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AerospaceFan
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Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:22 am

Who in history do you think was the greatest general or admiral?

Was it Alexander, who conquered vast territories with vigor and vim? Was it Eisenhower, who, along with Montgomery and others, commanded Allied forces to victory? Was it -- despite the fact that he fought for the Nazis -- the "Desert Fox"?

Or, on the seas, was it Nelson, who fought victoriously for Crown and country?

To me, the greatest general was General George Washington -- for obvious reasons.   Without General Washington, there would have been no victory over the British, and without a victory, there would have been no America as we know it today.

What is your choice, and why?

Thanks in advance.

[Edited 2006-02-26 19:32:34]
What's fair is fair.
 
Cadet57
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:26 am

Patton

He had it all: Brains, Balls and he diddnt take no crap form anyone.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:30 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 1):
Patton

He had it all: Brains, Balls and he diddnt take no crap form anyone.

Good choice! I wonder what he would have done if he, rather than Westmoreland, had commanded our forces in Vietnam. (This is not a slam against Westmoreland, by the way.)
What's fair is fair.
 
andz
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:34 am

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
Cadet57
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:35 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 2):

we'd of won the war and thousands of american kids would not have come home in body bags.
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:42 am

For me it would be my great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle, Brig. Gen. Peter Gansevoort, defender of Ft. Stanwix (now Ft. Schuyler) from the British and the Indians, and sidekick to Washington.

While still a colonel, he proved to a fledgling country during the Revolutionary War that a fort could be held.

http://www.famousamericans.net/petergansevoort/
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pacificjourney
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:43 am

... and what about all those Vietnamese 'kids' - or don't they matter - and what exactly would you have won, the right to install yet another corrupt puppet regime for a few years. Way to go !!!

War isn't a game, think first then talk.

Greatest general .... Hannibal, Rommel or Alex the Great .... hmmmmm ... Hannibal !
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
9VSPO
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:48 am

Horatio Nelson!




 Wink
 
Cadet57
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:50 am

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 6):
... and what about all those Vietnamese 'kids' - or don't they matter - and what exactly would you have won, the right to install yet another corrupt puppet regime for a few years. Way to go !!!

are you talking to me?

This thread is not about the government and puppet regimes, save it for another thread pal, you and your anti-american BS ok? This thread is about great generals. If you got nothing, keep moving.
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
texdravid
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:57 am

U.S. Generals:

1). George Washington
2). "Black Jack" Pershing, WWI
3). D.D. Eisenhower, WWII
4). George Patton, WWII
5). General Grant, Civil War
6). General Sherman, Civil War

Most overrated:

H. Norman Schwarzkopf. Anyone with a cheap suit could have defeated Saddam in Gulf War I.
Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
 
whitehatter
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:57 am

Admiral - Lord Nelson

General - Has to be Eisenhower.

Although there are a couple of other people worthy of consideration, such as Chester Nimitz in the Pacific war. Montgomery was technically not a General but another arguable figure (he held the rank of Field Marshal).
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
PSA53
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:06 am

Admiral Nimitz-Pacific Fleet WWII
Restored the fleet and confidence of his commanders
and enlisted personal after Pearl Harbor, and led them
victory at Midway when Washington wasn't happy
about his "gamble."

Even draw.Generals Eisenhower and Soviet General Georgi Zhukov.
Ike's balancing act with both political and military
considerations in the Allied camp,is well documented.

But Zhukov is a general who should receive a lot better
credited in the West, for the awesome task of beating
back the Nazi's, as well as dealing with Stalin.Zhukov
was ruthless and had to be,to beat Hitler.
Tuesday's Off! Do not disturb.
 
stuckinMAF
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:23 am

You got it right with the first reply, Cadet57!

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 1):
Patton

He had it all: Brains, Balls and he diddnt take no crap form anyone.



Here's are some of my favorite quotes from Patton:

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

“I always believe in being prepared, even when I'm dressed in white tie and tails.”

“In case of doubt, attack.”

“Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. ”

"Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tire, more hungry. Keep punching."

"War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity."

