is often seen as his master piece but it may not have been his largest. In 218 marching to Italy he was oppessed by a large force of Gauls, with many figures given on it's size, on the Rhone river but slightly off point. After gaining allies his movements became even more rapid as re try to defend just enough and attack just enough. His ablity to mix caution and aggression are unequalled. He won to more pitched battle in 212 and 210 bc both outside off Herdonea. His cunning is also hard to match against any of the other great genrals, Scipio Afrcanus is a notable exection. Hannibal's greatest trait, possible, was his speed. A times he seems to have been able to run rings around his counter parts. Even the Zama campain Scipio seems to have understermated Hannibal's speed and according to souces re united his forces with 1 day to spare.

2.Napolean- Master of stratergy. Ever singlur one of his campains looks good on the drawing board, yes even Russia 1812 and Waterloo. Had he only wanted to restore France indpendance and not counquer the world he would have been able to achive this easily. His 1st campain in Italy is beautiful. He not only takes advantage of everymistake his oppents make but forces them to make mistakes which he needs to exploit. This is proabably his best Campian and I prefer it to some of his others like 1805 for example. I will quickly talk about 1812 and 1815 campains. In 1812 Napolean did iver strech himself. The orginal plan to march into Russia have a quick and brief campain soon gave way to Napolean blief that the capture of Moscow would end the war. It's hard to find examples in history were a nation battles on after the capital falls and Napoleon was used to things going his way. However this turned out to be a major error in jugdement and the main reason Hannibal sits atop this list. In 1815 Napoleon once again out manouvered the Prussia and British forces thanks largely to the Dukes mistakes. After dispossing the Prussias Napoleon head for the English but he was never really in command. The battle was started with out his orders and he seems to have been very ill. After a hard frought day the Prussians returned to the field to save Wellington, Napoleon though that the fleeing Prussians would fall back on their lines of cummuication, or would be held by a blocking force he left, but niether happened.

3. Scipio Afracanus- Rome Greatest general. He turn the tide of the 2nd Punic war in Romes favor. very little is know about him as he was over shadow by Hannibal in his life time. He seems to have realised that Hannibals victories came from the greater flexiblity of his army and trained his men very hard. He was cautious yet bold and had a flair for tactics and novel ideas. He played the poltical game well and could predict his opponents moves very well. His Greatest victory was over Hannibal at Zama were his more flexiable army carried the day. He was never forced onto the defensive in any campain, although you might say it was combine Off/Def in the Zama one. It is hard to jugde Scipoi and Hannibal side by sidedesipte the fact them seemed to live parrel lives. Scipio was always on the attack, his caution was only apparent in the careful plans he under took where Hannibal was coustantly being pushed back once he gained a foot hold. The commanders which face both of them were experiance men often with good armies. Yet Hasrubal, who did comand the strongest of the Punic armies in Spain, left without any major blow to his forces for Italy leaving a rather raw army lead Mago and Hanno to fight. Hannibal never had such luck with all the consular armies willing to oppess him every campainging season. This is the main reason for Scipio begining in 3rd he seems to have had a slightly easier task then Hannibal, but he deserves all the praise put on him by historains.

It's getting late so from here on in will just be names. I feel that the top 3 are hard to seperate and put in any order but that there is a small gap beteewn them and the next 7 on this list. Plus then lenght of this will become ridculeus.

4. Alexander the Great

5.Genguis Kan

6.Fedrick the Great

7.Flavius Belisarius

8.Zhukov

9.Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim

10.The greek reasponsible for the "Abyss", sorry his name excaspes me for the moment.
mheslep
#58
Oct27-09, 12:11 PM
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Quote Quote by punictrader View Post
Okay this is my top 10, feel free to ask why some where left off and others added.
Why were some left off and others added?

i.e. no Americans/Brits
punictrader
#59
Oct28-09, 02:07 AM
P: 4
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Why were some left off and others added?

i.e. no Americans/Brits
No I didn't think any of them match up to any on list. Of the American generals it's hard to find any real stand outs. There are alot of reasonible generals you could try to make a case for like Washington and Lee however I feel they lack contuined brillance thought thier careers. Wellington was probably the pick of the British generals and served well in the Napoleonic wars however the waterloo campian shows how Napoleon was able to outmanuver him with ease and it was only his skill at holding defensive postions and a good deal of luck that saved him from defeat. Granted he had considerble skill as a leader and if I were to do a top 20 list he would probably make his way onto that but it's hard to add someone when there crowning moment was only saved by an allied army which 3 days before hand was beaten and choose to follow the sound of the guns insteed of retire along lines of cummication.
mheslep
#60
Oct28-09, 12:05 PM
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Quote Quote by punictrader View Post
No I didn't think any of them match up to any on list. Of the American generals it's hard to find any real stand outs. There are alot of reasonible generals you could try to make a case for like Washington and Lee however I feel they lack contuined brillance thought thier careers.
Hopefully great generals are not required to display their skills continuously because of their victories. No marks for G. Patton, Stonewall Jackson, Grant? Jackson in particular shows the right stuff all through his combat career, beginning in Mexico as a junior officer.

