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Author Topic: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?  (Read 2633 times)

Demon55

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #30 on: 29 May 2020, 21:23:17 »
Let me throw out a name no one has mentioned yet: Flavius Belisarius, of the  Byzantine Empire. Under Justinian I, he reclaimed a large chunk of the Roman Empire, ofter with varying level of troops, and considered one of the best military commanders in history.

Craig
The East Romans are quite interesting.

I would lean towards Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #31 on: 29 May 2020, 23:25:13 »
Ike deserves points just for keeping Monty and Patton from killing each other.

idea weenie

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #32 on: 30 May 2020, 03:13:46 »
Do Admirals count?  Admiral Yi

To give an idea, in one battle against the Japanese, he had 13 ships on his side, and the Japanese had 133.  He disabled or destroyed 31 of the Japanese ships with no ship losses of his own.

If you want to watch youtube videos of his life, here is #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ieaDfD_h6s

Nerroth

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #33 on: 30 May 2020, 17:02:55 »
I was reading a book looking at the early Mongol conquests which argues that the general Sube'etei was a more accomplished military strategist than even Temujin himself, though he reportedly lacked the latter's broader ability to translate said conquests into what would evolve into the "Pax Mongolica".

Interestingly, the book also notes that in many cases, Temujin was wary of enemy commanders who switched sides too easily. If a subordinate was so eager to abandon his sovereign the first time, the argument went, what was to stop him doing so once again later on?

It also notes the debt which the Mongols owed to prior "conquest dynasties", such as the Khitan founders of the Liao Dynasty, in terms of developing many of the concepts required to govern a hybrid nomadic/sedentary realm that the Mongol khanates were so successfully able to build up and expand upon.
« Last Edit: 30 May 2020, 17:10:56 by Nerroth »

Sabelkatten

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #34 on: 30 May 2020, 17:10:37 »
Do Admirals count?  Admiral Yi

To give an idea, in one battle against the Japanese, he had 13 ships on his side, and the Japanese had 133.  He disabled or destroyed 31 of the Japanese ships with no ship losses of his own.

If you want to watch youtube videos of his life, here is #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ieaDfD_h6s
According to Wikipedia he started out as a general, and was so good at it that the other generals framed him as a deserter - presumably because he was making them look bad!

Cannonshop

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #35 on: 30 May 2020, 22:53:07 »
Genghis (call me Temujin) Khan.

Ho Chi Min

Alexander (third of his name in the line of Macedon) the Great

Julius (call me Gaius) Caesar

Napoleon (di Buonaparte) Bonaparte and Hannibal (son of Hamilcar) Barca (honorable mentions)

IMO, to earn the title of GOAT military commander, you have to demonstrate tactical wizardry, strategic genius, and beloved, visionary leadership.  Oh, and you have to win in the end.

I can think of tactical wizards like Guderian, Jackson, Lee, Leonidas, Patton, and Rommel.  These are the guys that understand maneuver and terrain and win battles.  But they either missed the big strategic picture or never got a chance to make those kinds of decisions.

I can think of strategic geniuses like Eisenhower, Grant, Ivar the Boneless, MacArthur, Themistocles, and Zhukov.  These are the guys that understand supply and logistics (theirs and the enemy’s) and how to flex national power to win wars.  But their battlefield record is either less impressive than the first group or not well known to us.

Many in both these groups were beloved by their men and/or visionary leaders.

But only Genghis, Min, Alex, and Caesar demonstrate all three attributes.  All four showed their tactical wizardry in specific battles and/or in the revolutionary tactics their forces put on display.  All four were strategic geniuses who understood the relative strengths and weaknesses of their nations and enemies in depth and employed them accordingly to win wars.  And all four were much loved by their men and had visionary foresight in where they wanted to take themselves and their people.

Napoleon and Hannibal get honorable mentions.  They also displayed all three attributes.  But they ultimately did not win.

Lastly, I’ll note that Genghis, Min, Alex, Caesar, and Napoleon had both military and political control.  That’s not true of most of the other names I’ve mentioned.  That may be a necessary condition to make the accomplishments required to be considered a GOAT military commander, at least as I’ve defined it.

Apologies for being nitpicky, but that title goes to Genghis.

