BuzzFeed As Is Something for … Rawlinson is a controversial addition to the list for those who know of him. I personally think that the only thing he needs is a strong immediate commander. The Commonwealth of Nations was formed to join the new states. No other British soldier towers over his times as Cromwell does with the Cromwellian period. Retrospectively I think there must have been something radically flawed with history as it is taught in out schools as our history is fascinating. He gave financial support to T.E. Wingate in particular deserves a listing – there was, and still is in some sections, inbuilt prejudice against anything “special” or non conventional in the British Army. IN ALL OF THESE CAMPAIGNS AGAINST VERY FORMIDABLE TERRAIN HE WAS SUCCESSFUL. His ability to maintain good relations with political elements in the UK as well as in Spain and Portugal ensured that he was never undermined for non-military reasons. Who could be ? With Simon Schama, Michael Kitchen, Samuel West, Lindsay Duncan. Montgomery is another controversial figure of history, with his legacy caught up in nationalistic arguments and his less flamboyant command style overshadowed by the Blitzkriegs of the day. The nail in the Auk’s coffin was the loss of trust from the 8th Army for its commander. IN SOUTH AFRICA HE WAGED A SUCCESS COUNTER INSURGENCY WAR AGAINST THE bOERS. His insistence on keeping his army from harassing the local population saved him from having to deal with the problem of partisans. Robert Lyman, a former army officer, is a military historian and biographer of Bill Slim. going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already Cheers! The 9 Best Books About European History Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture. Just look at the march to Blenheim; he kept the enemy guessing as to his real intentions the whole time. This list is specifically limited to the period between the beginning of the Spanish War of Succession and the end of the Second World War, and is restricted to generals who were born in the British Isles. Arthur Duke of Wellington is an extraordinary man, and although aloof and withdrawn, a man capable of deep emotion. After the battle of Waterloo he said: "Next to a battle lost the deepest misery is a battle won.". Top 10 Amazing (Yet Uninspiring) Achievements, Top 10 Bizarre Early Films of Famous Directors, 10 Fascinating Cases of US Presidential Pardons, Crazy Facts You Might Not Know About the Normans, Expensive Items That Turned Out to be Worthless, 10 Unusual Christmas Myths From Around the World, Top 10 Greatest Inventions of the 19th Century, Josip Broz ‘Tito’ Biography: Too Tough for Stalin, Adrian Carton de Wiart Biography: The Unbreakable Soldier. Everything he did was based on ensuring that his men came first. Yet despite the failures of the Somme, Rawlinson was a visionary. Funny ………….. Wellesley won the Peninsular War. Allenby is widely regarded as one of the best commanders of the First World War and is certainly remembered as one of the most successful. The Duke of Marlborough was, by far, the greatest military man of his generation. There is hardly a concensus of Montgomery’s worth amungst historians or even his contemporaries, and given the abrasiveness of his personality it is not exactly clear how much personal animosity influenced the opinions of his contemporaries. hide. If we had asked this question in the years after 1945, no doubt he would have been top of the list. The 100 Best English and British History Books provides a reading list for those serious about history. In his detailed plans he planned for only modest goals – keeping in mind the weather and terrain involved and the morale of his men – then trained his men thoroughly for the task he had set them. Who is the greater general, the one who win 25 out of 25 battles or the one who wins 145 out of 150 battles ? The Duke of Marlborough was, by far, the greatest military man of his... 2. Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke – a supremely capable general – called Monty the best tactical general Britain had since Wellington but bemoaned the fact that Monty was completely ignorant of politics and almost incapable of dealing with others of a similar rank. Britain has to give most empires independence due to the low inclination and wealth to maintain an empire. The "There are now more biographies on Oliver Cromwell than almost any other Englishman, with more than 30 appearing in the 20th century alone. I concede on Wolfe, but I take issue with the exclusion of the Auk and your comments. Horrocks was a superb tactical general, hidden by Monty’s shadow in many respects, and he deserves recognition (though I may be stretching it to ask for him to be included). All five are certainly worthy of consideration, but for me John Churchill had the perfect balance of tactical awareness, strategy thinking, decisiveness of action and care and consideration for those who served under him. From the best of 2020 to books written in ancient times, below you'll find expert recommendations of all the best history books.If you're looking for the latest books, the UK's Wolfson History Prize celebrates the best books written that year.These are seriously researched history books that are also highly readable, selected systematically from the hundreds that are published every year. Perhaps the referance to the “Lions led by Donkeys” phrase threw you but the entry on Haig in this list does not portray him as the “Butcher” that his greatest critics do. tHE MARK OF A GREAT GENERAL IS 1) DID HE WIN 2) WHAT WAS THE SIZE OF THE FORCE HE COMMANDED AND 3) DID HE PUT HIS PARTICULAR STAMP ON THE ARMY OR VICTORY. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. “Daddy” Plumer was arguably the finest commander on the Western Front and his victory at Messines was one of the most complete in the entire war. Do you agree with our experts? For me it would be John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury whom no-one has probably ever heard of. The term is often used as a synonym for the United Kingdom, which also includes Northern Ireland and a number of offshore Take a chronological journey through the key periods in England's past, and discover how the changes that the country has seen can be traced through English Heritage's sites. His soldiers knew and loved him because of this. He only lost one major engagement in the entire war – Market Garden– and played a major role in the successful execution of Overlord and the defeat of the Ardennes Offensive. It comprises the whole of the island of Great Britain—which contains England, Wales, and Scotland—as well as the northern portion of the island of Ireland. Has he no champions? What are the criteria? As to the revisionists of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Britain was in a cold war with the Soviet Union, ban the bomb activism was at its height and in 1964, the 50th anniversary of the Great War was looming. In actual fact, while Allenby did distinguish himself in the open spaces of the Middle East, he certainly didn’t do so on the Western Front. His victory at Amiens – called “the Black Day of the German Army” by Erich Luddendorf – was the first battle in history where the efforts of infantry was closely supported by mass artillery bombardment, mass cavalry charges, mass armored advance and aerial support. In fact no official units IIRC, just some individuals who found themselves serving in (e.g.) His mastery of logistics and forward planning meant that he was never caught out by an enemy and usually picked the field of battle. cavalry work) could be put to great use. And if the portrayal of Haig here was, as you put it, the revisionist 1960’s version then he surely would not have been in the list at all because, as your said, Haig’s reputation as a capable commander was destroyed in the 1960’s. The Auk did contribute positively to the victory in North Africa but he failed to capitolize on his early successed and keeping him any longer would have invited ruin. The opinion of Pershing is more than debatable, Ferdinand Foch, the supreme Allied commander, is generally considered the man most responsible for victory by historians (though maybe not by British historians obviously.). What happened in Britain: The World: 700,000 BC: People migrate to 'Britain' from Europe. The spirits of Christmases past, as seen by the British people. Top 10 Shockingly Rich Celebrities & Their Net Worth, 10 Awesome Greek Gods You’ve Never Heard Of. The defence of World War 1 generals is just plain wrong. save. Then he went on to win his decisive and most famous victory at Plassey, which ensured that British presence in India was unassailable. Their total area is over 244 000 square kilometers. 130,000 BC: Neanderthal Britain The dominate human species is Neanderthal. Finally, John Churchill's tactical triumph on Whit Sunday 1706, when he defeated the French army at Ramillies, demonstrated his own brilliance in the field. He never lost a major battle to any opponent, he beat every commander ever sent against him and ruined many of their reputations and, most famously, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo – with help from the Prussians. He had proven himself to be an effective commander of troops when he was commander of the II Corps of the BEF in the Battle of France but he would prove his worth far greater as the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. He conquered the majority of France, seeing his son made heir to the throne of France and delivered victories such as Agincourt that reverberated throughout Europe. During that war he had learned contempt for the established higher command and, on the Western Front, it was this contempt that saw him replaced by Byng after feuding with Haig despite having distinguished himself in combat. His most famous victory was the capture of Jericho, and he also conquered Canaan (circa 1200 B.C. “In 1918, the American General John Pershing, remarked that Haig was “the man who won the war”. Some of Britain’s best-known poets, thinkers and authors flourished in the Victorian era, like poet Elizabeth Browning, playwright Oscar Wilde and authors Emily Brontë and Charles Dickens. You couldn’t really advocate Wingate and Horrocks above the men listed for the simple reason that every command in the list was an Army Commander at least while Horrocks only commanded a Corps and Wingate didn’t even manage that. Rather Haig is portrayed in the manner revisionists perceived him in the 1960s. American General James Gavin said that the 1st US Army’s staff regarded Monty as both a perculiar man and a highly competant officer and that he himself, despite not agreeing with all of Monty’s methods, believed him a capable commander who he had never lost fondness for. In the Seven Years War, he returned to India. Rawlinson was the general most responsible for planning the battle of the Somme, and it was his army that bore the brunt of the fighting. Wingate, by my assesment, falls into the same category as Robert Baden-Powell, and T.E. Unfortunately few of us in Britain really know much about our history. "Previous to 1914 Haig was instrumental in reforming the structure, doctrine, staff work and training regime of the British army so that it was ready for continental war. Haig managed coalition relations with powerful, demanding allies on a day-to-day basis. Buy A Complete History of Britain by Schama CBE, Simon (ISBN: 9780563521099) from Amazon's Book Store. When Haig died in 1928 he was treated as a hero by the British people. The inescapable fact however is that Monty was successful more times that he failed and was a major factor in the successful execution of the Allied campaigns in North Africa and Europe. Britain had to spend a great cost in the World War 2 even though the allies won. Unlike Hannibal, I sought to use data to determine a general’s abilities, rather than specific accounts of generals’ achievements. Your analysis of Monty is very shrewd. Take a second to support Toptenz.net on Patreon! Lawrence’s efforts to unite the Arabs to revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, Clive had but 540 British Infantry, 600 British Sailors, 800 Sepoys, 14 field guns and no cavalry. It was only about 40 years after WWI during the 1960s that revisionists rewrote history and attacked Haig. … This method certainly surprised the Japanese and it defeated them at Imphal and Kohima in India in 1944 and again at Mandalay and Meiktila in Burma in 1945. I’d rank him good rather than great, if only for his lackluster performance in France in ’44, but you’re absolutely right about his personality causing so many problems. ROFLMAO. Just one thing about the entry for Slim: there weren’t many Australians and New Zealanders in the 14th Army. FM Haig has been given a bad deal since the post-WW2 period. He had a grasp of both the immediate and wider strategic details, and was a master of maneuver and tactics. However Haig did accomplish a few positive things as well. England and Wales were formally united in 1536. His reputation is a very bad one; he is characterized as a general who sat hundreds of miles behind the front and had a willful disregard for the lives of his men – the Donkey that commanded the Lions. He was the most extraordinarily soldier. However, he was sometimes handicapped in this by Winston Churchill’s interference. Five men have made the cut and a debate at the museum will decide the winner. In fact, Alan Clark made the phrase up entirely when he wrote the book ‘The Donkey’ in 1961. Up to mid-1916, he presided over an army made mainly up of men with no previous military experience and who had to be made battle-ready in a pressingly short time and the eager new men of 1915-16 were not the skilled professionals of 1914. That man defeated Napoleon at Abu Gair in Egypt and destroyed him again in Trafalgar ,, wins Copenhagen battle & many Sea’s battles. Horrocks, If I remember correctly , was recognized by Eisenhower as the best Corps Commander in the Western Allied Army Groups and Monty certainly rated him highly. Any books and opinions of historians and capable generals describe him as a glory hungry fool. Thirdly, in holding together the Grand Alliance, he established Great Britain as a major power for the first time both in Europe and the wider world. He had experience combat in the Boer War, with his Cavalry Column having been engaged in constant combat for two years. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. As for Allenby, I understand that he was re-assigned after his Third Army suffered what was considered exceedingly heavy losses at Arras, after initial gains. He quickly gained the respect of the troops of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force by moving his HQ to a position closer to the front, visiting the troops regularly in the frontlines, reorganizing the EEF into an effective Corps system and imposing discipline and professionalism on the whole command. The balance between Monty’s professional virtues and personal faults was often difficult to maintain but usually his professional virtues outweighed his personal faults. He should be number 1. The Muslims beseiged Khartoum for almost a year and General Charles Gordon repelled these vastly superior numbers all this time. He was one of the few commanders to come out of the Battle of France with his reputation enhanced. There are some controversial additions and the ranking is purely my own personal opinion. The Auk – Claude Auchinleck – who really stopped the rot in North Africa in WWII until he got the boot from Churchill, which opened the door to Monty. 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