Most Powerful Militaries of All Time

The Top Ten

1 USA 1941-Present

I have studied and taught history for many years now. The best quote about the power of the United States was summed up by one man. After the attack on the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese military celebrated their surprise victory. However, as the legend goes Japanese Admiral Yamamoto who had spent several years in the U.S. said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Yamamoto was referring to the industrial power, the economic capabilities, the potential of overwhelming military power, the vastness of America's natural resources, and above all the spirit of its people, that he knew only free men and women have. Today the United States spends more money on its military than the next 10 countries combined. The U.S. is a member of the strongest alliance in history (NATO). To give a brief example of actually power compared to the rest of the world, the United States has over 20 aircraft ...more

Of course the US Army was the most powerful and still is with the invention of the atomic bomb. But are they really in the decisions, which all of us are feeling today? So, the germans haven't had the atomic bomb and still don't own it, even though rumors say, they can produce one in five minutes. Keep that in mind, could be true.But this is not the topic.

What I want to say is, that the Americans were of course the best in producing ressources, but not the best nation in science, they stole a lot of scientists of Germany, by granting them a free life after the crimes they did, like Wernher von Braun.So the industrial superpower of the united states made america the number one, if they wouldn't have that advantage they would have lost it.

My problem here is, that the Germans offered a side by side fight to the US Military to them, to fight back Russians and they refused, which led to the cold war and the thread of Russia, China, North Korea and so on. I mean Germany ...more

The United States military is the most advanced military as of now, and that's thanks to defeating the overly powerful Nazi regime with their allies, they've been the global super power since and have shown that in their ability to outrun the Soviet Union with their unreal military and economic budgets, they rid the Western Hemisphere from colonization and protect the great continents of North and South America from foreign powers. This is a nation that has been beyond powerful since their revolution, whether you believe it or not, they were a sleeping giant even during the 19th century, wars trained our troops, not camps, the Civil War and Spanish and Mexican-American Wars proved that our nation was able to defend and fight, when World War I came, we outsmarted both sides and let them beat each other up, then develop an advanced military quickly and finish it off. World War II we DESTROYED 2 SUPER POWERS ON 2 SIDES OF THE WORLD, considering a lot of the defeat of Japan was thanks to ...more

Defeated the British, spanish, Mexicans, Nazis Germany, Japanese, Russians, fascists italy, and German empire, and Austro-Hungarian Empire.

2 Nazi Germany 1933-1945


The German Wehrmacht was by far THE MOST POWERFUL military force in Europe during WWII, the Blitzkrieg allowed them to take down France. Although the USSR defeated the Nazis, they suffered more casualties than any other country in the war.Unfortunately, along with the Nazi regime also died the era of German might.

As an American Vet, I'd still have to say the Nazi Army was the best military to walk the Earth. It took the whole world to take down Germany. Now, if the U.S. fought the Nazis alone, I don't think either Army would win.

There is no need to say, that the Nazis were stupid and that they could have been a more powerful army at their time, without any doubt. They dodged their intellectual elite, by saying Jews are the enemy and missed some technological advantages, by Hitler being a lunatic and not seeing the real benefits in it. At their time they were the most advanced country on earth, which makes all of what happened even more strange, scary and just wondering, why. But it was the losing in WW1 and the disrespect of the winners which even allowed to get Germany a second chance on the battlefield. At least a lot of Germans felt that. And they were right, like this period has taught us. I mean, which army today needs the hate of all world against it, to get defeated? So imagine, they weakened themselves and still were able to perform a war like this...

Everything to defeat them was invented in Germany, just imagine, that it was just Hitler, who made the German win impossible, because he left his ...more

3 Mongol Empire 1206-1368

No European or American army can match their courageous acts of conquering the entire known world more than the mongols they pillage and sack more cities and erase most of civilized society than any other army previously or after.

Genghis Khan "Chiggis Khan" was unstoppable and merciless who stand on his way. Genghis Khan was kind and merciful who want to serve him. Genghis Khan's vision of Silk road opened us another way to living life and his vision gave us religion freedom first time in human history. Khan was great warrior, great leader, great strategic personality, and also born to be King of World. In Secret History of Mongols Genghis Khan said: "If there is one sun, our world will have one Great King". Lots of people says Genghis Khan was brutal, but what about other mid era king and empires?. 1 in every 200 men descendant of Genghis Khan. Before say something bad every man should take the Y-DNA test. I'm from Mongolia. Also descendant of Genghis Khan proven by Y-DNA result. - Henryotgoo

Yep, the second largest empire and the largest land empire of all time, conquered a quarter of the world's population, absolutely annihilating armies of much more advanced empires who outnumbered them ten to one, best fighting force of all time.

