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Priory_of_Sion

Wins Above Replacement

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Someone took sabermetrics and applied it to generals and their success at warfare. Napoleon is currently the most successful by far with Caesar being a distant 2nd. The author left out a good deal of the Mongols conquests, so hopefully the data gets updated soon. Zhukov seems to be the best modern general in the data set. Unsurprisingly, Robert E. Lee, Patton, and Rommel are all vastly overrated. 

 

Here's a link to a visualization https://ethanarsht.github.io/military_rankings/

 

 

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Note that it only measures tactical acumen, not strategic planning.

 

One good reason to question this application of sabermetrics is something every freshman military history student should know: The best generals win without fighting whenever possible. Yet, because SM assumes that war is like baseball (with a set number of games), rather than like, well, war, it penalizes many generals for the battles they won without fighting. Alexander, for example, was absolutely notorious for this, and so he likely deserves to be ranked higher than Napoleon.

 

But I suppose you could argue that's stategy, not tactics.

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As noted elsewhere, I'm not a big fan of sabremetrics simply because it cannot measure intangibles. If it doesn't pass the eyeball test, then something is flawed with the metric.

 

Example: When Robert E. Lee is considered to be a worse general than his Confederate counterpart Sterling Price, something has gone haywire with the algorithm. 

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Pretty sure if you double the amount of battles Price fought in, then he'd be ranked behind Lee who has about twice as much battles. As Sturg points out, the major problem with this is the number of battles thing.  

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So, given that, what would a reasonable quantitative metric for the strategic effectiveness of generals be?

 

Oh, and please word your explanation in such a way that someone who is largely ignorant of sabermetrics can understand it, but also in such a way that it loses no technical precision so I don't walk away with any dumb misconceptions, because if I do acquire any of those I'll blame you.  Also, make your explanation so compelling that I immediately start using it myself without crediting you and even begin to think of your idea as my own as I instinctively act on the programming you put in my head.

 

(I'm trying to train you to be a killer lobbyist)

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7 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

So, given that, what would a reasonable quantitative metric for the strategic effectiveness of generals be?

 

Oh, and please word your explanation in such a way that someone who is largely ignorant of sabermetrics can understand it, but also in such a way that it loses no technical precision so I don't walk away with any dumb misconceptions, because if I do acquire any of those I'll blame you.  Also, make your explanation so compelling that I immediately start using it myself without crediting you and even begin to think of your idea as my own as I instinctively act on the programming you put in my head.

 

(I'm trying to train you to be a killer lobbyist)

 

Phrenology. 

 

Why else do villains in movies have rooms full of the marble busts of famous generals?

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