Crowning Moment Of Awesome: In-universe example. The Russians expected the Netherlands campaign to be a cakewalk. Then Willem flooded the countryside, getting their tanks bogged in mud and picked them off with robotic turrets while locking them in with minefields. In the end, it took the Russians several months to subdue the Netherlands while most of the Dutch military - along with what seemed to be the entire population - escaped to continue the fight in France. Cheering ensued.
Heartbroken Badass: He lost his wife in the carnage of the 2028 insurrection which is likely the cause for his unforgiving hatred towards the GLA.
Honor Before Reason: He dispatched his entire Panzerdivision to support the Russians against the GLA in Africa without authorisation from high command, only to get impeached and suspended from service for his recklessness. Too bad the Russians misinterpreted this as a betrayal that eventually cost them their African territories, pushing them off the slippery slope that eventually led to their invasion of Europe. Nice job breaking it, ECA high command!
Field Promotion: Has a general's ability literally named this that gives a unit a free veterancy level.
Just Following Orders: Defied. He refused to mobilise his troops against Bavarian seccessionists in the final years of the EU before the GLA attacked and calls out Major Voss who played it straight by arresting him in Africa after high command got wind of his unauthorized move against the GLA.
Military Maverick: He favours ballsy Blitzkrieg-style assaults, ignored orders to move against his own countrymen during his early career, doesn't care much about military formalities and dispatched five full brigades without authorization from ECA high command to save General Orlov in Africa. In-game, his unique power Field Promotion is explicitly described as 'ignore protocol to immediately promote a group of units'.
Rousing Speech: Given to his 10th Panzerdivision a month before the Russo-European War.
Token Enemy Minority: He seems to be good friends with a Bundeswehr Brigadier General called Osman Atalay who most likely has a Muslim background. Justified in that Germany has a sizable Turkish community. The GLA insurrection in Europe created a notable Elephant In The Living Room as to what might have happened to them but apparently, there haven't been any large scale reprisals or other atrocities in the aftermath, much to the chagrin of a few fringe political groups. That said, there are hints suggesting that the Turks in Germany had become much more culturally German, possibly in an attempt to both distance themselves from the GLA's stigma and for social integration.
Bayonet Ya: When all hope seems lost, Sergeant Finley orders his troops to fix their bayonets and charge at the attacking Russians. Cue The Cavalry in the form of Challenger Tanks courtesy of the Queen's Royal Lancers.
Big Badass Battle Sequence: General Aleksandr's failed invasion of England was depicted as an epic three part series of updates. Also doubles as a Decisive Battle because it exposed the actual bone-headedness behind Aleksandr's strategies.
Break the Cutie: The aforementioned invasion did this to poor Private Mitchell, a 17 year old, somewhat naive medic who got transformed from a cheerful individual into a broken husk over the course of a single morning.
Mildly Military: He is known to ignore anti-fraternisation rules and take personal interest in the lives of his soldiers, earning their respect.
Real Person Cameo: Colonel David Catt, who appeared as a tank commander of the Queen's Royal Lancers during the Russian landing in England, is a ranked-up version of an old-time friend of the mod team.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: His careful, by-the-book support tactics stand in contrast with Wolfgang's preference for risky but decisive assaults. Despite this, their joint-operations produced some of the ECA's most lauded victories in Africa.
Shocking Defeat Legacy: A dubious honor that was bestowed upon him by the GLA in Africa. We're yet to see how much it affects him.
Take That: He put an an end to an ultranationalist attack on Moscow's airport during his first Spetsnaz job, essentially preventing the premise of Modern Warfare 2 in this universe.
The Worf Effect: His elite forces suffer some very humiliating losses against new GLA which is mainly used to establish their leader Sulaymaan as a powerful adversary.
Advanced Weapons General Nikita Ivanovich Aleksandr
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A dark version. He and his Advanced Weapons R&D Corps are definitely the odd-balls of the Russian military, but their superior weapons get the job done. Unfortunately, they also commit war crimes en masse.
Crushing The Populace: Being in charge of the Russian invasion and the occupation, this seems to be his standard method when it comes to dealing with protesters.
Custom Uniform: This public persona is always seen with a gas mask and a grey jumpsuit, making this a rare example of a custom uniform being mostly practical, unflashy and free of unnecessary bling.
Dragon with an Agenda: President Suvorov by 2048 (and increasingly along with most of Russia's military and public) suspect that General Aleksandr may be more concerned with creating his own screwed-up version of the Motherland than actually helping the Russians win the war.
False Flag Operation: His Shock Troopers attacked a Russian missile base while posing as European spec-ops, thus providing the President with a pre-Text for war. Suvorov wasn't expecting something quite as 'graphic'.
Faux Affably Evil: He's generally polite and cheerful, even while observing weapons tests on captured GLA fighters or mocking General Orlov whose forces tried their best to defeat them and mostly died in the process.
