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Most Influential Leaders on Modern Warfare


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#1 SOAR21

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:49 AM

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
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#2 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 06:11 AM

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

Edited by TiredOldSoldier, 19 May 2009 - 06:17 AM.

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#3 hucks216

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:23 PM

I would personally add ACM Hugh Dowding for his innovation of the integrated air defence system used during the Battle Of Britain.

#4 PzJgr

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:03 PM

Werner Molders for advocating use of the Finger Four formation later adopted by RAF and USAAF. Used today in the Missing Man formation.
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#5 Mussolini

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:06 PM

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.

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#6 Friedrich

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 12:33 AM

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...
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#7 macker33

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 06:34 PM

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

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 07:53 PM

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?)

Edited by Sloniksp, 19 June 2009 - 08:01 PM.

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#9 Friedrich

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 01:15 AM

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


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...
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

"A mon fils: depuis que tes yeux sont fermes les miens n’ont cessé de pleurir." - Mère française, Verdun




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