Jump to content

The General General Thread


Recommended Posts

Discuss the merits, tactics, and achievements of notable military generals in history.  I'll start.

 

William Tecumseh Sherman

(1820-1891)

 

250px-William-Tecumseh-Sherman.jpg

 

Major General William Tecumseh Sherman was Grant's most trusted Lieutenant during the American Civil War.  He is best known for his March to the Sea (also known as the Savanna Campaign), from Atlanta, Georgia to Savannah, Georgia which effectively broke the backs of the Confederacy.  He is widely recognized as the single most instrumental man to ending the war.  Sherman is a polarizing figure.  Depending on where in the US you live he is either hailed as a hero and brilliant strategist or villainized for his brutal tactics (Scorched Earth).  Those in favor tend to state that his harsh strategy brought the war to a close far quicker than had he not employed scorched earth tactics (almost certainly true) and that thousands more would have died had the war dragged on (almost certainly true).  Those opposed state that his inhumane methods hurt civilians (true) and caused massive amounts of damage that took decades to recover from (definitely true).

  • Like 6

rowsdower_sig.jpg.0f13980282a9229af0f1609eb6dee060.jpg
I wonder if there is beer on the sun

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is one of my favorites

 

Smedley Darlington Butler

(1881 - 1940)

 

480px-SmedleyButler.jpeg

 

Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, the highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler is well known for having later become an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences, as well as exposing the Business Plot, a purported plan to overthrow the U.S. government.

 
By the end of his career, Butler had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only Marine to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.
 
In 1933, he became involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot, when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become dictator, similar to other Fascist regimes at that time. The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot and the media ridiculed the allegations. A final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed some of Butler's testimony.
 
In 1935, Butler wrote a book titled War Is a Racket, where he described and criticized the workings of the United States in its foreign actions and wars, such as those he was a part of, including the American corporations and other imperialist motivations behind them. After retiring from service, he became a popular activist, speaking at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s.

 

  • Like 7

Free games updated 3/4/21

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tecumseh, really?

When you rock a luscious beard and a combover, you can get away with a middle name like Tecumseh

 

SuperStock_1916-2302.jpg

 

Edit:  Smedley might actually top Tecumseh for top wacky general name.

 

I gotta say, that whole Business Plot thing sounds pretty interesting.  I may have to read up on that. 

Edited by Keyrock
  • Like 1

rowsdower_sig.jpg.0f13980282a9229af0f1609eb6dee060.jpg
I wonder if there is beer on the sun

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tecumseh, really?

 

His father had an interest in Tecumseh, the Shawnee leader who would have been from the Ohio area that Sherman lived, and had been fairly prominent in the midwest through Tecumseh's war and in 1812 when his confederacy of Native Americans joined the British in the war against the US.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

480px-Chesty_Puller.jpg

 

 

 

Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (June 26, 1898 – October 11, 1971) was an officer in the United States Marine

Corps. Puller is one of the most, if not the most, decorated members of the Marine Corps in its history. He is the only Marine to be awarded five Navy Crosses. During his career, he fought guerrillas in Haiti and Nicaragua, and participated in some of the

bloodiest battles of World War II and the Korean War. Puller retired in 1955 and spent the rest of his life in Virginia.

 

Nicknamed “Chesty” because of his perfect posture and the fact that his torso somewhat resembled a full-size beer keg. In his

thirty-seven years of service to the Corps, Puller would rise through the ranks from Private to General, kick more asses than Juan Valdez on an insane bender, and become the most decorated Marine in American history.

 

Puller was instrumental in leading the defense of Henderson Field at Guadalcanal and at Bloody ridge during world war II. At the outbreak of the Korean War, Puller was once again assigned as commander of the 1st Marine Regiment, with which he made a landing at Inchon on September 15, 1950.

 

The 1st Marine Division (Puller asst. commander) was attacked by ten Chinese infantry divisions on 27 November 1950. They fought their way out of the Chosin Reservoir against seven Communist Chinese divisions suffering over 900 killed and missing, over 3,500

wounded and more than 6,500 non-battle casualties mostly from frostbite during the battle. The greater part of the Chinese 9th

Army was rendered ineffective as they suffered an estimated 37,500 casualties trying to stop the Marines' march out of the "Frozen Chosin".

 

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us. They can't get away this time."

Edited by kgambit
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

You realise you've set this up for Wals to take by storm?

