Clash of the Best Historical Armies

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Rex Romanum, Apr 21, 2012.

?

Who will happen in those clashes?

  1. Alexander's Macedonian Army will defeat Caesar's Roman Army

    20 vote(s)
    12.7%
  2. Caesar's Roman Army will defeat Alexander's Macedonian Army

    108 vote(s)
    68.4%
  3. 1st century BC Parthian Army will defeat Khalid's Rashidun Army

    26 vote(s)
    16.5%
  4. Khalid's Rashidun Army will defeat 1st century BC Parthian Army

    67 vote(s)
    42.4%
  5. Trajan's Roman Army will defeat European Crusaders

    62 vote(s)
    39.2%
  6. European Crusaders will defeat Trajan's Roman Army

    63 vote(s)
    39.9%
  7. Genghis' Mongol Army will defeat 16th century AD Spanish Army

    73 vote(s)
    46.2%
  8. 16th century AD Spanish Army will defeat Genghis' Mongol Army

    54 vote(s)
    34.2%
  9. Frederick's Prussian Army will defeat Napoleon's French Army

    31 vote(s)
    19.6%
  10. Napoleon's French Army will defeat Frederick's Prussian Army

    93 vote(s)
    58.9%
  11. 1860s Union Army will defeat 1860s Prussian Army

    37 vote(s)
    23.4%
  12. 1860s Prussian Army will defeat 1860s Union Army

    99 vote(s)
    62.7%
  13. WWI-era BEF will defeat 1920s Red Army

    84 vote(s)
    53.2%
  14. 1920s Red Army will defeat WWI-era BEF

    48 vote(s)
    30.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Rex Romanum B.A.N.N.E.D.

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    Just re-read my old thread, 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...)
     
  2. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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

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    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.
     
  4. Zuvarq Pinche pendejo güey

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    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.
     
  5. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    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).
     
  6. eliphas8 Frankentrotsky

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    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?
     
  7. Benjamin XVIII Strategos

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    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.
     
  8. Benjamin XVIII Strategos

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    Either way... Fredrick seems to have been very lucky. I think Napoleon would
    Trounce him; and I say this as a Francophobic germanophile...
     
  9. eliphas8 Frankentrotsky

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    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.
     
  10. Zmflavius Cheeky Little Shit

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    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.
     
  11. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    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?
     
  12. Zmflavius Cheeky Little Shit

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    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.
     
  13. eliphas8 Frankentrotsky

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    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.
     
  14. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    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".
     
  15. Zmflavius Cheeky Little Shit

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    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
     
  16. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    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.
     
  17. twovultures Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  18. Benjamin XVIII Strategos

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    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?
     
  19. Benjamin XVIII Strategos

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    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.
     
  20. Arachnid Arachnid once more.

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012