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 Who are the top 5 military tacticians, from any time period? (70)

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Houston(187) pic



Who are the top 5 military tacticians, from any time period?

I am a big fan of military tacticians, Hannibal, Alexander, Napoleon, Rommel, etc. But, in your opinion, who are the 5 best?

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2 points

In my opinion...

1.Alexander the Great of Macedon

2.Hannibal of Carthage

3.Napolean of France

4.Irwin Rommel of Nazi Germany

5.Hamilcar Barca (Hannibal's father)

Side: AHNIR
DaWolfman(3322) Disputed
1 point

Napoleon? The fool had his men march to their demise in Russia. He was the first name I thought of and then I remembered how his legacy ended.

Side: my top fizzle
cwmdulais(188) Disputed
1 point

yah but he looked pimpin during the whole thing

http://library.gmu.edu/resources/french/ napoleon%20horse.jpg

Side: my top fizzle
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

He conquered a good bit of Europe. But yes, the Ruskies wiped his ass...

Side: my top fizzle
trumpeter93(999) Disputed
1 point

Why don't you have Patton on there? Rommel was good, but he got defeated by Patton several times.

Side: my top fizzle
1 point

Sorry, most of my knowledge lies in ancient times, (Greece, Rome, Carthage, Persia etc.) I don't know who Patton is (I'll google him in a sec). Anyways, there are famous generals who have lost battles. Hannibal was defeated by Rome at the battle of Zama, but Hannibal is often refereed to as one of the greatest generals in history.

Side: my top fizzle
Asalieri(1) Disputed
1 point

Patton never faced Rommel on the battlefield. Rommel committed suicide in 1944, well before Patton ever had high command. History fail.

Side: my top fizzle
2 points

1.Sun Tzu

2. Alex

3. Ghengis

4. Caesar

5. Atilla

For anyone that wants to disprove Sun Tzu, he is the father of warfare, deal with it.

Ghengis: took over half of the damn world

Alex: Same shit different day.

Caesar: ....

Atilla: ...

Side: my top fizzle
Uspwns101(444) Disputed
1 point

how can you be the father of warfare??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Side: my top fizzle
1 point

I bet the five best Starcraft players in the world could take out any famous tactician without breaking a sweat. Yes, war in the real world is different than war in computer games -- but think about it...

Historically there was only a small pool of people that could command an army -- the ruling class. If you were a general, you were only competing against, say, 1000 other elites from around the world. Contrast that with modern wargames, where nearly anyone in the world can play, and you can see that the best players are setting themselves apart from a much fiercer competition.

Also, think of the speed with which people these days can fight virtual battles. They can go online and be fighting in just seconds. They can fight several battles back to back, trying out a myriad of tactics and learning to deal with many different combat situations. Whereas back in the day, months could go by between battles, and wars might only break out once or twice in a general's career.

Side: They're alive today
DaWolfman(3322) Disputed
1 point

Though that sounds good on paper.

They don't actually know how to command real men, sure they know how to highlight some people with their mouse and right click them over there. But that isn't how real battles are fought.

There are real dangers that have to be considered, the weight of peoples' lives rest on your shoulders.

Side: They're alive today

This is the a valid argument but what about the actual reality that computer players don't face. The actual face of death.

Side: They're alive today
Mrhamburger(4) Disputed
1 point

You must be joking, a PC gamer who plays Starcraft could defeat Alexander the Great? You're not taking into account real life issues.

1.These PC gamers never ran a country in their life Alexander the Great was raised to be able to run a whole empire effectively. That already says something. 2. The PC gamers don't know the first thing about Morale, what terrain is suitable to attack from, how to position each squad, or even what strategy would work in real life. Also supply lines and rations must be taken into account as well. Throw a PC gaming nerd into a battle without any drilling or training for their job as a general and they would fail spectacularly.

