5 Top Military Commanders in History

Who do you think are the best? I hardly site mine as the one true list:

  1. Genghis Khan
    This guy carved his way into power and fought superiour odds all his life. His armies were ****ing unstoppable and he may well have ruled the world if he wasn’t pwned in a hunting accident

  2. Alexander the Great
    No explanation required

  3. Julius Ceaser
    Carved and mainted one of the great empires in the world. Not a dude to **** with. Brouhgt down by Hubris, though.

  4. Nobunaga Odo
    Go dark horse!
    Ok when this guy was around Japan was in complete choas, warlord swere cosntantly fighting, etc. This is another man who carved out a strong army from nothing. He also won a battle at 10-1 odds. He was very close to unifying Japan (a task that seemed IMPOSSIABLE at the time) but after some ruthless acts, pissed off Mishitude too much, leading to his death. But he still built up a mighty army and a might following, and his sucsessor was able to finish what he started

  5. Rommel
    The brains of the nazi milatary, and prehaps if Hitler hadn’t screwed things up with that “attack Russia” bs, the Nazi’s may have won. So I suppose we should be thankful

You know those squiggly red underlines when you’re typing? It means that word is misspelled.

Current ongoing game in game forum. I believe all of the above are still currently in contention.

I’m sorry - the towers of skulls are all very impressive, and don’t get me wrong, the victory over the Ottomans was spectacular (and props for hauling the enemy sultan about in an iron cage), but really you were too much like a bandit writ large to be in the top five.


Yeah, well how many bandits ever conquered Persia?

Well, okay, a few maybe…but STILL!


Not to distract readers from the proper game room thread, but did the Mongols really face superior odds for all of Genghis’ life? I vaguely recall that they frequently used mobility and surprise to mass overwhelming force and pick off small, weak detachments and cities.

Yes, they took on relatively large countries by striking fast and surrounding cities that could not defend themselves. So they had superior numbers in their battles but took on larger entities.

In the first half of his life Ghengis Khan climbed out of slavery and consistently beat other Mongol tribes and nearby factions which were generally much larger than his. He was a brilliant tactician throughout his life, and the amount of land and population he conquered exceeded that of Caeser or Alexander, and everyone else until the 20th Century

I’d have to agree with the OPs first three picks but **Hannibal **should be in the top 5 also. If not for the craven politicians in Carthage undercutting him, he almost certainly would have toppled Rome.

Mongol use of mobility and excellent communications using fast riders meant that they were able to concentrate on key targets to achieve overwhelming local superiority. This lead to the impression that they were extremely numerous (thus “horde”, the Mongol term for a camp, came to mean 'a huge number"). In fact, the civilized armies they faced generally outnumbered them, often significantly, but were usually unable to concentrate effectively against the Mongols - the Mongols, composed of light horsemen, could generally avoid any army they did not wish to fight; civilized armies had no means of bringing them to battle on their terms.

In fact, throughout history steppe nomads were generally difficult if not impossible for civilized armies to defeat in decisive battle. The way civilization dealt with them, was by dividing-and-ruling (paying one group of nomads to beat up another), bribery, or builting extensive fixed defences - generally, nomads had no means of taking fortifications, and leaving fortifications behind them made raids too dangerous (nomads were vulerable when returning from raids laden with plunder - often, in the form of slaves - because they could not move faster than they could force the plunder to move).

What made the Mongols so successful, moreso than previous steppe nomads, was two factors: (1) their early conquests in the east among “sinesized” nomad states had introduced them to the techniques of siege warfare - unlike other nomad armies, they had with them engineers who could take forts (though they prefered to terrorize the population into surrendering); and (2) their political organization, which uniquely had united the whole steppe population for a time - no-one left for their civilized opponents to bribe into divide-and-rule (ironically enough, Temujin himself had been a recipient of Chin bribes as part of a failed divide-and-rule strategy, including receiving a Chinese tile - “Vice Commissioner for Peace in the Border Regions”!)

In fact in quite a few individual battles their opponents probably ( numbers are always arguable ) had a numerical advantage, but even on the battlefield were unable to concentrate them as effectively and rapidly as the Mongol forces at their peak, partially or completely neutralizing that advantage. This was likely the case at battles like the Khalka River and Legnica for example.

The Mamluks were actually an example of an opponent who could fight the Mongols on somewhat even terms ( given some equivalence in numbers ). Man for man they were a more elite force than your average Mongol trooper and tightly disciplined and drilled themselves, they rarely fell for tactics like feigned retreats. As heavier cavalry they would sit in the defensive vs. the Mongols, but as they were also all mounted archers, they could engage at range. In a melee heavier armor and horses gave them superiority, at range they could achieve parity. Ayn Jalut was no fluke and later history bears it out as the Mamluks won most encounters vs. the Il-Khanate ( which granted was distracted by a continual issue of multiple hostile fronts ). What the Mamluks didn’t have was the endurance and strategic mobility of a Mongol army ( with their multiple remounts and de facto superior logistics ), but by sitting on the defensive and using scorched earth tactics to funnel their opponents, they were able to largely eliminate that factor.

Oh and re: the OP’s list, I guess I agree with Alexander and Genghis Khan and could be persuaded in the case of Julius Caesar ( probably not, but top ten is pretty plausible ). But I disagree with Nobunaga and Rommel - good generals, but definitely not top 5.

  1. Alexander the great. Undefeated in battle and created a huge empire all before the age of 32.

  2. Georgy Zhukov. Brave enough to openly criticize Stalin. Good enough to avoid execution. Won battles when Russia was at it’s weakest, and inflicted stunning defeats on the Germans when Russia was strong.

  3. Frederick the Great. Ran Prussia so efficiently, it could wield a military much bigger than should have been possible at the time. Despite being surrounded by the superpowers of the day, he managed to keep Prussia from being swallowed up.

  4. Hannibal. Fought many large battles outnumbered, yet often won crushing victories like at Cannae where 45,000 Romans were killed. One of the deadliest days of battle in history

  5. Julius Caesar. Knew what Roman legions were capable of, and used them to great effect against Gauls and other Romans.

Napoleon won more battles than any other general.

Shaka Zulu

Lord Nelson if we are including sea captains, Themistocles and Chester Nimitz, Sr.

Fascinatingly, all these guys are being discussed in the lengthy Game Room thread linked in Post 3 above.

Oh, and I left of General Giap, still living at 99 years old. Beat the France and America in succession for his country’s independence. Not so good at winning battles, but won the war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vo_Nguyen_Giap


Top 5? I don’t know. But if you’re nicknamed after Alexander the Great, you probably know a thing or two about leading armies…

Field commanders
Ghenghis Khan
Robert E Lee
Alexander Nevsky

Non-field but worthy commanders
Ivan IV
Harry Truman

The Mamluks are a facinating example of the “divide and rule” strategy taken to its logical end: buy some steppe nomads and use them as slave-soldiers against the “wild” nomads. That way, they are more likely to stay “bought” than simply offering one group a bribe to fight another; theoretically, slaves are easier to control than free tribesmen.

Problem is that they tended to end up ruling the place …