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Rex Romanum
April 22nd, 2012, 01:46 AM
Just re-read my old thread (http://alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=173016), and think this may be a good set up for some interesting discussions...

So, which side that you think will win in these hypothetical battles:

1. Macedonian Army during the reign of Alexander the Great vs. Roman Army during Caesar's Gallic Wars
2. Parthian Army during 1st century BC vs. Rashidun Army during Muslim Conquests
3. Roman Army during Trajan's Dacian Wars vs. Combined European Armies during the Crusades
4. Mongol Army during Mongol Conquests vs. Spanish Army during 16th century AD
5. Prussian Army during the reign of Frederick the Great vs. French Army during Napoleonic Wars
6. Union Army during American Civil War vs. Prussian Army during Franco-Prussian War
7. British Expeditionary Forces during WWI vs. Red Army during 1920s

(Yeah, the last one is post-1900, but still...)

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 01:49 AM
Just re-read my old thread (http://alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=173016), and think this may be a good set up for some interesting discussions...

So, which side that you think will win in these hypothetical battles:

1. Macedonian Army during the reign of Alexander the Great vs. Roman Army during Caesar's Gallic Wars
2. Parthian Army during 1st century BC vs. Rashidun Army during Muslim Conquests
3. Roman Army during Trajan's Dacian Wars vs. Combined European Armies during the Crusades
4. Mongol Army during Mongol Conquests vs. Spanish Army during 16th century AD
5. Prussian Army during the reign of Frederick the Great vs. French Army during Napoleonic Wars
6. Union Army during American Civil War vs. Prussian Army during Franco-Prussian War
7. British Expeditionary Forces during WWI vs. Red Army during 1920s

(Yeah, the last one is post-1900, but still...)

1: Depends on how useful Caesar's spearmen are.
2: Uncertain.
3: Rome, hands down.
4: Unclear.
5: France.
6: Prussia.

willbell
April 22nd, 2012, 02:11 AM
Your technique seems to be to pair more advanced armies against good commanders, here is the ones I can guess:
1. Macedon FTW.
3. Europe by far out matches Trajan in power and weapons.
4. Genghis Khan is definitely going to win.

Zuvarq
April 22nd, 2012, 02:18 AM
The Spanish will probably win against the Mongols, their guns and cannons will scare the Mongols as well as give them a pretty good advantage when actually fighting them.

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 02:34 AM
Your technique seems to be to pair more advanced armies against good commanders, here is the ones I can guess:
1. Macedon FTW.
3. Europe by far out matches Trajan in power and weapons.
4. Genghis Khan is definitely going to win.

3: Weapons haven't changed much, except for crossbows and lances, and neither of those are invincible superweapons.

Power? We see the armies of the First Crusade at what, thirty five thousand? That's not going to match Trajan's forces, especially when a tenth at most of that is the better-than-anything-Trajan-has heavy cavalry (and the infantry ranges from inferior to useless by Roman standards).

eliphas8
April 22nd, 2012, 02:43 AM
One question for the Frederick v Napoleon thing, does Fritz get the Prussian army of Napoleons era or the one he had when he was leading?

Benjamin XVIII
April 22nd, 2012, 02:47 AM
I can't beleive people are voting Mongols over the Spanish... Horse archery tactics destroy disorganized cavalry and especially ones as well
organized as the Mongolians horse archers can take down many a force. But the bane of horse archers is men on foot with missle weapons. Musketeers protected from cavalry by pikemen PLUS relatively light cavalry armed with sabers and muskets/crossbows/pistols is a recipe for disaster for an army that relies primarily on horse archers and light lancers; not to mention the spainish having a high degree of organization themselves; which was OTL the Mongols
Main advantage.

Benjamin XVIII
April 22nd, 2012, 02:49 AM
One question for the Frederick v Napoleon thing, does Fritz get the Prussian army of Napoleons era or the one he had when he was leading?

Either way... Fredrick seems to have been very lucky. I think Napoleon would
Trounce him; and I say this as a Francophobic germanophile...

eliphas8
April 22nd, 2012, 02:51 AM
Either way... Fredrick seems to have been very lucky. I think Napoleon would
Trounce him; and I say this as a Francophobic germanophile...

I disagree, Frederick was basically the Napoleon of his day (in terms of military skill) so if they where given armies of similar quality then we could see Frederick pull of a victory.

Zmflavius
April 22nd, 2012, 03:01 AM
1) Roman Army. AFAIK, the Late Republican army was far superior in both flexibility and quality than Alexander's forces. Assuming both forces are equally well-supplied, and given that Caesar commands the Romans, I can easily see a Roman victory.
2) I can't say for certain. I don't know all that much about either army, though slightly more about Parthians than Rashiduns.
3) Europeans, given the technological advances in mounted warfare, and the general superiority of mounted armor to infantry, whatever their quality.
4) Mongols, given enough time to adapt to the situation.
5) I'd like to think Prussians, but I think that the revolutions in warfare that so benefited Napoleon would give Napoleon a slight edge. Napoleon himself acknowledged that he would never have defeated Prussia had Frederick the Great led Prussia, but I still think it's edgy
6) Prussian Army, without a doubt. Many of the Prussian Army's advantages were in rapidity of mobilization, but they still have a fair edge in troop quality, due to their peacetime draft; compared with the fact that the US army was almost all wartime volunteers, and the generally abysmal quality of Union generals, I don't see the Prussians facing very much difficulty at all.
7) Red Army, because BEF, despite their very high quality, simply lacked the irreplaceable experience the Red Army would have acquired during WWI, the Russian Civil War, and the Polish-Soviet War. If we're talking late war, then we have two armies of similar quality, but I'd still award the Red Army a slight edge.

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 03:03 AM
3) Heavy cavalry's effectiveness against steady, well trained foot is greatly impaired. And that's the only thing the Europeans have going for them in this match up - the (relatively few) knights.

6) Where does the idea that the Union army was generally lead by bunglers come from?

Zmflavius
April 22nd, 2012, 03:10 AM
3) Heavy cavalry's effectiveness against steady, well trained foot is greatly impaired. And that's the only thing the Europeans have going for them in this match up - the (relatively few) knights.

6) Where does the idea that the Union army was generally lead by bunglers come from?

3) How so? This is an area where I draw virtually all my knowledge from Total War, so please forgive any ignorance.

6) The political generals primarily; but many Union generals in the early part of the war hardly covered themselves with glory either.

eliphas8
April 22nd, 2012, 03:19 AM
3) How so? This is an area where I draw virtually all my knowledge from Total War, so please forgive any ignorance.

6) The political generals primarily; but many Union generals in the early part of the war hardly covered themselves with glory either.

3) Heavy cavalry's main advantage is that it can easily break undisiplined armies, The Roman Army of Trajans time had quite a bit of experience dealing with heavy cavalry already because of several wars with Parthia in his lifetime. Their army likely wouldn't break and the backbone of the Roman army is its heavy infantry which can outperform any Crusader infantry. The Romans also had their own mercenary heavy cavalry that they made use of much of the time.
6) The US didnt have terirble leadership, it was decent for the time (not breathtaking but better than some). Prussia would still win largely because this is a midrange power vs the most powerful army on the planet.

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 03:23 AM
3) How so? This is an area where I draw virtually all my knowledge from Total War, so please forgive any ignorance.

6) The political generals primarily; but many Union generals in the early part of the war hardly covered themselves with glory either.

3) Briefly, heavy cavalry shock relies on fear as much as anything else - breaking up tight, secure formations is important.

And horses have a problem with charging at what amounts to a wall.

So it's not useless by any means, but it isn't going to be nearly as easy as it looks. Look at how long it took the Normans to break Harold at Hastings, and that with a worse disciplined army than Trajan will have.

6) Yeah, but it's not as if the Prussian army was uniformly awesome either. Every army has its share of losers.

I agree the Prussians would win, I just think the incompetence of the Union army's commanders is often overestimated.

Eliphas beat me to it, but I figure its worth saying anyway.

Although the 1860s US is a bit more than "midrange".

Zmflavius
April 22nd, 2012, 03:28 AM
3) Ah, I see. I was given to understand that utilized properly, heavy cavalry could reasonably be expected to eventually break apart any infantry formation.
6) I think it might primarily depend on the period of the war. By the late Civil War, I think that the US leadership was certainly capable, and able to fight on a level with the Prussians. Early on, not so much. Overall, I agree however

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 03:30 AM
3) Ah, I see. I was given to understand that utilized properly, heavy cavalry could reasonably be expected to eventually break apart any infantry formation.
6) I think it might primarily depend on the period of the war. By the late Civil War, I think that the US leadership was certainly capable, and able to fight on a level with the Prussians. Early on, not so much. Overall, I agree however

3) Yeah, it's not that simple. It is a powerful force, but it's going to have a hard time doing so.

6) Fair enough.

twovultures
April 22nd, 2012, 04:16 AM
I can't beleive people are voting Mongols over the Spanish... But the bane of horse archers is men on foot with missle weapons. Musketeers protected from cavalry by pikemen PLUS relatively light cavalry armed with sabers and muskets/crossbows/pistols is a recipe for disaster for an army that relies primarily on horse archers and light lancers; not to mention the spainish having a high degree of organization themselves; which was OTL the Mongols main advantage.

The Spanish historically did very poorly against 'primitive' light cavalry in the Americas. They were never able to defeat the Apaches or the Comanches, despite these peoples using stone-age technology. And while 16th century guns were useful to crack the armor of heavy cavarly, they also had extremely poor range and aim and so against a lightly-armored force were not any more useful than arrows.

Admittedly it would depend on whose turf the battle is being fought and who makes a full frontal assault on whom, but I think the Mongols actually have a pretty good chance against the Spaniards.

Benjamin XVIII
April 22nd, 2012, 12:40 PM
The Spanish historically did very poorly against 'primitive' light cavalry in the Americas. They were never able to defeat the Apaches or the Comanches, despite these peoples using stone-age technology. And while 16th century guns were useful to crack the armor of heavy cavarly, they also had extremely poor range and aim and so against a lightly-armored force were not any more useful than arrows.

Admittedly it would depend on whose turf the battle is being fought and who makes a full frontal assault on whom, but I think the Mongols actually have a pretty good chance against the Spaniards.

I wasn't aware the Spanish were fighting apaches in the 16th century... Or that the apache or comanches had horses in that century.I'll give you the benefit of the doubt though.

But you are right about location. I'll give you this; if the spanish attacked, they would probably end up bungling into a trap and be in trouble, but it would still be a very tough nut to crack for the mongols.

If the mongols attacked though, I would say that their horse archers would get shot up by muskets, while being unable to charge. Also, somewhat "unfairly" the Spanish would understand what the mongols were doing; while the mongols would not be familiar with the kind of army Spain would field.

So were is this theoretical encounter? At the edge of Spain's empire in the great plains of America? Or is it on the steppes of Asia? Or is it outside Sevilla? The forces Spain could employ in Europe would be considerably greater in both numbers and experience that what they would be fielding against the cherokees.

I would assume Genghis Khan is the man on the strategic offensive here; it just seems right. The question is, can his instincts and ability to organize overcome the technological gap? The Spanish musketeers can blast away at the mongols without being under threat of a charge because of the pikemen. Plus the Spanish cavalry would be able to run down the mongols.

All in all, I would give the tactical advantage to the Spanish. However, given the "leadership" gap, I would give the mongols the advantage operationally.

I also want to point out the Russian experience in battling the Crimean Khanate and fighting off other armies heavy with Horse Archers. They did primarily arm their soldiers with muskets, and won handily; though i grant that demographics played a role there as well.

All of that's not to mention the fact that even those tough mongol warriors would probably pee themselves once the muskets started firing. and who can blame them?

Benjamin XVIII
April 22nd, 2012, 12:48 PM
I disagree, Frederick was basically the Napoleon of his day (in terms of military skill) so if they where given armies of similar quality then we could see Frederick pull of a victory.

I love fritz. I really do, but he was really a very reactive general who's primary tactical/operational strategy was to strengthen one side of his army over the other, a strategy in use since ancient Greece the name of which is escaping me at the moment.

Napoleon showed a lot more battlefield skill. Actually, they are sort of opposites in a way, fritz was able to fight off France, Austria and Russia by being in the right place at the right time; but he rarely came off with a victory that wasn't at huge cost to himself :(

Napoleon could kick anyone's ass one on one (or one on two) on the battlefield, but managed to lose the war.

Nappy wins battles, fritz wins wars. But here we are discussing a battle.

Arachnid
April 22nd, 2012, 01:18 PM
1. Macedonian Army during the reign of Alexander the Great vs. Roman Army during Caesar's Gallic Wars

Romans no question, big technological and tactical difference and the Romans were hammering good pike armies two centuries before Caesar.

