Without a doubt, it was Subotai - Genghis Khan’s senior co-commander. He not only aided “Temujin” in consolidating and uniting the Mongol tribes, but was the veteran of 20 expeditions, winning 65 consecutive battles without a defeat. He lived long enough to retire to his estate on the Caspian Sea. Particularly noteworthy are the Battle of the Fergana Valley and the defeat of the Kwarazmian Empire - launching the greatest manhunt in history - the Battle of Liegnitz, and the Battle of the Mohi. What I find startling is that his achievements employed an all-cavalry army made up of horse-archers for these invasions of conquest - another aspect of the Mongol Empire was their uncharacteristic tolerance and acceptance of different religions. Time for my nap. FYI
A piece of history that I know very little about. Sounds like it is worth some further reading. Do you have any recomended books on the subject?
THX - There’re three books here, if you can find them. The Secret History of the Mongols - a single surviving volume was rescued by an Orthodox Russian priest, translated and published - an amazing tale in itself. Arrows Against Steel, by Vic Hurley - Hurley was one of McArthur’s staff in WWII, and his book started me searching. The Story of the Mongols, Whom We Call the Tartars, by Giovanni del Carpini - long before Marco Polo, Carpini was sent by Pope Innocent IV as a papal legate to Mongolia. A fourth book is The Art of War, by Tsun Tzu, written around 500 B.C.E. - it was adopted by the Mongols, and has become standard reading for the military. I guarantee these will amaze you - the Mongols were the greatest soldiers in history, and all from horseback.
So much for the so-called “world history” courses in schools. Check out the “cold war” between the Roman and Parthian empires, too, which ended Crassus" political career after Spartacus.
Thanks for the reading list! I have and have read The Art of War. Will look into the others.
The earliest western adoption of The Art of War was by Hitler’s General Staff - it soon became the blueprint for their “blitzkrieg” warfare. FYI
I think it was a Mexican General!
Could be.my guess is Juan Motime
I’ve gotten sucked into a few of these discussions, over time. While the discussion may be interesting, I don’t think it’s possible to declare any military official as the “greatest.” It’s much to complex a topic. Every Soldier, warrior, and other type of fighter in history is in a unique circumstance that can’t be compared to others. I assume there are some generals who had tremendous potential that were never truly tested because they either enjoyed relative peace or they always enjoyed the advantage over their enemies. And there were other capable officers who simply faced overwhelming circumstances.
And let’s not forget that no general wins a war alone. They typically get credit for what the people below them accomplish: foot Soldiers, engineers, staff officers… that junior NCO on the battlefield who had a clever idea. Some leaders are blessed with gifted aides and followers.
I do think there are some unsung general officers, and there are a few in history that I’ve come to appreciate, but I’m generally in no position to declare one better than another.
My favorite has always been George Washington, though more for what he didn’t do than what he did do. He could have been the King of America. There was an attempt to make him the King of America. Instead, he chose not to do that. Twice.
I was referring directly to field records - ancient Roman historians tried to erase, ignore, or gloss-over Hannibal’s invasion and occupation, but they couldn’t refute his field record. Phillip II is credited with creating the first all-service army in Europe, but it fell to Alexander to utilize it against Persia. The Mongols left no detail overlooked - and their massed-cavalry movements were the largest in history, covering degrees of longitude. They were the first to actually accept and employ the grim realities of total warfare.
Captain Patrick Ferguson - who invented the Ferguson rifle - might have had Washington in his sights during the Battle of Brandywine, but refused to fire at him. Washington also escaped plots to kill or kidnap him during the Revolution. FYI
How do we ascribe the greatest to any General? Do we use the area conquered? Number of battles won? If they were ever defeated? Philips son, Alexander, conquered land from Macedonia all the way to India and never lost a battle. That win-loss record is hard to overcome. I don’t know if he would be the greatest but he might be the best known. That land mass area is pretty impressive as well. Not my favorite however. I might have been more impressed with Patton or Grant but I just found them to be more interesting personality wise.
What about General Mills?
Certainly my favorite!