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."


http://www.generalpatton.com
http://www.pattonhq.com
http://www.generalpatton.org/
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
Cadet57
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:28 am

Quoting StuckinMAF (Reply 12):

Personal Fav of mine:

"There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, "Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana." No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, "Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!"
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
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NWOrientDC10
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:55 am

Julius Caesar comes to mind. One thing I like about Caesar is that he shared the same living conditions as his men (not common these days).

http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ROME/JULIUS.HTM

US Generals not mentioned:

Robert E. Lee
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Douglas MacArthur
Lewis "Chesty" Puller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...nited_States_Marine_Corps_generals

British:

Gen. Bernard Montgomery

China:

Sun Tzu

http://www.kimsoft.com/polwar03.htm

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 8):
This thread is not about the government and puppet regimes, save it for another thread pal, you and your anti-american BS ok? This thread is about great generals. If you got nothing, keep moving.

I second that!

More later  Smile

Russell
Things aren't always as they seem
 
dl021
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:00 am

It's a difficult question. The greatest generals/admirals in history are disparate characters who fought their campaigns in different places and times.

I'll give a top 5 (in no particular order) but it's all top-of-the-head thinking.....
-Washington...Kept his army in the game and outlasted the British. His success was in not losing and keeping everything together.
-Wellington... Fought winning campaigns with numerically inferior/qualitatively superior troops on two different continents.
-Togo....Destroyed most of a Russian fleet in one fell swoop and proved Japan to be equals to the western navies.
-Ghengis Khan...his armies of thousands were masterfully led and fed. They had a metric system for command, and an incredible communications system in the 11th century. He was constantly victorious over greater forces and would have kept going if he hadn't died in the saddle while hunting (a death which he would have approved).
-Simon Bolivar...the Washington of South America....he led their armies of peasants to freedom...however long it lasted.

(Honor dictates mention of Leonidas, Ho Chi Minh, Halsey, Yamamoto, Grant, Sherman, Lee, Kitchener, Patton, Saladin, Shaka and Bobs, Nimitz, Patton and Ike...as well as an Indian whose name I can't spell)

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 6):
Greatest general .... Hannibal, Rommel or Alex the Great .... hmmmmm ... Hannibal !

Yeah....ok...let's see...
-Hannibal took elephants over the Alps....I think three survived. They did nothing more than hold him up. He also got bogged down and eventually thrown from Roman territory. He lost the defence of his own lands and was forced to live at the mercy of the Romans and eventually took his own life. Great but not the greatest....Khan won with numerically inferior forces over enemies more technologically advanced.
-Rommel...lost in Africa so badly the Furher had to take him out to prevent a PR disaster with his hero (who was later considering joining an assassination plot against Hitler). Rommel also planned the Normandy defences which were lost. He was great, but not the best. Outgeneralled more than once...by Monty of all people.
-Alexander the Great....ok..he's one of the best, except he did not know his own limitations and died early while Khan grew a greater empire than Alexander ever knew...he ended up either poisoned by his own people, some disease or dying of excess..too soon to consolidate and too early to prove he could finish.

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 6):
War isn't a game, think first then talk.

Yeah, so why don't you do the same? Your examples indicate a distinct lack of anything more than superficial study and consideration.

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 9):
Most overrated:

H. Norman Schwarzkopf. Anyone with a cheap suit could have defeated Saddam in Gulf War I.

Nah...he was one hell of a general. Montgomery was overrated. So was Custer.

MacArthur was accused of being overrated, but he wasn't....the only reason he's not on my list is he overreached in daring the Chinese and underestimated their preparedness to engage in conventional war...other than that he was one of the greatest...fearless (just look at his WWI exploits or his reconnaissances at the front during WWII) and one of the greatest strategists/tacticians/ logisticians in military history. Brought down by his own ego in the end. Still did more than just about any other three of the rest of them.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
ABfemme
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:05 am

General Custer - does he count ?? Big grin
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dl021
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:26 am

I probably would have included Zhukov except that his talent was to inflict large numbers of troops at a situation and overrun the enemy....much like Napoleon's. He was also politically adroit, being inoculated against Stalinist betrayal by victory.

Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Reply 14):
Sun Tzu

That's like saying Clausewitz or Starry were among greatest generals (although Starry was a great general and thinker, and Clausewitz was a pre-eminent military thinker)...when they were known for writing planning and strategy guides.

