My List of the Greatest Commanders in History

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,648
Ontario, Canada
Great thread, thanks for putting this together.
You're welcome. Taken me a while to do it. But I enjoy it.

Liu Bang was not a good general in my opinion, only a good diplomat and politician.
Yeah more or less. I think he was an average general. Average tactician and maybe above average strategist. I think Liu Bang himself said that Han Xin was a better tactician than him, where as Zhang Liang was a better strategist.
Although he was apparently able to outmaneuver Xiang Yu on more than one occasion. At the end of the day, I added him because he had too many accomplishments to ignore. Aside from being one of the Chu rebels that fought the Qin Dynasty, he also founded the Han Dynasty when he turned on Xiang Yu, and then afterwards spent about a decade consolidating the Han Dynasty against many of his disgruntled vassals. A couple setbacks here and there against Xiang Yu and the steppe tribes of Modu Shanyu later on.

Benoit de Boigne? :)
Would have to do some research about it.
 
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May 2018
152
On earth.
The extent to which Menelik was a 'great commander' is... debatable. From researching him, his skillset seems to mostly be in grand strategy. He was excellent at diplomacy, getting what he wanted from different powers, biding his time for the right moment, taking good advice, and initiating campaigns when appropriate. As for his skills as a commander... hes good, but is he one of the best? I think in the context of Ethiopian warfare, Ras Alula is more deserving.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,648
Ontario, Canada
The extent to which Menelik was a 'great commander' is... debatable. From researching him, his skillset seems to mostly be in grand strategy. He was excellent at diplomacy, getting what he wanted from different powers, biding his time for the right moment, taking good advice, and initiating campaigns when appropriate. As for his skills as a commander... hes good, but is he one of the best? I think in the context of Ethiopian warfare, Ras Alula is more deserving.
Okay, although I don't think I added Menelik, I was considering adding him.
Not sure who Ras Alula is, since I know next to nothing about Ethiopian history.
 
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Nov 2016
1,289
Germany
I've been compiling a list of the greatest commanders in history.
What would you say if you were criticised for massively glorifying war by implicitly declaring mass slaughterers to be great men? Or have I missed a statement from you where you express ethical concerns about it?
 
Feb 2019
1,023
Serbia
What would you say if you were criticised for massively glorifying war by implicitly declaring mass slaughterers to be great men?
Who claimed he was glorifying war? If someone would so bluntly declare generals, and indeed all military officers and authorities to be just ''mass slaughterers'' this might be just the thread for them, so they might learn about the men themselves and broaden their understanding before attacking historical figures in such a generalising (Pun intended.) and black and white manner.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,648
Ontario, Canada
What would you say if you were criticised for massively glorifying war by implicitly declaring mass slaughterers to be great men? Or have I missed a statement from you where you express ethical concerns about it?
To be a great commander one necessarily needs to be great at killing. I'm not so much glorifying war, my purpose is just to discuss war and to discuss those military leaders which were good at waging war. Though in some regards there is something glorious about war, it has been glorified for centuries, whatever glory really is.

As for how I feel about the ethics of warfare, I don't really care. Nor do I care that a military commander killed a bunch of enemies in battle or even slaughtered entire cities. All of these events are so detached from today that I don't see how I could care.
But if you were to ask say, if I supported global nuclear war then I would say no.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,648
Ontario, Canada
Update 4.0
-added 46 new names
-removed Batu Khan from the original list

