Top 10 Greatest Military Generals of All TimeIt's more than just the win-loss column; greatness as a military general also has a lot to do with how they led. Did they display unparalleled tactical brilliance? Were they masterminds of strategy who could manipulate entire wars like chess masters? How about their ability to inspire troops and keep morale high even in the face of devastating losses? Or perhaps it's their enduring influence on military theory that impresses you most.
You've got those who reigned in antiquity, whose exploits are half-myth, half-legend but no less awe-inspiring. Think Alexander the Great conquering empires before he was 30, or Hannibal Barca crossing the Alps with elephants just to take Rome by surprise. Fast-forward a few centuries, and you have gunpowder changing the game, with leaders like Napoleon Bonaparte demonstrating military prowess on a scale Europe had never seen. Don't forget the modern-day tacticians either, like Georgy Zhukov or Erwin Rommel, who had to grapple with a whole new breed of warfare - complete with tanks, airplanes, and all the complexities of the 20th century.
While Alexander undoubtedly achieved the greatest victories and territorial gains of all antiquity, it is highly likely that if he had lived longer, he would have not only established a presence in the Hindu Kush, Indus Valley, and Bactria, but he would have certainly conquered the Indian subcontinent and Arabia. He would have also had a significant chance to threaten, if not completely destroy, China.
He was the one who set the legacy and inspiration for the establishment of large intercontinental empires and created the tradition of swiftly and briefly conquering vast amounts of territory. While the Muslims somehow surpassed even the Macedonians in this regard, accomplishing it with fewer men and against more powerful superpowers such as the Sassanids and Eastern Romans, while only having a foothold in the Red Sea region of Arabia. Alexander was the first to not only destroy an empire but also to conquer multiple civilizations and empires during his reign.
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Alexander is a great general, somewhat underrated too. He never lost a battle in his life against the Persian Empire. His Macedonian Empire might have lasted longer, but he lived a short life and died young.
There's a reason the Persian Empire was the most expansive at the time. They were ruthless and intelligent. This was an empire the world had never seen before. The Persian Empire stood the test of time and defeated anyone who dared to stand against it - until Alexander the Great. He was undefeated. There wasn't a single force he met that he didn't utterly destroy.
What made him the greatest general was not just his ability to win, but his ability to know what to do with a victory. This is where generals like Hannibal faltered. Alexander was always the victor, but not an annihilator. He recognized the importance of the people he conquered. He didn't strive for assimilation like other generals. Quite the opposite, in fact. While he did spread Greek culture, he also absorbed the cultures of the lands he spent time in. His empire was a beautiful melting pot of races.
The fact that his empire couldn't survive without him speaks volumes about his unique abilities. He was the ...more
He is quite simply the most accomplished general in history. He defeated the greatest empire the world had ever seen and, in doing so, conquered the entire known world. His widespread empire amassed not only an impressive amount of land but also a diverse array of races. Through this, he facilitated an invaluable exchange of knowledge and cultural achievements, which helped shape the world as we know it today.
He didn't conquer for sheer glory, but for the new world that could be created through Greek influence. It's well-known that the Greeks have contributed significantly to Western civilization, but without Alexander, those contributions wouldn't have been as widespread. He never lost a battle, a testament to his brilliance as both a general and a man. He never asked his men to do anything he wouldn't do himself, gaining their unwavering loyalty, which was critical for their years of conquests worldwide. His tactics are still studied today because of their proven ...more
Genghis Khan ruled the largest contiguous empire in the world to date: the Mongol Empire. This empire covered almost all of Asia and some parts of Eastern Europe. The Mongols essentially eliminated anyone who got in their way, and no one could stop them - not even the Abbasid Islamic Empire. They were eventually defeated by the Mamluks, but it's important to remember that the only reason they didn't conquer Western Europe was because their king fell ill. Had that not happened, who knows how the history of the world could have changed, especially considering that Western Europe later dominated the globe.
Master of organization and discipline, Genghis Khan defied common misperceptions. His army was far from an unruly mob. Although usually outnumbered, they never lost a battle until 33 years after his death, at Goliath's Well in 1260 AD. He transformed a group of nomads into a well-organized army, the best light cavalry the world had ever seen.
He knew how best to exploit the superior mobility his forces usually enjoyed and also demonstrated a flair for psychological warfare. While there are others on this list who have a strong case, Genghis Khan (born Temujin) is my personal favorite.
Attila started as the son of a tribal lord with only a handful of troops. After his father died, all he had left was his immediate family and a few loyal friends. He was captured and became a slave, but eventually escaped. He slowly built up a tribe, breaking tribal traditions along the way. He conquered rivals, including his own blood brother, and eventually unified all the tribes under his rule. He fought in diverse terrains: desert, snow, forest, and steppes. He transformed tribal bands into one of the most formidable empires of his time. He recognized and promoted skilled warriors, entrusting them with major campaigns in far-off lands. He subdued much of Asia and demolished the Khwarezm Empire. He began with an army that had no knowledge of siegecraft, but by the end of his reign, no city was safe. His empire survived him, and he died of old age. This is a brief summary of a truly great general and leader. How is he not in the top 5?
Genghis Khan was the greatest military leader to ever live. Unlike leaders like Alexander the Great, who inherited their thrones, Genghis Khan rose from nothing to rule what would later become the largest empire in history.
The Mongolian army was unique in its ability to invade both Japan and Europe successfully at the same time - something never accomplished before or since. Even after the death of Genghis Khan, who was an active participant in battle, his empire continued to flourish due to the tactics and strategies he utilized.
