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" width="8" height="8"/> Greatest military leader of all time?, Who and why...
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JLord
post Dec 28 2005, 10:22 PM
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I say military leader in order to include generals, admirals, or whatever other rank existed throughout history. I am not into history in any big way but I'll throw out some names to get things started. You can comment on my selections because I'm sure many of them are probably not very good picks. But from what I know, I would have to say

Alexander - Some crazy battles won while outnumbered
Robert E. Lee - Same thing, like Chancellorsville (I think)
Horatio Nelson - Well respected, revered, and won a very big battle
Napoleon - stirred up a lot of shit
Rommel - well respected and smart

But I would like to know what the history buffs here would say. As you can see, my reasons are not very good, but I have only a casual interest in this sort of thing, so I only know what I have heard. Please state reasons as well to support your choice or to bash someone else's.
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Telum
post Dec 28 2005, 10:44 PM
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Ghengis Khan
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Dakyron
post Dec 28 2005, 11:30 PM
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Robert E Lee was definitely a great general, Ill give you that(despite how much I dont like the guy), but I would go with Ghengis Khan as well.
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Citadel
post Dec 29 2005, 12:18 AM
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How could you not like Robert E. Lee?

For me its
Hannibal
Temujin (Ghengis Khan)
Nathaniel Greene
MacArthur
Washington
Stonewall Jackson
Patton
Yamamoto


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Arilou
post Dec 29 2005, 12:40 AM
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Genghis was bad shit, no question about it.

But seriously Citadel, that list is *way* yank-heavy. If you have WWII generals at least some of the germans deserves a nod too. And heck, Suvarov, GIIA, Caesar all deserve accolades.

As does Khalid ibn-Walid (sp?), the Sword of Allah & Timur Lenkh.
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Sushi Bar
post Dec 29 2005, 03:07 AM
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I'm going to have to go with Alfred Graf von Schlieffen not because I'm German, but because i thought, "The Schlieffen Plan" was ingenius even though it eventually failed.

(IMG:http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/9830/schlieffenplanthumb6ax.gif)
August, 1914

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Citadel
post Dec 29 2005, 04:15 AM
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I can acknowledge them. But I like what I like. And to add a few more Sun Tzu, Geronimo, and Cornwallis.
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Arilou
post Dec 29 2005, 02:37 PM
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QUOTE(Citadel @ Dec 29 2005, 04:15 AM)
I can acknowledge them. But I like what I like. And to add a few more Sun Tzu, Geronimo, and Cornwallis.
*



Yeah, but the question was "greatest" not "favourite".

If favourite I'd have picked Matthias Gallas, the "Army Destroyer" (Hint: It wasn't for destroying the ENEMY's armies....)
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Citadel
post Dec 29 2005, 03:31 PM
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Arilou, its asking for an opinion and I am giving my opinions, hence why it would be people that *I* admired or have tremendous respect for. Each of the Generals or great leaders I mention have made great accomplishments. Why would I name generals or leaders that I don't really care for? Why would it matter if mine are "Yank" heavy? Hell, I have people from all over the globe on my list.
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Telum
post Dec 29 2005, 07:59 PM
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QUOTE(Citadel @ Dec 29 2005, 12:15 AM)
I can acknowledge them. But I like what I like. And to add a few more Sun Tzu,
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Its unknown if he was even real.


I would add Saladdin and Judah Maccabee
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Citadel
post Dec 29 2005, 08:49 PM
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Theories though still doesn't negate the fact that Sun Tzu's work is used by military generals and politicians around the world. Including the US.

This post has been edited by Citadel: Dec 29 2005, 08:57 PM
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LordLeto
post Dec 29 2005, 09:16 PM
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Garibaldi. Troops that couldn't take a ant hill the day before would be inspired to feats of unparalled heroism the next under his leadership. Troops would retreat before forces that were lead by a man posing as him.