They were insurmountable as a military force at the height of their power, not because their tech was better, or their numbers greater, but because their tactics were superior and their brute force overwhelming. Undoubtedly the greatest conquerors in history!

4 British Empire 1800-1939

The British Empire had a powerful army that obtained them the role of"global policeman" for a while (Over a Century) and allowed them to create the most powerful and largest empire that has ever existed.

Rule Brittania

It was the greatest empire of all time and took over most of the world. The Nazis were not a powerful army due to their idiotic decisions, the Mongol empire was no match for the scale of the British empire and the USA is not one of the most powerful army's ever because of their small scale and is not comparable with army's that fought hundreds of years ago.

He'll definitely - Unnamed Google User Remade

5 Soviet Union 1941-1991

They technically saved the world from the Nazis.

The Red Army had good leadership and was well equipped.

Not to mention their fierce determination, of course.

They had 48,000 of one type of tank alone! When the axis wiped out all there troops, there were EVEN MORE TROOPS, they almost had more tanks than the axis had bullets! They should be number 1!

Easily could compete with US
remember, the Soviets werent prepared for war against the Nazis, but somehow came on top anyway
also they could destroy anyone with their nuclear weapons and the Tsar Bomba, which is the most deadly weapon of all time
Th Soviets don't deserve a #5
they deserve a top 2!

I would have put the Soviet Union at number 2 due to their nuclear capability (the Soviet Union had the 2nd largest nuclear stockpile on the planet at 55000+, while the United States of America had 70000+, but, we also have the consider the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear detonation in history, which was actually detonated at half of it's potential power as they removed the U-238 Tamper which increased it's explosion power to 100 megatons because if they detonated the Tsar Bomba with 100 megaton potential power then it would have destroyed the plane which dropped it as it was trying to fly away from the explosion) and their ability to overtake the American's at the beginning of the space race with the launch of Sputnik into orbit around the Earth. This proves that they were the only empire/union that was able to be the rival the United States of America, hell, the United States of America was terrified with the "Red Scare", and the American people thought that their country ...more

6 Empire of Japan 1905-1941

They never would surrendered and had conquered China at one point before stupidly attacking Pearl Harbor and throwing it all away

It took a lot of armies to beat them, and they were all alone. They didn't need any help. - Deadamanwonderlandgi

NO! It didn't ended at 1941 but at 1945
Remember the history that pass away and did not wasted or rotted... - The_Raging_Calidonian_Bull

Need to learn how to surrender because they never surrender. Rather kamize or die for their country to surrender to the enemy.

7 Dai Viet Army 1228-1300

Deserves to be at least be in top three

Defeated Chinese several times, Mongols Empire, then Chinese again, as well as France + Korea + Japan in the 1945s, the US in the 1975s, and Chinese again

Impressive army that sent the Mongols running back to Mongolia.

Great Viet Army is its meaning

8 Roman Empire 27BC-476AD

Because the Roman empire

It's bloody Rome, what kind of pillaging and conquering nation couldn't have an army to match?

The Roman Army should be rated at the top, as the most powerful force in World History, as its forces ruled the civilized world for over 700 years. The influence on European culture and Architecture/Engineering, is attributed to the Latin people of Rome. The majority of Eurpoean languages (Spanish, French, Portugese, Romanian) are derived from the Latin language of Italy.

Roma of course

9 Viet Cong 1954-1976

Oh god the flashbacks

America never, LOST vietnam, we never declared war and were more of a giant police force rather than army, to achieve victory, one must surrender or be conquered.

I hate to admit it, but these soldiers were very brave to take on the US. Not only that but to take on the US and win! They were both cowardly and cunning.

The nation was so poor they harly could afford to buy guns, so they defeated their enemies by mostly using booby traps. How many armies can say they've done that? - sdoggys

10 Spanish Empire 1492-1975

The Spanish Empire was the first empire of global extent. It controlled modern day, South America, Central America, Mexico, Southwest America and Northern Africa. In its peak it was wealthier and stronger than England, France and Portugal. It's power is displayed by it's language having 460 million speakers the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin. When Philip II was in power The Spanish Empire most definitely ruled the world. After it's defeat on Jul 29, 1588 along with a series of civil wars marked the decline of the Empire.

