The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Military Personnels of all time. This list of famous Military Personnels is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Military Personnels.
With an HPI of 73.06, Otto Skorzeny is the most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 51 different languages on wikipedia.
Otto Johann Anton Skorzeny (12 June 1908 – 5 July 1975) was an Austrian-born German SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. During the war, he was involved in a number of operations, including the removal from power of Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy and the Gran Sasso raid which rescued Benito Mussolini from captivity. Skorzeny led Operation Greif in which German soldiers infiltrated Allied lines by using their opponents' uniforms, equipment, language and customs. As a result, he was later, in 1947, charged at the Dachau Military Tribunal with breaching the 1907 Hague Convention, but was acquitted after a former British SOE agent F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas testified that he and his operatives had been prepared to open fire while wearing German uniforms behind enemy lines. Skorzeny escaped from an internment camp in 1948, hiding out on a Bavarian farm as well as in Salzburg and Paris before eventually settling in Francoist Spain. In 1953, he was offered a job as a military advisor to Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, which he did not take up. He was allegedly an advisor to Argentinian president Juan Perón. In 1963, Skorzeny was allegedly recruited by the Mossad and conducted operations for the agency. Skorzeny died of lung cancer on 5 July 1975 in Madrid at the age of 67.
With an HPI of 67.61, Charles V, Duke of Lorraine is the 2nd most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Charles V, Duke of Lorraine and Bar (French: Charles Léopold Nicolas Sixte; German: Karl V Leopold; 3 April 1643 – 18 April 1690) succeeded his uncle Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine as titular Duke of Lorraine and Bar in 1675; both duchies were occupied by France from 1634 to 1661 and 1670 to 1697. Born in exile in Vienna, Charles spent his military career in the service of the Habsburg monarchy. He played an important role in the 1683-1696 Turkish War, which reasserted Habsburg power in south-east Europe, and ended his life as an Imperial Field Marshal.
With an HPI of 67.07, Józef Poniatowski is the 3rd most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.
Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjuzɛf anˈtɔɲi pɔɲaˈtɔfskʲi]; 7 May 1763 – 19 October 1813) was a Polish general, minister of war and army chief, who became a Marshal of the French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.A nephew of king Stanislaus Augustus of Poland (r. 1764–1795), Poniatowski began his military career in 1780 in the Austrian army, where he attained the rank of colonel. In 1789, after leaving Austrian service, he joined the Polish army at the request of his uncle. Poniatowski, now in the rank of major general and commander of the Royal Guards, took part in the Polish–Russian War of 1792, leading the crown forces at the victorious Battle of Zieleńce. After the king's support for the Targowica Confederation of 1792, Poniatowski felt compelled to resign. In 1794 he participated in the Kościuszko Uprising and took charge of defending Warsaw - for which the Russian authorities subsequently exiled him until 1798. In 1807, after Napoleon Bonaparte established the Duchy of Warsaw, Józef Poniatowski was appointed the minister of war. He commanded a 16,000-strong army during the Austro-Polish War (April to October 1809) and achieved tactical success over a larger and more experienced Austrian force in the Battle of Raszyn. There followed a Polish advance into the territory of Galicia. The conflict ended with a Polish victory, which allowed the Duchy to recover some of the lands lost in the Partitions of Poland. A staunch ally and supporter of Emperor Napoleon I of France, Poniatowski voluntarily took part in the French invasion of Russia of 1812. Injuries received during the fighting for Moscow eventually forced his return to Warsaw, where he worked on the reconstruction of the Polish forces intended to fight in Germany. Covering the retreat of the French army after Napoleon lost the "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig (1813), Poniatowski was repeatedly wounded and drowned in the Elster river.
With an HPI of 66.33, Roman von Ungern-Sternberg is the 4th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.