I'm going to say it: if it weren't for the stupidity of Carthage's politicians and the foolishness that filled the Carthaginian Senate, Hannibal would have conquered Rome. I'm not sure if that would have guaranteed victory in the Punic Wars, but he would have had a greater chance if the Carthaginian leaders possessed even half of the intellectual capacity of Rome's civil and political leadership. Even the Romans recognized the long-standing tradition of great potential and military talent within the Carthaginian military leadership, despite being a maritime and mercantile empire.
Despite limited resources and a lack of reinforcements (which were available and easily transportable with the Carthaginian navy's prowess) when he needed them the most, Hannibal came close to conquering the capital of the mighty Roman Republic.
Rome could literally lose 30,000 to 60,000 men and an entire fleet in battle or during a storm, and yet, somehow, they would rebuild that entire fleet ...more
Brilliant general. The Battle of Cannae was a masterpiece. Once, he was trapped in a valley at night by a larger Roman force. He managed to escape by tricking the Romans into thinking he was going to charge them. He tied torches to oxen and sent them out of the valley toward the Romans. The Romans moved all their troops to the place they thought he was about to try to break through, leaving the valley open for him to escape.
The Battle of Lake Trasimene was an amazing piece of deception. While he was the man who almost beat Rome, he was also the one who forged it into the empire we remember it as, in the fires of his war with them. They learned the tactics that gave them an empire from him.
This genius gained victory after victory against the mighty Roman Empire. As a military general, none is equal to this man. He should be at the top of the list. He combined various warriors from different races into one superior and effective army. He made good use of terrain and laid ambushes. He studied his adversaries and thus knew his enemies before engaging them.
Above all else, his tactics made him win battles. This guy is the Einstein of military warfare. If Sun Tzu was the writer of the War Bible, then Hannibal Barca is Jesus Christ. He was capable of annihilating entire armies. If the system in Carthage was similar to that of the Roman Empire, nothing would have been able to stop Hannibal Barca. The only thing that stopped Hannibal was the lack of support he had from Carthage. One just has to look into one of his battles, and everyone will agree that he should be at the top of this list.
Hannibal Barca will forever be remembered as the man who brought Rome to its knees. Such a feat has seldom been repeated, and many of my friends would never have even heard of Carthage were it not for him. In every battle he fought, the Romans had every advantage - numbers, terrain, you name it. But the one thing they didn't have was Hannibal.
It's true that he was defeated, but as I said, Rome still had every advantage. The general who beat him did not beat him purely out of military skill the way Hannibal did.
Julius Caesar was the greatest military leader of Ancient Rome and the best leader of the Roman Republic. Only Trajan comes somewhat close to him, but we must consider the culture of the Roman Republic. It was not an authoritarian state, making it much more challenging to have soldiers and people listen and cooperate. However, in the Roman Empire, there were fewer limitations for the emperor.
Caesar conquered Gaul, Egypt, and established a presence in Germanic, Batavian, and Frisian territories. He laid the groundwork for later Roman expansions into Anatolia, Thrace, Dalmatia, Alemanni, Britannia, Hispania, Arabia, and Palestine (then known as Judea and Israel).
While tactics are important, logistics, economics, and policy are even more crucial for building a strong military. Caesar demonstrated remarkable logistical skills. He built an entire bridge in a single day, only to destroy it, using soldiers instead of skilled carpenters and builders. This act showcased Rome's ...more
Few commanders have ever enjoyed the loyalty that Caesar's legions had for him. Even fewer have won as many pitched battles. Often facing unfavorable odds, Caesar utilized brilliant tactics and discipline to overcome all challenges. He fought battles in most corners of the known world, conquering all of Gaul and even Rome itself. Defined by aggression, preparedness, ingenuity, and courage, his legacy has endured through the ages. He remains a household name to this day, and his battle tactics continue to be studied by military minds. In my opinion, no military commander since has displayed such well-roundedness coupled with as high a success rate.
Very few generals can boast having won so many pitched battles at such damning odds. He was a brilliant tactician, able to make effective use of his troops to achieve various and often unorthodox tactical advantages. To add to this, he was able to wage and win a civil war against a powerful general with an army of equal discipline and greater numbers, AND the weight of legitimacy against him. He could not have done just anything to win the civil war. The politics of civil war in Rome were extremely tricky, and only a brilliant man could win a war while acting within the socio-political constraints of Rome to preserve his popularity and establish his supremacy.
Most others like to mention Alexander "the Great" as the greatest general. Granted, he did some spectacular things that should be remembered. However, we should not remember generals purely for the spectacular aspects of their leadership. Regardless, if we did, Caesar would still be near the top of the list, considering ...more
While Alexander was struggling to manage his empire as it crumbled, Julius Caesar was creating an empire to last for centuries. Unlike Alexander the Great, who couldn't even defeat Porus of India, Julius Caesar was able to conquer lands such as, but not limited to, Gaul to expand the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar won the Roman Civil War despite the odds being stacked against him. Unlike Alexander the Great, he was an excellent planner and strategist.
Caesar >. Alexander
Emperor Napoleon was so despised in Europe that nearly every nation fought against him in the Seventh Coalition. It took seven, SEVEN, coalitions just to get rid of this man. Five out of the seven times, they lost! His generals were also brilliant, but Napoleon was the mastermind behind the great French Empire.
No general above Napoleon managed to fight back against a coalition of three other European powers at once, seven times. He really deserves the top spot.
