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Greatest American General


Jumper_Dad
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Was discussing this with my son tonight and thought I would get feedback from BGPers.

 

Looking at tactical best....no discounting for politics of the war they fought in...just the leadership as the General on the field.

 

Looking to come up with a top 10 possibably. In no order here are a few of my top Generals.

 

Lee ... did more with less than anyone else

Patton ... was audacity personified

Washington ... didn't win them all but won the ones he had to

Schwartzkoff ... Mother of all battles never got started due to great planning

MacArthur ... One of the most divisive Generals in history

Westmoreland ... Won the battles, didn't win the war...was it his fault?

Eisenhower ... more of a manager than general?

Nimitz ... General level officer in the Navy

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Was discussing this with my son tonight and thought I would get feedback from BGPers.

 

Looking at tactical best....no discounting for politics of the war they fought in...just the leadership as the General on the field.

 

Looking to come up with a top 10 possibably. In no order here are a few of my top Generals.

 

Lee ... did more with less than anyone else

Patton ... was audacity personified

Washington ... didn't win them all but won the ones he had to

Schwartzkoff ... Mother of all battles never got started due to great planning

MacArthur ... One of the most divisive Generals in history

Westmoreland ... Won the battles, didn't win the war...was it his fault?

Eisenhower ... more of a manager than general?

Nimitz ... General level officer in the Navy

 

I am not a devotee of history on Generals but recently while recovering from surgery, I had the opportunity to watch a lot of TV and the history/military channel became a station of choice.

 

During that time, saw something on the Civil War and it indicated that the South was expected to win at the onset. Reasoning was that the North had to invade and beat the South while the South only had to hold the lines of the Confederacy.

 

The key part turned out to be railroads and the North's ability to restock and resupply with a MAJOR advantage in rail lines. The South had very limited ability to move troops and supplies with the railroad.

 

So, the statement of "did more with less than anyone" about Lee, I am not sure about.

 

All he had to do was hold the lines where they were to win the war and could not do it.

 

No love for Grant who actually won the war?

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Lee was outnumbered in nearly every encounter he was in, most cases by 2 to 1 or much worse. His resources were far less the resources that the north had. That's what I based my statement on.

 

Holding the line was all the south had to do???? Not sure I agree with the show you watched on this one.

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I am not a devotee of history on Generals but recently while recovering from surgery, I had the opportunity to watch a lot of TV and the history/military channel became a station of choice.

 

During that time, saw something on the Civil War and it indicated that the South was expected to win at the onset. Reasoning was that the North had to invade and beat the South while the South only had to hold the lines of the Confederacy.

 

The key part turned out to be railroads and the North's ability to restock and resupply with a MAJOR advantage in rail lines. The South had very limited ability to move troops and supplies with the railroad.

 

So, the statement of "did more with less than anyone" about Lee, I am not sure about.

 

All he had to do was hold the lines where they were to win the war and could not do it.

 

No love for Grant who actually won the war?

 

Grant had a lot of help from the Federals' naval superiority, which was important in blocking imports and exports.

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Lee was outnumbered in nearly every encounter he was in, most cases by 2 to 1 or much worse. His resources were far less the resources that the north had. That's what I based my statement on.

 

Holding the line was all the south had to do???? Not sure I agree with the show you watched on this one.

 

It is true that if Lee and his generals could preserve the Confederate border that it was a win, as they would remain independent. But I agree that Lee was more impressive because of the disadvantages he faced.

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Lee didn't take a field command until June of '62, a little too late to hold the border so to speak. Plus the Union Army was throughout the south at the outset of the war, there was no invasion they were already there. Now many more did come later.

 

Lee in discussing why he invaded the north said in his later years that he felt the north would never pursue peace unless there was an army from the south in the north. He also knew the industrial might of the north would sooner or later wear them down. Lee felt he had to attack or would slowly be ground down, which he was anyway.

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Patton used to be my #1 without question. After some more research I am less inclined to place him there. Mostly because he had a degree of influence in keeping the M4 Sherman as the primary tank in U.S. Arsenal as opposed to speeding along development of the M26 Pershing which had better off road handling, better armor and a much more powerful gun. It could go toe-to-toe with a Panther or Tiger I and win, the M4 had to attack them in groups of 4 or more to have a chance and even then there was a good chance they could still lose crews trying to take out 1 German tank.

 

Were it not for the complete air superiority the Allies had in Europe by the time of the drive to Berlin it would have been a much more brutal battle. As it is I know Belton Cooper who was an Ordinance Officer in charge of the maintenance battalion largely responsible for 2 of the army groups in Europe is particularly critical of Patton in his book Death Traps which details his time working the recovery and repair of the armored divisions in Europe in WWII. I think he takes it a bit far but I don't discount Patton's influence in some form.

 

He was a proponent of the Cavalry tank concept and was of the mindset that tanks shouldn't fight other tanks(which was the overall U.S. mindset as well which is why we had tank destroyer units). Problem was that the Germans and the Russians didn't subscribe to that theory and it was particularly hazardous for American crewman who had to fight the tanks that the Germans developed to take on the superior T-34/76, T-34/85, the KV-1, KV-2 and the evential IS-1 through 3 models.

 

I respect Patton to no end believe it or not but his insistence on an outmoded concept is why I can't put him as the best in my mind.

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Was discussing this with my son tonight and thought I would get feedback from BGPers.

 

Looking at tactical best....no discounting for politics of the war they fought in...just the leadership as the General on the field.

 

Looking to come up with a top 10 possibably. In no order here are a few of my top Generals.

 

Lee ... did more with less than anyone else

Patton ... was audacity personified

Washington ... didn't win them all but won the ones he had to

Schwartzkoff ... Mother of all battles never got started due to great planning

MacArthur ... One of the most divisive Generals in history

Westmoreland ... Won the battles, didn't win the war...was it his fault?

Eisenhower ... more of a manager than general?

Nimitz ... General level officer in the Navy

 

 

Lee had better and more experience soldiers along more capable and gifted officers to start the war. To say he did more with less is a bit disingenuous. When finally faced with a battle hardened Union Army by the end of the war his brilliance was considerably less clear.

 

Not to say he wasn't good, he was extremely good. I just think that most people have a bit of rose colored glasses in regards to him.

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If anyone did more with less on that list it would have to be Washington in my opinion considering what he had and what he went up against. Although I have always considered him to be a rather mediocre general even though he was an amazing role model for future Americans.

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I honestly think that Admiral Nimitz deserves a ton of credit. He helped to mastermind the Pacific Campaign with Admirals Fletcher and Spruance and was instrumental in the Battle of Midway that forever broke the back of the Japanese fleet.

 

To recover from the disaster that was Pearl Harbor with a victory at Midway that was even more crushing than the Japanese victory at Pearl Harbor. In a span of less than 5 minutes the Japanese had lost all of their big carriers and ceased to be an offensive threat in the Pacific Theater. From then on they were fighting a delaying action. Through superior strategy via the information at hand they were able to turn what could have been a decisive Japanese victory in to the worst defeat the Japanese navy had suffered since its crushing of the Russian fleets at Tsushima in 1905.

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