Just over 500 Spanish soldiers brought down an empire of over a million people.

The first modern empire

The first empire where the sun never sunset!

The Contenders

11 Ottoman Empire 1299-1808

Is the best

Even at the weakest times of Turkey and strongest times of United Kingdom in 1. World War, English army lost at Kut-el Amare and Gallipoli. (Only 2 battlefield Eng army lost in 1. World War.)

The strongest ever.

I think there is a mistake on the list. Because there are many things that have changed by Turk's, in Ottomans period of reign. For instance, it is accepted that when the Turk's conquered the Constantinopole(Istanbul) the middle age has ended, The Byzantine Empire ended and a new period of time has begun. The Ottomans ruled 24 million square kilometers. And they were had the strongest army in its time.

12 Russian Empire 1721-1905

Russian Empire defeated Swedish, Polish, Ottoman, Persian, French Empires. - darkraid1

Russia defeated most armies on this list

Russians defeated Mongolia, France and Germany.


13 Caliphates 632-1258

Sure no match to any empire since the inception of mankind
The most powerful the most magnificent

It should be on first because of great army and their best ever ruling era and services for the people they ruled.

Spread religion and science

It should be 1st

14 Persian Empire 550BC-651AD

Persia stronk

49% of the then know world population lived under the Persian empire.

Cyrus the Great conquered all of the land that would be called Persia in a very small amount of time. (He gave freedom to all the slaves in Persia as well).

Worlds biggest empire with 49% of worlds population

15 Kingdom of Macedonia 808-168 BC

The world has never seen a greater ruler/warrior than Alexandra The Great

Greatest ever!

Alexander The Great had superior tactics that gave him great advantages even when outflanked!

Conquered the whole known land in its era

16 German First world war Army 1914-1918

The Spring Offensive of 1918 was a miraculous feat after 4 years of stalemate, for a country essentially already exhausted and all but defeated. They steamrolled Russia, and fought 2 other empires battles for them. 3 huge allied powers alone couldn't defeat them, it was only with the help of the USA and the depletment of resources that Germany lost.

Ww2 German Military is actually quite overrated, first is the fact that most of Nazi Germany’s transportation relied on horse drawn vehicles. Second was the lack of equipment, many of the Nazis divisions were armed below the standards of the Imperial German army in 1918, when Germany was lacking many resources. Germany was forced to fight on a two front war against the other great powers of Europe, and almost won, only lost due to incompetent strategy, which is did have in the Franco-Prussian war. It defeated the Russian Empire and would have overrun the French Republic, and had a navy that could even rival the might of the British navy. It also had the best economy in 1914, which helped its army a lot, they also had a relatively good Air Force, and at one point had complete aerial superiority over the British and and French Empire. They could have, in fact, won the war if the US didn’t get involved, without American imports that allies would have starved and without the American ...more

Very powerful country to take on French British and Russian, and all the co belligerents. There artillery helped them gain massive casualties. They would have won if they had more allies. Also they only attacked the USA, Portugal because they were trading with the entente.

In a war in which they were up against the British Empire, The French Republic, Russian Empire, and the United States of America, they still managed to last 4 years and all they had to help was the dying Austria-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empires both of which would be gone even if there wasn't a war. German Military Doctrine was really impressive, if the Kaiser had been smarter diplomatically the German Reich would likely still be around to this day.

17 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1386-1795

The Winged Hussars were at that point, the most powerful cavalry known to man.

Wiped out countless numbers of enemies with forces half the size

Took fighting on 3 fronts to destroy it because it allowed more freedom to its citizens than Prussia, Russia and Austria Hungary - first constitution in Europe.

In my opinion this was stronger than a lot of other countries on this list

18 First French Empire 1804-1814

The Grande Armee rampaged across Europe unchallenged for an entire decade, until cold and typhus (rather than enemy armies) destroyed it in Russia. It was one of the most formidable fighting force ever assembled, with extremely experienced soldiers (some of whom had been fighting constantly for 20 years) and fearless generals who took part in the killing with their sword during cavalry charges. Between 1805 and 1815, Napoleon's Grande Armee a level of dominance over Europe that had not been witnessed since Ancient Rome.

