Can You Match the Military Leader to the War?

MILITARY

John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: wikipedia Gnotype

About This Quiz

Wars might be fought by the little guys, but they’re coordinated and launched by bigwigs – the people who have the leadership and political power to pull the figurative trigger on massive violence. They are the same folks who, once the guns are silent and the smoke has parted, will leave either a legacy of military brilliance … or bloodstained ineptitude.

How much do you know really know about the most famous military leaders in history? Do you even know which battles they won and lost?

Generals are responsible for both short-term tactical operations and long-term strategic vision. Those who can balance the two manage to rain death on their enemies. Those who fail in either regard see their troops slaughtered and their commands stripped away.

Some generals constructed their legacies in ancient times, leaving behind such powerful stories of courage that their names echo in our hearts even today. Others, by comparison, only just left the battlefields, and now serve as leaders in politics and business.

But before the legacies are the fights. No military leader becomes famous unless there’s a critical battle at stake. So pin your stars to your uniform, shine your boots and grab your favorite cigar – can you match these military greats to the wars they fought?

George Washington

In truth, Washington lost many of the battles he fought against the British during the Revolution. In the end, though, his relentless attacks and bold leadership forced England to part with her precious New World colonies.

Advertisement

Charles de Gaulle

A true hero of France, de Gaulle showed extreme valor in WWI on numerous occasions. Then, he spent more than 2.5 years in a German POW camp. In WWII, he was a high-ranking official who did battle with the Nazis and later became president.

Advertisement

Ulysses S. Grant

During the Civil War, Grant was one of the North's most prominent generals. His clever strategies crushed the South in multiple large battles, and his heroics led to his post-war election as president.

Advertisement

Leonidas I

During the Second Persian War, King Leonidas I led a small group of Spartan warriors into the Battle of Thermopylae. There, they valiantly beat back a much larger force before finally collapsing in deadly last stand.

Advertisement

George S. Patton

Patton may have been an egotistical blowhard, but his aggressive maneuverings during WWII earned him a fearsome reputation with the Germans. He made a name for himself in large battles like the Battle of the Bulge.

Advertisement

Adolf Hitler

Hitler was the instigator and mastermind behind Germany's aggression, which sparked the Second World War. He made many bold military decisions, but in the end, he couldn't contend with the coalition of Allies banded against him.

Advertisement

"Stonewall" Jackson

Jackson was the right-hand man to another famous Confederate general during the Civil War. His brilliant career was cut short when he was shot by his own men in Virginia.

Advertisement

Hannibal

Hannibal was a Carthaginian general who fought during the First Punic War, the first of three wars between the Romans and Ancient Carthage. He's often called one of the finest military minds in history.

Advertisement

Napoleon

Napoleon rose to power during the French Revolution, becoming a general at the tender age of 24. He then led France on a dominating run that included the War of the Third Coalition, which spanned 1803 to 1806.

Advertisement

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Ike," was a five-star general during WWII. He was the top commander of Allied forces in Europe and led the invasion of Normandy, which eventually liberated Nazi-held territories.

Advertisement

Erwin Rommel

During WWII, Erwin Rommel became known as the "Desert Fox" for his brilliance in tank tactics. For years, he caused Allied troops fits on the battlefield. Later, he was implicated in a plot against Hitler and forced to commit suicide.

Advertisement

Joan of Arc

In the 15th century, Joan of Arc became a legendary figure during the Hundred Years' War, helping the French to win major victories. But she was ultimately captured by the English and burned at the stake … at the age of just 19.

Advertisement

Winfield Scott

Also known as "Old Fuss and Feathers," Winfield Scott led forces from the War of 1812 all the way up to the Civil War. His strategical brilliance contributed to the Anaconda Plan, a blockade that suffocated the Confederacy.

Advertisement

Matthew B. Ridgway

Ridgway led the legendary 82nd Airborne during WWII, but remained in the army and served with distinction during the Korean War, too, where he helped to beat back major assaults by the Communists.

Advertisement

Oliver Cromwell

During the English Civil War of the mid-1600s, Oliver Cromwell became a noted general with the nickname of "Old Ironsides." He helped the Parliamentarians defeat royalist forces.

Advertisement

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee was a leading commander of the Confederacy in the Civil War. Ironically, he didn't support secession -- he wanted the Union to remain intact, but he felt obligated to side with his native countryside.

Advertisement

Harold G. “Hal” Moore

During the 1965 Battle of la Drang, Moore led a cavalry division as they were surrounded by the enemy for an entire week. His heroics there found him promoted to colonel. The story of the battle is told in the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers."

Advertisement

Douglas MacArthur

As the Japanese swarmed through the Pacific Theater in WWII, MacArthur beat a hasty retreat from the Philippines, but promised, "I shall return." It took two years of brutal fighting, but he ultimately fulfilled that pledge.

Advertisement

Francisco Franco

In 1939, Francisco Franco was a last-man-standing kind of leader who became a dictator in Spain, one who found generous support from the Axis. His rise during the Spanish Civil War culminated in an era in which he killed hundreds of thousands of his own people to keep his grip on power.

Advertisement

Bernard Montgomery

Monty was one of the most famous British generals of WWII. As leader of the Eighth Army, he coordinated with other Allied commanders to roll the Germans out of Western Europe.

Advertisement

Julius Caesar

No other Roman general had crossed both the English Channel and the Rhine. Julius Caesar did -- his boldness made him a military and political leader who had no equal.

Advertisement

Paul von Hindenburg

Paul von Hindenburg was a head honcho of the German army during World War I, becoming a heroic icon. In the 1930s, he played a significant role in the rise of Nazism.

Advertisement

Reinhard Heydrich

As WWII set fire to Europe, Heydrich pulled the strings of murder, coordinating attacks on Jews and conspiring to make the Holocaust a reality. Even Hitler was creeped out by Heydrich's total lack of empathy.

Advertisement

Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded Kuwait. In response, a huge multi-national coalition led by Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. amassed an enormous force that sent the Iraqis running for cover.

Advertisement

Omar Bradley

Bradley, or just "Brad," made a name for himself as a general during WWII. Once the Allies gained traction in Normandy, he led the Twelfth United States Army Group, which included 1.3 million men, the most ever gathered under a single American commander.

Advertisement

Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Zhukov was a Soviet general who led a tour of vengeance against the Nazis. He was in command when his army attacked and conquered Berlin.

Advertisement

John J. Pershing

John J. Pershing led America's Expeditionary Force to the front lines of WWI in Europe. He made a major decision right off the bat, insisting that the Americans would fight as independent forces instead of integrating with the Allies.

Advertisement

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a clever Confederate general during the Civil War, known for his tactical genius and ruthlessness. It's also worth mentioning that he was a leader of the KKK.

Advertisement

Isoroku Yamamoto

Isoroku Yamamoto was a brilliant military mind who guided Japanese forces during WWII. He helped plot the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Later, as the war raged, American intelligence identified his plane … and blasted it out of the sky.

Advertisement

Theodore Roosevelt

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt led the Rough Riders, a cavalry unit that gained fame for its heroics. Roosevelt became a public sensation and eventually wound up as a legendary president.

Advertisement

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes