Is Zhuge Liang not worthy of being mentioned?

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Greetings my fellow escapists.
So there is this local History magazine here in Estonia where i live that has many many wonderful articles regarding history in it. However when browsing through this months edition of said article i came across an article that was called "Top Ten Military leaders".
The list went as follows:
10:George Patton
09:Jeanne D'Arc(Forgive me if i misspelled it)
08:Attila
07:Genghis Khan
06:William the Conqueror
05:Georgi Zukov
04:Saladin
03:Hannibal
02:Alexander the Great
01:Napoleon Bonaparte

Now please forgive the mistakes in the names however they have been translated from my native language into english.
Now. What i thought is this. If i recall correctly then Zhuge Liang isn't a military leader rather a strategist. However i must admit i do not know much about the Three kingdoms era other than what i read off of wikipedia and Dynasty Warriors.
So i guess the questions are as follows. Should Zhuge Liang be on this list by definition? And if so are these people greater strategists than him?

I think it may be due to the fact that a lot of the history that came out of the Three Kingdoms era is hard to confirm. From what I understand there is a lot of myth/legend surrounding the events that took place during that time.

Zhuge Liang was a bamf though, he deserves to be on that list.

Fappy:
I think it may be due to the fact that a lot of the history that came out of the Three Kingdoms era is hard to confirm. From what I understand there is a lot of myth/legend surrounding the events that took place during that time.

Zhuge Liang was a bamf though, he deserves to be on that list.

Well. I sort of see your point.
It does make sense... I should contact them.

Well, why should he be there?

He did have some success as a minister and inventor during his time with Shu by stabilizing the economy and keeping the kingdom together, but in the end most things he's given credit for weren't that great or didn't even happen at all.

Also, looking at that list it seems more military focused and like I said Zhuge Liang was responsible for more political and economic duties.

The thing with the Three Kingdoms is that quite commonly people get actual history and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel mixed up.

I will preface my post by saying that you should not underestimate the amount of rage I wanted to pour into this...

ChupathingyX:
Well, why should he be there?

Exactly... I would go further and ask that if Zhuge Liang was so great, how come Cao Cao still ended up winning anyway?!

Most of what's 'known' about him is romantic and propaganda, and even then most of it can't be confirmed by primary sources. In any case, all that he came up with were strategems which, in the grand scheme of things, are nigh-on insignificant to the goals that a military leader must have.

BlackSaint09:
Greetings my fellow escapists.
So there is this local History magazine here in Estonia where i live that has many many wonderful articles regarding history in it. However when browsing through this months edition of said article i came across an article that was called "Top Ten Military leaders".
The list went as follows:
10:George Patton
09:Jeanne D'Arc(Forgive me if i misspelled it)
08:Attila
07:Genghis Khan
06:William the Conqueror
05:Georgi Zukov
04:Saladin
03:Hannibal
02:Alexander the Great
01:Napoleon Bonaparte

I'll say something nice now before you think I'm a total jerk, but your English is fine.

Now to the vitriol:

Why in fuck's name is Patton on that list?! The man was a fucking ponce who's only defining attribute was his big mouth. I'll conceded that while his post-war conduct was actually admirable (even if not at the time), he had virtually no clue about logistics, his strategic judgment was lacking to be almost non-existent and didn't seem to understand the word 'cooperation'. He's just Montgomery, replacing the caution with profane bombacity! However, I'll be damned before I start dismissing his skill as a tactician, but even then, were he to be in the Germans' position, I doubt he would've fared half as well. Look at the numbers, he always won from a numerical, aerial and technological advantage.

As for Joan of Arc... o_O' her ideas were hardly new, but at least they were invigorating, and if that was supposed to be a list of military leaders based on initial chance they'd actually be one, she'd be right at the top. However, she had insufficient wit to realise the jealousies of her fellow French commanders (all of whom were ancient nobles) and Charles VII probably did nothing because of their sycophancy. She definitely had charisma and force of personality, but the medieval concept of 'chivalry' was taken a tad too far at the expense of the other, debatably more important, aspects of leadership. So, for the time? No question, she was good, but in the grand scheme of history, she kinda sucked.

Having said that, I'd replace her on that list with Prinz Eugen von Savoy. Undoubtedly had a better chance of being a high ranking soldier at first blush (for rather 'duh' reasons), but he was passed over for service by the Roi Soleil for being of a sickly constitution. He was set up to be a priest FFS. However, in HRE service, he made a shit system work, the average Austrian soldier was probably the shittest in Europe (of the Great Powers at the very least, and that includes Spain and the Netherlands). He beat first the Turks and then the French/Bavarians, with help of course, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that he made the HR army competitive against the French, alongside the English.

As for the others in bold, one question: how did they lose?

As much as I admire Hannibal, he was a terrible strategist and, on close inspection, supremely unwilling to take risks. He had a number of opportunities to move on Rome but didn't until it was too late. People have argued about this to hell and back, but I just contend that he didn't want to risk it. He knew Carthage had no real skill at siege-assaults and so didn't want to bother, even though Rome was ripe for the taking after Trasimene (never mind Cannae). Also, he wasn't that good a diplomat, hardly understanding the ins and outs of the Gallic desire for independence from Rome viewing them only as a source of mercenaries. And he hardly endeared himself towards the cities of Magna Graecia by trashing everything south of the Apennines in their entirety in an effort to piss Fabius off. And lastly, in a point that I will pick up on later, he couldn't trust any of his subordinate commanders to do anything right, took it all upon himself and left him too jaded to be able to think straight for Zama (which I believe he could've won given timing).