  • Like 1

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

Link to post
Share on other sites

What, no mention of Rundstedt or Manstein yet? I'll have to do some digging for links and pics :p

 

Too easy to pick "modern" generals though, as they will have relatively much media coverage.

 

There were some outstanding generals in the Napoleonic era, Spanish conquistadors that subjugated continents with very little resources at their disposal, generals pulling off unlikely victories during the various European wars (100 years, 80 years, 7 years etc.), ancient "Greek" generals fighting off overwhelming odds... each era requiring different skill sets (from a strong sword arm and charisma over political nous and backstabbing skills to just sheer chess champion like strategic thinking skills).

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

Link to post
Share on other sites

There were some outstanding generals in the Napoleonic era, Spanish conquistadors that subjugated continents with very little resources at their disposal, generals pulling off unlikely victories during the various European wars (100 years, 80 years, 7 years etc.), ancient "Greek" generals fighting off overwhelming odds... each era requiring different skill sets (from a strong sword arm and charisma over political nous and backstabbing skills to just sheer chess champion like strategic thinking skills).

 

I'll bite

 

Thomas-Alexandre Dumas

(1762 - 1806)

 

781px-Alexandre_Dumas_%281762-1806%29.JP

 

From Wikipedia

 

General Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, also known as Alexandre Dumas, (25 March 1762 – 26 February 1806) was the famous African European general in French history and remains the highest-ranking person of color of all time in a continental European army. He was the first person of color in the French military to become brigadier general, the first to become divisional general, and the first to become general-in-chief of a French army. Dumas shared the status of the highest-ranking black officer in the Western world only with Toussaint Louverture (who in May 1797 became the second black general-in-chief in the French military) until 1989, when the American Colin Powell became a four-star general, the closest United States equivalent of Général d'Armée, Dumas's highest rank.

 

Born in Saint-Domingue, Alexandre Dumas was of mixed race, the son of a white French nobleman and a black slave mother. He was born into slavery because of his mother's status but was also born into nobility because of his father's. His father took the boy with him to France in 1776 and had him educated. Slavery was illegal in metropolitan France and thus any slave would be freed de facto by being in the country. He helped him enter the French military.
 
Dumas played a pivotal role in the French Revolutionary Wars. Entering the military as a private at age 24, Dumas rose by age 31 to command 53,000 troops as the General-in-Chief of the French Army of the Alps. Dumas's strategic victory in opening the high Alps passes enabled the French to initiate their Second Italian Campaign against the Austrian Empire. During the battles in Italy, Austrian troops nicknamed Dumas as the Schwarzer Teufel ("Black Devil," Diable Noir in French).The French – notably Napoleon – nicknamed him "the Horatius Cocles of the Tyrol" (after a hero who had saved ancient Rome) for single-handedly defeating a squadron of enemy troops at a bridge over the Eisack River in Clausen (today Klausen, or Chiusa, Italy).
 
Dumas served as commander of the French cavalry forces on the Expédition d'Égypte, a failed French attempt to conquer Egypt and the Levant. On the march from Alexandria to Cairo, he clashed verbally with the Expedition's supreme commander Napoleon Bonaparte, under whom he had served in the Italian campaigns. In March 1799, Dumas left Egypt on an unsound vessel, which was forced to put aground in the southern Italian Kingdom of Naples, where he was taken prisoner and thrown into a dungeon. He languished there until the spring of 1801.
 
Returning to France after his release, he had a son with his wife: Alexandre Dumas, who became one of France's most widely read authors of all time. The novelist Dumas' most famous characters were inspired by the life of General Dumas. The general's grandson, Alexandre Dumas, fils, would become one of France's most celebrated playwrights of the second half of the nineteenth century. Another grandson, Henry Bauër, who was never recognized by the novelist Dumas, was a prominent left-leaning theater critic in the same period. The General's great-grandson, Gérard Bauër, son of Henry Bauër, was also an accomplished writer, in the twentieth century. A great-great-grandson, Alexandre Lippmann (grandson of the playwright Dumas fils), was a two-time gold medalist in fencing at the 1908 and 1924 Olympic games (he won silver in 1920).
  • Like 4

Free games updated 3/4/21

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always liked Fabius Maximus just for coming up with the approach named after him where you wear down your enemy through many little cuts rather than trying for one big one. 

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is my forum, alright.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always liked Fabius Maximus just for coming up with the approach named after him where you wear down your enemy through many little cuts rather than trying for one big one. 

