Recommend
38 
 Thumb up
 Hide
92 Posts
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

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

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ericmwalters wrote:


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!


Wasn't Pödder the commander of the Cesis battle?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Warren Bruhn
United States
Roseburg
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Atraxrobustus wrote:
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...


Unsung in the English language? There are certainly a lot that I've never heard of being mentioned on this thread, many from conflicts that are less famous to English speakers. It seems to me, as somebody who has only played games and read military history books in English, that conflicts in which the British (including Empire troops, and usually in coalitions) and Americans did well get more attention. That leaves generals in some other conflicts less well known in this language.

So, one very famous general in his time who is not so well known today is Maurice de Saxe. The War of Austrian Succession, when it gets much attention from miniatures or other gamers now, mostly does so because of Fredrick the Great and his battles against the Austro-Hungarian armies. But there was another side to that conflict in the low countries, where Maurice de Saxe and his French army did some pretty impressive work. Although Villars, Vendome, and Berwick were competent generals in the earlier War of Spanish Succession, de Saxe was arguably the best general employed by France during the 18th Century prior to the French Revolution.
6 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Walters
United States
Chesterfield
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
"...the art of manoeuvering armies...an art which none may master by the light of nature. but to which, if he is to attain success, a man must serve a long apprenticeship." -- G.F.R. Henderson
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nsolitander wrote:
ericmwalters wrote:


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!


Wasn't Pödder the commander of the Cesis battle?


He commanded the Estonian 3rd Division there. But Laidoner was the overall commander for Estonia...and it was the reinforcements Laidoner sent to stiffen 3rd Division that turned the tide. Given that Estonia was still pressed on a number of fronts, timing could not have been better.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Mintus
United States
Warren
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
De Saxe is a good one; I almost added him myself. As a young officer he fought for Eugene of Savoy, then Peter the Great, then the French monarchy (even though he was German). During the War of the Austrian Succession he was THE driving force behind France's battlefield success.

If I remember right, de Saxe was usually outnumbered by the Allied army, but never suffered a defeat. He made use of surprise assaults, clusters of fieldworks to unbalance his foes, and emphasized manouver; things that were still somewhat unorthodox in the rigid warfare of the day.

If you want to put him into action check out FONTENOY 1745, part of the BATTLES FROM THE AGE OF REASON by Clash of Arms Games. He stymied the Allies while being confined to a wicker chair by phlebitis.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
I've always been quite fond of Narses, whom I believe was
undefeated. He replaced the far better known Belisarius,
and finished the job the more famous general couldn't complete.

His military career didn't even begin until he was in his 60's,
and he didn't have an independent command until he was in his
70's.
9 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
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.


His protege, the eunuch Narses, is another good choice for "best obscure general."

One of my favorites is the Hussite leader, Jan Ziska, who in addition to being a damned fine battlefield commander, was also blind.

8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Brown
England
York
North Yorkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Tha can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but tha canna tell him much
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How about Sir James Hope Grant?

If you needed something done, something important, something tough, you sent Hope Grant. He racked up a battlefield record second to no one - Alexander, Patton, McArthur, certainly Montgomery - take your pick. Today Hope Grant is known to few, probably because he kept his own counsel and in the process offended seniors who couldn't argue with his successes; but there can be little doubt that Hope Grant's military successes greatly enhanced the reputations of some very recognizable names in British colonial history. Hope Grant (1808-75) served in the Sikh Wars, the 1857 India Mutiny, and China.
That Grant survived the Sikh Wars and 1857 mutiny in India was itself a miracle, for an account of his campaigns and feats reads like a history of the wars themselves; he seemed to be everwhere, often in fiercly contested hand-to-hand combat. And everywhere Grant accomplished what he was sent to do, often more, often against great odds (being outnumbered tenfold never stopped him): the desperately contested battles of Cillianwallah and Goojerat; Umballa, Delhi (twice), Lucknow (twice). Cawnpore, Mossa Bagh, Koorsie, the Baree road, Sirsee, Sooltanpore, Trans-Ghorgra ... it's a very lengthy list. (Had he been there, one is tempted to think Grant might have averted the British disaster at Isandhlwana during the Zulu War in January 1879.)
In China, Gant defeated the Chinese army three times in the open in three months, and dispersed it after battling not just the Chinese, but his recalcitrant French "allies" as well. The strong forts of Taku, mounting 600 guns, were captured. Peking surrendered. The China campaign was universally deemed the most successful and the best executed of England's little wars.
In his later years Hope Grant literally rewrote the book on British Army tactics , dragging the army kicking and screaming into a new and successful approach that lasted well past his untimely death in 1875.


(Image from the National Gallery of Scotland - I can't recall where I got the text from but I can tell you it's not my own.)
16 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim F
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Midlands
flag msg tools
You know with Hitler? the more I learn about that guy, the more I don't care for him
badge
Ashwin
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mallet wrote:
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.


