- Reaction score
Just thought I would trial an idea on Famous Military commanders, what we thought of them; what they were good at and what in the way let them down. There are a lot to pick from both from ancient history to modern times.
To start this off here are a few:
Leader from ancient history (aka Cartha) who made a blood oath to his farther to take out the Romans (when the roman empire was in its infancy). As a commander on the battlefield he was a great military strategist (some consider one of the greatest) and to some degree knew how to defeat armies my deviding them and using their weaknesses against them, however, as an overall leader, he lacked vision and any real in-depth grasp of strategy when it comes to conquest and associated diplomacy. As an individual he was also a barbaric sadist who cared nothing for his troops, only in his own glory; this was bore out when he drove his troops and elephants across the alps (in winter !!!) costing him half his army before he had his first real fight. In the end he lost because he failed to realise that even though he destroyed a roman army in Cannae (some consider his greatest victory) the romans had enough man power to lose these many troops many times and strill field an anrmy against him. Many still see him as one of the greatest strategists since his tactics in battlefiedl warfare were adopted by the Romans to defeat him.
Some problems with this summary, firstly Hannibal was never in command of Carthage at this time rather he was the military commander, it is well known that he never received the reinforcements which he requested, in fact many rate him far higher for the fact that he used the same army over his many years campaigning in enemy territory with very little help from his government at home whilst the Romans were able to field many fresh armies against him, and Hannibal defeated them every time. The only time he was sent reinforcements the Carthaginian army sent to reinforce was defeated whilst attemting to cross from Spain. Shortly after Scipio crossed over to Africa with an army forcing Carthage to recall their only capable general to defend the homeland. Due to Roman naval superiority by this point however Hannibal was forced to leave his army in Italy. The force that Scipio defeated was largely unblooded and not the troops Hannibal had commanded for so many years.
Furthermore on the diplomacy point Hannibal was very successful in turning Rome's client cities to the Carthaginian banner, this was the only way he could keep his army suppied reinforced and paid whilst in Italy, unfortunately for Hannibal he never had the strength to besiege Rome and could not have his army everywhere in Italy at once so the Romans were able to presserize those cities which had switched allegiance back into the Roman fold.
Though you also label him a sadist it was this very maneuver crossing the Alps at that time when no one could ever believe it was possible which allowed him to catch the Romans completely unaware at Ticinus and deprived them of their Gallic client tribes on the Po - troops which Hannibla later used to great effect at Trebia and Cannae - a battle which is still taught today at West Point as an example of a perfect envelopment of an enemy army leading to their complete destruction as a fighting force.
Mark Anthony (aka Markus Anthonius) - most will know this from the poor depiction in the Cleopatra movie. Again much like Hannibal he was great on the battlefield, but again was a very poor strategist / diplomat overall. When the empire was broken up he took the largest area of land and let Octavian take the area that included Rome. Octavian being a much better diplomat / strategist knew the key to ruling the empire was Rome. In the great battle that took place on the sea at Actium and then on land at Alexandria Mark Anthony went against Octavian with troops that were inexperienced part time soldiers with little discipline, they also had language and command difficulties and Octavian had an experienced roman army behind him defeated him easily.
Sun Tzu - another ancient military commander and I picked this one because here is one of the few who possessed both battlefield skills and exceptional military strategy and diplomacy in knowing how to lead a campaign and win wars with minimal effort. Little is really known about him but most agree he was a genius in military strategy.
Sun Tzu is generally believed by scholars to be a fictional character his works being more a reprisotary of military and strategic knowledge complied from a variety of sources - there is no evidence supoporting the existence of a military commander of this in name in China at that time. Though the text cleary contributed to contemporary Chinese military tactics for some time and later informed generals like Napoleon.
Some may see my depiction of some of these leaders Harsh but I am comparing them against their peers.
Don't know if this thread will work but worth a shot.
Comments in bold