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Greatest Military Leaders

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posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 04:44 PM
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In the case of Xerxes campaign (even though it ultimately ended in failure) I'd be happy to reccommend the following books:

"Persian Fire; The First World Empire and the Battle for the West" by Tom Holland

"Medes and Persians" by Rober O Collins

"The Greco-Persian Wars" by Peter Green

And, of course, Herodotus' "Histories". Herodotus himself was to be labelled a "Barbarian lover" by Plutarch due to his ability to praise Persians and Egyptians as well as Greeks.

Xerxes campaign should've ended in victory..... Thermopylae was an inconvenience that bought the Greeks time (a tiny defile defended by 7000 troops would probably be able to hold off a modern infantry army, let alone one equipped with wicker shields). Salamis would certainly've ended differently if the Persian command hadn't kept their oarsmen treading water all night as they creeped into a trap, not only this, but the weather conditions (rather choppy apparently) gave the advantage to the heavier Greek ships as opposed to the lighter Persian vessels.

Xerxes was by no means a gifted military commander, but his peculiar genius was an ability to pick an astonishing organistional team. Many historians have suggested that the only operation to match Xerxes' gamble in ambition and complexity were the D-Day landings. The perfect machine had been created to conquer Greece..... sadly the men controlling it were too busy trying to outdo each other and a little to naieve when it came down to putting trust in Greeks.




posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 05:42 PM
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posted by benevolent tyrant

I have a small suggestion I think would make this thread more interesting. . . instead of simply listing your favorite military leader, how about offering links and comments about your favorite general, military leader or tyrannical despot. Add something --- a link --- anything --- about a particular battle would go a long way towards making this thread something more than just a list. [Edited by Don W]



OK, Mr B/T
I choose to urge a general who got his picture on the fifty dollar bill! Does that make him 50 X more important the George Washington? Or 10 X more valuable to his country than Abraham Lincoln? Or 5 X more worthwhile than the financial genius who saved America, Alexander Hamilton? Or 2 ½ times as heroic as Andrew Jackson? Or just half as good an American as Benjamin Franklin?

Ulysses S. Grant a/k/a US Grant.

Born Hiram Ulysses Grant in Ohio. The story goes the admissions clerk at West Point misunderstood him, and entered the letter “S.” for his middle name. Grant was unaware of the error until he graduated. He liked the acronym “US” so he let it stand. Trivia: Between 1872 and 1904, 5 of the 7 American presidents were born in Ohio. Grant. Hayes. Garfield. Harrison. McKinley. Arthur of NY, vice president who succeeded Garfield who died after 6 months after being shot. Cleveland of NY who split 2 terms with Harriston. It became a standing joke you had to be born in Ohio and have served in the Union Army to be president!

Grant served as a junior officer in the Mexican War under General Winfield Scott, Army Chief of Staff during the Civil War, and may have met Robert E Lee, a senor officer. It is uncertain as Gen. Lee did not recall meeting him. This is understandabe in the case of junior officers and senior officers. There are so many of the former and so few of the latter.

For me it is easy to hold Gen. Grant in the same degree of respect, honor, admiration and appreciation as I hold Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln saved the Union and ended slavery as an institution in America, but that was accomplished through the agency of Gen. Grant. Union victories at Cold Harbor and Petersburg VA are credited with giving Lincoln a majority vote in the 1864 election, over the Northern Democrat candidate, former Union General George B. McClellan who advocated making peace with the South. Lincoln required unconditional surrender to end the War of the Rebellion, as it is officially called.

In 1776, George Washington was appointed a 3 star general - the only one then - and given the title, General and Commander in Chief. A half century later, U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan were the first three generals to hold 3 star rank in the US Army after Washington.

Prior to 1861, the US Army rarely numbered more than 25,000 men and the highest rank was Major General. General Grant, when appointed to head the Army of the Potomac, was advanced to 3 star rank. The first since Washington to wear 3 stars. Grant was subsequently promoted by Lincoln to 4 star rank - America’s first - and given the title General of the Army. Robert E. Lee was designated a 4 star general by the Confederate States of America. Lee's preference to wear a uniform with the rank insigna of colonel causes endless confusion. The next man after Grant to wear 4 stars was World War 1's John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and assigned the title General of the Armies. This title was given to make Pershing equal to the European rank of Field Marshal which the US has disdained. The nickname “Black Jack” came about because he was once the CO of a black or African American company.