Wellington was probably the pick of the British generals and served well in the Napoleonic wars however the waterloo campian shows how Napoleon was able to outmanuver him with ease and it was only his skill at holding defensive postions and a good deal of luck that saved him from defeat. Granted he had considerble skill as a leader and if I were to do a top 20 list he would probably make his way onto that but it's hard to add someone when there crowning moment was only saved by an allied army which 3 days before hand was beaten and choose to follow the sound of the guns insteed of retire along lines of cummication.
Fair enough, though imo that overvalues manuver and undervalues other less flashy factors which actually win the day. Perhaps that was also Napolean's flaw.
punictrader
#61
Oct29-09, 02:21 AM
P: 4
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Hopefully great generals are not required to display their skills continuously because of their victories.
Why shouldn't a general have to show his worth for his whole career. Hannibal's best campains are from 215-207 where he only won 3 major actions. It was these defensive campains that set him apartfrom every other general of his time. Washington's Princeton/trenton campain was brillant, but does that excuse him from allowing himself to be defeated in detail at Long Island.

Maybe Stonewall Jackson does derseve to be on the list but I would have to read alot more about his campians.

Napoleon had left a detatchment to drive the Prussias back, which simply put lost contact with them and couldn't fine them again. It was the arrive of the Prussians that turned waterloo and forced Napoleon's hand to try an infantry assault on the Duke's postion.
croghan27
#62
Nov20-09, 12:05 PM
P: 127
Quote Quote by Andre View Post
But where is the father of strategy? General Sun-Tzu?
Thanks, Andre ... I was just wondering what happened to the Chinese/Eastern generals .... not the least of which was the Khans .... Gingus and Kubla.
turbo
#63
Nov20-09, 12:23 PM
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And where is Geronimo on the list? Vastly outnumbered and out-gunned, he and his followers fought the Mexican and US armies for decades, trying vainly to prevent the relentless encroachment on Chiricahua lands.
croghan27
#64
Nov20-09, 02:56 PM
P: 127
Quote Quote by turbo-1 View Post
And where is Geronimo on the list? Vastly outnumbered and out-gunned, he and his followers fought the Mexican and US armies for decades, trying vainly to prevent the relentless encroachment on Chiricahua lands.
Ho Che Min (and Gen. Gap) was pretty impressive too.
punictrader
#65
Nov21-09, 06:58 AM
P: 4
Quote Quote by croghan27 View Post
Ho Che Min (and Gen. Gap) was pretty impressive too.
Yes there are alot of impressive generals that didn't make my top 10, but if you feel like you can make a case for anyone else and bump someone off the list I'm willing to listen. But it has to be a very good case with reasoning plus reaserch.
mheslep
#66
Nov21-09, 04:48 PM
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Quote Quote by croghan27 View Post
Ho Che Min (and Gen. Gap) was pretty impressive too.
No just Gap. Minh gets little or no military credits, he was revolutionary/politician/statesman (pick on or all), but no field general.
croghan27
#67
Nov21-09, 09:38 PM
P: 127
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
No just Gap. Minh gets little or no military credits, he was revolutionary/politician/statesman (pick on or all), but no field general.
I suppose you are correct - Minh did the organization thing while Gap the military. His (Gap's) book, People's War: People's Army (lost my copy, damnit ) was and is very influential. He was in Napoleonic fashion, an artillery officer.

I do not think his ideas would be of much use to the Taliban and certainly none to al Qui'da - while both have what may be called fighters, they have no armies in the traditional sense. RPGs do not qualify as artillery.

Gap's plan was a very European one .... use the Viet Cong as guerrilla fighters, that the British had shown in Malaysia could be defeated, but keep the North Vietnamese regular army as an organized force that had to be taken into account.

Mind you that he had a mostly united, nation north AND south, behind him was no end of help.
F_HAWKO
#68
Oct11-10, 03:50 AM
P: 2
What about Charlemagne, he was awesome.
Gaius Baltar
#69
Oct11-10, 04:16 AM
P: 49
•Leonidas for sure.
Radrook
#70
Jan17-11, 09:20 PM
P: 334
Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
The best generals win with fewer men.
In the case of Hannibal I tend to agree.
In the case of Alexander who faced inferior opposition where whole armies fled once their king did I don't.
JackSetter
#71
Aug3-11, 10:37 AM
P: 3
Zhukov should not be anywhere near this list, his colossal defeat in the Rhzev Salient during operation Mars should be enough to take him off. He beat up weak German Armies and their allies to achieve victory. When he fought an equal opponent, he was badly beaten using the same tactics he always used, massed artillery, massed tanks, and massed men, and was defeated.
BWV
#72
Aug3-11, 11:35 AM
P: 328
Quote Quote by JackSetter View Post
Zhukov should not be anywhere near this list, his colossal defeat in the Rhzev Salient during operation Mars should be enough to take him off. He beat up weak German Armies and their allies to achieve victory. When he fought an equal opponent, he was badly beaten using the same tactics he always used, massed artillery, massed tanks, and massed men, and was defeated.
Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk & Minsk were the battles that destroyed the German Army - No commander in the war racked up a greater list of victories

Equal opponent? what does that mean in war? Zhukov generally faced better equipped and better tactically led opponents but had greater numbers at his disposal - his planning had to take this into account. Mars was a huge defeat, but no one is striking Napoleon off the list for invading Russia or Waterloo


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