History

The Worst Admirals of All Time  

Aaron Edwards
31.5k votes 5.5k voters 187.6k views 17 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. 
Mark Antony is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
Photo: Amadscientist/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
1 1,549 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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Alonso Pérez de Guzmán is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
Photo: Wikipedia/Public Domain
2 1,484 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. The Armada retreated, and was destroyed by a storm on the way back to Spain.  

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Zinovy Rozhestvensky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
3 2,217 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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Ali Pasha is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Admirals of All Time
Photo: Parliament of the Greeks/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
4 1,277 VOTES
Ali Pasha
An Ottoman admiral famous for the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, fought against a European fleet. Pasha's fleet was larger, but was not as well disciplined. Instead of taking a command position during the battle, Pasha rammed the enemy commander's ship and engaged in close quarters combat. The Europeans broke through the middle of the Ottoman formation and won the battle. The Battle of Lepanto was the first European victory over a Turkish fleet, and the last major battle before the age of sail. 
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