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Thread: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

  1. #1
    Member Member Spartan JKM's Avatar
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    Default Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    What do you think fellow posters?

    Which military clashes throughout history pitted opposing commanders of (seemingly) considerable skill? I realize it is debatable how 'good' some were; I see a thread of good trivia possibly coming.

    Let's include everything: pitched battles, sieges, naval engagements, operational war, and even maneuvers and large skirmishes (remember, the greatest tactical victories were won not only by greatness on the winning side, but also by crude management on the losing side, at least for the most part). Moreover, many subordinates deserve merit etc.

    I realize there are some obvious ones. I'll start by randomly naming a few; we can discuss details forthcoming.

    Alexander the Great vs. Memnon of Rhodes; the Siege of Halicarnassus, 334 B.C.

    Han Xin vs. Xiang Yu; the Battle of Giaxia, 203 B.C.

    Hannibal Barca vs. Marcus Marcellus; various forms of fighting, 216-215 B.C., and 209-208 B.C.

    Marcus Marcellus vs. the engineering genius of Archimedes; the Siege of Syracuse, 214-212 B.C.

    Julius Caesar vs. Vercingetorix; the Gallic Revolt, 52 B.C.

    Cao Cao vs. Liu Bei and Co.; the Battle of Chibi (Red Cliffs), 208.

    Narse vs. Totila; the Battle of Busta Gallorum (Taginae), 552.

    Bohemond, Godfrey and Co. vs. Kilinc Arslan and Co.; the Battle of Dorylaeum, 1097.

    Chinggis (Genghis) Khan vs. Jelal ad-Din Mingburnu; the Battle of the Indus River, 1221.

    Simon V de Montfort vs. Prince Edward (soon to be Edward I); Battles of Lewes (1264) and Evesham (1265).

    Prince Edward (the 'Black Prince') and Co. vs. Bertrand du Guesclin and Co.; the Battle of Najera, 1367.

    Tamerlane vs. Bayezid I; the Battle of Anakara (Cubuk?), 1402.

    Constantine XI Palaiologos and Co. vs. Mehmed II; the Siege of Constantinople, 1453.

    Takeda Shingen vs. Uesugi Kenshin; the Battles of Kawanakajima, 1553-1564.

    Gustaf II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) vs. Stanislaw Koniecpolski; the Battles of Tczew (1626) and Trzciana (1629).

    Oliver Cromwell vs. Hugh Dubh O'Neill; the Siege of Clonmel, 1650.

    Vicomte Turenne vs. Louis II de Bourbon (the Great Conde) and Co.; the Battle of the Dunes, 1658.

    Michiel de Ruyter vs. Abraham Dusquesne; the naval Battles of Stromboli and Agosta, 1676.

    Menno van Coehoorn vs. Sebastien Le Preste de Vauban; the Siege of Namur, 1692.

    John Churchill (1st Duke of Marlborough) and Prince Francois-Eugene vs. Claude Louis Hector (Duc de Villars) and Louis Francois (Duc de Boufflers); the Battle of Malplaquet, 1709.

    Maurice de Saxe vs. Prince William (William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland); the Battle of Fontenoy, 1745.

    Frederick the Great vs. Leopold Josef (Count von Daun); the Battles of Kolin (1757) and Torgau (1760).

    Nathaneal Greene vs. Lord Charles Cornwallis; the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, 1781.

    Napoleon Bonaparte vs. Archduke Charles of Austria; the Battles of Aspern-Essling and Wagram, both fought in 1809.

    Charles Gordon vs. Muhammed Ahmad (The Mahdi); the Siege of Khartoum, 1885.

    Frederick Sleigh Roberts vs. Christiaan de Wet; the guerilla phase of the Second Boer War, 1900-1902.

    William Birdwood vs. Mustafa Kemal (soon to be Kemal Ataturk); the landing at Anzac Cove, 1915.

    Julian Byng and Arthur Currie vs. Ludwig von Falkenhausen; the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 1917.

    Keith Park vs. Albert Kesselring; the Battle of Britain (Sector 11), 1940.

    Courtney Hodges vs. Walter Model; the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, 1944.

    Mao Tse-tung vs. Chiang Kai-sheck; the Bandit Suppressions, 1930-1934, and the Chinese Civil War, 1946-1949.

    Raoul Salan vs, Vo Nguyen Giap; the Battle of Na San, 1952.

    All right, that's enough from me.