Uncle Ho (HO CHIH MINH) wasn't a general-he was a politician and a political leader.  The guy you're looking for out of Vietnam was named "Giap" and He WAS a general-and a pretty damn good one, worked for Uncle Ho in Hanoi.

Claiming otherwise is about like fanschotzing over the military exploits of Ngo Dinh Diem-who was the only South Vietnamese Leader that Uncle Ho and his general Giap were actually afraid of,
« Last Edit: 30 May 2020, 23:56:23 by Cannonshop »
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #36 on: 31 May 2020, 00:37:09 »
Best American Civil War general? Grant and Sherman.

Not sure Grant really qualifies . . . he is just the guy who figured out it was time to quit dancing with Robert E Lee and just slug it out- boxer vs slugger analogy.
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #37 on: 31 May 2020, 07:40:20 »
Not sure Grant really qualifies . . . he is just the guy who figured out it was time to quit dancing with Robert E Lee and just slug it out- boxer vs slugger analogy.

And let’s just say I vehemently disagree with the other...person...named being included.

But that is another discussion that doesn’t belong here.

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #38 on: 31 May 2020, 21:54:56 »
Napoleon and Hannibal both lost, so they're off the list in my mind.

I actually wonder about that. Yes he was exiled, but, feudalism was never able to return back to most of Europe, and the very reason for feudalism - the need for that style of army to rule a land area - became obsolete. People got used to their new freedoms, and the new ruling class of traders and industrialists saw their fortunes grow ten fold, and their enterprises become international in scope. The Middle Class especially grew in power at this time.

The only large area where Napoleon did not conquer aka Russia, remained more feudal then the rest of Europe, the results of which could be seen in World War 1. Also, it really did take all pressure off the New Republic of the United States, as Britain and the other European powers could hardly focus on America while engaged with Napoleon.

Without Napoleon the French Revolution might have fallen in a year - Napoleon brought it fourteen years and spread it! He spread notions, such as Equality before the Law, and the idea of a Nation-State over a Kingdom. Read Jomini, he noted that he still believed wars should be governed by Lords and Monarchs, since the People were "too passionate. "

Thus it could be argued Napoleon lost personally, but won in the overall political campaign. Which one is more important, is of course, a matter of individual priorities.
« Last Edit: 31 May 2020, 21:57:06 by Imperium »
" ALL WAR, is an extension of Politics." Carl Von Clausewitz, summarizing the Napoleonic Wars

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #39 on: 31 May 2020, 22:32:43 »
And Hannibal lost only because he was not properly supported while he was in Italy and had Rome on its knees. 

A weak ruler held sway in Carthage, it was ultimately him that lost the Third Punic War.  Hannibal did all he could against his hated Roman enemies.

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #40 on: 31 May 2020, 22:53:36 »
I'd say that Patton should be disqualified due to his repeated mistake of aggressively advancing his troops too quickly for his logistical support to keep up. That led to a lot of unnecessary casualties.
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #41 on: 31 May 2020, 23:02:23 »
Let me throw out a name no one has mentioned yet: Flavius Belisarius, of the  Byzantine Empire. Under Justinian I, he reclaimed a large chunk of the Roman Empire, ofter with varying level of troops, and considered one of the best military commanders in history.

Craig
seconded.
sadly political realities surrounding the byzantine court meant that the rug kept getting pulled out from under him and seeing him replaced with someone not operating at the same level of skill and cunning. which saw many of the gains he'd made for the Empire get lost within his own lifetime. and those same political factors eventually led to him being disgraced by the Emperor and all his lands and titles stripped.
« Last Edit: 31 May 2020, 23:06:41 by glitterboy2098 »

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #42 on: 01 June 2020, 03:20:00 »
I've read Jomini… not an experience I intend to repeat...

MarauderCH IIC

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #43 on: 01 June 2020, 11:48:12 »
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Cannonshop

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #44 on: 01 June 2020, 12:42:50 »
Not sure Grant really qualifies . . . he is just the guy who figured out it was time to quit dancing with Robert E Lee and just slug it out- boxer vs slugger analogy.

McClellan built the army, but it took Grant to make it perform.  This, in a sense, raises the question of what makes a military leader 'great'?