Now Napoleon... eesh, where to start with him. Russian campaign, a misadventure if there ever was one, too obvious? OK then, Bautzen. Why in hell did he agree a ceasefire?! In those few months, he must've realised he couldn't out-recruit and out-train his enemy (which consisted of Russia, Prussia, Britain, Sweden and, upon persuasion, Austria), and while his armies were tired and mauled, his enemy's armies were in an even worse state. Then there's Waterloo. Contrary to popular belief, the mobilisation of the French army (which, granted, was elite to the n'th degree) was disorganised, slow and confused. And Napoleon had little to no control over the general commitment of the wings of his army unless he took upon himself to do so. He failed to follow up after Ligny and the Prussians (widely accepted to have the shittest troops to be involved in the 100 Days) sorted themselves out within hours of getting their butts kicked while Napoleon just pottered about. Plus, while the hell did he leave the follow up to Grouchy? In fact, most of Napoleon's conduct and orders during the campaign were counter-intuitive to the way he naturally made war.

OK, now onto who I think should be on that list:

One of the BAMFs of Nazi Germany: Erich von Manstein; Erwin Rommel; & Heinz Guderian are the obvious ones, though I'm always going to favour von Manstein over the others primarily because he was way more adaptive and had skill across all scales of warfare. Rommel and Guderian, as field commanders were both excellent tacticians and the latter was a very good theories, but von Manstein was also a brilliant strategist. With available resources, I'd say he was better than Patton. Fall Gelb (obviously), Unternehmen Trappenjagd & Third Battle of Kharkov come to mind...

And against Napoleon, I'll place Wellington. Oh sure, he had the help of fifty thousand Prussians at about six in the evening at Waterloo, but he was marginally outnumbered, though heavily outnumbered in artillery, his army was multinational and mostly Dutch/Belgian/Brunswick militia based with relatively few professional regiments and his cavalry were good for show and little else. But one must direct the critic towards the Peninsular War, his record there and his ability to command and delegate to first the Portuguese and then the Spanish as well. Every strategic decision taken in this theatre was well calculated and succeeded in its intentions. And Salamanca, which showed he could attack with skill as well as defend.

Close to this era, Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke (aka Moltke the Elder). The overseer of the Wars of German Unification ('cos fuck Bismarck, s'why!) and the proponent of the staff structure, he is the origin of the modern German stereotype (i.e. precision in all things and turning manoeuvre war into an art). The German General Staff was at its best when he was the Chief of Staff. Economy of force, use of technology and transport to its logical extreme, Auftragstaktik, devolution of command and so on and so forth. Good lord, if the Union had the Prussian Officer corps and staff/logistical organisation, the American Civil War would've been over within six months. His concepts of the dynamism of the command hierarchy made the Prussian/German army of the era literally unbeatable. And his decidedly Spartan mentality, combined with English liberalism made him probably the ideal C-in-C, provided you let him do as he wanted. Political interference is the biggest obstacle to military endeavour.

For a more recent commanders: Chester W Nimitz. With inferior forces, he checked the IJN's advance in the southern pacific before reversing it entirely. Midway is touted as the turning point of the War in the Pacific, and I'm inclined to agree. Made the most of two and a half carriers (tehlulz, Yorktown was crocked bad but damn, what a fine send-off) and a second choice admiral, I hold him responsible for victory in the Pacific theatre. That and his trumpeting of changes to American naval doctrine amongst other things.

Frederick the Great... yes, I love me German military history. The man who made Leuctra look like a re-enactment gig (Leuthen) and turned the echelon advance a hallmark of early Prussian manoeuvres. OK, he wasn't that great, but I like Old Freddie anyway! And the same cursory mention for John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, not for his victories, but the lead up to them, Blenheim in particular, being about to cheat four hundred miles out of his enemy is no mean feat for a column almost ten miles long and moving at barely that amount each day.

And at the top of that list: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major. Apart from tactics, to which he was barely inferior, he was superior to Hannibal in every way. 1. Strategy, hitting strategic targets in Spain and milking them for all their worth (moral and material) had a much greater effect than Hannibal's running around in southern Italy which pissed the southern tribes off and made a lot of Romans increasingly dismissive of him as the war wore on. 2. Diplomacy, signing alliances first with Syphax, and when that failed, Masinissa, being the obvious one since Masinissa's Massylians were one of the deciding factors at Zama, but also Mandonius, Andobales, Edeco and Allucius of the northern Iberian tribes (including the Ilergetes) meaning he didn't have to worry about anything except the Carthaginians in Spain. On the other hand, Hannibal only had one diplomatic success: Macedon, who were questionable at best when they concluded the Peace of Phoenice and left Hannibal to fend for himself. That and the fact that Hannibal viewed the Macedonian mercenaries under his command with a certain distaste. 3. Following up a victory, with Hannibal winning so many times in Italy and reducing Rome's adult male population by a third within two years, you really have to ask how in hell did he lose?! On the other hand, Scipio takes Carthago Nova, within six months one third of Spain is on his side and anything the Carthaginians try to do to reach the Pyrenees can be countered, and nor can they dislodge Scipio's position. Ilipa was followed up by the capture of Gades (and consequently the entire Iberian peninsular) and Mago's escape to Minorca which it doesn't take much to realise how irretrievable this is (pssst, the silver mines, all of Barca's merc-money originated in Spain). 4. Trust of his subordinates, because I literally cannot think of a single battle in which any Carthaginian commander other than Hannibal won... except the Upper Baetis and that was only because Hasdrubal bribed the Cornelii's Celtiberians. However, Scipio had the presence of mind and wisdom to delegate secondary actions to Laelius, Silanus, Masinissa and his brother Lucius while he concentrated on more pressing issues. The victories were almost guaranteed thanks to a combination of knowledge of the relevant commander's personality, their inherent skill, and the current political mood and level of public morale prior to battle. I can't say the same for Hannibal.

Hmmm... sorry for the treatise...

