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Who Was The Greatest Military Leader Of All Time?

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Who was the Greatest Military leader of all time?  

255 members have voted

  1. 1. Who was the Greatest Military leader of all time?

    • Alexander the Great
      69
    • Julius Caesar
      12
    • Napoleon Bonaparte
      18
    • Ghengis Khan
      24
    • Hannibal
      3
    • Douglas MacArthur
      10
    • Erwin Rommel
      6
    • George Patton
      37
    • Belisarius
      1
    • Attila the Hun
      5


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Of course, i couldnt put every militaty leader, there are so many. But who do you think was the best and why?

I say it was Ghengis Khan, the way the planned attacks and used communication and won battles mainly with light infantry and with much smaller forces and made the largest empire in history surely makes him one of the best.

Sure they didnt really spread civilization, but this thread is not about that. Im just strictly talking about military matters.

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I say it was Ghengis Khan,  the way the planned attacks and used communication and won battles mainly with light infantry and with much smaller forces and made the largest empire in history surely makes him one of the best.

I second that. Not only that, but he employed a brilliant strategy for getting more military might. He would force the people he captured to fight on the front lines. That way, the more peole and cities he captured, the larger his army was. He also realized that if he made other people pay tribute to him, then he wouldn't have to spend time growing his own food or herding his own horses. By letting the people of his army know this, they wanted to fight for him. For example, if they captured a city, they would not be on the front line anymore, the newly captured people would.

Not that any of this was in any way morally right, it is simply another sad story of mystics claiming it is their "duty" to rule over everyone else.

Zak

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In terms of ancient military commanders, Alexander was the man. He conquered a significant majority of the known world and never lost a single battle. He single handedly brought Persia, a fighting force with vastly superior numbers, to it's knees. Alexander was the first to truly organize his force into a cohesive force which numbered in the tens of thousands. His tactics are still studied by war colleges, and many of his practices, such as the inspection of his troops before war (nowadays, it is usually done in a parade on a jeep) are still used in modern armies.

Hannibal was one of those Generals who won all the battles he was supposed to lose. I have great respect for that man.

it's a shame that Napoleon isn't given as much credit as he should be given, because of his defeat at Waterloo. He revolutionized warfare.

In modern times, the draw definatly goes between George Patton and Erwin Rommel. Rommel's Afrika Corps was a third the size of the British army in Africa, and of his meager forces, around half were ineffective Italian troops. Rommel was so strapped for firepower he actually had his anti-air craft guns (the 88's) modified so that they could fire on tanks. He is treated alot like Napoleon, for some may discredit him for his defeat at El Alamein. However, for most of the campaign he stomped the British, and simply outclassed the overly cautious Montegomery. It has been speculated that if Rommel could have had a single more division of men, then he might have been able to drive the Brisith off Africa and back to Malta and Gibralter.

of course, George Patton goes without saying. One of the finest, if unorthodox commanders that ever lived. During the operation that flattened the Nazi Bulge, Patton's Third Army moved farther and faster and engaged more divisions in less time than any other army in the history of the world.

Patton's Third Army also lost fewer men than any other army, given the number of engagements and the sizes of the enemy units. Indeed, as to this last, Third Army non-combat related causalities actually exceeded battle causalities during his drive for the Rhine in early 1945.

he was such a terrifying force on the battlefield he was the only general the Nazis actually feared. A puppet army and his presence alone was enough for the Germans to believe that he would be attacking Calais. During his time on Sicily, the Germans had no idea he was being punished (for slapping those soldiers) and thought he was being reserved for some major operation.

Patton's aggressive tactics reflect sharply on Modern warfare. the Vietnam affair aside, his style of warfare is the one that the military prefers to adopt. The speed with which America took Bahgdad was blindingly fast, we quite literally blitzkrieged them, though in reality it had more to do with Patton's tactics than the German ones.

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Patton's aggressive tactics reflect sharply on Modern warfare. the Vietnam affair aside, his style of warfare is the one that the military prefers to adopt. The speed with which America took Bahgdad was blindingly fast, we quite literally blitzkrieged them, though in reality it had more to do with Patton's tactics than the German ones.

They are both maneuver Warfare except the germans used maneuver at the tacticle level while the americans were still stuck in attrition warfare.

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I was hoping to vote for Scipio Africanus, but him being absent I voted for Alexander. And as for Patton: American military, from its very birth, has held vigor and Classical heavy blitzkrieg strategy as one of its primary values; Patton was not a great innovator these matters, but perhaps the greatest application of this American military tradition.