Alexander the Great's Phalanx army would beat any PC gamers army even when outnumbered two to one considering they had a similarly equipped army. Especially considering that PC gamers were not born in Alexander's time period, they wouldn't be able to know each soldiers strength and weaknesses in each situation. They might even make the mistake of sending cavalry to attempt to route an enemy in mountainous terrain, which is very unsuitable for cavalry. Or be tricked into trying to route an enemy that is feigning retreat. In fact I bet you that Alexander the Great could beat their army pitted at 1 to 4 odds. Since you proclaim that they can beat any famous Military leader in the world.

Another good point to bring up, the small gathering 12 units type combat of Starcraft Vs. a real life army of say over 10,000 soldiers is vastly different on so many levels, especially considering that none of Starcraft's units are even existent in real life. There are two types of major military classes in Alexander's age, the mounted men and the phalanxes. To say the PC gamer would even know how to use these men effectively is far over-exaggerating their ability.

Also the ruling class doesn't always decide whether you become a general or not. Sometimes, (depending on the age you lived in) yes the ruling class dictated if you can become a general or not, but that isn't always the case, considering the roman classical ages, any soldier that shows promise as a great general can become one. Of course they have to rank their way up to prove their worth. It's also increddibly ridiculous to consider that they can best Julius Caesar the man who won the Battle of Alesia, the battle in which he fought numbers 3-5 times his size (depending on the source) all the while fighting while being surrounded by the enemy! He did this 52 BC by the way.

I have yet to find somebody more of a worthy of a General than Caesar, maybe with the possible exception of Alexander the Great. Also as a final note I didn't list Sun Tzu as an example of a Great General as there is ongoing controversy on whether on not he even existed at all.

Side: They're alive today
jessald(1915) Disputed
1 point

Obviously they would need to learn the mechinations of real world combat; but they would be able to pick them up much more quickly and effectively than most people. Because they're really, really smart. It would be much easier for a rocket scientist to become a pro baseball player than the other way around, because the rocket scientist would be smart enough to aquire the necessary abilities.

You're romanticizing these old generals. Legends make people seem more impressive than they actually are. The key point is that Alexander was only competeing against a few thousand people at most. He was good, no doubt, but being #1 out of a thousand is nothing compared to being #1 out of a million. Even if your dubious claim that any soldier could become a powerful general (if only he got the chance) is true, you would still end up with a vastly smaller pool of competitors due to the fact that the vast majority of bold soldiers end up dead.

Side: They're alive today
Nikar(27) Disputed
1 point

You have a valid point but you also said that games are different from real battles. Games are different, games are simpler. In a real battle there are many factors and not all of them are directly connected to solely fighting such factors range from rations and moral to political consequence like fighting civil wars were casualties have to be kept to a minimum on the opposing side as well.

Side: They're alive today
TwistedSpoon(1) Disputed
1 point

Genghis Khan was not born as the leader of a nation. Alexander had a small pool of land and conquered so much. There is merit in what you are saying, but I would put it the other way round. A general should get experience through video games.

Another thing;

Starcraft players specialise in futuristic warfare. Total war battles would have a bit more merit, due to more realistic time periods/units, etc.

Civilizations were also built from the ground up, you need more than computer games experience and knowledge, you need determination, trust, leadership (real leadership) and courage to lead an army. Not computer game experience, though I do love them XD

Side: They're alive today
1 point

Sun Zu, ( HE wrote the art of war!)

Cortez,

Patton,

Sigh, Zhukov (from WWII)

And finally, Alexander the great.

Side: SZCPZATG
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

Sun Tzu was smart, yes. But he never defeated a superpower when outnumbered. Alexander the Great never lost a battle, he is the only world conqueror who can say that. (Well, actually I guess none of the can say it because they're all dead, but anyway)

Side: AHNIR
zhanguo(7) Disputed
1 point

Actually, Sun Tzu was the main tactician in the army of the Wu nation during the Spring and Autumn Era against the Chu nation. He was the one who defeated an army that was 8 times the size of his own. The Chu nation was supposed to have been a superpower at it's time, and yet he basically slaughtered them. I think the enemy army he fought was...at least 400,000 men? (typical army size of the Chu nation in the Spring and Autumn era)

As for Alexander the Great...he might have not lost a battle, but he didn't decide on what to do about the lands he conquered. He did have charisma, but later his empire split.

