Your top military general in history?

There are a lot of victorious armies and navies throughout history but a lot of their victories that are ascribed to commanders brilliance often have more to do with other factors like better weapons, superior military doctrine and better soldiers. It's rare to find an example where for instance a victorious army is commanded by a different general and begins to lose all of a sudden.

The greatest military commander of all time however is a man who was shown to be so individually brilliant that the moment he was relieved of command, his navy was almost destroyed and only a dozen ships survived, but when put back in command again, won a huge victory with only the dozen ships against the navy that had destroyed hundreds ships when led by a worse commander.

The greatest military commander of all time is the Korean Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

Admiral Yi never lost a single ship or a single battle, while absolutely obliterating the invading Japanese navy. He made it look so easy that he was relieved of command so that an older commander (Confucian philosophy believes in honouring your elders) would lead the fleet. Under this ostensibly competent and capable commander, the Japanese wiped out the by then larger Korean navy (larger only thanks to Admiral Yi) leaving Yi (who then took back command after this disaster) with only a dozen ships. Admiral Yi sailed out with his dozen ships and faced the over 300 Japanese ships at the Battle of Myeongnyang. He outmaneuvered the Japanese fleet into a kill zone and destroyed the Japanese fleet, defeating a force 25 times larger than his own, with brilliant use of maximizing his own advantages and completely nullifying his enemy's advantages, even turning their numerical advantage against them as they collided into each other trying to maneuver.

During the final battle, he was struck by a stray bullet and he sensed it was a fatal wound. Even though he was dying, he knew his wounding and death would be a blow to morale, so he ordered his son and his nephew to basically cover up this fact, wear his armor and hide his soon to be corpse until the battle was over.

Amazing dude.
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Mine would be Subutai. He was a son of a blacksmith and thus came from a low family in a nomadic society but raised to be the greatest general in the Mongol Empire. Our equivalent of a Gabooye/Tumaal/******.


He directed more than twenty campaigns in which he conquered thirty-two nations and won sixty-five pitched battles, during which he conquered or overran more territory than any other commander in history. He gained victory by means of imaginative and sophisticated strategies and routinely coordinated movements of armies that were hundreds of kilometers away from each other. He is also remembered for devising the campaign that destroyed the armies of Hungary and Poland within two days of each other, by forces over five hundred kilometers apart.

Having devastated the various Russian principalities, he sent spies as far as Poland, Hungary, and Austria in preparation for an attack into the heartland of Europe. Having a clear picture of the European kingdoms, he brilliantly prepared an attack nominally commanded by Batu Khan and two other princes of the blood. While Batu Khan, son of Jochi, was the overall leader, Subutai was the actual commander in the field, and as such was present in both the northern and southern campaigns against Kievan Rus'. He also commanded the central column that moved against the Kingdom of Hungary. While Kadan's northern force won the Battle of Legnica and Güyük's army triumphed in Transylvania, Subutai was waiting for them on the Hungarian plain.

King Béla IV of Hungary had summoned a council of war at Esztergom, a large and important settlement upriver from Buda and Pest. As Batu was advancing on Hungary from the northeast, the Hungarian leadership decided to concentrate their strength at Pest and then head north to confront the Mongol army. When news of the Hungarian battle strategy reached the Mongol commanders, they slowly withdrew to the Sajo River, drawing their enemies on. This was a classic Mongol strategy, ultimately perfected by Subutai. He prepared a battlefield suitable to his tactics, and waited for his enemies to blunder in. It was a strong position, because woods prevented their ranks from being clearly scouted or seen, while across the river on the plain of Mohi, the Hungarian army was widely exposed.

Only one day after the smaller Mongol army in Poland had won the Battle of Legnica, Subutai launched his attack, thus beginning the Battle of Mohi during the night of April 10, 1241. At Mohi, a single division crossed the river in secret to advance on the Hungarian camp from the southern flank. The main body began to cross the Sajo by the bridge at Mohi, and continued to attack the following day. This was met with fierce resistance, so catapults were used to clear the opposite bank of crossbowmen, as was noted earlier. When the crossing was completed, the second contingent attacked from the south.

The result was complete panic, and, to ensure that the Hungarians did not fight to the last man, the Mongols left an obvious gap in their encirclement. This was one of Subutai's classic tricks, to create a tactical situation which appeared to be favourable to the enemy, but which was anything but. The Mongols had already incurred heavier than usual casualties as the Hungarian crossbowmen had done considerable damage to the Mongol cavalry. Subutai did not want a battle where the massed crossbowmen, supported by mounted knights, stood firm and fought to the death against his army. He far preferred to let them flee and be slaughtered individually. The gap in the Mongol lines was an invitation to retreat, which would leave the knights and crossbowmen spread out all over the countryside, easy pickings for the disciplined Mongols. As Subutai had planned, the Hungarians poured through this apparent hole in the Mongol lines, which led to a swampy area, poor footing for horses and hard going for infantry. When the Hungarian knights split up, the Mongol archers picked them off at will. It was later noted that corpses littered the countryside over the space of a two-day journey. Two archbishops and three bishops were killed at the Sajo, plus 40,000 fighting men. At one stroke, the bulk of Hungarian fighting men were totally destroyed, with relatively minimal casualties to the Mongols, reportedly less than 1,000 men.