Napoleon's army was led by a genius emperor and they only lost because everyone in europe was teaming against them

Won more major battles than any other military in history, and were the basis for all modern military strategy after it.

The victory record of Napoleon is over the top, his tactics have been copied by everyone after him.

19 Swedish Empire 1611-1721

A nation with a very small population DOMINATED almost the whole of balticum against enemies 10x their size.

The Swedish beat Russia and Finland several times and even colonized New York and New Jersey

The caroleans were the best trained soldiers in Europe at their time

The caroleans were strongly religious, in preparation of every battle prayed the carolean army together with their king. The king also lead the army personally into battle with no thought for his own personal safety, this gave the army the highest moral possible.

You shall not get hit by any bullet ouch cur by any sword if it not to be the will of god! -Gustavus adolphus.

20 Sikh Empire 1799-1849

Best empire of the world. No discrimination on religion. A period of prosperity.

Sikhs are so strong but so forgiving. They fought over millions and millions even though there was so very few of them. They are super strong and will sacrifice so much. They will always help you and they will never give up, ever. They had to fight so much and were so strong withought even though they did not have enough food water or a big army there army only consisted of 100 and they still won they should be crowned BEST ARMY IN THE WORLD.

They always fought against injustice but never started war by themselves.

Also known for being God's army.

21 Prussian Army 1701-1918


Personally I think Prussia should be way higher on the list as during their time they where almost undefeated winning against a lot of historically powerful countries like the French,polish, and Austrian empires.

They are the best in the world!

The Prussian military doctrine was the best of the Napoleonic era, and its mighty spirit to fight comes directly from the times of the order of the Teutonic Knights. Late 19th century, in the Shadows of the recently created German Empire, its technological breakthrough surpasses even mighty British Empire, and in early 20th century, in the battlefields of the Great war Germany... Prussia! show the world again, its mighty and superior power.

22 Indian National Army 1942

There is a reason the sea beside Mediterranean is named bay of bengal. Even in times of rome

They fought for many countries and won. They alsoare more powerful than any other empire in my opinion.

This is the first military forces of India founded by our great national hero of India, Subhash Chandra Bose. This became very powerful when the Britishers were colonizing India. During world war 2, the Britishers became little weak because the INA (Indian National Army) had attacked and won battle of Impahal, where the the Britishers were winning war. They won all the battles against those Britishers and today, it rose up as the 4th powerful army in the whole world. It can defeat many countries (except US army, Russian army and Chinese army as they are more powerful). It is more powerful than Ottoman Empire and the Mongols.

23 Israeli Army 1948-1982

Defeated the armies of all arab countries with a country just formed and an army that was outnumbered. Then did so again during a war that was so swift it lasted for only 6 days, crushing forces that were much superio of many arab states.

24 Maurya Empire 322-187 BC

Maurya is the best impaire in world. Biggest army in the world. If they wanted then whole world would be won by them.

The empire which had army that controlled all of the indian subcontinent present day india, pakistan,bangladesh and some part of afghanistan.

25 Grande Armée 1804-1815

The greatest ever

Because it was the most courage and dominant in europe continent

26 The Australian Army 2014

"They wiped out everyone with their fitness but lacked in fire power but ruled every country in the northern hemisphere for one whole year!

Dominated many battles in vietnam..

27 Russian Army 1991-today

The best army...VODKA<<<<<<<<VODKA<<<<<<<VODKA

28 Communist Chinese 1930-today

They wrecked the Japanese dream of taking China. At the end of ww2, they were outnumbered by the nationalists 10:1! But their guerrilla tactics and suicide training helped them to kick the nationalists out of mainland China to Taiwan. This is why the poeple's republic of China exists to this day.

29 Regio Esercito Italiano 1870-1946

Won against a bunch of Ethiopia

Defeated the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Won over all;-)

30 Tang Dynasty 618 - 905

Arguably the most powerful Chinese dynasty. Funny how all these nomadic armies took so many top spots, but the Tang army defeated the Turkic and Mongols and made their land protectorates. At its peak the empire stretched all the way from Korea to the Ural sea, uncontested as the most powerful state in the world at one point.

