Skip to comments.FReep this Poll: Greatest Military General in History
Posted on 09/08/2010 2:09:37 PM PDT by therightliveswithus
Vote in our poll: the Greatest General in History
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Joe Stillwell. Take a look at all the crap he had to put up with. Oh the best? (I thought my favorite.) Best General of the 20th century? 20th Century goes to.................... “Eric Von Manstein”. IMHO, If Von Manstein was given command of the Western front with as much equipment and personnel as Patton had, Patton would still be in England. Pattons Army may have moved quick, but they were fighting out numbered Volksturm divisions mostly. The toughest divisions were eaten up on the eastern front. Those with high casualty rates were sent back to be refitted, but it wasn’t the same fighting unit even though they carried the Division name and number. They may have been called a Division but for the most part they were about the size of a Brigade.
Someone also mentioned Stonewall Jackson (Patton before there was a Patton, or motorized armor) and I'd have to put him on the list as well. He was brilliant.
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian
I would be interested in where you got your information as to General Sam Grant being drunk and out of his skull??
Very good call.
One of the most under rated (or under publicized) WWII generals was MG Earnest Harmon who commanded the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions as well as XXII Corps.
Alexander the Great
Cyrus the Great
Akbar the Great
George S. Patton
Robert E. Lee
William T. Sherman
Ulysses S. Grant
Duke of Wellington
but in the end he lost to Scipio, and was unable to get the Italian city states to side with him - or get the Macedonians to join him.
Perhaps he was a greater tactician than strategist,
My pick would be Napoleon. Brilliant tactician, recongized the rise of nation states and changed the way wars were fought, and was a great leader as evidenced by the fact that even in defeat his men would rise from their death beds to cheer as he went by.
Where is Stonewall Jackson?
Sherman gets the “Scorched Earth” Award, but a great general?
I'm surprised it took so long for his name to come up.
I'd be tempted to go with Alexander, or maybe Ghengis Khan, if only on the evidence of sheer acreage taken. Each of them took what was essentially the known world at the time.
We can't forget the great Admirals, either. Lord Nelson anyone?
Yes, he certainly lost to Publius Scipio “Africanus”, and that was his big problem, he couldn't afford to lose a battle, while the Romans could lose several in a row and then turn around and raise the largest army they ever assembled.
So, do you get more credit for winning, even if your army had a supreme military advantage (the Mongols under Ghengis Khan come to mind): or for doing more with less?
For my money, doing more with less is the mark of a good General. Nobody did more with less against a mightier foe than Hannibal. IMHO. That is why I rate him #1.
Henry V’s Sir John Talbot, First Earl of Shrewsbury, Conqueror of Harfleur and Champion of Orleans and Agincourt.
A fine book titled “The Military 100” gave him top ranking because his strategic sense led directly to the creation of the United States, the greatest nation in human history.
The fact that Washington was only a fair tactician and lost more battles than he won counts for little against his grasp of grand stategy — all the Patriots had to do to win was not lose.
The British were fighting a domestically unpopular war with long, long supply lines. Even without French intervention, the Patriots were already a tougher nut than King George, Lord North and the Tories in Parliament realized. And there were certainly a minority of British political leaders like Edmund Burke who favored the American cause to some degree or other.
Ben Franklin’s masterly negotiation of the alliance with France sealed the doom of the British war effort.
Napoleon, Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander and others may have won more battles than George Washington. But what did they build of lasting value?
So, our beloved Founder wins handily. Hooray for George Washington!!! Hooray for Ben Franklin!!! Hooray for the brave Patriots of 1776 — and those of 2010!!!
I strongly recommend “The Military 100,” which has been reprinted several times and should be easy to find.
Abraham Lincoln said "Find out what whiskey he drinks and send all of my generals a case, if it will get the same results. - in reply to comments about General Grant's drinking problems"
Brilliant tactician, recongized the rise of nation states and changed the way wars were fought, and was a great leader
Napolean is certainly up there. There are talents and vision beyond field tactics which may or may not be thrown into the "General" argument, but three who come to my mind with a deep understanding of comprehensive conflict are Napolean, Eisenhower, and Julius Caesar.
Immense consciousness required to be a great General. I think it was Ruskin who maintained great military leadership is evidence equal to great art of a profound civilization.
Personally, I would go with the American general who was more important than all the German generals put together - General Motors.
General Black Pershing especially how he dealt with the islamic terrorists of that day !
I doubt there’s a final answer to this question, but let me throw in Chaka Zulu: invented the Assegi (stabbing spear), large-scale tactics, real armies, and a society to support them, all by himself. He created a proto-nation-state among the Zulus which was eerily similar to nazi Germany a century later, especially Himmler’s vision of it.
Considering he started out with basically a loosely organized tribal group....
Gen Jackson & R.E. Lee together at Gettysburg,the Civil War would have ended quite possibly different.
Gen Douglas McAuthur has my vote
Also the way he changed Japan after the war
Lee said it was Grant, BTW, and I believe Grant thought it was Lee. That's an awfully good pair to draw to.
