Great military leaders surrounded by average/incompetent colleagues

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,940
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
I suspect that countless military leaders have claimed to be this, great military leaders surrounded by average/incompetent colleagues. In many cases the second part of the claim was correct.
 
Mar 2018
793
UK
Does Julius Caesar count? During Galllic wars his Legates are certainly not very impressive, only Labenius seemed to be above-average as an independent commander.
 
Feb 2011
1,091
Scotland
Isnt this pretty much the 'default' position?

Great military leaders are very rare birds and by definition those around them are going to be 'average'.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WhatAnArtist
Feb 2011
1,091
Scotland
Occasionally two very good leaders work together- US Grant had George Thomas, William T Sherman and Phillip Sheridan, Robert E Lee had Stonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart. Of course, a lot depends on how you define' Great Military leader'.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,676
Cornwall
A noticeable contradiction to this trend is Philip II, who would trust generals like Parmenion with huge independent tasks, and who were successful.
I'm sort of wondering how much detail we know about this at such distance? For all we know he might have dreaded having to leave Parmenion in charge when he had an attack of gout or something :)

The other query is - put me at the head of 10,000 Macedonians of the day and I'd probably fancy my chances too.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,393
Netherlands
Isnt this pretty much the 'default' position?

Great military leaders are very rare birds and by definition those around them are going to be 'average'.
Completely disagree. A great commander can suffer 1 or 2 incompetent staff members, but then he needs some very capable staff members to offset it. I would even go as far as saying that there are no great military commanders without great subordinates.
You think Caesar could execute such a siege as Alesia without a very capable staff?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lord Fairfax
Sep 2016
1,278
Georgia
I'm sort of wondering how much detail we know about this at such distance? For all we know he might have dreaded having to leave Parmenion in charge when he had an attack of gout or something :)

The other query is - put me at the head of 10,000 Macedonians of the day and I'd probably fancy my chances too.
Alexander did that regularly during his campaigns, especially after Gaugamela.

Also, Parmenion was still defeated by Memnon and forced back to the coast. 10 000 Macedonians did not help Parmenion and he only managed to retain few cities. So, you certainly would be defeated.