Oldest commander to win a battle


Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Tezozomoc (1320?-1426?) was reportedly 98 at the time of his greatest victory, the conquest of Texcoco, but he was very feeble and very probably didn't even accompany his army, let alone make military decisions.


Ad Honoris
May 2014
Winfield Scott was 75 years old when he retired as the Commanding General of the United States Army. I don't think that he ever actually led the US army into battle at that age, though he was engaged in strategic and operational planning at that age--coming up with the Anaconda Plan to defeat and strangle the Confederacy:



Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Tokugawa Ieyasu won the Siege of Osaka at the age of 72, and Mori Motonari won the battle of Fubeyama at the age of 73.
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Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Tezozomoc (1320?-1426?) was reportedly 98 at the time of his greatest victory, the conquest of Texcoco, but he was very feeble and very probably didn't even accompany his army, let alone make military decisions.

brian boru was 80 when he defeated a viking invasion
I think that you are probably mistaken. Brian Boru probably fought and commanded his armies on campaigns well into old age. But Wikipedia gives his birth year as about 941 and his death as 23 April 1014, making him about 73 years, give or take a few years, when he was killed at the Battle of Clontarf.

There are many accounts of how Brian was killed, from dying in heroic man-to-man combat to being killed by the fleeing Viking mercenary Brodir while praying in his tent at Clontarf.[12] After his death, his body was taken to Swords, Co. Dublin for the wake and then to Armagh to be buried. His tomb is said to be in the north wall of St Patrick's Cathedral in the city of Armagh.[13]
Brian Boru - Wikipedia

There is Washakie, the great chief of the Eastern Shoshone, who was born about 1798 to 1810 and died in 1900. Washakie allegedly led the Shoshone in a battle against the Crows in 1866 (age 55-68) and then fought a single combat with the Crow chief Big Robber to take the Wind River country from the Crows.

Nearby Crowheart Butte was the site of a battle between the Crow and Shoshone American Indian tribes in 1866. According to legend, following a five-day battle for rights to the hunting grounds in the Wind River Range, Chief Washakie of the Shoshone and Chief Big Robber of the Crow agreed to a duel, with the winner gaining the rights to the Wind River hunting grounds. Chief Washakie eventually prevailed, but he was so impressed with the courage of his opponent, that rather than scalp him, he instead cut out his heart and placed it on the end of his lance.
Crowheart, Wyoming - Wikipedia

Ten years later the Shoshone and Crows made peace to ally against their common enemy the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. Many Shoshone and Crow warriors were present at the Battle of the Rosebud 17 June 1876. It is unknown whether Washakie was with the Shoshone warriors at the Rosebud, but he was with the Shoshone warriors who joined General Crook's command for the next campaign. So Washakie did participate in war in 1876 aged 66 to 78, but it isn't known if he was at any battles in 1876. General Crook was grateful enough for the Shoshone participation that in 1878 he renamed Camp Brown Fort Washakie to honor Washakie.

The Apache Kaz-tisden or Haskenadiltia, better known by his Spanish name of Nana, died May 19, 1896 and was reportedly born about 1800.

Nana was one of several leaders of the Chiricahua and other Apaches who left the reservation and went on the warpath in 1885, an outbreak that was unsuccessful in the end. In fact Nana surrendered in the earlier surrender in March 1886 instead of the later surrender in September 1886, perhaps finally "getting too old for this sort of thing".

But in earlier hostilities Nana took command of the survivors of Victorio's people after Victorio was killed at the Battle of Tres Castillos in October 1880.

