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Greatest battle commanders at the start of ASoIaF

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Stannis has only fought in one battle prior to ASoIaF - in the Fair Isle battle that crushed the Iron Fleet. During Robert's Rebellion he didn't do any fighting, he just resisted a siege. That doesn't tell us anything about his military capabilities unless we count 'stamina' and 'stubbornness' as a military capability.

Tywin actually fought in a proper war on the Stepstones, and later showed his capabilities as a commander in the fight against the Reynes and Tarbecks and then later during the Robert's Rebellion - orchestrating a sack is more impressive than just resisting a siege.

In that sense, it is pretty clear who is the more experienced commander.

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15 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Yeaa... NOPE!

 

Tywin is a good campaign leader, combining many aspects to use at his advantage but at best just a decent commander.

Stannis is the best commander.

He shall fight on the seas and oceans, he shall defend his island whatever the cost may be, he shall fight on the beaches and landing grounds, he shall fight on the fields and streets and he will never surrender.

Not only is he the most Versatile commander, but has also excelled in many of his battles. He has commanded a garrison under a siege with no apparent hope of relief, he commanded navies and did so against a seafaring people, he commanded amphibious assaults...

Stannis lost to Tyrion at the Blackwater.  He had the edge and the little guy shellacked him.  He's good but I wouldn't be comfortable with putting him at the head of the class.  

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17 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Stannis is the best commander.

 

Yeaa... NOPE!

Robert is. He successfully won two civil wars. 

Stannis' record right now is inferior to Tywin's but being still alive he can rectify that.

 

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2 minutes ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Stannis lost to Tyrion at the Blackwater.  He had the edge and the little guy shellacked him.  He's good but I wouldn't be comfortable with putting him at the head of the class.  

Nope. He lost to ghost of Renly.

If you mean the sea battle, it was Imry.

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3 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Yeaa... NOPE!

Robert is. He successfully won two civil wars. 

Stannis' record right now is inferior to Tywin's but being still alive he can rectify that.

 

Yeaaa. NOPE again. Thread asks for BATTLE commander. If it was about who was the best Military leader, I’d say Tywin as I explained. So no, a big no.

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In the ASOIAF books Daenerys won the most remarkable battles. She adapted to the dothraki customs and become a leader. She became mother of dragons. She managed to gain the unsullied army. Astapor. Meereen. Become a dragonrider. Managed with treason, deceases... She has an unbelievable wusdom for her age. She is strong charachter and capable. She is strong enough to make srlf-sacrificies. At her age any of the men you list look like tumb-suckers to Daenerys Stormborn. She's my personal number one battle commander. After her I would point Robb Stark, Tiwyn Lannister, Randyl Tarly, Robert Baratheon. At Blackwater battle Stannis proved he's iron not steel.

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30 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Yeaaa. NOPE again. Thread asks for BATTLE commander. If it was about who was the best Military leader, I’d say Tywin as I explained. So no, a big no.

Battle command (BC) is the art and science of visualizing, describing, directing, and leading forces in operations against a hostile, thinking, and adaptive enemy.

Tywin more than fits the definition. 

 

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2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

A 16 year old dying in his first war, after losing his home, is not impressive. A man close to 60 who has commanded in Four victorious wars is impressive.

Not when this 60 years old outnumbers the young teen with 8 to 1 and win out of the battlefield.

The threat is about battle commander and Tywin does nothing out of ordinary in this regard.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

I agree. How does that detract from his record as a commander?

 

Never said it made him bad, or detract from him, but it is not impressive.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

 Roger Reyne was also ruthless, being ruthless is not a negative in medieval war. It's bizarre that you are suggesting it is.

Never said it was...You have issues to differentiate between complement and critics.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

He was victorious and the enemy army lost around a quarter of its force. 

Again, never said he was incompetent, but it was not a impressive victory. Roose was outnumbered, without cavalry, his army was of lower quality and was tired after a forced march, and he still manage to avoid Tywins trap and retreat in good order. Tywin had all the advantages, he winning the battle was the expected result. It's not impressive as Stannis crushing the willdlings for example.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

How was he fooled? Was Robb not in the West? Was Robb in communication with Stannis?

According to the author Tywin went to deal with Robb due to Stannis trying to take Storm's End. 

Yep, and without Edmure to block his way he would be miles away from King's Landing when he was needed.

Robb wanted Tywin to come west, and he did.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Knowing when to retreat and preserve an army is incredibly important in war. Not all battles are winnable due to strategic position.