SckizoBoy:
I will preface my post by saying that you should not underestimate the amount of rage I wanted to pour into this...

ChupathingyX:
Well, why should he be there?

Exactly... I would go further and ask that if Zhuge Liang was so great, how come Cao Cao still ended up winning anyway?!

Most of what's 'known' about him is romantic and propaganda, and even then most of it can't be confirmed by primary sources. In any case, all that he came up with were strategems which, in the grand scheme of things, are nigh-on insignificant to the goals that a military leader must have.

BlackSaint09:
Greetings my fellow escapists.
So there is this local History magazine here in Estonia where i live that has many many wonderful articles regarding history in it. However when browsing through this months edition of said article i came across an article that was called "Top Ten Military leaders".
The list went as follows:
10:George Patton
09:Jeanne D'Arc(Forgive me if i misspelled it)
08:Attila
07:Genghis Khan
06:William the Conqueror
05:Georgi Zukov
04:Saladin
03:Hannibal
02:Alexander the Great
01:Napoleon Bonaparte

I'll say something nice now before you think I'm a total jerk, but your English is fine.

Now to the vitriol:

Why in fuck's name is Patton on that list?! The man was a fucking ponce who's only defining attribute was his big mouth. I'll conceded that while his post-war conduct was actually admirable (even if not at the time), he had virtually no clue about logistics, his strategic judgment was lacking to be almost non-existent and didn't seem to understand the word 'cooperation'. He's just Montgomery, replacing the caution with profane bombacity! However, I'll be damned before I start dismissing his skill as a tactician, but even then, were he to be in the Germans' position, I doubt he would've fared half as well. Look at the numbers, he always won from a numerical, aerial and technological advantage.

As for Joan of Arc... o_O' her ideas were hardly new, but at least they were invigorating, and if that was supposed to be a list of military leaders based on initial chance they'd actually be one, she'd be right at the top. However, she had insufficient wit to realise the jealousies of her fellow French commanders (all of whom were ancient nobles) and Charles VII probably did nothing because of their sycophancy. She definitely had charisma and force of personality, but the medieval concept of 'chivalry' was taken a tad too far at the expense of the other, debatably more important, aspects of leadership. So, for the time? No question, she was good, but in the grand scheme of history, she kinda sucked.

Having said that, I'd replace her on that list with Prinz Eugen von Savoy. Undoubtedly had a better chance of being a high ranking soldier at first blush (for rather 'duh' reasons), but he was passed over for service by the Roi Soleil for being of a sickly constitution. He was set up to be a priest FFS. However, in HRE service, he made a shit system work, the average Austrian soldier was probably the shittest in Europe (of the Great Powers at the very least, and that includes Spain and the Netherlands). He beat first the Turks and then the French/Bavarians, with help of course, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that he made the HR army competitive against the French, alongside the English.

As for the others in bold, one question: how did they lose?

As much as I admire Hannibal, he was a terrible strategist and, on close inspection, supremely unwilling to take risks. He had a number of opportunities to move on Rome but didn't until it was too late. People have argued about this to hell and back, but I just contend that he didn't want to risk it. He knew Carthage had no real skill at siege-assaults and so didn't want to bother, even though Rome was ripe for the taking after Trasimene (never mind Cannae). Also, he wasn't that good a diplomat, hardly understanding the ins and outs of the Gallic desire for independence from Rome viewing them only as a source of mercenaries. And he hardly endeared himself towards the cities of Magna Graecia by trashing everything south of the Apennines in their entirety in an effort to piss Fabius off. And lastly, in a point that I will pick up on later, he couldn't trust any of his subordinate commanders to do anything right, took it all upon himself and left him too jaded to be able to think straight for Zama (which I believe he could've won given timing).

Now Napoleon... eesh, where to start with him. Russian campaign, a misadventure if there ever was one, too obvious? OK then, Bautzen. Why in hell did he agree a ceasefire?! In those few months, he must've realised he couldn't out-recruit and out-train his enemy (which consisted of Russia, Prussia, Britain, Sweden and, upon persuasion, Austria), and while his armies were tired and mauled, his enemy's armies were in an even worse state. Then there's Waterloo. Contrary to popular belief, the mobilisation of the French army (which, granted, was elite to the n'th degree) was disorganised, slow and confused. And Napoleon had little to no control over the general commitment of the wings of his army unless he took upon himself to do so. He failed to follow up after Ligny and the Prussians (widely accepted to have the shittest troops to be involved in the 100 Days) sorted themselves out within hours of getting their butts kicked while Napoleon just pottered about. Plus, while the hell did he leave the follow up to Grouchy? In fact, most of Napoleon's conduct and orders during the campaign were counter-intuitive to the way he naturally made war.

OK, now onto who I think should be on that list:

One of the BAMFs of Nazi Germany: Erich von Manstein; Erwin Rommel; & Heinz Guderian are the obvious ones, though I'm always going to favour von Manstein over the others primarily because he was way more adaptive and had skill across all scales of warfare. Rommel and Guderian, as field commanders were both excellent tacticians and the latter was a very good theories, but von Manstein was also a brilliant strategist. With available resources, I'd say he was better than Patton. Fall Gelb (obviously), Unternehmen Trappenjagd & Third Battle of Kharkov come to mind...

And against Napoleon, I'll place Wellington. Oh sure, he had the help of fifty thousand Prussians at about six in the evening at Waterloo, but he was marginally outnumbered, though heavily outnumbered in artillery, his army was multinational and mostly Dutch/Belgian/Brunswick militia based with relatively few professional regiments and his cavalry were good for show and little else. But one must direct the critic towards the Peninsular War, his record there and his ability to command and delegate to first the Portuguese and then the Spanish as well. Every strategic decision taken in this theatre was well calculated and succeeded in its intentions. And Salamanca, which showed he could attack with skill as well as defend.

