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Subject: Who was the best general that (maybe) nobody ever heard of?.... rss

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Steve Arthur
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A bit of hyperbole in the title there..being who we are there can't really be many that we've never heard of...I suppose I'm really asking for some examples of those generals who really excelled but for various reasons remain relatively unsung...I'd like to suggest three

1.Cyril Clowes...the Australian general who by displaying great leadership, icy composure and true grit was responsible for dealing the Japanese a major defeat (possibly their first on land during the Pacific War) at the Battle for Milne Bay in 1942...he was later most unfairly sidelined by Macarthur and his incompetent Australian toady Blamey...the former out of ignorance and the latter for reasons of personal vindictiveness..

2.Subutai...Gengis Khan's elderly but supremely skilled general who basically defeated all comers during the Mongol invasion of Europe in 1241..he was getting ready to attack the Holy Roman Empire when the Khan died and he was recalled to Mongolia...anyone who deliberately and successfully invades Russia during winter has got to know what he's doing..I believe Patton was a fan...

3.Vietinghoff...the German panzer general with the Hitler moustache who after various successes on the Western and Eastern Fronts was (at first under the command of Kesselring but later on his own) a big headache for the Allies during the whole of the Italian Campaign...he nearly beat them at the Salerno landings...


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Alan Richbourg
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Re: Who was the best general nobody ever heard of?....
For the win:

Korean Admiral Yi Sun Shin

Despite never having received naval training or participating in naval combat prior to the war, and constantly being outnumbered and outsupplied, he went to his grave as one of few admirals in world history who remained undefeated after commanding as many naval battles as he did (at least 23).

Guy is supremely amazing and unknown in the west. He's the Nelson of the East. I might write a book about him some day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin

Edit: lol, if admirals are allowed instead of generals
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James Lowry
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Re: Who was the best general nobody ever heard of?....
Quote:
Who was the best general nobody ever heard of?....

By definition, we'll never know, because nobody has heard of him....
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Steve Arthur
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Rindis wrote:
Quote:
Who was the best general nobody ever heard of?....

By definition, we'll never know, because nobody has heard of him....



Heading altered accordingly..
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Enrico Viglino
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The guy who led the Sea People, bringing down Mycenae, the Hittites,
and sending the Egyptians reeling.

Truly nobody knows who (or how many who's) did this, but if one person,
they brought the Mediterranean world to its knees.
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Bruce Jurin
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I agree that Subutai is a very good choice. Some others for me are:

Khalid, I think he was an all time great, he doesn't get his due

Heraclius was a really great general and a lot of people don't know who he was

I'm not sure is Belisarius is 'well-known' or not, clearly a great general.

Antigonus was the dominant general post Alexander

Gonzalo Cordoba

Yarmuk

I think everyone know Suvarov but I think he isn't given the praise he deserves

I'm viewing that Timur is well known, otherwise he is an obvious choice
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James Mintus
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I realise that many have heard of him, but many have not: William Slim. He went to Burma in 1942 right in the middle of the crisis caused by the Japanese invasion (and Britain's lack of preparation) and had to salvage some fighting force to build an army around.

His work to build up the 14th Army had many obstacles; ranging from insufficient and often obsolete supplies (he was lowest priority for the
Allied war effort), the need to overcome a serious inferiority complex amoung his men, and the personality clashes of Orde Wingate (difficult and SUPER eccentric) and Vinegar Joe Stilwell (difficult, grouchy, Brit- hater).

Bill Slim tried, failed, learned. He stuffed the Japanese at Imphal and Kohima, then took a modern motorised army through a tropical nightmare, across two major rivers, partly by truck and partly by airplane. He outmanouvered, outfought, and overran the Japanese in central Burma in a masterful campaign.

I also find his memoir "Defeat into Victory" to be the best of all Generals' memoirs, primarily due to his candor and solvent analysis of his failures before his success. Way better than Patton's, Bradley's, Manstein's...you name it.

