Who is the greatest commander of all time? Great commanders of the world and Russia
All contemporaries knew their names, and their armies were a terrible scourge for any opponents. Be it the heroes of antiquity and the Middle Ages or the commanders of the Great Patriotic War - each outstanding commander left a noticeable mark in the history of mankind. The biographies of the best of them are fascinating stories about the talent and heroism of those who chose the army as the vocation of their whole life.
Alexander the Great
Alexander of Macedon (356 - 323 BC. E.) - the greatest commander of antiquity. He was honored by all the commanders of the following centuries from Genghis Khan to Napoleon. At the age of twenty, Alexander became king of the small state of Macedonia, located in the north of Greece. In childhood, he received Hellenic education and upbringing. His teacher was the famous philosopher and thinker Aristotle.
The martial art of the heir was taught by his father, Tsar Philip II.On the battlefield, Alexander first appeared already at sixteen, and he won his first independent victory at the head of the Macedonian cavalry in 338 BC. er in the battle of Herone against the Thebans. In that war, Philip II sought to conquer key Greek cities. Having conquered with his son Athens and Thebes, he began to plan a campaign in Persia, but was killed by conspirators.
Alexander continued the work of his father and multiplied his success. He made the Macedonian army the most well-equipped and trained throughout the ancient world. The Macedonians were armed with spears, bows and slings, their army had heavily armed cavalry, siege and throwing machines.
In 334 BC. er the greatest commander of his time began a campaign in Asia Minor. In the first serious battle on the river Granik, he defeated the Persian governors of the satraps. The king and then and later invariably fought in the thick of the army. Having conquered Asia Minor, he moved to Syria. Near the town of Issa, Alexander's army clashed with the army of the Persian king Darius III. Despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, the Macedonians defeated the enemy.
Later Alexander joined the whole of Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt and Persia to his state. In a campaign to the east, he reached India itself and only then turned back.Macedonian made Babylon the capital of his empire. He died in this city at the age of 33, struck down by an unknown disease. In the fever, the king did not appoint a legitimate successor. Within just a few years after his death, the empire of Alexander was divided among his many associates.
Another famous commander of antiquity was Hannibal (247 - 183 BC). He was a citizen of Carthage - a city in modern Tunisia, around which a large Mediterranean state was formed at that time. Hannibal Hamilcar’s father was a nobleman and military commander of troops on the island of Sicily.
In the III. BC er Carthage fought with the Roman Republic for leadership in the region. Hannibal was to become a key figure in this conflict. At the age of 22, he became commander of cavalry on the Iberian Peninsula. A little later, he led all the troops of Carthage in Spain.
Wanting to overcome Rome, the greatest commander of antiquity decided on an unexpected, daring maneuver. Former wars between rival states took place in border areas or on isolated islands. Now Hannibal himself invaded only Roman Italy.For this, his army needed to cross the impassable Alps. Every time a natural obstacle protected the republic. In Rome, no one expected the invasion of the enemy from the north. That is why the legionaries did not believe their eyes when in 218 BC er The Carthaginians did the impossible and overcame the mountains. Moreover, they brought with them African elephants, which became their main psychological weapon against the Europeans.
The greatest commander, Hannibal, waged a successful war with Rome for fifteen years, while he was far from his own homeland. He was an outstanding tactician and was able to maximize the use of the forces and resources provided to him. Hannibal had a diplomatic talent. He enlisted the support of numerous tribes that were also in conflict with Rome. The Gauls became his allies. Hannibal won several victories over the Romans at once, and in the battle on the Titsina he defeated his main opponent, the commander Scipio.
The main triumph of the hero of Carthage was the battle of Cannes in 216 BC. er During the Italian campaign, Hannibal marched almost the entire Apennine peninsula. His victories, however, did not break the republic.Carthage stopped sending reinforcements, and the Romans themselves invaded Africa. In 202 BC. er Hannibal returned to his homeland, but was defeated by Scipio in the battle of Zama. Carthage requested a humiliating peace, although the commander himself did not want to stop the war. Own fellow citizens turned away from him. Hannibal had to become an outcast. For some time he was sheltered by the Syrian king Antiochus III. In Fivonia, fleeing the Roman agents, Hannibal took poison and voluntarily said goodbye to life.
