Skip to comments.Who Were the Greatest Military Commanders (Of All Time) ?
Posted on 11/14/2004 5:23:06 PM PST by Cyropaedia
In light of the upcoming film Alexander (the Great), who in your opinion were actually the greatest military commanders our world has known...?
Mine are Genghis Khan, Alexander, and U.S. Grant.
They lost millions.
That's my take as well.
RE Lee was a great leader, but he didn't have the infrastructure or logictics to defeat the Union.
Hey, they might have been bastards but it doesn't make them weak fighters.
I think that Sherman's pillaging of the South was contemptuous and dishonorable. That's not something you do to your own people, even if they were rebels.
Guderian was a great general, I agree. In my opinion, he was on par with Rommel - if not, above him. Funny that he is now widely overlooked in military history.
Maryland was forcibly held in the Union by the Union. If left unfettered it would have seceded and most of the population of Maryland wished to secede. Far more Marylanders fought for the Confederacy than fought for the Union.
Robert E Lee. Why? His men not only fought for honor, duty and country, but fought for the sheer love and respect they had for the man.
Henry V of England at Agincourt
The Pres. is C-in-C. The military must follow his orders or depose him in a coup d'etat.
Since the earliest days of statehood, Texans have answered the call of duty to defend the United States and protect its interests. From the War with Mexico to the current conflict in the Balkans, the Lone Star State has produced its share of military heroes, none more celebrated and decorated than Audie Leon Murphy.
Born June 20, 1924 near Kingston in Hunt County, Murphy was the son of poor tenant farmers. As a boy, he learned to hunt to put food on the family table. He became an expert shot, a skill that would help him later in life. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Murphy enlisted in the Army. Assigned to Company B, 15th Regiment, Third Infantry Division, he took part in the invasions of Sicily and southern France, earning a Bronze Star Medal, a Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in battle.
Murphy quickly rose through the ranks, progressing from private to second lieutenant by the end of 1944. In late January of 1945, German infantry and tanks attacked his company near Holtzwihr, in northeast France. Murphy ordered his men to fall back while he remained at a forward command post calling in fire instructions to his artillery. As the enemy closed in on him, Murphy climbed aboard a burning tank destroyer and used its .50-caliber machine gun against them. He was alone, atop a vehicle that could have exploded at any moment, but his constant fire caused the enemy attack to falter. Ignoring a leg wound, Murphy continued shooting until his ammunition ran out. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention and organized a counterattack that forced the Germans to withdraw. For this amazing act of heroism, Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor. In all, he received more than 30 medals including three Purple Hearts and the Croix de Guerre of both Belgium and France making him the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II.
After his discharge, Murphy continued to serve his state and country, rising to the rank of major in the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves. His memoirs, To Hell and Back (1949) became a best seller. Murphys hero status and boyish good looks led to a career in Hollywood, where he made more than 40 films, most notably The Red Badge of Courage (1951) and the film version of To Hell and Back (1955). He died in a plane crash in 1971 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
On what would have been his 75th birthday, I encourage all Texans to honor the memory of Audie Murphy. His character and courage represent the best our state has to offer, and he remains a hero and an inspiration to us all.
Therefore, I, George W. Bush, Governor of Texas, do hereby declare June 20, 1999,
AUDIE MURPHY DAY
|in Texas, and urge the appropriate
In official recognition whereof,
I hereby affix my signature this
9th day of June, 1999.
And not very bright.
They were within 50 kilometers of Cairo and 30 kilometers of Damascus before the U.S. ordered them to stand down.
I agree that Grant was very good commander, but I don't think he was on the level of Lee.
Henry V was a brilliant tactician and an idiotic strategist.
The English won all the big battles of the Hundred Years War and were catastrophically defeated by the French in the war as a whole.
Yup, some people are just so predictable.
Nah, Kerry always sucked. Even his bass playing. :0
Marking for later read
I can't agree with MacArthur. He had a fine staff and was able to use them with skill. As a general, he was very vain and hard to get along with. He also made speeches without approval from the White House, and making foreign policy. He was too egotisical to a fault and made a number of stragetic decisions. He was a good general but not a great one. Truman's comment after he fired MacArthur: "I fired God!"
Others I have forgotten:
General John Longstreet
This is going to sound a little wishy washy but Lee was a good but not great general and Grant was an above average but not truly great.
At the start of the CW he beat a lot of really bad Union Generals. McClellan was a great organizer but would not fight because he always assumed Lee had greater numbers than were actually under his command. As a result, Lee racked up many victories and his reputation grew as a result.
Grant on the other hand was not well organized, but unlike other Union Generals, he was not afraid to use his advantages in supplies and manpower to his advantage. In addition, un like McClellan he was willing to take some risk to win the war. Also, several of Grant's early failures were not entirely of his own making.
