Commander with most battles won in history?

Jul 2018
496
Hong Kong
#12
You have to consider this one.

「人屠」武安君白起
The "Human Butcher" Lord Wu'an Bai Qi

According to Sima Qin's depiction, he commanded the Qin army for three decades, conquered more than 70 cities, won a crushing victory over various major states' army in several decisive battles, and did not lose a single battle ! Almost 1 million men of enemy troops was killed by the Qin army under his lead ! That's how he was given a frightening nickname — the "human butcher". Judge by Sima Qin's description, he looked invincible in military command (though the truth had disappeared into obscurity of time).

In my thread The comprehensive analysis of the Battle of Changping (長平之戰), I would characterize him in detail once I write to chapter 5.

The comprehensive analysis of the Battle of Changping (長平之戰)

This provides a chance for your understanding of one of the greatest ancient Chinese military commanders, as well as the bloodcurdling battle of Changping which was one of the turning points in the Chinese Warring Period.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2018
193
US
#13
It would be good if users with a strong knowledge of Arab and Mongol history could weigh in on how many of those battles can be regarded as being more like skirmishes, although Kirialax does makes a good point: at what point is a skirmish a battle?
I did a very rough tally and Subutai's battle count is somewhere in the 50's to low 60's - a very strict count of important ones is in the upper 30's. But as mentioned, there is a very large element of uncertainty about measurement and qualifying here that makes it difficult to assess this kind of thing. One could debate semantics and metrics on this for a long time. For example, he was the overall commander for the 1231-2 Jin campaign that led to the destruction of most of the Jin armies at Sanfeng, Tiehling, and Yangyi, but we don't actually know who the Mongol field commander at Tiehling was (Jin sources only). It was almost certainly under Subutai's strategic direction but he may not have oversaw the tactical details in person - is that sufficient? Additionally, there are several areas of uncertainty due to poor or nonexistent source coverage: in 1227 he attacked through Tibet into the rear of the Tanguts, but did he fight a Tangut army or did they let him ravage uninhibited? Did he join in the decisive Yellow River Battle with Genghis Khan's army or was that a separate action?

Larger battle list:

1. 1216 Merkits Chem River (20,000 vs unknown)
2. 1218 Merkit/Kangli Irtysh River (20,000 vs unknown)
3. 1218 Khwarezm Quyli River (<20,000 vs 60,000)
4. 1220 1st Georgian Battle (20,000 vs 10,000?)
5. 1221 2nd Georgian Battle (<20,000 vs stated 60,000, a rather large number)
6. 1222 Alan/Circassian/Kipchaks Northern Caucasus Tribal Coalition (<<20,000 vs larger force)
7. 1222 Don River Kipchaks Buzu River (unknown)
8. 1223 Rus/Kipchak Coalition Battle of the Kalka (~20,000 vs a much larger foe, 40-80,000)
9. 1224 Olbari Kipchaks (unknown)
10. 1224 Volga Kangglis (unknown)
11. 1226 Yellow Uighyr of West Tibet (unknown)
12. 1226-7 Tegin Tibetan/Qiang Tribe (unknown)
13 1226-7 Chimin of Qaidam Basin Tibet (details totally unknown)
14. 1230 Bachman of the Kipchaks (unknown)
15. 1231 Jin Yila Pua Fengxiang relief army (unknown)
16. 1231 Song Wuxia Pass ((unknown)
17-20 3 battles - 1231 Song south of Micang mountains (unknown)
21. 1231 Song Da'an (unknown, important battle)
22. 1232 Jin Sanfeng mountain (30,000 vs 150,000 veterans)
23. 1232 Jin Tiehling (unknown vs 110,000 militia)
24. *1232 Jin Yangyi (unknown vs 15,000) - Subutai not in direct command
25. 1232 Jin Neizu Silie at Jingshui (unknown)
26. 1232 Jin Hexi at Zhongmou (unknown)
27. 1232 Jin Emperor Huanglonggang (<<30,000 vs 60,000)
28, 1234 Song Yang Yi at Longmen (unknown vs 15,000)
29. 1234 Song Xu Minzi at Luoshi River (unknown)
30. 1236 Volga Bulgars (unknown)
31. 1236-7 Bachman 2nd battle - Pontic Kipchaks (unknown)
32. 1238 Rus Sit River (unknown)
33. 1241 Count Denis (unknown, outnumbered the Hungarians)
34. 1241 Archbishop Ugrin (unknown, outnumbered the Hungarians)
35. 1241 Hungarians Mohi (large battle unknown, outnumbered by Hungarians)
36. 1242 Baldwin II Thrace (unknown vs 31,000)

There's plenty of other battles to include (i,e Rayy, Terek River, He Marsh, Jin border forces, other Song Hanzhong armies, Yaroslav), plus there are a number of subordinate battles under Subutai command (i,e Oradea, Liegnitz) but I didn't want to make too long of a list.
 
#14
I did a very rough tally and Subutai's battle count is somewhere in the 50's to low 60's - a very strict count of important ones is in the upper 30's. But as mentioned, there is a very large element of uncertainty about measurement and qualifying here that makes it difficult to assess this kind of thing. One could debate semantics and metrics on this for a long time. For example, he was the overall commander for the 1231-2 Jin campaign that led to the destruction of most of the Jin armies at Sanfeng, Tiehling, and Yangyi, but we don't actually know who the Mongol field commander at Tiehling was (Jin sources only). It was almost certainly under Subutai's strategic direction but he may not have oversaw the tactical details in person - is that sufficient? Additionally, there are several areas of uncertainty due to poor or nonexistent source coverage: in 1227 he attacked through Tibet into the rear of the Tanguts, but did he fight a Tangut army or did they let him ravage uninhibited? Did he join in the decisive Yellow River Battle with Genghis Khan's army or was that a separate action?

