What are Your Five Greatest Armies Of All Time?


Verified Military
Sep 7, 2006
This will be a thread to state what you think your 5 top Armies etc... of all time are, state them and be prepared to explain why you choose them.


Spartan, Thermopylae, enough said.

Mongol, largest landmass empire ever.

Samurai, Best swordsmen, individual warriors of ancient times.

Rhodesian, best modern counter insurgency campaign ever fought.

German WW2, took on the world against overwhelming numbers and were defeated by a relativly narrow margin.

State and justify yours!

Don't get pissy and patriotic over this, you have been warned!

I'm keeping this thread as a serious, intellectual one.

So please try and keep that theme.

I will delete all BS on this thread without warning. :)
Okay, what are the criteria? Define "great". My definition of a great army would include successfully defending the homeland and expanding its power and influence.

Roman Legions - combined discipline and technology to conquer most of the western world.

Spanish Conquistadores - with a miniscule force (comparatively) they used technology, their enemy's religion, and politics to win Central America.

VC/NVA - won the Vietnam War and fought the greatest country on earth. Yes, politics were involved, but isn't war just an extension of politics by other means?

The Franks under Charles Martel - stopped the Muslims at Tours and kept Europe Christian. They also conquered the majority of Western Europe and created one empire, slowing/stopping Europe's descent into the Dark Ages.

That's four. I'll have to think some more on this...
Good choices, very interesting.

'Great' is a subjective term in this context.
Best army or best soldier type ?

Yeah that doesnt quite fit into army, wasn't really sure how to word it.

Army, warriors/people e.g. the Viking people

Doesnt have to be a standing Army.

To make myself clear, I'm not meaning the society as a whole just the warriors within it.
Yeah that doesnt quite fit into army, wasn't really sure how to word it.

Army, warriors/people e.g. the Viking people

Doesnt have to be a standing Army.

Yep, any samurai Shogunate is one of my picks... complete list coming soon...
1.- Saladins muslim army. So hoe many crusade that man destroyed ?

2.- Samurai shogunates ( Kamakura, Ashikaga etc., pick any ) Probably the finest warriors ever.

3.- Roman legions. Most skilled and organised at their time, almost from a different planet.

4.- Spartan. No need to explain

5.- Finnish army WW2. I know Pardus, this is a bit of patriotic. But what were the Russians thinkin 1939, and what were their thoughts in 1944 ?
5.- Finnish army WW2. I know Pardus, this is a bit of patriotic. But what were the Russians thinkin 1939, and what were their thoughts in 1944 ?

No that is totally legit, I have an extremely high regard for the 30's - 40's Finnish Army.

You have the greatest sniper of all time IIRC.

I have high regard for the German Army circa WW2 as I stated, I read that a Finnish General etc... complained to the German high command about the compedancy of the German troops, the troops he was refering to was a Waffen SS unit, one of the best the Germans had, such was the high standard of the Finnish Army!
Ok, I will give this one a shot.

American Indians: of all kinds, they knew the terrain but lost due to technology, not lack of warrior spirit.

Confederate Army: most of their Generals were West Point grads. Grew up in a society that led to strong leaders. Again lost due to having poor manufacturing in the suthern states.

I too have to list the WWII German Army as one of the best. For it was due to politics that they lost. Not because the Generals didnt know how to campaign.

The army under Alexander the Great. Just look what he accomplished. He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle.

And for the last, WWII British Army, Air Force and Navy. They were cut off, surrounded and bombed all the time. They kept going, fought on and never gave up!!!!
Some random ones:

Macedonian/Greek army under Philip and Alexander. Conquest of most of the known world, defeating numerous numerically superior forces.

Roman Army after the Marian reforms until the Imperial era, when the decadence of the army and Empire took its toll.

Swedish Army in the Thirty Years' War, after Gustavis Adolphus's reforms. Sweden was a small country on the periphery of Europe, with the ugliest furniture, yet managed to defeat the Imperial armies in many battles and dominate the region until eclipsed by the rise of Prussia and Russia.

