The Alexander has both the desire and apparently the ability to conquer the known world. He cares for his men, uses new battle tactics to minimise the loss of life in his army, and keeps it on the move except during unavoidable sieges to minimise the dangers of disease. He is not afraid to fight in the front line at the head of his cavalry, punching through the ranks of his foes at just the right time to win the battle. But privately some of his men are wondering if he ever wants to stop fighting or if he will go on making war as long as he lives. Apart from that though, he is very popular within his army.
As a young junior officer, the Buller was amazingly good at doing battle. Once when the stupidity of the brass above him had resulted in his force being nearly sandwiched between two forces of the enemy, he risked his own life several times to get as many of his men out as possible, and earned the Army's highest medal for it. It also put him on the fast track to promotion. Sadly, the excellent junior officer has become only a mediocre colonel and a poor general, as he is not used to the higher level of command responsibility and is often not sure what to do.
3-The Benedict Arnold
The Benedict Arnold is a very skilled general who has saved his country more then once on the battlefield, once holding off an enemy navy with a makeshift fleet on a lake. But he was belittled by the politicians above him, his ideas were rejected, and his pay and the pay of his soldiers were cut. He finally decided to turn traitor and switch sides, and hand over an important fortress to the enemy, but his contact with his country's foes was captured with the fortress's plans in his boot. Arnold barely escaped to the other side with his life.
4-The Bonnie Prince
Having come from abroad to raise the tribal clans to his side in his plan to take the throne, the Bonnie Prince is certain of success and that large numbers of supporters are just waiting to come to his side. The clan chiefs that he depends on, however, are not as sure of a speedy victory, and fear that if he marches as quickly as his army can go to the enemy capital, he will be defeated in battle and they will end up beheaded with their heads stuck on spikes as a warning to all who might revolt in the future.
The majority of his soldiers and officers are starting to believe that the Caligula is insane. First he started a major eastern rebellion by ordering that he be worshipped as a god, and that his statue be set up in the highest holy place of the grandest temple there. Most of his army is now trying to stamp the rebellion out, with difficulty. Then he took some of his army to the seaside, ordered that it discharge it's weapons into the sea, and charge into the sea waist deep and *fight* it hand to hand. He then threw some shackles into the sea and ordered that it be whipped fifty times, and ordered that his men, grizzled old veterans of many wars, pick up seashells from the beach and fill their helmets with them, which they found deeply humiliating. If he carries on doing things like this, the bonds of loyalty binding his army to him will snap, and he will not be long for this world.
The problem with the Chelmsford is that he is grossly overconfident of success. As such, he neglects to fortify his camps, either by circling the wagons, digging trenches. building wooden stockades or setting out barbed wire. He is convinced that his foes are only disorganized, backward tribesmen who would rather run then fight his superior soldiers. In fact, they are anything but, and their army has concentrated and is just waiting for the right time to come to blows with his when it is asleep in camp or strung out on the march and defeat it.
The Custer is a military martinet, overworking his soldiers and punishing them for trivial misdemeanours, to the point that he is nicknamed 'Hard Ass' behind his back. Despite this he has his men's grudging respect. In camp he lives like a monarch, but when out in the field he eats the poor rations that his men eat, he sleeps on the hard ground like they sleep, and he is the first one into battle and the last one to retreat. He is not suicidal, but he would rather die in battle if he had to, rather then flee and be thought of as a coward.
8-The Crazy Horse
Rather then being a general in any formal sense, with military law and formal discipline to back up his orders, the Crazy Horse is a popular tribal leader commanding tribal warriors who largely fight as individuals, not as a military unit. They follow him not because they have to but because they want to. A few stupid orders that led to heavy losses in battle, and he would be in effect dumped and reduced to the ranks. What little formal control that he has over them comes from the akieta , a sort of police force chosen from the best warriors who stop ambushes from being ruined by the over eager and that sort of thing.
9-From the Ranks
Unlike all the other generals in the army that he is in, this general joined the army at the lowest level and spent two weeks as a lowly private being screamed at by drill sergeants before he earned his first stripe. Fifteen years later he was a sergeant-major when a major war began, one that killed so many officers that NCOs had to be promoted from the ranks to replace them. Somehow he survived and by the end of the war had risen to major-general. After several more years he was further promoted and has a good chance of becoming a field marshal. Because he rose through the ranks, he knows how it is even to be at the very bottom, and tries to improve conditions and gain more pay for the soldiers under his command.
10-The Genghis Khan
The Genghis started out as the son of a minor noble, in a country full of feuding, fighting tribes that were too disunited to be a threat to their neighbours. He persuaded a couple of the minor tribes to join him, and defeated a third in battle. Instead of killing or enslaving the defeated soldiers, only the chief was executed, and the others were set free if they agreed to join him. One after another the tribes were beaten and absorbed into what he turned into a professional army, with strict discipline and the death penalty for those who fled in battle or disobeyed orders. Towns that refuse to surrender are burned down once taken and their entire populations slaughtered and prisoners of war are forced to run ahead of his army in battle as human shields.