I assume that this vote here is about the greatest innovator, the general who inherited the least from those before him and left the most to those after him, in terms of military efficacy. And if that's the standard, Alexander becomes one of the primary choices. True, he inherited the Macedonian military machine from Philip, his father, but military has, and always has been, only a function of its leader (speaking mathematically). A military machine is like money - it's only as good as the man who wields it; and Alexander's efficacy in wielding his army is without equal. Would Alexander have been as successful as Philip in training the Macedonians from nothing? I don't know, but I don't have to worry about it. As Donald Trump might say, Philip's ability to train a great army does not make him a good general; he was a great drill master, and an excellent politician. But we are here electing a man for the position of the greatest general, and that means the greatest capacity for success with an army. And Alexander's success and efficacy with an army have never been matched. Even Hannibal acknowledged Alexander's superiority.

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I was hoping to vote for Scipio Africanus, but him being absent I voted for Alexander. And as for Patton: American military, from its very birth, has held vigor and Classical heavy blitzkrieg strategy as one of its primary values; Patton was not a great innovator these matters, but perhaps the greatest application of this American military tradition.

I assume that this vote here is about the greatest innovator, the general who inherited the least from those before him and left the most to those after him, in terms of military efficacy. And if that's the standard, Alexander becomes one of the primary choices. True, he inherited the Macedonian military machine from Philip, his father, but military has, and always has been, only a function of its leader (speaking mathematically). A military machine is like money - it's only as good as the man who wields it; and Alexander's efficacy in wielding his army is without equal. Would Alexander have been as successful as Philip in training the Macedonians from nothing? I don't know, but I don't have to worry about it. As Donald Trump might say, Philip's ability to train a great army does not make him a good general; he was a great drill master, and an excellent politician. But we are here electing a man for the position of the greatest general, and that means the greatest capacity for success with an army. And Alexander's success and efficacy with an army have never been matched. Even Hannibal acknowledged Alexander's superiority.

I have no clue where you got the idea that america has heald a "heavy blitzkrieg strategy" guys like Patton and MacArthur were the exception not the rule, we have a long tradition of attrition warfare not maneuver.

Other American Maneuver Generals are, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, Union General Ulysses S. Grant, but after that....its all mostly attrition.

Our military stil follows the french model (attrition) not maneuver.

If youi want to knwo americas Military history and what ideas influenced it read this:

Spirit, Blood, and Treasure

http://www.belisarius.com/modern_business_...f/sbt_intro.htm

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  • 4 weeks later...
George Washington!

I was thinking the exact same thing when I first scanned the list of things to vote for, and was surprised it wasn't on there. Of course, there are some of these I have not studied in any detail whatsoever (Caesar, Khan, Hannibal, Rommel, Belisarius, Attila the Hun). So, I can't exactly say that's an informed decision--but it's the one that I like most out of all I've read about (to the degree I know about them).

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  • 1 month later...
I know I'm a month late, but I'm throwing my support behind Alexander the Great...and it seems that most people agree with me.  I mean, the dude conquered the known world by the time he was 27.  If I'm going to beat his record, I've only got 5 years...I'd better get busy.

He couldn't conquer India. His soldiers were tired and afraid. I don't think he really knew how to boost the morale of his soldiers.

And how do you know the victory of Alexander was because of strategy alone? You also have to consider whether he had better technology at that time or not compared to his rivals.

Anyway, my vote goes to Patton. He knew what it took to win a war. If he had been left alone, I think he would have run over Soviet Russia in five years.

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From what I have read (and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong) the Macedonians used a Phalanx Formation (with 21 Foot Pikes) and Cavalry to protect the flanks. The Phalanx was difficult to maneuver because people had to stay a certain distance apart to stay effective. So if they encounter something that disrupts the formation, the enemy has a chance to exploit it. So this means that in order to win victory after victory you need a general that forces the enemy to fight on the land of his choosing and if he can't , he develops a strategy which enables him to triumph anyways. Alexander did this, and in my opinion was a brilliant strategist.

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Well as long as this has been resurrected.

I'll vote for Gustavus Adolphus even though he isn't listed. The guy basically invented modern warfare. He was the first person to order and command an army centered around the gun. If you look at the armies fighting in Europe just before him, they are still using groups of tightly packed people with long pointy sticks just like the ancient Greeks were. Alexander the Great could have still commanded these armies. After Gustavus Adolphus armies consisted of rows of people with guns fighting in the manner familiar to most as the way the American Revolution and Napoleonic Wars were faught. Alexander the Great would have no idea what to do with this.