Kick the Dog: Testing Tesla weapons on live GLA prisoners, razing entire cities (including Brussels after the city's surrender no less!), cutting down protesters, ordering the abduction of Frank Jaeger's family; the list goes on.
Loners Are Freaks: He spent his dreary, friendless youth in a cadre school and has neither true friends nor family.
Meaningful Name: The man is clearly styling himself like a Russian Alexander the Great.
The Neidermeyer: While his elite Shock Divisions basically treat him like a god and President Suvorov initially put all of his faith in him, he's loathed by the regular Russian military for his callousness and arrogance.
Rousing Speech: His first speech in Berlin, in which he congratulates the Russian army and encourages them to continue their assault west.
Bastardly Speech: In contrast his second speech after the ECA nuclear attacks a few years later is a rabid, hate-filled total war rant that'd make Joseph Goebbels and the Big Brother proud. He basically gets his followers into a blind hate-frenzy, expressing his wish to exterminate the Europeans by any means necessary at that point. A few days later, Reality Ensues and President Suvorov authorises the saner, more reasonable General Zhukov to deploy Russia's nuclear weapons instead of Aleksandr
The Strategist:He likes to present himself as this but in reality, his 'grandiose strategic gambits' boil down to throwing Russian Army troops into the grinder, land a decisive strike with his own Shock Divisions and claim all the fame for it.
Two First Names: According to Russian conventions, his name should actually be Nikita Aleksandrov but he was called Aleksandr many years ago and the odd name caught on ever since.
Utopia Justifies the Means: Like President Suvorov, he has ambitions of making Russia a symbol for global greatness. Unlike Suvorov, he doesn't hesitate to cross multiple lines in his quest to make his idea of Novorossiya a reality.
Villain Song: His troops burst into this after he delivered his infamous hate-speech in response to the European nuclear attacks. It's a rather trite, self-indulgent piece in which the Shock Divisions celebrate their own brutality and their legendary victory during the battle of Kurmuk, which seems to be for them what the battle of Camaron became for the French Foreign Legion. Interestingly, most of the troops seen during the battle (i.e. on the shell map) aren't even Shock Troopers but regular Russian Army grunts which serves to show that the Shock Divisions take full credit for a battle that was merely coordinated by their commander rather than won by themselves.
Rather alike to their Leader if you think about it.
We Have Reserves: He basically treats the ordinary Russian Army troops as this, throwing them against enemy lines to weaken the defenders, then break them down with his Shock Troopers to claim the victory for himself.
Tactical Ballistics General Leonid Vasilyevich Zhukov
Nuke 'em: The only Russian General who has access to nuclear weapons in the form of Topol ICBMs.
United States of America
Special Forces General Francis 'Chessmaster' Thorn
Character Filibuster: An in-universe one that likes to lecture people about his ideas on history-making and American foreign policies.
The Chessmaster: His MO, given his emphasis on strategy and the aforementioned lecturing.
Colonel Badass: He was one during the Global War on Terror when we saw him coordinating a special forces raid on a Russian cargo ship at the coast of Iran in 2024, complete with his trademark mug of coffee and his flying command center inside an AC-130.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: In-verse, he sends in a black-ops team to keep a close eye on Russian movements, aware that something is afoot. The evidence they collect is also intended to provide undeniable proof for the Americans back home to intervene.
Expy / Composite Character: He's basically a sane, non-evil version of General Shepherd from Modern Warfare 2 and Colonel Badass Quaritch from Avatar, right down to sipping coffee while commanding troops from his own gunship.
Ignored Expert: He was among the few that took Russian President Suvorov seriously at first.
King Incognito: His uniform is discreet enough that a soldier under his command mistook him for a private.
The Strategist: He is smart and cunning to the point of coordinating US covert operations in Europe from the US embassy in Berlin. It is also implied that his operators collected much of the evidence on Aleksandr's war crimes which eventually convinced Congress to enter the war in favor of the ECA.
Tank Command General Jeremiah 'Threads' Bradley
Colonel Kilgore: He was regarded as a fanatical warmonger when the US called it quits and against the GLA and withdrew from overseas.
It Runs in the Family: Since the Texan Revolution of 1835, many Bradley men have given their lives in countless American wars.
The Rival: His collegial but vitriolic contest with Chinese Tank General Ta Hun Kwai of Zero Hour-fame.
Semper Fi: He's a Marine, representing the rarely depicted USMC tank forces, albeit with an odd mix of equipment due to in-universe budget issues and doctrine changes.
Tank Goodness: Not a surprise given his tactical focus. He is also the only US General that can field the famous Paladin Tank.
Air Force General Eugene 'Guile' Griffon
Attack Drone: He started out as a drone technician and uses some sophisticated unmanned units such as the WASP Hive, a Stryker that controls several heavily armed attack drones.