Consider that in 1860-61, the Confederacy had the bulk of the officer corps, the bulk of veteran soldiers, and had successfully (Under James Buchanan) looted most of the arsenals in the North.

so they started with more guns, too.

But their system couldn't sustain their advantages in the face of lacking industry, and having to tie up a significant proportion of their available military-age manpower in maintaining the Slave system, having an economic base rooted in a couple of cash-crops that were just becoming more available cheaper from British-held Egypt, and lacking so many things that the lacks actually outnumber the haves in terms of the things that make a military viable over the longer term.  The Confederacy needed to win the war in the first two years or they were done.

Lee, pointedly, failed to do this.

The critical period on the strategic level was from 1860 to 1862.  The failure to achieve a crushing victory over the Union by 1862 meant the very BEST Lee could manage, was a delaying action while gold, food, munitions, weapons, everything needed to keep an army in the field (including manpower) dwindled and choked off.

Why was this? Because if you have to import your critical supplies, you're at the mercy of outside forces, and those forces viewed Slavery with a slate ranging from apathy, to antipathy, They were at the mercy of the textiles market, with a cheaper supplier closer to the mills in England and France that didn't exist when the confederates were planning their war of secession, and because of how Slavery works, they had a huge population effectively imprisoned that was a key vulnerability requiring resources to keep controlled and contained at the same time they didn't have a reliable supply line for those same resources.

Lee WAS pretty good...but no military commander could have held the south against the North for long, and he failed to deliver the knockout blow that would have made the secession stick.

That war also gave us the WORST military decision makers in American History.  PT Beauregard, whose actions at Fort Sumter galvanized anti-secession sentiment in the North, preventing the confederacy from being able to leverage a strong anti-war sentiment  Why was this a bad decision? because the Confederacy, in spite of their initial advantages, didn't have the necessary infrastructure to support the war, though they were just beginning to assemble some of what they would have needed, by kicking off the war in 1860, he effectively checkmarked 'yes' to the question of all out armed conflict when he needed someone checkboxing 'wait' for a few more months.

This framed the South as the aggressor, and did incalculable damage to Southern efforts to gather war matriel on the international market, garner diplomatic cred, arrange alliances, and every other thing they were trying to do in preparation for war.

the other worst, of course, being that self-aggrandizing moron Custer.

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #45 on: 01 June 2020, 21:34:05 »
Another factor in the American Civil War, especially the early years, was that all the generals on both sides personally knew each other.  Lee knew McClellan well and could plan things based on how he anticipated McClellan would react.  And McClellan was nothing if not predictable.
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #46 on: 01 June 2020, 23:16:59 »
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #47 on: 01 June 2020, 23:39:23 »
Please, folks, let's not get this thread locked.  It's too interesting.

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #48 on: 02 June 2020, 00:03:24 »
A great scientist was asked the secret of his brilliance, and his answer was something to the effect that 'Standing on the shoulders of giants you see far.'

I think I'm misquoting Einstein.

The point goes to the question of hat makes a General/Military Leader "Great"?

How much of any military success can be laid at the feet of the guys who failed previously?

in 1939, the U.S. was an isolationist state with a tiny, almost vestigal military.  By 1945, the U.S. was arguably the dominant military power in Western Europe and the Pacific.  We talk about Patton and Bradley, (and among the allies Monty) but those guys were following Ike Eisenhower's tune.

Sometimes we in the west remember Zhukov, but there were a LOT of guys who failed before Zhukov, and he was arguably the worst nightmare of the German High Command.

Likewise with so many of the Greats in history-Generals whose brilliance is undeniable in the field, but who couldn't have achieved that brilliance without a legion of guys failing in (Sometimes) humiliating ways before them.
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #49 on: 02 June 2020, 00:33:03 »
"Greatest" is highly subjective.  If we just mean the most brilliant tactical/operational/strategic mind, there's no real way to know, and I suspect the correct answer was on a losing side somewhere; all the brainpower in the world won't help you if you're running some paleolithic tribal nation against folks with gunpowder.  Even if you're Fuzzy Wuzzy.  Maybe it's a Napoleon or Genghis Khan or Alexander or Julius Caesar, bu it's more likely someone they beat whose sheer genius was outmatched by numbers, technology, or sheer bad luck.


