10 Best WW2 Generals of World War IIPin
10 Best WW2 Generals of World War II

10 Greatest Generals of World War II

In this article, we would like to pay tribute to the greatest generals of World War 2. The whole world’s fate could have been different if we didn’t have had the best generals to make the most troublesome decisions and direct the troops in times of great despair.

They followed a particular set of principles. They had to live according to it or die for their own sake. Last but not least, they inspired thousands of men and fearful millions.

Here is our list of the ten greatest generals in World War II.

10. Douglas Macarthur (1880-1964)

Douglas MacArthur was a much-esteemed general of the US military. He played a vital role in the Pacific theatre during World War II and received the Medal of Honor to recognize its values, as his father did during World War I.

MacArthur was born on January 26, 1880, in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of politician and lawyer Arthur MacArthur. In the American Civil War, his father was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

He decided to enroll in the West Point Military Academy, which he graduated in 1903. Shortly after completing school, he was sent on a military campaign in the Philippines, and later in World War I.

DOUGLAS MACARTHUR - 10 Greatest Generals of World War IIPin
DOUGLAS MACARTHUR – 10 Greatest Generals of World War II

When President Herbert Hoover decided to offer him the position of Army Chief of Staff in 1930, Douglas achieved the highest rank he could ever hope for. In 1932, Douglas became a controversial figure because of sending troops to oust the protesters. In 1937, he decided to retire from the army but returned four years after that.

He led the U.S. armed forces in Southeast Asia to defend the Philippines against Japan in 1941. Following this mission, he was appointed army general and commander of the U.S. armed forces in the Pacific.

Douglas MacArthur was also among the five guys ever to be named General of the Army from the U.S. Army and the first guy ever to become marshal of the Philippine Army (1936), acknowledging his efforts in training and creating the Philippine armed forces. These distinctions speak much of his many military qualities.

He died at the age of 84 on April 5, 1964.

9. Konstantin Rokossovsky (1885-1957)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Konstantin RokovskyPin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Konstantin Rokovsky

Konstantin Rokossovsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union and marshal of Poland, and Polish Defense Minister. He was a distinguished commander, valued for his outstanding military abilities, which he best proved on the Eastern Front.

In 1937, Rokosovski became swept up in Stalin’s Great Purge and accused of being a Polish spy. He was severely tortured and escaped execution after showing his innocence. He had been rehabilitated in 1940 when he was offered the command of the 5th Cavalry corps.

Considered among the best generals of World War II and among the finest Russian strategists of all time, Rokossovsky is famous for arguing with Stalin on the best approach to adopt for Operation Bagration.

Konstantin Rokovsky QuotePin

Stalin requested Rokosovski three times to reevaluate his position, but he refused to compromise. Stalin finally agreed to his plan and overall obtained a remarkable victory, which strengthened his standing.

8. Isoroku Yamamoto (1884-1943)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Isoroku Yamamoto Pin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Isoroku Yamamoto

Isoroku Yamamoto was a fantastic admiral and the commander in chief of the Japanese combined fleet. He had warned his president that Japan couldn’t be victorious upon the USA military for over six months.

Isoroku Yamamoto was the mastermind behind the attack on Pearl Harbor. He wasn’t satisfied with the result of this attack, as no American aircraft carriers could be ruined.

Hence, he strove to rehabilitate himself by fighting other Important battles. Still, the outcomes weren’t expected: despite his uncontested abilities, he suffered significant losses and was defeated every time. Among those battles was the Battle of Midway that represented a real tragedy for the Japanese troops.

7. Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Bernard MontgomeryPin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Bernard Montgomery

Montgomery (nicknamed ‘Monty’) fought both in World War I and World War II. He commanded the 8th Army from 1942 from the Western Desert until the final Allied victory in Tunisia. The entire time he spent in the British Army was 50 years (from 1908 to 1958).

Montgomery was also the planner of this D-Day invasion in Normandy, and he commanded the Allied ground forces during the famous Battle of Normandy.

This remarkable general also met Rommel on the battle, whom he conquered many times throughout the North African campaign. He received the Legion of Merit from the USA government.

6. Guy Simonds (1903-1974)

Guy SimondsPin

Among the most efficient generals during World War II, Simonds was a Canadian Army officer who commanded the II, had a decisive role in the Allied victory in the Battle of Scheldt (1944).

An excellent leader and a skillful officer, he was the youngest corps commander in the British army at age forty-one. He was also the youngest Canadian to lead a branch in action.

5. Tomoyuki Yamashita (1885-1946)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Tomoyuki YamashitaPin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Tomoyuki Yamashita

Tomoyuki Yamashita is one of the best generals of the Japanese Imperial Army. He’s renowned for defeating the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, which earned him the nickname ‘the tiger of Malaya.’ Yamashita was a cautious person and advocated that Japan maintain peace with the British Empire and the United States of America.

Thus, he had been assigned minor posts until the end of 1940. However, he had been given a secret mission to Germany and Italy at this time, during which he met both Hitler and Mussolini. War crimes marked Manila’s intrusion; blamed the general in this matter wasn’t fully established. But he was sentenced to death and executed in 1946.