Tywin is competent but he is not impressive.

Want to see what is a impressive military victory,? look for the Battle of Narva, Battle of Hodów, Battle Of Okehazama. Those are impressive victories because they were unlikely to happen. Tywin victories are not, they are expected.

And Tywin didn't choose to retreat because he was beat, he retreated because he was needed somewhere else more (Since you have problems telling apart complements to criticism, this is a complement).

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Stannis has only fought in one battle prior to ASoIaF - in the Fair Isle battle that crushed the Iron Fleet. 

He also subdued Great Wy during the Greyjoy Rebellion.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

During Robert's Rebellion he didn't do any fighting, he just resisted a siege. That doesn't tell us anything about his military capabilities unless we count 'stamina' and 'stubbornness' as a military capability.

It does count. he was charged with the protection of Storm's End and he managed it for a longer period than anyone else. He kept the order during the famine. It is a victory for him.

 

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2 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Nope. He lost to ghost of Renly.

If you mean the sea battle, it was Imry.

Tyrion didn't won. He hold the line until Tywin came. And he only managed to did it becouse he had industrial quantities of valyrian fire tienes to the return of Dragons(an unpredictable evento for Stannis)

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3 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

He also subdued Great Wy during the Greyjoy Rebellion.

There is no report of there being (m)any battles of significance there. Could be they all just surrendered.

3 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

It does count. he was charged with the protection of Storm's End and he managed it for a longer period than anyone else. He kept the order during the famine. It is a victory for him.

It doesn't count if you want to talk about his experience and abilities as a military commander. Anybody can resist a siege. 

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12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It doesn't count if you want to talk about his experience and abilities as a military commander. Anybody can resist a siege. 

We do know that there was fight, Donal lost his arm during the siege after all. And not anybody can hold a siege to that point. Rolland Storm for example failed to keep Dragonstone against Loras.

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Ripping Stannis is ridiculous. He is praised for his experience by at least several prominent characters in the books.

 

With that said, Tywin is older and has more experience than Stannis. I would put Stannis below Tywin, but it is a knock on Stannis.

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None a single Roam Roman soldier from a middle era even could easily have taken any Westerosi character by and alrge large...

 

The collapse ofRome is due almost entirely to fringe entities like the others etc that possibly number in the 100s even today if you were to

analyze their historical real life counterparts and take that analogy forward to now.

 

Westeros is the story of everyone else... and it's really just a random collection of folk of the street.

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9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

It does count. he was charged with the protection of Storm's End and he managed it for a longer period than anyone else. 

According to who? 

Both Stannis and the author point out that Penrose would have held out for a similar length of time. Stannis did well, but no need to exaggerate his achievement.

 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Not when this 60 years old outnumbers the young teen with 8 to 1

He did not. The Westerlands army is not 8 times larger than the combined armies of the North and Riverlands. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

and win out of the battlefield.

Westeros was the battlefield, Robb lost on it. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

The threat is about battle commander and Tywin does nothing out of ordinary in this regard.

Being a great battle commander is not about being a maverick, it is about organization, discipline, patience,logistics and pragmatism. 

Historically the best battle commanders did not have magical direwolves, shadowbabies or dragons to make their victories more glamorous they relied on doing the ordinary very, very well.

The only thing extraordinary about Tywin is his success in war.

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Never said it made him bad, or detract from him, but it is not impressive.

It clearly is, they still sing about it 40 years later. Connington rues the fact that he was not similarly as ruthless. 

Being ruthless in war is often impressive, whether you find it to be or not. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Never said it was...You have issues to differentiate between complement and critics.

Ah so you were complimenting Tywin. Good to know.

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Again, never said he was incompetent,

No one claimed you did, did they? Can you quote the person who claimed you said that just so we can stop this pointless need for strawman arguments. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

but it was not a impressive victory.

It actually was. Roose lost between a third and  quarter of his host, around 5,000 of his 17,000 men. By the very definition of the word the victory was impressive.  You don't get to change the meaning of words because you have an issue with a fictional character. 

impressive

adjective
uk /ɪmˈpres.ɪv/ us /ɪmˈpres.ɪv/

B2 If an object or achievement is impressive, you admire or respect it, usually because it is special, important, or very large:

 

The Battle of the Green Fork saw a large amount of the enemy army defeated, it was impressive. Tywin's win was not close, it was not narrow it was emphatically one sided, it was impressive. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

Roose was outnumbered,

As was Jaime at the Whispering Wood and Victarion at Fair Isle. Both Robb and Stannis had far greater numerical advantages than Tywin did on the Green Fork. Their victories are still correctly regarded as impressive.