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James Mintus
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chargetheguns wrote:
For the win:

Korean Admiral Yi Sun Shin

Despite never having received naval training or participating in naval combat prior to the war, and constantly being outnumbered and outsupplied, he went to his grave as one of few admirals in world history who remained undefeated after commanding as many naval battles as he did (at least 23).

Guy is supremely amazing and unknown in the west. He's the Nelson of the East. I might write a book about him some day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin

Edit: lol, if admirals are allowed instead of generals


Boy, you should get a prize for this one. I read about him in Stephen Turnbull's book "Samurai Invasion". That whole war in the 1590's is
unknown, but Admiral Yi deserves the accolades. He truly crushed the Japanese in every naval battle and cut off their supply line, making their war in Korea a costly debacle.
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rod humble

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jamesmintus wrote:
chargetheguns wrote:
For the win:

Korean Admiral Yi Sun Shin

Despite never having received naval training or participating in naval combat prior to the war, and constantly being outnumbered and outsupplied, he went to his grave as one of few admirals in world history who remained undefeated after commanding as many naval battles as he did (at least 23).

Guy is supremely amazing and unknown in the west. He's the Nelson of the East. I might write a book about him some day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin

Edit: lol, if admirals are allowed instead of generals


Boy, you should get a prize for this one. I read about him in Stephen Turnbull's book "Samurai Invasion". That whole war in the 1590's is
unknown, but Admiral Yi deserves the accolades. He truly crushed the Japanese in every naval battle and cut off their supply line, making their war in Korea a costly debacle.


Wow, never knew this. Thanks both. educational.
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Zhe Leng
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I'm pretty sure there are tens of brilliant Chinese generals that most guys around here have never heard of.

Like, Bai Qi, Han Xin, Wang Shouren, Chen Qingzhi, Peng Dehuai, Lin Biao, etc.
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Lexington
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Breunor wrote:
I think everyone know Suvarov but I think he isn't given the praise he deserves


Maybe once famous but forgotten should have been at the header of the thread.
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Lee Trowbridge
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calandale wrote:
The guy who led the Sea People, bringing down Mycenae, the Hittites,
and sending the Egyptians reeling.

Truly nobody knows who (or how many who's) did this, but if one person,
they brought the Mediterranean world to its knees.


True... except the Sea Peoples may have been the Mycenaens, or expat Trojans, or mercenaries hired by one side or the both... or Philistines... or refugees from a drought in the northern Med... Egyptian inscriptions hint at [nearly] all of the above.
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Lee Trowbridge
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People on this board have heard of him, but if the general public ever heard the name Belisarius is was probably on the credits of TV adventure series.

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Lexington
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E_T_Lee wrote:
People on this board have heard of him, but if the general public ever heard the name Belisarius is was probably on the credits of TV adventure series.


T.E. Lawrence mentions Belisarius in his "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" that is where I first heard of him. I really enjoyed Robert Graves book "Count Belisarius." And I was so lucky when I visited Italy to get to stop in Ravenna and gaze at the frescos of Justian and Belisarius.



http://www.amazon.com/Count-Belisarius-Robert-Graves/dp/0374...

Something I always visualize from the book is Belisarius' defense of Rome where from the tomb of Hadrian which later became Castel Sant'Angelo they push the statues off onto the assaulting Visigoths.