2. Parthian Army during 1st century BC vs. Rashidun Army during Muslim Conquests

Once again technology marches on.

3. Roman Army during Trajan's Dacian Wars vs. Combined European Armies during the Crusades

Same as above. Trajan's Legions would be completely unprepared for heavy, stirrup using cavalry which is an order of magnitude more dangerous than the "heavy" non-stirrup using cavalry they were used to.

4. Mongol Army during Mongol Conquests vs. Spanish Army during 16th century AD

Technology marches on, in this case firearms.

5. Prussian Army during the reign of Frederick the Great vs. French Army during Napoleonic Wars

Assuming equal numbers and Freddie and Nappy as the commander Prussia but it's a squeaker. 51-49

6. Union Army during American Civil War vs. Prussian Army during Franco-Prussian War

Once again it's a squeaker but the Prussians have superior C&C at the higher levels. 52-48

7. British Expeditionary Forces during WWI vs. Red Army during 1920s

BEF easily. Best force in WW1 and comparatively the best force Britain deployed since the Hundred Years War.

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 01:23 PM
3. Roman Army during Trajan's Dacian Wars vs. Combined European Armies during the Crusades

Same as above. Trajan's Legions would be completely unprepared for heavy, stirrup using cavalry


No more so than the crusaders would be unprepared for something able to counter it reasonably well, and this ignores the other 90% of the Crusader armies - other than the knights, that is.

Also, and this to the OP: What crusades? The difference between the crusading armies of the First Crusade and the crusading armies of the Sixth Crusade is worth noting.

Flocculencio
April 22nd, 2012, 01:26 PM
3) Ah, I see. I was given to understand that utilized properly, heavy cavalry could reasonably be expected to eventually break apart any infantry formation.


No- this is why discipline is so important. If infantry can be trained to stand and receive a charge they can break it. It's when the cavalry can make that first break they can drive infantry where they will but infantry that holds the line generally trumps cavalry. This was why the East India Company Armies were so effective in India against armies which were technologically equal (or in the case of some Indian states, superior in terms of artillery). European methods of infantry drill served them in good stead because it gave them infantry that could reliably advance into artillery fire whereas Indian armies at the time tended to invest in training and equipment for their artillery, leaving the infantry as the usual ill disciplined mob.

robertp6165
April 22nd, 2012, 02:52 PM
I can't beleive people are voting Mongols over the Spanish... Horse archery tactics destroy disorganized cavalry and especially ones as well
organized as the Mongolians horse archers can take down many a force. But the bane of horse archers is men on foot with missle weapons. Musketeers protected from cavalry by pikemen PLUS relatively light cavalry armed with sabers and muskets/crossbows/pistols is a recipe for disaster for an army that relies primarily on horse archers and light lancers; not to mention the spainish having a high degree of organization themselves; which was OTL the Mongols
Main advantage.

Except that...1) the Mongols can put 100,000 men, or even more, in the field, whereas the Spanish armies would be lucky to number half that; 2) the Mongol composite bow significantly outranges the missile weapons carried by the Spaniards, with the exception of cannon, and there are few of those in the Spanish army; 3) the Mongols are commanded by one of the greatest generals in history, Genghis Khan.

The Mongols will deal with the Spanish cavalry the way they did with many enemies in OTL...they'll feign flight and draw them into an ambush where they are exposed to fire from all sides. Once the cavalry are wiped out, they'll barrage the relatively immobile Spanish infantry from beyond musket range until they finally break and run. Once the Spaniards run, they're dog meat.

Arachnid
April 22nd, 2012, 03:05 PM
No more so than the crusaders would be unprepared for something able to counter it reasonably well, and this ignores the other 90% of the Crusader armies - other than the knights, that is.

Also, and this to the OP: What crusades? The difference between the crusading armies of the First Crusade and the crusading armies of the Sixth Crusade is worth noting.

The idea that Medival armies were a few knights and a mob of undisciplined peasants isn't born out in reality. They were combined arms forces that were just as flexible as Trajan's Legions and considerably more balanced. For starters the Crusaders did have heavy infantry, specifically sergeants-at-arms, who were just as well armed and equipped as legionaries. The Crusaders also have a much stronger ranged element, either crossbowmen or ideally longbowmen. Finally of course they have the hammer in the form of the Knights.

Assuming the Crusader's aren't led by a complete moron like at Agincourt or Hattin your legionary force is going to be softened up by the archers and heavy foot while the knights annihilate the Roman cavalry. Then already having suffered casualties they are going to have to suffer repeated charges to the flanks and rear from the Crusader heavy cavalry. Trajan's boys would be toast.

thrashing_mad
April 22nd, 2012, 03:21 PM
If the mongols attacked though, I would say that their horse archers would get shot up by muskets, while being unable to charge. Also, somewhat "unfairly" the Spanish would understand what the mongols were doing; while the mongols would not be familiar with the kind of army Spain would field.

16th century firearms were rubbish. They were highly inaccurate, had loong reload times, and their range wasn't so great. They were only truly useful during that period when firing concentrated salvos at tightly packed pikemen formations. Against scattered, fast moving Mongol cavalry they would be totally useless - OTL even though PLC or Russia fielded firearms based armies, (or western style pikemen and 'caracolle' cavalry) they used mostly light/medium cavalry (eg. Cossacks) against tatars up until 18th century. Spanish army composed of slow, cumbersome pikemen formations, ineffective arquebusiers/musketeers, and token heavy cavalry would be crushed by mobile Mongol army (in an open battle at least).

Rex Romanum
April 22nd, 2012, 10:54 PM
Also, and this to the OP: What crusades? The difference between the crusading armies of the First Crusade and the crusading armies of the Sixth Crusade is worth noting.
I'm thinking about "the strongest crusading armies". That's also why I choose Trajan's army instead of the other Emperor's.

Elfwine
April 22nd, 2012, 11:17 PM
The idea that Medival armies were a few knights and a mob of undisciplined peasants isn't born out in reality. They were combined arms forces that were just as flexible as Trajan's Legions and considerably more balanced. For starters the Crusaders did have heavy infantry, specifically sergeants-at-arms, who were just as well armed and equipped as legionaries. The Crusaders also have a much stronger ranged element, either crossbowmen or ideally longbowmen. Finally of course they have the hammer in the form of the Knights.

Sergeants-at-arms are still a minority, not the majority, and maille (to use the spelling a friend of mine who makes the stuff uses to distinguish it from the other sort of mail) expensive. You're not going to have them (the Crusading armies on the whole) fully equipped, you will see that for the Romans.

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/crusades/articles/arsuf.aspx

Where's the heavy foot?

This is not a completely worthless rabble, but it's certainly inferior in foot to what Trajan has.


Assuming the Crusader's aren't led by a complete moron like at Agincourt or Hattin your legionary force is going to be softened up by the archers and heavy foot while the knights annihilate the Roman cavalry. Then already having suffered casualties they are going to have to suffer repeated charges to the flanks and rear from the Crusader heavy cavalry. Trajan's boys would be toast.And of course, the Romans have no counter to archery - oh wait they do. And what heavy foot? Seriously, what heavy foot?

As for charging the flanks and rear - assuming for discussion's sake the crusaders are smart enough to do that (distinctly possible but not a given) - what, the Romans won't guard those? :rolleyes:

I'm thinking about "the strongest crusading armies". That's also why I choose Trajan's army instead of the other Emperor's.

Then we need something with reliable figures on Barbarossa's army, because the Third Crusade is my nomination for the strongest force - or maybe the Seventh Crusade, but that was smaller and definitely worse lead.

Arachnid
April 23rd, 2012, 12:05 AM
Sergeants-at-arms are still a minority, not the majority, and maille (to use the spelling a friend of mine who makes the stuff uses to distinguish it from the other sort of mail) expensive. You're not going to have them (the Crusading armies on the whole) fully equipped, you will see that for the Romans.

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/crusades/articles/arsuf.aspx

Where's the heavy foot?

This is not a completely worthless rabble, but it's certainly inferior in foot to what Trajan has.

I agree the Roman Heavy foot will make up a greater proportion of the army and be qualitatively superior to the Crusader foot. However the Crusaders will have some heavy foot who can go toe to toe with the legions.

And of course, the Romans have no counter to archery - oh wait they do. And what heavy foot? Seriously, what heavy foot?

Obviously the Romans have missile troops but like the cavalry the Roman missile troops would be outclassed having shortbows and slings. Which are qualitatively inferior to the Crusader crossbows and especially longbows.

As for charging the flanks and rear - assuming for discussion's sake the crusaders are smart enough to do that (distinctly possible but not a given) - what, the Romans won't guard those? :rolleyes:


What I meant is that thanks to the Crusaders winning the cavalry battle they will be able to use their most powerful element where an when the want. In contrast slower legionaries aren't going to be launching flanking manoeuvres. Obviously the legions are going to react, they aren't morons either but on balance it's better to be the side doing the flanking than being flanked.


The Romans do have an advantage in their heavy foot, but the Crusaders have the advantage in cavalry and missile troops and that will carry the day.

bsmart111
April 23rd, 2012, 12:06 AM
Are we talking the Union Army of 1862 or Sherman or Grants armies of late 1864?
If we are talking the 1864 armies we are talking about armies that could stand against withering fire, accept huge casualties and continue advancing. You are talking about an army that taught the rest of the world how to use railroads (and both repair and destroy them) I don't think the Prussian army had the experience of having to press on after huge casualties that the Union Army did. I don't think the Prussian army had to move the distances that the Union Army showed itself capable of operating over.

I think the Union Army in 1864 was one of the greatest armies of all time (Along with the Soviet Army of 1944-45 and The German army of July 1941 among others)

Arachnid
April 23rd, 2012, 12:16 AM
Well obviously the Union army was better after 4 years of war than at the start but that standard you should compare it to the Prussian Army of 1870 after it had fought 3 victorious wars in rapid succession. The Prussians had not only smashed Denmark, then Austria and finally France improving all the while but had benefited from the lessons learned during the American Civil War. The Prussian Army of 1870 was superior to the Union Army of 1864 thanks to time marching on, and the Prussian Army of 1860 was undoubtedly superior to the Union Army of 1860.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 12:17 AM
16th century firearms were rubbish. They were highly inaccurate, had loong reload times, and their range wasn't so great. They were only truly useful during that period when firing concentrated salvos at tightly packed pikemen formations. Against scattered, fast moving Mongol cavalry they would be totally useless - OTL even though PLC or Russia fielded firearms based armies, (or western style pikemen and 'caracolle' cavalry) they used mostly light/medium cavalry (eg. Cossacks) against tatars up until 18th century. Spanish army composed of slow, cumbersome pikemen formations, ineffective arquebusiers/musketeers, and token heavy cavalry would be crushed by mobile Mongol army (in an open battle at least).

Have you ever fired a gun or had one fired at you? 16th century guns weren't all that reliable, but there is a reason that they replaced bows... It's quite the myth that early muskets were "useless." if the Mongols concentrated enough to be effective they would be vulnerable to volleys, which would tear them apart.

And they would have a much harder time with Spanish cavalry armed as light lancers as they were themselves or with pistols or crossbows. You have to think of the morale element in all this. Guns are scary, especially "ineffective 16th century ones" because they make a big morale dent, especially in an army with no experiance of them.

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 12:21 AM
I agree the Roman Heavy foot will make up a greater proportion of the army and be qualitatively superior to the Crusader foot. However the Crusaders will have some heavy foot who can go toe to toe with the legions.


Where's the heavy foot in the forces at Arsuf? It's not mentioned, curiously.

Picked as an actual example of what kind of force Trajan's men are facing where we have a description of the composition and good leadership.


Obviously the Romans have missile troops but like the cavalry the Roman missile troops would be outclassed having shortbows and slings. Which are qualitatively inferior to the Crusader crossbows and especially longbows.
Slingers seem to be damn useful, although I don't have the foggiest idea how they compare to crossbowmen (which is what's relevant here - how the Roman missile troops compare to Crusader missile troops, not if their weapons beat crossbows in a test of the weapons).


What I meant is that thanks to the Crusaders winning the cavalry battle they will be able to use their most powerful element where an when the want. In contrast slower legionaries aren't going to be launching flanking manoeuvres. Obviously the legions are going to react, they aren't morons either but on balance it's better to be the side doing the flanking than being flanked. Agreed. But it's better still to be the side with a better army, and the crusader army is too lightly armored (on the whole).


The Romans do have an advantage in their heavy foot, but the Crusaders have the advantage in cavalry and missile troops and that will carry the day.I wouldn't bet on it. The Roman shields are likely to bear up decently to any Crusader missile fire and the issue of heavy cavalry got addressed earlier.


Benjamin XVIII: Especially to horses. Men might stand sudden fear from gunpowder. Horses . . . not so much.