They aren't even certain Sun Tzu was a real person or simply the name given to voice the words of multiple people.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 5):
my great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle, Brig. Gen. Peter Gansevoort, defender of Ft. Stanwix

That's pretty cool.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:37 am

Modern Day, that is 1900 to present:

Patton, period, end of poll . . . .

Charisma, No Nonsense, No Bull, No Politics, Tactically Sound, Technically Sound, and the best of all - NOT afraid to be at the Head of the Column in his open topstaff car, leading the charge . . . .

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 9):
H. Norman Schwarzkopf. Anyone with a cheap suit could have defeated Saddam in Gulf War I.

Don't underestimate Gen Schwarzkopf . . . any decent General could have developed the plan and given the order to execute - but there was a hell of a lot more to that particular mission than the Operational Art . . .

Stormin' Norman held that coalition together and let his subordinate commanders deal with the warfighting . . .
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
stuckinMAF
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:54 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 18):
Stormin' Norman held that coalition together and let his subordinate commanders deal with the warfighting . . .

Very true, and in these times, it's just as important to be good at "political correctness" as it is to be a military strategist. I'm sure Patton himself would have been proud of Schwarzkopf in that regard!
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
11Bravo
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:04 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 4):
we'd of won the war and thousands of american kids would not have come home in body bags.

I don't think you'll find too many military historians or senior officers who would agree with that notion. The problems we had in Vietnam were by and large political ones not military. History is littered with examples of failed military solutions to political, social, and religious problems.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 15):
-Rommel...lost in Africa so badly the Furher had to take him out to prevent a PR disaster with his hero (who was later considering joining an assassination plot against Hitler). Rommel also planned the Normandy defences which were lost. He was great, but not the best. Outgeneralled more than once...by Monty of all people.

To be fair though, there were other factors that more or less doomed Rommel. In both North Africa and especially by the time of Overlord, the Allies had air superiority. In modern warfare that is an almost absolute guarantee of failure.

There were also very serious problems with German logistical support in both of those campaigns. No beans, no bullets, no gas; that’s another recipe for disaster. Given the lack of air and logistical support, I don’t think anybody could have prevailed regardless of determination or generalship.
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halls120
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:23 pm

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 9):
1). George Washington
2). "Black Jack" Pershing, WWI
3). D.D. Eisenhower, WWII
4). George Patton, WWII
5). General Grant, Civil War
6). General Sherman, Civil War

Most overrated:

H. Norman Schwarzkopf. Anyone with a cheap suit could have defeated Saddam in Gulf War I.

Field General - Patton without a doubt, followed closely by Sherman
Strategist - Eisenhower, followed by Grant
Admiral - Lord Nelson. No one comes close.

Agree that "stormin Norman" is overrated. Tommy Franks had a much more difficult task, and didn't make it all about him. Plus, his memoirs are better!  biggrin 
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
sprout5199
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:42 pm

Well I compare Eisenhower to Schwarzkopf.Had to see the big picture, hold everything together. And I compare Patton to Fred Franks, the get dirty types.

The best Admiral was Nelson

How about Admiral Spruance at Midway and Dewey at Manila Bay

Dan in Jupiter
 
dl021
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:22 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 20):
To be fair though, there were other factors that more or less doomed Rommel. In both North Africa and especially by the time of Overlord, the Allies had air superiority. In modern warfare that is an almost absolute guarantee of failure.

There were also very serious problems with German logistical support in both of those campaigns. No beans, no bullets, no gas; that’s another recipe for disaster. Given the lack of air and logistical support, I don’t think anybody could have prevailed regardless of determination or generalship

That's fair. Rommel was great, but he was a student (no pun intended) of Guderian who I probably should have mentioned.

Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 22):
Dewey at Manila Bay

Commodore Dewey won a battle with an old fleet that he surprised. Effective, famous, but perhaps not the greatest ever. No chance to prove it at least. Togo reached much greater heights in the same period and did more damage.

Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 22):
The best Admiral was Nelson

I'll give you that. He was successful in multiple great battles, and was a truly effective leader.

Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 22):
Well I compare Eisenhower to Schwarzkopf.Had to see the big picture, hold everything together. And I compare Patton to Fred Franks, the get dirty types.

