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"Greatest guerilla leader" Topic

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28 Feb 2018 5:56 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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1,305 hits since 26 Jul 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

ochoin deach Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 12:48 a.m. PST

This unconventional style of warfare has produced several, lauded as the "greatest".

Who would you nominate?

I am torn between Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of the German forces in German East Africa during the Great War or the semi-legendary Herward the Wake, Saxon opponent of the Conqueror post 1066.

Your nominations?

badwargamer27 Jul 2012 1:12 a.m. PST

King Kong..the greatest Gorilla of them all.

Brown Fez Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 1:23 a.m. PST

Mao? The PRC was his creation and its well on track to being the superpower of the 21st Century.

Vo Nguyen Giap? He defeated the late 20th Century's greatest superpower.

Then of course there's Patrick Swayze.

I like Emiliano Zapata but I wouldn't lay any claim for him being the greatest.

Brown Fez Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 1:25 a.m. PST

Von Lettow Vorbeck was an annoyance to Britain in the Great War but little more than a pinprick in a sideshow. Hereward the Wake achieved what exactly?

doc mcb Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 2:53 a.m. PST

Are we talking hiding in a civilian population? or hiding in empty territory? Mosby did the first, Geronimo the 2nd. Marion did both, a bit. Giap was hardly a guerrilla, seems to me, commanding a regular army -- or if he was, why not Washington as well?

Brown Fez Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 3:13 a.m. PST

Giap started as a guerilla. He ran two wars which both started as guerilla conflicts even if they ended with conventional battles. He won both.

I'm not sure how Geronimos or Mosby's accomplishments really stack up by comparison.

Mao and Marion might make good companion pieces, by most accounts both were thoroughly unpleasant people.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2012 4:13 a.m. PST

This is a tough question – if you look at the guerilla leader who was most successful, Mao is the man – he recognized the inherent flaws in the revolutionary policy his Soviet advisors were pitching, changed it to a Chinese flavour, fought a long and tough guerilla war, knew just when to change over to a conventional war – and had developed a conventional army just for that – and wound up the big winner

Giap did the same, albeit on a smaller scale

That being said, Mao is way high on the list of homicidal maniacs – but the question was not who you want to marry your sister!

While I like von Lettow-Vorbeck as noted his contribution to the Imperial war effort – while all out of proportion to his resources – was not very much

You know, a case could be made for Benito Juárez – who changed the complexion of the war against France from a conventional one (that Mexico was losing) to a guerilla war (that Mexico won) and back to a conventional war (again, that Mexico won)

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2012 4:30 a.m. PST

Michael Collins. He has the advantage in that his side won (let's not get Blue Fezzy about Ulster).

Same for Josip Tito in Yugoslavia.

I have always liked von Lettow-Vorbeck just because he was able to hold out so long against amazing odds.

Old Slow Trot Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 5:41 a.m. PST

Mordecai Anielewicz in the Warsaw Ghetto 1943. The Bielski brothers,also WW2.

Scorpio Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 5:44 a.m. PST

George Washington!

ChicChocMtdRifles Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 6:42 a.m. PST

NB Forrest, John Mosby, Stand Watie. These were cavalry officers that pestered the yanks during the war.

Some say TE Lawrence was in the Great War, but I'm not sure. Don't know much, yet.

Los456 Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 7:09 a.m. PST

Mel Gibson!

Jovian1 Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 7:10 a.m. PST

Lenin & Trotsky. They organized the Communists and fought initially a guerilla war against the various factions to ultimately take control over Russia and then to create the Soviet Union – and ultimately the entire Communist Bloc, which includes Mao and China. So, if you want guerilla leaders who had the greatest impact, it would be the original Bolsheviks headed by Lenin and Trotsky, because they created a reign of terror unmatched before or since.

Altius Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 7:25 a.m. PST

Ahmad Shah Massoud

vojvoda Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

You say guerilla leader but reference unconventional style of warfare. Two different animals.

James Mattes

Feet up now Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 8:32 a.m. PST

General Thade ;)

Terrement Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 9:06 a.m. PST


kreoseus2 Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 9:09 a.m. PST

Collins. Won a war of indepence and a civil war in brief sucsession ( shame he died doing it, Ireland could have been better off with him rather than Dev).