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Demosthenes
post Dec 29 2005, 10:06 PM
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Timurlane, or Timur Lenh. He's one of the few leaders who never lost a battle; and was also a great fighter. He towered at 6'6", and had hundreds of kills.
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necrolyte
post Dec 29 2005, 10:50 PM
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Hannibal for sure. Cyrus the Great definately acheived a lot, and I think is greatly underappreciated. Ramses II, if not because he was a great military leader but because he used his military victories to secure himself domestically. Phyrrus of Epirus too, though he really acheived little with his military.

Attila, Ghengis, Suleiman the Magnificent, Shaka Zulu, Timur, Mao, Napoleon, Shaupur II, Nelson, and many others.

Of that list, Cyrus the Great and Ghengis Khan actually managed to acheive the most with their military victories, and Hannibal managed to produce some of the most impressive victories.

Mao, Ghengis Khan, Timur, and Attila, were by all standards detestible people as well as great conquerors.

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Telum
post Dec 29 2005, 10:55 PM
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Ghengis Khan by what I heard, was quite honorable. Of course, if you crossed him, he would burn your entire village to the ground.

Hannibal wasnt that great, he lost to Scipio Africanus.

Napoleon was an idiot. Anyone who invades Russia in time for winter is not a great military leader.

Phyrrus wasnt good at all. Phyrric victories, remember? Being a great leader is more than tactical victories, it is winning strategic victories.
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Dakyron
post Dec 29 2005, 11:00 PM
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Am I going to sound stupid if I suggest Joan of Arc be put on the list?
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Arilou
post Dec 29 2005, 11:04 PM
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Pyrrhus was by all accounts *very* good. Almost every antique historian placed him as #2 behind Alexander.

QUOTE
Its unknown if he was even real.


I thought him and his life was pretty well-documented?

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Napoleon was an idiot. Anyone who invades Russia in time for winter is not a great military leader.


Check out his italian campaigns and say he was an idiot.
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Citadel
post Dec 29 2005, 11:16 PM
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QUOTE(Dakyron @ Dec 29 2005, 05:00 PM)
Am I going to sound stupid if I suggest Joan of Arc be put on the list?
*



Nope not at all.

Attilla the hun was an excellent mention.

Also Shaka Zulu

QUOTE
I thought him and his life was pretty well-documented?


As a historical figure yes, documented by Sun Qian(?) But it also said that Sun Tzu was real but only to use an alias so his enemies could not figure out his true identity. Hence why so many theories are out there challenging his existence.

This post has been edited by Citadel: Dec 29 2005, 11:20 PM
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LordLeto
post Dec 29 2005, 11:28 PM
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Isn't there some contention as to whether Ramses II even won his best know battle(Kadesh I think)?
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necrolyte
post Dec 29 2005, 11:43 PM
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QUOTE(LordLeto @ Dec 29 2005, 11:28 PM)
Isn't there some contention as to whether Ramses II even won his best know battle(Kadesh I think)?
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Thats my point. He was probably a good general, but obviously not the best. However, the fact that he used his victory so effectively for propaganda made Khadesh the first recorded battle in history as well as immortalized him as the best Pharaoh in all of Egyptian history.

Hannibal's loss to Scipio is understandable, Telum. There were few tactical advantages in his favour-much of his army was totally green, his elephants were totally untrained, and his veterans were fairly few, most of them fortified in Southern Italy. Scipio had a more experienced and flexible army, much more cavalry, and was himself a capiable enough general not to fall to Hannibal's tricks. So Hannibal more or less had his usual cunning limited. And Hannibal still nearly won at Zama. His infatntry was pushing and about to beat Scipio's infantry when the King of the Numidians with thousands of cavalry landed on Hannibal's rear. Had they gone to loot Hannibal's camp (I bet Hannibal's tactic... lure the Numidians off to the camp for them to loot), he would have won.

Plus, Hannibal was the only general who nearly destroyed Roman power, and destroyed countless legions (there were many battles after Cannae, where he destroyed legion after legion. His only major loss in Italy was his inability to break through a well-fortified defensive siege line around the Greek city of Capua, the second largest city in Italy, which had joined his cause.)

Napoleon suffered from severe overconfidence, and I dont think he was expecting a slash and burn tactic (interestingly one of the way Consul Fabian hamstrung Hannibal before, and then after Cannae. Its interesting that both the Roman and Russian leadership demanded an engagement after not too long of the self-sacrificing Fabian tactic). The fact that he survived for quite a while after Russia attests to his ability.

