If we are to pull from ignominy the worst military commanders in history, then we can come up with our list of top 10 worst military tacticians which is an interesting reading. This article is our A-list, if there is ever one, of the military idiots and incompetents who have etched their names in history for the utter shame of defeat that they have experienced from the hands of their enemies.
1. Publius Quinctilius Varus
Varus misfortunes and misjudgment started when he easily fell for the deception laid out by the Germanic prince Arminius. Responding to the call for succor by Arminius, Varus led three Roman legions into a totally compromised position which resulted to the shameful annihilation of all three Roman legions by the barbaric Germanic fighters.
2. Darius III of Persia
Darius III, last king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, is well remembered for his botched defense of this empire against the advancing forces of Alexander The Great. He totally underestimated the might of the army of Alexander the Great and this has led to his defeat in their very first encounter in the Battle of Granicus. Despite outnumbering his enemies to the ratio of 2 is to 1, Darius still failed miserably in his second encounter, the Battle of Issus.
3. Antonio Lopez de Santa. Anna
Antonio Lopez de Santa. Anna, the self-proclaimed Napoleon of the Western World, is in reality an anti-thesis of his military idol. He is well remembered not for his bravery and military genius but by his audacity and recklessness in battle. He is well remembered for his struggle in defeating an army of 250 Texas natives with his 2,500-strong army.
4. Pavel Grachev
Grachev was one of the Russian military commanders who were involved in the campaign to restore order in Chechnya by using military force to crush the emerging separatist movement. So confident was Grachev of the vaunted might of his forces that he promised to crush the rebellion in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as the Russian forces suffered humiliating defeat in the hands of the Chechen separatist military forces.
5. Arthur Percival
Arthur Percival is well remembered as the military commander of the Allied Forces credited for the biggest surrender of British forces to enemies in modern history. Historians estimate that the 138,708 Percival-led Allied Forces swiftly surrendered to some 30,000 Japanese soldiers.
6. Maurice Gamelin
Gamelin is credited for the total defeat of French Forces during World War II. Historians believed that it is not as much as the Germans having won the battle but by the French setting themselves for their eventual defeat because of the poor judgment of Gamelin.
7. William Westmoreland
William Westmoreland willingly played into the hands of his Vietnamese enemies. Believing that the battle can be won through what he calls War of Attrition, Westmoreland launched a major offensive now known as the Tet Offensive. This will become as his major undoing and the critical turning point of the Vietnam War which eventually led to serious setbacks in major US military offensives.
8. George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan will always remain in history as the commander that held a lot of promise. He is a military leader who promised great successes that was never realized. If at all, this Union Army General-in-Chief is remembered as the military tactician who is the perfect epitome of inaction and indecision.
9. Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani earned the moniker “butcher of Ethiopia” after his military campaign in Ethiopia and Libya. He was at the helm of the Italian Royal Army when it suffered its most devastating defeat in the hands of the British Forces.
10. Redvers Buller
Buller earned the label of “Reverse” Buller from his troops for obvious and valid reasons. He is easily remembered for his astounding record of devastating reversals in practically all military campaigns that he has led.