He was a godlike figure whose amazing charisma and military genius brought him victory after victory on the European continent and in Egypt. He was the Alexander the Great of his time and the modern Caesar. None could stand against him. His great flaw that ultimately led to his defeat was his belief in his own invincibility, which grew out of previous military victories he had won.
Napoleon has certainly done more good for the world than bad. Many people label him a tyrant and a military dictator, and in some ways, he was. However, he was the embodiment of the French Revolution. He was building an empire, but at the same time, he was spreading the ideals of liberty, equality, and brotherhood, which originated from the French Revolution.
He freed enslaved peoples in Croatia and Poland - so much so that his name is mentioned in the Polish national anthem. He also wrote a law code that remains with France to this day and serves as the basis for most other Western law codes. ...more
This man was simply the greatest of all time, hands down. He was constantly outnumbered in his battles, yet he still demolished his foes, like in the Battle of Austerlitz. He fought in 60 total battles and only lost eight of them. Only eight. And he only lost two decisive battles.
Although he may not have conquered the most land ever or built the strongest empire ever, he was unquestionably the best in the military. Many generals may have one or even two miracles where they defeat their foe while outnumbered (if they were lucky). Napoleon did it as constantly as finding a needle in a haystack. Over and over, he did it. It got to the point where he was so confident that he would purposely make himself outnumbered when invading a major city... and still win.
Leipzig and Waterloo were miracles for the Sixth and Seventh Coalitions. He won five wars in a row against multiple nations banded together. There is no doubting that he is the best general to have walked the face of ...more
If the Mongolian Empire had the strongest army in the world during that period of time, then the one that defeated that army three times must be even more fearsome. Therefore, I cast 1 vote for Tran Hung Dao.
Under his command, Dai Viet (currently Vietnam) armies defeated two major Mongolian invasions in 1285 and 1287. His victories over the mighty Mongol Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan are considered the greatest military feats in world history, with strategies of protracted people's war.
The greatest general ever, one of the famous heroes in Vietnamese history.
In reality, Tran Hung Dao's army was not at all a strong army compared to the Mongolian Empire's but instead very thin and would not last in a head-to-head fight. He employed a unique tactic of trapping the Mongolian army in the empty citadel of Thang Long, which the imperial court and citizenry had evacuated beforehand (the Mongolian army believed that the imperial court is still in the citadel). Consequently, they were trapped in the city until their rations were drained (when the citizenry evacuated, they also took their resources, including food and water). This is when Tran Hung Dao's army struck the weakened enemy. This strategy was repeated 3 times.
Nguyen Hue, also known as King Quang Trung, was highly skilled in war strategies and tactics. He moved fifty thousand soldiers from Hue to Hanoi (more than 600 km apart) on foot in just 3 days in the late 1780s. He defeated the Chinese Tang army, which had 200,000 soldiers, in one day. On another occasion, he defeated the invading Thai army of fifty thousand soldiers in just a few hours. He also defeated the French navy without having a warship of his own. He never lost a single battle in his entire life.
Dai De Nguyen Hue Quang Trung was unbeatable because he accomplished the impossible many times. He defeated 30 Qing armies, 20 Siamese armies, a French navy, and others. What's even more impressive is that he had to fight against overwhelming odds, and his enemies often had the advantage. Even better, he achieved all of this in just 4 years. He was on the verge of turning Vietnam into a massive empire by conquering China and other kingdoms. Sadly, he died before he could accomplish this. However, if he had lived for 10 more years, half of Asia would have been under his control, and Vietnam would have been a world superpower competing against powerful countries like Russia, Britain, and America.
Nguyen Hue (1752-1792), also known as Emperor Quang Trung, was a military genius. He was known for defeating 30 armies from China's Manchu in 1789 and 20 Siamese armies in 1785. The people of Vietnam respect him forever.
He has been my idol since I was very young. He and the people of my country destroyed the invaders and unified the land. Unfortunately, he died early, and many of his plans were not completed. But history has no "ifs." Regardless, he is still the person whose talent and virtue I truly respect.
Robert E. Lee is undoubtedly the Confederacy's best general. He left the U.S. Army because of his loyalty to his state. He defeated the Union numerous times but was ultimately defeated in 1865.
One fact that is often forgotten about Lee is that he was not the commander of the Confederate forces in the Civil War. He commanded one army and, with that single army, conducted the total defense of the CSA. He was not allowed any command over the total war strategy used by his country and had no control over resources, troop movements, and logistics that go into winning a war.
The fact that his country mismanaged resources, did not collaborate in a cohesive defense, and offered no means of production for a prolonged war, illustrates how important and effective Lee's tactics really were. While the Union was able to focus their whole war strategy in concert against the South, Lee became the South as he won victory after victory against larger, better-equipped, better-trained, and better-fed troops. No other commander on this list had to fight with such handicaps, and no other commander would have seen Lee's success if they had to. It's easy to say that since the Confederacy ...more
Lee was undermanned and without resources to replenish needed arms, ammunition, and soldiers in the field. However, his strategy and courage helped the South win amazing victories.
Gettysburg should have been an astounding win for the South. However, Ewell, who had been injured earlier in the war, lost his nerve and retreated back into the town after his troops had run the North off the high ground. Had he stayed put, things would have become mighty interesting.
Lee is definitely one of the great generals of all time. Even though he was fighting for a cause that he didn't believe in, he honored home and family.
I defy anyone to point out a military leader who had been provided more underwhelming materials and supplies and was as successful as Lee. I am a Californian, born to a New York couple, so this isn't shrouded in Southern pride. He was simply better but was not able to overcome the shortcomings and short supply of his forces.
