Generals of Great

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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Jebusrocks » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:50 am

S.Teague wrote:Look at Hannibal's accomplishments, or lack of, that is. He was like Captin Ahab from Moby Dick. Only he's "whale" was the Roman Empire. He lead his armies to their deaths trying to destroy Rome. Any he never even got close. In fact, he lost WAY more battles than he won. His reputation is hard for me to figure out. :?:

NOW..... Hannibal stayed quiet... so I wont say a thing lol

I believe the best qualities in a general is simple, knowing when to strike and knowing when not to. Most people don't recognize this but it is one of the most important talent in a general. In this regard, I believe Carl Mannerheim, the Finnish general who withstood the Soviets, is the most recognizable. Another general is Guo Ziyi, who was so pre-occupied in his life against all enemies of Tang that in the afterlife he became a god, and of course, we have Napoleon, whose single decisive pierces decided battles of the largest magnitude ever seen in human history. A

Another simple quality in a general is the natural ability to lead men into war. Imo, the two generals that comes to mind are John Churchill and Hannibal Barca, who led multi-cultural armies against enemies known to be unbeatable, and found victory.

These are but two of many qualities a general should have.

I believe the best example of a general who sparks the greatest qualities is Guo Ziyi, Turenne, Caesar, and Moltke. Not saying they are the best, but throughout their lives they've displayed an array of talents that only a few in the world enjoy.
It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby S.Teague » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:06 am

Perhaps I just saw a History channel special that did too good a job of bashing Hannibal? But I do remmember such a show talking about how outwitted he was combared to the veteran Roman general (whose name I can't remmember) that opposed him. And his march into Itally was only so sucessful due to his abillity to move his army with stealth. But as far as success, there was none on that campaign. The elephants he brought with him mostly starved in the Alps.
... if you had seen this show too, you would think the same of him as I do. I am willing to admit that perhaps that show was biased, but it convinced me. I mean, historians can't even seem to agree weather he was black or white. Yet you all bash Guan Yu's over hyped legacy. Seems to me even less is known about Hannibal. Could it not be over hyped legacy there too? The better Rome hypes its enemy, the better they look for overcoming that enemy. And Rome is why historians think they know so much about Hannibal.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Jebusrocks » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:21 am

Perhaps I just saw a History channel special that did too good a job of bashing Hannibal?

Is this the one where they rate historical figures based on how psychotic they are?

But I do remmember such a show talking about how outwitted he was combared to the veteran Roman general (whose name I can't remmember) that opposed him

And his march into Itally was only so sucessful due to his abillity to move his army with stealth


I am almost certain this commander u are referrin to is Fabius Maximus. Fabius is one of Rome's greatest generals, well known for his strategy of attrition (so great was he that the war of attrition was often considered the Fabian strategy). By the time Hannibal was forced to meet Fabian (they never really met... the entire Roman army actually AVOIDED meeting Hannibal in combat because they were scared), he had lost 'bout half his men, from crossin the Alps to all his battles (Traismene, Trebia, and Cannae bein most renown), and when he was cut off completely. Even then... he lasted five years... FIVE YEARS in the heart of Italy...

Stealth? He outright besieged the biggest Roman fortification in Spain and crossed the Rhone and Alps with tens of thousands of men and hordes of elephants... how is that stealthy? In fact... he was the completely opposite, he sought direct confrontation, but was met with attrition; though he did at time use stealth to the best of their abilities (Traismene). The wars of attrition (when other than minor skirmishes and siege of heavy fortifications for months, if not years) is often derived from this era, as for the next millenia, other than a few exceptions, Europe fought such wars, and was not seen common again till Napoleon. Such talent was rarely seen before him, the only one being studied during his days being Alexander and perhaps Pyrrhus (to his own demise).

There are talks that had Hannibal won the war, and he continued to influence Europe after his death, military strategy in Europe would not have been so backwards strategy wise

Personally... I (as hannibal ad portas knows) do not consider Hannibal to be the greatest general alive, only because he did not siege Rome when he had the chance. Though his choice to not invade Rome might have been logical, I do not believe it was the right decision, and thus the war ended in Rome's favor.
It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:08 pm

Oh man, I don't know which show you're talking about but The History Channel is sometimes capable of showing a lot of drivel just going by their WW2 shows.

But putting that aside, Hannibal's ability, in my mind, and what puts him way over the realm of other good generals like Robert E Lee, isn't just his ability to win major engagements, but his ability to utterly crush any enemy he meets on the field. There's a difference between winning a tactical victory and gaining ground then winning by trapping an annihilating an entire enemy army. Hannibal did that, thrice. Twice against enemies who outnumbered him.

His greatest mistake was to not besiege Rome, yes. But without the benefit of hindsight, you have to realize what a difficult decision he was up against. He was probably the only chance Carthage ever had of turning their fortunes against Rome, and that if he doesn't win completely and utterly, eventually the Roman military machine will demolish Carthage via sheer attrition across decades. He had already turned the northern and southern Italian states against Rome, but Rome was still straight out stronger than him. And you can't really tactically straight up attack an enemy stronger than you. Robert E Lee did and he lost.

Hannibal thought he could turn the central states against Rome, and it would make every sense to him to wait. If the enemy is only going to fight tactically defensive battles then you need to make sure somehow that you are much stronger than him. And all of Hannibal's efforts, all his delays and his attempts for Hasdrubal to get help, was just to that end.


Like many renowned generals kind of made fatal mistakes here and there which with reasonable foresight could have been avoided. Robert E Lee should have known not to go against his traditional methods of success, Napolean should have had more strategic cautiousness, but I can't say one thing that, without hindsight, Hannibal definitely SHOULDN'T have done. There were more than enough good reasons to delay the siege of Rome.
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