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Top 100 Generals

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Jonathan4290 View Drop Down
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  Quote Jonathan4290 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Top 100 Generals
    Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 04:46
Originally posted by antonioM

AntonioM: Doesn't that also reveal a disadvantage in that French troops were much more disciplined and hardened than the British?

Only if conditions were similar. For example, if both the French and British/Portuguese armies were malnourished. Or if they both were well-fed. Then that would have been a disadvantage to Wellington.

But this was not the case. The British/Portuguese were well-fed while the French were malnourished. The disadvantage has been neutered and has become an advantage to Wellington.
 
You analyze this as if it were a science experiment with controlled variables. War is not this simple. One could easily come up with a list of disadvantages for the French in the same manner.

Originally posted by antonioM

I don't agree with the criterion that a good general should win when conditions are equal because conditions are never equal. A good general should consider the situation and act to achieve the most success; the better generals can obviously achieve more success under more adverse cicumstances.

 Did Wellington really use his 10 crippling advantages to achieve the most success when you take it into consideration that it took him 5 years to drive the French from Spain? A better general could have done it in 2-3 years.
 
Based on what? Who is this general and what would he have done? The British army in Portugal couldn't have conceivably under any circumstances carried out any offensive until 1811-1812 because it was not prepared to do so especially against an occupying army many times its size.
 
Originally posted by antonioM

The idea that Spanish guerrillas alone could have won the war by attrition is laughable. No guerrilla war has ever been won in this way alone, and even contemporary Spanish observers agreed that was the case. [I quote Spanish sources here as you clearly refuse to believe any contemporary British accounts.]

It is interesting that you denigrate Spanish romanticism/nationalism and at the same time use the Spanish sources up front.

Anyway, contemporary sources are an incomplete portrait of the war. You need additional sources, especially after the war ended in order to fully gage the situation. I am sure that those two Spanish sources you cited would have changed their opinions if they could see after the war ended how the guerrillas were successful in  bleeding the French. The two sources would also have seen the numerous examples of successful effect of guerrilla warfare in the years that followed the Peninsular War, such as those in the Spanish colonies, the British and Soviet invasions of Afghanistan, and perhaps, the current American invasion of Iraq.

Another thing. It is interesting to note that these two sources did not mention Wellington or the British. As if they had no importance in the Pennisular War. Something to ponder, don't you think?

Was it not Wellington's army that pushed the French to the Pyrenees? I have yet to view a source that suggests Spain could've won the war without two key factors: Wellington's army and Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign. Guerrilla warfare did not become successful on its own until Mao's success in the Chinese Civil War. The Spanish civil wars were bloody civil wars but didn't resemble guerrilla wars, the Anglo-Afghan War cannot be considered a guerrilla war just because there was an occupying army (Afghan warriors outnumbered British) and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as well as the Iraq War are modern wars in circumstances not even close to those in the 1800s. Before Mao's success, guerrilla tactics had been no more than nuisances that contributed to victory but by no means achieved it single-handedly.
 
In conclusion: I support a drop of Wellington's rank because he was conservative and didn't have a spectacular career with extraordinary feats. However, I by no means think a free fall is fair for a general feared by Napoleon's marshals and achieved steady victories that, in the end, got the job done in all of his campaigns.
Like great battles? How about when they're animated for easy viewing?
Visit my site, The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps at www.theartofbattle.com.
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  Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 07:50
Originally posted by DSMyers1

Originally posted by Challenger2

Originally posted by DSMyers1

..Compare the use of the various advantages to the maxims that Sun Tzu wrote.  The great general wins the war with few battles, or fights them at the greatest advantage possible.


That would be Marlborough then. Smile
 
Marlborough: a great general who wins the war with a few remarkably bloody battles.
 
The losses in those battles for both sides made up for the low number of battles!  I like Marlborough; I'd like him more if he didn't take such heavy losses in his victories.