In the Middle Ages, all the great generals of the world sought to revive the once fallen Roman Empire. Each Christian monarch dreamed of restoring a centralized state that would unite the whole of Europe. The king of the francs, Charlemagne the Great (742-814) from the Carolingian dynasty, succeeded most in the embodiment of this idea.
It was possible to build a new Roman Empire only with the help of the power of arms. Karl fought with almost all his neighbors. The first to obey him was the Lombards who inhabited Italy. In 774, the ruler of the Franks invaded their country, seized the capital Pavia and captured the king Desiderius (his former father-in-law).After the annexation of Northern Italy, Charlemagne went with the sword to the Bavarians, the Saxons in Germany, the Avars in Central Europe, the Arabs in Spain and neighboring Slavs.
The Frankish king explained the wars against numerous tribes of various ethnic groups by the struggle against the pagans. The names of the great commanders of the Middle Ages were often associated with the defense of the Christian faith. It can be said that Charlemagne was the pioneer in this matter. In 800, he arrived in Rome, where the pope proclaimed him emperor. The monarch made the capital the city of Aachen (in the west of modern Germany). All subsequent Middle Ages and New time the great commanders of the world tried to somehow resemble Charlemagne.
The Christian state created by the Franks was called the Holy Roman Empire (as a sign of the continuity of the ancient empire). As in the case of Alexander the Great, this power briefly outlived its founder. The grandchildren of Charles divided the empire into three parts, of which modern France, Germany and Italy formed over time.
In the Middle Ages, not only Christian civilization could boast of talented commanders.The outstanding military leader was a Muslim Saladin (1138 - 1193). He was born a few decades after the crusaders conquered Jerusalem and founded several kingdoms and principalities in the formerly Arab Palestine.
Saladin vowed to clear the lands taken from Muslims from the infidels. In 1164, being the right hand of Nur-dzh-din, he freed Egypt from the Crusaders. Ten years later, he was a coup d'état. Saladin founded the Ayubit dynasty and proclaimed himself the Sultan of Egypt.
What great commanders did not fight against internal enemies no less frenzied than against internal? Having proved his leadership in the Muslim world, Saladin entered into direct conflict with Christians in the Holy Land. In 1187, his army of twenty thousand men invaded Palestine, completely surrounded by the possessions of the Sultan. Almost half of the troops consisted of equestrian archers, which became the most effective combat unit in the fight against the Crusaders (their long-range bows pierced even heavy steel armor).
The biography of great commanders is often the biography of reformers of martial art. Saladin was just such a leader.Although he had always had a lot of people at his disposal, he achieved success not by number, but by his own mind and organizational skills.
July 4, 1187 Muslims defeated the Crusaders near Lake Tiberias. In Europe, this defeat went down in history as the Hatta Massacre. Capt. Saladin was the master of the Templars, the King of Jerusalem, and in September Jerusalem itself fell. In the Old World against the Sultan a third Crusade was organized. He was led by the King of England Richard the Lionheart. To the east poured a new stream of knights and ordinary volunteers.
The decisive battle between the armies of the Egyptian Sultan and the English monarch took place near Arsuf on September 7, 1191. Muslims lost a lot of people and were forced to retreat. Saladin made a truce with Richard, giving the crusaders a small coastal strip of land, but retaining Jerusalem. After the war, the commander returned to the capital of Syria, Damascus, where he fell ill with fever and died.
The real name of Genghis Khan (1155 - 1227) is Temuchin. He was the son of one of the many Mongol princes. His father was killed during civil strife when his son was only nine years old.The child was taken prisoner and put a wooden collar on him. Temuchin fled, returned to his native tribe, and grew up to be a fearless warrior.
Even the 100 great generals of the Middle Ages or any other epoch could not create such a great power that this stepnyk built. At first Temuchin defeated all neighboring hostile Mongol hordes and united them into one awesome force. In 1206, he was proclaimed Genghis Khan - that is, the great khan or king of kings.