And yes, Stonewall Jackson was an incredibly adept general and was a serious loss to Lee. Perhaps even a better general than Lee (debatable). But Lee has to go down as one of the all-time greatest generals in history.
He is one of the most prominent generals of all time! Without him, Vietnam couldn't have defeated French colonial forces and America.
Oh yes, the general who has never been defeated. He even defeated two capitalist empires: France and America.
For me, greatness does not mean deploying an army to conquer the whole world, nor does it mean bringing war, blood, and tears to mankind. Greatness is leading a small nation to stand up and protect itself, to protect what is good, and to uphold righteous values through the most humane strategies. Vietnam's victories over the invaders from the US, France, and China are not just for the people of Vietnam. They are also great encouragement for enslaved nations to regain independence and govern themselves. I love Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, and General Vo Nguyen Giap!
Giap is certainly an interesting military leader. His exploits against Japan in WWII alone showed his grasp of strategy, and his victory at Dien Bien Phu was decisive. However, against the American-led U.N. forces, he was beaten at every turn on the battlefield. But that is where his political astuteness showed.
With American leaders bragging about the war being all but over, the Tet Offensive changed that perspective. While a tactical disaster for Giap and the VC in particular, it was a brilliant political and politico-strategic move that completely soured public support for the war and belief in the American military and political leadership. U.S.-led forces never lost a major engagement in Vietnam. Therefore, Giap never won one. However, Giap was certain he would be able to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in the long term, and in that, he was correct. He certainly is worthy of mention, but probably not this high on a list of battlefield leaders.
Underrated both as a General and as a President. Name a military leader, other than Washington, who defeats the greatest army in the world and then leads the new country without force. Washington was able to do what Julius Caesar did, except Caesar accomplished it with the world's greatest army and by force. An amazing leader - win, lose, or draw - he wins in the end in all areas. Though proclaimed an average military man by many, there was nothing "average" about Washington. "By George" (who else had their name used in place of God by the people he led?).
George Washington was one of the greatest generals of all time, definitely higher up on this list, but at least he's #9. Still, after the American Revolutionary War, when George Washington was going to retire, the King of England heard this and said, "If he does this, he will be the greatest man ever." I think it would be quite amazing if the leader of the opposing army said that about me. I would be feeling pretty good about myself.
Washington prevailed in a civil war against the most powerful empire the world has ever seen: the British Empire, which at one time ruled a quarter of the world's population and covered a third of its arable landmass. He ran the British out of Boston without firing a shot. He accomplished this by moving artillery through the black of night and building a fortress that overlooked Boston Harbor.
He was able to strategically retreat at the right times, knowing that it was more important to hold his force together than to win a battlefield victory against an enemy that often outnumbered him as much as ten to one. Despite the odds against him, he prevented the British from marching north along the Hudson River to cut America in half from the New England colonies, where most of the American manufacturing was located at the time. He did this with smoke and mirrors, harassing the outlying areas of British control and leaving them feeling insecure about their logistical base in New ...more
A leader of the first order. Loyal to his superiors as well as his subordinates. Physically brave and imposing while maintaining his humility. A man of vision, who had the tools, fortitude, and focus to see it through. The world owes much to this man.
Saladin's successful campaigns demonstrated his superior military skills and strategic judgment. In the 12th century, he brought the Muslim world together and commanded the Muslim forces fighting the Crusaders. The retaking of Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187 was Saladin's most notable accomplishment. His military tactics, which included surprise assaults, quick movements, and the efficient use of cavalry, helped him achieve numerous victories.
Besides that he was a great human being, certainly in the time of the Middle Ages in which Western countries were super barbaric. Saladin's reputation for chivalrous behavior won him the respect and admiration of both his allies and his adversaries. He was respectful to both his enemies and captives, frequently offering them favorable terms of surrender and honorable deals. Saladin distinguished himself from many other leaders of his time by treating prisoners with compassion and allowing them to be ransomed.
Saladin was in ...more
Saladin was a general ahead of his time, highly sophisticated in his manners, ethics, and morals in combat. He reflected the true image of religious figures like Jesus and Mohammad and represented the Holy Land faithfully. Even when facing the Knights Templar, who employed dirty tactics, assaulted innocent women and children, and committed other atrocities, Saladin refused to stoop to their level.
Instead, he respected and protected everyone, including his enemies. Christians as well as Muslims fought under his leadership to free the Holy Land. He won the hearts of people from all backgrounds, even earning praise from Richard the Lionheart.
Saladin was both an excellent general and an excellent human being. Unlike many of the other generals on this list, his wars were fought without the bloodthirstiness that many exhibited. He showed mercy, which truly separates him from most. He should be ranked ahead of many on this list, especially Lee and Hue. (Notably, claims that Hue could travel 600 km on foot in three days and the inconsistent enemy numbers are questionable.) For Saladin, as with Alexander, war was a means to an end - a point that is often understated for both men. He belongs in the top 5.
He should be placed in the top five. He had attributes that could not be found in other generals of his time. He showed respect to his opponents and, unlike the Crusaders, recaptured Jerusalem without bloodshed. He demonstrated how to win over enemies if you cannot defeat them.
He was indeed a good general. He was skillful and swift, earning him the title of "Desert Fox." Although he joined the German Nazi army, he didn't act like a typical Nazi. Instead, he remained humane. When he was stationed in France during the construction of the Atlantic Wall, he didn't torture the French laborers but instead paid them a salary for their hard work. When Hitler asked him to deport the Jews, he didn't comply but spared them instead. The Afrika Korps was never accused of any war crimes, and Rommel himself referred to the fighting in North Africa as "Krieg ohne Hass" (war without hate).
Unfortunately, Hitler asked him to commit suicide just because Rommel disagreed with Hitler's policies and actions.
The only German officer who should not be considered a "Nazi" is one who, in fact, refused to join the Nazi Party. He was simply an honorable soldier doing what he believed was right for his country, only to realize later that the crimes committed by Hitler and the SS were wrong. Because of this, he supported the conspirators in their attempts to remove Hitler from power, recognizing that Germany could no longer win and that Hitler was leading the nation to destruction. This would later lead him to commit suicide. He was not someone who favored Hitler and his ideals. Rather, he was a man of honor and a loyal patriot to his country.
Aside from being the master of armored warfare, he was also one of the most humane generals on either side of WWII. The African Campaign was dubbed the "War without Hate." He allowed a group of captured Allied medical personnel to return home via neutral Switzerland, paid the workers hired to prepare the coastal defenses in France, and literally threw the orders to execute captured Allied commandos in the trash. He was not only a good general but also a good man in a dark time.
The cunning and skilled General Erwin Rommel was responsible for leading the German armies in North Africa. Even under extreme conditions and with a very limited oil supply, his badly outnumbered army managed to pull off some daring victories. The Allies only managed to break through in Normandy when he was wounded. Rommel was later forced to commit suicide by Hitler and Keitel due to his involvement in an assassination attempt on Hitler's life.
In 1121, he led his army of 55,000 men and won against the Seljuks. Their army was composed of 600,000 soldiers. The battle of Didgori is often regarded as the battle of a miraculous victory. Before the battle, David ordered his troops to block their way back, addressing the soldiers that they would either win or die there. Over 70 percent of the Seljuks were killed, and the rest were taken as prisoners.
He was very young when he was crowned. He inherited not only political and economic problems, but also disastrous results from earthquakes in previous years. However, in several years he managed to gain victory over the Seljuks, who were a hazard for Europe, and thus he saved not only his own country but also Europe.
His name was widely known in the contemporary world, and in Europe, he was compared to St. Peter. He was also the savior of Armenia and Shirvan (the territory of modern Azerbaijan). These countries were quite weak at that time, and they asked King David the Builder to take them under his protection. By the way, the king was the only one who managed to free Ani, the former capital of Armenia, and give it back to the Armenians. So, his strategic point of view covered quite wide territories, and what's more important, he was not an emperor but maintained the national state structure in each country that went under his protection.
He managed to initiate the ...more
One of the greatest military generals the world has ever seen... A king who rebuilt his country from ruins and made it the strongest in Eastern Europe... He deserves to be first!
Due to the timeframe of David, his tactics and strategy can only be compared to the bravery and superiority of the Spartans, who sacrificed themselves to protect Greece. Though he was outnumbered greatly, his leadership against extreme odds has proved that he was a superior general. The proof of his success not only against the Seljuks but his miraculous victory also led to the protection of other countries. Because of his wisdom and guidance in each country he protected, it led to the Golden Age of Georgia. Because of this, he was given the name of Saint King David the Builder! For these reasons, he deserves to be the first general in all of history.
Offensive in planning, attacking, and commitment, even his logistical methods were far more advanced than those he fought with or against. Decisions in the heat of battle were given only to those for whom it was in all human interest to succeed. Patton used his vision of the battlefield, gained from the lessons of the past, to defeat his enemy. His lust for achieving glory was his only defeating quality.
He fought Rommel on even tactics and won at every turn. Hitler was not afraid of Patton, but his generals were. He was certain to reach Berlin if not for Allied political positions that held up the war and increased the loss of life. Patton, for his age and the moment in a world at war, was the best leader and the best combat soldier to win.
During the War in Africa, which ironically ended on this day, May 11, 1943, with the signing of the Axis surrender to the Allies, Patton's bold moves were decisive. Before World War II, he was involved in American tank design toward the end of World War I. He was instrumental in the creation of the tank division for World War II.
Granted, he slapped soldiers with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), but he played a critical role in defeating the Desert Fox. His use of artillery to batter the Germans was pivotal in taking Africa. He was the cause of the Axis losing a significant amount of their supplies, leading some to downplay Patton's victories as "inferior." In reality, he caused that shortage in the first place.
He also thwarted the Germans in Sicily by launching an extremely bold attack through the shore and beating British General Montgomery to the island. Furthermore, he helped strike quickly and at irregular times to prevent the Germans from winning the Battle ...more
War is meant to be fought by warriors, not timid, politically correct paper pushers like Eisenhower and Bradley. Patton was correct about the Nazi/Democratic Party analogy as well as the looming Russian threat. Eisenhower compromised the end of the war by constantly appeasing the British, trying without success to hold him back in Sicily. He halted Patton's army when it could have pushed straight through to Berlin and promoted Bradley over Patton.
Patton was constantly held in check, even though his strategies were far better than anything Ike and Bradley could pull off. Eisenhower was a politician who never experienced combat, and Bradley was never respected by the troops like Patton was. My grandfather was part of Patton's Third Army and had nothing but respect for him. The troops also loved his profane speeches, whereas Bradley was kind of an unknown element. The "GI General" nickname given to Bradley is nonsense and was pure baloney, created by Ernie Pyle.
George S. Patton was a great general. He beat General Montgomery to Sicily despite having to cover twice the distance. He also improved tank communications and invented the coaxial mount for tanks. As the leader of the Tank Corps, he won the first major tank battle. He captured 81,552 square miles of territory with the Third Army.
He also commanded the Seventh Army and the Tank Corps. I would argue that he was a better general than any other Allied general in WWII. To the commenter below me: he faced a force that was dug in and outnumbered him, after marching through snow for over a week to save a small army. Therefore, he does deserve to be on this list.
Fredrick won most, lost some, but in those losses, he could have lost many more but made sure not to. His wins are outstanding. In three of them, he was outnumbered by 2-1 and yet he still won by a landslide. He deserves a place in the top 10. Even Napoleon thought he was the best.
This man took the worst of situations and made the very best of them. Prussia had a strong military, and that was about it. It had divided territory, a weak economy, a small population, and a small land area compared to powers such as France and Russia. He proved to the world that Prussia was a force to be reckoned with and could easily contend with the larger European powers of the time.
Fredrick the Great had to fight off four massive powers: Russia, France, Sweden, and Austria. His army was extremely small compared to his enemies, but he proved that a smaller army could defeat a much larger force.
He pioneered what he called 'The Oblique Attack,' was studied and admired by Napoleon, and was able to defend Prussia against three European Empires allied against him with limited resources at his disposal.
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking. His works focus much more on alternatives to battle, such as stratagem, delay, the use of spies, and alternatives to war itself. These include the making and keeping of alliances, the uses of deceit, and a willingness to submit, at least temporarily, to more powerful foes.
Sun Tzu is often mistaken as a great tactician because of his book. Many people misunderstand, unfortunately. He was one of the great strategic minds, a genius, to be honest. Tactics win battles. Strategy wins wars, simple as that. Even in his book, most of his teachings focus on strategic leadership instead of tactics. The book is not completely devoid of tactical prowess, but it is lacking. I, however, believe he intended to make it a book about leadership (strategy) and not tactics. He was the leader of a unified army, not the general of a battle force like Rommel, Khalid Ibn El Walid, and many others.
He defined what it meant to be a general and taught the greatest how to be great. This man wrote the literal War Bible, which every great wartime leader after his time read. "The Art of War" was read all across the world and influenced many great (and slightly bad) men to create true strength behind their armies and lead forward with pride. He was such a fine general that he has transcended into a sort of myth. While his book exists, it is unknown whether he truly existed. That is what it means to be a legend.
Sun Tzu at number 18? What!? Alright, let's break it down. Sun Tzu is literally a model for modern strategy and even business. His legendary "Codex," I must say (The Art of War), reached the furthest corners of the globe, influencing the strategy of generals and leading many to victories at incredible odds. For example, consider the Vietnam War. He shaped history forever and simply deserves a higher place on this list. I'm sorry for my brevity and lack of description and reasoning, but such a man deserves at least a top 3 spot.
Manstein was easily the best general during World War II. "What about Eisenhower?" you may ask. Just look at how unorganized and chaotic D-Day was. On the other hand, Manstein is the reason Germany conquered France and held out as long as they did on the Eastern Front. The reason he failed was that Hitler didn't give him as much authority as he should have been given. He was also very brave, as he regularly spoke out when Hitler suggested a poor idea, something that most couldn't do. This political aspect also made him a very influential person during WWII.
Awesome guy. He literally could have helped Germany win WWII if not for Hitler (I don't even know why he's on the list. People like Von Moltke deserve to be here more than him). He wasn't an idiot like other German staff. He understood that tanks and airplanes were the future and was essentially Rommel's counterpart in the East, where people like Rommel were most needed. Although I agree this guy should be in the top 10, I still argue for Von Moltke the Elder to be on the list. He was 40 years ahead of his generation, established the first General Staff, understood tanks and logistics, and steamrolled both the Austrians and the French even with inferior equipment. He 'accidentally' sent only about 30,000 troops to deal with a 130,000-strong French army, and they still managed to secure a crushing victory.
A pure military genius, he could have won the Second World War for Nazi Germany had he been given the freedom of action that he so often requested from Hitler. His idea for an attack through the Ardennes led to an almost complete victory over France and her allies in 1940. In the East, he began distinguishing himself by conquering the most fortified port in the world at that time, Sevastopol, in a bloody fight.
Then he saved the southern part of the German Eastern front by conducting a masterful retreat in the winter of 1942-43, ultimately stopping the Soviet offensive in what is called the Third Battle of Kharkov. His defeat at Kursk was mostly caused by the inability of Army Group Center to put enough pressure on the northern part of the Soviet bulge. He nearly achieved a breakthrough into the enemy's rear, but was stopped by stiff Soviet resistance and Hitler's decision to halt Operation "Citadel."
In 1943-44, he showed good skills by inflicting huge Soviet casualties ...more
Probably the greatest strategic genius in WWII, he was able to fight many successful defensive battles against a massively superior enemy. If Hitler had allowed him freedom of action on the Eastern Front, we may have had an entirely different outcome. At the very least, it would have taken the Soviets far longer to push into Germany. Compared to him, Zhukov was a joke who only ever won a battle by outnumbering the Germans 10-1.
The greatest American general in history, and one of the greatest generals in human history, Ulysses S. Grant should be ranked higher. He was a strategic and tactical genius, as well as a logistical one, resulting in an undefeated record. Even Cold Harbor was not a true defeat. He directed multiple theaters and five armies across a continent by the end of the Civil War. First, he won the lower Midwest in a string of victories, then secured the Mississippi River at battles like Vicksburg, and finally defeated Lee in less than eight weeks to force a siege and ultimate victory. Although his reputation was tarnished by a persistent defamation campaign by Southern enthusiasts, the facts show otherwise. Grant was lionized in his time as one of the greatest generals, and that rightful reputation is gradually being restored.