Close to this era, Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke (aka Moltke the Elder). The overseer of the Wars of German Unification ('cos fuck Bismarck, s'why!) and the proponent of the staff structure, he is the origin of the modern German stereotype (i.e. precision in all things and turning manoeuvre war into an art). The German General Staff was at its best when he was the Chief of Staff. Economy of force, use of technology and transport to its logical extreme, Auftragstaktik, devolution of command and so on and so forth. Good lord, if the Union had the Prussian Officer corps and staff/logistical organisation, the American Civil War would've been over within six months. His concepts of the dynamism of the command hierarchy made the Prussian/German army of the era literally unbeatable. And his decidedly Spartan mentality, combined with English liberalism made him probably the ideal C-in-C, provided you let him do as he wanted. Political interference is the biggest obstacle to military endeavour.

For a more recent commanders: Chester W Nimitz. With inferior forces, he checked the IJN's advance in the southern pacific before reversing it entirely. Midway is touted as the turning point of the War in the Pacific, and I'm inclined to agree. Made the most of two and a half carriers (tehlulz, Yorktown was crocked bad but damn, what a fine send-off) and a second choice admiral, I hold him responsible for victory in the Pacific theatre. That and his trumpeting of changes to American naval doctrine amongst other things.

Frederick the Great... yes, I love me German military history. The man who made Leuctra look like a re-enactment gig (Leuthen) and turned the echelon advance a hallmark of early Prussian manoeuvres. OK, he wasn't that great, but I like Old Freddie anyway! And the same cursory mention for John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, not for his victories, but the lead up to them, Blenheim in particular, being about to cheat four hundred miles out of his enemy is no mean feat for a column almost ten miles long and moving at barely that amount each day.

And at the top of that list: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major. Apart from tactics, to which he was barely inferior, he was superior to Hannibal in every way. 1. Strategy, hitting strategic targets in Spain and milking them for all their worth (moral and material) had a much greater effect than Hannibal's running around in southern Italy which pissed the southern tribes off and made a lot of Romans increasingly dismissive of him as the war wore on. 2. Diplomacy, signing alliances first with Syphax, and when that failed, Masinissa, being the obvious one since Masinissa's Massylians were one of the deciding factors at Zama, but also Mandonius, Andobales, Edeco and Allucius of the northern Iberian tribes (including the Ilergetes) meaning he didn't have to worry about anything except the Carthaginians in Spain. On the other hand, Hannibal only had one diplomatic success: Macedon, who were questionable at best when they concluded the Peace of Phoenice and left Hannibal to fend for himself. That and the fact that Hannibal viewed the Macedonian mercenaries under his command with a certain distaste. 3. Following up a victory, with Hannibal winning so many times in Italy and reducing Rome's adult male population by a third within two years, you really have to ask how in hell did he lose?! On the other hand, Scipio takes Carthago Nova, within six months one third of Spain is on his side and anything the Carthaginians try to do to reach the Pyrenees can be countered, and nor can they dislodge Scipio's position. Ilipa was followed up by the capture of Gades (and consequently the entire Iberian peninsular) and Mago's escape to Minorca which it doesn't take much to realise how irretrievable this is (pssst, the silver mines, all of Barca's merc-money originated in Spain). 4. Trust of his subordinates, because I literally cannot think of a single battle in which any Carthaginian commander other than Hannibal won... except the Upper Baetis and that was only because Hasdrubal bribed the Cornelii's Celtiberians. However, Scipio had the presence of mind and wisdom to delegate secondary actions to Laelius, Silanus, Masinissa and his brother Lucius while he concentrated on more pressing issues. The victories were almost guaranteed thanks to a combination of knowledge of the relevant commander's personality, their inherent skill, and the current political mood and level of public morale prior to battle. I can't say the same for Hannibal.

Hmmm... sorry for the treatise...

You should get a badge for this post. That is the longest single post I've seen on these forums, and I've been here for close to two years.

Owyn_Merrilin:
You should get a badge for this post. That is the longest single post I've seen on these forums, and I've been here for close to two years.

*opens mouth to shout something about post snipping* Hmmm... I see what you did there... if you meant to.

I noticed the thread while I was at work and was thinking about what to write on it for a few hours while whittling away the time 'looking busy', got back and ended up typing up more than I intended. Honestly didn't realise it'd be that long, but never mind... Though I seem to get easily worked up on anything to do with military history. Most of my posts on this kind of thread turns out to be idiotically long...

captcha - 'meet your waterloo'... not quite... relevant, but not quite...

Odd, I'd have thought Atilla would be above Patton

Why on earth is Genghis Khan ranked lower than Napoleon and Hannibal? Granted, the man was by no means a pleasant person, but in terms of conquest and leading, he made those two look like pansies in comparison. By the time of his death, he had a large chunk of Asia under his thumb, one of the most efficient armies the world had ever seen and (inadvertently) linked East with West. Meanwhile, Napoleon squandered his victories with his 1812 invasion of Russia and never recovered from those losses and Hannibal would ultimately lose his war with Rome for roughly the same reasons as Napoleon.

SckizoBoy:
I will preface my post by saying that you should not underestimate the amount of rage I wanted to pour into this...

ChupathingyX:
Well, why should he be there?

Exactly... I would go further and ask that if Zhuge Liang was so great, how come Cao Cao still ended up winning anyway?!

Actually, Cao Cao didn't win.

He didn't even technically live during the "Three Kingdoms", as his son, Cao Pi, was technically the first emperor of Wei.

And even then, it was the Jin dynasty that won in the end, not Wei.

