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Who would you pick for the best military leaders of all time?

Who would you pick for the best military leaders of all time?

Maybe your list would include Alexander the Great? How about Genghis Khan? Or maybe you think Julius Caesar should top the list?

Tell us who makes your top five list of military leaders!

Military Leader

Surely the best military leader would be the one who has done the most to avoid war. 

Paul Webb


Thanks for sharing this information. I am glad to to have a chance for this reading this forum

Best military leaders

Jim Bell

I believe the best military leaders are those who won wars that couldn’t be avoided. For me, leaders of wars of invasion and conquest don’t qualify, and losing a war doesn’t disqualify anyone from my list. I nominate


Richard I, Lionheart

George Washington

Sam Houston

Robert E. Lee


It's a law of the military universe that the General who makes better use of troops, strategy and equipment wins battles. Those who do that all the time win wars. Ergo, at Waterloo, Wellington was a better general than Napoleon.

Best military leaders

What do you think of Alexander the Great or Khalid Ibn Al Walid? 

best military leaders

Sundiata Keita

all-time military leaders

Ancient: Themistocles, Alexander, Hannibal

Medieval: Charles Martel

Modern: George Washington, Napoleon, George S. Patton

Best military leaders

Don’t know if I agree with Napoleon being on your list. He lost the two biggest campaigns of his life – Russia and Waterloo. He couldn’t beat Russia’s three unbeatable Generals. General Rain, General Mud and General Winter. Russia was the worst planned campaign in history. NB lost more than half his army retreating in the snow, ice and sleet of a Russian winter.

He lost at Waterloo because he couldn’t organize his forces and manage them well enough to beat Wellington. 

It's a law of the military universe that the General who makes better use of troops, strategy and equipment wins battles. Those who do that all the time win wars. Ergo, at Waterloo, Wellington was a better general than Napoleon.

Greatest military leader

Julius Caesar, without doubt.

Scipio the African



General Giap

Greatest Military Leader

Asoka: he ended his empire by choice!
If I had to choose a conqueror definitely Ghengis Khan.


Odd History Buff

Best Military Leader

I will go for the Rashidun general Khalid Ibn Al Walid for the first and foremost. I really admire the battle strategies he planned and applied in the battlefield that won him every single battles he fought. They were sort of tricky and clearly shows his use of his brain during the battle. 

Other generals will be Alexander of course, general Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire or maybe the Parthian general Surena who led the Parthian army in the Battle of Carrhae. Surena’s tactics were superb. He didn’t even let the Romans fight and annhiliated them before they had even clashed.

where is my comment?

I added a comment yesterday but now i can’t find it 

Napoleon (response to #7 above)

For some reason I can’t directly reply to Filio Scotia’s comment on Napoleon above.

Agree he seriously underestimated Russian weather, but organizing the forces for Waterloo was done in less than 100 days, an unprecedented logistical accomplishment to that point. 

Napoleon’s system of organization and tactical maneuver techniques are still studied and used in today’s militaries, his use of artillery in conjunction with cavalry and infantry charges presaged blitzkrieg, and he is arguably the first to grasp and implement the total war concept. He was a revolutionary and transformational figure in military history.

Best military leaders

If, as you say, Napoleon was a good organizer and manager, why did he lose at Waterloo? 

It's a law of the military universe that the General who makes better use of troops, strategy and equipment wins battles. Those who do that all the time win wars. Ergo, at Waterloo, Wellington was a better general than Napoleon.

Best Military Leaders
  1. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, 2. Attila 3. Timur 4. Cenghis Khan 5. Mehmet II (The Conqueror) 

M.Mustafa Ciftcioglu

best military leaders

alexander the great




Dzjengiz Kahn


nejlepší vojevůdci

Pochopitelně Julius Cesar

Karel 4 římský a český král

Top military leader

The top military leader would be one that wins against overwhelming odds and is greatly outnumbered in men and equipment.  We could list Henry V.  In modern times Ho Chi Minh lead the poorest nation in the world and brought the richest and most powerful nation in the world to its knees. While not a conquest. It was still remarkable and genius to hold his ground.


A prophet

the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). 1 He was merciful and compassionate to both his army and enemies and of course to innocent people who have nothing to do with the ongoing conflict.  2 He respected war order. 3 He trained and led many other great leaders like Khalid Ibn Alwalid, Amr Ibn Al'ass and others. 4 He was a great strategic planner. 5 He was a democratic leader (which is not easy in warfare) 6 He implemented advanced battlefield tactics and tricks comparing to his time 7 he was surrounded by intelligent local society and culture experts. 8 He preferred making pacts rather than war. 9 In ten years he could change the power balances of the ancient world giving birth to a new era.

reply to Filia Scotia's comment #13

Much has been written concerning Napoleon’s loss at Waterloo. Wellington being a pretty good general might account for it as much as any other factor.


For me, Hannibal Barca above all others ancient or modern.

I believe the mark is missed

You guys are relying on history to select. I believe you have to read between the lines. Cyrus the great taught all modern rulers how to rule.


Military Leaders

I would suggest the following as the great captains of history:

Alexander the Great


Julius Caesar

Gustavus Adolphus

Napoleon Bonaparte


Who would you pick for the best military leaders of all time?

Imo George Washington and Sam Houston

Best Military (and Naval) Leaders

Undoubtedly William Marshal and Horatio Nelson.


military leaders

i am going to cast my vote to General Dwight D.Eisenhower. He won the last war to be won by the USA. since then we have lost all the others. He also warned of the military industrial complex.


Prioritized his people

As far as Naval leaders are concerned- I can only give it to one, and I have to throw that vote in for Admiral Yi Sun-sin of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. Of his many achievements here are 3 awesome ones that speak to his character. 1. Opposed a fleet of 333 Japanese vessels with only 13 of his own. 2. Forced a few badly beaten Japanese ships to disembark at a nearby Korean village for fear of engaging in naval combat and instead of pursuing the soldiers, or burning their ships, he retreated so the Japenese soldiers would get back in their ships and flee instead of killing the villagers. 3. He re-imagined and resurrected what was then a 150 year old low riding armored ‘turtle ship’ that became the pride of the Korean Navy. All while obeying the commands from a corrupt leadership even when that meant being demoted to a foot soldier, for a short time until he was re-instated. 

And did I mention he never once lost a ship? It seems as though not only was he extremely strategic, he had a love for his people, and for the ancient wisdom that came before him.

It’s not unfair to say he single handly changed the outcome of the Imjin war with his superior naval abilities. By effectively cutting off the supply route from Japan, Korea was able to mount a counter resistance and take full advantage of the Chinese support from the North.

Best Naval Leader

Ziltoidian, Sir.  That is a pretty awsome achievement.  However, it is difficult to tell if your Admiral would have worked his way up from the lower middle classes to commanding an 18th century warship and then commanding a fleet when having just one arm and the sight of a single eye.  Nelson’s leadership became legendary very early on in his career and, although ‘England expects……...’, was a wonderful encouragement, his best advice was ‘No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.’  In every case of his victories he came up against French or Spanish Admirals who had all earned distinction in their careers. Yet, despite many of his ship’s companies containing a large number of ‘Pressed’ men,  his leadership led to victories that echo down the years. Once again, may I say that your Admiral cuts a very impressive figure – but, perhaps sadly,  who knows about him these days?  Very Best Wishes, Anchorface (former ‘Officer of the Day’ in the ‘Victory’ 1972).