Grant destroyed three enemy armies. He won victories when he had a larger army and when he was outnumbered. He immediately seized the initiative from Lee and kept him reactive until Lee surrendered. Unlike Lee, Grant's victories were decisive. He also nurtured a brilliant group of subordinates and replaced incompetents swiftly. Unlike Lee, he coordinated armies on multiple fronts, not just his own. He stands as America's best general.
Perhaps one of the most underrated generals in American history, Ulysses S. Grant excelled at understanding the broader goals of a campaign. While he may not have inflicted high casualties in the Overland and Petersburg campaigns, his victories always served a greater strategic purpose. He destroyed three enemy armies, fostered great leadership under him, and in many ways won the war for the Union.
Before confronting Lee's army, Grant was not known as a butcher. Statistics show that Lee lost a far higher percentage of his troops. The label of butcher was applied to Grant only when he was required to pit his troops against entrenched forces. These forces were hoping that public opinion in the North would eventually sway, at least before Grant's army achieved success.
As a boy, David killed a lion with his bare hands. He then killed a bear. His first battle was fought against the Philistines, in which he saved the Israelite army from certain doom by slaying a fully armed 9'9 warrior with just a slingshot. He also conducted a campaign against the Philistines in which he killed thousands.
David then successfully invaded the lands of the Geshurites, Gezrites, and the Amalekites. The Amalekites retaliated by capturing his wives and many more people, which prompted King David to defeat them in a hostage rescue. Later on in his career, David took the city of Jebus and renamed it Jerusalem. Soon after David was crowned King of Israel, the Philistines attacked but were unsuccessful.
Israel then faced the Philistines and their allies - the Moabites, Zobah, Syria, and Edom. Not only were they defeated, but David conquered all of their lands and enslaved their people. Another war erupted when the Ammonites tortured Israelite messengers, ...more
King David, the great-grandfather of the Arab Jews from Jordan and Palestine - not the Ashkenazi Russian Jews - had the greatest kingdom that ever existed. God gave him rule over all beings, including humans, animals, plants, the wind, and demons.
A strong leader and powerful on the battlefield. As king, he brought order to Israel and expanded its territory, defeating many long-time enemies. He wasn't the perfect leader, but he was a good one nonetheless.
He was an ancestor to Messiah (Jesus Christ) and foresaw and wrote prophecies about the Messiah in the Psalms (in the Bible) as God's millennial king who will bring peace and prosperity to the world!
He could stand up to Stalin, a merciless, paranoid dictator, and walk away alive on every occasion. He commanded the defenses of Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad - the most important battle in modern history - and drove the Germans all the way back to Berlin, where they signed an unconditional surrender to the Soviet Union and the Allies.
A general beloved by the Soviets, respected, and even admired by the West, he is the greatest general of modern history and quite possibly the reason the USSR won the Eastern Front, and with it, the Second World War as a whole.
Thanks to him, along with Patton, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Montgomery, Rokossovsky, Konev, Marshall, Nimitz, Vassilevsky, Govorov, and Alexander, great leaders like Roosevelt, Papa Stalin, Churchill, Chairman Mao, and Kai-Shek could lead their countries to defeat two of the worst empires in history. They prevented countries like America, England, Australia, India, and the rest of the Soviet Union from being invaded and annexed by the Japanese and Germans during the war. God bless them all. They will never be forgotten.
Without him, this list would be in German. In all seriousness, he inherited an army of peasants and obsolete tanks and never lost a battle with them. Rzhev was a stalemate that resulted in a German retreat. In the process, he transformed the Red Army into the largest and best army in history, complete with shock troopers, guardsmen, and snipers, who were arguably the best troops of the war by the end.
Stalin's very own Rommel, his strategies proved useful in taking out Hitler's panzer and ground forces. He was even a friend of Eisenhower, and if the Cold War had never happened, they would have been good friends. Also, why wasn't he considered as a candidate for Premier?
Attila, the Scourge of God, was the ruler of the Hunnic Empire from 434 to 453. This empire stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his reign, he was one of the most feared enemies of both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. He crossed the Danube twice, plundered the Balkans, and invaded the Eastern Roman Empire. He also attempted to conquer Roman Gaul (modern France) and invaded Italy, devastating its northern provinces. However, he was unable to take Rome. He had plans for further campaigns against the Romans, but he died in 453.
Ponder this: Rome fell due to the invasions of multiple large Germanic tribes, including the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Anglo-Saxons. It takes incredibly formidable people to accomplish that feat. So why did they even try? Because Attila had already defeated them. In short, he was more formidable than the tribes that conquered what many consider to be the greatest empire of all time.
Attila brought the Roman Empire to its knees. It took the full force of the Romans, Visigoths, and Alans to fight the Huns and achieve a stalemate. They did not defeat him. It was a draw. Three armies were pitted against him, and none emerged victorious. How then can people rate him below George S. Patton?
At a time when what some claim to be the greatest empire ever existed, Attila was the man who struck fear into everyone's hearts. Can this be said about anyone else? No. So why is he not in the top 3?
A national hero of Russia, Generalissimo, Field Marshal General of the Holy Roman Empire, and Great Marshal of the Piedmontese troops, Alexander Vasilievich Suvorov, also known as Count Suvorov-Rymniksky and Prince of Italy, is a Russian general and founder of Russian military theory. In total, he fought in more than 60 battles and did not lose a single one. He repeatedly defeated enemy forces that were significantly superior in numbers. He was also known for his great care for his soldiers.
