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UFT

The Best commander in ASOIAF

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21 hours ago, UFT said:

who is the best in small groups/hit and run tactics? i imagine euron could be up there. all he did for decades was be a badass pirate raiding people

 

A small group/hit and run tactics attack doesn't need or use a commander.  It uses a squad leader. You're talking about guerillas.  A mid-ranking to lower-ranking officer usually leads the group.  The relationship among the team is personal.  A team leader leads the team and not a general.  So we have to split the question category to give a satisfactory answer.

Best Squad Leader - The leader of the Harpy.  Whoever that person is uses good guerilla tactics to cause terror and unrest.

Best General/Field Commander - Tywin Lannister

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23 hours ago, Ser Tristan Flowers said:

Robb only shined so bright because he died young. Yes, he never lost a battle but he would have eventually, because everyone does. It´s hard for me to put him in the same categorie of men that have been doing it successfully for decades. 

Tywin? Seriously? You just praised Robb into the skies and put the exact same guy that was humiliated by him, time and time again, on number two?

Honestly, Tywin must be the most overrated commander ever. He´s calculating, picks easy battles, takes all the credit he can get and his record is still kind of rubbish. He may be brilliant as a politician, steward, statesman, whatever you want... but commander? Just no.

How is Tywins record rubbish?

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1. Stannis Baratheon

Stannis Baratheon is the best commander in Westeros. He held Storms end against a huge host and held together despite starvation and unrest for a year. He later rebuilt the Royal Fleet and took Dragonstone and later defeated the Iron Born at the battle of Faire Isle and after that he took the largest island Great Wyk. He spent some time suppresing smugglers at the sisters. He almost took a very very well defended King's Landing despite the Wildfire and only lost because of a miracle on the defenders side. He then took less than 1500 men and completely routed the Wildling army of 30,000 warriors giants and mammoths easily. He then marched south through winter and starvation with his tiny army and took Deepwood motte and is about to defeat the supperior enemy forces coming to get him. 

 

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1 hour ago, Coolbeard the Exile said:

How is Tywins record rubbish?

Well, Tywin fought in War of the Ninepenny Kings without doing anything noticable. 

He put down the Reyne Tarbeck Rebellion but we have no real reason to be overly impressed by it. All we know is the part where he ruthlessly murders both families, but never hear anything about the actual war. For all we know Tywin might have had a 10 to 1 numbers advantage, maybe some debts were reliefed and he got some vassal backup or someone was paid to open the city door, it´s absolutely Tywins style to stack the odds in his favour. The whole story tells us Tywin is efficient and ruthless but nothing about his skilla as a battle commander. 

Shortly after he sacked Kings Landing, wich 10.000 men could easily do completely without a commander.

And then he got schooled by Robb Stark. And that´s pretty much it. 

Great ruler, mediocre commander.

 

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I never said he is rubbish, I do acknowledge Tywin is great. But I do differentiate between political achievements and military feats.  He is overall the best ruler, hands down, I would let him run Westeros for 50 years. But if I´m chosing a guy to command my army on the field, it´s not going to be Tywin. In fact, there would be several people I would pick before him. 

Compared to the greatest his record is rubbish and he does lack some of the most important attributes of a commander. Like any kind of emotion, for instance, or any evidence of bravery, inspiration or creativity on the field.

He´s just the kind of guy that wins wars at his desk, not on the battlefield, and that´s perfectly fine.

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20 minutes ago, Ser Tristan Flowers said:

I never said he is rubbish, I do acknowledge Tywin is great. But I do differentiate between political achievements and military feats.  He is overall the best ruler, hands down, I would let him run Westeros for 50 years. But if I´m chosing a guy to command my army on the field, it´s not going to be Tywin. In fact, there would be several people I would pick before him. 

Compared to the greatest his record is rubbish and he does lack some of the most important attributes of a commander. Like any kind of emotion, for instance, or any evidence of bravery, inspiration or creativity on the field.