11-The Henry V
A warrior king, brave in battle and pious, the Henry V is strict to his men, hanging those who commit various military offences, including maltreating unarmed civilians, looting churches and deserting on active service. However, he shares their dangers in battle to a point, so if not much loved by his men, he is respected as well as feared.
For the Hitler, the war is a race war, and he sees his opponents as subhuman and is utterly merciless to them once they are beaten, either exterminating them or working them to death. He rarely if ever goes to the front-he leaves his junior generals to lead the men into battle whilst he sits behind a map and attempts to micromanage the war. He never visits the military hospitals and really does not care how many of his men have to die for his cause, as long as the battles are won. He takes very little advice except from a few of his most favoured and faithful generals.
13-The Ho Chi Minh
The Ho Chi Minh's country has been nearly fully occupied by an army that on paper is far more powerful then his, but for the Ho, time is on his side. The morale of his foes is weak, and many people at all levels of society in the opposing country are getting sick to death of the war, the draft, the bodies coming back in coffins and the high cost of the war in extra taxes. If he can keep on poking and weakening the enemy army in a myriad of skirmishes and minor battles, and they keep on losing men in a steady drip of causalities, sooner or later the voters back home in his foe's country will get fed up and demand that the army be pulled out of his country and that the war end. His army live there after all, unlike their foes from the other side of the world.
To the Howard, the war is all about logistics, and he concentrates on bringing the vital ammunition and the rations to his men. Some of the more fire breathing generals think that it makes his forces slow and ponderous , but he points out to them that without their supplies his men won't be able to fight for very long and will just end up as fodder for the military cemeteries and the POW camps. He tries to keep his men clean when possible and to give them entertainment when they are not on the front line, and his men like him for it.
15-The King John
Ridiculed behind his back as 'Soft Sword' by his men, every campaign he does seems to turn to dust. He has lost most of his lands, spent most of his money, angered most of his people with high taxation, and even managed to lose his royal jewels in quicksand after being caught by the tide.
Although his forces are grossly outnumbered, he is determined to hold onto the pass that leads into Bleak Vale, also known as The Field of 10,000 Skulls from the many battles that have been fought there in the past. In his country, every male who is not euthanized as a baby grows up as a soldier from the king on down, and even the women can volunteer to join the army if they want to. In the confines of the narrow pass, he knows that his enemies will be unable to outflank them, and although he knows he might die, he and his men consider it worth it if it stops their country from being overrun and conquered by a foe that they have zero respect for.
A retired general called back by his country in it's time of dire need, he faces a foe superior in numbers but grossly deficient in it's officer corps due to savage purges by it's paranoid ruler. His plan is to make his country's mountain passes and swamps, weather and fortifications, bleed the opposing forces and hold them up until a freezing winter comes to his aid. Whilst he knows that he cannot win an outright victory, he hopes that if he can hold out long enough, the tyrant opposing him will get fed up of having his army chewed to pieces and give up if offered a small amount of territory to save face.
The Mao is a guerrilla leader, attacking his foe whenever it is weak, running away when it is strong and luring it into ambushes. He is vastly ambitious and also very cruel to anybody who opposes him, and he has set up a personality cult within his army. He does order his men to treat civilians well, however, as he knows he needs their support or at least their neutrality to have a good chance of winning the war.
The Melchitt stays at the military HQ ten miles behind the lines and never visits the front, and so has no idea of the suffering of his army as it is slowly ground away by years of static trench warfare, where boredom mixed with moments of sheer terror and death is their lot. When he was a young officer and went to war, it was against primitive tribes armed with little more then spears, so deaths on his side were few and far between. He has kept the same tactics against an army whose weapons are as modern as his own, creating a bloodbath on both sides. He is heartily disliked by most of the men in the trenches who blame him for their suffering.
War may be hell, but the Mladic is determined to make the civil war that he is in even more hellish. He delights when his men slaughter civilians and rape women and girls and is widely rumoured to have done such things himself. He has surrounded what was the capital of his country before the civil war began, refused to let the civilians leave, cut off it's food supplies and is busy pulverizing it's buildings with his artillery, including the clearly marked and unfortified hospitals and places of worship, taking pleasure in the misery that he is causing.
Pompous, overconfident, his shoulders gleaming with gold braid, the Mussolini firmly believes that his army is the best army in the world. Now it's not a totally useless army, certain regiments are well fed, trained and armed and can fight very well indeed. But most of it is poorly trained, fed, armed and disciplined but the Mussolini cannot see this.He is thinking of getting into a major war that his forces are far from ready to fight.
The Patton is all for pushing on as fast as possible to end the war he is in quickly, regardless of the possible cost in the lives of his soldiers. He thinks that discipline is important, thinks that all those who are battle stressed are faking it, and has a very low opinion of his allies from other countries, thinking they are either weak or a threat to his own country once this war is over.
23-The Prince Johnson
This general is known for his acts of cruelty which include the public killing and eating of a political rival who dared to fight against him. He encourages his men to behave just as badly to terrorize their enemies. Discipline in his army is lax, and he does not much care about this as long as he is not personally threatened by it.
