The Most Genius Military Strategies Ever

Over 2.2K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Genius Military Strategies Ever

Strange as it may seem, today's generation of kids probably know more about military strategy than many generals of a hundred years ago. Why? In a phrase: "Video games." From World of Warcraft to Halo, Modern War to Fallout 4, gamers these days get quite the education in military strategy well before they're old enough to attend West Point. 

Maybe that's kind of a natural thing for a nation that proudly boasts the largest and most powerful military in human history. All things considered, it shouldn't be that weird. And yet somehow, we bet you'll be surprised by exactly how many of these classic military strategies you already know. You might not know the names of the strategies themselves, or the history behind them. But you'll probably find at least half of these strategies oddly familiar.

Vote up the most genius military strategies below.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

  • 1
    523 VOTES

    Raiding (Resource Denial)

    Pretty standard strategy, and a staple of any comprehensive military campaign. Resource denial could mean sabotaging, destroying or (preferably) stealing enemy weapons and supplies. It could also mean destroying the means of production of vital materials, like power stations, reservoir dams, farms, crops. Raiders might also target vital facilities that are used to support a war effort, like the British Commandos' famous raid on Nazi U-Boats. A "raid" is any attack that specifically targets the supplies and ancillary resources, rather than enemy soldiers themselves. 

    523 votes
  • 2
    630 VOTES

    Air Superiority (Taking the High Ground)

    One of the most basic tactical concepts in the world is taking the high ground. In infantry battles, it's a lot easier to attack going downhill than uphill. Think of Gandalf and the Rohirrim's charge down the mountain at the Battle of Helm's Deep; they took the high ground, and used the downward momentum of that charge to smash Sauron's orc army. And this battle also revealed another benefit of charging downhill. If you time it right, and plan your attack for morning or evening, you can attack with the sun at your back, blinding the enemy and giving your forces a massive combat advantage. 

    But landborne forces aren't the only known to "come out of the sun" for an attack. These days, "the "high ground" is as often as not the sky itself. Since WWII, it's become axiomatic that he who establishes air superiority wins. Mostly because the high ground also gives an advantage in range for bombarding the enemy with artillery or bombs. Which, in the case of aircraft, fall straight from overhead.   

    630 votes
  • 3
    749 VOTES


    Blitzkreig means "lightning war" in German, and it refers to a fast-moving, highly aggressive, generally unexpected attack using overwhelming forces. Hitler wasn't the first to use this form of attack (most famously in Poland), but he did favor it for very good reason. Germans who fought in the first World War saw first hand the pointless horror of trenches, slow advances, and battles of attrition.
    That's why Hitler favored the blitz, and that's why it worked so well. Nobody expected the kind of fast-moving, decisive attack Hitler planned, led first by speedy Luftwaffe bombers. They expected slow-moving lines of entrenched soldiers and massive artillery pieces; Germany shocked everyone by using highly penetrative maneuvers, and capturing territory in hours instead of months. Eventually, though, the Allies adapted to Hitler's lightning strikes with radar, quick-responding defenses and lightning attacks of their own. 

    749 votes
  • 4
    730 VOTES

    Choke Point

    In terms of broad strategy, you already know history's most famous choke point maneuver: brave Leonidas, and his tiny band of Spartans at the narrow Thermopylae Pass. A mere 300 Spartans held back an army of as many as 200,000 Persians by acting as a stopper in one ridiculously narrow mountain pass. 

    In the modern day, a "choke point" could be something as small as a doorway for individual soldiers, a narrow strait for Naval forces, or the Suez Canal area on the Sinai Peninsula. All represent choke points on different scales.  

    730 votes
  • 5
    422 VOTES

    Divide and Conquer

    So well known it's become something of a trope, Divide and Conquer is just as effective as you think it is. But maybe not for the reasons you think, and it takes a few forms. The most basic form is physically dividing an enemy's forces - splitting an attacking force in two. That allows you to destroy one half at a time, effectively doubling the frontal area of attack, thinning the lines and forcing the enemy to maintain two separate command structures and supply chains.

    The second form is splitting the enemy in two, and then either getting one of them out of the fight, or (best of all) turning them against each other. Apathy and demoralization work for the first, and capitalizing on differences between two dissimilar groups in an enemy's ranks works for the second. If you can use psi-ops and infiltrators to turn two sections of an army against each other, you've taken the entire opposing force out of the fight, as they're too busy fighting each other to fight you.  

    422 votes
  • 6
    772 VOTES


    Football fans are familiar with the classic feint: a "fake-out" maneuver that causes the opposition to think you're going one way, while you secretly plan to go another. In military terms, feints can become hugely elaborate campaigns of deception, and typically involve diversionary forces to misdirect the enemy. When planning the D-Day invasion at Normandy, Allies pulled off a massive feint by building a fake army of inflatable tanks and jeeps, and parking them at a fake launch point. The real invading force, meanwhile, was hidden under camouflage miles away.

    Hitler, relying on misinformation fed to him by Allied double agents and radio traffic, believed the inflatable army was real. While Allies were killed in large numbers on Omaha Beach, those landing in other areas fared much better, largely because Hitler's troops were so woefully distracted. This brilliant campaign of deception made D-Day probably the largest and most successful feint maneuver in military history. 

    772 votes