Unfair!Cry

Lets look at some Napoleon's battles. Take Marengo, of the forces involved the French lost 25% of their army, Austerlitz 12%, Borodino 23%, Jena-Aurstadt 9% and at Eylau a massive 33%.  Frederick the Great regularly lost 20% of his army every time he fought a battle. Compare these with  Marlborough;  Blenhiem  25%,  Ramilies 6%,  Oudenarde 5%, Malpaquet  22%

Marlborough was no worse than other "great commanders" and better than some when it comes to incurring losses.
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  Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 07:57
AntonioM, I'll get back to you once I've stopped laughing! LOL
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  Quote Samara Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 11:11
Originally posted by antonioM

T

Instead the French pillaged and murdered in reprisal, and so caused their own misery.

A serious accusation. What proof do you have that the French regularly committed murder?

As for plunder, what do you expect the French to do, starve to death? They were up against the population, so they could only rely on themselves.









DO you know Tres de Mayo or Las cargas de Mameloukos?




It is a sufficent proof .


Edited by Samara - 26-Apr-2008 at 11:18
"All is loose, just the honour"

Francis in the battle of Pavia
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 13:59
Originally posted by Challenger2

Originally posted by DSMyers1

Originally posted by Challenger2

Originally posted by DSMyers1

..Compare the use of the various advantages to the maxims that Sun Tzu wrote.  The great general wins the war with few battles, or fights them at the greatest advantage possible.


That would be Marlborough then. Smile
 
Marlborough: a great general who wins the war with a few remarkably bloody battles.
 
The losses in those battles for both sides made up for the low number of battles!  I like Marlborough; I'd like him more if he didn't take such heavy losses in his victories.


Unfair!Cry

Lets look at some Napoleon's battles. Take Marengo, of the forces involved the French lost 25% of their army, Austerlitz 12%, Borodino 23%, Jena-Aurstadt 9% and at Eylau a massive 33%.  Frederick the Great regularly lost 20% of his army every time he fought a battle. Compare these with  Marlborough;  Blenhiem  25%,  Ramilies 6%,  Oudenarde 5%, Malpaquet  22%

Marlborough was no worse than other "great commanders" and better than some when it comes to incurring losses.


That's why I really don't like Frederick the Great.  He took too many losses!  Napoleon didn't take the extreme losses as regularly, at least until the end of his career and the Russian debacle.  His masterpieces (Austerlitz) were not nearly as damaging for his army.
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  Quote antonioM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 15:16
You analyze this as if it were a science experiment with controlled variables. War is not this simple. One could easily come up with a list of disadvantages for the French in the same manner.

You have treated this as if war was simple, not me. You and others take Wellington's victories at face value without regard for the underlying reasons for these victories.

BTW, I think you mean "advantages", not "disadvantages".  I would like you to go ahead and list them.

Based on what? Who is this general and what would he have done? The British army in Portugal couldn't have conceivably under any circumstances carried out any offensive until 1811-1812 because it was not prepared to do so especially against an occupying army many times its size.

You will find many sources, contemporary and otherwise, that criticize Wellington for not being aggressive and seizing more on his opportunities. Here is one, from a French official. This also illustrates the problems that the French had in Spain.

 In Peninsula the French met serious problems while the Emperor seemed to ignore the food question. In 1812 Marshal Marmont complained to Napoleon: "... the English army is always concentrated and can always be moved, because it has an adequate supply of money and transport. 7,000 to 8,000 pack mules bring up its daily food ... His Majesty may judge from this fact the comparison between their means and our's -we have not 4 day's food in any of our magazines, we have no transport, we cannot draw requisitions from the most wretched village without sending thither a foraging party of 200 strong; to live from day to day, we have to scatter detachments to vast distances, and always to be on the move ... Lord Wellington is quite aware that I have no magazines, and is acquinted with the immensely difficult character of the country, and its complete lack of food resources ... He knows that my army is not in a position to cross the Coa, even if nobody opposes me, and that if we did so we should have to turn back at the end of 4 days, unable to carry on the campaign ..."

To live, the French troops had to disperse and, once they were scattered, they were easy prey for enemy. Wellington writes: "The more ground the French hold down, the weaker will they be at any given point." The French marshals came to realise that large armies simply starved and smaller armies were defeated. French General Thiebault writes that the scattered state of the French army in Spain rendered its situation desperate, and that the slowness of Sir Arthur Wellesley saved it several times.