So, indirectly, he's the father of microtransactions?  :p

 

Few fun facts about William Tecumseh Sherman:

 

* He was called "Cump" by his friends and family.

* He was called "Uncle Billy" by his troops.

* After the Civil War, when Ulysses S. Grant became President, Sherman was appointed as General of the Army, one of only 8 men to ever reach that rank in the United States Army (the others are Grant, Sheridan, Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Arnold, and Bradley).  It is the second highest rank possible to attain, with only General of the Armies, of which there have only ever been 2 (Washington, Pershing) above it.

* The Sherman Tank was named after him.

  • Like 1

rowsdower_sig.jpg.0f13980282a9229af0f1609eb6dee060.jpg
I wonder if there is beer on the sun

Link to post
Share on other sites

William "Bill" Slim

 

446914.jpg

 

Slim was commander of the 'forgotten' 14th Army in Burma. Unlike most other Allied generals he had to make do with makework logistics, and a patchwork of troops from all over the place. He had to liaise effectively with the Chinese, Americans, Indians, and Burmese. He had to struggle with jungle terrain and weather that mocked his supply lines and induced terrifying sicknesses. The sicknesses compounded low morale and a perception that the Japanese were unbeatable in jungle warfare.

 

Slim turned the situation around. He risked his own neck visiting the front line, and knew how to talk to ordinary soldiers without the 'bull'. He was determined to make an army that was aggressively capable, and changed unit organisation and training accordingly. He was rightly suspicious of 'bright ideas', but enabled novel tactics and operations, like the chindits to occur.

 

Every account I've ever read of him said he was the epitome of a good British soldier. Not over-confident, nor enamoured of war. But quietly ruthless and professional in caring for and leading his men. There's a first class account of his efforts given in his own book "Defeat into Victory"

  • Like 4

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about Wendell Fertig?

 

Wendell_Fertig_1963.jpg

 

An interesting case, where a guy who was a civil engineer in the Phillipines got a direct commission to become an Army captain as WW2 broke out, rapidly promoted up (fuzzy records, some say just to a major, other to a full Colonel). But he gets up to the general thing... because when the Japanese took over, he started organising the resistance and guerrillas in the area. Due to the local psychology and the importance of stature and the whole cult of personality importance of the locals, he ended up being referred to as a "Brigadier General" by everyone.

 

For most of it, the American's refused to believe in his existence at first, then when they did, a lot of the leading command officers wouldn't authorise support because "if American troops could be defeated so easily, some scrabble irregulars would have no chance" and it would be a waste.

 

However, under Fertig's leadership the locals absorbed other guerrilla groups and harassed the Japanese over the continuing atrocities they committed.

 

As the guerrilla units and government infrastructure fled before the Japanese forces, something occurred which Fertig had hoped for. He called it the "pillow effect." By providing no resistance to a stronger force, the guerrillas survived the Japanese blow. When the Japanese withdrew, the pillow expanded to its original shape. As the company-sized guerrilla units dissolved, the Japanese began breaking up their units into smaller groups—eventually into squads—to track down these smaller units. Then, without any orders from above, first two or three guerrillas, then 10 or more, then platoon and then company-sized units reorganized and struck back at the smaller Japanese units, causing the Japanese heavy casualties in hundreds of small fire fights. The Japanese responded by reforming into battalion-sized units that needed large towns to support them. Eventually, the Japanese, using 15,000 to 18,000 troops on Mindanao, held the large towns on the sea coast while the USFIP held the rest of the countryside, or approximately 95% of the island of Mindanao. The guerrillas were so effective in some areas that local Japanese commanders made separate truces with them. In exchange for the guerrillas not attacking Japanese troops, the Japanese agreed to stay out of those areas

By the time MacArthur actually landed, he was greeted by a force of over thirty thousand Filipines under arms and a complete marching band.

Edited by Raithe
  • Like 6

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about Wendell Fertig?

 

Wendell_Fertig_1963.jpg

 

An interesting case, where a guy who was a civil engineer in the Phillipines got a direct commission to become an Army captain as WW2 broke out, rapidly promoted up (fuzzy records, some say just to a major, other to a full Colonel). But he gets up to the general thing... because when the Japanese took over, he started organising the resistance and guerrillas in the area. Due to the local psychology and the importance of stature and the whole cult of personality importance of the locals, he ended up being referred to as a "Brigadier General" by everyone.

