Military The Worst Admirals of All Time  

Aaron Edwards
720 votes 258 voters 7.8k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up the most heinously incompetent admirals in history.

For as long as humans have sailed the seas, battles have been waged on water. Whether fought with oars and ramming or sails and cannons, the outcome of these battles sometimes changed the course of human history. Like any battlefield, oceans have seen both great and terrible commanders. 

Disregarding orders, failing to press advantages, and a lack of understanding of supply lines are among the worst mistakes a commanding officer can make, and they happen in every war. From Roman ships fighting in the Mediterranean to modern aircraft carriers, a keen commander is essential for keeping a battle from falling apart. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Read on and vote up the guys you think deserve the most infamy. 
Richmond Kelly Turner is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
1 70 VOTES

Richmond Kelly Turner

Richmond Kelly Turned acted as Director of Naval Intelligence during World War II. After the war, it was suggested he disregarded Japanese communications pointing to the attack on Pearl Harbor. What's more, his underestimation of the Japanese Navy led to the worst naval defeat of the Pacific Theater, at Savo Island, where 1,077 Allied sailors were killed in just 32 minutes. 
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Alonso Pérez de Guzmán is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
2 45 VOTES

Alonso Pérez de Guzmán

Commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armada that was sent to subjugate England in 1588. His fleet was the biggest of its era, far larger and better supplied than the English. The Brits, led by Sir Francis Drake, were conniving, and took advantage of Guzman's large ships, which lacked maneuverability. They also tore the Spanish lines apart with Fire ships, empty vessels containing explosive material lit on fire and set upon the enemy.The Armada retreated, and destroyed by a storm on the way back to Spain.  
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Pierre-Charles Villeneuve is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
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3 36 VOTES

Pierre-Charles Villeneuve

A French admiral during the Napoleonic Wars. He's often credited for Napoleon's failed 1805 invasion of England, during which he failed to meet allied forces in the English Channel. Instead, he attacked the fleet of British commander Lord Nelson and was completely defeated. He returned to France and committed suicide.  

Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve was a French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He was in command of the French and the Spanish fleets that were defeated by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 43 (1763-1806)

Birthplace: Valensole, France

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Zinovy Rozhestvensky is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
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4 36 VOTES

Zinovy Rozhestvensky

A Russian admiral who fought in the Russo-Japanese War. After disregarding orders to stay away from the enemy, Rozhestvensky engaged the Japanese in what would become known as the Battle of Tsushima. The Japanese outmaneuvered him and he subsequently lost his flagship and most of his fleet. 

Zinovy Petrovich Rozhestvensky was an admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy. He was in command of the Second Pacific Squadron in the Battle of Tsushima, during the Russo-Japanese War. Under Admiral Rozhestvensky's command, the Russian navy holds the record of sailing an all-steel, coal-powered battleship fleet over 18,000 miles one way to engage an enemy in decisive battle, selecting the Knyaz Suvorov, one of four brand new battleships of the French-designed Borodino class, as his flagship for the voyage to the Pacific. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 61 (1848-1909)

Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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