See, an enemy crediting Wellington for saving the army. That is not good. He failed to take maximum use of his advantages. A better, more aggressive general could have done it in 2-3 years.

Was it not Wellington's army that pushed the French to the Pyrenees?

Yes, thanks more to the 10 conditions he enjoyed, not to his generalship.


As for guerrillas warfare, it was being practiced an a far large scale in Spain; it is very likely that it would have been successful. Have you seen the battle of Saragossa? The French was against the population who was merciless. The guerrillas, after all, inflicted far more damage to French forces than Wellington ever did. You cannot deny that. The guerrillas would have continued in this path of attrition until the French gave up.

In conclusion: I support a drop of Wellington's rank because he was conservative and didn't have a spectacular career with extraordinary feats. However, I by no means think a free fall is fair for a general feared by Napoleon's marshals and achieved steady victories that, in the end, got the job done in all of his campaigns.

Of course, take his victories at face value. If that is how you want to do it, why isn't Suvurov not #1 on the list? He, after all, participated in more battles than other generals, was undefeated in every one of them. Why is your hero, Giap, on the list despite the fact that he lost every battle against the Americans? With your criterion, he should not be on the list.





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  Quote antonioM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 15:20
DO you know Tres de Mayo or Las cargas de Mameloukos? It is a sufficent proof .


It is not murder when you are defending yourself. The French could not be faulted for taking measures to defend themselves. Read this quote that shows what the French were up against.

The war was fought with extreme brutality. (ext.link) In Catalonia, the guerillas subjected tens and perhaps hundreds of captured French soldiers and officers to torture and humiliation before killing them. One of the guerilla leaders, Merino, specialized in castrating captured French officers. Another leader, Chacarito, had no other pleasure than rape and torture. He was the terror of Castille. A captive Frenchman might be buried with only his head above ground, to be used as a pin in a bowling match. After the battle of Salamanca some Spaniards had dug up the body of a French general and were mutilating it; the English "rescued it."


What would you have if you were the French? I think you would have taken extreme measures to defend yourselves.
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  Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 15:25
Originally posted by DSMyers1


That's why I really don't like Frederick the Great.  He took too many losses!  Napoleon didn't take the extreme losses as regularly, at least until the end of his career and the Russian debacle.  His masterpieces (Austerlitz) were not nearly as damaging for his army.


Have to disagree with you there. Here's a list courtesy of David Chandler (Campaigns of Napoleon, appendix I) of some of Napoleons victories. There's  no correlation to in losses based on his career, and his "masterpieces" as you call them had as high if not higher casualty rate than Marlborough's. If casualty rates are the reason you downgraded Marlborough, maybe you need to look again.   BTW, does that mean Frederick is on his way backdown where he belongs? Wink

Arcola 1796 22.5%
Castiglione 1796 5%
Rivoli 1796 24.5%
Marengo 1800 25%
Austerlitz 1805 12%
Jena-Aurstadt 1806 9%
Eylau 1807 33%
Friedland 1807 10%
Aspern-Essling 1809 30%
Eckmuhl 1809 10%
Wagram 1809 19%
Borodino 1812 22.5%
Bautzen 1813 10%
Dresden 1813 8%
Leipzig 1813 33%
Lutzen 1813 18%
Arcis-sur-Aube 1814 10.5%
Laon 1814 12.5%
LaRothiere 1814 15%
Ligny 1815 14%



Edited by Challenger2 - 26-Apr-2008 at 15:27
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  Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 15:54

Originally posted by antonioM

DO you know Tres de Mayo or Las cargas de Mameloukos? It is a sufficent proof .It is not murder when you are defending yourself. The French could not be faulted for taking measures to defend themselves. Read this quote that shows what the French were up against.

The war was fought with extreme brutality. In Catalonia, the guerillas subjected tens and perhaps hundreds of captured French soldiers and officers to torture and humiliation before killing them. One of the guerilla leaders, Merino, specialized in castrating captured French officers. Another leader, Chacarito, had no other pleasure than rape and torture. He was
the terror of Castille. A captive Frenchman might be buried with only his head
above ground, to be used as a pin in a bowling match. After the battle of Salamanca some Spaniards had dug up the body of a French general and were mutilating it; the English
"rescued it."


