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Most Influential Leaders on Modern Warfare

Discussion in 'Military History' started by SOAR21, May 18, 2009.

  1. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

    Dec 15, 2008
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    Which military leaders have influenced the evolution of warfare the most until this point? Influence on warfare, not on history.

    I can't rank them particularly, but

    Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus
    Hannibal Barca
    Gustavus Adolphus
    Napoleon I
    Sun Tzu
    Alexander the Great
    Genghis Khan
    Horatio Nelson
    Carl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz
    Antoine-Henri Jomini
    Robert E. Lee
    Heihachiro Togo
    Alfred Thayer Mahan
    Erich Ludendorff
    Basil Liddell Hart
    John Charles Fuller
    Heinz Guderian
    Chester Nimitz
    Henry Arnold
    Curtis LeMay
    Arleigh Burke
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Sep 14, 2008
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    This could be a very interesting thread but we should add what innovation they brougth in. I also suggest putting them in historical order.
    I've refined your list along these lines.

    Sun Tzu - Amost everything but mostly morale/material interaction
    Alexander the Great - The early phalanx and a great tactitian and leader too
    Hannibal Barca - More a great tactician than a theorist but his encirclements in an age of linear tacrtics deserve a place
    Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus - did find the right counter to Hannibal's tactical brilliance, reminds me a bit of the allied 1813/14 "attack where Napoleon is not" doctrine but that innovation didn't last.
    Caius Marius - Legion reform
    Genghis Khan - Cavalry armies
    Oliver Cromwell - New model army (pike and musket done right)
    Gustavus Adolphus - Drills
    Napoleon I - A bit of everything, probably the "grande batterie" was his most important innovation
    Horatio Nelson - Breaking the line of battle when needed
    Carl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz - A bit of everyrhing though he is best remembered for political-military interaction.
    Antoine-Henri Jomini - Lots of stuff
    Robert E. Lee - IMO Great leader but not so great innovator, but he did better than most in understanding rifles needed a rethinking of napoleonic tactics.
    Moltke - General Staff
    Heihachiro Togo - Was the first admiral faced with the problem of how to use big gun battleships against a similar force and made a very good job of it.
    John Arbuthnot "Jackie" Fisher - Completely reformed the RN, did have some crackpot ideas but got enough of it right to win WW1.
    Louis Loyzeaux de Grandmaison - WW1 would have been quite different without him, he certainly was influential too bad his ideas didn't work
    Alfred Thayer Mahan - A lot but the control/denial concept is a masterpiece of clear thinking.
    Erich Ludendorff - Did understand frontal assaults against entrenched MGs is not a great idea !!!
    Giulio Douhet - early airpower theorist.
    Basil Liddell Hart, John Charles Fuller - Armoured doctrine. I would pick either Fuller or Liddell Hart as they were part of what we would now call the same "think tank" (no pun intendended) especially as you added Guderian as well.
    Heinz Guderian - Also got to putting the theory in practice successfully.
    Karl Doenitz - Submarine warfare.
    Chester Nimitz - Modern naval warfare, a bit like Togo he was given a new "toolset" and had to develop a way to use it effectively.
    Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky. Birth of the OMG doctrine, this went a lot further than the Fuller/Guderian's tactical innovations.
    Henry Arnold, Curtis LeMay - Airpower (IMO Le May was not an big innovator, Arnold is a much better choice).
    Arleigh Burke - SSBNs changed naval stratetegy forever.
    Mao and Ho Chi Min - Modern guerrilla
    SOAR21 and Friedrich like this.
  3. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Jun 7, 2008
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    I would personally add ACM Hugh Dowding for his innovation of the integrated air defence system used during the Battle Of Britain.
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Dec 19, 2000
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    Jefferson, OH
    Werner Molders for advocating use of the Finger Four formation later adopted by RAF and USAAF. Used today in the Missing Man formation.
  5. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Sep 10, 2000
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    Festung Colorado
    Erwin Rommel has to be mentioned here too, for his book called 'Infantry Attacks'. It was about using the terrain, gathering intelligence, hitting the enemies weak spot, and how to best use Armor in the field.
  6. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Jan 24, 2002
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    Would Alexander the Great count as the real innovator? I think Philip III was the one who actually created the Macedonian war machine, with its phalanx, light cavalry and siege weapons. Alexander inherited it and used it very well...
  7. macker33

    macker33 Member

    Jun 18, 2009
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    Ok,got to say leaving Michael Collins out is a real real big miss,,especially considering how modern warfare has turned out,,,

    If anyone in history is responsible for the demise of big set piece battles then it has to be 'the big fella'
  8. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

    Aug 23, 2006
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    My vote will go to Ghengis Khan.

    Dont remember who or what magazine, but he was named the most powerful man in the last thousand years.

    (this was the same source that named Stalin the most powerful man of the 20th century... Maybe TIME?)
  9. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Jan 24, 2002
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    I'd agree with that definition, since there hasn't yet existed any régime with as much authority (and domination) over its people as that of Stalin's. Hitler or Mao never got even close...

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