Side: AHNIR
puffedwheat Clarified
1 point

Alexander the Great actually did lose a battle. when he assaulted the city of Multan he was shot in the lung with an arrow and was forced to retreat.

Side: AHNIR
1 point

I don't know who Cortez is (damn it, my history is lacking past the Medieval Ages...) But, I do agree with you strongly on Alexander the Great and Sun Tzu. As for Patton and Zhukov...drats, I need to read up about him. So much I don't know.

Side: AHNIR
1 point

Cortez was the guy who took over the Aztecs...

Patton(USA) and Zhukov(USSR) were both WWII.

Side: SZCPZATG
Kinda(1649) Disputed
1 point

Alexander is well overrated.

He completely wussed out in India. He would've lost...

Side: SZCPZATG
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

His men wanted to see their families. They were revolting. If he would have lived a little longer, 20 years or so,he would have made it all the way to China. India was week, Alexander would've kicked ass. By the way, he is the only major world conquerer who never lost a battle.

Side: SZCPZATG
puffedwheat Clarified
1 point

Alexander the Great didn't "wuss out", his troops did because they were tired from a continuous 12 year campaign.

Side: SZCPZATG

U.S grant is one of my favorites because he knew when to attack and when to lay siege look at Vicksburg he tried to take it by force but couldn't so he layed siege to it. Patton is another one he succeeded where other could not

Side: US Grant

1. Patton

2. Rommel

3. Sherman

4. Alexander the Great

5.Von Runsted

Side: US Grant

1. Arthur Wellesley, The 1st duke of Wellington

2. Hannibal

3. Erwin Rommel

4. Julius Caesar

5. George Patton

(Napoleon does not feature because he disgraced himself in Russia).

Side: US Grant
1 point

From any time period? Er...this is quite difficult, really. Considering that I don't know every single country's history in the world out there.

Still...so far, this is what I have. Listed in random order, though:

1) Sun Tzu, from the Spring and Autumn Era in China (771 BC to 476 BC).

2) Hannibal of Carthage, from the Roman Republic times.

3) Augustus Caesar, from the start of the Roman Empire. (After all, he did settle the civil war that was a result of Julius Caesar's death)

4) Yue Fei (the great general of the Song Dynasty in China. He was executed by the emperor for stupid reasons, even though he almost destroyed the Jin nation and the Mongolians). He existed during a time when China was supposed to have been weakened, and yet he was able to do so well on the military field that the emperor had him killed.

5) Alexander the Great.

Side: US Grant
1 point

I like seeing some Yue Fei in that list, I had to study China last year. Even thought we mainly only studied the Tang Dynasty.

Side: US Grant
1 point

Thanks. The thing is, Yue Fei was and still is well-renowned in China, since he epitomizes everything a general should be to the Chinese.

China has a very...er...interesting history, despite it's tendency to switch dynasty after dynasty. Though I don't claim to be an expert on it (far from it, actually, since I'm not a professor in Beijing on that subject), being a first-generation Chinese American, I can ask my parents about anything they know and studied in their earlier years.

Side: US Grant
1 point

Sun Tzu (Art of war)

Robert E. Lee

Caesar

Patton

Genghis Khan

Side: US Grant
1 point

Which Caesar? Julius Caesar or Augustus Caesar are probably the most well known. Julius defeated the Gauls, and established the Roman Empire, Augustus kept in tact.

Side: US Grant
Bohemian(3861) Disputed
1 point

Julius Caesar of course. He was well known for his military brilliance.