General Grant served 2 terms as president, and although there was a lot of corruption during his tenure - it was America’s Gilded Age - corruption fraud was rampant at every level of government as well as in private enterprise. No one ever accused Pres. Grant of taking one cent that was not his due. Dying of throat cancer, at the urging of his friend, Mark Twain - Samuel Clemens - Grant wrote his autobiography which was barely finished when he died. It was an instant best seller and is still in print. His family was well provided for, but not by the US. He is buried in New York City.

www.granthomepage.com...
en.wikipedia.org...
www.ipl.org...
en.wikipedia.org...

FOOTNOTE
Faces on US currency
$100,000 Woodrow Wilson, $10,000 Salmon P. Chase
$5,000 James Madison, $1,000 Grover Cleveland
$500 William McKinley, $100 Benjamin Franklin
$50 U.S. Grant, $20 Andrew Jackson
$10 Alexander Hamilton, $5 Abraham Lincoln
$2 Thomas Jefferson, $1 George Washington

It is rumored the Democrats will earmark money to the Treasury to print $3 bills with the George W Bush likeness. Instead of In God We Trust it will say Get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US. George, you're doing a heck of a job!


[edit on 11/29/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 08:26 PM
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what about Rommel, did anybody mention him? he scored astounding victories in poland, in france, in North Africa, i think he should have been mentioned already. or what about Zhukov, he did force the germans to retreat and defeated them. what about William Wallace from scotland, he did fight for the freedom of Scotland, and won battles at amazing odds. what about Saladin, or charlemagne(i don't know much about him myslef though). i would even mention Yamamooto(sp?), the planner of Pearl Harbor. heck, i would even put hitler on the list, even if he was a dictotor, he still was able to do unimaginable things(ie.: persuade a nation to go through a huge war, etc. i'm sure everybody knows everything he did!). there is also Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Mao, Goebells, Goring, Lincoln, De gaull, Geronimo, Gorbachev, and of course many many more....



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 08:28 PM
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i forgot to put Nelson Mandela on the list too :-)



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 09:17 PM
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posted by INc2006

What about Rommel, did anybody mention him? He scored astounding victories in Poland, in France, in North Africa, I think he should have been mentioned already. Or what about Zhukov, he did force the Germans to retreat and defeated them. What about William Wallace from Scotland, he did fight for the freedom of Scotland, and won battles at amazing odds. What about Saladin, or Charlemagne(I don't know much about him myself though). I would even mention Yamamoto(sp?), the planner of Pearl Harbor. Heck, I would even put Hitler on the list, even if he was a dictator, he still was able to do unimaginable things (i.e.: persuade a nation to go through a huge war, etc. I’m sure everybody knows everything he did!). There is also Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Mao, Goebbels, Goering, Lincoln, De Gaulle, Geronimo, Gorbachev, and of course many many more.... [Edited by Don W]



And don’t forget Rommel had first defeated the Americans at Kasserine Pass. Later, Americans in conjunction with the British, surrounded Rommel’s Army and he was ordered to escape to Europe by Hitler. The Allies captured 275,000 prisoners, mostly Italian. Note: This defeat should not be considered to discredit to Italian soldiers. They fought as well as any soldier. The Italians lacked leadership from the top down and enough good equipment to wage war. Both of these fatal defects were due to Mussolini’s facade of strength that covered serious deficiencies. The Italian penchant to put sons of the nobility in high ranking Army positions did not improve matters, either.

Admiral Yamamoto has an interesting personal history. See it at this link.
en.wikipedia.org... The US had broken the Japanese naval code, JN25. Any information gathered from that process was labeled as Ultra. In April, 1943, deciphering of the JN25 told us Adm. Yamamoto was to make an inspection in the Solomon Islands. We already knew of his insistence on timeliness, so we sent 18 P38s to intercept his “Betty” bomber converted into a VIP transport. Sure enough he was where we thought he’d be and his plane was shot down, killing him and all on board. He was an early aircraft carrier advocate, and argued against the building of Japan’s 2 super battleships, the Yamato en.wikipedia.org...
and the Musashi
en.wikipedia.org...
www.espionageinfo.com...



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 09:32 PM
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Mussolini was just a power hungry bastardo who was just a follower of hitler that asked for help everytime he sensed trouble, the Italian army was never well-equipped, and was never on par with any of the armies fighting in WWII....