Although I think the Mongols had more than just light horse, that is their main asset, so . . .

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 12:29 AM
Except that...1) the Mongols can put 100,000 men, or even more, in the field, whereas the Spanish armies would be lucky to number half that; 2) the Mongol composite bow significantly outranges the missile weapons carried by the Spaniards, with the exception of cannon, and there are few of those in the Spanish army; 3) the Mongols are commanded by one of the greatest generals in history, Genghis Khan.

The Mongols will deal with the Spanish cavalry the way they did with many enemies in OTL...they'll feign flight and draw them into an ambush where they are exposed to fire from all sides. Once the cavalry are wiped out, they'll barrage the relatively immobile Spanish infantry from beyond musket range until they finally break and run. Once the Spaniards run, they're dog meat.

If the exact situation you described above happened then they would win. But anyone could describe any situation like that, I could describe one were the Mongols do something retarted and end up in trouble too.

As far as the bow is concerned. Have you ever fired a bow? That "twice the range" stuff is crap, except under ideal conditions and even then it's hard to pull off. I know that the Mongol horsemen were excellent at what they did, but hitting a target from the back of a horse with a bow is hard, and not achievable at the supposed "max" ranges of a certain kind of bow. I fired recurve bows at targets at fifty yards and could manage after four months of training everyday to consistently hit the bullseye... Standing in one spot, in nice weather, and NOT being shot at by a gun and NOT on the back of a horse.

The numbers is a good point though :0

My point is that it would come down to location and objectives. If the Mongols had to take a certain place, they might end up in trouble in say the alps. If the Spanish are in totally open terrain they would probably also be in trouble.

To be honest I was just sniffing some Mongol fanboyism and felt the need to adress it :D

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 12:35 AM
The Mongols don't have to hit individual targets, firing enough arrows at a mass of tightly packed Spaniards will hit something.

Not to mention that four months of training is nothing compared to what the Mongols have.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 12:41 AM
The Mongols don't have to hit individual targets, firing enough arrows at a mass of tightly packed Spaniards will hit something.

Not to mention that four months of training is nothing compared to what the Mongols have.

The Mongols have indeed made extensive use of their bows and would not need to be hitting individuals. The Spanish don't need to hit individuals either, just pull the trigger and watch Mongols horses freak out and run. :D
I'm happy to admit their are situations in which the Mongols could win, but they aren't guaranteed a victory against an enemy with a 300 year tech advantage, that's all.

And I wasn't comparing myself to them, just pointing out that people tend to hand wave "the Mongols could do it!"

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 12:58 AM
The Mongols have indeed made extensive use of their bows and would not need to be hitting individuals. The Spanish don't need to hit individuals either, just pull the trigger and watch Mongols horses freak out and run. :D


Which, at close enough range, would indeed be a problem - especially as from what I understand of steppe horse archery tactics (as distinct from say, how the Byzantines made use of horse archery to support their main force), they're used at closer than maximum range.


I'm happy to admit their are situations in which the Mongols could win, but they aren't guaranteed a victory against an enemy with a 300 year tech advantage, that's all.

And I wasn't comparing myself to them, just pointing out that people tend to hand wave "the Mongols could do it!"

Agreed on both. The Mongols were good, but they lost battles even without a tech disadvantage. With it, they're going to have to come up with something better than "lol we have horse archers and u dont".

Zmflavius
April 23rd, 2012, 01:06 AM
Slingers seem to be damn useful, although I don't have the foggiest idea how they compare to crossbowmen (which is what's relevant here - how the Roman missile troops compare to Crusader missile troops, not if their weapons beat crossbows in a test of the weapons).

AFAIK, crossbows are definitely superior to slings. There's simply magnitudes greater in force, and I'm almost certain they have a much better range. However, I think that Roman slingers would almost certainly be more highly trained than Crusader crossbowmen.

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 01:11 AM
AFAIK, crossbows are definitely superior to slings. There's simply magnitudes greater in force, and I'm almost certain they have a much better range. However, I think that Roman slingers would almost certainly be more highly trained than Crusader crossbowmen.

And the rate of fire issue comes in as well.

I'd certainly take a crossbow over a sling from what I know, but it would be kind of amusing to watch the crossbowmen of say, Richard's army, be picked off by the slingers.

Crossbows have a somewhat longer range than longbows and hit harder, but their confrontations tended to favor the faster firing weapon.

Flocculencio
April 23rd, 2012, 02:05 AM
However, I think that Roman slingers would almost certainly be more highly trained than Crusader crossbowmen.

That's a rather large assumption. IIRC mediaeval crossbowmen tended to be military professionals and often formed mercenary corps units of their own.

Zmflavius
April 23rd, 2012, 02:11 AM
That's a rather large assumption. IIRC mediaeval crossbowmen tended to be military professionals and often formed mercenary corps units of their own.

My understanding is that the proliferation of mercenary crossbowmen took place nearer to the end of the Middle Ages. So not so for, say, a First Crusade army, but possibly for a Sixth Crusade army. Well, maybe slightly later than that.

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 02:17 AM
My understanding is that the proliferation of mercenary crossbowmen took place nearer to the end of the Middle Ages. So not so for, say, a First Crusade army, but possibly for a Sixth Crusade army. Well, maybe slightly later than that.

This mentions them all the way back to the First Crusade: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genoese_Crossbowmen#section_1

But their existence - as in, the possibility of finding them in a 12th century army - and their presence in any given one are not the same thing.

Duke 4
April 23rd, 2012, 02:19 AM
Two most interesting ones for me are Trajan vs the Crusaders and the USA Civil war forces vs Prussia. I believe that Trajan would have no problem. His forces were a professional army. The best of the best. The Crusaders were a mob with some very good heavy horse soldiers. For the Civil war Union soldiers vs Prussia. Are Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, leading the Union? If so it is no contest. The Union wins hands down. If Burnsides or Pope is leading the Union the Prussians I would think could pull it off. I have though read many accounts of the Unions great grandsons beating the Prussans great grandsons not once but twice in the next 80 years. Many an army has under estimated the fighting ability of the American military.

twovultures
April 23rd, 2012, 02:20 AM
Have you ever fired a gun or had one fired at you? 16th century guns weren't all that reliable, but there is a reason that they replaced bows... It's quite the myth that early muskets were "useless." if the Mongols concentrated enough to be effective they would be vulnerable to volleys, which would tear them apart.

And they would have a much harder time with Spanish cavalry armed as light lancers as they were themselves or with pistols or crossbows. You have to think of the morale element in all this. Guns are scary, especially "ineffective 16th century ones" because they make a big morale dent, especially in an army with no experiance of them.

You know Benjamin, it's really refreshing to finally encounter a pro 16th-century gun, anti bow and arrow viewpoint. In most of the discussions I've had on guns versus bows (pretty much always about Native Americans resisting colonization), the opinion by the people discussing the military aspects is that muskets were useless and cumbersome and would fail against arrows in any situation. Which, of course, begs the question-why would Europeans use guns, innovate on the original design, and come to the modern versions of firearms if bows and arrows were so freaking great? Why did bow and arrow cultures take up guns when they encountered them? So thanks for the succinct explanation for the strengths of early guns.

eliphas8
April 23rd, 2012, 02:21 AM
That's a rather large assumption. IIRC mediaeval crossbowmen tended to be military professionals and often formed mercenary corps units of their own.

Well thats also true of Roman slingers who where often recruited from minority groups within the empire who had been using the weapons all throughout their lives for hunting and other thing. It should also be noted that the biggest advantage of using a Crossbow was that you didnt need to be that skilled to use one and that bow users tended to actually be more akin to professional soldiers.

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 02:23 AM
You know Benjamin, it's really refreshing to finally encounter a pro 16th-century gun, anti bow and arrow viewpoint. In most of the discussions I've had on guns versus bows (pretty much always about Native Americans resisting colonization), the opinion by the people discussing the military aspects is that muskets were useless and cumbersome and would fail against arrows in any situation. Which, of course, begs the question-why would Europeans use guns, innovate on the original design, and come to the modern versions of firearms if bows and arrows were so freaking great? Why did bow and arrow cultures take up guns when they encountered them? So thanks for the succinct explanation for the strengths of early guns.

I think it has to be noted that guns being something you could train any idiot with has to be noted as a huge advantage for raising armies, but not necessarily relevant to whether a good archer would beat a gunman or not.

And judging by England, not all bow using cultures thought the gun was the greatest thing ever and burned their bows as soon as it was invented. Or the Ottomans, for that matter.

Japan being a good example of gun development and use, despite deciding "Screw guns" for other reasons in the end.

eliphas8
April 23rd, 2012, 02:44 AM
Two most interesting ones for me are Trajan vs the Crusaders and the USA Civil war forces vs Prussia. I believe that Trajan would have no problem. His forces were a professional army. The best of the best. The Crusaders were a mob with some very good heavy horse soldiers. For the Civil war Union soldiers vs Prussia. Are Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, leading the Union? If so it is no contest. The Union wins hands down. If Burnsides or Pope is leading the Union the Prussians I would think could pull it off. I have though read many accounts of the Unions great grandsons beating the Prussans great grandsons not once but twice in the next 80 years. Many an army has under estimated the fighting ability of the American military.

Umm why? I mean the Prussian army was superior in almost every way during the Civil war and the fact that three of the unions best generals are leading it won't change the fact that they have by far the most effective officer corp in the world and a hefty technological advantage (not to mention the Prussian Numerical superiority).

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 02:56 AM
Umm why? I mean the Prussian army was superior in almost every way during the Civil war and the fact that three of the unions best generals are leading it won't change the fact that they have by far the most effective officer corp in the world and a hefty technological advantage (not to mention the Prussian Numerical superiority).

Do they really, as of the early 1860s? On the officer corps, that is.

And what numerical superiority?

Prussia has 200,100 men in 1860 - the US armies in the ACW are up to a million men strong total (figures for Prussia based on the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which lists "military personal", but given Prussia's minor navy, we can it barely counts).

Now, I don't know if that's counting all the reserves Prussia can call up, but it seems it took a while for that to be set up in full.

robertp6165
April 23rd, 2012, 03:24 AM
The Mongols have indeed made extensive use of their bows and would not need to be hitting individuals. The Spanish don't need to hit individuals either, just pull the trigger and watch Mongols horses freak out and run. :D

The thing you're forgetting is that relatively few men in a Spanish army were actually armed with muskets. The average Spanish Tercio numbered about 3,000 men. Of these approximately 500 were armed with muskets. Most 16th and 17th century Spanish armies were less than 30,000 strong. That means at most about 10 Tercios, supported by about 20-30 guns. Most armies were considerably smaller...in the 15-25 thousand range and fewer supporting cannon.

So assuming an army at the upper end of the scale, we've got about 5,000 muskets and about 30 cannon on the field. Against possibly 100,000 seasoned horse archers. Not very good odds.

As far as the horses freaking out, the Mongols were familiar with gunpowder. The Chinese used it against them...to very little effect...and the Mongols used it themselves, having learned it from the Chinese. The idea that the Mongol horses are going to "freak out" because of the explosions and noise is simply ludicrous.



Have you ever fired a bow? That "twice the range" stuff is crap, except under ideal conditions and even then it's hard to pull off. I know that the Mongol horsemen were excellent at what they did, but hitting a target from the back of a horse with a bow is hard, and not achievable at the supposed "max" ranges of a certain kind of bow. I fired recurve bows at targets at fifty yards and could manage after four months of training everyday to consistently hit the bullseye... Standing in one spot, in nice weather, and NOT being shot at by a gun and NOT on the back of a horse.

Those arguments might make sense if the Mongols had to hit individuals. But as you admitted, they don't. And because they don't, they don't need to come within effective range of the muskets. They can stand off outside musket range and rain arrows on the tightly packed Spanish formations, which will present perfect targets.

I'm happy to admit their are situations in which the Mongols could win, but they aren't guaranteed a victory against an enemy with a 300 year tech advantage, that's all.

About the only way I can see the Spaniards possibly coming out on top of such an engagement is if they have time to strongly fortify a position, including improvising some sort of overhead cover against plunging arrow fire. But then, Genghis Khan wouldn't give battle in such a situation, so it would never happen. :D

Zmflavius
April 23rd, 2012, 03:30 AM
I'm given to understand that the Spanish pike-to-musket ratio was more 2-1, so maybe 10k muskets. Still pretty shitty odds.

Kaiphranos
April 23rd, 2012, 03:33 AM
The problem with a lot of these is that so much depends on the circumstances of the battle--the terrain, the numbers, the quality of the commanders and the logistical and strategic situations. The problem with "equal numbers of guys line up on a flat open field and fight to the death" is that when given a choice, not everbody does that...

robertp6165
April 23rd, 2012, 03:41 AM
I'm given to understand that the Spanish pike-to-musket ratio was more 2-1, so maybe 10k muskets. Still pretty shitty odds.