Larger battle list:

1. 1216 Merkits Chem River (20,000 vs unknown)
2. 1218 Merkit/Kangli Irtysh River (20,000 vs unknown)
3. 1218 Khwarezm Quyli River (<20,000 vs 60,000)
4. 1220 1st Georgian Battle (20,000 vs 10,000?)
5. 1221 2nd Georgian Battle (<20,000 vs stated 60,000, a rather large number)
6. 1222 Alan/Circassian/Kipchaks Northern Caucasus Tribal Coalition (<<20,000 vs larger force)
7. 1222 Don River Kipchaks Buzu River (unknown)
8. 1223 Rus/Kipchak Coalition Battle of the Kalka (~20,000 vs a much larger foe, 40-80,000)
9. 1224 Olbari Kipchaks (unknown)
10. 1224 Volga Kangglis (unknown)
11. 1226 Yellow Uighyr of West Tibet (unknown)
12. 1226-7 Tegin Tibetan/Qiang Tribe (unknown)
13 1226-7 Chimin of Qaidam Basin Tibet (details totally unknown)
14. 1230 Bachman of the Kipchaks (unknown)
15. 1231 Jin Yila Pua Fengxiang relief army (unknown)
16. 1231 Song Wuxia Pass ((unknown)
17-20 3 battles - 1231 Song south of Micang mountains (unknown)
21. 1231 Song Da'an (unknown, important battle)
22. 1232 Jin Sanfeng mountain (30,000 vs 150,000 veterans)
23. 1232 Jin Tiehling (unknown vs 110,000 militia)
24. *1232 Jin Yangyi (unknown vs 15,000) - Subutai not in direct command
25. 1232 Jin Neizu Silie at Jingshui (unknown)
26. 1232 Jin Hexi at Zhongmou (unknown)
27. 1232 Jin Emperor Huanglonggang (<<30,000 vs 60,000)
28, 1234 Song Yang Yi at Longmen (unknown vs 15,000)
29. 1234 Song Xu Minzi at Luoshi River (unknown)
30. 1236 Volga Bulgars (unknown)
31. 1236-7 Bachman 2nd battle - Pontic Kipchaks (unknown)
32. 1238 Rus Sit River (unknown)
33. 1241 Count Denis (unknown, outnumbered the Hungarians)
34. 1241 Archbishop Ugrin (unknown, outnumbered the Hungarians)
35. 1241 Hungarians Mohi (large battle unknown, outnumbered by Hungarians)
36. 1242 Baldwin II Thrace (unknown vs 31,000)

There's plenty of other battles to include (i,e Rayy, Terek River, He Marsh, Jin border forces, other Song Hanzhong armies, Yaroslav), plus there are a number of subordinate battles under Subutai command (i,e Oradea, Liegnitz) but I didn't want to make too long of a list.
Thanks for the response and list! That's quite a military record.
 
Jul 2017
2,247
Australia
#15
Napoleon won almost all of the 50 pitched battles he personally commanded.

This is more relevant to campaigns fought than battles, but this, from Napoleon's own hand, is a short explanation of what he thinks qualifies studying the art of war:
"Alexander waged eight campaigns, during which he conquered Asia and​
part of India; Hannibal waged seventeen—one in Spain, fifteen in Italy,​
one in Africa; Caesar waged thirteen—eight against the Gauls, five against​
Pompey’s legions; Gustavus Adolphus waged three—one in Livonia against​
the Russians and two in Germany against the House of Austria; Turenne​
waged eighteen—nine in France and nine in Germany; Prince Euge`ne of​
Savoy waged thirteen—two against the Turks, five in Italy against France,​
six on the Rhine or in Flanders; Frederick waged eleven in Silesia, Bohemia,​
and on the banks of the Elbe. The history of these 83 campaigns​
would be a complete treatise on the art of war; the principles that must be​
followed in defensive and offensive war would flow from them as from​
their source. [ . . . ]​
But do you want to know how battles are fought? Read, meditate the​
reports of the 150 battles of these great commanders. [ . . . ]​
Wage offensive war like Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus,​
Turenne, Prince Euge`ne, and Frederick. Read and re-read the history​
of their 83 campaigns. Model yourselves on them. That is the only way to​
become a great commander and discover the secrets of the art. Thus enlightened,​
your genius will prompt you to reject maxims opposed to those of these​
great men.8"​

Napoleon, On War
 
Feb 2019
145
Thrace
#16
So as of now the ranking looks like this:
1.Khalid @200/@100
2.Samudragupta 100+
3.Subutai @65
4.Napoleon @50

Alexander is said to have won 20 major battles, but I need more info to put the total number in front of his name.

Some other figures who might cut in: Thutmose III(He is recorded to have captured 350 cities during his rule and was never defeated), Bai Qi(he seized more than 73 cities from the other six hostile states, and to date no record has been found to show that he suffered a single defeat throughout his military career), Skanderbeg(For 25 years, from 1443 to 1468, Skanderbeg's 10,000 man army marched through Ottoman territory remaining undefeated), Stephen the Great(He only lost 2 battles in his extensive military career, with some sources claiming 34 our of 36 and some 46 out of 48).
 
Sep 2018
2
New Zealand
#17
I am not sure who would top but here is a list I watched on youtube the other day.
The list is based off all Wikipedia articles, but I do not know how accurate it is. It seems to be roughly correct. I am no genius in Asian history, so I will leave it the list to the experts.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,495
#20
Battles don't meant zilch anyway, they're not quantifiable. Napoleon is probably the safe pick for greatest general in history though.
AS long as your comforatble with 13% of his campaign were total disasters with consistent massive mistakes from start to finish. Very good in cetrian circumstances. Amazing bad in others.
 

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