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 09:53 PM
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A few more for consideration:

Giap & Ho Chi Min - defeated both the French and the US in Vietnam

Slim - singlehandedly turned a routed army in a campaign-winning force mainly due to his personal efforts

Haig - much maligned but his strategy for winning WW1 was ultimately vindicated and he withstood political meddling from Lloyd George and the collapse of his major ally

From the previous lists:

Wellington - for the Peninsular campaign

Zhukov - the most important WW2 military commander

Churchill - surely no other single person was as vital to defeating Hitler.

If we define 'greatest' as having the biggest impact on history and define 'military commander' in its widest sense overall it has to be Churchill (for all his many faults)



posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 08:11 PM
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who's haig and slim?



posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 08:33 PM
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Simple answer, Stonewall Jackson. If he had lived, the course of human events would
be completely different.



posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 08:34 PM
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en.wikipedia.org... - although this contains many errors

www.firstworldwar.com... - better

www.1914-1918.net... - balanced

en.wikipedia.org... - not too bad since recent editing


www.burmastar.org.uk... - affectionate portrait by the troops he led



posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 10:32 AM
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Leonides of Sparta. Against all odds he persevered.

en.wikipedia.org...

www.hoplites.co.uk...



posted on Dec, 8 2006 @ 05:17 PM
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OK, OK, so I'm spoofing. But see this story.

PBS had a clip from LA on a woman who runs a volunteer group called the LA Angeles who send CARE packages and letters to our guys in Iraq. And Afghan. To join you have to promise to send one letter a week and one package a month to the unit or to a designated person. She was a teenager during the late 60s and early 70s and she said the GIs returning from Vietnam were badly treated. She repeated an oft told story but which my memory does not support.

From 1968 when Nixon won a close election on the implied promise to end the Vietnam War, but did not, until the end came under Gerald Ford in 1975, I lived in Louisville. I recall seeing on tv one incident that gets wide publicity which happened at UC Berkeley, when a protester spit on a soldier. Another incident in SF occurred when a group of hippies yelled “baby killers” to a few soldiers. My memory fails, but it was possibly just after we had learned of the infamous March 16, 1968, Mi Lai incident in which 350 unarmed men, women and babies were in fact killed by US soldiers under command of Lt. William Calley, Jr. See below.

Milgram's Theory
Another example is the Mi Lai massacre which involved American soldiers in Vietnam. Mi Lai was a small village where American soldiers opened fire and killed over 350 men, women, and children. It's important to note that this was the only documented incident during the Vietnam conflict that the American public was informed of, however, the chances of it being an isolated incident are highly unlikely.

Milgram said the following factors could help explain the situation at Mi Lai. Military training sets apart soldiers from all others to prevent competition with authorities outside the military. The period of basic training is largely used to breakdown the concepts of individuals and create cohesion in the group or unit. During this time soldiers spend a large majority of their time being disciplined during which they are virtually brainwashed into following orders without question. This is indeed the very function of a soldier.

Political differences were used for the justification of actions and to differentiate the two sides (U.S. and North Vietnam). This combined with the trump card of race, which was used as the catalyst, depersonalized the actions of combat. The soldiers involved with this massacre felt that they were simply following orders and it was their duty to do so because it was dictated by their "authority" figure. This undoubtedly sounds similar to that of Adolph Eichmann's reasoning. members.tripod.com...



[edit on 12/8/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Dec, 8 2006 @ 05:49 PM
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I'd have to say sherman more than grant. I'm a southerner but can appreciate the genius of sherman's campaign to the sea. If people don't have food they can't eat. If they can't eat they can't fight. If they can't fight...YOU WIN!

Yeah Grant was there in Appomattox with an overwhelmingly large army when Grant decided to surrender but he did so only because he saw that the south's economy was in shambles, most of it's young men had already died fighting in the WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION, and he was low on supplies and reinforcements. Grant was simply the last in a long line of incompetent northern commanders who couldn't defeat an economically backward south with overwhelming military force for 5 years.

Sherman gutted the south. Grant was just there for the end.



posted on Dec, 13 2006 @ 03:10 AM
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Gonna throw a bit of Canadiana into the mix. I submit General Sir Arthur Currie, who was the commander of the Canadian Corps during the First World War and is perhaps Canada's only bona fide war hero. He won every battle he fought, perhaps the only WW1 commander to do so, and Lloyd George said he would have sacked Haig and made Currie commander of the entire BEF had the war gone into 1919. The Canadian Corps performance during the first world war speaks for itself and is a testament to Currie's genius as a military leader.