The ratio changed over time. The early tercios had a lot of sword and buckler men who were later replaced by musketeers, raising the ratio of muskets upwards. And the composition of armies varied, of course. Some would be a little heavy on muskets compared to others. I was going for an average army.

Anticlimacus
April 23rd, 2012, 07:34 AM
The Spanish historically did very poorly against 'primitive' light cavalry in the Americas. They were never able to defeat the Apaches or the Comanches, despite these peoples using stone-age technology. And while 16th century guns were useful to crack the armor of heavy cavarly, they also had extremely poor range and aim and so against a lightly-armored force were not any more useful than arrows.

Admittedly it would depend on whose turf the battle is being fought and who makes a full frontal assault on whom, but I think the Mongols actually have a pretty good chance against the Spaniards.

This is funny. Please read about the "Dragones de Cuera". Spain keep control of the border, including the comanches, thanks to a small corps o few hundreds of mounted soldiers. How did the USA fared comparatively? The problem of Spain was not doctrine. The Dragones de Cuera were the perfect force to fight primitive cavalry, the problem was a lack of manpower.

However, these questions are ridiculous. In what conditions are these armies fighting? Terrain? This is as stupid as asking who would win King Kong or a T-Rex.

thrashing_mad
April 23rd, 2012, 12:04 PM
Have you ever fired a gun or had one fired at you? 16th century guns weren't all that reliable, but there is a reason that they replaced bows... It's quite the myth that early muskets were "useless." if the Mongols concentrated enough to be effective they would be vulnerable to volleys, which would tear them apart.

It's BS to compare 'gun' to matchlock arquebus, I'm sorry. Reason why they replaced bows was development of super-heavy cavalry, and in turn pikemen. As others mentioned - musketeers were support for them, not core of the army - this is not 18th century we are talking about. 16th century Poland had Landsknecht style pikemen, musketeers, as well as aromured 'pistoliers' cavalry - exact things Spanish army of that period had. But guess what - these troops were never used against Tatars. Instead, light/medium, often bow armed cavalry such as Cossacks or Pancerni were used well into late 17th century. This is historical, empirical evidence.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 12:24 PM
The problem with a lot of these is that so much depends on the circumstances of the battle--the terrain, the numbers, the quality of the commanders and the logistical and strategic situations. The problem with "equal numbers of guys line up on a flat open field and fight to the death" is that when given a choice, not everbody does that...

Yup. These types of things are remarkably silly when you think about it. But still somehow are great fun :D

I think it's just a blast to talk about these thing to people who's eyes don't glaze over the moment you speak.

Zmflavius
April 23rd, 2012, 12:27 PM
If you want to make it a fair fight, just say that each side is fighting a hypothetical war, not a battle, and that each country is equal in its ability to logistically support the army.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 01:10 PM
It's BS to compare 'gun' to matchlock arquebus, I'm sorry. Reason why they replaced bows was development of super-heavy cavalry, and in turn pikemen. As others mentioned - musketeers were support for them, not core of the army - this is not 18th century we are talking about. 16th century Poland had Landsknecht style pikemen, musketeers, as well as aromured 'pistoliers' cavalry - exact things Spanish army of that period had. But guess what - these troops were never used against Tatars. Instead, light/medium, often bow armed cavalry such as Cossacks or Pancerni were used well into late 17th century. This is historical, empirical evidence.

You're right, the matchlock arquebus was much louder, smokier, of a generally larger caliber, less reliable, and slower to fire. I am very familiar with firearms :p and have fired many flintlock muzzleloaders and many modern rifles and shotguns as well. I am well aware the comparison isn't perfect, but my point was that it is very frightening to be shot at by a gun, whereas with an arrow you probably won't know it's been fired until it lands in your shoulder. Bows were replaced for another reason though too, and it's economic:
Not every bowman can do what a mongol or tartar who grew up hunting from horseback can. Pretty much anybody can learn to use that matchlock musket effectively with a much shorter training time. That means the musket has a much lower marginal cost. If you lose one horse archer who's spent his life on horseback, training everyday with his bow, well, that's a big time investment lost. If I lose one musketeer that was trained for a week to load and fire his weapon and march in a line; it's a much smaller investment of time.
You are absolutely correct that guns came into there own due to ability to punch through armor and neuter heavy cavalry common at the time in Europe, and that the very effective horsearchers of the mongol armies would outclass 16th century musketeers, except in a volley, and to be completely honest, I admit to playing devil's advocate a bit here :D. I am doing so because I think it's BS to take such a strong stance to say "the mongols would do this and that and this and that like they did to everybody and WIN WIN WIN!" when they would be facing an enemy that they could not possibly have encountered before. From a purely tactical perspective I admit to probably overestimating the spanish a bit; but on the other hand, everyone seems to be automatically assuming that this battle is taking place on a flat open plain, where the spanish would be insane to fight; and not in less favorable terrain, were the mongols would not be able to use horse archery as effectively. The main point behind my various ramblings is that horse archery is anachronistically overrated; it was not the be-all end-all of premodern tactics and the mongols managed to lose plenty of battles. and not every battle takes place on a beautiful wide open plain with the sun setting in the background either, they happen were two armies meet, in plains, mountains, or wherever.

Now, if we say this is a war and not an individual battle (the circumstances of which are hard to nail down) the edge goes to the demographically superior mongols. Though they would have a LOT of europe to go through before they got to Spain I must say. If they had any reason to not burn through Europe (such as some sort of alliance or the fact that they would have thousands of castles to beseige, not impossible by any means but not fun, especially in central europe where there are lots of hills and little forests, which would favor infantry over cavalry) and they had to invade by sea (I am assuming it's the mongols going after the spanish) then we have a different story... Really though, Spain has a defensible land border with the Pyrenees and is King of the sea at this point in time, plus the mongols were terrible at seamanship and bungled every attempt at water based invasions that I can remember at this moment.

Now, all that said, I would not be the one in charge of a 16th century Spanish war effort, what with my knowledge of the future and experience (Medieval Total War :p) it would be possible to organize a defense along the mountains and maybe keep them at bay, to be honest I don't know enough about the Pyrenees to say how good of a border they would be.

In reality, I doubt that anyone in Spain at the time was a talented enough commander to take on a brilliant general like Genghis Khan who would have had more troops. It still doesn't mean they lose every battle though. I wouldn't totally underestimate the Spanish however, they managed to create a pretty big empire of their own you know, included a good chunk of an entire hemisphere at one point...

Alcatur
April 23rd, 2012, 01:17 PM
16th century Poland had Landsknecht style pikemen, musketeers, as well as aromured 'pistoliers' cavalry - exact things Spanish army of that period had. But guess what - these troops were never used against Tatars. Instead, light/medium, often bow armed cavalry such as Cossacks or Pancerni were used well into late 17th century. This is historical, empirical evidence.Actually it was exactly the opposite. Polish/Hungarian infantry of XVI century was much more shooty than Spanish exactly because of Eastern-style opponents. In fact when Stefan Batory created the "Chosen" Infantry (Piechota Wybraniecka) in 1570s he did not bother at all with pikes. Also since the very beginning of the century polish infantry banners were equipped with noticably larger amount of firearms than western ones as a counter to Tatar threat.

It is true that usually Tatar raids were engaged with cavalry, but it was mostly due to their speed and the fact you had to catch them; something Infantry was poorly equipped for. However general rules for engagement against Tatars were to use as much firepower as possible because they were very vulnerable to it, much more than to pure cavalry attacks; thats partially why Tatars were more often than not avoiding pitched battles - with large amount of firearms they were next to useless, even in the era when they were familiar with them (see how easily Tatar attacks were repulsed by polish centre at Berestechko on 3rd day or battle of Kamieniec Podolski in 1634 as examples).

Though I am not sure if Genghis-Khan Mongols would share this vulnerability to firearms (even though most nomad armies did).

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 01:21 PM
The thing you're forgetting is that relatively few men in a Spanish army were actually armed with muskets. The average Spanish Tercio numbered about 3,000 men. Of these approximately 500 were armed with muskets. Most 16th and 17th century Spanish armies were less than 30,000 strong. That means at most about 10 Tercios, supported by about 20-30 guns. Most armies were considerably smaller...in the 15-25 thousand range and fewer supporting cannon.

So assuming an army at the upper end of the scale, we've got about 5,000 muskets and about 30 cannon on the field. Against possibly 100,000 seasoned horse archers. Not very good odds.

As far as the horses freaking out, the Mongols were familiar with gunpowder. The Chinese used it against them...to very little effect...and the Mongols used it themselves, having learned it from the Chinese. The idea that the Mongol horses are going to "freak out" because of the explosions and noise is simply ludicrous.





Those arguments might make sense if the Mongols had to hit individuals. But as you admitted, they don't. And because they don't, they don't need to come within effective range of the muskets. They can stand off outside musket range and rain arrows on the tightly packed Spanish formations, which will present perfect targets.



About the only way I can see the Spaniards possibly coming out on top of such an engagement is if they have time to strongly fortify a position, including improvising some sort of overhead cover against plunging arrow fire. But then, Genghis Khan wouldn't give battle in such a situation, so it would never happen. :D

and I am found out. :eek: I realize the ratio would not have favored musketeers in the early 16th century, though it would be much higher later in the century. However, this hypothetical battle isn't necessarily against the largest possible mongol force on a wide open plain. If a Spanish commander could catch them say, in a mountain pass in the Pyrenees, the ability to concentrate infantry tightly would give them an advantage.

I do admit to playing devil's advocate though :D because honestly, I just get tired of the idea that certain forces were invincible military machines and that no circumstances could change that. "Alexander the great, "The Romans," the mongols, the "Germans"...ect. ect. ect." It's anachronistic really, in the circumstances they were in, the mongols did very well, in some mountainous terrain in Spain, or hell, close enough to the sea for Spanish galleons to give support to land troops, they might end up in trouble.

Also, one other thing, and I apologize for not breaking up your quote for this: Muskets are a lot different than the "gunpowder" weapons the Chinese used against the mongols. A chinese rocket filtering through the sky in your general direction is world's away from a musket ball tearing your leg off. Not to mention the cannons of course.

My point being just that it's not a done deal is all. There are certain things the Spaniards have going for them, technology is one, whether they could apply it effectively is indeed up in the air, since no such encounter ever took place.

Thanks for being specific in your arguments. I appreciate it greatly.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 01:42 PM
You know Benjamin, it's really refreshing to finally encounter a pro 16th-century gun, anti bow and arrow viewpoint. In most of the discussions I've had on guns versus bows (pretty much always about Native Americans resisting colonization), the opinion by the people discussing the military aspects is that muskets were useless and cumbersome and would fail against arrows in any situation. Which, of course, begs the question-why would Europeans use guns, innovate on the original design, and come to the modern versions of firearms if bows and arrows were so freaking great? Why did bow and arrow cultures take up guns when they encountered them? So thanks for the succinct explanation for the strengths of early guns.

Thanks. I like to play the contrarian sometimes.

People underestimate early guns because they only think about what the top 1% of bowmen were capable of. They say "this bow has a 200 yard range and can fire 7 shots a minute!" While disregarding that even for the best bowmen, they won't hit squat at 200 yards because on an even mildly windy day their arrow will blow many yards if not tens of yards off target, and that firing seven shots a minute with a bow is not something someone, anyone, not the strongest man on earth, could keep up for more than a few minutes (go fire 20 arrows in 3 minutes and find out how your arm feels!) .

Guns on the other hand are not nearly as effected by wind, and have a much lower training time and a simpler manual of arms, plus they are scary and create wounds which are more likely to lead to a causality, by which I mean, a musket ball bill definitely take someone out of a battle if it hits them, and arrow may find a shield and stick of bounce off of a piece of armor. Economically though if you lose one bowman you've lost multiple years training him if he's any good; if I lose one musketeer I can have him 100% replaced in a week or two, and that's all I've lost. It's essentially economic, musketeers have a lower marginal cost to achieve effectiveness. A bowman with two weeks training would be practically useless.

It's true that some master bowmen could beat some musketeers. It's also true that those master bowmen could have to face the same force (not the exact same force obviously) again in a week because those men would have been replaced.

It's instructive to remember that it was Europeans carrying flintlock and percussion cap muskets/rifles that colonized a sizable chunk of the world. Well trained and drilled men with muskets (especially flintlock or PC, I admit) are the deadliest pre-modern force there is, it's a style of warfare which maximized destruction to the point that armies avoided battles because even a win meant you lost 30-40% of your men. Imagine an army like this coming into contact with one that didn't maximize destruction in this way? I'll stop now though because I'm beginning to project a later version of warfare onto this.