What would you have if you were the French? I think you would have taken extreme measures to defend yourselves.


That's the sort of justification the Nazis used for their atrocities. (The Partizans, Maquis, etc didn't beat the German Army on their own either ). 

Your own source, Esdaile, cites that, Hundreds of men were  brought before the various tribunals established by the French and sentenced to death: between May 1809 and
June 1812 Valladolid saw 52 death sentences for Brigandage, whilst 1811 saw
22 in Jan alone. Such formal proceedings were but the tip of the iceberg,
however, the memoirs of French soldiers being littered with accounts of wayside
shootings and hangings, whilst there were plenty of French commanders who
executed prisoners and hostages without trial (to take but one example General
Kellermann became known as the Hangman of Valladolid). In October 1809, for
example there were at least 18 such executions in Pamplona, 2 mass shootings in
July 1811 and December 1812 accounting for another 78. In Galvana, 32 Brigands
were hanged in April 1809, while Olite saw the execution of 8 men whose SONS
were reputed to be with Espoz y Mina. And it was not just those taken in arms
or their families that suffered: January 1809 Chinchon witnessed the execution
of a hundred people chosen at random in reprisal for the murder of two or three
French soldiers.

To kill without due process is murder, even in the 19th Century.






Edited by Challenger2 - 30-Apr-2008 at 15:07
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  Quote Samara Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 18:13
Originally posted by antonioM

DO you know Tres de Mayo or Las cargas de Mameloukos? It is a sufficent proof .


It is not murder when you are defending yourself. The French could not be faulted for taking measures to defend themselves. Read this quote that shows what the French were up against.

The war was fought with extreme brutality. (ext.link) In Catalonia, the guerillas subjected tens and perhaps hundreds of captured French soldiers and officers to torture and humiliation before killing them. One of the guerilla leaders, Merino, specialized in castrating captured French officers. Another leader, Chacarito, had no other pleasure than rape and torture. He was the terror of Castille. A captive Frenchman might be buried with only his head above ground, to be used as a pin in a bowling match. After the battle of Salamanca some Spaniards had dug up the body of a French general and were mutilating it; the English "rescued it."


What would you have if you were the French? I think you would have taken extreme measures to defend yourselves.


French army murdered many spanish civilians, not only rebels, spanish writters speack about totals town when the people must be went in the center of the town and they was shoot by french troop. Was not only soldier but civilian who touched by french repression.(a french tradition because when Napoleon III invaded Mexico, he murdered many civilians too.




"All is loose, just the honour"

Francis in the battle of Pavia
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  Quote Travis Congleton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 18:43

TOP 80-100 Commanders

1. Suleiman I
ON - Travis Congleton, Temujin

2. Flavius Stilicho (104)
ON - Travis Congleton

3. Andre Massena
ON - Travis Congleton

4. Charlemagne
ON - Travis Congleton, Temujin

5. Ulysses S. Grant
ON - Travis Congleton

6. Francois henri de Montmorency-Bouteville
ON - Travis Congleton, Temujin

7. Baibars
ON - Travis Congleton, Temujin

8. Pyotr Bagration (110)
ON - Travis Congleton

9. Shaka Zulu
ON - Travis Congleton
Overrated. many Boer commanders were much more skilled than him.
About taking an unruly tribe and making it a formidable fightign force to be reckoned with, his contemporary Ranjit Singh beats him by far.
OFF - Temujin

10. Lautaro (toqui) Mapuche
ON - Travis Congleton

11. Jebe
ON - Travis Congleton

12. James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
Whats so great about him, particularly when compared to Cromwell?
ON - Travis Congleton
OFF - Temujin