OK..on the one hand Ike and Norm were similar where the coalition keeping and politics came in....on the other you need to remember that while Ike was an alum of the "class the stars fell upon" (West Point Class of '15 with men like Bradley and Van Fleet, and about 20 others who reached the stars) and he did get knocked out of football by Jim Thorpe (if you gotta go, go with class) he never served a day in combat until he was traveling in Europe as CinC ETO and was the target of enemy agents. Schwarzkopf, on the other hand, served as a company grade and a field grade officer in combat on different tours. I'm talking about run out in the minefield, fly in and out of hot lz's kind of combat. He earned his CIB prior to Desert Storm and was definitely a "get dirty" type. To the point that he scared many of the staff pukes who then voiced their whines to higherups at the 5-sided funny farm who were told by Powell and others to STFU. You are correct in that he definitely was not a micromanager (although, as Fred Franks will tell you, he was definitely willing to voice his displeasure if you did not meet his expectations).

Oh, and Tommy Franks wrote a book too. He simply did not manage the press the same way. He embedded them and got similar results.
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AerospaceFan
Topic Author
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:02 pm

A couple of choices that have occurred to me since the first message I posted here are the following:

1. Curtis LeMay, controversial Air Force general; and,
2. Admiral Hyman Rickover, the "father" of the "Nuclear Navy".

LeMay was probably a man in the footsteps of Patton, although I don't know much about his military success.

Rickover was a man of strong will and helped transform our Navy.

Finally, if one gauges officers by their national reputation rather than military accomplishments, I would say that Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager ranks very highly.  Smile
What's fair is fair.
 
pacificjourney
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:24 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 4):
we'd of won the war and thousands of american kids would not have come home in body bags.

If you're going to say silly things like that then expect a reply. Perhaps you should go blubbing to the mods if you think it's of topic but think who went first.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 15):
Your examples indicate a distinct lack of anything more than superficial study and consideration.

I think you'll it's yourself with the Junior High school/Time magazine grasp on history.

Hannibal pulled togther and held together a disparate band of mainly mercenaries, took them through hard country to the heart of the enemy, maintained them there for a long period, forced the enemy into decisive battle and thrashed them at Cannae.

Rommel not only tied down but ran ragged forces 2 or 3 times his size for 2 years despite appalling supply difficulties. He literally invented mobile warfare as now practiced. His withdrawl was due to ill health.

The eventual defeat of both these and many other 'great' generals are wide and not solely attributable to them alone.

Patton etc. Not much of a trick when almost all the cards are in your favour, air superiority, supply, intelligence, superiuor numbers. Lot of hot air in a loud shirt, would have fit in around here in fact.
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
saintsman
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:49 am

I'm disapointed that nobody has named the greatest Admiral of them all - James T Kirk Big grin

I'm not so sure on the modern day generals. Who can't win with superior weapons, intelligence, logistics and proffesional soldiers, airmen and sailors?

I also doubt those generals who sat safely from any danger and sent hundreds and thousands to their death on pointless exercises. They may have won great battles or wars but in my books they can't be considered great themselves.

I know Gladiator was a movie, but the generals like Maximus were the best. Leading from the front, setting an example, inspiring their troops and still showing great tactical awareness. There are few great leaders in history where people would got to their death because they were inspired by them rather than because they were ordered to.
 
smokescreen
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:31 am

For WWII (all I really much about) I am going to vote Monty. People criticise his cautiousness and say that he won only after building up superiority - well that is the sign of tactical and strategic wisdom - only attack when you are almost certain of victory, that way you don't squander your soldiers Soviet-style. Only advance when you can maintain your supplies, so you don't get caught short if the enemy counters and you are overextended (all other commanders in N. Africa including Rommel ignored this and paid the price, Patton did too in France but was lucky enough to get away with it).
Furthermore, Monty was the only commander outside the USSR who really understood the value and use of artillery the "God of war".
 
Banco
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:04 pm

Nelson is the naval officer people often think of because of his brilliance in battle, but it was Admiral Anson (no mean warrior himself) who essentially created the Royal Navy of the nineteenth century. That navy truly did rule the waves for 200 years or more, and by extension all the land campaigns were sideshows.

