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Old November 9th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #81

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
For the criteria given by the OP I'd have to say number one is George Washington. Not only a brilliant military commander, he also used his military victories to achieve political goals and literally founded a nation.

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I'd take Washington off the list.

Since the title of the thread is 'Best military commanders in all respects,' I would take that to mean military commanders that excel at strategy, tactics, and logistics. Washington was a good strategist that also excelled at deception, and of course he was also both personally brave and a great motivator of men. That being said, his tactics however were usually uninspired. On the American side, both Daniel Morgan and Benedict Arnold (I suppose Arnold also counts for the British side) were much better tacticians than Washington.

In fact I'd probably rank Benedict Arnold as the best all around general on either side of the Revolution. Unfortunately he was also morally bankrupt.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:14 PM   #82

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Must agree with this. His battle of Ramilies was a nuanced masterpiece. He made subtle movements and changes throughout the battle, that completely baffled his French opponent. Even after his Pyrrhic victory at Malplaquet, he was still able to Capture Mons, which was his strategic objective from the start, Marshal Villars being unable to stop him.


I Have just finished the book "Marlborough's Sieges" and I would state that he was also particularly skilled at siege warfare, having never lost any of his 20+ sieges he was engaged in. I would say though, with the many enemies he was gaining at home (due in no small part to the tactless behaviour of his wife) he ran out of time near the end, and the star fortresses of Vauban achieved what they set out to do, in delaying Marlborough's advances, and taking away from him the one commodity he did not possess; time.

Charles XII was the other outstanding commander of the period, imo.

Some other French commanders I would also mention (other than Villars) are; Duc de Luxemburg and Maurice de Saxe.
Ramillies was the decisive battle of the whole war, in my view but it's effects were squandered by the various allied governments who failed to make a reasonable peace at that point, much to Marlborough's disgust, so allowing the French to reorganise and recover. The war then dragged on another eight pointless years ending in a substantive allied defeat. One can only speculate what might have happened had Marlborough been given free rein to fight the war as he would have liked.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:23 PM   #83

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Originally Posted by Delenda est Roma View Post
Hannibal, Gustavus Adolphus, Eugen of Savoy, Julius Caesar, Wallenstein,



Jaw drops im anazement

Why Wallenstein
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #84

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Haniball abd Napoleon have their supporters, anyone for Wellington of Scipio Africanus
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #85

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My list:

1. Frederick the Great- Recognized by many, including the less than humble Napoleon, as the greatest commander to ever live. He transformed Prussia from a tiny state into a mighty military power through a series of stunning victories over significantly numerically superior forces.

2. Subutai- Conquered Russia. That should be enough considering no one else ever did it. However, he also managed to destroy the armies of numerous Eastern European states and establish the Golden Horde as the preeminent power in Eastern Europe for the following few centuries.

3. Napoleon- "If I had succeeded, I would have been the greatest man known to history". That's a big "if", but he came very close to being the greatest commander in history. Like his idol, Frederick the Great, he took on far numerically superior forces by going on the offensive, which worked well until he invaded Russia.

4. Vo Nguyen Giap- Who didn't he defeat? The Japanese, French, South Vietnamese, and Americans all couldn't defeat him. A great student of military history, he always managed to be one step ahead of his enemies, surprising them all at every turn. Like his idol George Washington, he knew how to win wars without winning battles, something very few have ever been capable of.

5. Scipio Africanus- He, not Caesar, created the Roman Empire. Scipio faced incredibly strong opponents in battle, the Carthaginians and Macedonians, and smashed them both. He added Spain, North Africa, and Greece to the Roman Republic. Not too bad.

6. Cyrus the Great- He ruled a small state, rebelled again its overlord, and then just conquered most of the known world. Cyrus created might and power out of nothing, but most importantly, knew how to keep that power. Unlike the nations of many other great generals, his still exists as a major power 2500 years later.

7. Lennart Torstensson- Never heard of him? Well, he only managed to establish Swedish control over the Baltic, and crush the Habsburgs in the 30 Years' War. Destroying the preeminent superpower of your day and turning your own nation into one is quite impressive. If Karl XII wasn't such a fool, Sweden may well be a major power today.

8. Erich von Manstein- The mastermind behind the German maneuver past the Maginot Line that conquered France, he did an incredible amount despite the fact that he was a commander for only 4 years. Oft forgotten is the fact that he nearly saved the Germans at Stalingrad. He came so close to being one of the greatest men known to history, but like Napoleon, he came up just short.

9. George Washington- The standard for any commander leading a rebellion, Washington was the first man to prove how wars could be won by losing nearly all major battles. He was a very good tactician, but an incredible strategist, as he kept colonial and later American armies alive against great odds in both the Seven Years' and Revolutionary Wars. In addition, he knew how to manage a multi-national army, something even the greatest commanders have problems with.

10. Moshe Dayan- What a miserable SOB. But hey, he proved to be the modern Frederick the Great, winning stunning victories over much much larger armies. He established the tiny state of Israel and turned it into a major regional power. He also knew how to recover from defeats, as he turned the Yom Kippur War from a major disaster into a stunning victory.

Honorable mentions: Mustafa Kemal, Georgy Zhukov, Duke of Wellington, Andrew Jackson, and Khalid ibn al-Walid.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:38 PM   #86

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Manstein, certaibly the best of the 20th Century, noy sure about top ten of all time.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:42 PM   #87

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
Ramillies was the decisive battle of the whole war, in my view but it's effects were squandered by the various allied governments who failed to make a reasonable peace at that point, much to Marlborough's disgust, so allowing the French to reorganise and recover. The war then dragged on another eight pointless years ending in a substantive allied defeat. One can only speculate what might have happened had Marlborough been given free rein to fight the war as he would have liked.
I cant disagree with that. I remember reading in one book, just before Blenheim, Marlborough was viewing some broken ground and knew that the French would have to veer through it. He wanted to set up an ambush but was denied by the Dutch. He made the Dutch watch as the French eventually crossed this ground in complete and utter disarray. The Dutch were then sheepish about it.

I also think that Oudenarde was probably his most skilled battle, the way he was able to eventually envelop Marshal Vendome. For me though, his march to the Danube which preceded Blenheim was a masterpiece of logistics and deception both for his allies and enemies.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #88

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Dont like the man but its hard to ignore Cromwell
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:15 PM   #89
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Yanks all nominating their own generals, -Patton greatest of all time?

I'll be silly too and nominate a British general.

General William Booth of the Salvation Army.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #90
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hmmmmm....
Zhang Xun
Guo ziyi ,
Sun Tzu,
Huo Qu Bin,
Sun Bin,
Wei Qing,
Xiang Yu,
Han Xin,
Ceasar,
saladin
jOAN OF ARC
Zhu Ge Liang
Hannibal
Patton,
Rommel
R.E LEE
..........
....

Last edited by Gorge123; November 9th, 2012 at 02:23 PM.
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