For the last twenty years of his life, the nomad lord waged wars with China and the neighboring Central Asian khanates. The army of Genghis Khan was based on the decimal principle: it consisted of tens, hundreds, thousands and tumens (10 thousand). In the steppe army triumphant discipline triumphed. For any violation of the generally accepted order of the warrior, severe punishment awaited. With such orders, the Mongols became the embodiment of horror for all sedentary peoples whom they met on their way.
In China, the steppe masters mastered siege weapons. They completely destroyed the resisting cities. Thousands of people fell into slavery. Genghis Khan was the personification of the war - it became the only meaning of the life of the king and his people.Temujin and his descendants created an empire from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
Even the great Russian commanders did not become church saints. Alexander Yaroslavovich Nevsky (1220-1261) was canonized and found a genuine halo of exclusivity during his lifetime. He belonged to the dynasty of Rurik and in childhood became the prince of Novgorod.
Nevsky was born in fragmented Russia. She had many problems, but they all faded in the face of the threat of the Tatar-Mongol invasion. The steppe men of Batu walked with fire and sword to many princedoms, but happily did not touch Novgorod, which was too far in the north for their cavalry.
Nevertheless, Alexander Nevsky and without the Mongols waited a lot of tests. In the west, the Novgorod land adjoined to Sweden and the Baltic States, which belonged to the German military orders. After the invasion of Batu, Europeans decided that they could easily defeat Alexander Yaroslavovich. The seizure of Russian lands in the Old World was considered a struggle against the infidels, since the Russian church was not subordinate to Catholic Rome, but depended on Orthodox Constantinople.
The first crusade against Novgorod organized the Swedes. The royal army crossed the Baltic Sea and in 1240 landed at the mouth of the Neva. The local Izhorians paid tribute to Novgorod the Great for a long time. The news of the appearance of the Swedish flotilla did not frighten the hardened warrior Nevsky. He quickly assembled an army and, without waiting for the strike, went to the Neva. On June 15, a twenty-year-old prince at the head of a faithful squad struck the camp of the enemy. Alexander in a personal duel wounded one of the Swedish Jarls. The Scandinavians did not stand the onslaught and hurriedly returned to their homeland. It was then that Alexander got the nickname Nevsky.
In the meantime, the German crusaders prepared their blow at Novgorod. On April 5, 1242, they were crushed by Nevsky on the frozen Lake Peipsi. The battle was dubbed the Ice Battle. In 1252, Alexander Yaroslavovich became Prince of Vladimir. Defending the country from the Western invaders, he had to minimize the damage from more dangerous Mongols. The armed struggle with the nomads was still ahead. The restoration of Russia took too much time for a single human life. Nevsky died returning home from the Horde, where he conducted regular talks with the Golden Horde khan. He was canonized in 1547.
All the military leaders of the last two centuries, including the great generals of the war of 1941-1945. bowed and bowed before the figure of Alexander Suvorov (1730 - 1800). He was born in the family of the senator. The baptism of Suvorov happened in the Seven Years' War.
Under Catherine II, Suvorov became the key commander of the Russian army. The greatest glory brought him the war with Turkey. In the second half of the 18th century, the Russian Empire annexed the Black Sea lands. Alexander Suvorov was the main creator of that success. All of Europe repeated his name after the siege of Ochakov (1788) and the capture of Ishmael (1790) - operations that were not yet equal in the history of the then military art.
Under Paul I, Count Suvorov led the Italian campaign against the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. All the battles in the Alps were won by him. In the life of Suvorov, there were no defeats at all. Shortly. The warlord died, surrounded by international glory invincible strategist. According to his will, in spite of numerous titles and ranks, the commander left a laconic phrase “Suvorov lies here.”
At the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries. all of Europe plunged into an international war.It began with the Great French Revolution. The old monarchist regimes tried to stop this freedom-loving plague. It was at this time that the young military Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) became famous.
