Lesser Known Commanders
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Here is a list I've been meaning to make for a long time. It is a list of talented commanders who I think are too often pushed to the side or marginalized. Some of these fellows will be well known to students of the period, so expect to see a few guys you may be well acquainted with.

I have excluded Civil War generals and Napoleon's marshals because I've already made geeklists about those fellows. I have not included admirals because my knowledge of naval warfare outside of World War II is limited. For the same reason you'll only see a few non-European commanders. Musket combat is my specialty so expect to quite a few men from that age. Regardless, I think many will enjoy this list.

Having looked at my PhD reading list, which is over 50 books plus articles, I doubt I'll be able to make extensive lists like this for a while. Just the occasional small geeklist and review.

Please feel free to add commanders to this list.
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26. Board Game: Khan: The Rise of the Mongols [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:8489]
Wendell
United States
temporarily Arlington VA
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All the little chicks with crimson lips, go...
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Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
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Since Sean has invited additions, I'll throw in one. Guy by the name of Subeedei.* He was top general to Genghis Khan and Genghis' successor Ogedei - which given the accomplishments of the Mongols back in the 13th century says quite a lot.

I will quote from Wikipedia because I know from my reading that this is essentially accurate:
Quote:
(Subeedei) directed more than 20 campaigns 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 more than 500 km away from each other. He is most remembered for devising the battle plan that destroyed the armies of Hungary and Poland within two days of each other, by forces almost a thousand miles apart.


He was bold, brilliant, innovative, quick to adapt new (to him) military technologies and tactics, and daring. Some of the armies he defeated included Khwarizm, Kipchaks, various Russians (Rus) armies, Hungarians, Poles, Alans, Merkits, various Chinese states, Bulgars... Only news of the death of Ogedei (which compelled Subeedei and other Mongol princes to return to Mongolia to choose a successor) prevented Subeedei's armies from going further west into Europe after having comprehensively smashed the Poles and Hungarians.

He was a pretty good commander.

*That's the closest rendering from Mongolian to English. Also transliterated as Subutai or Subetai.

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27. Board Game: Panzer Leader [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1495]
CJ
United Kingdom
Gosport
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Oberst Hans-Ulrich von Luck und Witten


From a notable Prussian family, he entered the military in 1929 into a cavalry regiment. He was later transfered to a mechanized unit, and studied doctrine under Rommel. He then served under Guderian for several years prior to '39 when he commanded the 7th Armoured Reconaissance Battalion at the outbreak of war.

He commanded the Battalion at the vanguard of the thrusts into Poland, Belgium and France, and had reached Bordeaux by the time the Armistice was signed. He then went on to serve on the Eastern Front, in North Africa, and was eventually stationed in the Caen area on June 6th. He fought throughout the initial invasion and played a notable role during GOODWOOD before escaping through Falaise. He then fought against the British, Americans and Soviets in the defence of Berlin before finally being captured and spending 5 years in a Russian gulag. The only major theatre in Europe in which he wasn't engaged was Italy.

Awarded the Knights Cross and the German Cross.

Basically, the man is a legend within military circles but wholly unknown to the wider populace. Wrote Panzer Commander which is a fascinating book and should be read by anyone interested in WWII.
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28. Board Game: Bunroku: Campaign in Korea [Average Rating:6.45 Unranked]
Tyzen Ario
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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From another corner of the world, there is admiral Yi Sun-Shin of Korea. The amount of idolization he receives in Korea is ridiculous, while he is almost completely unknown outside of east Asia. Like many other commanders on this list, he had no political ability which led to him being demoted, put on trial, and severely punished at least twice during his career. As a direct result, nearly all honours were presented to him posthumously.

He was perhaps the only capable commander Korea had during the Japanese invasions between 1592 and 1598. While Korean (and Ming Chinese) troops were being defeated handily by the Japanese on land, Yi's naval victories prevented the Japanese from getting crucial reinforcements and supplies. He was immensely popular with the troops and peasants, though hated by the aristocracy for that reason. He developed the turtle ship, which was far superior to anything the Japanese had. He was also victorious in all 23 naval battles he participated in during the war, which might make him the winningest general on the list. He was also noted for having actually prepared for a potential war, which none of his contemporaries had done. Korean histories often portray him as the only reason Korea won the war (well, that and the Ming relief forces)- which I think is probably true.

Sadly, he was killed by an arquebus bullet during the last naval battle in the closing days of the war. Of course, his inability to navigate the complex world of Korean politics probably meant that he would have had poor prospects to look forward to after the war. Another great commander hobbled by the inability to deal with politicians.
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29. Item is no longer in our database
Sam Carroll
United States
Champaign
Illinois
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William Kelly Harrison, Jr. Pushed for reform in the War Department at the start of World War II. Second in command of the 30th infantry division (Old Hickory), which broke the German spearhead during Operation Luttich, then helped to secure the north flank in the Ardennes Offensive.

