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View Poll Results: What's more important: A competent general or a competent army?
A competent general 34 69.39%
A competent army 15 30.61%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 2nd, 2011, 12:29 PM   #11

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A general needs a competent command staff, which in turn needs competent soldiers to achieve the results he intends - so it's really a mix.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 01:08 PM   #12
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A good general knows his army and can get the most out of it by working within its limitations, which are just one among all strategic and tactical constraints that he has to take into account. If given time, he can make a bad army into a good one.

A good army comes into its own in a pitched battle, when generalship becomes almost irrelevant. However a good general will avoid a pitched battle for that very reason.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 01:19 PM   #13

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a competent commander will lead to a competent army

is the roman army perhaps the exception because they were always so well trained and standardized that they could slug it out with anyone else. most of the army's they defeated were mass barbarian hordes so how would an incompetent commander perform if met by a more organised and better lead force. do we have any examples from the roman period?
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 01:49 PM   #14

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemowork View Post
Depends on the situation. Usually if the General is bad he will demoralise the men under him through his choice of promotions and decisions until they become a bad army.

The notable one i can think of with good soldiers saving a bad General is Albuerra, Beresford was a good adjutant and without him most of Wellingtons army wouldnt have been fed or clothed but as an independent coomnander he was a liability.

If I remember correctly Wellington appointed Beresford as his 2nd, and it was he who was to take conmmand in the event of his death.

This was questioned as Beresford was not considered to be that bright but was good at logistics,

Wellington answered that solve supply and the army would help itself.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 02:33 PM   #15

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There are no incompetent armies... only incompetent leaders.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 02:43 PM   #16

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
If I remember correctly Wellington appointed Beresford as his 2nd, and it was he who was to take conmmand in the event of his death.

This was questioned as Beresford was not considered to be that bright but was good at logistics,

Wellington answered that solve supply and the army would help itself.
Good in theory but after Albuera Beresford was never trusted with an independent fighting command.

Compare that with Sir John Moores wingman Thomas Graham Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Wellington got plagued with average talents and Horse Guards placements he had to tolerate for political reasons, compared to them Beresford was a shining talent, unfortunately for the fighting men his talent was as a logistician not as a battle commander.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:12 PM   #17

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The competent army win the war.

The strenght of an army rely on its low and mid echelons. The superb performance of Macedonian, Roman or Napoleonic armies was cimented after years of obscure fighting, defeat and suffering. Experience was passed to new soldiers by neverending years of struggle.

A good general can win a battle, even a war like Marius despite the poor quality of the army, but this isn't the rule, even for Hannibal, whose mercenary troops were hardened men who were following long lasting traditions of fight.

In the long run, the importance of the army quality over the general ones can be seen more clearly. The rise of good generals is related in fact to a long previous rise on the quality of the army. Decline on the quality of generals is the consequence of previous decline on the quality of the army.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:31 PM   #18

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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
a competent commander will lead to a competent army

is the roman army perhaps the exception because they were always so well trained and standardized that they could slug it out with anyone else. most of the army's they defeated were mass barbarian hordes so how would an incompetent commander perform if met by a more organised and better lead force. do we have any examples from the roman period?

Of course, Pyrrus, Hannibal, Surena, Shapur I in the "civilized" side of Roman enemies.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:33 PM   #19

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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
a competent commander will lead to a competent army

is the roman army perhaps the exception because they were always so well trained and standardized that they could slug it out with anyone else. most of the army's they defeated were mass barbarian hordes so how would an incompetent commander perform if met by a more organised and better lead force. do we have any examples from the roman period?
I don't know about "more organized and better led" than the Romans of the Republic. But there were the Parthians. Antony didn't do all that well against them either, but he could improve on Crassus' example (including choice of invasion route, overall composition of force, etc.). Leadership again.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:35 PM   #20

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It is not an absolute. A very poor general will waste a competent army, and no amount of outstanding leadership can do much with a very poor army.
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