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Forum LockedTop 100 Generals

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Craze_b0i View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Top 100 Generals
    Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 19:39
Hi another newb here. First off let me say what a great project the list is. I have read some of the remarks on this thread, but not all 121 pages. No doubt some of my input will have been raised already. So please forgive me if I repeat what others have said.
 
I can't really argue with the number 1 choice of Alexander. Though I would also rate Philip II extremely high. Given his unfavourable starting point Philip's achievement was remarkable.
 
Regarding Napoleon, he was undoubtedly a military genius. But also a megalomaniac. Given that he had earnt the emnity of Britain, Austria and Prussia (not to mention smaller states) it was essential for him to maintain peace with Russia. His reckless 1812 campaign ultimately led to the undoing of all his previous achievements. On a lesser note he never successfully managed the situation in the peninsula. Great? Yes. But top 3? No.
 
At this point I should admit a lack of knowledge regarding eastern history. But from a Western perspective I would give a shout out for Oliver Cromwell and Hernando Cortes. Also some of the native north-american leaders conducted remarkable campaigns against the US Army. Chief Joesph of the Nez Percez and Crazy Horse of the Sioux both spring to mind.
 
Anyway those are my 2 cents. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Whiteice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 01:41
I personally think General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski of the Polish Undergroung during WWII was a great general. Maybe not strategy wise, but he was very brave, and very humble. He knew when he hadl ost and did not carelessly send his soldiers to die to save himself and did not ask for aid when he knew all was lost. One of my top picks right there....

Edited by Whiteice - 07-Jun-2009 at 01:41
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Etnad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 14:19
Very nice project, but perhaps you should have introduced it with a short description where you define what a good general is to you.
Because some of your men are only "great" generals because of the amazingly huge armies they controlled.
So do you define them by their tactics, their participation in great battles and the results from them, or what?

I say this because a man like Erwin Rommel, which you have ranked 67 or something never could compete with Alexander the Great because of the different times and events they were in. Bravery wouldn't have helped Erwin Rommel as it helped Alexander. But great list! Awesome work. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sancho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 15:03
I honestly dont think ALexander the great was the best general in history.
I would place Hannibal Barca first maybe for his overall strategies, Besides, leading an army composed by
ethnical groups that are almost oposite to each other (in some cases) that requires a lot of charisma and leader character.

I might place Subotai in second, he was obviously better strategist than Temujin if we talk about battle tactics and also overall strategy.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sancho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 15:08
I am not sure, but I didnt see Surena there, what do you think about him.
HIs victory at Harran was quite amazing, specially the logistics he used for the supply of water and arrows.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote egg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jun-2009 at 10:59
With all respect to Confederates, Robert E. Lee is in my opinion too highly rated as a general at no.35, however highly he was respected in his time.   His plan to encircle Washington DC was ambitious, but it was largely as a result of his own failings that he lost the decisive battle of Gettysburg - poor communications with his senior officers, poor intelligence, poor appreciation of the situation, and little attempt to control events when things went wrong.   See the current issue of Military History Quarterly for a very critical assessment of his part in the battle.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Jun-2009 at 15:54
Originally posted by egg

With all respect to Confederates, Robert E. Lee is in my opinion too highly rated as a general at no.35, however highly he was respected in his time.   His plan to encircle Washington DC was ambitious, but it was largely as a result of his own failings that he lost the decisive battle of Gettysburg - poor communications with his senior officers, poor intelligence, poor appreciation of the situation, and little attempt to control events when things went wrong.   See the current issue of Military History Quarterly for a very critical assessment of his part in the battle.


Gettysburg was his worst battle; he's up there for all the other ones.
The Top 100 Generals | Leaders



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2009 at 11:33
In my view Lee was undoubtedly brilliant. True his achievements were partly due to the fact his Union adversaries were (pre-Gettysburg) so incompetent. But credit to Lee for knowing how to read and exploit the weakness of his opponents.
 
The great irony of his many victories is that rather than benefitting The South they merely prolonged its agony and suffering. In that sense no general ever did The South more harm than Robert E. Lee.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2009 at 12:22
Also, another point I would raise about the Napoleonic Wars. Can one say that Napoleon was better than Wellington? Both undoubtedly great men. Both had distinguished early careers (one in Italy and one in India). They never actually faced each other on the battlefield until Waterloo, and even there Napoleon was struck by illness. But whenever British-French armies came into contact in Iberia is was almost always the British tactics employed by Wellington that overcame the French tactics developed by Napoleon. Also Napoleon, genius though he was, blotted his copybook by over-reaching himself twice - his ill-fated campaigns in Egypt and Russia. Wellington on the other hand knew when to strike and when to withdraw.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2009 at 18:47
Originally posted by DSMyers1

Originally posted by egg

With all respect to Confederates, Robert E. Lee is in my opinion too highly rated as a general at no.35, however highly he was respected in his time.   His plan to encircle Washington DC was ambitious, but it was largely as a result of his own failings that he lost the decisive battle of Gettysburg - poor communications with his senior officers, poor intelligence, poor appreciation of the situation, and little attempt to control events when things went wrong.   See the current issue of Military History Quarterly for a very critical assessment of his part in the battle.


