History The Worst Admirals of All Time  

Aaron Edwards
26.2k votes 3.9k voters 105k 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. 
Zinovy Rozhestvensky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
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1 1,767 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

1,489 278
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Pierre-Charles Villeneuve is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
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2 1,384 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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Mark Antony is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
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3 1,220 VOTES
Though a feared Roman commander in many land battles, Mark Antony made critical mistakes at sea against fellow Roman Octavian in the Battle of Actium. After Octavian gained the upper hand early, Antony's lover Cleopatra fled the battle and Antony followed her. The remaining Roman ships promptly surrendered to Octavian, who cornered and defeated Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt a year later. 

Marcus Antonius, commonly known in English as Mark or Marc Antony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an oligarchy into the autocratic Roman Empire. Antony was an important supporter of and military commander for Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul and subsequent civil war. Caesar appointed Antony the administrator of Italy while he eliminated his political opponents in Greece, North Africa, and Spain. After Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, Antony joined forces with Marcus Lepidus, one of Caesar's generals, and Caesar's adopted son Octavian in a three-man dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. The ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 53 (82 BC-29 BC)

Birthplace: Rome, Italy

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Xerxes I is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
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4 1,267 VOTES
Leader of the Persian Empire, who steered a massive invasion of Greece in 480 BCE. After several victories over the Greeks, he attacked their navy instead of starving them out. The resulting Battle of Salamis was a massive defeat for Persia, and led to the beginning of the end for Xerxes's invasion plans. 

Xerxes I of Persia, also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth of the king of the kings of the Achaemenid Empire. He ruled from 486 BC until his murder in 465 BC at the hands of Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard. He is notable for his invasion of Greece in 480 BC. Xerxes I is most likely the Persian king identified as Ahasuerus in the biblical book of Esther. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 54 (518 BC-464 BC)

Birthplace: Iran

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