Either you don't actually know the meaning of the words you are using or you are not judging every character to the same standard. When you can no longer be objective about a character then you are not really in a position to properly evaluate them. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

without cavalry, his army was of lower quality and was tired after a forced march,

And? Tywin can only defeat what is infront of him. Robb decided to keep the best units for himself and give Roose the inferior army.

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

and he still manage to avoid Tywins trap and retreat in good order.

He lost between a third and quarter of his men. It was a pretty one sided victory.

The fact that you can't admit that says more about you than it does Tywin.

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

Tywin had all the advantages, he winning the battle was the expected result.

Sure. How does that detract from him?

Successful battle commanders like the odds in their favor, they pick the battles they fight knowing the advantages are with them.

 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

 

It's not impressive as Stannis crushing the willdlings for example.

lol you  think Stannis attacking an undefended camp full of women and children was not the expected result?

Soon they were among the tents. It was the usual wildling camp; a sprawling jumble of cookfires and piss pits, children and goats wandering freely, sheep bleating among the trees, horse hides pegged up to dry. There was no plan to it, no order, no defenses. But there were men and women and animals everywhere.
Many ignored him, but for every one who went about his business there were ten who stopped to stare; children squatting by the fires, old women in dog carts, cave dwellers with painted faces, raiders with claws and snakes and severed heads painted on their shields, all turned to have a look. 
 
Sam could have led those same troops to victory in that battle.
 
9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Yep, and without Edmure to block his way he would be miles away from King's Landing when he was needed.

And? 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Robb wanted Tywin to come west, and he did.

How is that fooling him though? You keep on using words without actually understanding them. 

If Robb was not really in the West and Robb made Tywin go West then that would be fooling him. If Tywin was unaware of the threat of Stannis/Renly and left for the West that too would be fooling him. 

Tywin is not fooled in this situation, he is fighting a war on multiple fronts and took a calculated gamble based on the best intel he had at the time. He was not fooled by Robb, he was fooled by a Shadowbaby.

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Tywin is competent but he is not impressive.

His record is impressive. In the War of the Five Kings he won the most decisive and impressive battle of the war. 

Your distaste for the character, or not realizing the meaning of the words you are using does not change that. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Want to see what is a impressive military victory,? look for the Battle of Narva, Battle of Hodów, Battle Of Okehazama. Those are impressive victories because they were unlikely to happen. Tywin victories are not, they are expected.

Again, you confusing unexpected for impressive is the issue here. 

9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

And Tywin didn't choose to retreat because he was beat,

Actually he did.  There are multiple entrances into the West, Edmure simply forced Tywin to look for another way. The battle of the Green Fork consisted of many feints, with the Westerland forces looking for an opening, failing, falling back and going again.

 

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1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

According to who? 

Both Stannis and the author point out that Penrose would have held out for a similar length of time. Stannis did well, but no need to exaggerate his achievement.

Diferent situations, Stannis was eating rats to survive, Penrose was in a stable situation about resources, and Penrose wouldn't be able to hold that long. He was offering single combat to resolve the situation.

 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

He did not. The Westerlands army is not 8 times larger than the combined armies of the North and Riverlands. 

But the Reach is.

 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Being a great battle commander is not about being a maverick, it is about organization, discipline, patience,logistics and pragmatism. 

And winning when it was not expected to. Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, Charles XII, Oda Nobunaga, are all considered great commanders because they had sucess in dire situations.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

 The only thing extraordinary about Tywin is his success in war.

That he won by diplomacy, not on the battlefield.

No one will ever say that Peter the Great of Russia was an impressive commander (because he wasn't), but he won the great northem war against Charles XII (a great commander). Tywin is not impressive in his military record.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

As was Jaime at the Whispering Wood and Victarion at Fair Isle. Both Robb and Stannis had far greater numerical advantages than Tywin did on the Green Fork. Their victories are still correctly regarded as impressive.

I never said that WW was impressive. Robb was more impressive in the battle of the camps. He wipped out 2/3 a army that was double of his size, he inflicted more casuality than the numbers of men he had with virtually no losses.

and do you have the numbers for Fair isle? if you do please share them because I don't have the numbers.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

And? Tywin can only defeat what is infront of him. Robb decided to keep the best units for himself and give Roose the inferior army.