So let me throw out some name that I haven't seen mentioned yet:
Stonewall Jackson-Certainly one of the finest military minds on either side of the American Civil War.  When Jackson lost his arm (a friendly-fire injury that would eventually lead to his death) Lee supposedly said "e has lost his left arm, while I have lost my right" and he later wrote to Jackson "Could I have directed events, I would have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead."  That's high praise, but entirely deserved.  His Shenandoah Valley Campaign, where he took 17,000 under-equipped men, marched 646 miles in 48 days and defeated three Federal armies totaling 52,000 men, is still renowned today.  Of course, he was died from infection following the friendly-fire mentioned above in 1863, less than to months before Gettysburg.  Lee supposedly believed that with Jackson at his side, he'd have won there.  It's hard to get a real measure on Jackson's "greatness" per se, because his career in command was so short.  Before the ACW he'd been nobody; just a minor artillery officer who left the army to become a professor at VMI.  By the time he died he was a legend.


Belisarius is a good shout, but let me give you two other names from the Byzantine Empire: Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas, called "The White Death of the Saracens" (as in, he so terrified them that they went white with fear) and his stepson, Emperor Basil II Pophyrogenitos, called The Bulgar Slayer.  These two were the most instrumental in bringing the Byzantine Empire back from the brink in the 10th and 11th centuries.  Had Basil had better heirs (he never married, and left only a brother who had never held any real power, and a pair of nieces) it could have introduced a new Golden Age.  The two pushed out Byzantine borders on all fronts and made the state inside them much stronger.  Nikephoros pushed back he Saracens to a degree unseen since the rise of Islam in the 7th century, and Basil pushed them back even farther, in between boughts of combat with Bulgaria that eventually ended the Bulgar threat for a generation (the man spent most of his adult life in army camps, sometimes dashing back and forth between Bulgaria and Syria, crushing the Empire's enemies in both places).  Basil also founded the Varangian Guard.  But who still knows their names?


Turning to Rome, what about a winner who was always overshadowed?  Augustus was the First Emperor.  Augustus was, in many estimations, the best emperor.  Augustus was a great conqueror, right?  Well, no.  Augustus wasn't a very good soldier.  He was sickly and weak, too frail to have ever battled his way up the ranks.  What he had were political connections, fabulous wealth (both legacies of his great-uncle Julius Caesar, of course), and a best friend who just happened to be one of the best generals Rome ever produced: Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.  Agrippa was of humble plebeian origins, his family were nobodies.  But by luck, he was a classmate of young Gaius Octavius (the future Augustus).  Any time you see in the history books that Augustus won a great battle, or waged some brilliant war, cross out Augustus and write in Agrippa.  Agrippa was Augustus's red right hand, and deserves the credit for almost every military victory Augustus ever won.  And "Augustus" won a fair few victories.  Over Caesar's assassins, over Marc Antony, over the heirs of Pompey, and so on.


Scipio Africanus is another good one from Rome; the man who beat Hannibal.


Alfred the Great deserves a mention: not only is he famously the only English monarch to bear that sobriquet, but he earned it.  He took a reeling Wessex, the last English kingdom standing against the Viking onslaught, and turned its fortunes around, pushing the vikings out of his kingdom and a significant chunk of the rest of England.  In so doing he laid the foundations for the modern conception of England.


What about Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, called El Cid Campeador, the iconic Spanish hero?  Or Charles Martel, who turned the Moors back at Tours, saved Europe from the might of Islam, and laid the foundation for Charlemagne?  Edward the Black Prince, whose victories at Crecy, Winchelsea, and Poitiers (among others) were some of the greatest English victories of the Middle Ages?  Flavius Aetius, the man who turned back Attila the Hun?  There's just so many choices.
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #50 on: 02 June 2020, 00:36:01 »
Yeah, ultimately, victory often boils down to which side can handle a war of attrition better than the brilliance of its leadership.
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #51 on: 02 June 2020, 00:39:27 »
the other worst, of course, being that self-aggrandizing moron Custer.

Actually, Daniel E. Sickles made Custer look like an amateur when it comes to being a self-aggrandizing moron....

