Ok. Who´s the one with that honor?
I pick up four to speak about:
1. Andrea Doria
. This guy certainly deserves a place after his role at the battle of Lepanto. In the tradition of the best admirals he wasn´t much concerned about obeying orders an following "rules of engagement."
2. Horatio Nelson
. Well, Naval History places him as the ONE: the Battle of the Nile, Trafalgar, etc. What a life! Another one that places his fortune on a gamble, not concerning much about the armchair strategists back at London. If we study all his victories they are due to insoburdination and disobedience of his superiors and "rules of engagement".
3. Heihachirö Tögö
. My personal choice. No other naval commander had given the enemy so appalling a defeat as he did to the russians. Even, after the end of WWII, the communist russians insisted that his ship, the Mikasa memorial, were to removed of her guns, probably as a vengueance. His victory at Yellow Sea and Tsushima are impecable.
4. Chester Nimitz.
Given that his "fleet" at the beggining of 1941 was laughable with only three aircraft carriers, some cruisers and a bunch of escort destroyers ( not a single operational BB and no BCs at all) and, more important, with the initiative in the hands of his enemies, he did a pretty good job turning the tide at Coral Sea and Midway. His gambles are legendary against the greatest fleet ever assembled against the USN.
Another one that might
be included is Rear Admiral John "Sandy" Woodward
, the Falkland Islands War British Task Force Commander. He really did his job very, very well.
I know, I know, some may feel that Yamamoto, Jellicoe, Beatty, Halsey, Spruance or even Tovey, Scheer and Lütjens must be included but, sincerelly, I don´t feel them to meet the bright of the four mentioned above. And don´t misunderstand me! I´m not saying that they were not fine, capable and even bright officers (specially Yamamoto) but they need oustanding victories to be on the list and neither had them (Pearl isn´t that outstanding because was a surprise attack; the sinking of the Bismarck wasn´t because a complete fleet against a single BB doesn´t seem very OK and Jutland... well, Jutland is Jutland).
So, what you think?