Nana, now almost 80 years old (according to some reports, nearly 90-years), formed his own war party with the Chihenne (Warm Springs Apache), enlisting loitering warriors in the reservations. His band joined by 15 Tsokanende, 12 Mescalero warriors and a couple of Navajo, plus women and children, began raiding Army supply trains and isolated settlers. In less than a month Nana fought seven or eight battles stretching over the course of 1,000 miles and killed 30-40 Americans, at least as many Mexicans, captured about 200 horses to replace 100 ridden to death and then fled back to Mexico.[7]:174–177 He and his small force, evaded more than 1,000 soldiers, 300-400 civilian militia volunteers and Apache and Navajo Indian Scouts.[8][9][10]
Nana (chief) - Wikipedia

Nana should have been about 80 according to the best estimates when making his famous raid in the summer of 1881, though as said some reports claimed he was much older than take. Even though Nana wan't the only leader of those hostiles, and they all - including Nana's group - made peace and went to a reservation in 1883, thus making their war not a total success in the eyes of some, Nana's raid in 1881 was pretty much what most people would call a total success and Nana was the main leader of it. The only thing that might stop some people from calling Nana a successful octogenarian general would be some doubt about Nana's age and possibly considering his group too small to count for the purpose of this discussion.

At the Battle of Marengo, 14 June 1800, the Austrian forces under Baron Melas defeated the French Forces under General Bonaparte during the first part of the battle. The battle looked so won that the slightly wounded Melas turned over command to a subordinate to pursue the French. But Napoleon rallied and struck back and won a great victory that helped make him ruler of France. Baron Melas was reportedly born 12 May 1729 and was thus aged 71 years, 1 month and 2 days old at the Battle which he won at first but latter lost. However, one book stated that Melas was 89 at the battle of Marengo, so presumable some sources claimed that, presumably incorrectly.

Battle of Marengo - Wikipedia

Michael von Melas - Wikipedia

Johann Josef Wenzel Anton Franz Karl, Count Radetsky von Radetz, (2 November 1766-5 January 1858) won his last military victories at the Battle of Custoza (24-25 July 1848) when aged 81 years, 8 months, and 22 to 23 days, and Novara (23 March 1859) when aged 82 years, 4 months, and 21 days old. Joseph Radetzky von Radetz - Wikipedia

To summarize:

Tezozomoc (1320?-1426?) was reportedly 98 at the time of his greatest victory, but was reportedly very feeble and wouldn't have participated in the campaign.

Doge Enrico Dandolo was reportedly 97 at the siege of Constantinople but was blind and so should have been in charge of politics instead of the tactics.

Count Radetsky von Radetz was 82 years, 4 months, and 21 days old at his latest victory at the Battle of Novara.

Nana was probably about 80 years old when he led a very successful but small scale raid. There are claims he was even older.

Washakie participated in military campaigns when aged in his fifties and sixties and possibly in his seventies. But he might have been a bit younger in his last successful campaign as an independent commander.

Brian Boru was killed at the Battle of Clontarf aged about 73, although it is uncertain where he commanded and/or fought or was merely the political leader.

Baron Melas was 71 at the Battle of Marengo, a victory at first but later a defeat. But one source claimed he was 89.
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Aug 2019
Genoese admiral Andrea Doria (1466-1560) fighted his last campaign (on spanish service) at Corsica on 1553-1555, taking the fortress of Saint-Florent at the age of 88.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice led the attack personally ,
when the Venician troops hesitated to land , he ordered his galley to beach itself then jumped ashore a sword in hand and the standard of St Mark in the other
this was leading from the front in a spectacular manner
he was 95 years old at the time
Oct 2007
New York, NY
The Illyrian king (Dardanian, specifically) Bardylis defeated Perdiccas III of Macedon in 359 BCE; the defeated Macedonian king perished, thus ushering the accession of his younger brother Philip II. Bardylis was believed to be 90 years old when he was defeated by Philip the following year, a battle which reflected a tactical harbinger of the co-ordinated use of infantry and cavalry not independent of each other amid direct action, which was evident earlier under the Achaemenids and Thebans, etc. But here on the Lyncestis Plain of Upper Macedonia, the adept but inveterate Illyrian king outlived a style of warfare which heretofore had worked for him - not unlike the more than able ‘Old Man Tilly’ at Breitenfeld against Gustavus Adolphus, whereby his imperial tercios were not a match for a nascent combined arms system of a superbly drilled army comprised of handier, interacting battalions.

James :)
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Sep 2016
Antigonus I Monophthalmus was 60 years old when Diadochi Wars started. He fought his last battle at Ipsus in 301 BC as a 80 year old man.