In a specific Mongol versus Tercio scenario the Mongols hold many advantages, chief among them the low number of guns among the Spanish.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 01:46 PM
Actually it was exactly the opposite. Polish/Hungarian infantry of XVI century was much more shooty than Spanish exactly because of Eastern-style opponents. In fact when Stefan Batory created the "Chosen" Infantry (Piechota Wybraniecka) in 1570s he did not bother at all with pikes. Also since the very beginning of the century polish infantry banners were equipped with noticably larger amount of firearms than western ones as a counter to Tatar threat.

It is true that usually Tatar raids were engaged with cavalry, but it was mostly due to their speed and the fact you had to catch them; something Infantry was poorly equipped for. However general rules for engagement against Tatars, if possible, where to use as much firepower as possible because they were very vulnerable to it, much more than to pure cavalry attacks; thats partially why Tatars were more often than not avoiding pitched battles - with large amount of firearms they were rendered next to useless, even in the era when they were familiar with them (see how easily Tatar attacks were repulsed by polish centre at Berestechko on 3rd day or battle of Kamieniec Podolski in 1634 as examples).

Though I am not sure if Genghis-Khan Mongols would share this vulnerability to firearms (even though most nomad armies did).

Well said. People forget that Horse archers are very vulnerable to infantry armed with missile weapons. They simply cannot apply force as directly. In a straight up one-on-one missile infantry can concentrate more soldiers into the same area, meaning more arrows/bolts/bullets flying at the enemy than at themselves. Thats not even to mention the fact that a man on a horse is a BIG target :D

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 02:00 PM
Thanks. I like to play the contrarian sometimes.

People underestimate early guns because they only think about what the top 1% of bowmen were capable of. They say "this bow has a 200 yard range and can fire 7 shots a minute!" While disregarding that even for the best bowmen, they won't hit squat at 200 yards because on an even mildly windy day their arrow will blow many yards if not tens of yards off target, and that firing seven shots a minute with a bow is not something someone, anyone, not the strongest man on earth, could keep up for more than a few minutes (go fire 20 arrows in 3 minutes and find out how your arm feels!) .

And massed bowfire is not aimed at individual targets, so this is not nearly as big a deal as it sounds like.


Guns on the other hand are not nearly as effected by wind, and have a much lower training time and a simpler manual of arms, plus they are scary and create wounds which are more likely to lead to a causality, by which I mean, a musket ball bill definitely take someone out of a battle if it hits them, and arrow may find a shield and stick of bounce off of a piece of armor. Economically though if you lose one bowman you've lost multiple years training him if he's any good; if I lose one musketeer I can have him 100% replaced in a week or two, and that's all I've lost. It's essentially economic, musketeers have a lower marginal cost to achieve effectiveness. A bowman with two weeks training would be practically useless

No, you can't. You might be able to train him with a musket quickly - although there early muskets can be complicated - but as a useful soldier? No.


It's instructive to remember that it was Europeans carrying flintlock and percussion cap muskets/rifles that colonized a sizable chunk of the world. Well trained and drilled men with muskets (especially flintlock or PC, I admit) are the deadliest pre-modern force there is, it's a style of warfare which maximized destruction to the point that armies avoided battles because even a win meant you lost 30-40% of your men. Imagine an army like this coming into contact with one that didn't maximize destruction in this way? I'll stop now though because I'm beginning to project a later version of warfare onto this.

In a specific Mongol versus Tercio scenario the Mongols hold many advantages, chief among them the low number of guns among the Spanish.

Not much to add to this, however.

Arachnid
April 23rd, 2012, 02:00 PM
Do they really, as of the early 1860s? On the officer corps, that is.

And what numerical superiority?

Prussia has 200,100 men in 1860 - the US armies in the ACW are up to a million men strong total (figures for Prussia based on the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which lists "military personal", but given Prussia's minor navy, we can it barely counts).

Now, I don't know if that's counting all the reserves Prussia can call up, but it seems it took a while for that to be set up in full.

So you are comparing the peacetime Prussian Army of 1860 with the wartime Union army of 1864?

That is hardly fair, you've got to compare like with like

1859: Peacetime Prussians vs. Peacetime Union=Prussian victory by a massive margin.

1862: Peacetime Prussians vs. Mobilised Union= Union Victory, thanks to superior numbers and experience.

1870: Mobilised Prussians vs. demobilised Union= Easy Prussian victory.

The only fair question is to compare the Union Army at it's height i.e. 1864/5 and the Prussian Army at it's height in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. And considering the Prussian had a clear tactical and technological advantage thanks to having learnt the lessons of not only the ACW but also the Schleswig War, the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian, coupled with a large professional, long service officer corps of much higher social standing (and thus quality) than the Union Army I think it's a clear Prussian win.

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 02:06 PM
So you are comparing the peacetime Prussian Army of 1860 with the wartime Union army of 1864?


I don't have figures for 1863 (the year I'd use, not 1864, for the Union army), if you do, I'd be a happy clam.


That is hardly fair, you've got to compare like with like

1859: Peacetime Prussians vs. Peacetime Union=Prussian victory by a massive margin.

1862: Peacetime Prussians vs. Mobilised Union= Union Victory, thanks to superior numbers and experience. The point is, Prussia in the early 1860s (as distinct from late 1860s) isn't quite such a military giant - thus the 1862 situation and my point that Prussia is outnumbered. It's not about quality, since I vote for Prussia (if not as a cakewalk), just quantity.

[quoet]
1870: Mobilised Prussians vs. demobilised Union= Easy Prussian victory.

The only fair question is to compare the Union Army at it's height i.e. 1864/5 and the Prussian Army at it's height in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. And considering the Prussian had a clear tactical and technological advantage thanks to having learnt the lessons of not only the ACW but also the Schleswig War, the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian, coupled with a large professional, long service officer corps of much higher social standing (and thus quality) than the Union Army I think it's a clear Prussian win.[/QUOTE]

Fair? If we're going to be picking armies separated by centuries, "fair" has nothing to do with it.

So would I take to the 1863 Prussian army over the 1863 Union army? With reservations.

Picking Prussia in 1870 over the US in 1863 (or 1864, whatever) is like picking 1814 France for Napoleon's army, only the other way around.

thrashing_mad
April 23rd, 2012, 02:32 PM
Actually it was exactly the opposite. Polish/Hungarian infantry of XVI century was much more shooty than Spanish exactly because of Eastern-style opponents. In fact when Stefan Batory created the "Chosen" Infantry (Piechota Wybraniecka) in 1570s he did not bother at all with pikes. Also since the very beginning of the century polish infantry banners were equipped with noticably larger amount of firearms than western ones as a counter to Tatar threat.

It is true that usually Tatar raids were engaged with cavalry, but it was mostly due to their speed and the fact you had to catch them; something Infantry was poorly equipped for. However general rules for engagement against Tatars were to use as much firepower as possible because they were very vulnerable to it, much more than to pure cavalry attacks; thats partially why Tatars were more often than not avoiding pitched battles - with large amount of firearms they were next to useless, even in the era when they were familiar with them (see how easily Tatar attacks were repulsed by polish centre at Berestechko on 3rd day or battle of Kamieniec Podolski in 1634 as examples).

Though I am not sure if Genghis-Khan Mongols would share this vulnerability to firearms (even though most nomad armies did).

What I meant was that while PLC utilised western style infantry (German/Scottish mercs) and cavalry (rajtaria) it was used mostly against European opponents, not on the 'Wild Fields'. Of course, majority of PLCs army was quite different. Post Bathory Polish-Hungarian infantry didn't bother with pikes because cavalry was decisive force on the battlefield, not because they were effective at winning battles.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 03:16 PM
No, you can't. You might be able to train him with a musket quickly - although there early muskets can be complicated - but as a useful soldier? No.

As long as he can march in a line and pull a trigger he will be more useful than a bowman with comparable experience up to a certain point. At a certain point the musketeer will top out in effectiveness, but a man with two weeks training with a musket is still more useful than a man with to weeks training with a bow. Though I will also add that I was overemphasizing to make a point with the whole "two weeks" thing. A decent, useful soldier would probably need to have a couple months of training to be effective. However, I would still say that a bowman would need more training, much more, than what people are always saying is the "maximum range" and "maximum number of shots a minute" that certain bows are claimed to have. To be able to make that number of shots, aimed or not, in a minute is extremely taxing on the body.

And massed bowfire is not aimed at individual targets, so this is not nearly as big a deal as it sounds like.

On the aim part I can grant you, in a volley it wouldn't be a big deal if the arrow was off target, but the rate of fire is a big deal in a one - on one confrontation. Of course the mongols have the ability to ride away and change for other troops, which I admit makes this somewhat pointless in this exact scenario, but in the above post (that you quoted) I was simply trying to speak generally about the advantages of guns over bows. Please forgive me if I've strayed from the topic at hand.

For me, the end game is this, the Mongols stand a good chance of winning an engagement, but if the Spanish are smart and can maximize the advantages they have (cannon being chief among them, as well as command of the sea). That's not to say that they will do this, but they might get lucky or someone with a lot of skill may take over.

I find the idea of a "war" much more intriguing TBH. If we say, stuck 1541 century Spain (and her empire) into say, 1241 and had them do something egregious enough to make the mongols want their blood, how would this play out? If they can fortify the mountains heavily enough (with cannon) or draw the mongols into a confrontation close enough to the sea for ships to come into play, it's a very different ball game. What do you guys think?

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 03:32 PM
As long as he can march in a line and pull a trigger he will be more useful than a bowman with comparable experience up to a certain point. At a certain point the musketeer will top out in effectiveness, but a man with two weeks training with a musket is still more useful than a man with to weeks training with a bow. Though I will also add that I was overemphasizing to make a point with the whole "two weeks" thing. A decent, useful soldier would probably need to have a couple months of training to be effective. However, I would still say that a bowman would need more training, much more, than what people are always saying is the "maximum range" and "maximum number of shots a minute" that certain bows are claimed to have. To be able to make that number of shots, aimed or not, in a minute is extremely taxing on the body.


Oh aye, a bowman is definitely in need of more training. I'm just trying to say that you can't just literally pull anyone off the farm, give them a musket, and they're as good as your veterans.

And agreed on the demands of archery. Bows might still have an advantage, but we're looking at 3-4 shots, not 12-15, to a musket's one.


On the aim part I can grant you, in a volley it wouldn't be a big deal if the arrow was off target, but the rate of fire is a big deal in a one - on one confrontation. Of course the mongols have the ability to ride away and change for other troops, which I admit makes this somewhat pointless in this exact scenario, but in the above post (that you quoted) I was simply trying to speak generally about the advantages of guns over bows. Please forgive me if I've strayed from the topic at hand.

No worries, and a valid point made.


For me, the end game is this, the Mongols stand a good chance of winning an engagement, but if the Spanish are smart and can maximize the advantages they have (cannon being chief among them, as well as command of the sea). That's not to say that they will do this, but they might get lucky or someone with a lot of skill may take over.

I find the idea of a "war" much more intriguing TBH. If we say, stuck 1541 century Spain (and her empire) into say, 1241 and had them do something egregious enough to make the mongols want their blood, how would this play out? If they can fortify the mountains heavily enough (with cannon) or draw the mongols into a confrontation close enough to the sea for ships to come into play, it's a very different ball game. What do you guys think?

All in agreement, especially on that as a more interesting scenario. It makes this a contest of trying to maximize advantages and minimalize disadvantages, which there's no way "open field battle" (which is not "perfectly even for both sides") can do as well.

Also, campaigns are just more fun to discuss. :D

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 04:50 PM
All in agreement, especially on that as a more interesting scenario. It makes this a contest of trying to maximize advantages and minimalize disadvantages, which there's no way "open field battle" (which is not "perfectly even for both sides") can do as well.

Also, campaigns are just more fun to discuss. :D


Yes sir they are... :D I am tempted to open a discussion of this campaign in the ASB section.

Elfwine
April 23rd, 2012, 04:52 PM
Yes sir they are... :D I am tempted to open a discussion of this campaign in the ASB section.

I hope you do. I don't know enough about the tericos to comment intelligently (I know some but hardly enough to do this justice), but I would love to see it.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:07 PM
1) Caesar will kick Alexander to the curb. Alexander didn't fight any competent enemies so he wouldn't know what to do with one if he fought one.

2) The Rashiduns win. In terms of that timeframe and disparity of knowledge, there is only one real exception to the rule, and IIRC the Parthian system was not exactly structured for what the Rashidun-era Islamic army would represent.

3) The Crusaders stomp Trajan's legions into the ground. Medieval weaponry and tactics are superior to that of the Roman era.