He´s just the kind of guy that wins wars at his desk, not on the battlefield, and that´s perfectly fine.

Realistically, how many people actually have actually led armies into battle in the series including RR and the GR. We're looking at 10-12 maybe? Some of Stannis' achievements are overblown (defeating the wildlings) but Tywin is no way shape or form a poor commander by his record. His political acumen far outstrips his military skill but he's no slouch.

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1 hour ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Realistically, how many people actually have actually led armies into battle in the series including RR and the GR. We're looking at 10-12 maybe? Some of Stannis' achievements are overblown (defeating the wildlings) but Tywin is no way shape or form a poor commander by his record. His political acumen far outstrips his military skill but he's no slouch.

Maybe I was being too harsh, of course Tywin is very much capable as a commander. But he doesn´t belong on the top of that list and it bothers me when people act like Tywin was some kind of god. He had strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else and leading men into battle was not his strength.

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Just now, Ser Tristan Flowers said:

Maybe I was being too harsh, of course Tywin is very much capable as a commander. But he doesn´t belong on the top of that list and it bothers me when people act like Tywin was some kind of god. He had strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else and leading men into battle was not his strength.

He had pretty reasonable success when he was leading the army. He did get outmaneuvered by Robb for sure but his command never crossed paths with Robb's command. Stannis is hands down the most versatile and experienced commander. I can't really see any faults of his except the forced march to WF but that is necessary for political reasons.

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1 hour ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

He had pretty reasonable success when he was leading the army. He did get outmaneuvered by Robb for sure but his command never crossed paths with Robb's command. Stannis is hands down the most versatile and experienced commander. I can't really see any faults of his except the forced march to WF but that is necessary for political reasons.

To be fair I see Robert just one notch ahead of Stannis. Stannis might be a little more clever but then again, maybe not. Robert has all the leadership skills that Stannis lacks  and he never really failed, either.

They´re the only commanders we really get a close look on but I´d put Tywin on one level with Roose Bolton, honestly. They´re both reliable and calculating but never really outstanding.

I´ll put Randyll Tarly up there just for his reputation and behaviour as a Lord. That may turn out to be undeserved, but I doubt it. 

Edited by Ser Tristan Flowers
I forgot Stannis achievements as an Admiral, that´s one remarkable and pretty unique feat for a general. That may actually put him even with Robert in my mind.

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1 hour ago, Ser Tristan Flowers said:

I never said he is rubbish, I do acknowledge Tywin is great. But I do differentiate between political achievements and military feats.  He is overall the best ruler, hands down, I would let him run Westeros for 50 years. But if I´m chosing a guy to command my army on the field, it´s not going to be Tywin. In fact, there would be several people I would pick before him. 

Compared to the greatest his record is rubbish and he does lack some of the most important attributes of a commander. Like any kind of emotion, for instance, or any evidence of bravery, inspiration or creativity on the field.

He´s just the kind of guy that wins wars at his desk, not on the battlefield, and that´s perfectly fine.

You said his record was rubbish.

His plan for the battle of the green fork was very impressive i think and i just think its stupid to say he sucks at military stuff because he is a very intelligent guy and we have all reason to think he is great at military stuff and everyone says he is great at military stuff but the books content is limited when it comes to warfare so i just think its stupid to judge him as rubbish.

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1 hour ago, Coolbeard the Exile said:

You said his record was rubbish.

His plan for the battle of the green fork was very impressive i think and i just think its stupid to say he sucks at military stuff because he is a very intelligent guy and we have all reason to think he is great at military stuff and everyone says he is great at military stuff but the books content is limited when it comes to warfare so i just think its stupid to judge him as rubbish.

Saying someones record is rubbish is not the same as calling a person rubbish. He is not nearly as good as his reputation suggests, because if he was that military genius he would´ve wiped the floor Robb Stark, as he originally insisted.

He´s just not on the same level as some other guys in the story.