Nikolai Robert Maximilian Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg (Russian: Роман Фёдорович фон Унгерн-Штернберг, romanized: Roman Fedorovich fon Ungern-Shternberg; 10 January 1886 – 15 September 1921), often referred to as Roman von Ungern-Sternberg or Baron Ungern, was an anticommunist general in the Russian Civil War and then an independent warlord who intervened in Mongolia against China. A part of the Russian Empire's Baltic German minority, Ungern was an ultraconservative monarchist who aspired to restore the Russian monarchy after the 1917 Russian Revolutions and to revive the Mongol Empire under the rule of the Bogd Khan. His attraction to Vajrayana Buddhism and his eccentric, often violent, treatment of enemies and his own men earned him the sobriquet "the Mad Baron" or "the Bloody Baron". In February 1921, at the head of the Asiatic Cavalry Division, Ungern expelled Chinese troops from Mongolia and restored the monarchic power of the Bogd Khan. During his five-month occupation of Outer Mongolia, Ungern imposed order on the capital city, Ikh Khüree (now Ulaanbaatar), by fear, intimidation and brutal violence against his opponents, particularly the Bolsheviks. In June 1921, he travelled to eastern Siberia to support anti-Bolshevik partisan forces and to head off a joint Red Army-Mongolian rebel invasion. That action ultimately led to his defeat and capture two months later. He was taken prisoner by the Red Army and, a month later, was put on trial for "counter-revolution" in Novonikolaevsk. After a six-hour show trial, he was found guilty and on 15 September 1921 he was executed.
With an HPI of 64.72, Franz Stangl is the 5th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Franz Paul Stangl (German: [ˈʃtaŋl̩]; 26 March 1908 – 28 June 1971) was an Austrian-born police officer and commandant of the Nazi extermination camps Sobibor and Treblinka. Stangl, an employee of the T-4 Euthanasia Program and an SS commander in Nazi Germany, became commandant of the camps during the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust. He worked for Volkswagen do Brasil and was arrested in Brazil in 1967, extradited to West Germany and tried for the mass murder of one million people. In 1970, he was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum penalty, life imprisonment. He died of heart failure six months later.
With an HPI of 64.47, Lothar Rendulic is the 6th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Lothar Rendulic (Croatian: Rendulić; 23 October 1887 – 17 January 1971) was an Austrian army group commander in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Rendulic was one of three Austrians who rose to the rank of Generaloberst (colonel general) in the German armed forces. The other two were Romanian-born Alexander Löhr and Erhard Raus from Moravia. Rendulic was tried at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials in 1948. Though acquitted of deliberate scorched earth tactics in Finland during the Lapland war, he was convicted of killing hostages in Yugoslavia at the Hostages Trial and imprisoned. After his release in 1951 he took up writing.
With an HPI of 64.43, Alois Brunner is the 7th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Alois Brunner (8 April 1912 – December 2001 (likely)) was an Austrian Schutzstaffel (SS) SS-Hauptsturmführer who played a significant role in the implementation of the Holocaust through rounding up and deporting Jews in occupied Austria, Greece, Macedonia, France, and finally Slovakia during the Second World War. He was known as Adolf Eichmann's right-hand man. Brunner was responsible for sending over 100,000 European Jews from Austria, Greece, France and Slovakia to ghettos and concentration camps in eastern Europe. At the start of the war, he oversaw the deportation of 47,000 Austrian Jews to the death camps. In Greece, 43,000 Jews were deported in two months while he was stationed in Thessaloniki. He then became commander of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris from June 1943 to August 1944, during which nearly 24,000 men, women and children were sent to the gas chambers. His last assignment involved the destruction of the Jewish community of Slovakia. After some narrow escapes from the Allies in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Brunner managed to elude capture and fled West Germany in 1954, first for Egypt, then Syria, where he remained until his death. He was the object of many manhunts, investigations, and assassination attempts over the years by different groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Klarsfelds and Mossad. He was condemned to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity, later commuted to life imprisonment in absentia in 2001. He lost an eye and then the fingers of his left hand as a result of letter bombs sent to him in 1961 and 1980, reportedly by Israeli intelligence. The Syrian government under Hafez al-Assad came close to extraditing him to East Germany before this plan was halted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Brunner escaped all attempts to capture or kill him and was unrepentant about his activities. During his long residence in Syria, Brunner was reportedly granted asylum, a generous salary and protection by the ruling Ba'ath Party in exchange for his advice on effective torture and interrogation techniques used by the Germans in World War II.Starting in the 1990s and continuing for two decades, there was periodic media speculation about Brunner's exact whereabouts and his possible demise. In November 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported that Brunner had died in Syria in 2010, and that he was buried somewhere in Damascus. Brunner's exact date and place of death remained unknown. However, recent information based on new evidence uncovered during a 2017 investigation point to December 2001 as the time of his death in Damascus, Syria.