 

For most of it, the American's refused to believe in his existence at first, then when they did, a lot of the leading command officers wouldn't authorise support because "if American troops could be defeated so easily, some scrabble irregulars would have no chance" and it would be a waste.

 

However, under Fertig's leadership the locals absorbed other guerrilla groups and harassed the Japanese over the continuing atrocities they committed.

 

As the guerrilla units and government infrastructure fled before the Japanese forces, something occurred which Fertig had hoped for. He called it the "pillow effect." By providing no resistance to a stronger force, the guerrillas survived the Japanese blow. When the Japanese withdrew, the pillow expanded to its original shape. As the company-sized guerrilla units dissolved, the Japanese began breaking up their units into smaller groups—eventually into squads—to track down these smaller units. Then, without any orders from above, first two or three guerrillas, then 10 or more, then platoon and then company-sized units reorganized and struck back at the smaller Japanese units, causing the Japanese heavy casualties in hundreds of small fire fights. The Japanese responded by reforming into battalion-sized units that needed large towns to support them. Eventually, the Japanese, using 15,000 to 18,000 troops on Mindanao, held the large towns on the sea coast while the USFIP held the rest of the countryside, or approximately 95% of the island of Mindanao. The guerrillas were so effective in some areas that local Japanese commanders made separate truces with them. In exchange for the guerrillas not attacking Japanese troops, the Japanese agreed to stay out of those areas

By the time MacArthur actually landed, he was greeted by a force of over thirty thousand Filipines under arms and a complete marching band.

 

Holy smokes, that reads like something out of a Joseph Heller novel.  :grin:

rowsdower_sig.jpg.0f13980282a9229af0f1609eb6dee060.jpg
I wonder if there is beer on the sun

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we've been focusing on the fairly recent..

 

So how about we skip back to the times when the Great Commanders, were invariably also the Great Rulers of the time?

 

I give you...

 

Sargon_of_Akkad.jpg

Sargon of Akkad

 

Generally thought to be THE first great Empire Builder of recorded history (We're talking around 2300-2200 BC sort of times here).

Started out as a servant to the King of Kish (cuniform suggests he was the cupbearer), and ended up with his own state around the city of Agade. Thought to have conquered all of Southern Mesopotamia and well into Persia and parts of the Lebanon.

 

He established a multi-ethnic, multi-region Empire that his successors managed to keep running for about 200 years after his death.

According to Babylonian texts:

[sargon] had neither rival nor equal. His splendor, over the lands it diffused. He crossed the sea in the east. In the eleventh year he conquered the western land to its farthest point. He brought it under one authority. He set up his statues there and ferried the west's booty across on barges. He stationed his court officials at intervals of five double hours and ruled in unity the tribes of the lands. He marched to Kazallu and turned Kazallu into a ruin heap, so that there was not even a perch for a bird left.

Afterward in his [sargon's] old age all the lands revolted against him, and they besieged him in Akkad; and Sargon went onward to battle and defeated them; he accomplished their overthrow, and their widespreading host he destroyed. Afterward he attacked the land of Subartu in his might, and they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled that revolt, and defeated them; he accomplished their overthrow, and their widespreading host he destroyed, and he brought their possessions into Akkad. The soil from the trenches of Babylon he removed, and the boundaries of Akkad he made like those of Babylon. But because of the evil which he had committed, the great lord Marduk was angry, and he destroyed his people by famine. From the rising of the sun unto the setting of the sun they opposed him and gave him no rest

Edited by Raithe

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand that second quote. Sounds like the man was an arse.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, from all accounts, he started as a cup-bearer (pouring the wine) and usurped the local King. Got power, stormed around in rather good form and beating all enemies. Then , in the nature of things, suffered the odd rebellion. Which he put down, quite firmly. He had to deal with a bunch when he was getting on, everybody assuming the old man was slowing down. Since those texts were written by the Babylonians a few centuries after he'd kicked the crap out of their ancestors I don't think they were particularly aiming at total praiseworthy. Thus the whole "he was a git who offended our god Marduk and THAT's why they suffered a few years famine."

 

And yup, definite arse. The type of guy who wouldn't only break down your walls, but then capture your leader, put him on a choke chain and collar and leash you to the gates as he marched his army in. Just to make a point.

 

So, the first great Imperial Arse.

  • Like 3

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...