His most notable achievement, however, was diplomatic; he led the UN delegation that negotiated the Korean armistice. He made several surprising moves, including walking out on the negotiations, and eventually succeeded; his armistice has lasted half a century so far.

Harrison was notable for his immense physical courage and moral integrity. I recommend his biography, "A Man Under Orders." And I know all this because he's my wife's great-grandfather!
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30. Board Game: Vimy Ridge [Average Rating:6.22 Unranked]
Malcolm Green
Canada
Victoria
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Sir Arthur William Currie GCMG, KCB (5 December 1875 – 30 November 1933), was a Canadian general during World War I. He had the unique distinction of starting his military career on the very bottom rung as a pre-war militia gunner before rising through the ranks to become the first Canadian commander of the four divisions of the unified Canadian Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was the first Canadian to attain the rank of full general. Currie's success was based on his ability to rapidly adapt brigade tactics to the exigencies of trench warfare, using set-piece operations and "bite-and-hold" tactics. He is generally considered to be among the most capable commanders of the Western Front, and one of the finest commanders in Canadian military history.

Under his leadership, the Canadian Corps evolved from a single division of untested volunteer colonials into four divisions of battle-hardened and effective shock troops that spearheaded the final series of battles that ended the war. From their baptism of fire and gas during the Second Battle of Ypres until the end of the war, units under Currie never failed to take their assigned objectives, and often did so with startling rapidity and fewer than expected casualties.

Currie was not afraid to voice his disagreement with orders or to suggest strategic changes to a plan of attack, something that his British Army superiors were unused to hearing from a former militia officer from the colonies. Often these disagreements were taken all the way up to Sir Douglas Haig. Haig sometimes sided with Currie—allowing a strategic change to the attack on Hill 70 outside Lens, and approving Currie's audacious plan to cross the Canal du Nord—but he also, on occasion, overruled Currie, such as when Currie objected to the strategic value and expected casualties of the attack at Passchendaele.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George revealed to his biographer that had the war continued into 1919, he would have replaced General Douglas Haig with Arthur Currie, with Australian general John Monash as Currie's chief of staff.

On a personal note; I likely owe my very existence to Sir Arthur Currie. My great grandfather served under him at 2nd Ypres, Vimy, Passchendaele and during the last 100 days. It was his concern for casualties that brought a lot of the Canadian boys back home.
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31. Board Game: Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:730]
Jim Zadrozny
United States
Fort Myers
Florida
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Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz

I can't pass up the chance to add my favorite German general to this list. Known as the "Panzergraf" to his troops, Strachwitz dripped German aristocracy in every way. His strength as a commander came from his near reckless battlefield bravery. Always one to lead from the front, Strachwitz never hesitated to share in the ordinary soldier's trials by fire. However, he was a true aristocrat, and could be quite arrogant and aloof. Strachwitz was an excellent tactician, and typically ran rings around his opponents at lower levels of command (regiment and below). He did not perform with the same skill as a general, mainly because he didn't play well with others. Still, his tactical skill combined with his personal bravery made for an effective combination that led the panzer troops under his command to many victories.

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32. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #1 – Greece & Eastern Kingdoms [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked]
Brett Pierotte
United States
Visalia
California
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Epaminondas, 410 B.C. - 362 B.C.

Probably the greatest ancient general that most people have never heard of. He was a Theban commander who ended Sparta's hegemony over Greece and established Thebes as the regions pre-eminent power. His victory over the Spartans at Leuctra is considered a masterpiece in the evolution of tactics as it introduced the ideas of an 'oblique attack' and concentration of force against a vital portion of the enemy line. After his untimely death at Mantinea he was lauded by his contempories as one of the 'first men of Greece'. However, since his career was sandwiched in between the Peloponnesian War and the rise of Alexander the Great, his legacy has been largely forgotten. The one treatment of his life and career I have seen in print was a chapter in Victor Hanson's book The Soul of Battle. Definitely worth a read.
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33. Board Game: I Will Fight No More... Forever [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
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I figure since we've got plenty of Europeans and Asians, it might be appropriate to include a "real" American.

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt (aka "Chief Joseph"), a peace chief of the Nez Perce tribe. Initially attempted to prevent the outbreak of hostilities when the U.S. army proposed to relocate the tribe from a reservation on traditional homelands in current eastern Washington to a new one in Idaho. In July 1877, when a force of approximately 2000 U.S. troops moved to relocate the tribe by force, Joseph led a ragged band of about 800 (with probably less than 150 warriors) towards Canada.

