When one thinks of "partnership" commands, one may think of the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene. Perhaps Hindenburg and Ludendorf in World War I Or Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson. In each case, the senior commander was older than the junior commander.

I can think of only one military "partnership" where the senior commander, Villars, was younger than the junior commander, Boufflers. http://www.spanishsuccession.nl/boufflers.html These were the men that opposed Marlborough and Eugene at Malplaquet. In civilian life, such a "dual command" might consist of Warren Buffett (aged early 80s), and Charlie Munger (aged late 80s), Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

I'm not talking about situations with a senior commander and a "random" (but older) junior commander, in the ranks, but ones where the junior is "next to" the senior and is effectively the senior's "alter ego" or even "Mini Me." To take the example's I've given, Churchill described Marlborough and Eugene as "one soul in two bodies." Lee referred to Jackson as "my right hand." Munger has been referred to as Buffett's "Doppelganger." Were there many such situations in history?

  • Maybe that's not an answer, but in 19th century highest military ranks were often given to foreign rulers. The example might be the grand-son of Queen Victoria, German Emperor William II, who was the admiral of the Royal Navy (however he was not commanding her, so that might be not an answer you're looking for).
    – Voitcus
    Jun 6, 2013 at 10:03
  • Eisenhower and MacArthur, Marshall and MacArthur at some points during their long careers? Haven't checked sources yet.
    – Drux
    Jun 6, 2013 at 13:23
  • @Drux: Eisenhower and MacArthur were U.S. generals at the same time, but never "co-commanded" an army together.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 6, 2013 at 17:42
  • FWIK Marshall was Secretary of Defense while MacArthur was still a top general during the time of the Korean War. Not quite "co-command" of course, but presumably still a special situation because of Marshall's own military background. Both men were born in 1880, with MacArthur being the older by a few months.
    – Drux
    Jun 6, 2013 at 19:51
  • Joan of Arc and John II, Duke of Alancon?
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 27, 2016 at 14:13

4 Answers 4


Actually, you can generate any number of examples by looking for cases when a prince or a young king had an experienced general as second-in-command, as some sort of chaperon.

Two examples that spring to mind: Alexander and Parmenio. Don Juan of Austria and Doria.

  • These are examples after a fashion, but do people mention their names in the same breath? I'm talking about "Marlborough and Eugene" or (on U.S. television) "Batman and Robin." For instance, Villars was a brilliant general one of only six "Marshals of France" in history, having bypassed Boufflers, who was merely a "pretty good" leader.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:57
  • 1
    @TomAu That's an extra condition! :) Jun 3, 2013 at 18:44
  • The last paragraph of the original question was: "I'm not talking about situations with a senior commander and a "random" (but older) junior commander, in the ranks, but ones where the junior is "next to" the senior and is effectively the senior's "alter ego" or even "Mini Me." That spells "mentioned in the same breath" to me. I actually upvoted your answer because it was useful, and because maybe I didn't make myself clear the first time. I'll leave it to your judgment whether "Alexander and Parmenio" or "Don Juan and Doria" are equivalent to "Buffett and Munger." Maybe they are.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 3, 2013 at 20:37

Perhaps German chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

In 1999 Schäuble served not only as chairman of the Christian Democrats' faction in parliament, he was also chairman of the CDU and the front-runner to be nominated his party's candidate for chancellor. Angela Merkel was then CDU general secretary, a lesser rank in the party hierarchy. Former chancellor Helmut Kohl had officially retired but was still pulling strings in the background.

During the 1999 payola scandal affecting the CDU, Merkel stunned everyone by having an op-ed published that essentially consigned Kohl to the scrap heap of history. She had not asked Schäuble for authorization beforehand. It was an audacious move but Schäuble, who like Kohl had been compromised by the CDU's financial scandal, was too weak to punish her. From that moment, the mantle of crown prince and future chancellor was shifted from Schäuble to Merkel. The CDU won the 2005 election and ever since, Schäuble -- who is 12 years Merkel's senior -- has loyally served as a Minister in her cabinet.

  • Very interesting. Rare, but not out of the question.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 2, 2013 at 18:36
  • If we look at European royalty, throughout the centuries there have been many cases -- too many to list -- of an underage heir(ess) to the throne being crowned king or queen and then having to rely on an older, experienced counsellor. One such example was William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's most important adviser and 13 years her senior. And just as Schäuble as Finance Minister is the most powerful man in Merkel's cabinet, so Cecil was the man in control of the budget under Elizabeth. Jun 6, 2013 at 16:37
  • @How was Cecil regarded? Was he considered Elizabeth I's "alterego?"
    – Tom Au
    Jun 6, 2013 at 17:07
  • @Tom Good question, don't know actually. Probably not, if their disagreements over the disposition of Mary were widely known at the time. That is a pretty stringent condition you're imposing! For that matter, neither is Schäuble Merkel's alter ego ... but you could with some justification call him her right-hand man. In all the years he's served under her, he has never disagreed with her in public (and likewise has she been loyal to him throughout). They're not friends but they have a very strong working relationship. Jun 6, 2013 at 18:01

In the Battle of Warsaw 1920 the supreme commander of Polish forces, Józef Piłsudski was born in 1867. The main and real commander was Tadeusz Rozwadowski, born in 1866.


I made a research and found some examples like these:

I think there could be lots of such examples: young king (supreme commander) and experienced military or combined forces where the main country is leading the alliance but her commander is young and smaller members of alliance provide older generals.

  • 2
    But that's just a one-year difference... Jun 6, 2013 at 12:22
  • You are both right, that made no sense. I will try to look for another example.
    – Voitcus
    Jun 6, 2013 at 12:37
  • @FelixGoldberg I updated my answer
    – Voitcus
    Jun 6, 2013 at 20:25
  • In most of the examples above, you have co-operating commanders from ALLIED armies led independently. But Marlborough and Eugene were different. They co-commanded a "blended" central army made up of different nationalities. And they were described by Churchill (Marlborough's descendant) as "one soul in two bodies." An upvote for trying.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 12, 2013 at 20:33
  • Thank you @TomAu. The problem is that usually there is only one commander and this is tradition proved since prehistoric times. You might want to look to WW1 German Ordre-de-Bataille, there were always two commanders, the main and his staff leader (down to regiment level at least). Hindenburg and Ludendorff were no exception from this rule and nothing special. I think every single battle won by Germans in WW1 could be example by such co-operation of two leaders.
    – Voitcus
    Jun 12, 2013 at 20:59

Besides the names already provided, one obvious answer would be le Grand Condé and Turenne in the Thirty Years War.

Turenne was not only 10 years older than the Duc d'Enghien, but also Marshal of France. Despite this, d'Enghien was "Prince" so he took command of the campaign, both men conducting battles like Freiburg (1644) and Nördlingen (1645).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.