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. #1
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    The Greatest General in History

    Who was the greatest general in history? We have a list spanning the ages, from the dawn of history to the Second World War.

    Who is your choice, and why?

    Edit: To my eternal shame, I've made a typo in Napoleon Bonaparte's name. Is there any way to edit the poll?
    Last edited by Ad_Captandum; 12-29-13 at 04:29 PM.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    There are three main levels of command with which we can judge a generalís relative abilities. Grand Strategy, Strategy, and Operations. These have remained constant throughout history and technological advances so it is possible to make a determination based on these. These are my initial musings on each of the following categories:

    Grand Strategy is the highest level of waging war; it includes influencing national policy, and objectives:

    Napoleon is the first that comes to mind here, amassing and coordinating Le Grande Armiee (or however it was spelt, damn Frenchy!) must have been a logistical nightmare.

    I'd be tempted to put Charles Martel in for a candidacy here too, because in a time of crisis (dark ages Europe was always in crisis) he took the reigns and established a stable empire within an area of the world that was, as far as I can see, in utter turmoil. The man had a plan.

    Strategy is the planning of operations and objectives for a campaign and includes elements like logistical planning:

    Hannibal Barca. How the hell do you manage to get Elephants through the Alps? Good grief. Also with regards to his ten year busman's holiday to Italy, that must have involved some pretty clever footwork.

    I think an honourable mention should go to Basil, the Byzantine Emperor who mounted 17,000 men on donkeys to go and foil a Turkish siege.

    Operations is the actual movement of troops during a campaign in order to achieve an objective set at a higher level:

    Probably Alexander, as for a lot of his campaigns he was going into the unknown. You can't prepare for the unknown, so spur-of-the-moment strategies must have been his speciality.

    That said, I think Alexander probably had it quite easy, all things said and done (the Greeks had superior armies, without a doubt IMO) and so trashing the Persians might not have been as difficult as one might think.

    I would rather have fought 250,000 cloth-armour-wearing Persians than 25,000 Roman legionaries.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    Who was the greatest general in history? We have a list spanning the ages, from the dawn of history to the Second World War.

    Who is your choice, and why?

    Edit: To my eternal shame, I've made a typo in Napoleon Bonaparte's name. Is there any way to edit the poll?
    Ace thread, dude. I chose not to vote, as they were all remarkable men within the ambit of their own milieu.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    Who was the greatest general in history? We have a list spanning the ages, from the dawn of history to the Second World War.

    Who is your choice, and why?

    Edit: To my eternal shame, I've made a typo in Napoleon Bonaparte's name. Is there any way to edit the poll?
    I chose Genghis Khan. Conquered a huge geographical area. Overcame topographical obstacles. It had to be tremendous leadership and a troop with high morale.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    Who was the greatest general in history? We have a list spanning the ages, from the dawn of history to the Second World War.

    Who is your choice, and why?

    Edit: To my eternal shame, I've made a typo in Napoleon Bonaparte's name. Is there any way to edit the poll?
    My money is on Napoleon. The way he perfectly manipulated his enemy, was able to predict every moment of the Battle of Austerwitz is something no one to my knowledge has been able to replicate.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    You left off George S. Patton. It would be a toss up between him and Sun Tsu (Assuming he was indeed a real person)
    Only a fool measures equality by results and not opportunities.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by DVSentinel View Post
    You left off George S. Patton. It would be a toss up between him and Sun Tsu (Assuming he was indeed a real person)
    As I understand the process of compilation, he was an amalgamation from the period before the Han, when Legalism held sway.


    That being said, the answer is: General Winter.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    I can't be certain. It could be General Electric, General Elevator, or General Quarters. Generally speaking, of course.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    As I understand the process of compilation, he was an amalgamation from the period before the Han, when Legalism held sway.


    That being said, the answer is: General Winter.
    I think Patton would of won against General Winter had he been allowed to engage. Patton primarily stands out because unlike others mentioned, he faced a three dimensional battlefield and also had to fight a technologically superior force. Not to diminish Eisenhower, who was probably a superior strategist, or Bradley, who was also a great tactician and leader but just not as brilliant as Patton.

    Leonidas of Sparta was obviously a very good general in-order to get the performance from his troops that he did, however, the OP seems to want to bring scope into play in several of his choices. Although Sun Tsu theoretically was of very limited scope his influence in later years broadens him.

    Napoleon, although an innovator, was actually not that good of a general as he made poor decisions and over extended himself leading to his eventual defeat. Further, he proved himself to be a rather poor tactician at Leipzig and Waterloo.
    Only a fool measures equality by results and not opportunities.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Genghis Kahn, not only did he and his kids conquer a ****load, he started from the bottom, as a tribal outcast, and worked his way up.
    So follow me into the desert
    As desperate as you are
    Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
    And all the little pigs have God

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