13. Mustafa Kemal
- Look at his defense of Anatolia against the Armenians, French and Greeks. add to that his record as a general before that (Gallipoli etc).
He stopped encirclement at Cape Hellas the early stage in the Dardanelles.
He strategically moved the 19'th division to guard against the Anzacs from taking Ari Burnu (Anzac Cove) while orders were lacking from Limon von Sanders.
Kemal's initiative at 3-1 odds saved the day for the next three months as reinforcements came in.
After this he was promoted to Colonel. http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/battles/battles.asp#XIV
British forces started attacking again and then Mustafa Kemal won the victory of Battle of Anafartalar.
Following this, he also won the victories of Battle of Kirectepe and Second Battle of Anafartalar.
After Galipolli when he was in the far eastern provinces he liberated Mus and Bitlis from the Russians prior to the revolution.
While sent to Palestine the Ottomans had already suffered losses in Baghdad, he shortly lamented the hopeless peril wrote the Sultan for reinforcements.
Remember that Enver Pasha was the director of Operations there.
Arab desertions were in the 100 thousands. 
Kemal was a face saving measure after-the-fact and he was succesfull at that.
He lamented the state of affairs that the Ottoman mmilitary was in.
" Once again the Turkish hero of the campaign was Mustafa Kemal, who, after a masterly strategic retreat to the heights of Aleppo, found himself in command of the remnants of the Ottoman forces now defending the soil of Turkey itself, of which it was the natural frontier. They were still undefeated when news was received of the signature of an armistice between Britain and Turkey-leaving him, at the end of the struggle, the sole Turkish commander without a defeat to his name. Behind him were those Anatolian homelands of the Turkish race, where his future destiny and that of his people lay."

Mustafa Kemal's position and resistance of the Allenby's British at Aleppo became the base line for the peace agreement at Mudros.
I could go on and on in detail as to his character, psychological and strategic stimulus to his troops, as well as, the fight during the battles for independence. http://www.defence.gov.au/adc/docs/Publications/Geddes%20Papers%202003/04%20Mustafa%20Kemal_Byrne.pdf
ON - Temujin, DSMyers1
OFF - Travis Congleton

14. Vo Nguyen Giap

Adjusted Mao's Three Phase Model.
ON - DSMyers1, Jonathan4290, Knights (3)
OFF - Travis Congleton, Julius Augustus (2)

15. uqba ibn Nafi 

Defeated every Berber-Byzantine coalition he faced despite being outnumbered several times.
He took Tipolitania without bloodshed - (waited till high tide and made commandos enter and open the city gates).
In just 18 years, he conquered the entire Mediterranian coast and much of the moutains.
His own folly was that he trusted the Berbers and when the civil war erupted again and his troops recalled to the levant, he had no more than 1000 men with him travelling from near present day Fez to his base at Qairawan when he was betrayed by the Berber army that should have been his protection.
ON - Al Jassas
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin (2)

16. Muhammad of Ghor
Muhammad of Ghor conquered all the way from Ghor (where he was just a provincial official) to Bihar (2000 Km) and defeating and destroying any force that faced him.
ON - Al Jassas
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin (2)

17. Emperor Taizong of Tang
He was not just emperor but also field commander and he won some great battles.
ON - Temujin
OFF - Travis Congleton

18. Erich Ludendorff
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin (2)

19. Robert the Bruce
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin, Julius Augustus (3)

20. C. Gustav Mannerheim
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin, DSMyers1 (3)

21. David
ON - DSMyers1
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin (2)

22. Kangxi
OFF - Travis Congleton, Temujin, DSMyers1 (3)



Edited by Travis Congleton - 26-Apr-2008 at 21:27
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  Quote Travis Congleton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 18:46
In Shaka Zulu's Defense
Designed in weaponry: (1) Discarded the assegai [a long throwing spear] and designed the Iklwa, [a short spear] which, in essence, forced his warriors to fight as much of the tactics in that region was to throw your spear and wait for another spear to arrive from the enemy throwing his spear.  If they lost their nerves, warriors would often flee.  (2) Created a larger, heavier shield.  (3) Discarded sandals to improve movement in the open terrain.
Training: (1) Tough schedule of training, (2) forced marches and (3) military drills.
Organization: (1) Created a logistical support teams comprised of youth formations.  (2) Implemented a regimental system based on age.
Tactics: Of course, the famous 'Buffalo Horn' formation.

