Military leaders

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This category is for senior military leaders such as admirals, generals and air marshals. It includes military leaders with strategic influence who pre-dated the formal establishment of ranks as well as senior commanders in irregular militaries who may not hold rank.

For middle and junior ranking officers, see Category:Military officers.
For enlisted leaders, see Category:Non-commissioned officers.


10. Alexander the Great Alexander the Great mosaic Pompeii Wikimedia Commons As previously mentioned, Alexander was a great strategist, but since his life was cut short and he had only nine battles from which to draw data, it leaves the model very little to work with. Still, the conqueror of the known world is ranked much higher than other leaders with similar numbers, including the Japanese Shogun Tokugawa, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart.

It should be noted that Alexander's per-battle WAR average is higher than anyone else's on the list.

9. Georgy Zhukov George Zhukov Dwight Eisenhower Arthur Tedder Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, before a toast at Eisenhower's headquarters, June 10, 1945. Wikimedia Commons Zhukov has only one more battle than Alexander and his overall score barely squeaks by the Macedonian. Interestingly enough, his score is far, far above that of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Confederate Generals Jubal Early and John Bell Hood. That's what overcoming the odds does for your WAR score.

8. Frederick the Great Frederick the Great Wikimedia Commons Ruling for more than 40 years and commanding troops in some 14 battles across Europe earned the enlightened Prussian ruler the number 8 spot on this list. His per-battle average was also lower than Alexander's but, on the whole, he was just a better tactician.

7. Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses Grant The Library of Congress/American Memory/Wikimedia Commons Grant's performance commanding Union troops in 16 battles earned him the seventh spot on the list — and the US presidency. Although his performance on the battlefield is clearly much better than those of his contemporaries, it should be noted that his Civil War arch-rival, Robert E. Lee, is so far below him on the list that he actually has a negative score.

6. Hannibal Barca Hannibal crossing Alps Wikimedia Commons Hannibal, once captured by Scipio Africanus, is believed to have given his own ranking system to Scipio, once the two started talking. His personal assessment wasn't far off from the truth. He listed Alexander the Great and himself. Both of whom are in the top ten, even centuries later.

5. Khalid Ibn al-Walid Khalid ibn al-Walid the seige of Al-Anbar. Khalid ibn al-Walid during the siege of Al-Anbar. Wikimedia Commons Khalid was a companion of the Prophet Mohammed, and one of the Islamic Empire's most capable military leaders. In 14 battles, he remained undefeated against the Byzantine Empire, the Sassanid Persians, and helped spread Islam to the greater Middle East. Compared to others who fought similar numbers of battles, his score eclipses even Frederick the Great.

4. Takeda Shingen Takeda_Harunobu A portrait of Takeda Harunobu, or Shingen, from the Japanese book Fūrin Kazan. Wikimedia Commons Being one of the best military minds in feudal Japan is a really big deal, because almost everyone seemed to be a military mind and being better than someone else might mean you get challenged to a duel. After 18 battles, the Tiger of Kai reigned supreme — in Japan, anyway.

3. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington Duke of Wellington Wiki Commons It's a pretty big deal to be the guy who delivered a solid defeat to the man they called "Master of Europe." Napoleon's old nemesis, the Duke of Wellington, also saw command of 18 battles, but his WAR score is considerably higher than that of Takeda Shingen, his nearest challenger.

2. Julius Caesar Julius Caesar Wikimedia Commons Caesar didn't have command in as many battles as Shingen or the Duke of Wellington, but his WAR score reflects a lot more risk and shrewdness in his battlefield tactics. But Caesar also couldn't top Alexander's per-battle WAR average.

1. Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon crossing Alps Wikimedia Commons Yes, you might have guessed by now, but the number one spot belongs to l'Empereur. Napoleon is so far ahead of the normal distribution curve created by the data for these 6,000-plus generals, it's not even close. After 43 battles, he has a WAR score of more than 16, which blows the competition away. There can be no question: Napoleon is the greatest tactical general of all time, and the math proves it.