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #52 on: 02 June 2020, 04:01:02 »
McKellan was also a hugely incompetent nincompoop who belived his own hype as being a 'young Napoleon' and the best thing since sliced bread. He was a competent organiser but was beyond cautious and hated any authority other than his own.  Think Douglas McArthur just many years earlier although Doug came with his own slew of problems which one could go into in great depth as he wasn't even a competent organiser which was McCellan's saving grace.

Eisenhower's an interesting point to bring up but he was largely in the role as a diplomat and worked with many others for the grand strategy, in this role he was superb, but it was never 'his and only his plan' kinda thing. He lead by consensus, balancing the geopolitics of the UK and the USA as well as paying lip service the the French. And as was said, he did a damn fine job in stopping Monty and Patton from coming to blows every time they were in the same room. Perhaps he had a squirty bottle under the desk or something.

The Soviets had a good crop of leaders like Zhukov and Rossevetsky who when given the chance showed what the pre-war ideas of Deep Battle could do, but both men always saw any problem as a nail and threw men, tanks and artillery at it until the problem went away.
« Last Edit: 02 June 2020, 04:06:43 by marauder648 »
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #53 on: 02 June 2020, 04:47:40 »
A great scientist was asked the secret of his brilliance, and his answer was something to the effect that 'Standing on the shoulders of giants you see far.'

I think I'm misquoting Einstein.


Yep, it was Isaac Newton who said:
"If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants".

I've read that this was partly throwing shade at another physicist, whom he had a "competitive" relationship with, Robert Hooke, who was quite short.

Eisenhower's an interesting point to bring up but he was largely in the role as a diplomat and worked with many others for the grand strategy, in this role he was superb, but it was never 'his and only his plan' kinda thing. He lead by consensus, balancing the geopolitics of the UK and the USA as well as paying lip service the the French. And as was said, he did a damn fine job in stopping Monty and Patton from coming to blows every time they were in the same room. Perhaps he had a squirty bottle under the desk or something.

There are vanishingly few, likely no, generals throughout history who have conceived, planned and executed their campaigns without staff. Staff generally do most of the planning, with guidance from their commander.

The true winning trait of a general is leadership, the capacity to incite cooperation and healthy competition in subordinate commanders, influence the rank and file and supply the army. Eisenhower did all of these things, I'd say he's in contention.

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #54 on: 02 June 2020, 06:03:34 »
Indeed, modern generalship requires that and for that, Eisenhower did an amazing job. We could debate the merits of the 'broad front' approach that was taken but the decisions behind that were mostly political and not military and its one that is best left for another time. :)  But as a team builder, and team leader who had to deal with many premadonnas and powerful personalities (Winston Churchill, DeGaule, and FDR included), the infighting in his own team (Monty vs Patton, Tedder vs anyone who was in the army, getting the 8th Airforce and Bomber Command to commit to attacking ground targets in support of the military, which infuriated Spaz and took time to win Harris round who was more concerned with either making rubble bounce in the Rhur or incinerating cities etc etc etc) was an amazing juggling act for sure one that would have broken lesser people and one he pulled off very well indeed!
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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #55 on: 02 June 2020, 09:31:15 »
McKellan was also a hugely incompetent nincompoop who belived his own hype as being a 'young Napoleon' and the best thing since sliced bread. He was a competent organiser but was beyond cautious and hated any authority other than his own.  Think Douglas McArthur just many years earlier although Doug came with his own slew of problems which one could go into in great depth as he wasn't even a competent organiser which was McCellan's saving grace.

Eisenhower's an interesting point to bring up but he was largely in the role as a diplomat and worked with many others for the grand strategy, in this role he was superb, but it was never 'his and only his plan' kinda thing. He lead by consensus, balancing the geopolitics of the UK and the USA as well as paying lip service the the French. And as was said, he did a damn fine job in stopping Monty and Patton from coming to blows every time they were in the same room. Perhaps he had a squirty bottle under the desk or something.