Awesome, but Impractical: In-universe, the FB-40 Aurora bomber suffered from this. The story suggests that it was a half-baked prototype offspring of the alleged Aurora project which got pushed into combat against the GLA as a fast strike bomber, only to suffer catastrophic losses - a reference to its in-game use as a single-use, guaranteed hit suicide plane, which resulted in a scandal that cost the careers of many high-ranking Air Force officers. Griffon eventually used his influence to repurpose the Aurora into something useful which we are yet to see.
Rule of Symbolism: His Cell is called Black Mamba. Politically, the color black is associated with anarchism, fascism and radical islamism, representing Ibrahiim's odd ideological blend while the mamba is a venomous snake, which fits his passion for toxic weapons.
Terror Cell General Abdul bin Yusuuf
Appeal To Tradition: He is a staunch traditionalist who's been linked to the GLA for decades, putting him at odds with the 'modernist' Sulaymaan who broadened the populist appeal of the organization.
Badass Beard: The reason why the CIA informally refers to him as 'Blackbeard'.
Rule of Symbolism: His Cell is called White Falcon. White is associated with purity and Islamic pilgrimage which represents his dedication to what he believes to be his cause. The falcon denotes falconry which is a traditional pastime in Arabia.
Warlord General Anwar Sulaymaan
Dragon Ascendant: He started out as the lieutenant of General Mohmar 'Deathstrike', former leader of the GLA, and went on to re-unite the organisation under his banner after his predecessor's death.
Elite Mooks: His Mercenaries which are described as the most violent and prestigious fighters in the entire GLA. They also happen to be Scary Black Men.
Even Evil Has Standards: Pieter Coetzee speculates that this might be the reason why Sulaymaan has issued explicit kill-on-sight orders on woodcutters, poachers and similar criminals operating in his land which is largely lawless otherwise.
Pragmatic Villainy: Pieter also speculates it's being used as a hostage as he knows even China wouldn't risk the PR nightmare that destroying such a large amount of wildlife would cause.
Expy: His idea of a 'warrior heaven on Earth' is much akin to Metal Gear Solid's Outer Heaven, albeit much darker in practice.
Magnetic Hero: To the GLA. The loyalty of his followers was so strong that, after his supporters tried to bail him out of the US Black Sea Prison and only found a doppelganger, he returned from hiding to lead the GLA once again.
Rule of Symbolism: His Cell is called Golden Lion. Gold is the color of wealth and splendor, suggesting that he's primarily interested in his own riches rather than ideology. The lion is a symbol of power and royalty which stands for his leadership within the GLA.
Warrior Heaven: His goal is to set one up in Central Africa, turning the origin of mankind itself into the first true 'GLA nation'.
Whole Plot Reference: His 'Warrior Heaven' in Central Africa is a Wretched Hive of human depravity built squarely around the survival of the fittest where casual murder is treated as entertainment. It's not only a twisted version of Metal Gear's Outer Heaven, but also very reminiscent of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness (the update that provided background on the region was even named after the novel) to the point where the locals perform bloody rituals in reverence of Sulaymaan in his underground fortress.
People's Republic of China
Red Army General 'Hammer' Xing Chen
Based on a True Story: His heroic exploits were later adapted into a war movie trilogy called 'The Hammer' in-universe.
Been There, Shaped History: It is retrospectively stated that he took part in most of the original Chinese missions as a basic Red Guard.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Played with. While his rise up the ranks can be chalked up good deal to propaganda value, the man is shown to really live up to his reputation.
Zerg Rush: Ironically, he's not afraid to do this despite his own background as a lowly Red Guard.
Special Weapons General Hu Tan Mau
Glass Cannon: His units have powerful nuclear, napalm and EMP effects, but tend to die rather easily and sometimes also messily.
Improbable Age: Judging by his portrait (which, as with the other Chinese and American Generals, was taken from the unreleased Alpha game) he seems awfully young for a General, which is handwaved by the fact that his career benefitted from the influence of his father, a wealthy businessman with practical relationships to the Party.
EMP: He uses plenty of electromagnetic pulse weapons...
Modern Major General: Subverted. He may lack active combat experience and likely had risen the ranks in part due to his father's influence. On the other hand, he's also shown to be very competent at what he does, successfully making General Leang's old department a success story.
Take That: He took over a Special Weapons unit that was under the command of Boss General Leang and turned it into a proper PLA division as opposed to the silly, half-baked mishmash faction seen in Zero Hour.
Secret Police General Bao Jin
Big Brother Is Watching: Despite in-universe liberalisations, Jin still represents the authoritarian police state / social engineering side of China.
Zeppelins from Another World: His signature unit, the Propaganda Airship, is a futuristic airship with a design that makes it look like a giant, flying whale...with Gattling guns and large propaganda screens that display inspirational pictures. Or in some cases, Trollface images The Chinese most likely built this thing solely for the sake of showing the world that they could.