Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > General History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

General History General History Forum - General history questions and discussions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 8th, 2011, 07:23 PM   #1

Earl_of_Rochester's Avatar
Scoundrel
Member of the Year
 
Joined: Feb 2011
From: Perambulating in St James' Park
Posts: 13,372
Commanders who were completely mad


Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Stanbery View Post

Now, if we were to look for a flashy military character, then who else but Nelson? He did after all, single handedly (litterally) drive back the huns at Agincourt Bay!

Clint Eastwood could have made a good Nelson when he was young, that is. Or better yet, Jack Nicholson.

Heers Horatio!

As much as I love Nelson part of me thinks he was a lunatic, I'm almost certain he was stark raving mad and in the same state of mind as the suicide bombers who blow themselves up for Allah. I realise that's a very controversial statement to make and he certainly isn't anything like them in other respects, but as far as his willingness for death goes I think it's accurate.

He seemed to take almost suicidal risks and was ruthless in his pursuit of victory and fame, he even admitted that he wanted to die in action and at the moment of glory.

Were there any other slightly mad commanders in history? I know Rommel was branded with the same accusation after he disobeyed orders when he first landed in North Africa and went on the offensive.

Patton has also been mentioned, is it true he believed he was a Roman General or something?

EoR
Earl_of_Rochester is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 8th, 2011, 07:28 PM   #2

Richard Stanbery's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2009
From: Tennessee
Posts: 8,298

I see Hannibal having a touch of this madness. How much he was influenced by religious zeal, and how much was something else, is up to debate.

Hannibal made great tactical moves and won some big battles. But...he left Spain kind of open while he marched his army over the alps.

And when he had Rome open to siege and possibly vulnerable...he just sat in Italy and let the sands fall through his fingers.

Stonewall Jackson had a touch of this in 1862, after his brilliant valley campaign. He seemed to go from a Manic mode to a Depressive mode.

It was inexplicable to those who knew them.
Richard Stanbery is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 07:30 PM   #3

Earl_of_Rochester's Avatar
Scoundrel
Member of the Year
 
Joined: Feb 2011
From: Perambulating in St James' Park
Posts: 13,372

How could I forget Mr Hitler? Maddest of them all.

EoR
Earl_of_Rochester is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 07:37 PM   #4
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,578

The King of France before Joan of Arc put his son on the throne suffered a full blown mental break down while on a military campaign.

That his warriors disarmed him and returned him home tells a historian all sorts of things.
CIowa is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #5

Earl_of_Rochester's Avatar
Scoundrel
Member of the Year
 
Joined: Feb 2011
From: Perambulating in St James' Park
Posts: 13,372

Interesting, do you know what campaign it was? I always wondered why you never hear about PTSD in history.

EoR
Earl_of_Rochester is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #6
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2010
From: Oregon
Posts: 1,985

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester View Post
As much as I love Nelson part of me thinks he was a lunatic, I'm almost certain he was stark raving mad and in the same state of mind as the suicide bombers who blow themselves up for Allah. I realise that's a very controversial statement to make and he certainly isn't anything like them in other respects, but as far as his willingness for death goes I think it's accurate.

He seemed to take almost suicidal risks and was ruthless in his pursuit of victory and fame, he even admitted that he wanted to die in action and at the moment of glory.
Wasn't dying in battle considered by most military professionals the proper way to end one's career, back in Nelson's day? True, that business of strolling around a quarter deck even when in range of enemy cannons and snipers was pushing the envelope, but at Trafalgar, for instance, I suspect Collingwood was doing the same.
Knarly Dan is online now  
Old April 8th, 2011, 08:20 PM   #7

Earl_of_Rochester's Avatar
Scoundrel
Member of the Year
 
Joined: Feb 2011
From: Perambulating in St James' Park
Posts: 13,372

You do have a point, it's hard to tell I guess as the quarterdeck is fairly open and there's not many places to take cover from flying cannon balls and snipers. I've had the honour of standing onboard HMS Victory.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

At Cape St Vincent he disobeyed his commander and broke away from the British Fleet to attack a Spanish fleet entirely by himself, this sort of thing is certainly madness imho, he was fortunate to pull it off.

EoR
Earl_of_Rochester is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 08:34 PM   #8
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 19,933

I may disagree a bit with the use of the term "madness" here.

For any loyal competent subordinate, knowing the right (and exceptional) moment to challenge a poorly conceived order could hardly be considered any sign of deteriorated mental health; Nelson and Rommel were IMHO perfectly right, actually superb in their respective decisions.

Herr Hitler may well have been a nutcase ... but he was no general to begin with.

Hardly could I find any "madness" in the military decisions of Hannibal.
sylla1 is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #9

Richard Stanbery's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2009
From: Tennessee
Posts: 8,298

I dont know that madness is the correct term. But he did do some things that were, hard to explain.

I wonder how much his squabble with the Carthaginian senate had to do with it? It might be a case of a group of leaders who were pre-occupied bickering one with another, while assuming that a beaten enemy would remain beaten and neutralized.

Yet Hannibal surely must have realized that the Romans were going to gather thier strength eventually? The Carthaginan senate may have not realized it, but Hannibal seems like the kind of guy who would realize it?

Maybe he meant to use the Romans as a "loose cannon" to control the Carthaginian senate? Like a mad dog on his leash?
Richard Stanbery is offline  
Old April 8th, 2011, 08:44 PM   #10
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2010
From: Oregon
Posts: 1,985

He has to be one of the most studied naval commanders in history. I wonder what the consensus is among experts: a genius who wasn't afraid to do what needed doing; or a loose cannon who was incredibly lucky even if his victories did come at the cost of an arm and an eye and eventually his life.

Great pix, BTW. If I ever go to England, seeing the Victory certainly will be on my to do list.
Knarly Dan is online now  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > General History

Tags
commanders, completely, mad



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Milton Friedman is completely wrong here philosopher Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology 8 April 8th, 2011 05:59 PM
Other countries aren't completely useless. Saturn General History 18 October 29th, 2010 06:14 AM
Is there ever a completely benign civilization in history? Neophite General History 8 August 3rd, 2009 02:27 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.