Home / History / 10 Greatest Generals of World War II
10 Best WW2 Generals
10 Best WW2 Generals

10 Greatest Generals of World War II

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

They followed a particular set of principles. They had to live according to it or to die for its own sake. They inspired thousands of men and fearful millions.

This is a list of the 10 greatest generals in World War II.

1. Erwin Rommel (1891-1944)

Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was the most distinguished general in the 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 Quote

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

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

Rommel is still celebrated in Germany. 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.”

2. ERICH VON MANSTEIN (1887-1973)

Erich Von Manstein

Manstein was a German Field Mareshal during the World War II. He became a very prominent commander during the war and he had been treasured by his fellow officers for being a skilled strategist.

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

3. GEORGE PATTON (1885-1945)

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 the control of the U.S. third military.

George Patton Quote

He was able to ‘give wings’ to his troops and the Third Army advanced further, captured more enemies and free 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.

4. DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (1880-1964)

Douglas MacArthur

He was a much-esteemed general of the US military. He played a very important role in the Pacific theater during World War II. As recognition to its own values, he received the Medal of Honor, as his father did during World War I.

He 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), an acknowledgment of his efforts in training and creating the Philippine armed forces. These distinctions speak greatly of his many military qualities.

5. BERNARD MONTGOMERY (1887-1976)

Bernard Montgomery

Montgomery (nicknamed ‘Monty’) was an officer who 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 complete period of time he spent in the British Army was of 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, the reason for which he received the Legion of Merit by the USA government.

6. GUY SIMONDS (1903-1974)

Guy Simonds

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, in age forty-one. He was also the youngest Canadian to lead a branch in action.

7. KONSTANTIN ROKOSOVSKY (1885-1957)

Konstantin Rokovsky

Konstantin Rokosovsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union as well as marshal of Poland and Polish Defense Minister. He was a really distinguished commander, being valued for his great 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 having argued with Stalin upon the best approach to adopt for the Operation Bagration.

Konstantin Rokovsky Quote

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

8. GEORGY ZHUKOV (1896 – 1974)

Georgy Zhukov

He 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 the beating of Berlin.

Georgy Zhukov Quote

He’s the most decorated general in the whole Russian background, after playing crucial roles in these conflicts as: the battle of Moscow, the defense of Stalingrad the conflict Kursk and the operation Bagration.

9. ISOROKU YAMAMOTO (1884-1943)

Isoroku Yamamoto

Isoroku Yamamoto was an amazing admiral and the commander in chief of the Japanese combined fleet. Apparently, he had warned his president that Japan couldn’t be victorious upon the USA military for over 6 months.

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

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

10. TOMOYUKI YAMASHITA (1885-1946)

TOMOYUKI YAMASHITA

This is one of the best generals of the Japanese Imperial Army. He’s renowned for having defeated 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 should maintain peace with the British Empire as well as with the United States of America.

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

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.

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

About teninfo

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.

14 comments

  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.

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares