What makes a good General?

Nov 2010
7,890
Border of GA and AL
What do you guys think makes a good general? Is it recklessness? Cautiousness? Innovativeness? Disassociation? Charisma? Get the Job Done, No Matter How? Stick to the Plan? Personal Relationship with the Troops? What?

To me it's a combination of Innovativeness, Cautiousness, Recklessness, and Charisma that makes a good General. I'm sure that everyone will disagree, but, to me, the perfect general is George Patton.
 
Dec 2009
19,933
What do you guys think makes a good general? Is it recklessness? Cautiousness? Innovativeness? Disassociation? Charisma? Get the Job Done, No Matter How? Stick to the Plan? Personal Relationship with the Troops? What?

To me it's a combination of Innovativeness, Cautiousness, and Charisma that makes a good General. I'm sure that everyone will disagree, but, to me, the perfect general is George Patton.
At the end of the day, first and foremost the main (arguably the only) goal of any commander is and has always been to get the job done; period.

Any other trait (including those rightly pointed out by you above) would be relevant basically (or even exclusively) as long as they contribute to the first goal; easy as that.

Needless to say, good doses of luck are an indispensable ingredient.

George Smith Patton was an extraordinary general by most standards I can imagine; the "perfect" one? To be honest, that sounds almost as divinization; personally, I wouldn't go so far ...
 

mingming

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
4,742
Los Santos, San Andreas
A good general definitely needs charisma and loyalty from the troops. He (or she) also needs to be able to recognize and exploit talent among his or her troops. To me the perfect general is Cao Cao.
 

jungleplanewreck

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
2,205
England.
At the end of the day, first and foremost the main (arguably the only) goal of any commander is and has always been to get the job done; period.

Any other trait (including those rightly pointed out by you above) would be relevant basically (or even exclusively) as long as they contribute to the first goal; easy as that.

Needless to say, good doses of luck are an indispensable ingredient.

George Smith Patton was an extraordinary general by most standards I can imagine; the "perfect" one? To be honest, that sounds almost as divinization; personally, I wouldn't go so far ...
Pretty much summed up my answer in the first sentence. Furthur, he needs to find the perfect balance between so many characteristics, all to achieve that one goal.
 

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Judging by British history I'd say a highly starched uniform, a swagger stick and a silly moustache.

I think the Germans had a rather good grasp though, strength of character and charismia only go so far. In military terms I think you need someone with a good understanding of military history and one who isn't afraid to try revolutionary ideas. Guderian et al would appear to have read The Art of War and also be a fan of Mongol tactics, the Brits on the other hand, whilst we had a mostly mechanised army in 1939, still had outdated tactics and a love of cavalry horses.

EoR
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
A good general will gather information and listen to his staff, in the end, he will make a decision based on that, coupled with his gut instincts.
Any general who gets caught up in thinking he/she is infallible, forgets the soldiers doing the dirty work and dying for his plan, will be a dangerous person to follow.
 

gaius valerius

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,740
Belgium
At the end of the day, first and foremost the main (arguably the only) goal of any commander is and has always been to get the job done; period.

Any other trait (including those rightly pointed out by you above) would be relevant basically (or even exclusively) as long as they contribute to the first goal; easy as that.

Needless to say, good doses of luck are an indispensable ingredient.

George Smith Patton was an extraordinary general by most standards I can imagine; the "perfect" one? To be honest, that sounds almost as divinization; personally, I wouldn't go so far ...
Would agree with this.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,485
South of the barcodes
George Smith Patton was an extraordinary general by most standards I can imagine; the "perfect" one? To be honest, that sounds almost as divinization; personally, I wouldn't go so far ...
I'm never sure about Patton, a lot of charisma and ambition but took too many risks advancing his forces through weak German forces and taking unnecessary casualties, then again if he hadn't the Germans might have reformed and made a decent fighting retreat that would have caused greater casualties so who knows?

Still, being the second best allied armoured commander in the west is a decent achievement.