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Sim Guy
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I always thought a lot of MG George Thomas (ACW). For the amount of success he had, when consistent success was rare, almost no one knows anything about him, outside of this forum and CSW maybe.
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz (see my avatar).
Nickedname 'der Panzergraf' he was one of the highest decorated German officers and he achieved miracles with little means. In the West he and his staff officer got cut off from their troops. Instead of surrendering, he and his subordinate drove onto a French army base and ordered the French commander to surrender stating the base was close of being surrounded. The French surrendered and Graf Strachwitz and his French prisoners marched back to his troops.
In the East he shot a Russian panzer Corps to shred. With 5 tanks he destroyed more than one hundred soviet tanks in a single act, returning unharmed with his 5 tanks.
There are more accounts of his features in the book 'mit Schwerten und Brillianten'.
He was also one of the lesser known conspiritors against Hitler; he, along with Hans Speidel wanted to arrest and shoot Hitler on one of his visits to the Eastern Front but Hitler made last minute changes, depriving him eternal glory.
OCS has dedicated a counter to him in Baltic Gap.
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michael connor
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Paik Sun-yup, South Korea's most decorated (and 1st four star)general, not generally know outside of his homeland may well have been the best genaral of the Korean War. Only 29 when he took command of the 1st division(ROK) which never retreated and was the first UN unit to enter Pyongyang and go on to the Yalu. Contributed heavily to the Pusan perimeter defense and to almost every important engagement of that war.

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Nico Solitander
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Karl Lennart Oesch is often overlooked (remaining in the shadow of Airo and Mannerheim) for his crucial role in the Finnish Winter and Continuation War where he commanded and rallied mostly badly equipped defense battalions to crucial victories. Given, he was never named general (remained Lieutenant General) because Mannerheim did not like him very much. probably the best commander in both those wars.
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Tom Willcockson
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jamesmintus wrote:
I realise that many have heard of him, but many have not: William Slim. He went to Burma in 1942 right in the middle of the crisis caused by the Japanese invasion (and Britain's lack of preparation) and had to salvage some fighting force to build an army around.


First one that came to mind when I saw the topic
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Roger Hobden
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jamesmintus wrote:

I also find his memoir "Defeat into Victory" to be the best of all Generals' memoirs, primarily due to his candor and solvent analysis of his failures before his success.

thumbsup

Agreed.

A model of intellectual honesty.

Those who have never read this don't know what they are missing.

This book should be compulsory reading for military leaders ... and politicians.
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Bill Lawson
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General Disaray

 
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Mike E.
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Michael, I had the honor of meeting and going to dinner with General Paik Sun Yup when he visited the Air Force Academy in 1992. It was pretty amazing listening to his stories. He was, I think, also on a tour to promote his book, "From Pusan to Panmunjom." Thanks for bringing his name up for the BGG'ers. He is a national hero in South Korea.
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Colin Parkin
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Peso Pete wrote:
Not many people have heard of James Graham, the Earl of Montrose. During the English Civil War, he led a campaign in Scotland fighting for the Royalists.

Montrose has been romanticised - his subordinate, Alaister Macoll, may have been the real talent. Montrose seemed to have an unfortunate habit of being caught by surprise and being bailed out by his ferocious irish troops. Many of his covenanter opponents were second grade troops whilst the main presbyterian army was down in England. Stuart Reid's 'The Campaigns of Montrose' is an interesting revision of the romantic legend.
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Agung Waspodo
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Bruce Jurin have brought this up on the first page and I also think that Khalid ibn al-Walid not only deserved to be known but maybe his campaigns could also be wargamed for he defeated the Sassanid and Byzantine empires during his time.

A rather lengthy introduction link on wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_ibn_al-Walid

I would also add Tariq ibn Ziyad for his daring crossing from North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula and quickly overran the Visigothic Spain. His feat was followed by Musa ibn Nusayr and both conquered it for the Umayyad Caliphate.

A rather short introduction link on wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariq_Ibn_Ziyad
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Eric Walters
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Johan Laidoner. Led Estonia to beat both the Bolsheviks and the Germans in the Estonian War for Independence in 1918-1920. Who would have thunk it?

You have to read up on the Utria-Narva amphibious assault versus the Bolsheviks to appreciate the Inchon-like nature of that operation...and then the incredible fight at Cesis in Latvia against Von Der Goltz and his German Landwehr and Iron Division. As masterful as the former campaign was, the Estonians seem proudest of the the latter--beating the Russians isn't all that hard I suppose (especially when you are a former Tsarist Officer), but beating the Germans is no mean feat...especially when you are a tiny country!
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