    Thanks, Spartan JKM
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  2. #2
    Imperialist Brit Member Orb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Robert 'Guiscard' vs. Emperor Alexios; Dyrrhachium 1081
    Mark Bohemond vs. Emperor Alexios at Arta, and several other places, both during that same campaign and subsequently.
    Mardonius vs. Pausanias at Plataea

    A couple, though I have to admit that outside my strange Normanophilia I can't mention many examples where both generals are certainly excellent.

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  3. #3
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Archimedes? It's interesting to speculate about parabolic mirrors, the military uses of, but I don't see how that elevates him to the status of commander. What do we know about that siege anyway?

    There a couple of obvious show-downs missing from that list, i.e.:
    Battle of Zama: Scipio Africanus vs. Hannibal Barca
    Battle of Pharsallus: Julius Ceasar vs. Pompeius Magnus
    Battle of Waterloo: Duke of Wellington vs. Napolean Bonaparte

    BTW, I completely agree with the inclusion of Marcus Marcellus and Memnon of Rhodes. If they hadn't been up against such a formidable opponent, they may well have become famous in their own right.
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    Professional Cynic Member Innocentius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Gustav II Adolf vs. Johann Tserclaes (Tilly); the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)
    Gustav II Adolf vs. Albrecht von Wallenstein; the Battle of Lützen (1632)

    Overall, the Thiry Years' War was littered with battles between excellent generals. I could probably dig up a few including the way too seldomly recognized Ottavio Piccolomini against some other general.
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  5. #5
    Member Member El Diablo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    These are all fine examples of good Genearals but often there would be a miss-match in either the armies size or quality (or both).

    How can you compare Apples with Oranges in this case? Or then again Generals ways of avoiding an uneven battle but subterfuge?

    In that case try the Germanics v Varsus (the Battle of Teutoberg forest) or the battle of Pearl Harbour?
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  6. #6
    American since 2012 Senior Member AntiochusIII's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan JKM
    Cao Cao vs. Liu Bei and Co.; the Battle of Chibi (Red Cliffs), 208.
    I believe historical texts tend to point the key players of the affair to be Cao Cao and Sun Quan or more exactly Wu general Zhou Yu. Even the famously biased novel portrayed the legendary Zhuge Liang as the force behind the "allied" victory and not his master. Liu Bei would only truly face Cao Cao in full force when they struggled for Hanzhong north of Sichuan province.

    Continuing the Three Kingdoms theme, I believe the struggles between Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi is quite a showdown. The latter was the only thing between Zhuge Liang and Chang'an really. Admittedly I'm ignorant of the true facts behind this pairing but nothing lead me to believe that either side has a major advantage in numbers or quality; Wei's larger manpower pool was compensated by its need to guard the borders to Wu and Shu's ability to concentrate its forces there, for one, and though Zhuge Liang was probably quite the military innovator the Chinese peasant armies of the era weren't exactly known for being that different from each other.

    Interestingly I find the showdown between Antigonos Monophthalmus and the Greek Eumenes to be a rather close match. Though Eumenes' story itself is quite a tale of the tragic hero, an Argead loyalist in a world full of ambitious generals, never respected by his Macedonian troops despite his skills simply because of his lineage, and betrayed to his nemesis by his own soldiers.

    Of course, the post-Alexandrian world was quite an interesting place anyway, filled with madmen and ambitions unprecedented, from Demetrius who could never settle anywhere for long to Pyrrhus and the closeness of which Antigonos I and Seleucus I respectively came to reuniting Alexander's empire, or Ptolemy's cautiousness which might cost him the throne of an entire empire in favor of his own kingdom in Egypt...
    Last edited by AntiochusIII; 08-03-2007 at 03:19.

  7. #7
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Erich von Manstein vs Nikolai Vatutin: Operation Winter Storm/Operation Little Saturn - The relief of Stalingrad that turned into a counterstroke to cut off Manstein and Kleist

    Any number of other operations on the eastern front which pitted all-time greats against each other, especially in the later years when the Soviets had got their act together.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Narseus vs Totilla.

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  9. #9
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Attila the Hun vs Flavius Aetius: Battle of Chalons, 451.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant: The Wilderness Campaign, 1864

  11. #11
    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Yamamoto vs Spurance Battle of Midway

    Yamamoto was a great admiral and faced an equally worthy opponent at Midway in Spruance. If only the code wasn't cracked.

    Hannibal Barca vs Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama.
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    Default Re: Good (at the least) Commanders who faced each other

    Napoleon vs Kutusov - Battle of Borodino 1812


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