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History Essay Structure Example: War Tactics

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In regards to only tactics, which general would come out on top between Napoleon, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, and Subutai?

War – a phenomenon, that has become an integral part of the history and often had a decisive influence on its course. During the war the talents of army leaders were manifested. Among many others, Napoleon, Hannibal, Alexander the Great and Subutai are clearly distinguished figures. To compare their talents, we will consider tactics as the criterion.

In the first place I would put Hannibal. He had a great siege tactic. It is evidenced by the fall of mighty Sagunto 219-218 B.C. An important element of Hannibal troop tactics were ambush, attack from behind or other vulnerable places. This we can see in the battles at Lake Tracimene, Trebbiya and especially of Cannae, where the superior forces of the opponent were crushed by Carthaginians.

As for the Napoleon, tactics were one of the reasons of his success, but not the main. I agree with Lorein Petre, who wrote, that “His talents lay elsewhere, in the strategic and administrative areas of war. Napoleon had the ability to visualize with great clarity the military situation confronting him and to determine the most profitable course of action” [2]. I even think, that his quick, aggressive strategy influenced the tactics. Besides, David G. Chandler noted Napoleon studying the earlier commanders, particularly Frederick the Great [3].

Everybody knows about Alexander’s  legendary courage, fraternal relations with soldiers and motivational skills. But the tactic of his army, based on phalanx of trained soldiers, was created by his father, Philip II [4]. Practically the same is the situation with Subutai. He was the general of one of the most powerful armies of his time, organized by Genghis Khan. Nevertheless, they had some own tactical decisions, that show their talents. Alexander avoided phalanx main problem – being not effective for hilly surface [5]. Subutai was one of the first, who used siege machines not in siege, but in the battle [6].

In conclusion, there is not a consensus between historians in this question. And I don’t think, that it will sometimes be. Alexander, Napoleon, Subutai and Hannibal were really talented generals, used tactics successfully, won a lot of battles and left their marc on history. That’s why there will always be arguments for discussion.

Works Cited

Morey W.C. Outlines of Roman History. 1906. Retrieved from

Lorein Petre quote. Retrieved from

David.G.Chandler quote. Retrieved from

Wasson D.L. The Army of Alexander the Great. 04.04. 2014. In Ancient history Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Wasson D.L. The Army of Alexander the Great. 04.04. 2014. In Ancient history Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Tucker S.C. 500 Great Military Leaders [2 volumes]. 16. 12. 2014 Retrieved from

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