Sure, but it does not mean it is impressive. beating a smaller, tired army is the very minimal I would expect from any commander.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

lol you  think Stannis attacking an undefended camp full of women and children was not the expected result?

 

I do. Stannis had 1.500 against 30k to 40k in a terrain he never knew, the fact that he caught them by surprise, routed them and captured Mance is impressive.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

His record is impressive. In the War of the Five Kings he won the most decisive and impressive battle of the war. 

Blackwater? taking a smaller army(1/5 of his size), with low moral, from the rear is not very impressive victory either

Edited by Arthur Peres
.

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On 2/26/2019 at 11:08 AM, MarraOfChaos said:

In the ASOIAF books Daenerys won the most remarkable battles. She adapted to the dothraki customs and become a leader. She became mother of dragons. She managed to gain the unsullied army. Astapor. Meereen. Become a dragonrider. Managed with treason, deceases... She has an unbelievable wusdom for her age. She is strong charachter and capable. She is strong enough to make srlf-sacrificies. At her age any of the men you list look like tumb-suckers to Daenerys Stormborn. She's my personal number one battle commander. After her I would point Robb Stark, Tiwyn Lannister, Randyl Tarly, Robert Baratheon. At Blackwater battle Stannis proved he's iron not steel.

I would agree if the question had not confined us to the start of the first book.  But you are completely correct by the middle of the third book.  She has risen to the occasion and learned the Art of War.  Sun-Tzu would be proud.  Tywin and Aegon the Conqueror would be proud to be her father.  

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5 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Diferent situations, Stannis was eating rats to survive, Penrose was in a stable situation about resources, and Penrose wouldn't be able to hold that long.

According to both the author, Stannis and Tyrion he could have

Estermont will favor settling down to starve them out, as Tyrell and Redwyne once tried with me. That might take a year, but old mules are patient.  - Stannis

Storm's End is a hugely formidable castle, and should have been able to hold out much longer, as it did during Robert's Rebellion when Stannis was inside rather than outside. - GRRM

"Both of them." Storm's End was strong, it should have been able to hold out for half a year or more . . . time enough for his father to finish with Robb Stark. "How did this happen?" - Tyrion

Stannis holding out was an accomplishment, but this idea that he alone was capable of doing so is not backed up by the text. 

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He was offering single combat to resolve the situation.

Indeed. Why didn't Stannis take him up on it? Why resort to using a deus ex machina? 

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But the Reach is.

8:1? No, it was not. 

How does this apply to Robb? He wisely fled North after Tywin and the Tyrells united, he never faced them in battle.

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And winning when it was not expected to.

Yes, it can also be about that. No one has ever disputed that, but your idea that a commander can only be regarded as great if he wins unexpectedly makes zero sense and not what this thread was asking for.

 

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Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, Charles XII, Oda Nobunaga, are all considered great commanders because they had sucess in dire situations.

Those are not the only reasons they are considered great commanders. Or are you under the impression they are? 

And lets face facts, Tywin was in a dire situation at Harrenhall. With the vast majority of the realm against him he was facing far greater odds than Alexander, Napoleon, Charles XII and Ceasar. He still came out victorious. 

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That he won by diplomacy, not on the battlefield.

No, the Battle of Blackwater was achieved on the Battlefield. The clues in the name. 

It's funny you don't hold Robb to the same standard. His victories at the Camps and Whispering Wood was only achieved thanks to diplomacy and his mother gaining Frey support. 

 

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No one will ever say that Peter the Great of Russia was an impressive commander (because he wasn't),

What kind of logic is this? People in Westeros do consider Tywin an impressive commander.

"Peter the Great was not impressive therefore Tywin is not" is an exceptionally dumb argument to make.

Go into detail if you want to make that case, list the similarities in their command structure and we can properly debate them, but what you are doing is pretty weak. 

 

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I never said that WW was impressive.

But it is, it's Robb's most impressive victory. 

"Even to me?" Theon's anger flared. He'd led men in war, hunted with a king, won honor in tourney melees, ridden with Brynden Blackfish and Greatjon Umber, fought in the Whispering Wood

Its correctly viewed as one of the most impressive victories in the war.