+1 thumbsup
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Holman
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Has no one mentioned Alexsei Brusilov? He was certainly the best the Russians had in WW1, and his ideas looked forward to the next generation of warfare, not the past. His conduct during the Russian Civil War suggests that, although he may have been mistaken about Bolshevik goodwill, he honestly tried to put the interests of his country first.

7 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Peso Pete wrote:
Prince Eugene of Savoy would be one to consider, I would think. He was laughed out of the French court when he tried to obtain a military commission due to his physical afflictions prior to the War of Spanish Succession. The Dutch knew a great military mind when they saw one and hired him and Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough became one of the best military partnerships in history.


Not quite, he was kaisertreu and became an Imperial general and Hofkriegsratspräsident; he was not in the Dutch army though the United Provinces benefited from his skill.

What, one wonders, if Louis XIV had taken him on?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Harae wrote:
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.


The "Armoured Count" (full name: Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz) has always been a subject of interest to those who read about the Grossdeutschland.

I've never seen him mentioned in the same breath with the conspirators though. Given that he was a member of the Allgemeine-SS and a prewar NSDAP member, I have to wonder how firmly his membership in the ranks of the conspiracy was. It seems dubious on the face of it. Albert Speer was a "conspirator" in the eleventh hour as well, in a conspiracy of one (or two, if you include a friend who was going to provide poison gas for him).

It was easy to claim anti-Hitler feelings after the war, but at least almost everyone had the good sense to do it. His companion and fellow general in the Grossdeutschland Verbände, Otto-Ernst Remer never did repudiate his own National Socialist leanings and went down fighting, sentenced to jail time and going into exile for his Holocaust denials. He's a candidate for the "worst" general list, too, being promoted in the wake of his moment of destiny during the bomb plot.

As a soldier, though, the Armoured Count is a pretty good selection, though among armour and especially GD enthusiasts - and they are growing in numbers - he is comparatively well known with other luminaries as Lorenz, Manteuffel, Diddo Diddens, etc.
5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pete belli wrote:
Quote:
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.


I think it was Slim who remarked that the British Army fights all of its battles in the rain, at a place where two maps come together.

Good choice.


He also said they fight outnumbered.

In regards to the best general noone has heard of...that would be me. I have won countless wars and battles across the full gamut of historical periods. I have won World War II many times singlehanded. Quite a claim...but I can back it up.

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Lamb
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Charles Vasey wrote:
What, one wonders, if Louis XIV had taken him on?


Churchill's biography of Marlborough may have been less hagiographic, assuming the duke would have faced Eugene rather that count him as a ally.

Also, Vienna may have fallen to the Ottomans.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Lamb
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I admire Maximillian Ulyses Browne, who served Maria Theresa. It makes me sad that my fav SYW strategy games has rules to kill him off when he historically died. I like to think that keeping him around would unbalance the game.

I also like Henri, duc de Rohan. His campaign in the Valetelline during the 30 years war rivals Stonewall's achievements in the Shenandoah.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo D'Ulisse
Italy
ROMA
Italy
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I go with Lucullus, a Roman general connected to Sulla faction. From Wikipedia:
"In the culmination of over twenty years of almost continuous military and government service, he became the main conqueror of the eastern kingdoms in the course of the Third Mithridatic War, exhibiting extraordinary generalship in diverse situations"...

The funny thing is that he is not remembered for his deeds as a general, but mainly "for his banqueting, so that the word lucullan now means lavish, luxurious and gourmet".

By the way in the place where once were the "gardens of Lucullus", now there is the Monastery area of Trinità dei Monti, next to Piazza di Spagna



4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Gringer
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
Wargamer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

We have a lot of good guys here. But I would give special mention to General O.P. Smith, the commander who saved the 1st Marine Division from being overrun by the Chinese at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Money quote: "Retreat, hell! We're not retreating, we're just advancing in a different direction." Extra points for quietly ignoring the HQ consensus that the Chinese would never intervene in a big way, and that the war was essentially over. He positioned many supply dumps along his line of advance that saved the division's bacon when he was surrounded by the Chinese who would never enter the fight...

On the left.

 
9 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hadik wrote:
Charles Vasey wrote:
What, one wonders, if Louis XIV had taken him on?


Churchill's biography of Marlborough may have been less hagiographic, assuming the duke would have faced Eugene rather that count him as a ally.

Also, Vienna may have fallen to the Ottomans.


In 1683 Eugen was 20 wasn't he; good though he was to be later I think Sobieski and Starhemberg probably were more important. By the time he got to command at a higher level the jig was up for the Turk near the Ringstraße.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Lamb
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Charles Vasey wrote:
Hadik wrote:
Charles Vasey wrote:
What, one wonders, if Louis XIV had taken him on?


Churchill's biography of Marlborough may have been less hagiographic, assuming the duke would have faced Eugene rather that count him as a ally.