4) Genghis Khan wins primarily because his full panoply of power was structured on modern lines, while these guys will be thinking nomads = disorganized mob. They have no preparation for an organized, skilled nomadic army structured on a modern-style command structure. It's this combination that's the Mongol ace in the hole with any pre-modern enemy.

5) Napoleon kicks Frederick the Great to the Curb. The simple size of his armies and of his artillery alone would do this.

6) Prussia would defeat the Union Army the same as it did all its other opponents in the 1860s: superior organization and command structure. The US Military in no era will ever win points in a military sense for either organization or clarity of command.

7) The BEF defeats the 1920s Red Army on grounds of superior weaponry, organization, and discipline.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:11 PM
The Spanish will probably win against the Mongols, their guns and cannons will scare the Mongols as well as give them a pretty good advantage when actually fighting them.

The Mongols introduced gunpowder to much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It won't scare them at all. By contrast Spanish military tradition of fighting nomads is used to the relatively poorly organized Native Americans, not the huge, disciplined forces of the Mongols.

I can't beleive people are voting Mongols over the Spanish... Horse archery tactics destroy disorganized cavalry and especially ones as well
organized as the Mongolians horse archers can take down many a force. But the bane of horse archers is men on foot with missle weapons. Musketeers protected from cavalry by pikemen PLUS relatively light cavalry armed with sabers and muskets/crossbows/pistols is a recipe for disaster for an army that relies primarily on horse archers and light lancers; not to mention the spainish having a high degree of organization themselves; which was OTL the Mongols
Main advantage.

Thing is what the Spanish are used to fighting in nomadic terms is rather disorganized, loosely-federated peoples who don't have any kind of real command structure. When they fought powerful Native American states their victories were due to exploiting local politics. Which isn't possible against the full Mongol army. The Mongols had gunpowder weapons of a primitive sort, so there's no surprise factor, and ancient guns couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at point-blank range, so.......

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:17 PM
Have you ever fired a gun or had one fired at you? 16th century guns weren't all that reliable, but there is a reason that they replaced bows... It's quite the myth that early muskets were "useless." if the Mongols concentrated enough to be effective they would be vulnerable to volleys, which would tear them apart.

And they would have a much harder time with Spanish cavalry armed as light lancers as they were themselves or with pistols or crossbows. You have to think of the morale element in all this. Guns are scary, especially "ineffective 16th century ones" because they make a big morale dent, especially in an army with no experiance of them.

Yes, namely that early guns are cheap to manufacture, with the limitation here being supplies of powder. Guns also required less training to teach people how to use, bows and arrows, OTOH, required rather long-term training. The Mongols had gunpowder and kicked the ass of the one society of their time that made very good use of it, the Song Dynasty. Spaniard psychological tricks won't save them, it'd have to be a serious, straight-up fight.

If the exact situation you described above happened then they would win. But anyone could describe any situation like that, I could describe one were the Mongols do something retarted and end up in trouble too.

As far as the bow is concerned. Have you ever fired a bow? That "twice the range" stuff is crap, except under ideal conditions and even then it's hard to pull off. I know that the Mongol horsemen were excellent at what they did, but hitting a target from the back of a horse with a bow is hard, and not achievable at the supposed "max" ranges of a certain kind of bow. I fired recurve bows at targets at fifty yards and could manage after four months of training everyday to consistently hit the bullseye... Standing in one spot, in nice weather, and NOT being shot at by a gun and NOT on the back of a horse.

The numbers is a good point though :0

My point is that it would come down to location and objectives. If the Mongols had to take a certain place, they might end up in trouble in say the alps. If the Spanish are in totally open terrain they would probably also be in trouble.

To be honest I was just sniffing some Mongol fanboyism and felt the need to adress it :D

Actually the most crucial element here is that this is the Mongols under Genghis Khan, a man who won every single battle he ever fought. It's his leadership of the Mongols that'd be the decisive element. As far as the rest of it..........under his successors the Spaniards pull off an Ain Jalut. Under Genghis, the Mongols pull off a coup akin to the defeat of the Song.

The Mongols have indeed made extensive use of their bows and would not need to be hitting individuals. The Spanish don't need to hit individuals either, just pull the trigger and watch Mongols horses freak out and run. :D
I'm happy to admit their are situations in which the Mongols could win, but they aren't guaranteed a victory against an enemy with a 300 year tech advantage, that's all.

And I wasn't comparing myself to them, just pointing out that people tend to hand wave "the Mongols could do it!"

The Mongols have experience with gunpowder and use of gunpowder shock. They, after all, defeated the Song dynasty which made plenty of use of it. So if the Spaniards think that gunpowder shock, i.e. psychological employment of heavily inaccurate firearms, is going to save them, they're wrong. The Mongols have a modern-style command structure, and by modern I mean akin to the 20th Century's armies. A 16th Century army is too rigid in some senses to cope well with a more modern structure of that sort, though this is counterbalanced by the Mongols being centuries behind. Under Genghis, they win. Under one of his successors? The Spaniards kick ass and take names.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:21 PM
Thanks. I like to play the contrarian sometimes.

People underestimate early guns because they only think about what the top 1% of bowmen were capable of. They say "this bow has a 200 yard range and can fire 7 shots a minute!" While disregarding that even for the best bowmen, they won't hit squat at 200 yards because on an even mildly windy day their arrow will blow many yards if not tens of yards off target, and that firing seven shots a minute with a bow is not something someone, anyone, not the strongest man on earth, could keep up for more than a few minutes (go fire 20 arrows in 3 minutes and find out how your arm feels!) .

Guns on the other hand are not nearly as effected by wind, and have a much lower training time and a simpler manual of arms, plus they are scary and create wounds which are more likely to lead to a causality, by which I mean, a musket ball bill definitely take someone out of a battle if it hits them, and arrow may find a shield and stick of bounce off of a piece of armor. Economically though if you lose one bowman you've lost multiple years training him if he's any good; if I lose one musketeer I can have him 100% replaced in a week or two, and that's all I've lost. It's essentially economic, musketeers have a lower marginal cost to achieve effectiveness. A bowman with two weeks training would be practically useless.

It's true that some master bowmen could beat some musketeers. It's also true that those master bowmen could have to face the same force (not the exact same force obviously) again in a week because those men would have been replaced.

It's instructive to remember that it was Europeans carrying flintlock and percussion cap muskets/rifles that colonized a sizable chunk of the world. Well trained and drilled men with muskets (especially flintlock or PC, I admit) are the deadliest pre-modern force there is, it's a style of warfare which maximized destruction to the point that armies avoided battles because even a win meant you lost 30-40% of your men. Imagine an army like this coming into contact with one that didn't maximize destruction in this way? I'll stop now though because I'm beginning to project a later version of warfare onto this.

In a specific Mongol versus Tercio scenario the Mongols hold many advantages, chief among them the low number of guns among the Spanish.

And in reality the gunpowder empire was not just a European phenomenon. The Muslims actually did the "We have cannons and guns, you have bows. Our turn, now" thing first, while the Qing were the odd one out in being a polytheistic gunpowder empire instead of a Muslim gunpowder empire. Where the Muslim dynasties failed in the long term was in sufficient adaptation of new variants of infantry tactics and modern small arms, they were the originators of most of the gunpowder meets arrows, gunpowder overruns arrows concepts. When Europeans colonized the planet, they did so with Maxim guns, not gunpowder. The machine gun was much more decisive as it put up far too much firepower for an attack to be feasible.

Two most interesting ones for me are Trajan vs the Crusaders and the USA Civil war forces vs Prussia. I believe that Trajan would have no problem. His forces were a professional army. The best of the best. The Crusaders were a mob with some very good heavy horse soldiers. For the Civil war Union soldiers vs Prussia. Are Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, leading the Union? If so it is no contest. The Union wins hands down. If Burnsides or Pope is leading the Union the Prussians I would think could pull it off. I have though read many accounts of the Unions great grandsons beating the Prussans great grandsons not once but twice in the next 80 years. Many an army has under estimated the fighting ability of the American military.

I disagree with that. Grant, by European standards, is a skilled maneuverer of some imagination but he's purely a competent general, not a truly brilliant one. I would not qualify any Confederate general for a Top 10 list of Greatest 19th Century generals, and Grant would only qualify as 16 at the most. Neither side in the US Civil War as much to speak about in terms of organization or military skill.

mowque
April 23rd, 2012, 05:24 PM
Neither side in the US Civil War as much to speak about in terms of organization or military skill.

Well we just threw huge hordes of poorly trained conscripts at each other in human waves.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:25 PM
Are we talking the Union Army of 1862 or Sherman or Grants armies of late 1864?
If we are talking the 1864 armies we are talking about armies that could stand against withering fire, accept huge casualties and continue advancing. You are talking about an army that taught the rest of the world how to use railroads (and both repair and destroy them) I don't think the Prussian army had the experience of having to press on after huge casualties that the Union Army did. I don't think the Prussian army had to move the distances that the Union Army showed itself capable of operating over.

I think the Union Army in 1864 was one of the greatest armies of all time (Along with the Soviet Army of 1944-45 and The German army of July 1941 among others)

I think that this is a vast overstatement, in terms of the Union Army. Any statement praising the Soviet Army must be qualified by the reality that its most brilliant feats were possible only by virtue of a huge quantity of US trucks. The late-phase Soviet army reflects on the coalition nature of WWII and the overall vast superiority of the Allied coalition over the Axis than it does on the Soviet Army by itself, which 1941-3 is the best arbiter of (and where it did in the event grind up the Wehrmacht but never showed the ability to take half a continent without major help).

The argument that winning a long civil war makes one a juggernaut curiously is never applied during this timeframe to the Qing dynasty, which defeated the Taiping Rebellion.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:27 PM
Well we just threw huge hordes of poorly trained conscripts at each other in human waves.

More accurately everyone except Grant and Thomas on the Union side did that, and in terms of shortening the death toll, paradoxically, it's Thomas, who sought annihilation of enemy armies who would have done better than Grant. Primarily because a shorter war with fewer, but bloodier battles saves all the lives that died from things like cholera and dysentery caused by the lousy sanitation practices of the time. It's forgotten that quite a few Civil War deaths weren't from combat but from disease. And that in war terms this only started to change in WWI and even held true in individual fronts of WWII (chiefly New Guinea).

Zmflavius
April 23rd, 2012, 05:28 PM
The argument that winning a long civil war makes one a juggernaut curiously is never applied during this timeframe to the Qing dynasty, which defeated the Taiping Rebellion.

Well, at least the United States wasn't balkanized with the help of European powers following their civil war.

Kaiphranos
April 23rd, 2012, 05:32 PM
7) The BEF defeats the 1920s Red Army on grounds of superior weaponry, organization, and discipline.

Superior weaponry in terms of average quality of personal weapons and the like, right? The Red Army will presumably have an advantage in armor and aircraft, even though their other problems may not allow them to use these to their fullest potential. Also, it seems like the Reds would have a numerical advantage...

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 05:33 PM
I hope you do. I don't know enough about the tericos to comment intelligently (I know some but hardly enough to do this justice), but I would love to see it.

I opened a discussion which can be found here:

http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?p=5953906#post5953906

My knowledge of Tercios is mostly from books I read over 3-4 years ago, so sketchy is fair to call it. Earlier in this thread I couldn't believe how off I was about the early 16th century ratio of muskets to pikes. I KNEW that, but I forgot it. So it will hopefully be a refresher course for me :)

I hope you all will participate!

historyfool
April 23rd, 2012, 05:33 PM
I´ll comment only on those contested I really have knowledge about. Caesar and the BEF have simply far to big an advantage and about the others my knowledge is not big enough:

Traian is facing exactly that opponent the Roman army had real problems with. In an open field battle the classic Roman legion has simply nothing to oppose heavy cavalry. Whenever Parthians or Sarmatians clashed with them in a fair fight they won. The crusaders are simply an improved version of those armies. If the Romans have luck with the weather, can prepare a position or they meet in rough terrain, they have a fair chance. But even then you have to remember that even infantry in most crusader armies tended to be more "professional" than your average medieval western army since their local subjects tended to be very unreliable against their classical enemies and they had to "import" mercenaries. Also they have quite a lot of weapons to crush even heavy armour, while the Roman helmets even had problems with Dacian Longswords. Thus the crusaders have imo depending on circumstances a slight to very large advantage.

The clash between Napoleon and Fritz is pretty equal. Purely from the leaders Fritz is imo the slightly better, but I admit that is subjective and they are really almost equal. But the improvements, as small as they seem at the first view, of twenty or thirty years mean that Nappy has a big advantage, not least because he can replace his soldiers easier and can use them more boldly. France wins without a doubt.