I'm afraid I don't see him on that list for a reason. The list has to deal with commanders who altered the way war is fought and the balance of power across many nations, even continents. There have been plenty of great military leaders that have changed the tides of war for individual nations, or warring states, and Zhuge Liang was definitely one of those. But the people on the list have done so on a much greater scale. They altered the course of things for centuries at a time. Zhuge Liang altered China's regions for what, fifty years? If that? It's a matter of scale, here.

who the fuck put Napoleon on there as number one... the guy didn't even have a grasp on logistics... "In war, the moral is to the material as three is to one." come on... GTFO

Wasn't Hannibal defeated by Julius Caesar? Don't really see why he's not on the list, while frickin' NAPOLEON is.

I think lists like this are hard because of the varying conditions and ways wars have been fought in. Would Napeoleon leading the French at Agincourt do anything? Or Alexander the Great briefed on modern technology and given command of D-day?

We can acknowledge great general, leaders and tacticians. But to compare them unless they've actually fought each other is a bit silly. I would agree with the above post that Scipio trumps Hannibal, Wellington trumps Napoleon.

Also I'd put forward Sir John Monash somewhere, in the mess that WW1 he innovated and used truly modern tactics to achieve great success.

KingCrInuYasha:
Why on earth is Genghis Khan ranked lower than Napoleon and Hannibal? Granted, the man was by no means a pleasant person, but in terms of conquest and leading, he made those two look like pansies in comparison. By the time of his death, he had a large chunk of Asia under his thumb, one of the most efficient armies the world had ever seen and (inadvertently) linked East with West. Meanwhile, Napoleon squandered his victories with his 1812 invasion of Russia and never recovered from those losses and Hannibal would ultimately lose his war with Rome for roughly the same reasons as Napoleon.

I agree when 1 in 200 men can trace their lineage back to you, you're doing something right.

I would figure Sun Tsu since he gave us the Art of War, but thinking about it, he was more of a brilliant strategist and philosopher than anything else.

Patton? Bitch, are you serious? Guess they had to have an American somewhere on that list... Meh.

renegade7:
Wasn't Hannibal defeated by Julius Caesar? Don't really see why he's not on the list, while frickin' NAPOLEON is.

Probably because Caesar had quite a lot of backing. Not to mention some of his victories were drastically over stated.

WolfThomas:
I agree when 1 in 200 men can trace their lineage back to you, you're doing something right.

1) I agree with the Ghengis Khan being higher on the list thing
2) My family is from the Northern province of China, Manchuria. I would not be surprised if I were related to him.

Why is Napoleon number one, and Wellington or Nelson, who both made Napoleon into their little bitch in their time, not even on the list.

Also... Wot. No Bismark? Not one single Roman Emperor? Who the hell decided this?!

SckizoBoy:
I will preface my post by saying that you should not underestimate the amount of rage I wanted to pour into this...

ChupathingyX:
Well, why should he be there?

Exactly... I would go further and ask that if Zhuge Liang was so great, how come Cao Cao still ended up winning anyway?!

Most of what's 'known' about him is romantic and propaganda, and even then most of it can't be confirmed by primary sources. In any case, all that he came up with were strategems which, in the grand scheme of things, are nigh-on insignificant to the goals that a military leader must have.

BlackSaint09:
Greetings my fellow escapists.
So there is this local History magazine here in Estonia where i live that has many many wonderful articles regarding history in it. However when browsing through this months edition of said article i came across an article that was called "Top Ten Military leaders".
The list went as follows:
10:George Patton
09:Jeanne D'Arc(Forgive me if i misspelled it)
08:Attila
07:Genghis Khan
06:William the Conqueror
05:Georgi Zukov
04:Saladin
03:Hannibal
02:Alexander the Great
01:Napoleon Bonaparte

I'll say something nice now before you think I'm a total jerk, but your English is fine.

Now to the vitriol:

Why in fuck's name is Patton on that list?! The man was a fucking ponce who's only defining attribute was his big mouth. I'll conceded that while his post-war conduct was actually admirable (even if not at the time), he had virtually no clue about logistics, his strategic judgment was lacking to be almost non-existent and didn't seem to understand the word 'cooperation'. He's just Montgomery, replacing the caution with profane bombacity! However, I'll be damned before I start dismissing his skill as a tactician, but even then, were he to be in the Germans' position, I doubt he would've fared half as well. Look at the numbers, he always won from a numerical, aerial and technological advantage.

As for Joan of Arc... o_O' her ideas were hardly new, but at least they were invigorating, and if that was supposed to be a list of military leaders based on initial chance they'd actually be one, she'd be right at the top. However, she had insufficient wit to realise the jealousies of her fellow French commanders (all of whom were ancient nobles) and Charles VII probably did nothing because of their sycophancy. She definitely had charisma and force of personality, but the medieval concept of 'chivalry' was taken a tad too far at the expense of the other, debatably more important, aspects of leadership. So, for the time? No question, she was good, but in the grand scheme of history, she kinda sucked.

Having said that, I'd replace her on that list with Prinz Eugen von Savoy. Undoubtedly had a better chance of being a high ranking soldier at first blush (for rather 'duh' reasons), but he was passed over for service by the Roi Soleil for being of a sickly constitution. He was set up to be a priest FFS. However, in HRE service, he made a shit system work, the average Austrian soldier was probably the shittest in Europe (of the Great Powers at the very least, and that includes Spain and the Netherlands). He beat first the Turks and then the French/Bavarians, with help of course, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that he made the HR army competitive against the French, alongside the English.

As for the others in bold, one question: how did they lose?