  1. Yarim-Lim I (Yamhad) (1800 BC-1764 BC)
  2. Horemheb (18th Dynasty) (1350 BC-1292 BC)
  3. Merneptah (19th Dynasty) (1280 BC-1203 BC)
  4. Tiglath Pileser I (Assyria) (1140 BC-1076 BC)
  5. Shoshenq I (22nd Dynasty) (970 BC-922 BC)
  6. Shalmaneser III (Neo-Assyria) (880 BC-824 BC)
  7. Cyaxeres (Median Empire) (645 BC-585 BC)
  8. Harpagus (Median Empire/Achaemenid Empire) (600 BC-535 BC)
  9. Xanthippos (Athens) (525 BC-475 BC)
  10. Iphikrates (Athens) (418 BC-353 BC)
  11. Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus (Roman Republic) (365 BC-290 BC)
  12. Gaius Claudius Nero (Roman Republic) (247 BC-190 BC)
  13. Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus (Roman Empire) (260-311)
  14. Louis the Pious (Frankish Empire) (778-840)
  15. Ferdinand II d'Aragon (Aragon, Castile) (1452-1516)
  16. Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha (Ottoman Empire) (1500-1580)
  17. Pyotr Rumyantsev (Russia) (1725-1796)
  18. Guy-Victor Duperre (France) (1775-1846)
  19. Luis Alves de Lima e Silva (Brazilian Empire) (1803-1880)
  20. Wilhelm von Tegetthoff (Austria-Hungary) (1827-1871)
  21. Friedrich Karl von Preussen (Prussia, Germany) (1828-1885)
  22. Ito Sukeyuki (Japan) (1843-1914)
  23. Aleksei Brusilov (Russian Empire/Russian SFSR) (1853-1926)
  24. Noel Edouard de Castelnau (France) (1851-1944)
  25. Joseph Joffre (France) (1852-1931)
  26. Zivojin Misic (Serbia) (1855-1921)
  27. Svetozar Boroevic (Austria-Hungary) (1856-1920)
  28. Louis Franchet d'Esperey (France) (1856-1942)
  29. Armando Diaz (Italy) (1861-1928)
  30. Henri Gouraud (France) (1867-1946)
  31. Gerd von Rundstedt (Germany) (1875-1953)
  32. Douglas MacArthur (United States) (1880-1964)
  33. Matthew Ridgway (United States) (1895-1993)
  34. Li Mu (Zhao) (280 BC-229 BC)
  35. Wang Ben (Qin) (250 BC-210 BC)
  36. Meng Tian (Qin) (250 BC-210 BC)
  37. Liu Bang "Emperor Gaozu" (Chu/Han) (256 BC-195 BC)
  38. Zhou Yafu (Han) (190 BC-143 BC)
  39. Huo Qubing (Han) (140 BC-117 BC)
  40. Ma Yuan (Han) (14 BC-49)
  41. Zhang Liao (Lu Bu/Cao Wei) (165/169-222)
  42. Zhang He (Yuan Shao/Cao Wei)
  43. Cao Ren (Cao Wei) (168-223)
  44. Xu Huang (Cao Wei) (169-227)
  45. Lu Xun (Sun Wu) (183-245)
  46. Hong Taiji (Qing Empire) (1592-1643)
Update 4.5
-added 10 more names, for a round sum of 400 commanders on the list
-wanted to throw in some naval commanders so I threw in Hubert de Burgh (who defeated the French invasion fleet at Sandwich in 1217), William Longespee (illegitimate brother of King John, defeated the French fleet anchored at Dammes in 1213), George Anson (who circumnavigated the globe in the 1740's, and won at 1st Finisterre during the Austrian Succession War, but most notable for his control of the Royal Navy in the Seven Years War by which he defended Britain from French invasion and orchestrated naval invasions of Spanish and French colonies in Asia and the Caribbean), Edward Codrington (who was a ship captain in the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812, he went on to command the Anglo-Russian-French fleet which intervened in the Greek Independence War and defeated the Turkish navy at Navarino), finally Thomas Cochrane (another ship captain in the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812, later he became an adventurer and became an admiral in the Chilean navy, then the Brazilian navy and finally the Greek navy, which he largely organized).

  1. Demosthenes (Athens) (460 BC-413 BC)
  2. Brasidas (Sparta) (460 BC-422 BC)
  3. Dionysius I the Elder (Syracuse) (432 BC-367 BC)
  4. Timoleon (Corinth/Syracuse) (411 BC-335 BC)
  5. Constantius I Chlorus (Tetrarchy, Roman Empire) (250-306)
  6. Hubert de Burgh (England) (1170-1243)
  7. William Longespee (England) (1176-1226)
  8. George Anson (Britain) (1697-1762)
  9. Edward Codrington (Britain) (1770-1851)
  10. Thomas Cochrane (Britain/Chile/Brazil/Greece) (1775-1860)
 
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