Famous French Military Leaders

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite French Military Leaders
 1 
Napoleon Bonaparte
(Emperor of the French (1804-1814))
Napoleon Bonaparte
down16
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 
 2 
Marquis de Lafayette
(Aristocrat and Military Leader)
Marquis de Lafayette
down13
Birthdate: September 6, 1757
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chavaniac-Lafayette, France
Died: May 20, 1834

Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer, who  is remembered for fighting in the American Revolutionary War, as the commander of American troops in several battles. After returning to France, he played key roles in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Considered a hero in both America and France, he advocated the end of slavery.  

 3 
Rollo
(King)
Rollo
down9
Birthdate: 0846 AD
Birthplace: Scandinavia
Died: 0930 AD

Rollo of Normandy, also known as Rolf, is part of Scandinavian lore. A Viking, he was known for his exploits as a pirate on the seas of France, England, and other lands. When he attacked France with his Danish army, he was given Neustria, or Normandy, as part of a truce.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Maximilien de Robespierre
(French Lawyer and Statesman & One of the Most Influential Figures of the 'French Revolution')
Maximilien de Robespierre
down6
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: July 28, 1794
Maximilien de Robespierre was a leading left-wing lawyer and leader during the Reign of Terror. He led the Committee of Public Safety and was part of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club. He was accused of establishing a dictatorship and was guillotined in 1794, thus beginning the Thermidorian Reaction.
 5 
Charles Martel
(Military Leader)
Charles Martel
down4
Birthdate: 0686 AD
Birthplace: Herstal
Died: October 22, 0741

Charles Martel was a Frankish military leader and statesman. From 718 until his death in 741, Martel served as the de facto ruler of Francia. He is credited with restoring centralized government in Francia and re-establishing the Franks as the masters of all Gaul through a series of military campaigns.

 6 
Michel Ney
(Military commander)
Michel Ney
down6
Birthdate: January 10, 1769
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saarlouis, Germany
Died: December 7, 1815

Michel Ney was a French military commander. One of the 18 Marshals of the Empire inaugurated by Napoléon Bonaparte, Michel Ney played important roles in the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolutionary Wars. Nicknamed the Bravest of the Brave by Napoleon himself, Ney was renowned for his valor in wars. 

 7 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)
Billy Mitchell
down6
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936
You May Like
 8 
Alfred Dreyfus
(Artillery Officer)
Alfred Dreyfus
down4
Birthdate: October 9, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: July 12, 1935

Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer whose trial and conviction on charges of treason in 1894 became one of the most polarizing political dramas in the history of modern France. The incident, which is referred to as the Dreyfus Affair, was a political scandal that ended with Dreyfus' absolution in 1906.

 9 
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
(French Royal, Statesman and Regent of France (1715 - 1723))
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
down4
Birthdate: August 2, 1674
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint-Cloud, France
Died: December 2, 1723

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was the regent of the Kingdom of France from 1715 to 1723. He was the son of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, and Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate. He was named the regent of France for Louis XV, who succeeded to the throne at the age of five. Philippe died months after Louis attained majority.

 10 
Philippe Pétain
(Marshal of France)
Philippe Pétain
down7
Birthdate: April 24, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cauchy-à-la-Tour
Died: July 23, 1951
French military leader Philippe Pétain, also known as “The Old Marshal,” led France to win the Battle of Verdun during World War I. During World War II, he became the president of the Ministerial Council and collaborated with the Axis. He was later convicted for treason and sentenced to life.
 11 
Prince Eugene of Savoy
(Military commander)
Prince Eugene of Savoy
down3
Birthdate: October 18, 1663
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 21, 1736

Prince Eugene of Savoy was a field marshal who served in the army of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty and of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the most influential military commanders of his generation, Prince Eugene served three Holy Roman emperors in a career spanning 60 years. Consequently, he played important roles in many battles, including the Battle of Turin.

 12 
Tarrare
(Showman)
Tarrare
down8
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: 1798 AD
 13 
Louis-Nicolas Davout
(Military commander)
Louis-Nicolas Davout
down4
Birthdate: May 10, 1770
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Annoux, France
Died: June 1, 1823
Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau
down3
Birthdate: July 1, 1725
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: May 30, 1807
Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême
down3
Birthdate: August 6, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Died: June 3, 1844
 16 
Joachim Murat
(Military commander)
Joachim Murat
down4
Birthdate: March 25, 1767
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Labastide-Murat, Cœur-de-Causse, France
Died: October 13, 1815
Joachim Murat, the king of Naples, came to be known for his outrageous dress sense and earned the nickname The Dandy King. Married to Napoleon’s sister, Caroline Bonaparte, he was also a Marshal of France and earned the title of the First Horseman of Europe.
 17 
Joseph Joffre
(Chief of Staff of the French Army (1911-16))
Joseph Joffre
down3
Birthdate: January 12, 1852
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rivesaltes, France
Died: January 3, 1931

Known as the Victor of the Marne and Papa Joffre, French military commander Joseph Joffre is remembered for his exploits at the Western Front during and after World War I. Following the German invasion of Verdun, he lost his command over the army and was made the Marshal of France.

Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé
down4
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569
Louis, Prince of Conde
down4
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569
 20 
Ferdinand Foch
down4
Birthdate: October 2, 1851
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tarbes, France
Died: March 20, 1929

Ferdinand Foch was a French military theorist and general who played a key role during the First World War where he served as the Supreme Allied Commander. Ferdinand Foch played a crucial role in stopping a renewed German advance in the Second Battle of the Marne. Foch was promoted to Marshal of France for his role in World War I.