As much as I admire Hannibal, he was a terrible strategist and, on close inspection, supremely unwilling to take risks. He had a number of opportunities to move on Rome but didn't until it was too late. People have argued about this to hell and back, but I just contend that he didn't want to risk it. He knew Carthage had no real skill at siege-assaults and so didn't want to bother, even though Rome was ripe for the taking after Trasimene (never mind Cannae). Also, he wasn't that good a diplomat, hardly understanding the ins and outs of the Gallic desire for independence from Rome viewing them only as a source of mercenaries. And he hardly endeared himself towards the cities of Magna Graecia by trashing everything south of the Apennines in their entirety in an effort to piss Fabius off. And lastly, in a point that I will pick up on later, he couldn't trust any of his subordinate commanders to do anything right, took it all upon himself and left him too jaded to be able to think straight for Zama (which I believe he could've won given timing).

Now Napoleon... eesh, where to start with him. Russian campaign, a misadventure if there ever was one, too obvious? OK then, Bautzen. Why in hell did he agree a ceasefire?! In those few months, he must've realised he couldn't out-recruit and out-train his enemy (which consisted of Russia, Prussia, Britain, Sweden and, upon persuasion, Austria), and while his armies were tired and mauled, his enemy's armies were in an even worse state. Then there's Waterloo. Contrary to popular belief, the mobilisation of the French army (which, granted, was elite to the n'th degree) was disorganised, slow and confused. And Napoleon had little to no control over the general commitment of the wings of his army unless he took upon himself to do so. He failed to follow up after Ligny and the Prussians (widely accepted to have the shittest troops to be involved in the 100 Days) sorted themselves out within hours of getting their butts kicked while Napoleon just pottered about. Plus, while the hell did he leave the follow up to Grouchy? In fact, most of Napoleon's conduct and orders during the campaign were counter-intuitive to the way he naturally made war.

OK, now onto who I think should be on that list:

One of the BAMFs of Nazi Germany: Erich von Manstein; Erwin Rommel; & Heinz Guderian are the obvious ones, though I'm always going to favour von Manstein over the others primarily because he was way more adaptive and had skill across all scales of warfare. Rommel and Guderian, as field commanders were both excellent tacticians and the latter was a very good theories, but von Manstein was also a brilliant strategist. With available resources, I'd say he was better than Patton. Fall Gelb (obviously), Unternehmen Trappenjagd & Third Battle of Kharkov come to mind...

And against Napoleon, I'll place Wellington. Oh sure, he had the help of fifty thousand Prussians at about six in the evening at Waterloo, but he was marginally outnumbered, though heavily outnumbered in artillery, his army was multinational and mostly Dutch/Belgian/Brunswick militia based with relatively few professional regiments and his cavalry were good for show and little else. But one must direct the critic towards the Peninsular War, his record there and his ability to command and delegate to first the Portuguese and then the Spanish as well. Every strategic decision taken in this theatre was well calculated and succeeded in its intentions. And Salamanca, which showed he could attack with skill as well as defend.

Close to this era, Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke (aka Moltke the Elder). The overseer of the Wars of German Unification ('cos fuck Bismarck, s'why!) and the proponent of the staff structure, he is the origin of the modern German stereotype (i.e. precision in all things and turning manoeuvre war into an art). The German General Staff was at its best when he was the Chief of Staff. Economy of force, use of technology and transport to its logical extreme, Auftragstaktik, devolution of command and so on and so forth. Good lord, if the Union had the Prussian Officer corps and staff/logistical organisation, the American Civil War would've been over within six months. His concepts of the dynamism of the command hierarchy made the Prussian/German army of the era literally unbeatable. And his decidedly Spartan mentality, combined with English liberalism made him probably the ideal C-in-C, provided you let him do as he wanted. Political interference is the biggest obstacle to military endeavour.

For a more recent commanders: Chester W Nimitz. With inferior forces, he checked the IJN's advance in the southern pacific before reversing it entirely. Midway is touted as the turning point of the War in the Pacific, and I'm inclined to agree. Made the most of two and a half carriers (tehlulz, Yorktown was crocked bad but damn, what a fine send-off) and a second choice admiral, I hold him responsible for victory in the Pacific theatre. That and his trumpeting of changes to American naval doctrine amongst other things.

Frederick the Great... yes, I love me German military history. The man who made Leuctra look like a re-enactment gig (Leuthen) and turned the echelon advance a hallmark of early Prussian manoeuvres. OK, he wasn't that great, but I like Old Freddie anyway! And the same cursory mention for John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, not for his victories, but the lead up to them, Blenheim in particular, being about to cheat four hundred miles out of his enemy is no mean feat for a column almost ten miles long and moving at barely that amount each day.

And at the top of that list: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major. Apart from tactics, to which he was barely inferior, he was superior to Hannibal in every way. 1. Strategy, hitting strategic targets in Spain and milking them for all their worth (moral and material) had a much greater effect than Hannibal's running around in southern Italy which pissed the southern tribes off and made a lot of Romans increasingly dismissive of him as the war wore on. 2. Diplomacy, signing alliances first with Syphax, and when that failed, Masinissa, being the obvious one since Masinissa's Massylians were one of the deciding factors at Zama, but also Mandonius, Andobales, Edeco and Allucius of the northern Iberian tribes (including the Ilergetes) meaning he didn't have to worry about anything except the Carthaginians in Spain. On the other hand, Hannibal only had one diplomatic success: Macedon, who were questionable at best when they concluded the Peace of Phoenice and left Hannibal to fend for himself. That and the fact that Hannibal viewed the Macedonian mercenaries under his command with a certain distaste. 3. Following up a victory, with Hannibal winning so many times in Italy and reducing Rome's adult male population by a third within two years, you really have to ask how in hell did he lose?! On the other hand, Scipio takes Carthago Nova, within six months one third of Spain is on his side and anything the Carthaginians try to do to reach the Pyrenees can be countered, and nor can they dislodge Scipio's position. Ilipa was followed up by the capture of Gades (and consequently the entire Iberian peninsular) and Mago's escape to Minorca which it doesn't take much to realise how irretrievable this is (pssst, the silver mines, all of Barca's merc-money originated in Spain). 4. Trust of his subordinates, because I literally cannot think of a single battle in which any Carthaginian commander other than Hannibal won... except the Upper Baetis and that was only because Hasdrubal bribed the Cornelii's Celtiberians. However, Scipio had the presence of mind and wisdom to delegate secondary actions to Laelius, Silanus, Masinissa and his brother Lucius while he concentrated on more pressing issues. The victories were almost guaranteed thanks to a combination of knowledge of the relevant commander's personality, their inherent skill, and the current political mood and level of public morale prior to battle. I can't say the same for Hannibal.