The Soviets had a good crop of leaders like Zhukov and Rossevetsky who when given the chance showed what the pre-war ideas of Deep Battle could do, but both men always saw any problem as a nail and threw men, tanks and artillery at it until the problem went away.
MacArthur was a ham of epic proportions, but he was by no means incompetent.  You don’t become one of five men to ever wear five stars in the US Army by being incompetent.  A pompous, self-important showman?  Absolutely.  But he was an excellent general, and a Medal of Honor winner too.
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lrose

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #56 on: 02 June 2020, 09:43:55 »
Eisenhower's an interesting point to bring up but he was largely in the role as a diplomat and worked with many others for the grand strategy, in this role he was superb, but it was never 'his and only his plan' kinda thing. He lead by consensus, balancing the geopolitics of the UK and the USA as well as paying lip service the the French. And as was said, he did a damn fine job in stopping Monty and Patton from coming to blows every time they were in the same room. Perhaps he had a squirty bottle under the desk or something.


I'm reading a book right now (Generals of the Ardennes) that makes the argument that Eisenhower is the greatest coalition general of all time.  Not that he was the greatest strategist or a tactical genius, but that he could manage 2 world leaders (FDR and Churchill), 2 Joint Chiefs (Marshall, Brooke) and a variety of army commanders (Bradley, Patton, LeClerc, Montgomery and others) and manage to keep them all focused on the mission of beating Germany.  His skill was making everyone realize they were all on the same team and not allowing petty nationalistic squabbles to split them up.  There was  great bit in the book about allied unity- an American officer could call a British officer an S.O.B. as long as he didn't refer to him as a British S.O.B.

Daryk

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #57 on: 02 June 2020, 17:52:40 »
Nightlord01: Newton had all kinds of enemies (Leibniz foremost among them, and justifiably so).  Pretty much all reports agree he was a jerk, though they would ALSO agree he was a genius.  Seriously... what kind of person would find pleasure in being a Master of the Mint and personally gathering evidence against counterfeiters?  That's a mean-spirited person, right there.  No wonder he was a life long bachelor, really.

+1 for all the discussion of Eisenhower.  He wasn't perfect, but no one is (or will be, for that matter).  He was more than adequately rewarded in later life (to put it mildly).

DOC_Agren

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #58 on: 02 June 2020, 18:03:20 »
Actually, Daniel E. Sickles made Custer look like an amateur when it comes to being a self-aggrandizing moron....

I had to look up who this was, wow...  I think your right
I'm reading a book right now (Generals of the Ardennes) that makes the argument that Eisenhower is the greatest coalition general of all time.  Not that he was the greatest strategist or a tactical genius, but that he could manage 2 world leaders (FDR and Churchill), 2 Joint Chiefs (Marshall, Brooke) and a variety of army commanders (Bradley, Patton, LeClerc, Montgomery and others) and manage to keep them all focused on the mission of beating Germany.  His skill was making everyone realize they were all on the same team and not allowing petty nationalistic squabbles to split them up.  There was  great bit in the book about allied unity- an American officer could call a British officer an S.O.B. as long as he didn't refer to him as a British S.O.B.
And yeah what he did well was "build teamwork" between the Allies (and don't forget the Russians in there as well) and manage people and their egos.
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marauder648

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Re: Greatest General/Military Commander of all time?
« Reply #59 on: 03 June 2020, 07:51:39 »
MacArthur was a ham of epic proportions, but he was by no means incompetent.  You don’t become one of five men to ever wear five stars in the US Army by being incompetent.  A pompous, self-important showman?  Absolutely.  But he was an excellent general, and a Medal of Honor winner too.

His defence of the Phillipines and his lack of preparation for war, his bungled defence of the region say otherwise. He was a man who promoted sycophantic yes men into positions of power and ran the islands almost as his own personal fife. Getting the Medal of Honour is of course nothing to be sneered at and you can't discount his personal bravery and courage, but there's also the clamp down on the Pension Protests post WW1 which he commanded, and how poorly he managed the defence of Korea for the most part although Inchon was a great success, he then also totally ignored warning signs of PRC was looking at getting involved. And he wanted to carpet nuke the Chinese/North Korean border to create a radiation zone so men and supplies couldnt get through as well as ignored his president.

A brave man, for sure, but I'd question his competence as a military commander, especially for the role he was put in. Yes he was one of the few 5 Star Generals, but how much of that was because of how good he was, vs we need a military hero and he's very very well connected with all the right people in Washington?
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