With an HPI of 63.66, Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen is the 8th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
Archduke Albrecht Friedrich Rudolf Dominik of Austria, Duke of Teschen (3 August 1817 – 18 February 1895), was an Austrian Habsburg general. He was the grandson of Emperor Leopold II and one of the chief military advisors of Emperor Francis Joseph I. As Inspector General for 36 years, he was an old-fashioned bureaucrat who largely controlled the Austro-Hungarian Army and delayed modernization. He was honored with the rank of Field Marshal in the armies of Austria-Hungary (1863) and Germany (1893). According to historians John Keegan and Andrew Wheatcroft: He was a firm conservative in all matters, military and civil, and took to writing pamphlets lamenting the state of the Army’s morale as well as fighting a fierce rearguard action against all forms of innovation…. Much of the Austrian failure in the First World War can be traced back to his long period of power…. His power was that of the bureaucrat, not the fighting soldier, and his thirty years of command over the peacetime Habsburg Army made it a flabby instrument of war.
With an HPI of 63.21, Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf is the 9th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Franz Xaver Josef Conrad von Hötzendorf (after 1919 Franz Conrad; 11 November 1852 – 25 August 1925), sometimes anglicised as Hoetzendorf, was an Austrian general who played a central role in World War I. He served as K.u.k. Feldmarschall (field marshal) and Chief of the General Staff of the military of the Austro-Hungarian Army and Navy from 1906 to 1917. He was in charge during the July Crisis of 1914 that caused World War I. For years he had repeatedly called for preemptive war against Serbia to rescue the multiethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was, he believed, nearing disintegration. Later on, he came to believe that the Dual Monarchy had taken action at the eleventh hour. The Army was also unprepared and he had resorted to politics to further his goals. He was unaware that Germany would relocate the majority of his forces to the Eastern Front, rather than in the Balkans. Conrad was anxious about invading Russia and when the Tsar's armies had captured the Carpathian mountain passes and were on the verge of invading Hungary, Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies. Nevertheless, the Austro-Germans cleared Galicia and Poland during the Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive in the summer of 1915 and later conquered Serbia in October with the help of Bulgaria. From 1915 his troops were increasingly reliant on German support and command. Without support from its German allies the Austro-Hungarian Army was an exhausted force.In March 1917, Charles I dismissed him as Chief of Staff after Emperor Franz Joseph died and Conrad's Trentino Offensive had failed to achieve its objective; he then commanded an army group on the Italian Front until he retired in the summer of 1918. He died in 1925.
With an HPI of 63.20, Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg is the 10th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.
Karl Philipp, Fürst zu Schwarzenberg (or Charles Philip, Prince of Schwarzenberg; 18/19 April 1771 – 15 October 1820) was an Austrian Generalissimo. He fought in the Battle of Wagram (1809) but the Austrians lost decisively against Napoleon. He had to fight for Napoleon in the Battle of Gorodechno (1812) against the Russians and won. He was in command of the allied army that defeated Napoleon decisively in the Battle of Leipzig (1813). He joined the Battle of Paris (1814) that forced Napoleon to abdicate.
Pantheon has 27 people classified as military personnels born between 1614 and 1924. Of these 27, none of them are still alive today. The most famous deceased military personnels include Otto Skorzeny, Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, and Józef Poniatowski. As of April 2022, 2 new military personnels have been added to Pantheon including Ludwig Andreas von Khevenhüller and Rudolf Stöger-Steiner von Steinstätten.
1908 - 1975
1643 - 1690
1763 - 1813
1886 - 1921
1908 - 1971
1887 - 1971
1912 - 2010
1817 - 1895
1852 - 1925
1771 - 1820
1920 - 1944
1818 - 1874
Which Military Personnels were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 22 most globally memorable Military Personnels since 1700.