Side: US Grant
1 point

My top Military Leaders

1. Julius Caesar

Featured Notable Battle: Battle of Alesia-He fought a battle in which he was outnumbered 3-5 (I say 3-5 because the sources vary) to 1 and surrounded by his enemy all the while despite this he still managed to defeat and conquer the Gallic Empire. He was also fighting two commanders at once Vercingetorix and Commius both whom were Great generals in their own right. The victory is nearly unfathomable to me. On another note he defeated Pompey at the Battle of Dyrrhachium at 3 to 1 odds which proved that Caesar could go against troops of his own calibre and succeed with extreme splendor. He only suffered 1,000 casualities compared to Pompey's 2,000 and defeated Pompey's force again at the battle Pharsalus unsurprisingly outnumbered with 3 to 1 odds but still managed victory with losses of 1,200 compared to Pompey's 6,000 losses. Caesar is to me the greatest military leader because time and time again against all odds proves himself a magnificent leader capable of winning 3 to 1 odds against enemies of the same caliber. He is truly an incredible leader.

2. Alexander the Great

Featured Notable Battle: Battle of Issus-not only was Alexander outnumbered 2 to 1 but the Persians also had twice as much Cavalry than the Greeks, The Persians were known as one of the most powerful forces in the world, their cavalry being one of their most powerful military regiments and haven't experienced a defeat on the field of battle for years. These points further makes this victory a powerful moment in Alexander's lifetime and also help reinforce the importance of Alexander's own cavalry regiment the Companion Cavalry. Besides that he did conquer much of Europe, parts of Asia and never lost a battle.

3.Belisarius

Was the general that won back all of the West Roman Empire that originally fell to the Goths and later other forces. He is also largely attributed to giving the fatal blow to the Goths, the ones who had started the decline of the Western Roman Empire with the sack of Rome in 455. He is a remarkable General because of his incredible military success whilst being hampered by his own king Justinian.

Featured Notable Battle- Siege of Rome and the following counter attack afterward. Bellisarus defended the newly acquired Rome with only 5,000 men against the Goths (numbered over 45,000 for over year an later counterattacked with a force of over 10,000-15,000. He was outnumbered at least 3 to 1 and inflicted a blow that would prove fatal in the future to the Gothic empire during his counter attack on the Goths in which he obviously was victorious.

He was able to retake, Rome, Mediolanum, and Ravenna during his initial campaign all the while he was sent insufficient reinforcements and supplies due to Justinian's jealousy of him. Unfortunately a jealous Justinian finally retired the general in favor of Narses who did recapture all of the territory the barbarians took in a counter attack, Belisarus largely was retired due to Justianians jealousy, not so much his inability to keep the reconquered territories (due in part to Belisarius being inadequately supplied and reinforced)

4. Napoleon Bonaparte

Many people discount Napoleon as a great leader because of his defeat at Russia. I defend him by pointing out that the Scorched earth policy was rather unforeseen. It had been nearly 100 years since the tactic had been used, Napoleon had not prepared for such and was fairly surprised when it happened.

Featured Notable Battle: Six Days Campaign-Technically it's a campaign but oh well. This is Napoleon at his finest this campaign was a glorious one for the French. About 18,000 enemy soldiers were killed compared to the French casualties which numbered a mere 3,400 all the while in the the four battles he had fought he was usually outnumbered close to 2 to 1 odds.

5. Charles Martel

Featured Notable Battle: Battle of Tours-He defeated an army of over 80,000 with an army of only 30,000 and lost only 1,100 men during the battle. Wow is all I have to say to that. Also he only lost but one battle, and that battle was a battle in which he purposely fled so he could muster more forces.

Side: US Grant
1 point

Hitler(and no,I don't like him...I just admire his skills as a military captain)

Napolean

Alexander the Great

Cortez

George Washington

Side: US Grant
3 points

I think you are mistaking the military exploits of Irwin Rommel for Adolf Hitlers. Rommel was the biggest general, Hitler was just the leader of the nazi party, or the Der Fuhrer ('scuse my bad spelling).

Side: US Grant
1 point

Agreed. Hitler was not the greatest of tacticians. He relied heavily on his generals. There is no denying he was a great speaker, but Sun tzu he was not....

Side: US Grant
1 point

I have to confess that I’m French but I will try to be objective (though it will still be my opinion), in PURE TACTICIAN CONSIDERATION (=/= not especially best leaders) I’d say:

1. Hannibal of Carthage.

Yeah he lost, but it doesn’t matter, victory isn’t only skills but context and chance as well. Somes of his tactics are still studied theses days by military schools, and his victories was purely genius.