This monarch never wanted to become a warrior king, he just wanted to live in peace and luxury within the walls of his royal palace. But when his country was invaded, he was forced to gather his army together and fight back. He feels horrible because of the suffering of his soldiers, and hesitates to do such cruel but arguably militarily necessary things as executing captured spies, taking food from civilians and besieging towns. Whilst many generals care too little for the lives of their men, he cares too much for them to be an effective commander in battle. If he does not do what needs to be done soon, he will be defeated and his country will be occupied.
The Rommel is fighting in a desert. It is flat and there are few towns to defend, hence few snipers; the desert does not belong to either side, hence neither homeland is directly threatened; and there are few civilians to rob, rape or murder. Hence both the Rommel and his opposite number, and the men under them, have a very gentlemanly war, only attacking each other at certain times of the day, and not maltreating or murdering prisoners of war, unless they are caught out of uniform, in which case they are assumed to be spies. So both his own army and his foes largly admire him.
A former NCO who deserted the army and was captured and enslaved for it, he was brought by a trainer of gladiators. He led a mass escape and then persuaded his men to stay together and to form an army by freeing any slaves that they came across. Poor people who had nothing to lose joined him as well, and he defeated the soldiers that were sent to deal with his revolt. He has a great hatred of slavery and takes pleasure in meting out vengeance on slave owners and slave traders who fall into his hands.
The Tukachevsky has brand new battle plans and thinks that by telling the dictator who rules his country about them, the dictator will further promote him and reward him for what he has done. What he does not know is that all he has done is managed to make the paranoid dictator suspicious of him. Soon enough the dictator's secret police will come for him and take him to prison and the executioner's shed, and his battle plans will die with him.
The Underdog is clearly losing the war, and commands the last battered army of his country, and yet he refuses to give in. It could be that the enemy will not accept surrender or is notoriously brutal and unpleasant, or it could be that the Underdog has just lost touch with reality and really thinks he can win. The enemy hate him with a passion for prolonging the war and it's discomforts, and many of his men privately don't think much of him either and have started to desert.
The Varus is in command of the garrison troops of a very restive province on an empire's frontiers. The commander of the auxiliary troops has told him that there is a revolt going on in the bogs and the forests, so he has led his army in there to look for it. And said army has promptly got strung out in a long straggling line of men and equipment and baggage , unaware that it is walking straight into an ambush. The auxiliary scouts that are meant to warn of said ambushes and the auxiliary cavalry that are meant to protect his infantry's flanks both know about the ambush all too well-they are part of it and will turn traitor as soon as the fighting begins. Varus and his men are in deep trouble.
Ordered into battle against the Mannerheim , the Voroshilov thought it would be a quick war as his army is far larger in numbers. But he has been completely out-generalled and his forces, starved of good officers because of recent military purges, have been effectively fed into a meat grinder. Losing large numbers of men every month, he is starting to worry that the dictator of his country may make an example of him by making him fight in the front rank, or worse, just having him summarily executed for his failure.
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? Responses (7)-7
I think stripping the generals a little more of their historical actions and concentrating more on what made them different would have improved this list and kept it from being little more than very short wiki entries.
For example, Rommel was far more than a Desert General. He was an innovator, a mans-general. He was partly responsible for the heavy defence of Normandy, and had he been given the resources he asked for, things may have been quite different.
My point is not to add that to the entry, but to focus on what made him different from other generals and strip out the WWII events.
Crazy Horse is another example. What made him different from other generals apart from he was an American-Indian? If you dropped him into a medieval setting, how would you tell.
I think this is an excellent list idea, and a lot of work was done, but I think a focus on the personalities would render a far superior submission.
Oh, and Hitler was never a general, as much as he wanted to be. Puling out the political leader types and replacing them with more generals would also improve the sub (No Monty? No Eisenhower? Like them or not, these two had strong personalities which would serve well as archtypes)
I suppose I could put it back in work indefinitely. A bit of a disappointment since it's my first new submission in over two months.
If I thought it was hopeless, I would not have commented, especially not with that much detail.
I think you could make this a 4.5+ sub if you concentrated on what I suggested - there is so much potential with these individuals.
I agree with val, but at the same time, there is nothing to be disappointed about, Cheka!
It's a great idea, because you get a historical slant on 30 larger than life personalities, and thus an rpg slant as well, for any GM with a general's 'personality' to consider.
And I won't lie, I learned some things I didn't know, about a few of these guys.
I'd say that one could certainly start a (fiery!!!!!!!!!) debate as to some of your interpretations of these folks, but still, this is good info, something to learn from, and it's fun going through them, just to see who is next on the list!
Speaking of which...Hannibal??? Belisarius?? Where they at? :)
Not sure how this one slipped past me but it did.
Good work Cheka, but perhaps they could be fleshed out just a little bit more.
Where's the second list of Thirty Generals?
How about a list of Paramours?
Will be very helpful. Thanks for sharing