The point of Phyrrus's victories is that they were creative, tactically intelligent, and strategically intelligent. However, ANY losses on his part would hamstring his ability to fight Rome, as Rome could raise large armies fairly rapidly. He probably did not know this about Rome when he started his wars.

To be fair on him, he brought Epirus from a minor power to an empire that ran most of Southern Italy and Sicily. He repeatedly defeated Carthage and Rome, though the siege of Sparta was a bit of a debacle.

I don't consider someone who slaughtered millions of people "honourable". Perhaps he was honourable to other warriors, but he was an exceedingly cruel conqueror.
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necrolyte
post Dec 29 2005, 11:51 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khadesh

The recording of Khadesh, though, does show some military capiability on the part of Ramsees and his commanders, by turning an unexpected rout against an outnumbering enemy into an indecisive engagement. Both sides claimed victory, though neither side gained a strategic advantage.
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LordLeto
post Dec 29 2005, 11:58 PM
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QUOTE
Thats my point. He was probably a good general, but obviously not the best. However, the fact that he used his victory so effectively for propaganda made Khadesh the first recorded battle in history as well as immortalized him as the best Pharaoh in all of Egyptian history.


That would make him the best propagandist in history. Not the best Military leader.

I might add theres also some contention as to whether he was even alive for Kadesh and just just stealing someone elses victory and making it his own.
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necrolyte
post Dec 30 2005, 12:19 AM
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QUOTE(LordLeto @ Dec 29 2005, 11:58 PM)
That would make him the best propagandist in history. Not the best Military leader.

I might add theres also some contention as to whether he was even alive for Kadesh and just just stealing someone elses victory and making it his own.
*



I'm fairly sure that the records of the Hittites show that Ramses was alive for Khadesh, though they obviously disagree with who won :D

I still think that turning a routed, outnumbered and suprised army around to push their opponents back is a nice acheivement.
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ro4444
post Jan 3 2006, 04:46 PM
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QUOTE(Demosthenes @ Dec 29 2005, 05:06 PM)
Timurlane, or Timur Lenh. He's one of the few leaders who never lost a battle;
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Yes he did. During his early battles with the Mughals, he lost multiple fights.

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necrolyte
post Jan 3 2006, 07:53 PM
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Also, never losing does not make a good military leader. If I have ten thousand men, and my opponent has fifty, I clearly am not proving that I am a great military leader by defeating him. Likewise, he is not proving he lacks military leadership. Its finding ways to overcome hardship that proves military leadership-like the march over the alps.
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ro4444
post Jan 3 2006, 11:05 PM
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Considering how much progress he made and the sheer number of enemies Timur faced in his lifetime, I'd say he was a very good military leader. Few would disagree with that.
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necrolyte
post Jan 3 2006, 11:48 PM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ Jan 3 2006, 11:05 PM)
Considering how much progress he made and the sheer number of enemies Timur faced in his lifetime, I'd say he was a very good military leader. Few would disagree with that.
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No doubt.

But just saying that victories and defeats alone do not decide who is a great military leader or not, its how those victories and defeats were run. For instance, many NVA commanders were capiable during the Vietnam war, they just had very difficult odds against them.

If Timur was a great leader, it was not because he won, but because he maximized his advantages and minimized his disadvantages.
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libvertaruan
post Jan 4 2006, 03:29 AM
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The thing about hannibal is that had the Carthaginians been able to control the sea like the Romans did, he wouldn't have had to march his army around the mediterranean to get it to Rome. There would have been far fewer losses, and carthage probably would have WON that punic war. If you have a powerful navy, you can ship your army anywhere and probably be the best superpower. While I was in Russia there was a paper assigned to us in my geopolitics class by this american military dude at the turn of the 1900s who wrote a paper using historical evidence to prove this. I forget his name, but he's the reason we started building up a powerful navy, and thus became a superpower.
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Telum
post Jan 4 2006, 04:36 AM
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Alfred Something was his name.

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mhallex
post Jan 4 2006, 06:15 PM
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