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Subject: If you were a front line soldier, who would be your top 3 commanders to lead you? rss

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Zac Jensen
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Sedro Woolley
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If you were about to go into war/battle and were an infantryman, who would you have as your top 3 preferable leaders? They can be any era or any rank.

So who would you want leading you into battle?

For extra fun, list the top 3 you WOULDN'T want to follow into battle.
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Pete
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Sir Robin, the not quite so brave as Sir Lancelot.

Pete (ain't fighting)
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David Janik-Jones
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Carl Paradis
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I have just one:

My grandfather. World War two.

He was a Canadian Infantry officer from 1939 to 1945.
His unit had the least casualties of the Division.
Plus he was quite a Joker. meeple

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Martin McCleary
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the guy who brings me home alive and in one piece.
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Carl Fung
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Unless you are in a newly formed regiment in the US Civil War electing your regimental commander, I don't think any average infantryman would have a say. You'd also have to have a lot of forethought in knowing the guy you're electing will actually do well in battle.

Yes, I get this is a thought experiment, but this requires a lot of 20/20 hindsight and the exercise if a bit amorphous as I can choose either the squad leader who I wish to serve under, all the way up to Patton or Eisenhower who I would likely have no idea if their decisions would lead me to my survival or death.
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Carl Paradis
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But to answer your question more fully, my two other choices:

- French Marshal Davout, Napoleonic wars (exceptional leader, never lost a battle, took great care of his troops).
- Marshal Montgomery, WW2 (I dislike the guy, but he took good care of his troops, most of the time).

Least favorite choices:

- Muhammad (illiterate religious fanatics who hear voices are very dangerous to your health, even if you are on their side).
- Pyrrhus or Epirus (he took way too many battle losses, even when winning).
- Genghis Khan (way too violent and cruel).
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Barry Kendall
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I interpret the question as referring to on-battlefield frontline leaders.

Hal Moore, Dick Winters, Frederick Benteen.
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Carl Paradis
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Barry Kendall wrote:
I interpret the question as referring to on-battlefield frontline leaders.

Hal Moore, Dick Winters, Frederick Benteen.


My Grandfather now just hates you, Private Kendall.
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Eric Brosius
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George McClellan

[I wouldn't be as worried about how long the war would last as I would be about how long the war would last for me.]
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Sam Smith
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Rallye72 wrote:
the guy who brings me home alive and in one piece.


Which is why I was going to +1 McClellan. Though of course by not helping bring that war to a speedier conclusion he didn't do so well on this score in the long run.

This is what makes the OP's question interesting: you want a balance between caring for the troops welfare and lives, but also someone who is going to take enough risks/tough decisions to end the war; plus ideally also with some strokes of genius that defeat the enemy without heavy casualties. That's why it's going to take me a while to come up with 3...
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Zac Jensen
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samwise46 wrote:


This is what makes the OP's question interesting: you want a balance between caring for the troops welfare and lives, but also someone who is going to take enough risks/tough decisions to end the war; plus ideally also with some strokes of genius that defeat the enemy without heavy casualties. That's why it's going to take me a while to come up with 3...


That was my exact thought. I'm reading about Julius Caesar and he seemed to fit the bill to me. Very smart, but cared enough about his men individually that he wouldn't just throw lives away. I think the above mentioned Dick Winters also fits the bill, albeit on a smaller scale. The worst to me would be someone like Stalin. Where my life would be completely meaningless to him as long as it brought him victory.
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Mike Robel
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Top 3: Maddox, Wallace, Cocks.
Bottom 3: Vamvakias, Sutherland, Hartman
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Irish not Kraut!
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Michael Collins, once we're not driving in a convoy through west Cork
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Pokey 64
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I'd have to stick to what I know.

Top three:
Sgt. Swinson (the best tank commander I ever had)
SFC Pedachino (the best platoon sergeant I ever had)
MG Schwarzkopf (the best division commander I ever had)
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Rich Lloyd
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Top3: Freyberg, Kippenberger, Upham
Bottom 3: Westmoreland, Mark Clark, Just about any British commander in WW1 (Plumer being a notable excpetion)
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Holman
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I'm seeing a difference between "You're a frontline soldier" and "You're a committed nation."
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Zac Jensen
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Well I’m sure the frontline soldiers in WW2 felt vastly different feelings knowing who was ultimately calling the shots. I’d say anyone on the Allies felt FAR more comfortable and willing to do their job than the soldiers fighting for Hitler (later in the war) and Stalin. So they may not be their direct superior but I’m sure the everyday soldier took these things into account.
 
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Eric Brosius wrote:
George McClellan


McClellan, Monty, or the Duke of York would all be acceptable.
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Thomas Fowler
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My top 3 preferable, in no particular order:

Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

James Longstreet

Edit: Have to make it a top 4; add Xenophon to this list.


*****

Cannot list a top 3 least preferable, because there are soooo many.
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Sam Smith
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pete belli wrote:
Eric Brosius wrote:
George McClellan


McClellan, Monty, or the Duke of York would all be acceptable.


I like what you did there with the Duke of York.

I was thinking of suggesting Monty in all seriousness, actually - restored troop morale very well at a key time and won some methodical victories. His reputation tends to be tarnished by the less good ending (Market Garden etc) and, you know, the fact that he was an egomaniac.
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M Evan Brooks
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Top Three:

John Monash (1865-1931)
William Joseph Slim (1891-1970)
Richard Nugent O'Connor (1889-1981)

Bottom Three:

Luigi Cadorna (1850-1928)
Braxton Bragg (1817-1876)
William George Elphinstone (1782-1842)

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David Cheng
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I like these three:

Kelly
Big Joe
Oddball

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Ted Raicer
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I don't know. Who were the three least likely to get into combat?
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Mike Windsor
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Dunno, but sure as hell not going to be Phyrrus, Hood, or Haig.
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