Gettysburg was his worst battle; he's up there for all the other ones.


then, did you ever read about his abysmal performance in West Virginia at the very beginning of the war? do you realize that he was always on the defensive left alone for two invasions, both of which ended in consdiderable defeat and manslaughter on both sides? (antietam, gettysburg). do you realize that his greatest victories were coincidentally won with the help of Thomas Jackson? i can only but wholeheardedly agree with egg.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2009 at 18:52
Originally posted by Craze_b0i

Also, another point I would raise about the Napoleonic Wars. Can one say that Napoleon was better than Wellington? Both undoubtedly great men.


Wellington and Napoleon both were great commanders but they're not quite in the same league.

But whenever British-French armies came into contact in Iberia is was almost always the British tactics employed by Wellington that overcame the French tactics developed by Napoleon.


and whenever French armies met British armies NOT under the command of Wellington, the French won.

Also Napoleon, genius though he was, blotted his copybook by over-reaching himself twice - his ill-fated campaigns in Egypt and Russia. Wellington on the other hand knew when to strike and when to withdraw.


exactly, but Wellington won never any campaign nor battle as spectacular as Napoleon.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2009 at 21:33
Originally posted by Temujin

Originally posted by DSMyers1

Originally posted by egg

With all respect to Confederates, Robert E. Lee is in my opinion too highly rated as a general at no.35, however highly he was respected in his time.   His plan to encircle Washington DC was ambitious, but it was largely as a result of his own failings that he lost the decisive battle of Gettysburg - poor communications with his senior officers, poor intelligence, poor appreciation of the situation, and little attempt to control events when things went wrong.   See the current issue of Military History Quarterly for a very critical assessment of his part in the battle.


Gettysburg was his worst battle; he's up there for all the other ones.


then, did you ever read about his abysmal performance in West Virginia at the very beginning of the war? do you realize that he was always on the defensive left alone for two invasions, both of which ended in consdiderable defeat and manslaughter on both sides? (antietam, gettysburg). do you realize that his greatest victories were coincidentally won with the help of Thomas Jackson? i can only but wholeheardedly agree with egg.
 
I think it is understandable that the Confederates were on the defensive for most of the war, given the dispartity between the two sides. The fact that Lee was able to go over onto the offensive at all is pretty remarkable.
 
Secondly, not all his victories relied on Jackson.
 
But I do agree on one point, that he made mistakes at Gettysburg and Antietam.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote todd1971 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 06:57
 I don't know much about most of those listed in the top 100 but Lee never lived up to expectations when he went north of the Potomac the loss at Gettysburg was his fault more than any of his generals and Antietam served no purpose other the lost of 12k irreplaceable veterans.

My second remark is while Jackson IMO is ranked too high he was tardy Tom during Seven days and he was hit and miss at F'burg and Cedar Mountain but Grant is ranked way too low Fort Donellson, Vicksburg and Appomattox he was the winner in the civil war.

Also where's Sherman and George Washington rank?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 09:37
Originally posted by Temujin


and whenever French armies met British armies NOT under the command of Wellington, the French won.

 
Not necessarily... At Corunna John Moore's army won a defensive battle against Soult.

exactly, but Wellington won never any campaign nor battle as spectacular as Napoleon.
 
Assaye? Talavera?
 
Like I said, they were both great men of their time. Personally I find it hard to seperate them. Though had Napoleon died in 1811 he would probably be top of my list.


Edited by Craze_b0i - 16-Jun-2009 at 09:38
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 10:16
Originally posted by Craze_b0i

Originally posted by Temujin


and whenever French armies met British armies NOT under the command of Wellington, the French won.

 
Not necessarily... At Corunna John Moore's army won a defensive battle against Soult.


It is true that a great deal of the time, French armies eclipsed (whether commanded by Napoleon or not) British armies, at this stage. So this would lead one to deduce that the French armies were superior in general and typically were commanded by talented leaders. Does this not make Wellington's almost undefeated campaign in the Peninsula, even more of a success? If he managed to completely turn the tables on the French onslaught, his position as a brilliant general is without doubt. His army was not on par with the French, and he was often outnumbered. This clearly exemplifies Wellington's skill as a general, and as an absolute stand out on the side of the British.