 21 
Simone Segouin
(Military officer)
Simone Segouin
down3
Birthdate: October 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Thivars, France
 22 
François Darlan
(Politician, Military personnel)
François Darlan
down3
Birthdate: August 7, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nérac
Died: December 24, 1942
 23 
Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
(Consort of the Danish monarch)
Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
down3
Birthdate: June 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Talence, France
Died: February 13, 2018

Prince Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, was a skilled winemaker and a talented poet, known for his flamboyant lifestyle. He had often publicly expressed his unhappiness over not being named a king and also declared he wouldn’t want to be buried next to his wife.

 24 
Martin Fourcade
(Biathlete)
Martin Fourcade
down3
Birthdate: September 14, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Céret, France
 25 
André Masséna
(French military commander)
André Masséna
down3
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nice
Died: April 4, 1817
 26 
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
down3
Birthdate: November 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belloy-Saint-Leonard, Somme, France
Died: November 28, 1947
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne
down2
Birthdate: September 11, 1611
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sedan, France
Died: July 27, 1675
 28 
Henry I, Duke of Guise
down3
Birthdate: December 31, 1550
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: France
Died: December 23, 1588
 29 
Jean Lannes
(War General)
Jean Lannes
down3
Birthdate: April 10, 1769
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lectoure, France
Died: May 31, 1809
 30 
Eugène de Beauharnais
(Viceroy of Italy)
Eugène de Beauharnais
down3
Birthdate: September 3, 1781
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 21, 1824
 31 
Gilad Shalit
(Sports columnist, Soldier, Journalist, Investment Advisor)
Gilad Shalit
down4
Birthdate: August 28, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nahariya

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was held by Palestinian militants from 2006 to 2011 and thus became significant in the Israeli political scene. He was eventually released as part of a prisoner-exchange deal, mediated by Germany ad Egypt, which required the release of over 1,000 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners.

 32 
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
(Senior Officer of the British Army and Professional Head of the British Army During World War II)
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
down3
Birthdate: July 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bragnieres-de-Bigorre, France
Died: June 17, 1963

Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, also known as Brookie and Colonel Shrapnel, was a senior British Army officer and a military advisor to Winston Churchill. He had received multiple knighthood honors. An ornithologist, too, he was a skilled bird photographer and had led the Zoological Society of London.

James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
down3
Birthdate: August 21, 1670
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moulins, France
Died: June 12, 1734
 34 
Hugues de Payens
(Former Knight known for First Grand Master of the Knights Templar)
Hugues de Payens
down3
Birthdate: 1070 AD
Birthplace: Troyes, France
Died: March 24, 1136
Louis-Joseph de Montcalm
down3
Birthdate: February 28, 1712
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vestric-et-Candiac, France
Died: September 14, 1759
 36 
Ante Gotovina
(General)
Ante Gotovina
down3
Birthdate: October 12, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pašman
 37 
Maxime Weygand
(Military personnel, Officer)
Maxime Weygand
down3
Birthdate: January 21, 1867
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: January 28, 1965
Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester
down3
Birthdate: 1160 AD
Birthplace: Montfort-l'Amaury, France
Died: June 25, 1218
 39 
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
down3
Birthdate: June 13, 0040
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fréjus, France
Died: August 23, 0093
 40 
Louis, Grand Condé
down3
Birthdate: September 8, 1621
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 11, 1686
 41 
Maurice Gamelin
(military personnel)
Maurice Gamelin
down3
Birthdate: September 20, 1872
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: April 18, 1958
 42 
Georges Ernest Boulanger
down2
Birthdate: April 29, 1837
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rennes, France
Died: September 30, 1891
 43 
Robert Nivelle
(Military personnel)
Robert Nivelle
down2
Birthdate: October 15, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tulle
Died: March 23, 1924
 44 
Gaspard II de Coligny
down2
Birthdate: February 16, 1519
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Châtillon-Coligny, France
Died: August 24, 1572
 45 
Pierre-Charles Villeneuve
down5
Birthdate: December 31, 1763
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Valensole, France
Died: April 22, 1806
 46 
Georges Picquart
(Politician, Military personnel)
Georges Picquart
down0
Birthdate: September 6, 1854
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: January 19, 1914
 47 
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
(French Explorer and Admiral)
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
down2
Birthdate: November 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 1811

Louis Antoine de Bougainville was a French explorer and admiral. He is best remembered for his scientific expeditions, including his 1763 circumnavigation of the globe and expeditions into the Pacific Ocean. Louis Antoine de Bougainville also participated in the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War.

 48 
Bertrand du Guesclin
(Military Commander)
Bertrand du Guesclin
down2
Birthdate: 1320 AD
Birthplace: Broons, France
Died: July 13, 1380
Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse
down2
Birthdate: 1041 AD
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: February 28, 1105
 50 
Joseph-François Dupleix
(French colonial official)
Joseph-François Dupleix
down2
Birthdate: January 1, 1697
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Landrecies, France
Died: November 10, 1763
France has had a strong history and a glorious past when it comes to traditions, culture and heritage. While the country today boasts of having an unfaltering air of luxury and cinematography, things hadn’t been the same as always. The country rose to power during the rule of Louis XIV. Throughout its long history, it has exerted strong influence, culturally, economically and politically. What has stood in its favour and helped the Alpine country become a great power today has been its military. The fifth largest military spender in the world, it has been home to major military industries and has one of the largest aerospace industries of the world. And adding to the fame and glory of French military were its leaders - courageous, resilient, valiant and heroic. Unless you have been living under the rock, names like Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Marquis de Lafayette, William the Conqueror and Louis IX of France wouldn’t be unheard of. While Napoleon is till date regarded as the greatest military commander of all times, Louis IX of France was the most powerful European ruler of his time. Marquis de Lafayette’s contribution before and after the French Revolution was ground-breaking for it was he who helped shape France’s political structure. Check out information on famous French military leaders.