During their 1700 mile retreat, the Nez Perce used advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications. The campaign lasted over three months and involved numerous small unit actions. Finally, after a devastating five-day battle during freezing weather conditions, with no food or blankets, the Nez Perce surrendered about 40 miles from the safety of the Canadian border.

General Howard, commanding the pursuing cavalry, commended the skill with which chief Joseph fought. He also earned the praise of General William Tecumseh Sherman and was dubbed "the Red Napoleon" in the popular press of the day.

After the war, Chief Joseph continued to campaign for the rights of his tribe and became a well known voice for native American rights until his death in 1904.
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34. Board Game: Justinian [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:6697]
ANDREAS MILIOPOULOS
Greece
KOROPI
ATTICA
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Flavius Belisarius

Flavius Belisarius (about 500 - 565) was one of the greatest generals of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the old Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century ago.

One of the defining features of Belisarius' career was his operating under conditions of little or no support from his emperor Justinian and Byzantium, and nonetheless succeeding through military genius. He is also among a select group of men considered to be the "Last of the Romans"

In 527, the Emperor, Justinian, appointed Belisarius to command the Byzantine army in the east to deal with incursions from the Sassanid Empire. He quickly proved himself an able and effective commander, defeating the larger Sassanid army through superior generalship. In June 530 during the Iberian War, he led the Byzantines to a stunning victory over the Sassanids in the Battle of Dara, followed by a close defeat at the Battle of Callinicum on the Euphrates in 531. This led to the negotiation of the "Endless Peace" with the Persians.

He led major military campaigns against the Vandals permitting the lost Roman provinces of north Africa to be restored to the Byzantine empire, and also against the Ostrogoths. Belisarius' operations against the Ostrogoths were initially largely successful, restoring the Italian peninsula to the Byzantine empire. His efforts against the Ostrogoths were later hindered thanks in no small part to his being starved of supplies and reinforcements by a jealous Justinian.

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35. Board Game: Salamis [Average Rating:6.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.93 Unranked]
ANDREAS MILIOPOULOS
Greece
KOROPI
ATTICA
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Themistocles

Themistokles, (about 524 - 459 BC), was an Athenian politician and general. During the first Persian invasion of Greece, he fought at the Battle of Marathon, and was probably one of the 10 Athenian generals in that battle.

In the years after Marathon, and in the run up to the second Persian invasion, he became the most prominent politician in Athens. He took steps to increase the naval power of Athens by persuading the Athenians to build a strong navy fleet of 200 triremes. These proved crucial in the next conflict with Persia. During the second Persian invasion, he was in effective command of the Greek allied navy at the naval battles of Artemisium and Salamis. Thanks to subterfuge and to signs of genius on the part of Themistocles, the Greek allied navy possessed all the advantages at Salamis and won a decisive naval victory.

Themistocles can reasonably be thought of as "the man most instrumental in achieving the salvation of Greece" from the Persian threat.
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36. Board Game: War of Resistance [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:5550]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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Col. Xie Jinyuan

In a small footnote in the battle for Shanghai (1937), Colonel Xie commanded the 524th Regiment of the 88th Division, a unit trained by German advisors before China's war with Japan. In Shanghai, he led his 1st Battalion in the defense of Sihang Warehouse, where his 400-odd men defended the bridge to the city's International Settlements, holding off Japan's elite 3rd Division (and allowing the rest of the 88th to withdraw from the city).

After a week of tenacious defense, Xie's men sought asylum in the International Settlements, where they would stay until Japan initiated hostilities against the UK and US, four years later.

Xie was assassinated in Shanghai in early 1941, the victim of corrupted troops under his command.

To this day, however, Xie remains honored as a great war hero in both Chinese Republics. The story of the 524th has become legendary, and the unit is referred to as the Eight Hundred Heroes (the number being the unit's full-sized strength).
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37. Board Game: Battles of the Ancient World: Marathon and Granicus [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:8009]
ANDREAS MILIOPOULOS
Greece
KOROPI
ATTICA
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Miltiades

Marathon signifies the first major battle of The Greeks against the invading Persian during the Persian Wars. On this battle, General Miltiades used a resourceful tactic with which he won the day. He allowed the center to be weak and strengthened the wings. At dawn, suddenly, he ordered his heavily armored men to run towards their enemies, about two kilometers away. The Persians considered this charge "suicidal madness". On the wings the Athenians, fighting with better armor and longer spears than their enemies, routed the invaders, and after this first victorious engagement, the wings attacked the Persian center in its rear. This resulted in a Persian massacre of several thousand men, while the Greek army losses amounted to 192 men.
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38. Board Game: Records of Three Kingdoms 190-280 [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Zhuge Liang

Probably one of the best of the Chinese commanders during the Three Kingdoms era. Watch Red Cliff.

