Greatest Admirals in History

The Top Ten
1 Yi Sun-sin

Yi Sun Sin is a great hero, and a masterful tactician; he routed entire enemy supply lines disrupting movement of food and troops.

It was the incredibly personal hardship he endured that made his military achievements that much more unbelievable - he endured imprisonment, torture and being stripped of his rank to a mere sailor. It was his replacement's death and the destruction of the vast majority of Joseon's fleet that allowed Yi to return to his original position as Admiral.

Yi Sun-sin was always outnumbered but he always managed to win. It's not like Korean technology was way better than the Japanese fleet. He purely used tactics to defeat his enemy's. I honestly thought he was some kind of Asian fairy tale at first.

His achievements are mythic and are almost beyond belief given the extreme challenges he faced in achieving outrageously lopsided victories against seeming insurmountable odds. If any human could be said to have achieved perfection in the naval arts it was he.

2 Karl Dönitz

Karl Dönitz was a German admiral who played a major role in the naval history of World War II. Dönitz briefly succeeded Adolf Hitler as the head of state of Germany. He began his career in the Imperial German Navy before World War I.

He would've completely sever the British supply line and bring Germany the victory if it wasn't Hermann Goering

3 Isoroku Yamamoto

Isoroku Yamamoto was a Japanese Marshal Admiral of the Navy and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II until his death.

The best admiral, he already predicted that Japan can't fight for more than 7 months, although that is still controversial.

Brilliant tactician, unfairly blamed for the demise of the Japanese navy.

His the greatest admiral from japan since his death at pacific that he never know his final last life however his been ambush by USA aircraft that kill Isoroku Yamamoto but his a hero from japan the greatest admiral was no fear to death

4 Horatio Nelson Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté KB was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy.

Not only an outstanding tactician, but a leader who could inspire his people to rise to great heights. His personal courage inspired his entire generation. Put his life on the line for his country, died doing it, and made his last words an inspiration to others.

National Hero of United Kingdom who won series of naval battles during the Napoleonic Wars. The most greatest battle he win was the Battle of Trafalgar.

If outnumbered, just gun straight for the enemy flagship... they'll soon flea like the cowards they are

Obviously the best, and not mythical to boot.

5 Hayreddin Barbarossa

He was the most successful pirate and later admiral ln the ottoman navy. He ruled his own country which is called Algeria now. His succession against the Venice navy with small fleet made the Mediterranean sea to be a turkish lake in the history.

Brilliant tactician, fearless commander. His success at the Battle of Preveza is the high point in his Ottoman career.

Non of the admiral has power as him before or after he is a real pirate and hero never beaten.

He is the best admiral in history and Ottomans.

6 Heihachiro

The perfect model for a 29th century admiral. His detailed reports covering his observations of other navies show high intelligence and attention to all aspects of his potential opponents. Started as a samurai with a sword in his hand he rose to be a modern commander who was the first to use radio telegraph communications to successfully position his fleet at Tsushima. If Beatty has applied the same lesson at Jutland he may not have lost contact with his fast battleships. A master of his craft he proved to be better than his Royal Navy teachers.

Started his seagoing combat career under the command of the great Tsuboi Kozo as a ruthless but decisive cruiser captain, fighting at the great battle of the Yalu in 1894. Admiral Togo later applied the lessons of his first war and showed a great willingness to take his battlefleet to sea, actively seeking out the enemy and displaying an ability to fight under the most advantageous conditions possible. Understood the importance of asymmetric warfare in the form of torpedoes. His perfectly-realised ambush and destruction of the Russians at Tsushima in 1905 is one of the most decisive naval battles of all time and marks Togo out as one of the all-time greats.

The diminutive but fearless Admiral Togo is the model for the prefect modern flag officer. Raised as a Samurai his life was dedicated to learning and mastering his craft. He accumulated both technical and operational experience with the Royal Navy and gained an astonishing amount of combat experience before his masterstroke at Tsushima.

Marshal-Admiral Marquis Tōgō Heihachirō, OM, GCVO, was a gensui or admiral of the fleet in the Imperial Japanese Navy and one of Japan's greatest naval heroes. He was termed by Western journalists as "the Nelson of the East".

7 Andrea Doria
8 Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville

Louis-René Madelaine Le Vassor, comte de La Touche-Tréville was a French Vice-admiral. He fought in the American War of Independence and became a prominent figure of the French Revolutionary Wars and of the Napoleonic wars.

9 Sir Francis Drake
10 Michiel de Ruyter

Without him the Netherlands would probably belong to the French or the British now. With a smaller number of ships he was able to beat many hostile fleets multiple times. Even though he was born as a normal citizen he worked his way up through the ranks and obtained the highest position in the Dutch marine. In the third Dutch-Anglo war he defended the Dutch from a French-English fleet four times even though he had a smaller amount of ships. De Ruyter used tactics that for example Nelson later re-invented (On his own of course but still)

The most important admiral ever, when you disregard Themistocles, you know, from the battle of Salamis, which probably is the most important sea battle of history.