And finally US army against the Prussians. Their support structure should be about equal, since both are among the pioneers in using railroads in warfare. The real differences are in quantity and quality. The Union fielded in the civil war a total of 2.8 million men, as opposed to the German 1.4 million men (sadly I have no breakdown by state at hand to take Prussia seperatly) had mobilised at the end of the war with France without problems. But while many Union soldiers were volunteers without previous training, every Prussian called up was a trained reservist. And this training included the Auftragstaktik, which one US observer during the war with France viewed as a chaotic behaviour in the Prussian lines instead of a quick reaction by a subordinate officer. Which leads directly to the leadership question. While the Union had some good, even outstanding officers and ousted the really bad ones during the war, they had a small trained officers corps. The Prussians otoh had probably the best trained officer corps in the world and a (for its time) very good staff system. Both together allowed even a sub-average commander to perform adequatly and made someone like Moltke even more efficient. Equipment-wise the Prussians also have a significant advantage. They have breechloading rifles since the early 40s, which means that even reserve units are equipped with it by now. But the true war winner are their breechloading, rifled steel guns introduced since 59 for field and siege.
In a war between only those two additional factors would have to be considered as well, like strategic depth, the nearly untouched Prussian manpower in the cities or the role of the American South, but since such a war is probably asb lets assume they simply meet in a battle: Overall the Prussians have the better chances to win unless they get pinned down in a close quarter fight where only numbers count very early. But somehow I can´t imagine that any half competent Prussian officer willingly gets his army dragged into what would be a gigantic pubbrawl.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:34 PM
Well, at least the United States wasn't balkanized with the help of European powers following their civil war.

True, but the reality is that Zheng Guofan did much of the same things for China Grant did for the USA in our own Civil War. His name never tends to get a mention in the 19th Century generals list, though he was the founder of the Beiyang Army and with it modern Chinese military traditions. The reality of US Civil War generals is that only three of them displayed real-for-true skill on a tactical level, Grant, Thomas, and Lee. Of the three, Lee acted like a stereotypical Union general without the resources to make that up and bled his army white to win his brilliant victories.

Thomas was perhaps the only one able to really end the ACW in a shorter, less gruesome fashion......with the price of fewer but much bloodier and more destructive battles to go with it.

Grant, however, was a brilliant maneuverer, the extremely rare combination of strategist and tactician, and it's this reason that led him to rise to the top. The problem was that his ability to deliver military victories was almost the political ruin of the Lincoln Administration because civil wars are inherently political by nature.

So if we put Thomas v. von Moltke, that's actually an interesting match, given Thomas's own string of powerful attacks and great successes to go with them.

Grant v. von Moltke is a more complex question, and it would depend on who outmaneuvers whom.

Anyone else on the Union side bar Rosecrans at his best? Fuggedaboutit, there's not going to be a battle but a massacre.

Prussia's army has superior organization and leadership at a battle-fighting level.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:37 PM
Superior weaponry in terms of average quality of personal weapons and the like, right? The Red Army will presumably have an advantage in armor and aircraft, even though their other problems may not allow them to use these to their fullest potential. Also, it seems like the Reds would have a numerical advantage...

The Red Army was trounced by Denikin's army using British equipment, which was vastly superior to their own and helped to a degree to overcome the inferiority of Denikin in numerical terms. The Reds had a numerical advantage through the RCW, they were still slapped silly by good generals until interior lines came in. The few times they faced non-Russian forces in that war the result was a disaster for them. It's one thing to beat the 10:1 outnumbered enemies like Kolchak and Yudenich, it's another thing entirely to defeat the BEF.


And finally US army against the Prussians. Their support structure should be about equal, since both are among the pioneers in using railroads in warfare. The real differences are in quantity and quality. The Union fielded in the civil war a total of 2.8 million men, as opposed to the German 1.4 million men (sadly I have no breakdown by state at hand to take Prussia seperatly) had mobilised at the end of the war with France without problems. But while many Union soldiers were volunteers without previous training, every Prussian called up was a trained reservist. And this training included the Auftragstaktik, which one US observer during the war with France viewed as a chaotic behaviour in the Prussian lines instead of a quick reaction by a subordinate officer. Which leads directly to the leadership question. While the Union had some good, even outstanding officers and ousted the really bad ones during the war, they had a small trained officers corps. The Prussians otoh had probably the best trained officer corps in the world and a (for its time) very good staff system. Both together allowed even a sub-average commander to perform adequatly and made someone like Moltke even more efficient. Equipment-wise the Prussians also have a significant advantage. They have breechloading rifles since the early 40s, which means that even reserve units are equipped with it by now. But the true war winner are their breechloading, rifled steel guns introduced since 59 for field and siege.
In a war between only those two additional factors would have to be considered as well, like strategic depth, the nearly untouched Prussian manpower in the cities or the role of the American South, but since such a war is probably asb lets assume they simply meet in a battle: Overall the Prussians have the better chances to win unless they get pinned down in a close quarter fight where only numbers count very early. But somehow I can´t imagine that any half competent Prussian officer willingly gets his army dragged into what would be a gigantic pubbrawl.

The crucial element is who leads the Union army in this timeframe. If we're selecting guys like Rosecrans (at his best), Ord, Canby, Schofield, Grant, Thomas, Sheridan, and so on, then that gives the Union a good chance. If we're putting McClellan, Sigel, Jefferson C. Davis, Buell, Halleck, and the like there, then it's a Prussian massacre of a US armed mob.

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 05:41 PM
Yes, namely that early guns are cheap to manufacture, with the limitation here being supplies of powder. Guns also required less training to teach people how to use, bows and arrows, OTOH, required rather long-term training. The Mongols had gunpowder and kicked the ass of the one society of their time that made very good use of it, the Song Dynasty. Spaniard psychological tricks won't save them, it'd have to be a serious, straight-up fight.



Actually the most crucial element here is that this is the Mongols under Genghis Khan, a man who won every single battle he ever fought. It's his leadership of the Mongols that'd be the decisive element. As far as the rest of it..........under his successors the Spaniards pull off an Ain Jalut. Under Genghis, the Mongols pull off a coup akin to the defeat of the Song.



The Mongols have experience with gunpowder and use of gunpowder shock. They, after all, defeated the Song dynasty which made plenty of use of it. So if the Spaniards think that gunpowder shock, i.e. psychological employment of heavily inaccurate firearms, is going to save them, they're wrong. The Mongols have a modern-style command structure, and by modern I mean akin to the 20th Century's armies. A 16th Century army is too rigid in some senses to cope well with a more modern structure of that sort, though this is counterbalanced by the Mongols being centuries behind. Under Genghis, they win. Under one of his successors? The Spaniards kick ass and take names.

Interesting point. I do wonder though about the gunpowder weapons of the Song. Were they really comparable to what a musket, even a crappy 16th century musket, could do?

That is a good point about Genghis, I think somewhere in this I forgot we were talking specifically about Genghis. I do not know why, but when I think mongols I think Subotai and the campaigns in Southern China, as well as the campaigns in Poland, Hungary, and Georgia; but rarely about the man who started it all, Genghis.

Snake Featherston
April 23rd, 2012, 05:46 PM
Interesting point. I do wonder though about the gunpowder weapons of the Song. Were they really comparable to what a musket, even a crappy 16th century musket, could do?

That is a good point about Genghis, I think somewhere in this I forgot we were talking specifically about Genghis. I do not know why, but when I think mongols I think Subotai and the campaigns in Southern China, as well as the campaigns in Poland, Hungary, and Georgia; but rarely about the man who started it all, Genghis.

No, but the crucial element is that the Mongols *do* know what gunpowder is, and primitive gunpowder weapons *did* make a big boom of the sort that would frighten horses of other nomads, but not this group in particular. The most decisive factor here is that Genghis Khan is leading this group of Mongols, as Genghis was an extremely flexible and adaptable military leader. He's about the only pre-modern nomad that could give people a serious fight and actual defeat into the 16th Century, though by the 17th and 18th Centuries improvements in artillery would smash his armies also. By the 19th Century one Maxim gun v. a Mongol horde = Maxim gun wins. Every time.

The Tercio *could* pull off a victory in the right circumstances, but it would take some serious doing, and the kind of skilled ruthlessness that doesn't necessarily characterize a 16th Century Spaniard force facing wild, alien-looking Tartars from the past.

historyfool
April 23rd, 2012, 06:27 PM
The crucial element is who leads the Union army in this timeframe. If we're selecting guys like Rosecrans (at his best), Ord, Canby, Schofield, Grant, Thomas, Sheridan, and so on, then that gives the Union a good chance. If we're putting McClellan, Sigel, Jefferson C. Davis, Buell, Halleck, and the like there, then it's a Prussian massacre of a US armed mob.
Frankly of those I consider only Thomas really equal or superior to Steinmetz (that of 66, in 70/71 he frankly showed the signs of an over-aged General similiar to Hindenburg later) Eberhard Herwarth von Bittenfeld, Prinz Friedrich Karl or the Crown Prince. But even Thomas would be no real opponent to Moltke, especially if the latter is backed by Roon at home front.
And the German artillery is really a war changer: The Prussian field guns have a range of 4km and can fire 10 times a minute, the M1857 not even half the range and about two shots a minute. Against such odds someone like Mcclellan who denies battle and sits in fortifications might actually fare better.

Alcatur
April 23rd, 2012, 07:29 PM
What I meant was that while PLC utilised western style infantry (German/Scottish mercs) and cavalry (rajtaria) it was used mostly against European opponents, not on the 'Wild Fields'. Of course, majority of PLCs army was quite different. Post Bathory Polish-Hungarian infantry didn't bother with pikes because cavalry was decisive force on the battlefield, not because they were effective at winning battles.PLC used also Hungarian style infantry and of course Cossacks, especially in Eastern front. In most battles against Tatars and Ottomans it was customary to dug in and force the enemy into pitched battle (or at least use carts as mobile fortifications) and attack enemy with short cavalry charges; infantry was crucial for any success. Remember that even Hussary could, was equipped for and was used as missile cavalery or even infantry (Chocim 1621) if army lacked them. Combination of dug-in and defend was used in great number of battles - from memory Obertynów 1531, Cecora in 1595, Cecora in 1620 (and retreat from there), Chocim 1621, Kamieniec Podolski in 1634, Zółte Wody in 1648, at Zborów in 1649 using wagenburg was first reaction to encountering Tatars, at Batoh in 1652, at Podhajce in 1667, in campaigns of Jan III Sobieski between 1674 and 1676. Main strenght of PLC army was their large experience and ablity to use very diferent tactics when necessary - while charges worked against western opponents, against eastern ones infantry was much more important. And all authors agreed that Tatars are particularly vulnerable to firearms and canons.

Superior weaponry in terms of average quality of personal weapons and the like, right? The Red Army will presumably have an advantage in armor and aircraft, even though their other problems may not allow them to use these to their fullest potential. Also, it seems like the Reds would have a numerical advantage...Bolsheviks had almost no armour and no planes in 1920; both things were crucial for Polish victory. Red commanders were actually making comments like "trained cavaleryman has nothing to fear from an armoured tank" (Gai)

Benjamin XVIII
April 23rd, 2012, 08:14 PM
No, but the crucial element is that the Mongols *do* know what gunpowder is, and primitive gunpowder weapons *did* make a big boom of the sort that would frighten horses of other nomads, but not this group in particular. The most decisive factor here is that Genghis Khan is leading this group of Mongols, as Genghis was an extremely flexible and adaptable military leader. He's about the only pre-modern nomad that could give people a serious fight and actual defeat into the 16th Century, though by the 17th and 18th Centuries improvements in artillery would smash his armies also. By the 19th Century one Maxim gun v. a Mongol horde = Maxim gun wins. Every time.

The Tercio *could* pull off a victory in the right circumstances, but it would take some serious doing, and the kind of skilled ruthlessness that doesn't necessarily characterize a 16th Century Spaniard force facing wild, alien-looking Tartars from the past.
A very clear and concise breakdown.
I applaud your reasoning.

Redbeard
April 24th, 2012, 02:27 PM
I think some of these actually were done in OTL:

Mongols vs. muskets: In Napoleonic wars the Russians deployed a lot of horse archers - the French called them the "least dangerous soldiers" or "Cupidos"! The Bashkirs and Kalmycks of the Russian army might not have been well led, but I think we in general overrate the damage a bow can do.

Frederick vs. Napoleon: At Jena/Auerstadt we saw a Prussian army not much changed since Frederick vs. Napoleon and Wellington's British Army IMHO was much closer to Frederick than Napoleon.

