The Worst Admirals Of All Time
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 outcomes of these battles have 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 not understanding 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.
- Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain11,572 VOTES
Takeo Kurita was a Japanese admiral during WWII. He was one of the Japanese admirals present during their terrible defeat at the Battle of Midway.
He also failed to press a promising tactical situation at the Battle Of Samar in favor of regrouping, which cost him a potential victory over Allied forces.
- Age: Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)
- Birthplace: Mito, Japan
- Photo: Dynamosquito / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.021,787 VOTES
As the leader of the Persian Empire, Xerxes I steered a massive invasion of Greece in 480 BC. 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.
- Age: Dec. at 54 (519 BC-465 BC)
- Birthplace: Iran
- Photo: Anonymous / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain31,777 VOTES
François Darlan was a French admiral during WWII. After France's surrender to Germany in 1940, he became a collaborator with the Nazis.
He ordered most of the French fleet to North Africa so the Allies wouldn't be able to capture it.
- Age: Dec. at 61 (1881-1942)
- Birthplace: Nérac, France
- Photo: Musée de la Marine / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain41,908 VOTES
Pierre-Charles Villeneuve was a French admiral during the Napoleonic Wars. He's often credited with 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 took his own life.
- Age: Dec. at 42 (1763-1806)
- Birthplace: Valensole, France
- Photo: Amadscientist / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain51,828 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.
- Age: Dec. at 53 (82 BC-29 BC)
- Birthplace: Rome, Italy
- Photo: Parliament of the Greeks / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain61,512 VOTES
Ali Pasha was an Ottoman admiral famous for the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, fought against a European fleet. Pasha's fleet was larger, but 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.