2. Napoleon Bonaparte.

Charlemagne conquered a biggest part of europe (and was the father of western europe/Carolingian renaissance) but I don’t think it’s comparable, what you should remember is that Napoleon has fought all major powers of is time (!), when europe was by far the most disputed ground in the world, meter by meter. The Napoleonic wars was a world war, for me it’s obvious.

Although the defeat against Russia wasn’t against its army but its winter, tactically Napoleon disgraced himself with this campaign I agree with that, but after that his situation was not really hopeless far from it, he make a great comeback and it’s the battles (well, above all THE battle) after that that finish him.

3. Julius Caesar.

I can’t really add many things after what Mrhamburger said, not only an incredible tactician but also a charismatic leader.

4. Irwin Rommel.

5. Alexander the Great.

6. Isoroku Yamamoto, a Japanese commander in WW2. He was the commander-in-chief during the decisive early years of the Pacific War and so was responsible for major battles such as Pearl Harbor and Midway. A very clever guy.

7. Chandragupta of India.

He brought down the Nanda Dynasty of Maghadha, and drove out the Greeks. He expanded the Mauryan dominion into Persia and Central Asia within one generation.

8. Cortez.

I didn’t put him in the list but Charles Martel did very well too against the muslims I have to agree (one of the six great leaders in french history IMO, with Vercingetorix, Charles de Gaulle, and above all Charlemagne, Louis XIV (the best in general i think) and Napoleon).

On the other hand I don’t see Gengis Khan (which haven’t extended his empire at its maximum alive, his sons did it) really like a tactician but more like a great leader. And I respect Sun Tzu but I can’t compare a guy who haven’t accomplish a single real battle.

Of course, I forgot many others, or I don’t know them.

Side: US Grant
zhanguo(7) Disputed
1 point

Sun Zi actually used the army of the Wu nation to fight against the neighboring Chu nation in the Spring and Autumn Era. If you read the history books of China, you will see that he lead an army that defeated another one at least 8 times the size of his own in number. And he did that again...several times.

Side: US Grant
Uspwns101(444) Disputed
1 point

THe Franks were more German than French asdfagasgdahasdgashashashshah

Side: US Grant
xenotypos(2) Disputed
1 point

It's completely illogical. If the Franks are the French ancestors (with the Gaulish, which remains the most part) and not the current German ancestors of course you count them as French.

They were german yes, because french have german blood, you're confusing Germany from this time and the current country that has been called Germany (it's the same word in english) since the late 19th century.

With your logic, england history would be germans history, since they are even more german, even if the current germans in germany aren't their descendants at all. And what to say about the Austrian. Well.

Side: US Grant
1 point

anyone who put their vote to hannibal should switch to scipio, he tacticly beat carthage in multible battles and beat hannibal while outnumbered, proving his tactical and strategic geneus, nepeleon, rommel, patton, alexander, hannibal, they are all remembered because they were like shooting stars, rising, then falling further down then they were in the first place, Scipio Africanis did not overestimate himself and was thus never once defeated nor did he ever have to make any kind of withdraw unless he wanted to

Side: Scipio africanis
Houston(187) Disputed
2 points

At the battle of Zama, Scipio Africanus won, yes. The troop numbers were about even, 40k vs 45k, but the bulk of Hannibal's were citizens, whereas Scipio Africanus had all professional soldiers. But, the romans outnumbered Hannibal in heavy cavalry, something Hannibal had the edge with in every battle. The battle was also chosen by the Romans, in all of Hannibal's previous battles, he was up in Rome or Spain, choosing his battles. Scipio Africanus also never made an Empire.

Side: Scipio africanis
Uspwns101(444) Disputed
1 point

Scipio was a genius in that he made sure the battle was on his terms, not hannibals allowed him to defeat an unbeatable foe.

