Greater General: Napoleon or Genghis?

Who was the greater general, Napoleon or Genghis?

Genghis by a mile

Napoleon got his ass whooped and lost everything not once, but twice, and died a prisoner/exile on a tiny island in the Atlantic. Genghis died a Khan and his kingdom flourished and expanded even after his death. Napoleon had one hell of a 10 year run, but he bit off more than he could chew and paid the price. Genghis never had a problem chewing up his conquests and going for more.


Ghengis clearly.

Can’t argue with that, can someone else?

1st post FTW

I don’t know that Genghis was ever defeated.


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Ghengis and it’s not even close.

Is it really a fair comparison though? Napoleon was fighting similar armies who were familiar with how to fight in this way. The Mongols swept in with a style of mobile warfare that nobody was prepared for or knew how to fight.

I would say it’s hard to judge general vs general given these two very different scenarios. Would Genghis have been as successful if all the armies he was fighting were similarly equipped and as familiar with his style of warfare as he was, with the same experience? I think that’s a big question here.


Why penalize Genghis for developing a new tactic in warfare that fucking demolished everyone he faced? Nobody shits on Alexander for using the phalanx, or the Romans for developing centurian infantry tactics, or the British for crushing enemies with their vastly superior naval equipment and tactics. Plus, the Mongols don’t get enough credit for their logistics and management of conquered territory. They did it better than any empire since the Romans (though I would give the Romans the edge due to their civil engineering). You don’t create the greatest land empire in history without being able to run a government.


Dang, you pretty much just pointed out his “unconscious bias”.

Excellent arguments @Bilge_Water and @Steve4192 .

The only thing I can add is that the mobility tactics that Genghis used was used by none other than Napoleon himself. I remember Napoleon’s soldiers saying “We beat them with our feet” or something to that effect. They were able to cover massive distances much faster than the other armies.

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They completely discounted the fact that Genghis first had to conquer all of the tribes that fought exactly how he did initially, so it’s not like he ran from fair fights and looked for easier ones (kinda like the Huns probably did when they were kicked out of the East and started raiding the West who were not so familiar with their tactics). He cleared out his division and then went looking for more.



Napoleon’s greatest genius was logistical. Nobody could move artillery and supply a huge army like him (at least not until Wellesley showed up). Logistical genius is one of the most common characteristics of great armies/generals. Tactical genius on the battlefield is important, but being able to get your army to places quickly and determine the site of the battle is paramount, as is the ability to keep your troops fed and supplied, and being able to transport massive amounts of war material.

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Very true, I remember a World War II general saying something to the effect “Amateurs talk tactics, pros talk logistics”.

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Maybe earlier in his career, but that hubris made him a logistical moron when he decided to go for Russia when he did.

Most understated thing about Genghis was he was never stopped but died well into his years. Very few major conquerors that actually went out to battle themselves actually made it to old age. These other guys were like one hit wonders compared to him.

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My knowledge of Ghengis is limited, but it seems like he wasn’t interested in destroying the cultures he conquered - instead focusing on making them pay tribute while allowing them to keep their culture intact,

It’s more common for a war to be fought and the victor destroys the culture of their enemy and forces them to take up their culture. This happened over and over with lesser generals.

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From my understanding Napoleon was a really smart cerebral guy and a super hard worker. Whereas Ghengis got by more on the superior athleticism of his army (horses), was a flashy general, and seemed to have some a that voodoo magic you just cant teach or learn in practice!

Edge? Napoleon!

Lol so many people acting like Genghis never fought any other mobile armies. He wasn’t even Genghis Khan until he spent years battling other nomads to consolidate the Mongols to begin with. It’s like he had Napoleon’s whole career minus humiliating defeats, and then went on to do the stuff we learned about in the west.

And calling him a flashy general over Napoleon just shows you really have no idea what you’re talking about. And not trying to be rude, but it’s just true. Genghis was extremely simplistic.