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The Sayings of Generals

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    Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 11:08

So, in respect to the military commanders for whom this subforum is meant for, I decided that we could have a topic in which we select a quote from a military persona and post it here.

I personally have always taken a great liking towards the different saying of different people, and I am sure that so have you. So, let's get down to it.

 
I'd personally begin this great topic with the words of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica, or Metellus Scipio as he is more widely known, a Consul of the Republic of Rome in 52 BC. His words, which I have taken a liking to are what he uttered before his death (having committed suicide) - "Imperator se bene habet" ('All is well with the commander!'). This has been said to be the only worthy thing the man ever did, but even so, it makes me like him.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 12:21
Bedford Forrest apparently said that strategy was getting there 'first with the most men'. According to Bruce Catton he never put it as 'fustest with the mostest'. Which is a pity really.
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 20:09
Our beloved champion of the Republic, Gaius Julius Caesar said the following: "Nihil nobis metuendum est, praeter metum ipsum." (Or, in English: 'We have not to fear anything, except fear itself. ')
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 21:04
Is that where FDR got it from?
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Whiteice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 21:28
"It's amazing what men will do for some ribbon and color." Napoleon Bonaparte (I don't think that's an exact quotation, but I'm just trying to remember it off the top of my head)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 22:39
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Is that where FDR got it from?
 
Indeed, if we can trust Wikiquote.
 
Whiteice, perhaps you can also post the French version after a bit of searching around? It always impresses upon me to read something in it's original language.. especially so with quotes.


Edited by rider - 09 Jul 2009 at 22:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 03:04
ahhh what is the one Rommel used to say??? it was something about being so close to the field of battle that he could feel the battle with his fingers.

Phirus of Epirus is pretty cool too as he brought on the term Phyriic victory. "One more victory and I will be undone."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Whiteice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 03:12
Yeah i followed your advice Rider and i searched it. Here it is in French and english:
 
"Un soldat luttera longtemps et dur un peu du ruban de couleur."
 
"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. "
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 08:26
Most interesting Whiteice. May I ask the same of you, Sun Tzu (original language and English)?
 
My input once again: 'Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it.' Must say that I was currently unable to find a Greek translation, but I'll try again later on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Etnad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 18:27
Gajus Julius Caesar said many brilliant things :D
Arms and laws do not flourish together.
      - in Plutarch's "Parallel Lives", "Julius Caesar"
"I came, I saw, I conquered."

"Men freely believe that which they wish to be the truth."

And the lovely Erwin Rommel
"Anyone who has to fight, even with the most modern weapons, against an enemy in complete command of the air, fights like a savage against modern European troops, under the same handicaps and with the same chances of success."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 19:55
I wonder how many sayings are made up by advisors or ancient equivalents of misquoting journalists.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Etnad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 22:05
Good point, Styrbiorn. It's hard to imagine hardned generals talking poetry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2009 at 00:39
I wouldn't consider that unlikely in ancient civilized societies (20th century Europe and US don't count) where it was considered proper knowledge of a man to know his things, including rhetorics and oratorics.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Sep 2009 at 01:32
Scipio Africanus met Hannibal Barca in the Greek city of Ephesus years after the Battle of Zama. The two great generals walked and discussed great generals of their own history. Hannibal ranked Aexander the greatest, and Pyrrhus second and himself third.
 
Scipio       "And if you had beaten me?"
Hannibal  "I would have ranked myself first."
 
Modist, eh?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Sep 2009 at 21:14
Yeah, I love that story.
 
Must put up that... Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson: 'We shall cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees!'
 
That sentence sounds so epic to me... *sigh*...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2009 at 03:02
Stonewall's last words were very poetic. Not very military sounding but very poetic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Sep 2009 at 20:22
Yeah, and that makes them all the more military.
 
I suppose, the battlecry of the Shingen Takeda, 'Furinkazan', also belongs here. (Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2009 at 04:16
The one attributed to Foch keeps coming back to me:  something along the lines of, "Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking." 

Pattons' are pretty memorable as well. 
"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."--Thomas Mann

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheRedBaron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2009 at 10:52
"Gentlemen, apologies for your dinner being late, but I have just hanged the cooks..." 
 
John Nicholson...
 
...and as he laying dying from a chest wound during the storming of Delhi...
 
"If Wilson gives the order to retire, thank God I still have the strength left to shoot him..."


Edited by TheRedBaron - 28 Sep 2009 at 10:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote graceht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2009 at 22:30
"We will fight on the beaches, we will fight on the landing grounds, etc.... we will never surrender!"
 
Winston Churchill.
 
These famous words of an amazing war-time leader are familiar to all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stuchiu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2009 at 23:35
Oda Nobunaga's speech before the battle of Okehazama.  His advisors told him to stay put inside a fortress and defend.  His answer  "...this is how I see it: this is a chance in a lifetime. I can't afford to miss this.  Do you really want to spend your entire lives praying for longevity? We were born in order to die! Whoever is with me, come to the battlefield tomorrow morning. Whoever is not, just stay wherever you are and watch me win it!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2009 at 23:30

In 1941 the Luftwaffe dropped leaflets on Tobruk urging the defenders beseiged garrison surrender by waving white handkerchief. Commanding allied General Leslie Morshead replied,

"Owing to the prevailing dust and the necessity to ration water for essential purposes, there are no white hankerchiefs available."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pabbicus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2009 at 02:03

"I have won the battle of Rossbach while my infantry had their muskets shouldered!"

Frederick the Great on his truly incredible victory over the French Army maneuvering towards Rossbach.

Fool! My Magikarp is immune to other Magikarps' splash attacks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 2009 at 09:43
That's a very great one, Birddog.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2010 at 12:29
"I don't know what it is to lose a battle, but, certainly nothing can be more painful than to gain one with the loss of so many of one's friends." The Duke of Wellington the day after Waterloo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shingen The Ruler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2011 at 21:26
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Yeah, and that makes them all the more military.
 
I suppose, the battlecry of the Shingen Takeda, 'Furinkazan', also belongs here. (Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain).


Swift as the wind. Quiet as the forest. Conquer like the fire. Steady as the mountain.

I also like a quote usually attributed to Tokugawa Ieyasu:

Generals do not lead by gazing at their men's backs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shingen The Ruler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2011 at 01:50
Another one I find interesting,

How can you win if you have prepared to escape?

     - Minamoto Yosh*tsune
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 01:24
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

I wonder how many sayings are made up by advisors or ancient equivalents of misquoting journalists.
 
A lot!
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 01:27
Patton is good - had a real gift for words.
 
I liked this one:
 
"Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. "
 
Kind of sums up the aggression and instinct for self-preservation needed in war. 
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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