When "arranged" against each other the line of well trained musketeers is hard to defeat, but all in all the Napoleonic system is much more flexible and thus much superior. I know Wellington won the final battle, but that was against a spent ball and only because the Prussians intervened at the last moment. But first of all Wellington depended on the enemy comming to him. If Napoleon had been forced to fight his wars with a British style army he would have been in deep trouble as he rarely would engage the enemy at all.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard

Elfwine
April 24th, 2012, 02:36 PM
I think some of these actually were done in OTL:

Mongols vs. muskets: In Napoleonic wars the Russians deployed a lot of horse archers - the French called them the "least dangerous soldiers" or "Cupidos"! The Bashkirs and Kalmycks of the Russian army might not have been well led, but I think we in general overrate the damage a bow can do.


That doesn't really explain how well or poorly they would do versus the tericos, which are not the same as Napoleon's troops either in organization or equipment.

When "arranged" against each other the line of well trained musketeers is hard to defeat, but all in all the Napoleonic system is much more flexible and thus much superior. I know Wellington won the final battle, but that was against a spent ball and only because the Prussians intervened at the last moment. But first of all Wellington depended on the enemy comming to him. If Napoleon had been forced to fight his wars with a British style army he would have been in deep trouble as he rarely would engage the enemy at all.

You do realize the British could and did attack in this period.

eliphas8
April 24th, 2012, 03:18 PM
I think some of these actually were done in OTL:

Mongols vs. muskets: In Napoleonic wars the Russians deployed a lot of horse archers - the French called them the "least dangerous soldiers" or "Cupidos"! The Bashkirs and Kalmycks of the Russian army might not have been well led, but I think we in general overrate the damage a bow can do.


This is a bad comparison, the spanish did not use Muskets at this time. They used arquebuses and other very early handguns that where utter crap when compared to the actually decent guns that where muskets.

Zmflavius
April 24th, 2012, 03:24 PM
Mongols vs. muskets: In Napoleonic wars the Russians deployed a lot of horse archers - the French called them the "least dangerous soldiers" or "Cupidos"! The Bashkirs and Kalmycks of the Russian army might not have been well led, but I think we in general overrate the damage a bow can do.


In regards to Mongols vs. muskets, it's not quite the same thing. The Spanish gunpowder troops are not at the level of Napoleon's troops in either tech, organization, or training.

Snake Featherston
April 24th, 2012, 03:29 PM
This is a bad comparison, the spanish did not use Muskets at this time. They used arquebuses and other very early handguns that where utter crap when compared to the actually decent guns that where muskets.

And it's also worth noting that Russian irregular cavalry did play a major role in the lethality of the Grande Armee's retreat. Irregulars doing poorly against a well-disciplined modern army is the general pattern of what happens. The two types of war are incompatible. In this sense it's worth reflecting on the irony that Budenny's cavalry did a lot of damage in the winter 1941-2 to the relatively far stronger Wehrmacht, because the local scenarios made that possible.

So...........any simplistic argument like that doesn't necessarily work. Given all the modern examples of forces that on paper should not have survived a single battle against a stronger enemy defeating that enemy by irregular means on a battlefield. Admittedly almost none of them relied on bows and arrows, but then we're discussing the Early Modern Spanish force against the greatest pre-modern general of all time.

Now if we were discussing the Golden Horde or one of his similar successors v. the Spaniards, I'd actually credit the Spaniards more as the Spaniards have a better chance.

Snake Featherston
April 24th, 2012, 03:31 PM
Frederick vs. Napoleon: At Jena/Auerstadt we saw a Prussian army not much changed since Frederick vs. Napoleon and Wellington's British Army IMHO was much closer to Frederick than Napoleon.

When "arranged" against each other the line of well trained musketeers is hard to defeat, but all in all the Napoleonic system is much more flexible and thus much superior. I know Wellington won the final battle, but that was against a spent ball and only because the Prussians intervened at the last moment. But first of all Wellington depended on the enemy comming to him. If Napoleon had been forced to fight his wars with a British style army he would have been in deep trouble as he rarely would engage the enemy at all.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard

Wellington's tactics weren't really based on that premise as in terms of morale that tends to be self-defeating at even a tactical level, by virtue of guaranteeing the initiative to the enemy, meaning you might wait for him in the wrong place and then shit hits fan and splatters. In 1806 the Prussian army also had a different scenario than what's described here, where its leadership is rather superior than was the case when Napoleon invaded it and the great Prussian generals of the later war hadn't yet risen to power.

Arachnid
April 24th, 2012, 04:20 PM
When "arranged" against each other the line of well trained musketeers is hard to defeat, but all in all the Napoleonic system is much more flexible and thus much superior. I know Wellington won the final battle, but that was against a spent ball and only because the Prussians intervened at the last moment. But first of all Wellington depended on the enemy comming to him. If Napoleon had been forced to fight his wars with a British style army he would have been in deep trouble as he rarely would engage the enemy at all.


Really? Wellington's Army didn't attack? Can I point you towards the Penninsular War and the Invasion of France, especially the Battles of Vitoria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vitoria), Orthez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Orthez), Biadassos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bidassoa_(1813)), Nivelle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nivelle), Nive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nive) or any one of the dozen battles where Wellington took the offensive and smashed French armies.

Detlef
April 24th, 2012, 08:11 PM
I agree the Roman Heavy foot will make up a greater proportion of the army and be qualitatively superior to the Crusader foot. However the Crusaders will have some heavy foot who can go toe to toe with the legions.



Obviously the Romans have missile troops but like the cavalry the Roman missile troops would be outclassed having shortbows and slings. Which are qualitatively inferior to the Crusader crossbows and especially longbows.



What I meant is that thanks to the Crusaders winning the cavalry battle they will be able to use their most powerful element where an when the want. In contrast slower legionaries aren't going to be launching flanking manoeuvres. Obviously the legions are going to react, they aren't morons either but on balance it's better to be the side doing the flanking than being flanked.


The Romans do have an advantage in their heavy foot, but the Crusaders have the advantage in cavalry and missile troops and that will carry the day.

Wouldn´t the Roman Legions have their "battlefield artillery" available?
By that I don´t mean siege weapons but at least the smaller scorpio and ballista?
This for example:
http://www.romanarmy.net/artillery.htm

http://www.romanobritain.org/8-military/mil_roman_artillery.htm

During the Roman Republic and early empire eras, 60 scorpio per legion was the standard, or one for every centuria.
Scorpio were typically used in an artillery battery at the top of a hill or other high ground, the side of which was protected by the main body of the legion. In this case, there are 60 scorpio present which can fire up to 240 bolts per minute at the enemy army.

Don´t know the composition of artillery during Trajan´s time. But a mixture of ballista, scorpio and maybe even catapults attached to every Legion might surprise the Crusaders a bit?

robertp6165
April 25th, 2012, 12:42 AM
What I meant is that thanks to the Crusaders winning the cavalry battle they will be able to use their most powerful element where an when the want. In contrast slower legionaries aren't going to be launching flanking manoeuvres. Obviously the legions are going to react, they aren't morons either but on balance it's better to be the side doing the flanking than being flanked.

The Romans do have an advantage in their heavy foot, but the Crusaders have the advantage in cavalry and missile troops and that will carry the day.

Well, I'd love to see the Crusader cavalry charge into the volleys of tens of thousands of pila they will encounter as they approach the Roman infantry formations. There won't be many of them left on horseback...or many horses left standing, for that matter.

The Parthians and Sassanids dealt with Roman legions by wearing them down with archery at beyond pilum range. Only when the Roman formation was breaking up under the sustained archery barage did they send in the heavy cavalry.

And I think you'd find that a Roman infantry formation would be a tough nut to crack with a cavalry charge. The Romans were flexible enough that actually outflanking them would be difficult. They were quite capable of performing the maneuvers necessary to face the oncoming threat. We're not talking about a phalanx here.

As for missiles, yes the Crusaders had crossbows (they didn't have long-bows, which came into use in England after the Crusades were pretty much done). But the average Crusader army didn't have a lot of them. And these wouldn't be the powerful steel crossbows of the later middle ages. These are mostly wooden crossbows we're talking about here, with possibly some composite ones mixed in.

Trajan's armies would have been supported by large numbers of archers, mostly recruited in the East and mostly firing fairly powerful composite bows. Roman slingers were nothing to sneeze at, firing lead slugs which would hit with enough force to cave in a helmet. And the Romans had crossbows too (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbow#Roman_Empire), and, as others have mentioned, mobile artillery.

So I just don't see where the Crusaders have any sort of advantage in missile fire.

Rex Romanum
April 26th, 2012, 04:55 PM
I have though read many accounts of the Unions great grandsons beating the Prussans great grandsons not once but twice in the next 80 years. Many an army has under estimated the fighting ability of the American military.
Eh, to be fair, the main reason why United States was able to defeat Imperial Germans and Nazis so easily is because they have been "softened" by Britain/Commonwealth/France/Russia/USSR, for years.

Saying that USA was victorious in both World Wars because "Americans have superior fighting ability than Germans", is somewhat...ludicrous.

Also, don't forget about America's economic and industrial power.

Redbeard
April 26th, 2012, 06:45 PM
Sorry I can't reply individually to all the replies to my "provocation", I'm short on time. But concering Wellington he was first of all a great tactician making great use of terrain to support his lines of musketeers to shoot up an enemy usually (feeling) forced to try to dislodge him. That is where Wellington usually won, and certainly when he won over Napoleon.

Had he been in the operational/strategic role Naoleon usually was in, he couldn't have utilized his tactical "tricks" nearly as much, but would have had to deploy his precious infantry in columns to have them move to the attack and have needed the exteme flexibilty the Napoleonic system allowed over armies of several armycorps. And he certainly would have had to control his cavalry much better and he would have had to coordinate his artillery much more. Imagine Wellington at Wagram!?

Next Wellington was lucky he didn't meet Napoleon when he and the French army was in its prime, he might well have ended up as the Prussians did in 1806. But the Prussians did learn a lot, it was that experience that had them develop the staff system, that later in 19th century proved much superior to the French or anything else for that matter. The British hardly had a staff system, but also rarely fielded really big armies .

Wellington is as overrated as the Mongols :D

Regards

Steffen Redbeard

Elfwine
April 27th, 2012, 01:51 AM
I note that Wellington's victories on the attack are ignored.

Do we just write those off as not occurring?

SonOfFreedom
April 27th, 2012, 01:56 AM
What about the armies led by King David or the US 1941-1945)

Kaiphranos
April 27th, 2012, 02:25 AM
What about the armies led by King David or the US 1941-1945)

Hmm, I'd have to give the US the edge in that match-up. :D

Snake Featherston
April 27th, 2012, 02:41 AM
What about the armies led by King David or the US 1941-1945)

That would be the US Army that had major defects that Korea illustrated had not changed and finally up and gnawed on the USA's ass in Vietnam? Those defects mattered less in WWII only because the UK and the USSR were also fighting there, by itself the US Army was plenty sufficient to deal with amazingly outweighed Japan but not with either Germany or Italy. As Vietnam again showed the US Army on its WWII framework was very poorly adapted for serious warfighting. The thing about WWII is that it was a coalition war where the Allies balanced each others' weaknesses with their own strengths, a directly atypical pattern of WWII.

As far as David is concerned there's zero historical evidence he ever existed. So........

eliphas8
April 27th, 2012, 02:44 AM
What about the armies led by King David or the US 1941-1945)

King Davids army is near impossible because we don't know that much about that time period and what we do know is spotty at best. The US is hard because they lack suitable comparison groups (they actually fought the army that could have acted as their best competitor so there is little else).

Snake Featherston
April 27th, 2012, 03:01 AM
Eh, to be fair, the main reason why United States was able to defeat Imperial Germans and Nazis so easily is because they have been "softened" by Britain/Commonwealth/France/Russia/USSR, for years.

Saying that USA was victorious in both World Wars because "Americans have superior fighting ability than Germans", is somewhat...ludicrous.

Also, don't forget about America's economic and industrial power.

More accurately all of the WWII Allies had major weaknesses but in an atypical example of coalition war the UK, USSR, and USA all compensated for each others' weaknesses with their own strengths. The USSR was the brawn, the UK the brains, the USA the moneybags.

Snake Featherston
April 27th, 2012, 03:05 AM
King Davids army is near impossible because we don't know that much about that time period and what we do know is spotty at best. The US is hard because they lack suitable comparison groups (they actually fought the army that could have acted as their best competitor so there is little else).

When did they fight the Soviets in the WWII timeframe? The Nazis weren't their best competitor, their army was primarily a WWI army with a thin modern film covering the pre-modern mass. Most German soldiers spent WWII propelled by legpower, the US Army rode on trucks. Most German artillery was horse-drawn, US artillery was powered by the internal combustion engine. The Luftwaffe was tactical, the US Air Force both tactical and strategic.

By comparison to everyone else in WWII, the Soviets were by far the only real competitor to the USA. Indeed, the Soviets in some ways originated the concept of modern combined-arms wars. By comparison in the late 1980s to now, there is no competition for the USA at a purely military level.