31 Ethiopian Army 747–721 BC (25th Dynasty)

-of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt who ruled Egypt from 747 because to c.  722 because. ruled from the city of Napa ta, located deep in Nubia, modern-day Sudan.
-most powerful militarizes Ethiopia that ruled ancient Egypt for 300 years straight.

32 Belgian Army 1870

Belgian lives matter

33 British Navy 15th - 20th Century

Francis Drake defeating Spanish Armada!

The navy that destroyed the might Spanish armada making it the new world power.

Was used to put many indigenous populations in its knees to make them part of its might colonial empire which made tr country as strong as it could be

Destroyed Napoleons Bonaparte whole entire naval fleet

Was feared by the might Germans during world war I and resulted in the major naval clashes between the British and the Germans during the two world wars.

34 China Qin Dynasty Army 600BC to 200BC

Qin Army of the 1st Emperor of China.

The strongest army in history of all time!

The army that united all of China

35 Frankish Empire 500 - 900 AD

Strongest nation of its time at its height.

36 British Empire 1706-1815

They were one of he greatest armies at its peak. It won in the Seven Years War against one of the greatest empires, The French Empire. They then took a downfall when they lost the Americans Revolution and then tied the US in The War of 1812


37 Tay Son Dynasty of Vietnam 1753-1792

Defeated 30 Qing Chinese armies and 20 Siamese armies.

38 Germanic barbarians 400-500AD


39 Taiwan 1945-2017
40 Austria-Hungary 1867-1900

Austria-Hungary was indeed a strong country back in the day, it was in the top list of powers (although on the bottom), it was certainly a force to be reckoned with, though it was VERY ethnically divided, and that's what brought it down in the First World War, maybe if It left World War one earlier it would be higher up on this list. - AstraHang


41 The Black Legion of Hungary 1455-1499

The Black Legion was a mercenary army under Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, which was made up of Bohemian, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Swiss, and German mercenaries. The army was one of the earliest medieval professional armies which at its height of 28,000 men was the largest, most advanced, and well trained army in Europe.
The army conquered Vienna (something the Ottoman army failed at twice) and Much of Austria, Bohemia, Transylvania, and Croatia. Unlike most armies of the time, the Black Legion used fire arms more predominantly with a arquebus per four men.

42 Zaporozhian Cossacks

The Zaporozhian Cossacks can be classified as one of the most defensive militaries of all time, because in their time, the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was trying to takeover their land, but the Cossacks did not let that happen, they fought till the last breath, leading to Hetman Bogdan khmelnitsky to free up most of Ukraine from their tyranny. Not only did they fight off a European superpower, but they also insulted the sultan of the ottoman empire as well; the sultan sent them a letter telling them to surrender their land, to which they replied with a letter briefly saying "kiss our a**". After that letter, the Cossacks went on a naval campaign to save their fellow Cossacks from Turkeys hands And didn't fail a single time.They definitely should be a higher because of how well they fought these superpowers as a tiny union.

43 Waasuloom Empire of Samori Toure 1870s to 1900

Produce the Greatest Resistance to European Imperialism in Africa and the first to use modern warfare, a combining both conventional and gorilla tactics against the European colonisers. This Empire under the genius Samori Toure with little capacity resisted and defeated the French for many years. An Empire covering Parts of Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Gambia, and Ivory Coast with an approximate area like France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Belgium and Holland... Morebeside producing someform of homemade Fireman.

44 Serbian Empire 1346-1371

One of the most strongest empire's in the world at that time,conquering almost the whole balkans and turning the byzantine empire into ruins

45 Spartans 900BC-192BC

Spartans were bred for battle, they may not have been taking over the world at the time, but they were effective as an individual and as a unit. Spartans were the most powerful military of all time, I can't imagine what they would have been capable of if they had the numbers of other armies.

I figured they would have a better ranking

An army should be rated by how effective it was per soldier. Though the Spartans almost never outnumbered their opponent, they did kill the most amount of enemies per soldier in their army. If you had recruited a million of these guys, the world would've been yours.

Were a fearless army that never backed down, retreated or surrendered

46 Kalmar Union 1387-1526

The Danish led Kalmar Union saw its rise under the Danish queen Margrethe 1. During the next 150 years the Union was the absolute master of Northen Europe with one of the strongest fleets of the time. Despite of the short life of the Union it is a worthy contester to one of the most powerful unionens of Europe.

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