Generals of Great

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Generals of Great

Unread postby iamlion » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:56 am

In your opinion, what qualities/talents/abilities/philosophies are the greatest of generals made of? And with that in mind, who do you think best exhibits these qualities?
I ask because I'm curious as to whether there's any sort of surprising correlation between generals deemed great.
Also, stories and examples of generals exploits are encouraged :]
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:25 pm

Grit, the willingness to go through anything. Charisma, the best generals are those who can get their men to fight for them no matter what. Then you have the obvious ones like, logistical skill, strategy and battlefield tactics.

Who I think best show these: Napolean, Genghis Kahn, Sun Ce ( :P), King Richard I and Lord Wellington to name a few.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby iamlion » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:28 pm

Agreed, Sun Fin. Here's an example I came across in some of my reading: Zhuge Liang fits the bill of nothing less than an incredible general. On one occasion, Master Zhuge dispatched his vast army to a distant camp while he rested in a small town with a handful of soldiers. Suddenly, however, sentinels hurried in with alarming news of an army of 150,000 troops under Sima Yi were approaching. With only a few hundred men to defend himself, the situation was hopeless for Zhuge Liang. He would finally be captured.
However, without hesitation, lamenting his fate or wasting time trying to figure where he went wrong, he instead ordered his troops to take down their flags, throw open the city gates and hide. He himself then took seat on the most visible part of the city's wall, donning a Taoist robe. He lit some incense, strummed his lute and began chanting. Moments late he could see the vast army approaching, pretending not to notice them, he continued to sing and play the lute.
Soon the army was at the gates. At it's head was Sima Yi, who instantly recognized the man on the wall.
Even so, as his soldiers were anxious to enter the unguarded town through it's open gates, Sima Yi hesitated, held them back, and studied Liang on the wall before ordering an immediate and speedy withdraw.
So what, then, played into Zhuge's favor and made this strategy successful? Well, beyond being exceedingly cunning, Zhuge Liang must've had an innate understand of human nature because even though he was defenseless, he played on his notoriety of being the craftiest strategist of his time. His sheer reputation was enough to make his enemies think twice about capturing a sitting duck. Instead casuing them to doubt themselves even though it was a tremendous bluff.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:41 pm

Indeed it was but unfortunely in history Zhuge Liang never used it.

However Wang Ping and Zhao Yun both used the 'Empty Fort Strategy'. :)
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby S.Teague » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:07 pm

The question really rest on deciding who is to be considered a great general to begin with. For instance, much of the world seem to think Hannible was a great millitary general. Yet a close look at his life and accomplishments reveals that he was just a fool and an all around lowzy leader.
But the one real quallity they all would share is ambition. Or maybe desire is a better word to use. But without the drive to succed, no one can.
My favorite leaders through out history are the ones who take to the battlefield personally. It's always good if you never ask someone to do something that you yourself aren't willing to do. Sun Ce and Shaka Zulu come to mind. When the leader can display such heroic behavior, he inspires all those under him to do so aswell. That's why Bill Russel won so many NBA titles as the a player and the coach of the Celtics in the 60's. He lead by example. "Coach is working harder then anybody," how inspirering is that?
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:11 pm

You are seriously calling Hannibal a fool?

There are 5 generals generally considered in a class of their own: Napolean, Julius Ceaser, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and finally Hannibal. I've never seen anyone suggest he was a fool or an inept commander. Sure unlike the other four he showed little political ambition but I'd considered that virtuos or at a stretch niavity but certainly not foolish. Jiang Wei was foolish Hannibal not so.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby S.Teague » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:23 pm

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. :?:
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:26 pm

Cos he was against the utimate war machine while his was more a merchant nation. He literally had to orginise it all himself, the logistical skill's required to cross the alps are awe inspiring and on top of that he managed to win battles against Rome veterans with lesser troops. Heck he even managed to get to Rome. Not many can say that, and no other when Rome was at the strength it was when facing him.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby S.Teague » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:36 pm

I would compare him to the same Jiang Wei that you insulted. Talented, but narrow minded. His goals were so specific that he lost sight of the world around him. His war on Rome reminds me a lot of Jiang Wei's war on Wei. Hannibal may have been a little more talented than Jiang Wei, but he was too foolish to utilize his own talents. And some of his ideas were just crazy. He once tried to use eliphants as war beasts. And he even crossed the alps with them, knowing that to feed such animals requires a lot of resorces. And they were horribly ineffective once he met the Roman armies.
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Re: Generals of Great

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:44 pm

S.Teague wrote:I would compare him to the same Jiang Wei that you insulted.


Jiang Wei made far more attacks than Hannibal did. His country could also afford the attacks, I'd compare him far more to ZGL never crippiling his country, military or economically.

His goals were so specific that he lost sight of the world around him.


Beating Rome? Wouldn't call that specific.

but he was too foolish to utilize his own talents.


Cos he didn't feel the need to become political leader?

And some of his ideas were just crazy. He once tried to use eliphants as war beasts. And he even crossed the alps with them, knowing that to feed such animals requires a lot of resorces. And they were horribly ineffective once he met the Roman armies.



Once again I refer to my initial comment about how important logistical skill is. I'd say the elephants was his greatest feat. Elephants are never 'uneffective' even if its just cos of the raw terror that the unknown inspires. However when Rome tried to use them they were counter-effective, killing mre Romans than Britians.
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