Naval power was the key: when the French blockaded the British off the US coast, the War of Independence was lost; the naval blockade of the whole of Europe in the Napoleonic Wars was what defeated Napoleon. That same naval blockade would do most to defeat Germany in WWI.

Anson did more than just about anyone else to create and enforce that doctrine.

(Just thought I'd provoke a debate  Wink )
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
AGC525
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:18 pm

Patton
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Robert E. Lee
American Aviation: From Kitty Hawk to the Moon in 66 years!
 
dw9115
Posts: 382
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:06 pm

Patton, enough said.

One of the best lines from his movie had to be "No poor son of a bitch has ever won a war by dieing for his country. You win wars by making the other poor son of a bitch die for his country."
 
cfalk
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:20 pm

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 10):
General - Has to be Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was way overrated as a military general. His chief accomplishment was political. As Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe, he managed to keep together and coordinate a coalition of political and military leaders who did not see eye-to-eye, and often hated each other.

In the past 200 years or so, my list would be (in no particular order):

- Patton
- Rommel
- Guderian
- Robert E Lee

The last three were known as leaders able to outwit and outfight enemies who were better equipped and more numerous. All of them eventually lost due to attrition - their enemies continually reinforcing and simply overwhelming them with numbers, while they could no longer reinforce. On equal terms, they would have all cleaned up.

Patton is different. He was never genuinely the underdog in any fight. He wins my vote simply for his aggressiveness and excellent tactical grasp.
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
 
dl021
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:29 pm

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 25):
I think you'll it's yourself with the Junior High school/Time magazine grasp on history.

Yeah....whatever.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 24):
1. Curtis LeMay, controversial Air Force general;

"Senator....we can bomb them back to the Stone Age"

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 24):
Curtis LeMay, controversial Air Force general; and,
2. Admiral Hyman Rickover, the "father" of the "Nuclear Navy".

Two miserable sumbitches who played key roles in defending our country during the cold war.

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 25):
Perhaps you should go blubbing to the mods if you think it's of topic but think who went first.

Wow, that's mature.

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 25):
Lot of hot air in a loud shirt, would have fit in around here in fact.

Glass houses and bricks, dude. You ought to read up.

The thread was about the greatest....not the good or the very good. Hannibal lost in the end, and lost when he should have taken the upper hand but could not control his own troops to keep them from sacking and looting when they should have been pursuing the Romans. Khan managed to control his troops.
Rommel...well, you believe what you want about his illness (Nazi propaganda focused on a number of things and I've read varying accounts that say he was sick and then refused permission to return, or that he was sick, but not sick enough to go home, and I'll bet it'd be impossible to say the truth...other than he lost the campaigns in the end....and to Monty of all people. He lost that campaign and then failed to plan or pursuade Hitler (thank God he failed) as to where the invasion would happen. He failed to ascertain the true intentions of the Allies in their efforts and this cost them the war, as a defeat of the Normandy invasion for the Allies would probably have meant an armistice at some point rather than total victory. It's very possible that the Allied leaders would have decided that the war would have been too costly to continue if we could be assured of keeping the UK and North America secured and we'd have had a whole different cold war.

I say all that being an admirer of his tactical prowess and logistical abilities....even though he used slave labor to help build the Atlantic wall, and refused until too late to participate in the operation to assassinate Hitler.

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 25):
His withdrawl was due to ill health.

see above

Quoting Saintsman (Reply 26):
I'm disapointed that nobody has named the greatest Admiral of them all - James T Kirk

Wasn't he demoted?  Wink
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
Banco
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:45 pm

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 31):
Robert E Lee

Charles, with all due respect, General Lee was the commander of forces in what might be termed "a little local difficulty". The US Civil War was of immense importance to the United States, but its impact was fairly negligible outside of that (and the US of the mid-19th century was relatively unimportant globally). In order for a commander to be rated as "the greatest" I would have thought it a pre-requisite for that commander to have made an impact rather more widely than that.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
dl021
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:52 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 33):
Charles, with all due respect, General Lee was the commander of forces in what might be termed "a little local difficulty". The US Civil War was of immense importance to the United States, but its impact was fairly negligible outside of that (and the US of the mid-19th century was relatively unimportant globally).

