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Britons Declare Washington Britain's Greatest Battlefield Foe

British respect for George Washington runs deep. In 1814, while on its way to burn the city named in his honor, a British fleet tolled a salute to Washington as it passed by Mount Vernon. So it comes as no surprise that a debate hosted by the UK's National Army Museum selected Washington as the greatest foe to ever lead an army against Britain:

At the event, each contender had their case made by a historian giving a 40 minute presentation. The audience, who had paid to attend the day, then voted in a secret ballot after all five presentations had been made. [...]

Stephen Brumwell, author and specialist on eighteenth century North America, said: "Washington scores highly as an enemy of Britain on three key grounds: the immense scale of damage he inflicts upon Britain's Army and Empire – the most jarring defeat that either endured; his ability to not only provide inspirational battlefield leadership but to work with civilians who were crucial to sustain the war-effort; and the kind of man he was. As British officers conceded, he was a worthy opponent.


The other choices were Michael Collins, Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Who else do you think deserved consideration?

Link -via Ace of Spades HQ | Image: Smithsonian Institution

I agree with Nick Gisburne and larry.

Washington lost more battles than he won, but he was ultimately successful -- the most important test for any general.

He was a master of disengaging and retreating from an attacking enemy while preserving his army. Contrast Washington's skill at this task with that of Horatio Gates at Camden.
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Nick is probably right - Washington was the only one who ultimately won the war. Well, I take that back - I don't know the history with Collins or Ataturk. Rommel and Bonaparte both lost in the end, or at least their side of the conflict lost, so they go down as brilliant losers. In a single battle, I'd have to suggest Andrew Jackson as another American option - the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 has to be one of the more lopsided British disasters. Still, Washington is just as deserving as the others mentioned, given what he had to work with he picked the right strategy and it paid off with victory.
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CamilleR is correct. Hitler wasn't a choice because he was a field commander.

Caesar (Julius and Claudius) would have been excluded because the debate was limited to the Seventeenth Century onward.
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The choices are listed in the last paragraph.
Hitler wasn't a battlefield general so he wasn't a choice. I probably would have voted for Napoleon. Washington was more lucky than good.
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And how many people voted? What choices were they given?

I suspect you may no be dealing with a group that represents the feelings of most Britons. I think if you asked most Brits you would get the answer Adolf Hitler.
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Bit surprised Adolf Hitler didn't get a mention. He kept Britain pinned down in Europe and North Africa for the thick end of six years. He decimated the Royal Navy with his U boats and threatened our trade routes across the world. More blood was shed keeping him at bay than was lost fighting George Washington. Although Washington was able th rally the troops and civilian population, Hitler managed to mobilise an entire nation to get behind him with their unswerving support.
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