Easy to play game, using the warriors of God system for the Three Kingdoms China era.

Has ENGLISH RULES...read it...very impressed by the adaptation...I say that this is the best Romance 3K out there.

Already out BTW.
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39. Board Game: Strike on Sarhu 1619 [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Nurhaci...founder of the Qing Dynasty...briliant Jurchen general defeated the Ming troops at Sarhu in 1619 which caused the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.
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40. Board Game: Storm over Hengyang 1944 [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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General Fang Xianjue...

Commanding General of the KMT Chinese 10th XXX....managed to defend the city of Hengyang with 10,000 men vs. 40,000 Japanese troops for one month and caused 20,000 Japanese losses.

The Japanese commander was so impressed by his defense that Fang and his men were treated well and not massacred. Fang was later rescued by Chinese commandos in 1945 and was awarded the highest award in the KMT military.
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41. Board Game: The American Revolution: Decision in North America [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:5857]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Banastre Tarleton one of the best British commanders of the war.

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42. Board Game: First Afghan War [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:7017]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Akbar Khan, General of the Afghan forces who defeat the British in the First Afghan war.
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43. Board Game: Pour Dieu et Pour le Roy [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Francois de Charette

Military leader of the Royalists during the Vendee revolt 1793-1796
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44. Board Game: The Chinese Civil War of 1930 [Average Rating:6.81 Unranked]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Zhang Xueliang, leader of the Northeastern Army, the Manchurian KMT faction. Saved Chang Kai Shek's bacon during the Central Plains war of 1930. If it were not for Zhang's intervention. Chang would have been deposed as leader of the KMT.
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45. Board Game: Macedonia [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Onomarchus

One of the posts above mentions Epaminondas of democratic Thebes, who was no doubt the greatest non-Macedonian military innovator of the fourth century B.C.E. in Greece. Since both Epaminondas and his excellent colleague Pelopidas were both dead before Philip II ascended the Macedonian throne, there was no no indomitable city-state army to stop Philip once he completed his military reforms. Athens at the time had many capable and innovative generals such as Chares and Phocion, but not one of them ever managed to defeat Philip in any meaningful way, nor were they even able to match up well against Philip's superb commanders like Parmenio and Antipater.

In fact, Philip and his army were so good that they only suffered defeat once and to someone who the Macedonians seem to have vastly underestimated. Onomarchus had been a longtime high-ranking commander in the Phocian army by the time that he faced Philip. By this time, Philip himself had already won quite a few battles and his military machine was operating at close to the level that one would see it serve Alexander's conquests. The numbers in this fight also heavily favored the Macedonians, since Phocis was only a mid-sized city.

Onomarchus was smart enough to know that he couldn't handle the Companion cavalry and the pike phalanx in the open, so he put his back to a small mountain and decided to fight in a confined space where Philip's cavalry would not be quite as effective. Philip managed to push him back to the mountains and it looked like yet another great victory when all of a sudden Phocians from on high unveiled and unleashed a brand new weapon onto the battlefield: the catapult. This was the first time that the weapon had been used as field artillery and at such close range, the effect is said to have been devastating. Considering how densely packed the pike phalanx was, one can imagine how much of an impact these early torsion catapults had. Philip took some serious losses and withdrew in something close to a panic, being saved only by the fact that he held a very clear superiority in cavalry.

(wikipedia is closed today in honor of protesting Protect ID so I unfortunately cannot find the name of the battle in question or remember the exact year, but I will try to remember to edit the entry later to provide those details)
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46. Board Game: The Battle of Changde Operation Yo Go [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Terence Co
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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KMT General Yu Chengwan, commander of the Elite KMT 57th 'Tiger" division, who lead his division to a an almost fight to death in the defence of Changde in 1943 against the IJA(Imperial Japanese army) 3rd and 116th divisions for 11 days in a extremely bloody city battle which saw the use of chemical weapons before being rescued by Chinese reinforcements. Only 300 men out of 8000 survived the battle(57th division) but inflicted many thousands of Japanese losses.

2nd game on the obscure battle of Changde 1943 Second Sino Japanese war 1937-1945. Called Stalingrad of China. The earlier game was the Chinese view, now you have the first Japanese wargame on a battle of the Second Sino Japanese war.

There are english rules for download on the BGG site for this game translated to English by the great BGG gamer Hiroshi Tamura.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/92239/the-battle-of-ch...
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