My List of the Greatest Commanders in History

Sep 2018
Edmond, Ok USA
Not sure what to make of Stonewall Jackson, he had decent and good performances but his only campaign in the Shenandoah Valley was not that impacting. Anyway here is what I recorded from his record.

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson 1824-1863
(Manassas 1861)
-Baltimore & Ohio Railway raids 1861
x -Battle of Falling Waters
-1st Battle of Bull Run

(Shenandoah Valley 1862)
-1st Battle of Kernstown
-Battle of McDowell
-Battle of Front Royal
-1st Battle of Winchester
-Battle of Good's Farm
-Battle of Cross keys
-Battle of Port Republic 1862

(Seven Days 1862)
x -Battle of Beaver Dam Creek
-Battle of Gaines Mill
-Battle of Savage's Station
-Battle of White Oak Swamp
-Battle of Glendale
x -Battle of Malvern Hill

(Northern Virginia 1862)
-Battle of Cedar Mountain
-1st Battle of Rappahannock Station
-Jackson's Manassas Station Operations
-2nd Battle of Bull Run
-Battle of Chantilly

(Maryland 1862)
-Battle of Harpers Ferry
-Battle of Antietam

(Fredericksburg 1862)
-Battle of Fredericksburg

(Chancellorsville 1863)
-Battle of Chancellorsville (died)
Call him a mixed bag.
He's got some really noteable battles and then some really lethargic ones. Robert E. Lee steals some of his glory, but his Shenandoah campaign is all his.
Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
Gneus Domitius Corbulo should be on the list, he was a fine commander, probably the best the Roman empire had until Trajan came along.
Good thing I already included him last week. ;)

I threw in Marcus Claudius Marcellus for his campaigns against Hannibal. In a way he did a better job at Fabian strategy than Fabius Maximus Cunctator did. He was also responsible for winning the war in Sicily.

Tempted to throw in Claudius Nero.
Dmitry Senyavin (Russia) 38(Admiral) (1763-1831)
Horatio Nelson (Britain) 39(Admiral) (1758-1805)
Arthur Wellesley (Britain) 39 (1769-1852)
Andre Massena (France) 39 (1758-1817)
Napoleon Bonaparte (France) 39 (1769-1821)
Louis Nicolas Davout (France) 39 (1770-1823)
Jose de San Martin (Argentina) (1778-1850)
Simon Bolivar (Venezuela, Gran Colombia) (1783-1830)
Theodoros Kolokotronis (Russia/Greece) 40 (1770-1843)
Ibrahim Pasha (Ottomans/Egypt) 40 (1789-1848)
Omar Pasha (Ottomans) (1806-1871)
Shaka Zulu (Zulus) (1787-1828)
Zachary Taylor (United States) 41 (1784-1850)
Winfield Scott (United States) 41 (1786-1866)
Helmuth von Moltke (Prussia, Germany) 42 (1800-1891)
Giuseppe Garibaldi (Rio Grande do Sul/Uruguay/Italy/France) 42 (1807-1882)
Patrice de MacMahon (France) 42 (1808-1893)
Louis Faidherbe (France) 42 (1818-1889)
Amedee Courbet (France)(Admiral) (1827-1885)
Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri (Algeria) (1808-1883)
Ivan Paskevich (Russia) (1782-1856)
Konstantin von Kaufman (Russia) (1818-1882)
Robert Lee (United States/Confederate States) 43 (1807-1870)
Ulysses Grant (United States) 43 (1822-1885)
William Tecumseh Sherman (United States) 43 (1820-1891)
David Farragut (United States) 43(Admiral) (1801-1870)
William Thomas Sampson (United States)(Admiral) (1840-1902)
Manuel Baquedano (Chile) (1823-1897)
Saigo Takamori (Japan) (1828-1877)

Oyama Iwao (Japan) (1842-1916)
Togo Heihachiro (Japan)(Admiral) (1848-1934)
Charles John Napier (Britain)(Admiral) (1786-1860)
James Bremer (Britain)(Admiral) (1786-1850)
Hugh Gough (Britain) (1779-1869)
Garnet Wolseley (Britain) (1833-1913)
Frederick Roberts (Britain) (1832-1914)
Herbert Kitchener (Britain) (1850-1916)
Edmund Allenby (Britain) 45 (1861-1936)
John Jellicoe (Britain)(Admiral) (1859-1935)
Radomir Putnik (Serbia) 45 (1847-1917)
Joseph Gallieni (France) 1849-1916
Louis Hubert Lyautey (France) (1854-1934)
Ferdinand Foch (France) 45 (1851-1929)
Philippe Petain (France) 45 (1856-1951)
August von Mackensen (Germany) 45 (1849-1945)
Erich von Falkenhayn (Germany) 45 (1861-1922)
Erich Ludendorff (Germany) 45 (1865-1937)
Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck (Germany) 45 (1870-1964)
Reinhard Scheer (Germany)(Admiral) (1863-1928)
Franz von Hipper (Germany)(Admiral) (1863-1932)
Mustafa Kemal (Ottomans/Turkey) 45 (1881-1938)
Jozef Pilsudski (Austria-Hungary/Poland) (1867-1935)
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (Russia/Finland) 46 (1867-1951)
Rodolfo Graziani (Italy) 46 (1882-1955)
Albert Kesselring (Germany) 46 (1885-1960)
Erwin Rommel (Germany) 46 (1891-1944)
Erich von Manstein (Germany) 46 (1887-1973)
Karl Doenitz (Germany) 46(Admiral) (1891-1980)
Walter Model (Germany) 46 (1891-1945)
Mikhail Frunze (Soviet Union) (1885-1925)
Georgy Zhukov (Soviet Union) 46 (1896-1974)
Aleksander Vasilevsky (Soviet Union) 46 (1895-1977)
Nikolai Vatutin (Soviet Union) 46 (1901-1944)
Andrew Cunningham (Britain) 46(Admiral) (1883-1963)
Chester Nimitz (United States) 47(Admiral) (1885-1966)
William Slim (Britain) 47 (1891-1970)
Isoroku Yamamoto (Japan) 47(Admiral) (1884-1943)
Hisaichi Terauchi (Japan) 47 (1879-1946)
Tomoyuki Yamashita (Japan) 47 (1885-1946)
Jiang Jieshi (Nationalist China) 47 (1887-1975)
Peng Dehuai (Communist China) 48 (1898-1974)
Lin Biao (Communist China) 48 (1907-1971)
Vo Nguyen Giap (Vietnam) (1911-2013)
Sam Manekshaw (India) (1914-2008)

Prolly gotta include Rawiri Puhirake of Waikato (New Zealand) 1864

Maori warriors are no joke after the dance has been done. Lot's of dead British who figured that out the hard way.
Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
I'll look it up. But the Wikipedia entry is really short.

Kept trying to find references to Guan Yu flooding the Han River. Every biography I looked did not mention this. In a different version of the Sanguo Zhi, in the biography of Xu Huang, there is a brief statement "Guan Yu caused the Han River to overflow and destroy Yu Jin's camps". That is the only references out of like 10 different biographies in the Sanguo Zhi. Despite this the other biographies state that the flood was due to the rain. So I can't tell if this is only mentioned in the biography of Xu Huang or if this is due to a different edition or something of that sort.
Jul 2017
GNAEUS POMPEIUS (135–87 BC), nicknamed Strabo (squint eyed).

-Quaestor in Sardinia (103 B.C.)
-Praetor (94)
-Pro praetor in Sicily (93)
-Consul (89)
-Proconsul (88-87)

89 BC - Legate for the consul Publius Rutilius Lupus at the outbreak of the Social War. Ordered to raise troops in and around his estates in Picenum. Intercepted and defeated by the combined forces of Lafrienus, Scato and Vidacilius and forced to retreat into the city of Firmum. Organised a pincer movement, catching Lafrienus and his army on two fronts, breaking the siege and killing Lafrienus. This was the first major success for the Romans in the war, and as a result civil dress replaced the mourning attire that had been decreed. The rest of Strabo's operations during this year go unrecorded.

88 BC - Elected consul alongside Lucius Porcius Cato. Intercepted and destroyed an Italian army of 15,000 in the winter of 89/88, killing 5,000; most of the survivors were either chased and killed or froze to death. Resumed operations in the Picenum area and continued the siege of Asculum whilst overseeing and conducting operations with his legates in the northern sector. An Italian attempt to relieve Asculum in November resulted in a large concentration of manpower and the largest battle of the war, with some 12 depleted Italian legions pitted against Strabo's 15 legions. The result was 18,000 Italian casualties, and 3,000 captured. Strabo then moved to capture Asculum, secured the entire northern front and celebrated the only triumph of the war.

88-87 BC - Remained in command of his veterans as proconsul. Eventually joined the Senatorial side in the civil war. Attacked the Marian general Quintus Sertorius in the northern vicinity of Rome in conjunction with consul Octavius; the results were indecisive and 600 were slain on both sides before night fell. Later repelled an attack by Cinna and Marius with a portion of his army outside the Colline Gate in aid of Octavius. Killed by the disease ravaging the armies at the time.
Aug 2015
Los Angeles
Why are you so surprised, mariusj ? Are you heavily influenced by the historical novel like Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義) or the video games, the animes / mangas associated with that series ?
No, you don't know anything about me, so don't assume I am influenced by the historical novel or anime or manga. I haven't watch the anime or manga of this, and I read this novel when I was 8.
I read the Sanguozhi fully, and I have also read the following dynasties' history and I am fully fluent in Chinese and classical Chinese history. My opinion on Guan Yu is not based on novel or contemporary attempt to discredit him due to Qing effort to promote him nor any kind of edgy attempt at history.

In fact, whether in ability and personality, Guan Yu was greatly overestimated thanks to the myth prevailing in the folk tales.
Only someone who was influenced by contemporary writing would say something like this.

Book of Jin, 12, 载记第十二

Martially powerful and capable, when attack he shall take, when he fight he shall win, the likes of Guan and Zhang, capable of 10000 man .....

Dong Ting wrote
In that time of the Three Kingdom where the general lived, he was said to be worth 10,000 men, Mengde himself avoided his forces, Kongming said that he is without equal.
Wang BO wrote
His previous majesty treated those with humanness (I used Prof Pol's translation of Humanness for Ren/Jen) Zhang Fei, Guan Yu and their worth of 10,000 men, Zhuge Kongming like the minister Guan [Chong] and Yue [Yi]......

I can go on and on and on.

The Taiwanese scholar Bo Yang (柏楊) had a very negative view to the "legendary" Guan Yu.
Bo Yang is a 'scholar.' I call his writings pop culture writing. He writes about history, but he isn't a historian nor his writing historical. I dismiss all his writings and I encourage anyone want to talk about actual history to not source from the writer Bo Yang. You can use him to discuss the politics or the culture issues, which I felt he has some readabilities. But let's not use him in discussion of actual historical events.

Now you understand why I regard Guan Yu as one of the worst military commanders in history, mariusj. Except courage, he was grossly incapable in every other aspects required for an ideal general (leadership, incisiveness, charisma, wisdom, planning, adaptability, precaution...etc).
Except he is probably better in every single thing you mention than MOST people you have ever mentioned across this thread. Guan Yu has many flaws, but these were mostly about how proud he was. That is a character flaw. For that matter, Guan Yu was said to be arrogant to his superior [except for Liu Bei] but treated his subordinates with gentle humanness. If you think as one of the worst commander in history he was able to scare Cao Cao I honestly think you should stop talking about the Three Kingdom.

In comparison, Sun Quan was far much better than Guan Yu in many of those aspects.
This comment is a joke of a comment. Anyone who studies Chinese history will laugh at the lunacy of this comment.

But whatever, I seen enough craziness in this thread.
Likes: macon
May 2018
Liu Yuan of Xiongnu
Kapgan Khagan of Gokturk
Ashihte Tonyukuk
Bayanchur Khagan of Uyghur
Thats generals was master of warfare and they have more impressive career than most of popular commanders in your list(like Cao Cao and Subutai)
Aug 2015
Los Angeles
Liu Yuan of Xiongnu
Kapgan Khagan of Gokturk
Ashihte Tonyukuk
Bayanchur Khagan of Uyghur
Thats generals was master of warfare and they have more impressive career than most of popular commanders in your list(like Cao Cao and Subutai)
Liu Yuan had less territory than Cao Cao, won against a internally divided Jin, held less territory than Cao Cao, started off as a warlord. What makes him 'MORE' impressive than Cao Cao or Subutai?
Sep 2018
does anyone know exactly how involved qin shi huangdi was in the strategy of his army during the unification of China, did he actually give real commands or was he more of a leader who designed institutions afterwards. if there are any sources i should read please tell me them. thank you

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