So the point that the French usually won, is actually in favour of Wellington. It shows that he had the ability to overcome such a formidable force, as opposed to most other generals.

Originally posted by Craze_b0i

Originally posted by Temujin

exactly, but Wellington won never any campaign nor battle as spectacular as Napoleon.
 
Assaye? Talavera?
 
Like I said, they were both great men of their time. Personally I find it hard to seperate them. Though had Napoleon died in 1811 he would probably be top of my list.


Temujin, that may be true in regards to campaigns - Napoleon has many more campaigns under his belt though. He was the head of state after all, and could choose when and where he wanted to go on a campaign, unlike Wellington who was under the command of his British overlords. But even if Napoleon had some excellent campaigns, he also had some rather average (or even below average) campaigns. This cannot be said of Wellington in India against Mysore or the Marathas, or in the Peninsula or Belgium.

In terms of battles, I do not think you can say that Wellington had no spectacular battles like Napoleon. Crazy_boi has pointed out a couple of Wellington's epic battles above. I am not trying to downplay Napoleon as he has a very high standing in my view, but in comparison to Wellington he just falls short. The main reason for this is his issue of inconsistency, over-enthusiasm and lack of tactical perception at times.

I look forward to your response, and I apologise if I do not reply straight away.

Regards,

- Knights -

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 19:09
Originally posted by Craze_b0i


 
Not necessarily... At Corunna John Moore's army won a defensive battle against Soult.



the pursuit of Moore wasn't really exemplary and Soult wasn't the man for the job apparently, he was critizised by Napoleon and the Guard Chasseurs were once whipped by British Cavalry, which says much about the pursuit. his achievement was saving his Army to fight another day, sort of like the British at dunquerke in ww2 later. but if you replace Wellington with Moore, you would get the same result. his task was in supporting the Spanish Army but eventually Spain fell to the French so we can't he won a decisive battle, he 'only' saved his army from capture.

 
Assaye? Talavera?
 
Like I said, they were both great men of their time. Personally I find it hard to seperate them. Though had Napoleon died in 1811 he would probably be top of my list.


yeah but they operated udner completely different circumstances in completely different environments. Wellington is flawless in that he never really lost a major battle but that's pretty much about it with him. he afterall worked against the second row of Napoleons soldeirs and generals and he did had the support of the Portuguese and the other Spanish armies which are usually belittled. Napoleon however, at his height, could draw upon a massive and veteran army but was encirceld by hostile empries and kingdoms and that he was able to take them out one after another in the short time he did speaks highly in his favour. to do so, he needed to take some risks, which made him his greatest victories and defeats alike. Napoleon in his double function as C-in-C and head of state needed to make a lot of far-reaching and difficult deciscions which could ahve cost him the war and his throne, Wellington was in a completely opposite situation, all he could possibly lose was the war in Spain, in that case he would have pulled off like Moroe to save the Army for England, he never really was under any pressure to act fast and decisive, that's why it took him so long to liberate Madrid and Spain as a whole compared to Napoleons 'lightning' campaigns in his prime. so therefore i woudl actually considder his position as head of state and havign all ressources of the nation at his disposal more of an additional higher handicap compared to a mere general who only has to care for his immediate theater and army.

i never really was a fan of Wellington for exactly this reason, i mean because he was constatnly compared to Napoleon which never felt right. of course they were contemproaries and had some similarities, left alone they fought each others eventually, but it just isn't right. you can't compare a war between ants and ww2 even if they are contemporary and took place at the same site. yet, i came to respect Wellington after reading the book on Assaye, as i was curious about the Marathas. at the end of the day however we need to realize that the Marathas weren't really a force to be reckoned with, they lacked the leadership and they weren't just comparable to a western army. Wellington was simply a flawless commander who made the best of his ressources, i think he was more comparable to Grant, because Grant too didn't had much actual warcraft skill but he knew how to administer a war effort udner given circumstances (he had of course more ressources and possibilites as both his enemies and vis a vis Wellington) and had the strategic hindsight and knew how to lead and win campaigns. the too was pretty flawless. everything needs to be seen under a certain light.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2009 at 09:40
Grant too didn't had much actual warcraft skill
 
Maybe he couldn't get access to the internet... Smile


Edited by Craze_b0i - 17-Jun-2009 at 09:41
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Post Options Post Options   Quote todd1971 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jun-2009 at 03:41

Grant did capture 3 separate field armies that had to take some skill. the last one ended the war.
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