British Army in the colonizing era. Other than a defeat at the hands of the Continental Army, itself mainly manned by Brits and their descendants, the British Army was generally triumphant over all comers, be they first world armies like the French in 1815, second world armies like the Marathas of India, or tribal levies in Africa.

French Grande Armee under Napoleon. Like the Wehrmacht in World War II, which has already been mentioned, the Grande Armee was the class of its day, outfighting virtually every major army it faced, and only defeated by the hubris of its leader in taking on practically the entire world.

A random five, to which could be added the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great, the Prussian Army in the wars of unification, the German Army in World War II, the Spartans, and others.
1. Israeli army of 1967 era. Tenacity, simple tenacity.

2. Spartans, 'nuff said

3. USA in WWII. Simultaneous two front campaigns.

4. Roman Legions- Especially if land occupied is a measured standard

5. Cold War Warsaw Pact nations -specifically Russia- Even with the friggin citizens eatin virtually nothing, and low standards of living as an understatement, they managed to build an incredible sized force. That I believe would be able to march into anywhere they could get to.

That's all I got....

Ok, I'm not going to them in any specific order and I'm just add a few on to the ones already mentioned. Some that were probably not thought of. ;)

New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) as part of the ANZAC's circa WW1.
New Zealand with a population of one million lost 18,000 men out of 110,000 and had 55000 wounded. These New Zealand figures (62%) represent the highest percentage of all units from the Anglo-Saxon world.

Australian Imperial Force circa WW1 - taking of Sinai, Palestine and Syria. Battle of Passchendaele, from 31 July until 12 October 1917 the Australians continued a barrage of attacks on Passchendaele Village; costing them 36,500 lives. The Canadian Army ere ordered to take over for the Australians and eventually took the village on 12 Nov. The battle is synonymous with the Canadian Army but I truly believe that the Australians deserve to carry this Battle Honour.

Canadian Expeditionary Force WW1 The Battle of Vimy Ridge. In one day all four Canadians forces fought as one distinct unit and swept Vimy Ridge.
All of you have pointed out great military "army's" no question but one of note not mentioned yet, and yes I am completely biased...

The US Military from 11 SEP 2001 to Present.

They have fought in a war where their enemy's have no faces, no honor nor integrity, no mercy nor civility, no adherence to any "rules of war" yet they still maintain, not stooping to the level of said enemy's, a PROUD face, honor and integrity of the highest degree, great mercy and civility, and a extremely strict adherence to the "rules of war" all the while whilst the vast amount of it's own nations civilian populist have either forgotten about them, or have taken steps to thwart there noble efforts and some might say that a large proportion of it's nations elected politicians have went as far as to betray them. All this and they ARE STILLING WINNING THEIR GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR.

This "army" (The entire US Military) is the most devastating, powerful, technically advanced military EVER and it is comprised of the best collective group of Warriors this nation has ever known. Twofold, It's most "elite" warriors amongst them are definitely of what the stature of a Samurai, Spartan, Roman Legionnaire (and etc.) would be in these modern times and history will most certainly reflect that.

Additionally, Unlike the US Military of the past [with conscripts drafted in it's ranks in time of war] it is comprise of ONLY those to whom have volunteered, all to well knowing that they have the greatest possibility of having to engage in its Global War On Terror. This war has extended longer in duration than that of either WW1 and WW2 so [with little exception] any cowardly individuals that were hiding in their ranks merely for the financial benefits, educational benefits and with no desire what-so-ever to actually SERVE have [for the most part] long since left it's ranks. And, any such type of person that was considering joining the ranks for said reasons other than service, since the onset of it's war on terror, have mostly thus chosen not to join at all.

The US Military has [for the most part] always been a direct reflection of it's populist... That is until the Global War On Terror... As of the Global War On Terror the US Military is no longer a direct reflection of it's populist, it's comprised of the absolute best people that it's nation has to offer.