The future national hero began service in artillery. He was a Corsican, but in spite of his deep provincial origins, he quickly advanced in service thanks to his abilities and courage. After the revolution, power changed regularly in France. Bonaparte joined the political struggle. In 1799, as a result of the coup of 18 Brumaire, he became the first consul of the republic. Five years later, Napoleon was proclaimed emperor French.
During the numerous campaigns, Bonaparte not only defended the sovereignty of his country, but also conquered neighboring states. He completely subjugated Germany, Italy and other numerous monarchies of continental Europe. Napoleon had his own brilliant commanders. The great war could not be avoided with Russia. In the campaign of 1812, Bonaparte occupied Moscow, but this success did not give him anything.
After the Russian campaign in the Napoleonic empire a crisis began.In the end, the anti-Bonapartist coalition forced the commander to renounce power. In 1814, he was sent into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba. Ambitious Napoleon fled from there and returned to France. After another "One Hundred Days" and defeat at Waterloo, the commander was sent into exile on St. Helena (this time in the Atlantic Ocean). There, under the protection of the British, he died.
The history of Russia was such that the great Russian commanders of the First World War after the establishment of Soviet power turned into oblivion. Nevertheless, among the people who led the tsarist army in the battles against the Germans and the Austrians were many outstanding specialists. One of them is Alexey Brusilov (1853 - 1926).
The cavalry general was a hereditary military man. His first war was the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Brusilov participated in it on the Caucasian front. With the beginning of the First World War, he was on the South-Western Front. The group of troops commanded by the general defeated the Austrian units and pushed them back to Lemberg (Lvov). Brusylivtsi famous for taking Galich and Ternopil.
In 1915, the general led the fighting in the Carpathians.He successfully fought off Austrian attacks and launched counterattacks. It was Brusilov who took the powerful fortress of Przemysl. However, his successes were reduced to zero due to the breakthrough of the front in the sector for which other generals were responsible.
The war has become positional. Month stretched after month, and the victory did not come close to either side. In 1916, the rate, which included Emperor Nicholas II, decided to undertake a new general offensive. The most triumphant episode of this operation was Brusilovsky breakthrough. For the period from May to September, the army of the general took control of all of Bukovina and Eastern Galicia. A few decades later, outstanding commanders of the Great Patriotic War tried to repeat the success of Brusilov. His victories were brilliant, but useless because of the actions of the authorities.
On the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, many dozens of talented military leaders became famous. After the victory over Germany, the great Soviet commanders were awarded the titles of Marshals of the Soviet Union. One of them was Konstantin Rokossovsky (1896 - 1968). He began to serve in the army at the very beginning of the First World War, which he graduated from as a junior non-commissioned officer.
Almost all the generals of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.because of their age, they were hardened on the fronts of the imperialist and civil wars. Rokossovsky in this sense did not differ from his colleagues. During the "citizen" he commanded a battalion, a squadron and, finally, a regiment, for which he received two orders of the Red Banner.
Like some other outstanding commanders of the Great Patriotic War (including Zhukov) Rokossovsky did not have a specialized military education. He climbed the army ladder in the confusion of battles and perennial battles thanks to his determination, leadership qualities and ability to make the right decisions in a critical situation.
Because of the Stalinist repressions, Rokossovsky found himself in short-term imprisonment. He was released in 1940 at the request of Zhukov. There is no doubt that the commanders of the Great Patriotic War were always in a vulnerable position.
After Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Rokossovsky began to command the 4th and then the 16th army. He was regularly moved from place to place, depending on operational tasks. In 1942, Rokossovsky was at the head of the Bryansk and Don fronts. When the turning point occurred, and the Red Army began to attack, Konstantin Konstantinovich was in Belarus.
Rokossovsky reached Germany itself.He could have freed Berlin, but Stalin put Zhukov at the head of this final operation. Great commanders of 1941-1945. differently rewarded for saving the country. Marshal Rokossovsky was the only one who received the climax of the Victory Parade a few weeks after the defeat of Germany. By origin, he was a Pole and with the onset of peace in 1949-1956. still served as minister of defense of socialist Poland. Rokossovsky - a unique commander, he was a marshal of two countries at once (USSR and Poland).