Prince Eugene vs the Duke of Marlborough: Who Was the Better Commander?

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  • Marlborough

    Votes: 3 37.5%
  • Prince Eugene

    Votes: 5 62.5%

  • Total voters
    8
  • Poll closed .
Feb 2019
311
Serbia
#1
Eugene and Marlborough lived in the same time period, fought with similar armies against the same enemy and both are considered to be some of the greatest commanders in history, however between the 2 who do you consider to be the better commander and why?
 
Sep 2016
929
Georgia
#2
Marlborough is better all around commander, in my opinion. He was good at almost every aspect of warfare. I especially would remark his skill in managing Coalition. He was a good diplomat. Someone like Suvorov wasn't good at it, for example. Marlborough also didn't have failures like Eugene.
Marlborough's 1704 Danube campaign is pure brilliance, especially in logistics.

However, Eugene's career is longer and he faced more difficult situations than Marlborough at times. For example, take Eugene's 1702 campaign in Italy. Eugene faced against one of the best French commanders Vendome, who had clear numerical superiority and twice the numbers Eugene had. However, Eugene managed to retain positions in Italy and not be pushed from it by French. Such campaign was something Marlborough never had to deal with. Those events also will eventually bring disaster to France in Northern Italy.

Eugene also had brilliant 1706 campaign with stunning victory at Turin, of course. It was probably Eugene's greatest accomplishment in terms of military skill.

1701 campaign was great as well . Eugene with limited resources showed that he was superior to Catinat and Villeroi , which allowed him to establish his positions in Italy.

Eugene achieved brilliant victories over Ottomans at Zenta in 1697, Petrovardin 1716 and Belgrade 1717. However, I also need to mention his conduct in 1690 - 193 campaigns in Northern Italy. He was the bright spot for allies there and showed his skill at Staffarda and Marsaglia. If not for Eugene, French victories in those battles would be more decisive and disastrous for the allies.

I will also mention Villars, since we are talking about greatest commanders of that era. Villars achieved victories at Friedlingen and Hochstadt, took Stollhofen Lines, inflicted disastrous casualties on Marlborough and Prince Eugene at Malplaquet in 1709, defeated Eugene at Denain in 1712 and then had successful Rhine campaign in 1713.
Villars is in top 3 of that era with Marlborough and Eugene.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2013
316
SouthWest USA
#3

Marlborough, no doubt, was one of history's greatest generals, both logistically and tactically. (I am not sure what his long-term strategy for the war was, however.) That said, much of the Marlborough history we get is a very selective, Anglocentric rendition of history. Even Winston Churchill was forced to write a four volume apologia of his great ancestor John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough.

Eugene, by contrast, served the Austrian Holy Roman Empire and does not enjoy the same hagiography.

This quote by Winston Churchill from his book on Marlborough is very telling:

"Marlborough," wrote Churchill, "was the model husband and father, concerned with building up a home, founding a family, and gathering a fortune to sustain it"; whereas Eugene, the bachelor, was "disdainful of money, content with his bright sword and his lifelong animosities against Louis XIV."
This may have been a very not-too-subtle criticism of Eugene's suspected homosexuality. My oh my. How times and perceptions have changed.

Here's an old post I wrote about Marlborough's duplicitous and treacherous nature. (Sorry if many of the links are now broken):

Duke of Marlborough: Brilliant general but a traitor?


guy also known as gaius
 
Last edited:
Mar 2016
919
Australia
#4

Marlborough, no doubt, was one of history's greatest generals, both logistically and tactically. (I am not sure what his long-term strategy for the war was, however.) That said, much of the Marlborough history we get is a very selective, Anglocentric rendition of history. Even Winston Churchill was forced to write a four volume apologia of his great ancestor John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough.

Eugene, by contrast, served the Austrian Holy Roman Empire and does not enjoy the same hagiography.

This quote by Winston Churchill from his book on Marlborough is very telling:



This may have been a very not-too-subtle criticism of Eugene's suspected homosexuality. My oh my. How times and perceptions have changed.

Here's an old post I wrote about Marlborough's duplicitous and treacherous nature. (Sorry if many of the links are now broken):

Duke of Marlborough: Brilliant general but a traitor?


guy also known as gaius
I think you're incorrect in accusing Churchill of insulting Eugene's sexuality. He praised Marlborough for being a family-man because Churchill saw himself as a family man and his biography of Marlborough was basically a thinly-vieiled autobiography and a wish fulfilment where he tried to compare himself to Marlborough in various ways. Churchill had several friends that were gay and he had little to no problem with them. Criticising men for being bachelors and not settling down was not an insinuation of homosexuality, but that they weren't being responsible and mature.
 
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