Patton was the greatest battlefield commander in American history (IMHO, of course...) MacArthur is up there, too.
I think he was an officer that served in both World Wars. Maybe just the first one but I can't remember now.
Forrest. He killed my G-G-G Grandfather in hand to hand combat. He was a colonel then. Sherman, Lee, Grant (no matter what detractors say), JEB Stuart, Jackson, Johnston.
Patton, Montie, Rommel, some ruskies, Napoleon, Wellington, Hannibal, Washington, Alexander the great.
Who was the Celtic Chick that beat the Romans in Britain.
" If you don't really understand history I can see your error in saying washington . . ."
Well, gee. . . I guess I do not understand history. Why don't you explain to me why Washington is not one of the great ones. Certainly many professional military historians -- who obviously also do not understand history -- rank him up there. He was number one in the book "The Military 100."
So take some time to give us the benefit of your wisdom and insight. I am ready to be educated. Again please compare and contrast Napoleon and Washington. Especially the difference in the strategic results of their campaigns. I await, oh great one.
Even moreso considering he literally wrote the book on tank warfare: "Achtung-Panzer!" was the name of it.
What a hero!!
Monty's defeat of Rommel was nothing short of brilliant, although I have to reconsider him as part of the "Greatest" list.
Schwartzkopfs envelopment and distruction of a large modern army in such a short time will go down in history as one of the greatest military actions of all time; comparable to D-Day, Shermans March, etc.
Franks, while I respect him tremendously, fought two pi$$-ant enemies with overwhelming force. A 15 year old paintball-battle-fighter could have done as well.
Scipio - excellent, yes!
Alexander the Great.
I agree that Grant was very good commander, but I don't think he was on the level of Lee.
I don't think it is fair to either man to compare them. Lee was among the last of one era's commanders and Grant was one of the first of the new era.
that should have read Suleiman the Magnificent. My bad.
Would you mind explaining the differences to someone who is ignorant about the subject?
Then I guess Genghis Khan and Alexander weren't great commanders, either.
I think Sherman's rampage was exactly the right thing to do under the circumstances. It demoralized the enemy army, cut the lines of communication and attrited the enemy of its southern armies. It brought about the end of the war, which is the point of command. The South complaining about Sherman is like Zarqawi complaining about the Fallujah campaign. They brought it on themselves in a war that claimed half a million lives.
You may be correct. I think it's fair to say Grant was one of the first American commanders to use overwhelming force on offense to finish off an opponent.
1) MacArthur attacked the Bonus marchers apparently against Presidential orders.
2) MacArthur botched the training and preparation of the Phillipine Army.
3) Then AFTER HE HEARD ABOUT PEARL HARBOR he allowed his entire air force to be destroyed on the ground. He then apparently underwent a nervous breakdown (similar to Stalin after the German invasion) for a few days.
4) He then botched the defense of Luzon, attempting to fight mobile battles in Northern Luzon that ended disastrously.
5) His operations in New Guinea advancing to the Phillipines were largely the work of brilliant subordinates like Eichelberger, Krueger and Kenney. He was careful to make sure none of them got any publicity and credit. He even put Eichelberger on the shelf for a year because he still managed to get some favorable publicity.
6) The Inchon operation was a bit less impressive than portrayed. By the time it happened the Pusan Perimeter had already been heavily reinforced and the North Koreans would have collapsed anyway.
7) He utterly misread Chinese intentions in Korea and was yet again completely surprised by their attack.
This is not the record of one of the greatest generals in history.
MacArthur simply looked like a general, and had good PR. And much of his legend was politically derived (A hero of the Republican Party, who were desperate to get him to run for President...a job in which he would have been a disaster. Fortunately they turned to Eisenhower.)
Who alive today thinks of Jupiter as neither a planet or Cornwallis' fictional dog?!
How about 'John Kerry', 'Saddam Hussein', 'Wesley Clark', and Montgomery.
You mean Gibbon's assertion that the Western Roman Empire collapsed because it converted to Christianity?
Didn't Jackson get shot by his own men? Smart???
So basically what you're saying is that you agree and that Maryland (and deleware) were part of the union. Also, what about all 5 of the civilized tribes signing to fight for the confederacy? Kind of messed up for them to join a white power movement isin't it?
Sorry but Kerry was not a Commander. He was a spy for the North Viet Namese.
Tactical - Division Commander and below during a single crucial battle or set of battles
Operational - Corps/Army Commander conducting a campaign (series of battles) as part of a larger strategy
Strategic - Army/Supreme Commander developing/conducting strategic objectives for a nation or group of allies.
I am complaining about Sherman and I'm not a Southerner.
I think it was an egregious moral lapse.