Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.

Who is the greatest military leader of all time?

Alexander the Great
33
28%
Hannibal Barca
4
3%
Julius Caesar
8
7%
Attila the Hun
1
1%
Genghis Khan
13
11%
Frederick the Great
4
3%
Horatio Nelson
5
4%
Napoleon Bonaparte
20
17%
Robert E. Lee
9
8%
Erwin Rommel
5
4%
George S. Patton
4
3%
Other
11
9%
 
Total votes: 117

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by neil hilton » Mon May 17, 2010 3:52 pm

There are plenty of other candidates. Belisarius, Edward 1st, Gustavus Adolphus, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Takeda Shingen, etc etc.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by RF » Tue May 18, 2010 8:52 am

I think that ultimately the list of candidates could be almost endless. The problem lies in comparing people from different era's and contexts of wars. And any answer really is subjective.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by lwd » Tue May 18, 2010 5:36 pm

Not just context of wars but of the individual. Alexander for instance inherited both his command and an extremely competent army. Genghist on the other hand started out as a tribal out cast (although of the equivalant of noble birth) and while the Mongol was a very effective warrior he turned them into one of best armies ever to exist. He also instigated significant efforts in the fields of logistics, communications, signalling, and intelligence. On the otherhand some of his efforts also resulted ulitimatly in the decline of the very force he built. Napoleon can claim similar achievements. Without objective criteria or weights we can hardly even evaluate them individually much less rank them.

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4000
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by alecsandros » Wed May 19, 2010 10:59 am

Selim "the Drunk" anyone?

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by neil hilton » Wed May 19, 2010 1:20 pm

If I hadn't missed my chance I would have to vote for Alexander. His conquoring of Persia is like Cuba taking out the US! He was a giant killer.

Wierd, it just allowed me to vote.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:51 pm

Just bought me Conn Iggulden's book on the Mongols, specially the Khan. He deserves his place as one of the greatest military leaders of all time. His Empire was as big as that of Alexander but last longer against more enemies.... and his forces beat the Muslims everywhere, which several "superpowers" have not been able to do, even with outstanding technology superiority".
I reaffirm my vote for Genghis.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by lwd » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:21 pm

Also considering he started out life as an outcast from his tribe. He did have a real advantage in the quality of troops but the other innovations under his command were extremely impressive. Logistics, communications, command schools, ... The list just goes on and on. I'm with Karl on this one.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:05 pm

He never attended school to learn how to read and write but he understood maps and war machine diagrams perfectly. He never had a stupid no good president telling him how to do things aside from logic or common sense... and never went to military academy to learn how to use the fork and knife at a dinner party.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

Garyt
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:31 pm

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by Garyt » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:23 am

Real tough question, I'm not even going to vote.

Too many areas of subjectivity, less knowledge or detail as we go further back in time. We know Roman generals were very good at having those writing about a campaign to also function in essence as the general's PR department. And I am sure the Romans are not alone in this.

And what really defines a great general? Luck? Conquest? Being outnumbered? I'd rather have 4 German WW2 platoons than 8 Italian ones.

Let's look at Alexander for instance. Most commonly he is given recognition as the best general of all time, but I have also seen him to thought of as someone without great tactical sense that single mindedly would just attack, attack, attack. And often, this tactic can be effective, but it does not make one a great tactician.

Some look at Granicus as a failure on the part of the Persian command, looking to oblige his tactics by meeting him in the middle of their river instead of defending the shore with their lines of hoplite infantry and using their cavalry to attack and defend the flanks.

Even the very tactically sound Macedonian army with it's hammer and anvil capability was organized by Philip, not Alexander.

Personally, I think he was a great leader "from the front", brave and inspiring, but perhaps could not see the forest for the trees at times as a tactician, and perhaps a spear thrust away from losing the campaign.

User avatar
aurora
Senior Member
Posts: 685
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:31 pm
Location: YORKSHIRE

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by aurora » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:59 am

Georgy Zhukov led the Red Army in the liberation the Soviet Union from the Axis Power’s occupation and advancing through much of Eastern Europe to conquer Berlin during World War II. He was one of the most decorated heroes in the history of both Russia and the Soviet Union. After the fall of Germany, Zhukov became the first commander of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany.
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

Jim

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by neil hilton » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:30 pm

Zhukovs plan at the Seelow Heights was almost farcical and greatly influenced by his personal desire to get to Berlin before Konev, not the actions of a great general imo.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: Top 10 greatest military leaders of all time

Post by neil hilton » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:33 pm

How about John Churchill? Never lost a battle and is almost unknown to most.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

Post Reply