4. Georgy Zhukov (1896 – 1974)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Georgy ZhukovPin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Zhukov was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who had a great significance in all the significant operations conducted on the European front, including Berlin’s beating.

Georgy Zhukov QuotePin

He’s the most decorated general in the Russian background, after playing crucial roles in these conflicts as the Battle of Moscow, the defense of Stalingrad, the fighting Kursk, and the Operation Bagration.

3. George Patton (1885-1945)

George PattonPin

Patton was also among the best generals of World War II. He’s famed for his leadership as well as for the victories he won from the Nazis. In 1944, Patton received control of the U.S. third military.

George Patton QuotePin

He was able to ‘give wings’ to his troops, and the Third Army advanced further, captured more enemies, and freed more lands in less time than any other military in military history.

Nazi military leaders considered him the Allies’ best commander and expected he would lead a cross-channel invasion.

As part of the elaborate disinformation campaign leading up to D-Day, Patton was placed in charge of a phantom army, complete with plywood aircraft and inflatable rubber tanks, in southeast England to make it appear he would strike at the channel’s narrowest point at Pas de Calais, France.

2. Erich von Manstein (1887-1973)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Erich Von MansteinPin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Erich Von Manstein

Manstein was a German Field Marshal during World War II. He became a very prominent commander during the war, and his fellow officers had treasured him for being a skilled strategist.

Manstein was the mastermind behind the Ardennes offensive, and he was commended for the many battles he won. However, the general was dismissed from Hitler’s service in 1944 due to their frequent quarrels over military strategy.

1. Erwin Rommel (1891-1944)

10 Greatest Generals of World War II - Erwin RommelPin
10 Greatest Generals of World War II – Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was the most distinguished general in World War II. He wasn’t among the good men since he fought on Germany’s side, but this didn’t influence his qualities as a general.

A highly decorated officer, he won the esteem of both of his men and his enemies. This was mainly because he wasn’t only a good commander but also a fantastic human being. Rommel and his troops were not accused of war crimes, and the soldiers he captured were well handled.

Erwin Rommel QuotePin

Sadly, there’s absolutely no room here to explain all his military accomplishments. Still, you can cite that the invasion of France, the battle of Arras, the North African campaign, in addition to his fantastic ghost branch.

He was indeed among the best generals of World War II! Sadly, he died, convinced to commit suicide to prevent prosecution and execution and protect his loved ones.

Germany still celebrates Rommel. His name still graces two military bases and several streets in Germany, and a monument in his hometown praises him as “chivalrous,” “brave,” and a “victim of tyranny.”

This is our top ten list of the best generals of World War 2.

Have a different opinion than us? Vote for your favorite general of world war 2 in the poll below:

Have we missed someone? Let us know in the comments below.

As you wanted to find out more about the best generates of World War 2, I recommend checking the best war movies of all time. Also, here are the best websites to watch documentaries online for free in 2021.

Image sources: [1], [2],  [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10]

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TEN.info (The Educational Network) combines the pursuit of interesting and intriguing facts with the innate human desire to rank and list things. From its humble beginnings in 2006 up until now, TEN.info has served millions of hungry minds.

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  1. Rommel is an overrated general. Most of his game came from the lead from the front style of battle. Sure he is a great general, but not the best in WW2. I believe 1st place belongs to Erich Von Manstein.

  2. These all Hero and pride for his nation.

  3. You missed probably the best general the British produced but whom history has all too often ignored – Field Marshall William Slim who notably defeated the Japanese while fighting a major land war on a shoestring.

    • Slim was without dispute a great general — the British, as in most wars, produced a crop of such leaders. But Slim was not quite the greatest of his peers. But what he did — starting with next-to-nothing — in the Forgotten Land of Burma, can only be termed extraordinary.

      Burma (modern-day Myanmar) should honor Slim’s military exploits because he freed the Burmese land — but I am sure that corrupt and forgetful Myanmar does nothing in memory of that supreme effort.

      Slim liberated Burma from the nasty jackboot of the Japanese, who had no pretty future in mind for the country.

  4. Greatest American generals, Ike, Bradley . what about Konev probably the best of Russia.

    • Zhukov, no matter what his failings, was by far the best military operator in the USSR.

      He was such a great military icon, that after the war, Stalin still felt threatened by him. Nobody else had that effect on the so-called Man of Steel.

  5. Best General of them all is the one who devised and carried through the WW2 winning strategy.

    Sir AlanBrooke of Britain.

    No other general comes near his WW2 resume.

    Alan Brooke is the great leader who, on the spot, removed his well-disciplined British Army from Dunkirk while France collapsed.

    -Man of Action
    -Great judge & leader of men
    -Strategic planner of the highest quality
    -Steadfast in his aims, despite many early British & Allied setbacks

    • I would be hesitant to claim the escape at Dunkirk as a mark of military genius. More than anything else it was simply a German Mistake, not British brilliance. Rather I would point to his skilled command during the delaying retreat actions as the French and Belgian forces collapsed. He deserves the spot on the list more so than Montgomery that’s for sure.