For anyone interested, have a look at the victories at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele (an ugly one for sure), The Canal du Nord, and the battles of "The Last Hundred Days" in which the four division strong Canadian Corps spearheaded the final allied drive and victoriously engaged elements of some seventy German divisions.



posted on Dec, 13 2006 @ 10:19 PM
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Originally posted by Orwells Ghost
Gonna throw a bit of Canadiana into the mix. I submit General Sir Arthur Currie, who was the commander of the Canadian Corps during the First World War and is perhaps Canada's only bona fide war hero. He won every battle he fought, perhaps the only WW1 commander to do so, and Lloyd George said he would have sacked Haig and made Currie commander of the entire BEF had the war gone into 1919. The Canadian Corps performance during the first world war speaks for itself and is a testament to Currie's genius as a military leader.

For anyone interested, have a look at the victories at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele (an ugly one for sure), The Canal du Nord, and the battles of "The Last Hundred Days" in which the four division strong Canadian Corps spearheaded the final allied drive and victoriously engaged elements of some seventy German divisions.


Currie's a good call - absolutely one of the better WW1 allied generals. He did have the advantage, though, of commanding Canadian troops who's toughness & skill would flatter any General's plans.

Be careful citing Lloyd-George; he proposed anybody/anything rather than carry on with Haig. Irrational and unfair but that was Lloyd-George.

Nice to see another Non-US name in the pot



posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 04:42 PM
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Oh, Yeah lets not forget George W. Bush!



posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by arius
Oh, Yeah lets not forget George W. Bush!


Best joke of the day!

I think he would come under "Greatest Military Blunderers"



posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 08:28 PM
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Originally posted by stumason

Originally posted by arius
Oh, Yeah lets not forget George W. Bush!


Best joke of the day!

I think he would come under "Greatest Military Blunderers"


NO DOUBT!!! we need to make a list for that, "Greatest Military Blunderers"



posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 08:41 PM
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George Washington (1732-1799) Born in Virginia, into a family of modest wealth. By 1775, Washington was overseer of his wife, Martha’s, 18,000 acres, and held 6,500 acres in his own name at Mt. Vernon, along with over 100 slaves. The Second Continental Congress acting under the Articles of Confederation, created the Continental Army on June 15, 1775. The following day Congress appointed George Washington a major general - our highest rank - and gave him the title and duty of Command-in-Chief of the Continental Armies. Note: U.S. Grant was the first Lieutenant General in the American Army. Lincoln made his title General-in-Chief of the Union Armies. Sherman and Sheridan were also raised to Lieutenant General.

The last battle of the Revolutionary War was in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia. Half the soldiers under Washington’s command were French. The French fleet held the British fleet outside Chesapeake Bay, thereby forcing the British under Lord Cornwallis to surrender. Without French aid all through the war, it is arguable the Americans could not have prevailed. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to order “American” fries.

The Peace of Paris was signed in 1783, in which Great Britain recognized the independence of the 13 united American colonies. In December, 1783, in New York, then the capital, General Washington resigned his appointment as Command in Chief to the Continental Congress and went back home to Mt. Vernon.

The Articles of Confederation proved woefully inadequate even in that slower time of horses and carriages. Although more populated states had more delegates to the Congress, the states cast their votes as a unit. The smallest state had the same vote as the largest states.

When the Congress was not in session - a lot of the time - the executive function was exercised by a committee made up of 1 person from each state. A majority of 7 votes was needed to take any action. Finally, the Congress has no taxing power and was totally dependant on assessments made to the several states prorated by population size, and for which there was no enforcement procedure. Most states ignored the requests most of the time.

The new Constitution written in 1787 and approved in 1789, saw George Washington serve two terms as our first president. On March 4, 1797, Washington again surrendered power as he had 14 years earlier, and went back to Mt. Vernon. This is the act that prompted King George III, contrasting Washington to Napoleon, to remark, “Washington is the greatest man of our time.”

Washington defeated the largest and best army in the world, the British Red Coats. It took from 1775 to 1781. Six years. I say, this makes him, George Washington, the greatest general of all time!



posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 09:38 PM
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well for the first time i see you supporting americans for once! but hey goerge washington deserves some credit. but i'll say Napoleon can be just as remarkable. or Genghis khan, Saladin, Alexander the great is way better actually, Alexander defeated the i think first ever continental empire, the persian empire, and went all the way to INDIA! Napoleon took over france, defeated the austrian empire many many times, defeated the prussians, but like all great generals they try to reach too far, and just like Hitler he sent his Artillery and cavalry to RUSSIA, whihc sent his campaigns bye-bye....



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