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1:36pm on Tuesday, 28th June, 2005:
I once heard of a poll of military historians and modern-day senior members of the armed forces from across the world that asked them to vote for their top generals and admirals of all time (well, all time up until the day they were asked). The results were expressed on a scale from 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest.
The winner of the generals was Alexander the Great, rated 6. There were (I think) three other generals also rated 6: Scipio Africanus, Temüjin (Genghis Khan) and the Duke of Wellington. Other generals also rated highly, but only at 5: Caesar, Lee, Zhukov, Zhuge, Bonaparte, Nobunaga (I think) and a few others.
The winner of the admirals was Lord Nelson, with a 6. The second-placed admiral (whoever that was) rated a mere 4.
I guess that explains why there's such a good turnout for the Fleet Review celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
You have to feel sorry for Napoleon Bonaparte, though. How unlucky to come up against one of only four generals of all time who's better than you, plus the greatest admiral who ever lived, just when you're trying to conquer Europe? What are the odds against that, eh?
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