I would normally agree here, except that the US Civil War was a proving ground for military tactics everywhere. It was the first war to see widespread use of automatic weapons, aerial observation, telegraphy, steam powered and armored naval vessels, (limited submarine activity), and long range sniping with glass. The European powers were close observers and the Prussians took the lessons to heart when they invaded France several years later.

Lee did lose, but he counselled against war to begin with, and took the posting out of honor (misplaced in my opinion) knowing that he needed to knock out the enemy rapidly (like Yamamoto) in order to win. He lost because he ran into (finally, and thank God) a man who acted with more urgency than Lee did, and was able to absorb more punishment as well as supply his forces effectively. Lee led a foraging army in a time where that was not the standard to which he'd been taught to expect.

I believe he would have been an effective commander anywhere, and he was great....although not among the greatest in that he lost after having the chance to win.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
slider
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:57 pm

This list is populated with some of the most dynamic men in history, and some of the most distinguished names ever. There are no losers in this thread, that's for damn sure.

But my list begins and ends with one name above all:

General George S. Patton

Beyond strictly the combat record, Patton is such a complex and colorful character. He overcame dyslexia, was a master strategist who embraced tradition yet also sought innovation--he took to armor and mechanized "cavalry" well ahead of most other military men of his era, he integrated his Third Army when the Army was still segregated, and contrary to popular belief, he was very flexible in his approach to things.

Most importantly to me, Patton was a student of history. For a military man, he had a grasp of political reality that bordered almost on ESP. He forecast the Cold War, saw the realities of a post-war world and would have, IMHO, left a bigger mark on history had he not died too soon.



**********************************************

One other name that hasn't been mentioned here yet is Gen. Billy Mitchell. Mitchell was also a man of great foresight--he predicted the coming age of air power and knew it was going to become THE critical factor in waging war, not to mention literally changing the world. Another brash man who refused to shut up and was court martialed in turn. We owe Mitchell immense thanks to this day for his persistence.
 
mrmeangenes
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:03 am

Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Reply 14):
Lewis "Chesty" Puller

Chesty Puller: one of the greatest who ever lived !

Led his men from the FRONT; demanded his officers do likewise; demanded his officers attend to the enlisted men under their command before their safety or comfort could be considered; would slip into the enlisted mens' mess without notice and eat with them to make sure they were properly fed; took no BS from anybody.

During the retreat from the Yalu River in Korea, saved MacArthur's butt by not only bringing most of his men out safely, but destroying the better part of 6 Chinese divisions that had surrounded his regiment.

He was the Marines' choice for next Commandant of the Corps,but the politicians chose someone "more socially acceptable" .
gene
 
Banco
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:31 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 34):
I would normally agree here, except that the US Civil War was a proving ground for military tactics everywhere

Certainly. But that also applies to a great many other conflicts. The Falklands War was of huge interest to the US and the Soviet Union as a proving ground for modern tactics and a major NATO power, but I wouldn't suggest that Sandy Woodward goes into the annals of the world's greatest leaders.

The trouble is, and I don't know how to put this nicely, that all too often, people over on your side of the pond seem to be under the impression that the US emerged, blinking in the light of independence, as a fully-fledged superpower, which is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter bollocks. The US was something of an irrelevance until very near the end of the nineteenth century, and to include any US commanders pre-WWI is a bit like me including British commanders post 1956 - something that I'm quite sure many of the US members on here would scoff at.
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:33 am

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 25):
I think you'll it's yourself with the Junior High school/Time magazine grasp on history.

But PJ, critieria for what makes a general "great" is going to differ from individual to individual. For DL021 it may be ferocity, which few would disagree that Patton had in spades. For you it may be Rommel's ability to do so much with so little during the North African campaign. That's what makes being an armchair historian fun - we all will disagree because we all look at different things. Myself for instance, would list the following in my Top 5:

1. William T. Sherman (I have a feeling I'll be off Ian's Christmas list with that one  Wink)
2. George S. Patton
3. Chester W. Nimitz
4. Saladin
5. Horatio Nelson
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lh477
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:39 am

Greatest land commander- Genghis Khan.
Greatest sea commander - Nelson of course, but consideration should also go to Donitz.
Come on you gunners......!!!!!
 