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2 hours ago, Coolbeard the Exile said:

1. Stannis Baratheon

Stannis Baratheon is the best commander in Westeros. He held Storms end against a huge host and held together despite starvation and unrest for a year. 

The size of the host is irrelevant they did not assault the castle, at a young age he showed strenght of character but nothing to suggest hit and run tactics OP is looking for.

2 hours ago, Coolbeard the Exile said:

He later rebuilt the Royal Fleet and took Dragonstone and later defeated the Iron Born at the battle of Faire Isle and after that he took the largest island Great Wyk. He spent some time suppresing smugglers at the sisters.

His greatest achievement but that makes him a great admiral probably the best but again not what the OP asked for.

2 hours ago, Coolbeard the Exile said:

 He almost took a very very well defended King's Landing despite the Wildfire.

You need to read those chapters again KL was very poorly defended sellswords and city watch conscripts.  Tyrion had one trick and that was wildfire, still not small group hit and run + he failed.

2 hours ago, Coolbeard the Exile said:

He then took less than 1500 men and completely routed the Wildling army of 30,000 warriors giants and mammoths easily. He then marched south through winter and starvation with his tiny army and took Deepwood motte and is about to defeat the supperior enemy forces coming to get him. 

Sounds impressive but mounted knights against unarmoured troops never ends well Mormont fancies his chances with 300 nights watch who where not to the stanndard of battle hardend troops Stannis had.

Deepwood motte is hardly one of the hardest places to take and he had vastly superior numbers.

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12 hours ago, Ser Tristan Flowers said:

Maybe I was being too harsh, of course Tywin is very much capable as a commander. But he doesn´t belong on the top of that list and it bothers me when people act like Tywin was some kind of god. He had strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else and leading men into battle was not his strength.

With Tywin it depends a lot on what you consider commanding, or how greatly you distinguish it from ruling. If you gave Tywin and Stannis duplicate armies and dropped them in the same theatre, Stannis would probably win (same with Robb, Robert and other commanders with greater tactical victories). But Tywin would rarely find himself in that position since he tries to win strategically, and generally only deploys his army when it's forced on him (e.g. Roose's sneak attack), when the consequences of losing are minimal (e.g. against Edmure) or when the odds are overwhelmingly in his favour (e.g. at the Blackwater). So as a battlefield commander he hasn't done anything great, but as an overall war leader he's been more effective than anyone I can think of. 

On the other hand you have people like Robert and Stannis who repeatedly take large risks and hope to use their battlefield skills to pull off major, war-ending victories (e.g. with Robert at Summerhall or against the Tyrells, and with nearly all of Stannis' battles), like Napoleon or Caesar. 

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I used to contribute to these threads but they're quite pointless. GrrM, quite rightly, subordinates military logic to the needs of the plot and of the characters. Picking apart every plan or engagement to determine who is best is therefore fruitless. 

Just a point about Tywin though. It seems to me that Tywin knows he's potentially up against all of westeros when he mobilises for war in GoT. Some readers will not get this impression, and will believe his response is purely about the insult done to the Lannisters by Catelyn's abduction of Tyrion. If this is not the case though, we have to assess Tywin's decisions in GoT on the basis of how likely they were to allow him to defeat the Stark-Tully-Arryn alliance and the Baratheon brothers: a near impossible task given Tywin has only one kingdom at his disposal.

Given the situation Tywin's chances of success were very low. However, GrrM tries to show him playing a bad hand very well. He attacks the Tullys quickly, before reinforcements can arrive from the Starks and Arryns, and tries to build up a bank of hostages to intimidate those houses into inaction (Ned, Edmure, Hoster ...). As he knows the Baratheons are mustering to the south, and the Arryns have not yet mobilised he tries to draw Robb into a decisive battle as quickly as possible. Of course, this goes very wrong, but delaying might leave the Barethons and the Arryns time to make their own moves, and then he'll have too many enemies in the field at once, and will have to give up the siege of Riverrun.