Oddball27 Jul 2012 10:30 a.m. PST

Mao – really held together the communists in their war against the KMT.

Vo Nguyen Giap – I don't think he is the best. Gifted, but not the best. He fought the US to a standstill in the Vietnam War. The US had withdrawn all combat troops by early 1973. South Vietnam was defeated in April, 1975 over two years later and by conventional combined arms attacks.

There are many to choose from over the span of time. You almost have to pick a century rather than just one for the ages.

Red358427 Jul 2012 10:56 a.m. PST

Chirpa, Chief of the Ewoks

basileus66 Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 11:41 a.m. PST

Francisco Espoz y Mina.

Brown Fez Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

Michael Collins didn't win in a military sense, he sensibly negotiated an outcome that was reasonable in the circumstances, the IRA were pretty close to collapse at the time. Smart fellow.

kreoseus2 Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 12:40 p.m. PST

Collins organised the rebels from disorganised rabble into effective fighters with an emphasis on intelligence gathering rather than just undirected violence and gained more from the British than an Irish rebel had before, given a history of a rebellion or uprising of some degree every 50 years of so over a long period of time. He gained enough to bluff concessions from the British by being more trouble than Ireland was then worth.


14Bore27 Jul 2012 12:52 p.m. PST

Realize that half of the nominees mentioned turned out to be mass murderers, just saying.

ochoin deach Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 12:55 p.m. PST

Hereward the Wake,even if not real, was a potent symbol of Saxon identity.

To continue the struggle against the all-conquoring Normans gave some pride to the defeated who, of course, eventually emerge to create a new England that is essentially Saxon.

I don't think you have to win to be a great guerilla leader.

badwargamer27 Jul 2012 2:37 p.m. PST

George Formby. His Guerillas have sold worldwide

Brown Fez Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 2:38 p.m. PST

Sorry, I assumed the metric was success or even impact on world history. Apparently it's just a case of nominate someone you think sounds cool.

Ok then. I nominate Tupac Amaru and Carlos Marighela, neither was ultimately succesful but they both appeal in their different ways.

14Bore27 Jul 2012 3:19 p.m. PST

Ahmad Shah Massoud
T.E. Lawrence

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2012 5:08 p.m. PST

Tarzan! Oh excuse me, I thought you said gorilla leader.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2012 5:22 p.m. PST
Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 8:20 p.m. PST


Agesilaus Inactive Member27 Jul 2012 8:42 p.m. PST

Che Guevara?
Chief Joseph?
William Wallace?
Ahmad Shah Massoud ?

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2012 9:20 p.m. PST

Number 1.: John Singleton Mosby
There is no Number 2.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2012 1:47 a.m. PST

I don;t know if he's the greatest but Denis Davidov certainly was successful at his work: link

Find the table of his, albeit, self reported accomplishments.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2012 9:35 a.m. PST

Robin Hood. Maybe completely mythical but very well known.


Dynaman878928 Jul 2012 10:04 a.m. PST


Karpathian Inactive Member28 Jul 2012 7:10 p.m. PST


Which one?

Scott Kursk Inactive Member28 Jul 2012 9:42 p.m. PST

Sam Houston.

Juan Seguin – his job was to carry messages through enemy lines then after the slaughter his job was to run delaying actions against the bulk of Santa Anna's army to buy Houston time. Dude had seriously brass pair.

Grand Duke Natokina Inactive Member29 Jul 2012 1:03 p.m. PST

In no particular order:
von Lettow
Lawrence of Arabia.

Grand Duke Natokina Inactive Member29 Jul 2012 1:04 p.m. PST

I thought of Chief Joseph. But I don't consiuder him a guerrilla leader. I think he fought the greatest fighting withdrawal in history.

Etranger Inactive Member29 Jul 2012 6:47 p.m. PST

What is the definition of 'greatest' then? (edit, sorry, that wasn't directed at you, Duke!)

Giap managed to beat two superpowers, not one; although one of them was definitely trying to recapture lost glories at the time.

badwargamer30 Jul 2012 3:21 a.m. PST

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