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Old March 12th, 2008, 07:00 AM   #1

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Underrated commanders


The previous topic got me thinking about who the most underrated commanders are in history so teach me about a commander I've barely heard of
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Old March 12th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #2
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Re: Underrated commanders


Themistocles - commander of the Athenian fleet vs the Persian navy.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 04:15 PM   #3

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Re: Underrated commanders


I guess the subject of naming underrated commanders is even more problematic than the reverse.

I suppose the first place to look would be those commanders who served under an over-rated one (e.g. Horrocks, Truscott). Then one might look at the commanders who served in theaters not amenable to the press (e.g. Slim, Stilwell). Then one might look at commanders of smaller formations (e.g. Leland S. Hobbs and Paul William Baade, commanders of the 30th and 35th divisions at Mortain and thereafter), who will be well remembered by their men, and by serious students of military operations, but not by the general public.

And that's just a partial list from WWII.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #4

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Re: Underrated commanders


I think the tag "underrated" is also subject to where you live. For example, Turenne is considered by many military history experts to be one of the all-time great commanders, but here in the States he is not well-known. I imagine that in France and the rest of Europe he is rather more famous.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #5

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Re: Underrated commanders


I'd be very interested to know which commanders are underrated by different regions. Here in Canada we love General Crerar who commanded Canadian First Army in the Battle of the Schedlt and I'm guessing few know his name?

To answer my own post, I'm going to nominate Balck, a German general on the Eastern Front, who decimated the Soviet Fifth Tank Army with little more than a tattered division near Stalingrad and then fought some decent defensive battles in 1944 against a much superior enemy. I'd also nominate Kutusov. I know you've all heard of him but he doesn't get enough credit; he was the smartest Allied general when Napoleon was spanking every army he fought and was largely responsible for the decisive defeat Napoleon sufferred in Russia.

I think for this discussion we must narrow it down to high level commanders because sometimes fantastic brigade commanders end up being useless corps commanders for example.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #6

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Re: Underrated commanders


Jonathan,

I certainly have not heard of General Crerar, and I imagine that I speak for most of my fellow countrymen. No offense, but we generally don't think of Canada when compiling a list of great generals.

I do know of Balck, however, and he was a fine general. In addition to the campaigns you mentioned, he also served well in France (1940) and Greece in the Balkan Campaign. Although only a Colonel at the time, he displayed the tactical abilities that enabled him to fight so well later against overwhelming odds.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #7

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Re: Underrated commanders


No worries, no offense taken. I've noticed however that maps of the Western Front 1944-45 tend to cut off the Netherlands and the Canadian First Army. Crerar can thus be considered underrated because no one outside Canada (few in Canada have heard of him as well) has heard of him. However it is unfortunate that Canada's committment to military matters is so bleak that it will never be thought of when thinking of decent commanders.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #8

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Re: Underrated commanders


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan4290 View Post
No worries, no offense taken. I've noticed however that maps of the Western Front 1944-45 tend to cut off the Netherlands and the Canadian First Army. Crerar can thus be considered underrated because no one outside Canada (few in Canada have heard of him as well) has heard of him. However it is unfortunate that Canada's committment to military matters is so bleak that it will never be thought of when thinking of decent commanders.
Hey, that may not be such a bad thing; if you hadn't noticed most Americans WISH there was less commitment to military matters here

It is unfortunate though that the contributions of countries like Canada (and South Africa and India) tend to get pushed to the wayside. If it weren't for movies like The Desert Rats most Americans probably wouldn't know that the Aussies fought in WWII. What you guys need is a war film with a catchy title to bring attention to the Canadians
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Old March 13th, 2008, 06:05 PM   #9

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Re: Underrated commanders


Jonathan4290,

I knew the name Crerar, but that was all. I did know that the fighting to finally clear the Schelde estuary was some of the toughest fighting in western Europe.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #10

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Re: Underrated commanders


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantagruel View Post
It is unfortunate though that the contributions of countries like Canada (and South Africa and India) tend to get pushed to the wayside. If it weren't for movies like The Desert Rats most Americans probably wouldn't know that the Aussies fought in WWII. What you guys need is a war film with a catchy title to bring attention to the Canadians
That's actually a good idea but it'll probably never happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucius
I knew the name Crerar, but that was all. I did know that the fighting to finally clear the Schelde estuary was some of the toughest fighting in western Europe.
Apparently the Dutch love Canadians because Canada was responsible for liberating the Netherlands.

Does anyone know of any other underrated commanders? Most of the time I have to read about them in a magazine to even find they existed.
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