 

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1 hour ago, The Drunkard said:

With Tywin it depends a lot on what you consider commanding, or how greatly you distinguish it from ruling. If you gave Tywin and Stannis duplicate armies and dropped them in the same theatre, Stannis would probably win (same with Robb, Robert and other commanders with greater tactical victories). But Tywin would rarely find himself in that position since he tries to win strategically, and generally only deploys his army when it's forced on him (e.g. Roose's sneak attack), when the consequences of losing are minimal (e.g. against Edmure) or when the odds are overwhelmingly in his favour (e.g. at the Blackwater). So as a battlefield commander he hasn't done anything great, but as an overall war leader he's been more effective than anyone I can think of. 

I could´t agree more. Tywin is the most dominating political figure of the series and he does it in a multitude of ways.

1 hour ago, The Drunkard said:

On the other hand you have people like Robert and Stannis who repeatedly take large risks and hope to use their battlefield skills to pull off major, war-ending victories (e.g. with Robert at Summerhall or against the Tyrells, and with nearly all of Stannis' battles), like Napoleon or Caesar. 

It´s interesting you bring up Caesar because I think Tywin is more someone like Augustus, more of a big picture guy, that thinks in different spheres than just tactics. Augustus was never a great commander personally because he didn´t need to, he could just delegate and always succeed because he pulled all the strings. Maybe it would´ve even been a waste of talent to put him on the field. With this style of leadership he was arguably much more successful, and greater in the end, than Caesar. Does that mean I would pick Augustus over Caesar, to personally lead a campaign if my life depended on it? Absolutely no.

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12 hours ago, elder brother jonothor dar said:

The size of the host is irrelevant they did not assault the castle, at a young age he showed strenght of character but nothing to suggest hit and run tactics OP is looking for.

His greatest achievement but that makes him a great admiral probably the best but again not what the OP asked for.

You need to read those chapters again KL was very poorly defended sellswords and city watch conscripts.  Tyrion had one trick and that was wildfire, still not small group hit and run + he failed.

Sounds impressive but mounted knights against unarmoured troops never ends well Mormont fancies his chances with 300 nights watch who where not to the stanndard of battle hardend troops Stannis had.

Deepwood motte is hardly one of the hardest places to take and he had vastly superior numbers.

I suspect they did try to assault the castle since Donal Noye lost his arm in the siege but it is very impressive of him with no experience holding the caslte and keeping his men loyal for such a long time.

Not only did he destroy the iron islands fleet he also subdued the largest island in what must have been an extensive campaign.

At the battle of the blackwater kings landing had 7000+ troops that is a very large garrison against stannis 20,000 and they have walls and water surrounding them and they had hundreds of scorpions, catapults, trebuchets and wildfire and a large fleet.

Sure Stannis knights are vastly superior to the normal wildling but still it is impressive that they managed to rout them all with such few troops without many casualties. Also Stannis was smart and did a suprise attack so he should get credit for that.

Deepwood Motte was not impressive but still it means experience.

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Stannis. He won in siege battles, naval battles, and land battles. He has a record no other commander has. 

My no. 2 is probably Robert, even Stannis admires him and Ned describes him as someone born for war.

 

Somewhere behind that I'd put the Blackfish, Randyll Tarly, Robb Stark and Tywin Lannister.

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11 minutes ago, John Doe said:

Stannis. He won in siege battles, naval battles, and land battles. He has a record no other commander has. 

My no. 2 is probably Robert, even Stannis admires him and Ned describes him as someone born for war.

 

Somewhere behind that I'd put the Blackfish, Randyll Tarly, Robb Stark and Tywin Lannister.

Hardly. 

However, once he wins the Battle of the Ice and takes Winterfell through a cunning ruse in book six you may get to talk credibly about him being the best. 

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6 minutes ago, Chaircat Meow said:

Hardly. 

However, once he wins the Battle of the Ice and takes Winterfell through a cunning ruse in book six you may get to talk credibly about him being the best. 

Who would come before Stannis in your book?

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