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Well as long as this has been resurrected.

I'll vote for Gustavus Adolphus even though he isn't listed.  The guy basically invented modern warfare.  He was the first person to order and command an army centered around the gun.  If you look at the armies fighting in Europe just before him, they are still using groups of tightly packed people with long pointy sticks just like the ancient Greeks were.  Alexander the Great could have still commanded these armies.  After Gustavus Adolphus armies consisted of rows of people with guns fighting in the manner familiar to most as the way the American Revolution and Napoleonic Wars were faught.  Alexander the Great would have no idea what to do with this.

I don't know what your talking out, The Romans ruled most of Europe for an incredible ammount of time and they didn't use "long pointy sticks" like the ancient greeks.

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He couldn't conquer India. His soldiers were tired and afraid. I don't think he really knew how to boost the morale of his soldiers.

And how do you know the victory of Alexander was because of strategy alone? You also have to consider whether he had better technology at that time or not compared to his rivals.

Anyway, my vote goes to Patton. He knew what it took to win a war. If he had been left alone, I think he would have run over Soviet Russia in five years.

Alexander never lost a battle, he did have many virtues in war and here is a list of some of them.

http://www.d-n-i.net/dni_reviews/virtues_of_war.htm by Chet Richards,

Extraordinary, intuitive competence, at all levels, so that when Macedonian units get to where Alexander feels is the decisive point, they get the job done, even against the other side’s elite units. Known to maneuver warfare aficionados as Fingerspitzengefühl.

Unit cohesion, based on mutual trust earned through years of rigorous training together

Grand strategy—pumping up our morale and degrading that of the opponent; conducting operations so as not to plant the seeds of future unfavorable conflict

Lead from the front. No great commander has exceeded Alexander in sheer leadership or suffered as many wounds as a result.

Creating, as opposed to just discovering or predicting, enemy weaknesses

Mission oriented orders, or as the military often calls it, Auftragstaktik

Deception, and in particular, “according deceptively with the intentions of the enemy,” to quote Sun Tzu

“As if one were commanding both sides” – a description great commanders often use of how the battle seemed

Directed telescope – a device for ensuring the commander isn’t being told only what subordinates think he wants to hear

Quick “OODA” loops – the ability simultaneously to take in information, decide what it means, and act upon it

Cheng/Ch’i - orthodox played against unorthodox tactics as a means to dislocate the enemy mentally and physically

Using timing and maneuver to overcome sizable disadvantages in mass

Surprise; selecting the maneuver that we feel will be the least expected

Emphasis on penetration as opposed to attrition along the line

Measures to deal with the fog of war (and the literal obscurity of the battlefield)

How well-trained units can shift focus and direction (Schwerpunkt) organically, that is, without explicit orders.

Tactics that bypass strong points (“surfaces and gaps”)

Alexander didnt really have a technological advantige. His greatness in the battlefield came from his methods.

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I don't know what your talking out, The Romans ruled most of Europe for an incredible ammount of time and they didn't use "long pointy sticks" like the ancient greeks.

The Romans were the first to brake the Phanlanx and make it obsolete, it didnt return untill the middle ages. But for its time the phalanx was thought to be unstoppable.

There is a good book called Breaking the Phalanx.The first chapter explains how it happend, you can read the whole chapter on Amazon.com.

Here is a short overview of the history of the Phalanx

Here is a very short overview of the Roman way of war and why it worked so well.

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Alexander the Great would have no idea what to do with this.

Punk, what's with all this ignorance about ancient history? What biographies of Alexander have you read? Quintus Curtius? Arrian? What about even just a 30-page biography by Plutarch?

Or are your ideas just based on 'modern' interpretations? If we listen to our historical expert movie director Oliver Stone, we can "learn" a lot about Alexander that the ancient Romans and Greeks didn't even know about!

Alexander never lost a battle, he did have many virtues in war

In peace too. He was heroic in many ways, especially early in his kingship, despite some shortcomings.

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In peace too. He was heroic in many ways, especially early in his kingship, despite some shortcomings.

The point was one of technological innovation and adaptation. Up to Adolphus armies were structured around the same sorts of technology, and tactics are driven by the technology used. There was little technologically different about the armies early in the 30 years war and those Alexander commanded (the cannons in use in this time were not that different from the artillery used in Alexander's day). Adolphus took a new technology that fundamentally altered the structured the technological nature of warfare. He then used his creative faculty to develop the tactics appropriate to it.

Also, just because my views of ancient history differ from yours is not "ignorance". I have studied ancient history and have reasons for my opinions.

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