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N328KF
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:45 am

Quoting LH477 (Reply 39):
Greatest sea commander - Nelson of course, but consideration should also go to Donitz.

Why Dönitz? He was unsuccessful in his attempt. The U.S. Navy accomplished in the Pacific what the Grand Admiral only dreamed of doing.
“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
-Donny Miller
 
deltagator
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:13 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
To me, the greatest general was General George Washington -- for obvious reasons. Without General Washington, there would have been no victory over the British, and without a victory, there would have been no America as we know it today.

While I have to agree with you that America would not be where it is today without George Washington he hardly goes down as a brilliant general on the battlefield. His record was spotty but he came through with victories when it counted. Of course that's what counts in the long run but I believe we have seen much better names on this list for military actions than him.

Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Reply 14):
Robert E. Lee
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Despite the discussion farther up on guys from The War Between the States I would submit General James Longstreet who was the defensive counter to Lee's offensive mind.

Quoting Saintsman (Reply 26):
I'm disapointed that nobody has named the greatest Admiral of them all - James T Kirk

You! Get out of the gene pool!  biggrin  At least you didn't say that pansy ass, no-alien sex loving, Frenchie was the better one.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
lh477
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:17 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 40):
Why Dönitz? He was unsuccessful in his attempt. The U.S. Navy accomplished in the Pacific what the Grand Admiral only dreamed of doing.

He was unsuccessful, however he came close to shutting down the Atlantic.
The Brits were for several years hand to mouth mainly becuase the U-Boats had choked their supply line. The U-boats I believe stretched the Atlantic battle that long. The Allies couldn't send in the reinforcements and supplies until they had solution for U-Boats, mainly air coverage. The Germans also had to fight three navies in the Atlantic(American, British, Canadian).
Come on you gunners......!!!!!
 
GDB
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:23 am

Debatable if 'great', partly due to the fact he is not well known (no Hollywood movies about him), but General Slim arrested and beat back the Japanese advance Westwards, and did so despite being at the bottom of the list of equipment and resources.
That's how I rate them as extra special, that or if they are outnumbered, that's why Patton, to me, is overrated.
 
eilennaei
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:26 am

General Winter, Russian Winter.

 boxedin  tombstone  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  tombstone  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  boxedin  tombstone  boxedin 
 
halls120
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:19 am

Quoting Banco (Reply 37):
The US was something of an irrelevance until very near the end of the nineteenth century, and to include any US commanders pre-WWI is a bit like me including British commanders post 1956 - something that I'm quite sure many of the US members on here would scoff at.

The problem with considering post-1956 UK commanders is of course the fact that they haven't fought a major conflict on the scale of WWI or WWII. Which is unfair, because I suspect that the UK armed forces have been led during this period by some outstandingly leaders and strategists. However, it is also unfair to refuse to consider US Civil War flag officers, because that was a major conflict of its day - despite the fact of the our irrelevance on the world scene until the end of that century.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
Banco
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:14 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 45):
The problem with considering post-1956 UK commanders is of course the fact that they haven't fought a major conflict on the scale of WWI or WWII. Which is unfair, because I suspect that the UK armed forces have been led during this period by some outstandingly leaders and strategists. However, it is also unfair to refuse to consider US Civil War flag officers, because that was a major conflict of its day - despite the fact of the our irrelevance on the world scene until the end of that century

You put your point well and I'll happily conced that there's considerable merit in what you say. But given that the title of the thread is "greatest" rather than say, "most talented" I would still demand that such a person have an impact on rather a wider scale than just the United States of the 1860's. You're welcome to try to convince me otherwise!
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
photopilot
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:36 am

British General Robert Ross who on August 24, 1814 defeated the American forces at the Battle of Bladensburg and then proceeded to burn the Whitehouse in Washington DC.
 
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yowza
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:43 am

I'm not too familiar with naval terms. Is a rear admiral the "giver" or the "taker?"

YOWza
 
WrenchBender
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RE: Greatest General Or Admiral?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:44 pm

Land
1. Genghis Khan
2. Attila the Hun
3. Alexander
4. Currie (WW1 Canadian)
Sea
1. Nelson
2. Yamamato
Air
1. Dowding
2. 'Bomber' Harris
3. Billy Mitchell

WrenchBender
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