World's worst general

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Matt Black, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    To balance things out, here's my votes for the other end of the spectrum:-

    Helmuth von Moltke the Younger
    Field Marshal Sir John French
    Robert Nivelle
    Westmoreland
    McClellan
    Tsar Nicholas II
    Lord Cardigan
    Luigi Cadorna

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. Jude

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    McClellan certainly would get Abe's vote...and mine too.
     
  3. Jude

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    Would LBJ qualify???
     
  4. Matt Black

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    Although CIC, not really, because not a military general

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    Sam (U.S.) Grant would get my vote. In a long line of incompetent Federal generals during the Second War for Independence, he proved himself the lowest and least capable.
     
  6. Johnv

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    General Foods. Most of their products are second rate.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    B-A-D. Before lunch and I'm spewing tea . .

    General Mills was also among the worst.

    (I remember the three Russian Generals that stopped Hitler - General Mud, General Winter and General Distance. Actually on a test I gave my students once)

    And in the Navy, it had to be Captain Crunch.
     
  8. Dan Stiles

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    (sorry, I changed my mind)
     
  9. Jeff Weaver

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    No offense to Matt, but it is an impossible question. A general in one situation might perform compentently and in another quite poorly. It is true enough that some men aren't cut out to lead.

    If I put myself in their shoes, with their men, equipment, weather, information, etc., and ask myself if I could do any better. Occasionally I would say yes, but most of the time, have to answer no. The same question can be asked about the best generals. Most of the time one can find some thing to quibble about. These men have to have good troops, information, materiel, etc to succeed. It is a team effort.

    Now if you want to discuss over rated generals, as opposed to simply bad, then my candidate is George Armstrong Custer.
     
  10. Johnv

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    That's true. George Washington was such a general.
     
  11. KenH

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    U.S. Grant
     
  12. Major B

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    Seymon Budenny [spelling?], the "politically reliable" general and crony of Stalin. Budenny, managed to get a couple of army groups surrounded at Kiev during Barbarossa, and was described by a younger general as a man with "a very large mustache and a very small brain..."
     
  13. rsr

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    There are so many bad — or unfortunate — generals to choose from, but I think Ben Butler (North) and Braxton Bragg (South) rate inclusion, with Bragg pulling ahead by a nose.
     
  14. mioque

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    Ken&Bob
    Grant was one of the reasons his side won the war, so clearly he was far from the worst.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Sheer numbers and attrition won the war. Grant could have been replaced by a chimpanzee and the results would have been inevitable.

    From when he took command in the East, Grant sacrificed 100,000 men (dead) in more than 18 months to force a weak, defeated army to surrender.

    Thankfully Grant had some competent subordinants that WERE good generals! George Meade, though a doughty old codger, could have commanded the Federales (as he had at Gettysburg) better.
     
  16. rsr

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    Dr. Bob, I don't agree with you about Grant, but you know that and there is no point in fighting about it.

    But if any of Grant's subordinates is overlooked, it's George Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga, who saved the Union's bacon in the West, whose men captured Lookout Mountain when Sherman was wandering in the wilderness, who annihilated the Army of the Tennessee at Nashville (well, he faced Hood, but nonetheless, he did it, a feat unequalled in the Civil War) despite his lack of support from Grant.

    Thomas was a Virginian who was disowned by his family after he chose to fight for the Union and declined supreme command of Union forces.

    I consider it one of the major flaws in Grant's memoirs that he did not give Thomas the credit he deserves. In fact, Grant considered removing Thomas from command, in my opinion, because he was fearful that his decision to place all his eggs in Sherman's basket left him vulnerable to what was left of the Army of the Tennessee.

    Thomas, in fact, would have made a better choice than Grant. But it didn't happen.
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    Think that's the same conclusion Lee reached! :rolleyes:
     
  18. Jeff Weaver

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    Well, General Grant seems to be a sore point. [​IMG]

    I certainly wouldn't rate him as the best general, nor the worst either. How about mediocre? ;)

    Grant performed well enough in the western campaigns of 1862-1863. He got some good press in the North. He did some interesting maneuvers, so on the grand scheme of things, the worst general in the world -- no, don't think he will make it there. His performace in the east, was however, more as Dr. B. describes -- sheer brute force. I know some believe the Confederate General John Pemberton was a complete waste of space, however, I don't share that opinion. He had a mission, to hold Vicksburg at any cost, and did the best he could with what he had -- he just didn;t have enough of about everything, men, food, material, support. Lsser men would have gone home to pout after the berating he took from the politicans and the press -- but no, he took a reduction in rank (to Lt. Col.), and stayed in the army. That shows some character. ]

    There was some sense of Panic at Fort Donelson in 1862, and the two lead generals Pillow and Floyd were political generals, but Buckner was there, and he was a decent commander.

    Stephens comment on Bragg and Butler has merit. Both were universally despised, both had serious character flaws. John Bell Hood wasn't much better. Franklin and Nashville weren't the first time he did very foolish things with his troops. (Mt. Zion Church in Georgia, aka Kolbs Farm comes to mind).

    Henry Halleck, U.S. Army during the Civil War, was one who was pretty much useless, but far from the worst general that ever lived at any where.
     
  19. Jude

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    So, that makes McClellan what?
     
  20. WallyGator

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    I'm surprised that no one mentioned George Armstrong Custer! If we can believe The History Channel ;) , he was a real klutz at Battle(?) of Little Big Horn. :confused: :rolleyes:
     

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