Constantine the Great
St. Jeanne d'Arc
We have a winner!
Jackson, Lee, Patton and Schwarzkopf
General Issue....without them nothing is won.
It’s hard to pick a “Greatest General” given the disparity of technologies and eras.
I’d rather pick a list of 5.
Khaled bin Al-Waleed
Charles The Hammer Martel
I’m surprised he doesn’t get more mention. If it weren’t for him we’d all be Muslim now.
Grant fought with sheer weight and he knew the cost. I would have got drunk too.
“Gen Douglas McAuthur has my vote”
I don’t think you read the title of the thread correctly, this is about the BEST generals in history, not the WORST.
Lost half his Air Force on the first day of the war.
Failed to follow a well thought out pre-war plan
Failed to move critical supplies to Bataan and Corregidor
Consequently his army held out about half the time it was capable of had it been properly supplied.
Later in the war he had horrible relations with his fellow theater commander, Chester Nimitz, and pretty much the whole Navy which harmed his efforts against the Japanese.
Ten years later he was at it again, getting caught napping by the North Koreans. He nearly got thrown out of Korea, staged a comeback but then wasted it by getting caught napping AGAIN, this time by the Red Chinese. Then nearly lost a whole corps to the Reds by letting it get over extended before a Marine General saved them.
To top it off he got himself fired by the President for insubordination.
Wholeheartedly agree — after Chancellorsville, which was Jackson’s masterpiece, Lee one only one major battle, Cold Harbor, and that was a boneheaded blunder by Grant.
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Leonidas was one of three brothers: he had an older brother Dorieus and a younger brother Cleombrotus, who ruled as regent for a while on Leonidas' death before the regency was taken over by Pausanias, who was Cleombrotus' son. Leonidas succeeded his half-brother Cleomenes I, probably in 489 or 488 BC, and was married to Cleomenes' daughter, Gorgo. His name was raised to heroic status as a result of the events in the Battle of Thermopylae.
With my shield or on it.
Either Genghis Khan himself or his general Subudai who led the invasion of Eastern Europe, one of the two.
Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.
Mighty good choices! In particular, Von Manstein is a great choice which also points to the fact that WWII had the, uh, I guess, benefit of having some mighty great generals all over; on the German side, I’d pick Guderian, Rommel, and Von Manstein. VM’s memoirs are on my eventually-I-will-finish-it list of books I’m reading. The sharp focus of his mind comes through in his text.
I’d add Sepp Dietrich to the German list, not for strategic thinking (he had none) but for sheer ass-kicking fighting-man abilities — but the guy kinda creeps me out. He was no doubt about it a straight talker, which may be why he was the only man Hitler trusted. Nominally he reported to Himmler, but Dietrich reported in fact directly to Hitler.
Patton was the greatest of the US generals in WWII, although the snarky Omar Bradley neither gave him credit for knowing what he was doing the whole time nor for his accomplishments (meanwhile, Bradley showed flashes of minimum competence). It’s probably cheating (and will probably tinkle off some people here), but the greatest of the Pacific Fleet command belongs on the list of nominees, IMHO. The toughest fighting of the war for US forces at least was in the Pacific, and in Italy (due to the terrain, rather than the Italians).
General Robert E. Lee, CSA.
Scipio Africanus & Sulla
Stilwell is another good choice, although he didn’t do much commanding in WWII; that Tuchman bio of “Vinegar Joe” is a great choice for anyone interested in 20th c Far East politics as well as WWII. Like Patton, Stilwell talked too much for his own good, and also like Patton, Stilwell was right on the money. Also, both men died right away (1945 and 1946, respectively).
Patton: the Speech
One Marine, One Ship
Napoleon was great and he gets bonus points and added degree of difficulty because he had the French, but at the end of the day, you have to go with Alexander.
My favorites-Leonaides, Patton, and Charles the Hammer. Daniel Morgan has to get an honorable mention for the ass whupping he gave the Brits at Cowpens.
At least Napoleon polls ahead of Wellington. :’)
Alexander the Great - defeated only by the size of the World
George Washington - Kept the American army together to outlast the the British and win independence, kept the army out of politics, and gave up power willingly.
1st Baron Clive - Defeated the French and won India for Great Britain
1st Duke of Marlborough - won the War of the Spanish Succession
1st Duke of Wellington - Drove Napoleon from Spain, defeated him at Waterloo
King Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great) - Greatest General of the Seven Years War, created modern Prussia
Ulysses S. Grant - Crushed the Confederacy in the West, effectively won the War at Vicksburg, then destroyed the Eastern Confederate armies too.
Omar Bradley - lead the largest army (12th Army Group) in American history.
Winfield Scott - Captured Mexico City and won the Mexican War. Devised the plan that was the basis of Union victory in the Civil War.
Speaking of Sun Tsu (Political Junkie Too was, above), “he will triumph who knows when to fight and when not to fight”. The General, George Washington, understood that one very well. Everyone did what they did, the Framers rose to never-equalled genius, but no Washington, no independence.
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