Side: Scipio africanis
gregshw(1) Disputed
1 point

I would disagree Scipio's won largly through learning from his ancestors deafeat. Hannibal Barca has made a greater influance on military tactics and his victories where far more overwhelming than his losses. Hannibal Is thought to have invented the pincer movment and showed rome the value of using calvary, scipio's tactics where for the most parts counters to Hannibals stratagies though they are noteworthy they where of less influance.

Side: Scipio africanis
1 point

1. sun tzu

2. robert E lee

3. patten

4.hannibal

5. julius caesar

I'm surprised more people didn't pick robert e lee, on several occasions he defeated larger armies then his own with undersuplied troops. if he had the numbers and the resources he could have more then likely won the American civil war.

Side: Scipio africanis
Houston(187) Disputed
0 points

Why Lee? Ulysses S Grant defeated him, and its not like the Scipio Africanus defeating Hannibal Barca. US Grant has a reputation, and was winning a lot, Hannibal had a reputation, and was winning everything, outnumbered by 2x or more very time. Robert E Lee never made any insanely remarkable battles.

Side: Scipio africanis
1 point

i know thats why i have hannibal on my list to. but Grant deafeated lee because of his numbers and supplies like i said. if lee had grants reasources, the south would be its own country right now.

Side: Scipio africanis
JackLynch Disputed
1 point

Lee never made any insanely remarkable battles?

Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Cold Harbor. You can throw in Second Bull Run, The Wilderness, and the Seven Days battle, which culminated at Malvern Hill.

The point is, every single victory Lee won, he won against a numerically superior opponent. The most closely matched Lee ever was with an opponent, if I remember correctly, was at Fredericksburg, and he was outnumbered by nearly 45,000. Even more significant, however, was the fact that the Union army had more than double the number of cannons, and had a steady stream of food, uniforms, munitions, and other supplies. Lee never had enough of any supplies, and yet he consistently defeated his counterpart in the Army of the Potomac.

Houston, I respect your knowledge of history for the most part, but you're off base here. Grant only defeated Lee because in 1864 and the spring of 1865, Grant could easily replace his lost troops and supplies. Lee could not, because the south had exhausted all of its resources. They simply didn't have the manpower or industry to continue the war. Take a look at the Overland Campaign, Grant's big push into Virginia in the spring of 1864. Grant started the campaign with 120,000 men, to Lee's 65,000. In four months of heavy fighting, Lee took 20-30 thousand casualties to Grant's 55 - 65 thousand. Grant was able to replace his men, but Lee was finished. He would spend the rest of the war defending Petersburg, before retreating across Virginia to Appomattox Courthouse. Grant didn't win because he was the better tactician, he won because he could afford to lose troops, and Lee couldn't. Lee won nearly every major engagement between the two, but his government couldn't give him the resources he needed to win the war.

As a serious student of the history of war, I think Lee has to go in the top five. The only tactician that was as adept at locating and exploiting his opponent's weaknesses was Hannibal. In fact, I think Lee and Hannibal are very similar. Both fighting a war against an enemy that had greater numbers, and better and more resources. They were both brilliant at utilizing terrain to create tactical advantages or neutralize disadvantages. They both eventually lost, not to a superior tactician, but to a superior force.

Side: Scipio africanis
1 point

These are not in order:

1. Alexander the Great

2. Bernard Montgomery

3. Rommel

4. Hannibal

5. Napoleon

Side: Scipio africanis
1 point

Is there any reason that Julius Caesar isn't on the list? Since He won the vast majority of his battles and many times he was outnumbered albeit that many who apposed him were mere barbarians. Caesar did however beat Pompey at the battle of Pharsalus were Caesar was outnumbered by roman forces, the most powerful war machine in the ancient world.

Side: Scipio africanis

The first position got to go to Genghis Khan. Second comes Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, third comes Julius Caeser, fourth position goes to Hannibal and the last is Babur.

Side: Scipio africanis
0 points

Alexander the Great

The Desert Fox ( Rommel )

George Washington

Genghis Kahn

Hannibal

Side: my top fizzle