View Poll Results: The Greatest General in History

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  • Napoleon Bonaparta

    6 13.95%
  • Genghis Khan

    11 25.58%
  • Julius Caesar

    5 11.63%
  • Salah ad-Din, Yusuf ibn Ayyub

    1 2.33%
  • Georgy Zhukov

    0 0%
  • Alexander the Great

    11 25.58%
  • Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

    2 4.65%
  • Charles Martel

    0 0%
  • Sun Tzu

    6 13.95%
  • Akbar the Great

    1 2.33%
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Thread: The Greatest General in History

  1. #31
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    I know many of you will disagree but... I think these comparisons are usually impossible. War and the requisite aptitude for it is extremely contextual to the individuals, their circumstances, and the time periods they lived in. What it took to wage war in the era of Akbar and Genghis Khan is exceedingly different from that of Napoleon or even that of Zhukov. The enemies they fought, the resources they had at their disposal, the national circumstances they made war in all have an enormous impact on this. If you plucked Napoleon from the 19th Century and thrust him into the 12th would he have been as capable a commander? The average soldier was of dramatically different stock, the resources one could draw on were not only more limited but sourced differently, and for all the comparisons of warfare between time periods there remained a fundamentally different way of waging war (in large part because of the previous two conditions).
    Careful with that.

    The PC hounds might flag you for racism, if you go shouting it too loudly.

    But of course, I s'pose that all depends on the pigmentation of this "average soldier" about whom you're talking, really.

  2. #32
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by humbolt View Post
    I can't be certain. It could be General Electric, General Elevator, or General Quarters. Generally speaking, of course.
    Naah. Hands-down it's General Motors. They got themselves into a huge mess, found themselves with their backs against a wall facing a foe of far superior strength and numbers. They formed a brilliant alliance with an entity who bailed them out of certain disaster. In return, they duped the very entity that saved them and saved themselves nearly 10 billion dollars in the process. Such brilliance is a true rarity.
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  3. #33
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by shart attack View Post
    Careful with that.

    The PC hounds might flag you for racism, if you go shouting it too loudly.

    But of course, I s'pose that all depends on the pigmentation of this "average soldier" about whom you're talking, really.
    I was referring to the fact that your military 'human capital' was very different. The best soldiers were enormously expensive to equip, they took a small lifetime to train, and were held in small quantities. These same men were also critical to the success of any campaign and formed the core of a military formation. The remainder were an assortment of hastily equipped peasantry, mercenary bands, and part time garrison soldiers. This reality played a major role in influencing how campaigns and battles were fought (especially when it came to the retreat) and was a heavy influence on the success of the Mongols and other barbarian invasions which relied upon a uniform stock of lifetime soldiers.

  4. #34
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwinWillers View Post
    Naah. Hands-down it's General Motors. They got themselves into a huge mess, found themselves with their backs against a wall facing a foe of far superior strength and numbers. They formed a brilliant alliance with an entity who bailed them out of certain disaster. In return, they duped the very entity that saved them and saved themselves nearly 10 billion dollars in the process. Such brilliance is a true rarity.
    I can't disagree. It was brilliant. I would note, though, that General Circumstances seems to have more to do with all the nominees than the nominees themselves.

  5. #35
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    I put Sun Tzu.

    The Art of War shows strategies still used today - which are effective.

  6. #36
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    then you oughta know better - he had Bean do his fighting
    He became Hegemon, though admittedly an empty title.
    You have to admit though, it's damned cool to conquer the world by posing fancy essay on the Internet. Now that would be an interesting way to appoint people to positions of power
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  7. #37
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    I know many of you will disagree but... I think these comparisons are usually impossible. War and the requisite aptitude for it is extremely contextual to the individuals, their circumstances, and the time periods they lived in. What it took to wage war in the era of Akbar and Genghis Khan is exceedingly different from that of Napoleon or even that of Zhukov. The enemies they fought, the resources they had at their disposal, the national circumstances they made war in all have an enormous impact on this. If you plucked Napoleon from the 19th Century and thrust him into the 12th would he have been as capable a commander? The average soldier was of dramatically different stock, the resources one could draw on were not only more limited but sourced differently, and for all the comparisons of warfare between time periods there remained a fundamentally different way of waging war (in large part because of the previous two conditions).
    Most of the generals that are admired today-Zhukov, Napoleon, Lee, Rommel, and such, were all products of the modern age. They were all generals at the dawn of the age of total war which started from around the late 18th century with republican France. They were (unlike generals before their time) able to utilize economies that were completely mobilized for war, increasing numbers of conscripts and methods to train them, technology, and superior (both in quality and quantity) weapons. The economic part is especially important. Total war meant complete mobilization of the economy and the populace. Thus the generals were able to wield unimaginably power unlike previous generals who had to contend with a guns and butter economy and a very limited amount of trained troops. That and the fact that modern generals are more memorable due to better records and having more impact on the present makes them (what we think) the best. Just an unorganized ramble of thought.
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  8. #38
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Tothian View Post
    I put Sun Tzu.

    The Art of War shows strategies still used today - which are effective.
    Curious thing is that Sun Tzu is mostly ranked below Zhuge Liang and Zhuge Liang is much better known in the East. Westerners worship Sun Tzu and The Art of War, but they should better study Zhuge Liang. His reputation ranks him as an almost god-like strategist, his duel with Sima Yi who is another legendary general is famous all over Asia.
    "The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all" - Joan Robinson
    "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries" - Winston Churchill

  9. #39
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosby View Post
    General Lee believed that the Lord was on the South's side, and that the South could not lose. He was a very religious man and loved the Lord with all his heart. I have read much about him and admire him very much. His reputation as a Commanding General, husband, father, and Christian gentleman remains intact, regardless of what some internet guy thinks 150 years later.
    He may have been a very devout Christian, but believing you've got the Lord on your side makes you a BAD general, not a good one. I'm not disrespecting the guy -- I've read plenty about him, and he seems like a stand-up fellow. But you can't possibly say Robert E Lee belongs amongst the likes of Napoleon and Alexander. He just simply wasn't that great a general: He made bad tactical errors, he made bad strategic errors, and he lost the only war he was commanding in.

  10. #40
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Alexander the Great.

    What the did, the battles he won, the odds he faced, and the fact that the only thing that stopped him was near mutiny by his own men, yeah, I'd pick him.
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