Also, Vienna may have fallen to the Ottomans.


In 1683 Eugen was 20 wasn't he; good though he was to be later I think Sobieski and Starhemberg probably were more important. By the time he got to command at a higher level the jig was up for the Turk near the Ringstraße.


Yes, I suppose you are right about Vienna. The Ottomans certainly would have taken more of the Empire's lands if Eugene hadn't been around.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Jelley
United Kingdom
Hungerford
Berkshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Campaigns of Marlborough

There is of course the Duke himself; "There are few successful commanders on whom Fame has shone so unwillingly as upon John, Duke of Marlborough." Won every battle he fought, took every town he besieged.

Philip
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Perhaps too well-known, and perhaps not as good a general as others on this list, but there's a special place in my heart for Frederick Townsend Ward.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Hecht
United States
Alexandria
VA
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
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.


"He either fears his fate too much, or his deserts are small, that dares not put it to the touch, to win or lose it all."

A toast famously attributed to the selfsame Earl of Montrose :-)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Philip Jelley wrote:
Campaigns of Marlborough

There is of course the Duke himself; "There are few successful commanders on whom Fame has shone so unwillingly as upon John, Duke of Marlborough." Won every battle he fought, took every town he besieged.

Philip


I think most of us know him, though probably more through his family's cigarette business.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Stuart
United States
Los Alamos
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One remarkable person well worth considering is Shaka Zulu.

Everyone has heard of Shaka -- the founder of the Zulu people -- but few know the full extent of his genius. Shaka made innovations in weapon design, tactics and grand tactics, and he was brilliant in both strategy and grand strategy. And, he created a 'nation' -- the Zulu people -- out of the disunited Nguni-speaking tribes of what is today kwazulu-Natal, in South Africa.

Weapons: Before Shaka, Nguni warriors fought with throwing spears. Because of the long, large cow-hide shields they had (the familiar 'Zulu shield'), and because engagements were generally fought at a distance, casualties were light on both sides. Shaka invented a new weapon: a short stabbing spear (assegai), whose head had about three times the mass of the older throwing spears.

Tactics: Shaka developed a tactical maneuver whereby the assegai-wielder would hook the edge of his opponent's shield in his own shield and push the shield aside, leaving his adversary open for a fatal thrust with the assegai.

He developed a system of linear and column warfare which was both new to southern Africa and well suited to employment of the maneuver he had developed.

Grand Tactics. He developed, or adopted, a system of grand tactics. Firstly, he had his soldiers dispense with their cumbersome sandals and toughen their feet so that they could march and fight barefoot; this greatly increased the speed and mobility of Zulu columns. There is a type of thorn in southern Africa which is shaped like a tetrahedron. No matter how it's scattered, three points dig into the ground and the fourth points straight up into the air. Shaka's men had to toughen their feet to the point at which they could stomp a parade-ground full of thorns into the ground.

The Zulu army was organized into three formations: the 'horns', which would fan out and surround the enemy army in a vast pincer movement, the 'head', which would advance to engage the enemy, and the 'loins', which served as a reserve. The head would generally shatter the enemy army, the loins would advance to prevent the enemy from recovering and reforming, and the horns would close in on flank and rear to prevent the routed enemy from escaping -- or to rout the enemy, if it had not yet been routed.

Srategy: Shaka's first two campaigns, in which his small territory was invaded by a far larger force than his, are models of strategy. In the first he successfully repelled the invaders. In the second he inflicted such a defeat on the invaders that he effectively destroyed them, and later was able to incorporate them into the beginnings of what became an expanding empire.

Grand Strategy: Shaka went on to create an empire and give a new identity to an entire people. (This has, admittedly, had both positive and negative consequences for South Africa; among other things, a wave of bloodshed and destruction was unleashed in southern Africa in the early 19th century, and non-Zulu tribes in South Africa are today, understandably, wary of Zulu hegemony). Among other things, Shaka had to establish the authority of the King, and he did this by destroying the power of the religious hierarchy (the witch doctors) & making them subservient to him, as head of state.

20 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Antonio B-D
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Gonzalo Fernández de Cordova. When your nickname is "El Gran Capitán" you are surely a great general.

I would also throw in the Duke of Alba. The hatred that the Dutch (those pesky rebels) still have for him is a measure of his abilities as leader (and of the dirtness of the campaign as a whole).

And finally Rodrigo Ruy Diaz de Vivar. "El Cid". Although having Charlton Heston impersonate you might bring you out of the never heard of list.

Oh, hold on I almost forgot Al-Mansur (Almanzor) the terror of the christian Spain during his command over the muslim troops.
11 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M@tthijs
Netherlands
Venlo
flag msg tools
Budo and boardgames...
badge
...weapons and wargames
Avatar
mbmbmb
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
Wow.
wikipedia wrote:
Outnumbered 333 ships to 13,[..], Yi delivered one of the most astonishing defeats in military history
WIN
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.