Hmmm... sorry for the treatise...

I'm not snipping this because everyone who hasn't read this needs to read this.

But I'm really quoting you to suggest General James Longstreet from the CSA during the American Civil War as an honorable mention. If I recall correctly he was one of the first Generals to advocate trench warfare as opposed to the Napoleonic style of fighting, and he did it 50 years before the Machine Gun was a viable weapon on the battlefield

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Patton? Bitch, are you serious? Guess they had to have an American somewhere on that list... Meh.

renegade7:
Wasn't Hannibal defeated by Julius Caesar? Don't really see why he's not on the list, while frickin' NAPOLEON is.

Probably because Caesar had quite a lot of backing. Not to mention some of his victories were drastically over stated.

No. Hannibal and the Punic wars were over at least a century before Julius Caesar was even born.

But, there is a good point there: no Romans on that list? That is highly suspect when you consider Rome's history.

I would nominate Scipio Africanus (he was the one who beat Hannibal, and with a smaller army), and reputedly never lost any battle.

Captcha: question everything - lol, thank you, captcha, I will.

Edit: I checked it and Julius Caesar was only born 46 years after the last Punic war, but still the point stands since Hannibal was beaten in the Second Punic war, which was a century before Julius Caesar ;)

Based on the fact that he was a Strategist who served Liu Bei, who would be the Military Leader, then no, but he still achieved great things.

The list in my opinion just seems to be the some of the most well known in the Western world hence a lack of leaders representing the far east.

ChupathingyX:
Actually, Cao Cao didn't win.

He didn't even technically live during the "Three Kingdoms", as his son, Cao Pi, was technically the first emperor of Wei.

And even then, it was the Jin dynasty that won in the end, not Wei.

Really? I stand enlightened. And yay, I do my Chinese genes proud with my in depth knowledge of their history! /sarcasm

renegade7:
Wasn't Hannibal defeated by Julius Caesar? Don't really see why he's not on the list, while frickin' NAPOLEON is.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Probably because Caesar had quite a lot of backing. Not to mention some of his victories were drastically over stated.

*double take* *blink blink* WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-

*calms down*

Dimitriov:
No. Hannibal and the Punic wars were over at least a century before Julius Caesar was even born.

But, there is a good point there: no Romans on that list? That is highly suspect when you consider Rome's history.

I would nominate Scipio Africanus (he was the one who beat Hannibal, and with a smaller army), and reputedly never lost any battle.

*phew* S'more like it. Indeed he did not lose any battles (as did neither his legates, and that includes his brother) in which he was the commander. He personally lead at the Siege of Carthago Nova, Baecula, Ilipa, the Siege of Gades (not much of a siege, though), Utica, Bagrades and Zama, while one or a combination of Laelius, Silanus, Masinissa and Lucius won at the Siege of Orynx, Numantia, the Raid on Hippo Regius, Kirtha and Magnesia (different war, but who's counting).

NinjaDeathSlap:
Why is Napoleon number one, and Wellington or Nelson, who both made Napoleon into their little bitch in their time, not even on the list.

Nelson? In a circumspect sort of way, I guess so. Sure made the French navy the laughing stock of Europe... but then everyone pretty much was at this time compared to the RN.

Also... Wot. No Bismark? Not one single Roman Emperor? Who the hell decided this?!

Bismarck? Nnnnnn... I really wouldn't classify him as being a military leader, only as a leader during a time of war. I've raged about this before, but I (effectively) hold him fully responsible for the fall of the German Empire. But that's a different discussion. By himself, he was only good for the political revolution that Germany needed for unification. Militarily speaking, he was as ignorant as the King, Wilhelm I (though to be fair, Wilhelm was friends with Alfred Krupp... which is better than most monarchs, I guess). No, as far as political influence within military circles is concerned, that'd have to go to Albrecht Graf von Roon, who instigated the military reforms to the Prussian system (while von Moltke did the tinkering with the officer corps and staff structure). Without Roon's policies, the Austro-Prussian War would've been a different beast (won almost purely because the Prussians concentrated a third of a million men just north of Dresden within four weeks prior to the declaration of war, while the Austrians needed twice that time to concentrate barely more than half that number).

And as for why no Roman Emperors... well, most of them sucked and if they didn't, they didn't stick around long enough to do sufficient good or win enough to make a mark on military annals. The only real military minds among the Roman Emperors are Hadrian and Vespasian (I don't really count Titus, because he was hanging off the coat-tails of his father). And if you're wondering where Augustus is, he was a fine grand-strategist, I'll grant him that, but he relied very heavily upon Agippa for his tactical and operational nous. And aside from the Final Civil War of the Republic, which was a war of personalities rather than military skill, there's not much to credit Augustus with as an imperator. Contrast against... say, Gaius Marius (which in keeping with my general rage at the list) was both a brilliant military leader but a fine theorist and politician transformed the Roman system for the better. True, it sped up the transition from Republic to Empire, but that's beside the point.