De Ruyter has beaten the combined French-English fleet four time in 1672 and 1673 with brillant manoevres and flagging signs, although half his fleet had to stay at home, because the Netherlands had 300.000 french soldiers in its country plus a lot of soldiers from the bishop of Munster. This was the so called Holland war. D'Artagnan, well known from Dumas' musketeers, died really in the siege of Maastricht, as is also well known from the third book. France never had the resources for this kind of campaigns ever again and France went bankrupt in 1787 and 1789. Without Michiel De Ruyter this would never have happened.
The Holland war was the decisive moment between the old order of catholic kings of France, England, the German Bishops, and others, while only helped by Dresden in Saxony and Brandenburg. It was the ...more

Yes, without him the free world as we know it, may never have happened. His victories cemented the freedom of the Dutch republic, subsequently defeat of catholicism in England, and other remnants of the Holy Roman Empire.

He needs to be at least second! He beat the france and British navy and after that he went up the Thames raided London and stole the flagship of the British navy, he also invented and trained world's first marines.

The Contenders
11 Peter Tordenskjold
12 John Paul Jones

I think of John Paul Jones as a real hero to the American colonies, we prove himself a an bravest man when his ship was in danger, despite the danger he won the battle and show's he doesn't give up as soon a he won the battle.

Not only was he the most badass brit in history, John Paul Jones was also very skilled and to be honest- handsome.

John Paul Jones was the United States' first well-known naval commander in the American Revolutionary War.

13 Zheng He

biggest fleet in chinese history.

14 Chester W. Nimitz

Chester William Nimitz, Sr. was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet and Commander...

This opinions here are horrible. Chester Nimitz, however, is pure.

15 Anne Hilarion de Costentin, Comte de Tourville

Versatile, courageous and cunning, Tourville was one of the few French admirals who could get the best of the Royal Navy time and again. He made the 'English' Channel into the French Channel after the Battle of Beachy Head. Fought a numerically superior allied fleet almost to a standstill at Barfleur and, though subsequently defeated, he was able to change his strategy afterwards and, the very next year, outsmarted the British to fall upon the Smyrna Convoy and take a hundred enemy ships with ease.

16 Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov

He never lost a ship nor a naval battle. He fought enemies that greatly outnumbered him while having equal tech cannon. Peeps like Yi and Nelson had superior guns; meanwhile, Ushakov would fight with guns of the same level as his enemy. Nelson even used some of Ushakov's tactics later on in his engagements. Ushakov destroyed the bulk of the French Navy too. He should be top 5, if not top 1.

The most renowned and revered Russian admiral in the 18th century and one of the most competent officers in the Napoleonic Wars, his talent was often overlooked by the internet community. He had scored multiple victories against the Ottoman Empire in the face of larger opponent fleets, many of them with unbelievable lose exchange ratio, the likes that can matched Yi Sun-Sin at times. He have devised maneuver tactics that Horatio Nelson would later use in Trafalgar, the most famous victory of the legendary British admiral. While putting him in the first spot might bring about great debate, Ushakov definitely deserved a Top 3 or Top 5 on this list.

Extremely outstanding ratio, during the Russian-Turkish and practical battle experience could easily get him to the top of my list.

If he has never lost a battle or a ship in the entirety of the Second Coalition War he deserves the top spot. Yi Sun Sin May have beaten the Japanese in improbable odds but he had superior cannons that had longer ranges than that of the Japanese. Also Yi Sun Sin didn’t have to deal with the new complications and superior tactics of the War of The Second Coalition.

17 Afonso de Albuquerque

Beat the Ottoman Empire's navy multiple times in the 15th century
Lead first European expedition into the Persian Sea
Conquered parts of India
Was known to engage larger armies and navies and beating them
Pioneered sea trade with the Ming Dynasty (China), Thailand, Malasya and Indonesia.
Nicknamed "the Great", "the Terrible", "the Ceaser of the East", "the Lion of the Seas" and Portuguese Mars"

Check your facts.


18 Raymond A. Spruance

The admiral who led the US forces during the battle of Midway, the turning point in the war against the Japanese. His thinking and leading skills are amazing, always kept calm during situations of crisis.

Brains behind the turning point of WW2, the Battle of Midway.

19 Henry Morgan

I mean he was pretty dam successful...j/s

20 William Halsey Jr.

Bill Halsey was aggressive unlike many other us navy admirals during WW2.

21 Piet Hein
22 Samuel Hood

One of the greatest British admirals ever

23 Maarten Tromp
24 Arthur Phillip

Admiral Arthur Phillip was a Royal Navy officer and the first Governor of New South Wales who founded the British penal colony that later became the city of Sydney, Australia

25 Pierre André de Suffren
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