  6. Yamashita belongs on this list of greats because he was one of the few Japanese generals who faced the Gorilla in the room — major units of the experienced British Army (1941-42) and later, MacArthur’s ultra-equipped American Army (1944-45). Other celebrated Japanese generals made their names against far lesser opponents in the Asia Theater of early WW2.

    The tragedy is that Yamashita did not hate his Western enemies. He respected the American and British military, and said so. But after the war, the Americans demanded — like Nuremburg — that some Japanese heads must roll for Japan’s rampaging decade. Yamashita was hanged for political reasons as much as anything.

    Instead, a world shrine should have been built for this David who slew a Goliath. Yamashita accomplished something of a miracle in Malaya and Singapore. He stunned the world with his brilliant Singapore victory.

  7. Heinz Guderian probably belongs on this list, he was the greatest practitioner of the blitzkrieg and his successes in France and Russia were stunning.

  8. Last paragraph under Yamamoto you have “Midwest” rather than Midway.”
    Most likely an autocorrect, but….

  9. This list is a joke You just name the most well known generals (or Admirals). Bradley was much more effective than Patton as Ike was so much better than Montgomery. And if you are doing Admirals than what about Halsey or Nimitz? And then the comparisons of the different levels of command and responsibilities is difficult to say these are the ten best. Don’t list these as the top ten best just ten prominent generals of Works War 2.

    • None of the above although they all have their own strengths. I personally would be an advocate of two. First George Marshall who co-ordinated the war effort on behalf of the Allies after the USA’s entry into the war on both fronts. Enabled and directed the logistical effort and chain that really won the war. ‘You ain’t got nothing if you ain’t got logistics’. He also supervised and directed America’s war effort has Roosevelt’s and Truman’s military deputy without recourse to politics and was not a man who would claim all the kudos for himself unlike the likes of Montgomery, Patton and MacArthur. H3 was unfortunate not to be given a theatre command as his presence at home was too important to the president. His post war Marshall Plan also probably saved Western Europe from Communist Russia’s domination.

      As for the other I have to give my vote to Slim. He conducted a fighting retreat on a shoestring maintaining his defeated forces effectiveness until the end. Then, using innovative stratagems conducted an advance in the worst weather and conditions imaginable forging an army from many different nations into superlative and effective fighting force.

      Just my thoughts

  10. What about General Chuikov? Twice names as Hero of the Soviet Union during the war, and was the Commander at Stalingrad.

  11. General Yamashita’s success in the Battle of Malaya & Singapore is a legend. The British suffered the most humiliating defeat in these battles.

  12. Who beat the Desert Fox on his own turf, who ran rapid around Erich Von Manstein, who had the foresight to know the a cold war was coming and was willing to to bet his legacy in stopping the Red Army from taking Czechoslovakia and Eastern Europe and preventing that cold war? Who knew that enemy whom he had just defeated would fight alongside him as the enemy of his enemy. But most of all who could have prevented the loss of life in the millions, during the war, after the Germans had surrendered, and after his death, in those who died fighting in cold war theaters? If you know the answer to these questions than you know who was the greatest general of World War 2. This list should be named who were the 10 greatest General of World War 2 after George S. Patton, Jr. because there really was not anyone close to him.

  13. Why was Gen. Dwight Eisenhower not included in the list of greatest generals of world war 2?

  14. Guy Simonds should not be on the list of any great general let alone from a list of really, really impressive Canadian generals. His operations included Totalize which was about as stupid a frontal assault into a prepared position as any in history. You want good Canadian generals try Bert Hoffmeister and Chris Voth. Sometimes knowing your level of competence is being the best general as in the case of Charles Burns who knew his limitations and let the real fighters do the fighting, his contribution is logistics which is just as important as the battle.
    The Canadian army, like most others, was highly political. Guy Simonds was Monty’s little bum boy and had less ability than most of his colonels. His record for getting the job done was due to others not his great strategies. I used to blame Henry Crerar for the fiascos until I found out that Simonds (with backing from Monty, who was also a dud) was the source of the stupidity and waste of life.

  15. Montgomery is definitely over-rated, he failed so many times despite superiority. Patton, Manstein and Rokossovskij have proved their skills. Gotthard Heinrici was an interesting man / maybe for this list? Rommel was good tactical but he ignored all the disadvantages his army had far away from the supplies.
    It is difficult to compare military skills between countries. If Bradley for example had have the same losses as a succesful Russian Field marshal, he would have been dismissed.

  16. Gen Patton was the true Blitzkrieg General He moved men and equipment at a rate superior to all generals.

    The war would have ended quicker if they would have keep him supplied to drive to Berlin

  17. I agree that Rommel is quite overrated and the best place probably should go to Manstein. Still the second place I would put for a general or more accurately Field Marshal Freiherr Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim whom commanded the northern army that beat the far superior Red Army back against all odds again and again. I believe his success against the Soviets was one of the things that convinced the Führer that Operation Barbarossa would be successful in the first place.

    I have no idea why Mannerheim is not on the list, as he beat back Soviets already when Soviet Union wasn’t even fighting any of the major powers yet.

  18. Two glaring absentees Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall plus Rommel is over rated
    Jim Cuff

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