Great Generals and Tactics Through the Ages

I've read a lot of articles of common tactics 1864-65, spreading out, ambushes.

In the early part of the war, the Union outnumbered the Confederates bad... so the Union would enage them with a lot of mores and decide that they had guys to waste - so they would use the most effective tactic for the circumstance given which was line all your guys up and fire in volleys...

and the guns made weren't the quickest on reloads either, if it was guerrila warfare each side would have had to of been all sharpshooters :wink:

But yea, good thought cos I know watcha mean, Pickett's Charge for instance... marching over a 1 mile field and only running till your 50 yards away...
I can say bad tactics because Patton was the best general ever and all of his tactics were based on what did and didn't work in the ancient wars. Look at how successful he was. Granted those decisions he made were based on actual attacks in those lands and we didn't have that for here, but just generally noticing tactics in such situations would still have been good enough. Sherman had the right idea as far as Union strategy went. Rampage and they will break in no time. Had all the union generals done that the war would have been over in less than a year. The Confederacy would have won if they had decided to do massive amounts of guerilla warfare eating there way farther north. Then when they had gained enough ground north a few very large strikes on major cities, bases, or industries and the north would have crumbled. Granted it would have taken them longer to win the war that way but it would have been a sure fire strategy with the way they were fighting.
Patton the best general? I believe that to be Julius Ceasar...There are lots of great generals in history (lots of bad ones too) but the original king of generals has to be the roman badass Ceasar.
Didn't all these guys conquer the world in their eras? :rambo:

I think Patton could take them ALL on.

Cause he got TANKS :tank:
Well theres so many great generals. The thing that makes them different is the era they were in of course. Patton had a whole different view in strategy compared to Caesar because they were in different areas, and different weaponry. But if I honestly had to say top 3 generals in history of man.

(Not in any order)

Julius Caesar

Alexander the Conqueror

Even though he wasnt really a "General" per say. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson!
I think I'd have to put my vote in for Napoleon. His record speaks for itself. Look what it took to stop the guy. There was no one country in the world that could have hoped to stop him by itself.
I would agree with DTop and say Napoleon was probably the best General. Especially if you use the criteria of a good general is one who would have the respect of his men and his enemy alike. His men were willing to follow him anywhere and the rest of the world feared him because of it. So for me it was Napoleon.
Oh and I once talked with a man who served under Patton in WWII. I asked him about the general and he said 'Oh you mean old blood and guts?" I said yes and he said the men used to say it was their blood and his guts. he told me that the feeling was that Patton never cared much for his men but only for his own glory.
Interesting, that just goes to show how different people can hae different experiences even though they may have even served together I guess.

Napoleon was great for his battle tactics. Especiaaly his navy. His navy and land force were superb except that his stategy wasn't so good.
You have to remember Patton's Third Army had the fewest casualties, because he move fast. He knew that if you just stay and go blow for blow, all it will do is grind down resources and morale.

Let's not forget MacArthur, Henry V, Henry "Hotspurs" Percy, Robert the Bruce, Rommel, Heinz Guderian, Pershing, T.E Lawrence, Chesty Puller, and Nathaniel Greene, Lord Cornwallis, George Washington. If anyone wants justification for any of these guys just ask.
Erich Von Manstein

Erwin Rommel

George C Marshall.........

Plus I new to this forum and would also like to say hello to all! :D
best well....

my money is on General Lee..... i am a northern boy but look at what he did.... i think you are a bit confused to say any others..... but i will be the best wait and see..... twenty years from now look at you papers and you will see the name of a man with e initials BME it will be me my frineds .. i have been studing tactics since i was 5
You know. It's quite hard to compare generals or leaders from different eras. Also, there may be many great generals who personally you don't know about if you don't know much about a particular time period. This question has no 'right' answer.


Patton was a good general because he understood modern tank warfare. Ghengis Khan, Alexander, Napolean, Ceaser were all great generals as they had the respect of their men who would follow them anywhere. Rommel was a good tactician and very charismatic but he was not a great strategist.

Just to ring out some other names:

Erich Von Manstein - great strategist, responsible for Fall Gelb, the masterplan that defeated France, also saved Army Group South from collapse after the defeat at Stalingrad.

Heinz Guderian - visionary and equally good tactician and strategist, Unfortunately he stood up to Hitler one too many times and was dismissed in December 1941. He missed the chance to make his mark in Russia when Germany needed him the most.

Georgi Zhukov - greatest Soviet Marshall of them all, great strategist and driving force behind the 'new' Red Army that pushed the Wehrmacht back and back all the way to Berlin.

IMO those 3 guys were the best generals of WW2.

Y'see? I only really know the modern era so I'm sure I'm missing out tons of equally able generals who I know knothing off. There's no right or wrong answer.
Well the original intent here was to start a discussion of the generals and their tactics rather than one to prove that one is better than the other, but as you can see that kind of fell through :lol: .

Welcome to the forum.