"I broke him of that." Amused, Theon behaved himself for a while, chatting amiably of the weather (grey and overcast, as it had been since he arrived, with frequent rains) and telling her of the men he'd killed in the Whispering Wood. When he reached the part about coming that close to the Kingslayer himself,

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He tossed his bow back to Wex and strode off, remembering how elated he'd felt after the Whispering Wood, and wondering why this did not taste as sweet. Tallhart, you bloody overproud fool, you never even sent out a scout.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Nor have I. The Starks knew my worth. I was one of Brynden Blackfish's picked scouts, and I charged with the first wave in the Whispering Wood. I was that close to crossing swords with the Kingslayer himself."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Theon stared at the flames over the rim of his wine goblet, brooding on the injustice of it all. "I rode beside Robb Stark in the Whispering Wood," he muttered. 

 

Its the battle that Theon repeatedly boasts about, not the battle of the camps, the battle that Cat uses to show Renly her son is a threat

"I was at the Whispering Wood, my lord. I have seen enough butchery. I came here an envoy—"

Robb outnumbering Jaime around 2:1 does not stop it from being impressive. All you are doing is highlighting your confusion of what the word 'impressive' means.

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Robb was more impressive in the battle of the camps. 

No one in Westeros agrees with you.

 

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He wipped out 2/3 a army that was double of his size,

Did he? 

Robb was 6,000 cavalry, plus the remnants of the Riverland army against a sleeping 8,000 infantry. Your math is shocking. 

Even with the 4,000 with Prester unable to get involved due to the river does it come nowhere near double. 

Why do you continue to spread misinformation? 

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he inflicted more casuality than the numbers of men he had with virtually no losses.

Sure, and yet the Whispering Wood is the more impressive. Perhaps attacking a sleeping army is not seen as impressive to most people.

But each to their own, if you want to argue attacking sleeping armies or drunk armies is more impressive then thats okay, I'm just here to point out that is not the popular opinion. 

 

Quote

and do you have the numbers for Fair isle? if you do please share them because I don't have the numbers.

GRRM points out that the Royal Navy, Ironborn Navy and Redwyne Navy are all comparable

https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/The_Lannister_Fleet

Stannis outnumbered the Ironborn

King Robert dared. Robert Baratheon, the First of His Name, had won everlasting glory on the Trident. Swift to respond, the young king called his banners and sent his brother Stannis, Lord of Dragonstone, around Dorne with the royal fleet. Warships from Oldtown and the Arbor and the Reach joined their strength to his.

 

Quote

Sure, but it does not mean it is impressive. beating a smaller, tired army is the very minimal I would expect from any commander.

Look up the word. You can't just decide to change the meaning of words and then argue that your made up understanding of the word is correct. 

5,000 losses from a 17,000 army is an impressive victory. 

Quote

I do. Stannis had 1.500 against 30k to 40k

Where is it claimed that camp (specifically) held 30k to 40k?

 

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in a terrain he never knew, the fact that he caught them by surprise, routed them and captured Mance is impressive.

Sure. Why are you holding Tywin to a different standard? Your hatred for the character is blinding you to being objective in this discussion. 

 

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Blackwater? taking a smaller army(1/5 of his size), with low moral, from the rear is not very impressive victory either

Again, look up the word impressive. 

impressive

adjective
 UK  /ɪmˈpres.ɪv/ US /ɪmˈpres.ɪv/

B2 If an object or achievement is impressive, you admire or respect it, usually because it is special, important, or very large:

 

The Battle of Blackwater was impressive given it was both an important and large victory. At this point choosing to be ignorant of the words meaning is just stubbornness on your part.

 

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1. Stannis

He is the best naval commander, has respectable experience besieging and with siege defense. He’s proven himself as a strong cavalry commander(Castle Black), and he has the ability to win battles with the odds against him. He’s about to take back Winterfell with a make-shift army facing winter attrition and is outnumbered atleast 2:1. Most well-rounded general and best commander overall.

2. Randyl Tarly

Not much is known about him other than dealing Robert his only defeat in the rebellion. I put him at 2 mostly because of legacy and reputation. Iron-willed and shrewd.

3. Robb Stark

Brilliant prodigy of war. Very talented military mind. Didn’t possess the know-how to consolidate his victories though, and didn’t maintain the loyalty of his bannerman. Could have been the GOAT if he had a stronger mentor. No beheading Karstark and no broken marriage pact with Freys and he undoubtedly wins the war, making a strong case for greatest commander in Westeros history potentially.

Capable Commanders: Tywin, Ned, Bronze Yohn

Tywin is a good overall commander but not special in any particular class of warfare. Defeated Robb Stark with low-cunning and immoral tactics. Killing your enemy at their wedding feast doesn’t make you a great battle commander.

Ned and Yohn are capable and decent commanders but not gifted as anyone in my top 3.

 

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