Soldiers are the lifeblood of the army. Suvorov promoted hygiene and self-reliance among his troops. This led to high morale among his men, who were healthy and able. He spent much time personally training and teaching his soldiers how to think, without relying on corporal punishment. He lived to the age of 70, dying of old age after leading a successful campaign against revolutionary France the year before.
People, no offense, but Suvorov is a general who should at least be on par with Napoleon in terms of skill level. In fact, he would be able to defeat Napoleon if they met on the battlefield. This is because he had better cavalry and infantry, as well as superior conditioning and training compared to Napoleon's forces. Napoleon would only outperform Suvorov in an artillery barrage. However, due to his superior cavalry and infantry, which are responsible for most kills, Suvorov would be able to secure victory after several hours of tough melee combat - just like he always did.
Easily the greatest Russian general, Suvorov repeatedly defeated Ottoman forces at a time when Turkish troops were considered superior to the Europeans, despite always being outnumbered. He liberated Ukraine, Crimea, and Moldova. Had it not been for the collaboration of Britain, France, and Austria with the Turks, he would have also freed Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Constantinople.
I don't know why Cyrus isn't the first. Alexander doesn't compare. His empire crumbled rapidly. Cyrus united people from tribes and empires across the known globe and managed them well. He is the only non-Jew to be considered a messiah in Jewish scripture. He created the very first declaration on human rights. He handled everything with great diplomacy and spread order across the world. When diplomacy didn't work, he managed to destroy and consume everything in his path. He dethroned the world, yet still respected the people he conquered. Even the fearsome Spartans were afraid of him.
He conquered the Medes, Babylon, Lydia, the Chaldeans, Croesus, and many Greek nation-states of his time. The empire he founded was truly the largest of its time, and many nations accepted him as their sovereign without a single shed of blood. What makes him great is not how many cities, nations, or empires he defeated, but how he governed them. His subjects were free to govern themselves, pray to their own gods, and have their own beliefs. The empire was stable, safe, and the economy and wealth flourished for every one of his subjects. He was the first emancipator and truly the first great general-king. If only other generals and kings had followed his lead.
This is basically the guy who single-handedly formed the first empire the world had ever seen, and the largest to date. At the peak of his power as the undisputed king of the Persian Empire, he ruled over four-fifths of the known world in his thirties. He created the first human rights laws and excelled not only in warfare but also in governance and economics. He freed slaves and Jews, protected people under the rule of law, and pioneered city and country landscaping and building. He became an obsession, and in some ways, the idol of Alexander the Great before he was known as the Great. To this day, his influence is seen in countries other than Iran. So many countries have Zoroastrians and many more speak some form of the Farsi dialect. Yet he's not glorified in movies and Hollywood like everyone else. He should be number one on this list. He was the first super military leader the world had ever seen.
He was the first to be titled "the Great." He also completely destroyed three empires against all odds. The Spartans themselves threatened Cyrus that if he were to touch any Greek city-state, he would be attacked. However, after one of Cyrus's satraps conquered some more Greek territory, the Spartans did nothing.
He took on the mantle of Moses and led the Hebrews to victory. He stayed loyal to his God and to his principles, which allowed him to masterfully and brilliantly conquer the land of Canaan, thereby establishing the land of Israel.
As great as it can be, men's strength comes from this world. Joshua's strength comes from a domain above. For anyone interested in real power, this is the man you should look into.
Although he was awesome, Joshua won because God was with him. For example, consider the walls of Jericho. So, I suppose this is more of a vote for God than for Joshua himself.
He was courageous as a young man, and like David, trusted God, who fought for him.
Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror, was a highly skilled and successful military commander. He is best known for his conquest of Constantinople in 1453, which marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.
Mehmed II was a strategic and innovative leader. He used a combination of military tactics, siege engines, and psychological warfare to capture Constantinople, a city that had been considered impenetrable for centuries. His success in this endeavor is a testament to his military prowess and tactical skill.
In addition to his conquest of Constantinople, Mehmed II also led successful military campaigns against other neighboring states, including Serbia, Bosnia, and Wallachia. His military successes were driven by his ability to inspire his troops, his tactical genius, and his willingness to adopt new technologies and strategies.
Overall, Mehmed II is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history, and his ...more
Mehmed II is the person who conquered the unconquerable. He conquered Constantinople. The formidable fortress was the last stronghold of the Byzantine Empire and by far the hardest to conquer. He became the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire when he was 19 years old. From the very first day, he spoke of nothing but conquering. He was determined and always had faith in Allah. Mehmed learned 28 languages when he was very young. He used strategies to make his way. He was intelligent and brave, merciful to the poor and rich alike, but ruthless to the evil.
The phrase "the Byzantines were on their last legs" is the same excuse brought up in 90% of defeats. In the distant future, I wouldn't be surprised if someone claimed, "France barely had an army when it fell to Germany." For anyone, literally anyone, intrigued by warfare, the number of meticulously crafted plans by the 21-year-old is simply jaw-dropping. From poisoning to amphibious ships, psychological warfare, to the use of massive artillery at the time - this all shows that Constantinople (the city targeted by Muslims for six centuries by then) was no small enemy. And even if it "supposedly" was, the tactical and strategical genius of Sultan Muhammad Al-Fateh shows that he was and is one of the best in history.
His name is Sultan Muhammad Al-Fateh, ruler of the Ottoman Empire and conqueror of the Byzantine Empire. He besieged Constantinople, the most impregnable city in the world, for months. In the end, he ordered a European military engineer to develop a very large cannon, bring it across the Bosphorus Straits, and bombard the city wall. He is a very pious Muslim ruler.