Quiz: Do You Know These Military Masterminds?: HowStuffWorks
Do You Know These Military Masterminds?
By: John Miller
6 Min Quiz
About This Quiz
History is strewn with bones of countless battles, only a few of which truly changed the course of humanity. How much do you know about the greatest military masterminds of history?
Who led a bunch of undertrained and outmanned colonists to defeat one of the world's mightiest militaries?
Don't let the wig fool you, George Washington was a tough-minded and ruthless leader who whipped the colonists into shape ... and then defeated the British in the American Revolution.
Which American general was known as "Black Jack"?
John J. Pershing was a dashing general who wasn't afraid to use frontal assaults to attack his enemies. His boldness helped him earn the nickname "Black Jack."
Who was the Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in WWII?
During WWII, Dwight Eisenhower was given the immense responsibility of leading the Expeditionary forces against the Germans. He helped to devise the successful D-Day attack and invasion.
Who helped to innovate a fighting style called "blitzkrieg"?
During WWII, Heinz Guderian was a German general who devised the blitzkrieg ("lightning war") which relied on fast, overpowering attacks. The Germans used the blitzkrieg to conquer much of Europe.
Which American general famously said the words, "I shall return" after being pushed back by the Japanese in WWII?
The Japanese destroyed his Air Force and pushed him out of the Philippines, but before departing, Douglas MacArthur said, "I shall return." It took him more than two years, but he eventually did just that.
Which naval commander won every battle he fought in spite of having no naval training to guide his decision making?
Born in the 1500s, a Korean commander named Admiral Yi led his men to incredible victories against the Japanese navy. Although he lacked formal training, he never lost a battle.
Which famed general fought in the Mexican-American War and then became a commander of the Confederate Army?
Robert E. Lee distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War and then became the South's greatest general in the Civil War. Some speculate that if he'd chosen to fight for the Union, the war would have ended much sooner.
Which leader was in charge of American forces as they joined the fight in World War I?
In WWI, Pershing was the man in charge of the American forces as they attacked the Germans in Europe. One of his biggest decisions was to maintain the independence of American forces instead of allowing his soldiers to be integrated into British or French units.
Which general was famous for his tank tactics during World War II?
Also known as the "Desert Fox," Erwin Rommel was a highly regarded German general in WWII. His use of tanks helped Germany defeat France.
Which ruler conquered much of Asia and may have killed more than 30 million people in the process?
As Genghis Khan steamrolled much of Central Asia, his men often slaughtered people in droves. They may have killed 30 million or more people during their conquests.
Who was one of the main German commanders at the huge WWII tank clash called the Battle of Kursk?
The Battle of Kursk was an epic confrontation between the Soviets and Germans in WWII. Erich Von Manstein commanded German tanks in a losing effort.
Which American war hero once fought for the British Army?
Before he became a leader for colonial independence, Washington was a star in British forces fighting the French in the French and Indian War. There, he learned some of the tactics that he'd ultimately use against British.
Which man was thrown into disgrace for assaulting his own shell-shocked soldiers ... only to rise again during WWII?
George Patton famously slapped two of his own men for what he perceived as weakness -- they were simply shell-shocked by battle. He was demoted but returned to command the American army as it pushed the Nazis back to Berlin.
Who was an American Civil War hero who ascended to the presidency?
Ulysses S. Grant withstood numerous Confederate attacks and led the Union to victory. He was a bona fide war hero who became a well-regarded president.
Which famous leader led France to some of its most stunning military victories in the late 1700s?
Napoleon became famous during the French Revolution and led his country to dominate Europe in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He's still regarded as one of history's greatest generals.
Who was the leader of the Mongols and conquered much of the world in the 12th century?
Genghis Khan led the Mongols and conquered much of the world in the 12th century. His mounted soldiers terrorized millions of people during his reign.
Which American star captured Mexico City?
In 1847, General Winfield Scott launched America's biggest amphibious assault to date -- with 10,000 men, he landed at Vera Cruz. Then, he and his men marched 200 miles to Mexico City and brought the Mexicans to their knees.
Which leader of Carthage caused all sorts of problems for the Roman Empire?
Hannibal was a leader of Carthage known for his prowess in gauging an enemy's strengths and weaknesses. He vexed Rome for years before becoming a politician.
Which general led the Nazis to many battlefield triumphs, but then was forced to commit suicide?
Erwin Rommel served the Nazis faithfully for years but was ultimately implicated in a plot to assassinate Hitler, who gave the general a choice between a disgraceful trial or suicide -- he chose the latter.
Which war hero-turned-president ended up nearly destitute at the end of his life, only to be financially saved by his bestselling memoirs?
Grant's post-presidency business misadventures cost him his fortune and he was nearly broke ... and dying of cancer. He wrote his memoirs, which reaped a tidy profit for his family just before he died.
Which great leader became a general at the age of just 24?
Napoleon rose through the ranks of the French Army with astonishing speed. He was just 24 years old when he became a general ... and he was just getting warmed up.
Which general's surrender effectively ended the American Civil War?
Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865. For four years, he'd made Union generals suffer, but once Lee gave up his army, the rest of the South followed suit.
Which man fought for France in both World Wars and then became president of the country?
In WWI, de Gaulle was taken prisoner at Verdun. In WWII, he led French forces fighting to keep the Nazis at bay. He later became a well-regarded French president.
Which general led Carthage to an unlikely victory against Rome during the Battle of Cannae?
At the Battle of Cannae, Hannibal's 50,000 troops faced off against nearly 90,000 Roman soldiers. Using superior tactics, he almost completely destroyed the Roman army and caused great turmoil in the Empire.
Which famous leader was soundly defeated at the Battle of Waterloo?
In 1815, Napoleon's run of stirring victories finally came to an end. A Coalition force soundly beat the French, ending Napoleon's rule of France. He was exiled to a remote island and died a few years later.
Which man led the construction of the American Army during WWII?
When America was dragged into WWII, it had a small, antiquated fighting force. George Marshall gutted many leadership positions and transformed the U.S. into an incredibly potent army rivaled in power only by the Soviets.
Which famed war leader uttered the eternal words, "I came, I saw, I conquered"?
Before he became a political powerhouse, Caesar was a mighty military leader, one who generally expected victory. After defeating an army of Anatolia, he famously said, "I came, I saw, I conquered."
Who led the Soviets to a great victory against the Nazis at the Battle of Berlin?
Georgy Zhukov was a politician and military leader who helped lead the Soviets to a world-changing victory at the Battle of Berlin in WWII. He was also awarded medals for bravery in WWI.
Which general refused to accept the Nazi occupation of his country and led a major resistance force?
Charles de Gaulle refused to accept the German takeover of France during WWII. He led French resistance forces against the invaders, gaining fame and admiration among many of his countrymen.
Who was the ruler of Macedonia and also conquered the Persian Empire?
Born around 350 BC, Alexander the Great ruled the Greek kingdom of Macedon. He conquered much of Asia and Africa ... and never lost a battle. He's considered one of the most influential people in the history of humanity.
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