I am more focused on what you can learn from the experiences of these commanders.  Shaka Zulu brings about a defiance when viewing the advanced technologies of what the Europeans had.  He argued [in the end, wrongly, in my opinion] that the time required to load a firearm his men could swarm upon the enemy (which was proven correctly at the battle of Isandlwana).
Even though, Shaka Zulu was not involved in any of the European battles, his tactical mindset; surprise and ambushes does reveal that even with primative weapons, against advanced technology, you could win a battle.  For without the influence of Shaka Zulu, the Zulus would easily have been crushed and their name would not be synonmous with that of the Spartans or Assyrians.
 
There is also a Military Magazine that had detailed battles of Shaka Zulu.  Very impressive actions upon his part.  Basically a cat toying with a mouse-like tactics.  I have been playing to work on his portfolio (thought I had done it a while back but must have deleted it somehow...), but will do it within the end of May.
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  Quote Travis Congleton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 18:56
Originally posted by Samara


French army murdered many spanish civilians,...
 
 
The French are guilty for their crimes against the Spanish civilians in that Napoleonic Era.
 
The Germans are guilty for their crimes against the Jews, Poles, and just about every ethnic people.
 
The United States are guilty for their crimes against the Germans (example Dresden) and the Japanese (Hiroshima and Nakasaki).
 
==============================================
 
The quicker we can all come to this conclusion that evil done, no matter how justified, is still evil.  We can move on from this mindset of blame.  Our ancestors, their governments, our governments of today are guilty or will be guilty for any war that has occurred or any war that will occur.
 
Let's move away from this subject.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 19:07

I'm a little lost. Is the list above showing commanders ranked from 80th place onwards? Or are they featured as ranked with the numbers above?

Because if it is the latter, I'm wondering why Suleiman #1? or why is Diap ranked so lowly. Or why is David(biblical?) even added as a general?
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 20:13
Originally posted by Saber

I'm a little lost. Is the list above showing commanders ranked from 80th place onwards? Or are they featured as ranked with the numbers above?

Because if it is the latter, I'm wondering why Suleiman #1? or why is Diap ranked so lowly. Or why is David(biblical?) even added as a general?


He was ranking the last 20 of the list (so #1 is actually #81).  As for David, read his battles in the Bible and you will see why.
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 20:23
Originally posted by Challenger2

Have to disagree with you there. Here's a list courtesy of David Chandler (Campaigns of Napoleon, appendix I) of some of Napoleons victories. There's  no correlation to in losses based on his career, and his "masterpieces" as you call them had as high if not higher casualty rate than Marlborough's. If casualty rates are the reason you downgraded Marlborough, maybe you need to look again.   BTW, does that mean Frederick is on his way backdown where he belongs? Wink

Arcola 1796 22.5%
Castiglione 1796 5%
Rivoli 1796 24.5%
Marengo 1800 25%
Austerlitz 1805 12%
Jena-Aurstadt 1806 9%
Eylau 1807 33%
Friedland 1807 10%
Aspern-Essling 1809 30%
Eckmuhl 1809 10%
Wagram 1809 19%
Borodino 1812 22.5%
Bautzen 1813 10%
Dresden 1813 8%
Leipzig 1813 33%
Lutzen 1813 18%
Arcis-sur-Aube 1814 10.5%
Laon 1814 12.5%
LaRothiere 1814 15%
Ligny 1815 14%


All over the place, I see.  Honestly, Marlborough was downgraded due to popular demand and due to A) lack of battles and campaigns and B) Sharing some of the glory with Eugene.  I am comfortable with Marlborough around 10th.  Frederick I'd love to drop more.  I've never been a fan of his.  I need justification, though.  The attack on Wellington has been quite loud (though losing, I think).  Those two are close.
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 20:41
Ludendorf and Kanxi off, Stilicho and Bagration on.
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  Quote Jonathan4290 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2008 at 20:43
Originally posted by antonioM

You analyze this as if it were a science experiment with controlled variables. War is not this simple. One could easily come up with a list of disadvantages for the French in the same manner.

You have treated this as if war was simple, not me. You and others take Wellington's victories at face value without regard for the underlying reasons for these victories.

BTW, I think you mean "advantages", not "disadvantages".  I would like you to go ahead and list them.
 
Wellington did have certain disadvantages. Without debating whether they outweigh his advantages here are a few just to provide a counterbalance:
 
1) Numerical inferiority
2) French troops were more disciplined
3) Incompetent allies
4) Lack of focus on campaign from parliament with beginning of war against America
5) Lack of control/foresight over guerrillas
6) Same logistical problems when conducting an offensive deep into Spain

Originally posted by antonioM

Based on what? Who is this general and what would he have done? The British army in Portugal couldn't have conceivably under any circumstances carried out any offensive until 1811-1812 because it was not prepared to do so especially against an occupying army many times its size.

You will find many sources, contemporary and otherwise, that criticize Wellington for not being aggressive and seizing more on his opportunities. Here is one, from a French official. This also illustrates the problems that the French had in Spain.

 In Peninsula the French met serious problems while the Emperor seemed to ignore the food question. In 1812 Marshal Marmont complained to Napoleon: "... the English army is always concentrated and can always be moved, because it has an adequate supply of money and transport. 7,000 to 8,000 pack mules bring up its daily food ... His Majesty may judge from this fact the comparison between their means and our's -we have not 4 day's food in any of our magazines, we have no transport, we cannot draw requisitions from the most wretched village without sending thither a foraging party of 200 strong; to live from day to day, we have to scatter detachments to vast distances, and always to be on the move ... Lord Wellington is quite aware that I have no magazines, and is acquinted with the immensely difficult character of the country, and its complete lack of food resources ... He knows that my army is not in a position to cross the Coa, even if nobody opposes me, and that if we did so we should have to turn back at the end of 4 days, unable to carry on the campaign ..."

To live, the French troops had to disperse and, once they were scattered, they were easy prey for enemy. Wellington writes: "The more ground the French hold down, the weaker will they be at any given point." The French marshals came to realise that large armies simply starved and smaller armies were defeated. French General Thiebault writes that the scattered state of the French army in Spain rendered its situation desperate, and that the slowness of Sir Arthur Wellesley saved it several times.


See, an enemy crediting Wellington for saving the army. That is not good. He failed to take maximum use of his advantages. A better, more aggressive general could have done it in 2-3 years.
 
A knock on Wellington, yes, but the French official had no idea what Wellington's logistics would've been when conducting an offensive into the same barren country.

Originally posted by antonioM

Was it not Wellington's army that pushed the French to the Pyrenees?

Yes, thanks more to the 10 conditions he enjoyed, not to his generalship.


As for guerrillas warfare, it was being practiced an a far large scale in Spain; it is very likely that it would have been successful. Have you seen the battle of Saragossa? The French was against the population who was merciless. The guerrillas, after all, inflicted far more damage to French forces than Wellington ever did. You cannot deny that. The guerrillas would have continued in this path of attrition until the French gave up.
 
This is based on speculation. No guerrilla war had succeeded without conventional aid before the Chinese Civil War. The guerrillas helped Wellington greatly but couldn't by any means push the French out alone.

Originally posted by antonioM

In conclusion: I support a drop of Wellington's rank because he was conservative and didn't have a spectacular career with extraordinary feats. However, I by no means think a free fall is fair for a general feared by Napoleon's marshals and achieved steady victories that, in the end, got the job done in all of his campaigns.

Of course, take his victories at face value. If that is how you want to do it, why isn't Suvurov not #1 on the list? He, after all, participated in more battles than other generals, was undefeated in every one of them. Why is your hero, Giap, on the list despite the fact that he lost every battle against the Americans? With your criterion, he should not be on the list.
 
I'm not trying to argue that a steady, cnservative general should be so high because the arguments against him are certainly valid. However, we can't have Robert the Bruce over Wellington and there are plenty of knocks against generals below him, especially in the bottom 50.
 
Giap is on because he won the war. The ends justified the means. Do you think Hitler would've rather won Stalingrad or won the entire war? Battles are fought to win wars; wars are fought to achieve higher objectives. Giap won all his wars and I will not have this argument a third time in the same thread Cheeky!!!
 
Wellington deserves a spot somewhere on the list but obviously not nearly as high.
 
I'm more concerned over Rundstedt on the list . . . someone want to convince me he should be?





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  Quote antonioM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2008 at 14:22
Hello,

is everyone on vacation?
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  Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2008 at 14:50
Wondering about that myself !
 
Just starting another thread solely dealing with Wellington.
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