A couple more names to discuss: Gustavus Adolphus, the Counter-Reformation era master of combined arms; Alexander Suvorov, the fourth and final generalissimo of Russia; Ieyasu Tokugawa, though some would call him a conniving opportuniist and the credit should go the Oda Nobunaga (or maybe Toyotomi); and Lucius Licinius Lucullus (for teh lulz!).

Still, while I'm thinking of it: le Batard?! Really? Really?!

SckizoBoy:

renegade7:
Wasn't Hannibal defeated by Julius Caesar? Don't really see why he's not on the list, while frickin' NAPOLEON is.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Probably because Caesar had quite a lot of backing. Not to mention some of his victories were drastically over stated.

*double take* *blink blink* WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-

*calms down*

So Caesar really beat an army of 100.000 in the war with the Celts? Good to know bro.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
So Caesar really beat an army of 100.000 in the war with the Celts? Good to know bro.

Actually, that was in reference your mention of Caesar in response to someone asking about Hannibal:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

renegade7:
Wasn't Hannibal defeated by Julius Caesar?

Probably because Caesar had quite a lot of backing. Not to mention some of his victories were drastically over stated.

And I don't think Julius Caesar ever fought the Celts, the Gauls, definitely, and '100000' is hardly the highest estimate of how many of them were killed in combat (Plutarch... perennial propaganda meister, reported a million deaths and another million enslaved). The modern accepted figure of barbarian combat effectives during the Gallic Wars was approx a quarter of a million (while the Romans fielded about half that number).

To be honest, Genghis Khan's famed general Tsubodai/Subotai/Whatever deserves the top spot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subutai

BlackSaint09:
10:George Patton
09:Jeanne D'Arc(Forgive me if i misspelled it)
08:Attila
07:Genghis Khan
06:William the Conqueror
05:Georgi Zukov
04:Saladin
03:Hannibal
02:Alexander the Great
01:Napoleon Bonaparte

I'm going to echo the sentiments others have already expressed; who in the blue hell decided this list in this order? What was the criteria they used to determine this? I smell favoritism afoot!

OhJohnNo:
To be honest, Genghis Khan's famed general Tsubodai/Subotai/Whatever deserves the top spot.

His name is mentioned so rarely even though he holds an idiotically epic record, since all eyes go to Temujin or Ogedei... which is a pity.

Hell, I know too little about him...

This list is balls. I mean, good that Saladin's on there, he was pretty damn cool, but try not to underestimate Nur al-Din as well. Or, from a similar period - Raymond of Toulouse. He was a military leader and a half. Through sheer benevolence and chivalry, whole cities offered to surrender to him and him alone. Aleppo, for example, could have been taken without a battle had the present King of Jerusalem not been heavily jealous of Raymond's influence over the Muslims, and as a result, the battle of Aleppo was messy, bloody and really a waste of good crusaders and Arabs alike.

Another example from the Crusades is Emperor Frederick II. The man who conquered Outremer simply by asking for it. Excommunicated, practically exiled and yet still absolutely brilliant.

There are a lot missing from the list... I'm surprised Julius Caesar or Charlemagne aren't on the list. Hell, even Leonidas held back the Persians with such a meager force that he deserves an honorable mention.

Edit: And why the hell isn't Oda Nobunaga there at all? The Battle of Okehazama was won despite impossible odds.

Lionsfan:

I'll say something nice now before you think I'm a total jerk, but your English is fine.

Now to the vitriol:

Why in fuck's name is Patton on that list?! The man was a fucking ponce who's only defining attribute was his big mouth. I'll conceded that while his post-war conduct was actually admirable (even if not at the time), he had virtually no clue about logistics, his strategic judgment was lacking to be almost non-existent and didn't seem to understand the word 'cooperation'. He's just Montgomery, replacing the caution with profane bombacity! However, I'll be damned before I start dismissing his skill as a tactician, but even then, were he to be in the Germans' position, I doubt he would've fared half as well. Look at the numbers, he always won from a numerical, aerial and technological advantage.

(Sniped but yes I did read it)

Patton's on there because they had to work an American in there somehow and he happens to have a movie not dealing with the Civil war, looked bad in a movie, made an ass of himself on tv(MacArthur), and/or a complete unknown to most Americans(Pershing).

but your right Patton's moments were rather sparse:
He had one gold moment(the march to Bastogne)
and a few silver moments (Julio Cárdenas,Saint-Mihiel)

I came to the conclusion long ago that most "top x" lists are full of shit. lulz @ Patton topping the list.

As for Zhuge Liang, he's pretty amazing, and being the best strategist in the Three Kingdoms era is no small feat, but at least from what I've read of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, that shit's pretty exaggerated. I guess the biggest problem with that list is that we have varying amounts of reliable record on each general.

edit: oh wait, the list is in reverse order. I'm an idiot. Though, wtf is Napoleon doing on the top of the list.

I think that Cao Cao should be on that list instead. I mean Kong Ming was pretty awesome and talented, but Cao Cao was just ... something else.

As a British guy, I am allowed this opinion. WHY THE FUCK IS WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR ON THAT LIST?. He won one war against a country which he held tachnological, numerical, motivational and even fucking religious advantages over. And he is ranked motherfucking higher than Attila the Hun, who brought the Roman Empire to its knees, and Genghis Khan, who created the largest contiguous empire EVER. Fuck that, put Wellington in, never lost a battle, beat Napoleon (who should not be number one) and fought a succesful war against half a million frenchmen with an army of around fifty thousand.

Yeah, im thinking theres too many questionable choices on that list to call it accurate.

Especially Napoleon, the man may have had a handle on ground-based tactics, but had little to no grasp on logicstics and was useless on the water.

Meh there is probably plenty of generals people want on that list that didn't make it. Personally I would want Sherman up there but whatever. Opinionated list is opinionated. Make your own if you want.

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