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Ask me about Warfare

Discussion in 'Research' started by thecoldembrace, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    You've got roughly 7sqkm. I'd half the upper limit for Trolls being much bigger than Humans. So that would give you a maximum in the region of 1050 Trolls. But I'd halve that again as tents seem to take up a lot of space unless their placement is planned out.
    So yes... about 500 Trolls.
    As for the Mongols... No idea there really, but I'm sure I read that they moved around more in [extended] family units. Some groupings were relatively small [50-ish], others up to a thousand and even more.
     
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  2. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

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    This is from my notes, based on Roman castrum. Note that "Vetronian" feet actually means "Roman" feet, so bit larger than English feet:

    • size of fort (in Vetronian feet)
      • 45 square feet per infantryman

      • 90 square feet per cavalryman

      • 10 x 10 feet tent – 12,5 x 12,5 feet total space – 100 sq feet, 10 sq feet per soldier
        • 10 sq feet tent space, 35 sq feet baggage per soldier
      • 125 x 125 feet for infantry centuria (100 infantry) or 25 cavalry

      • 250 x 250 feet for cavalry centuria

      • turma: 1 600 infantry, 2 400 cavalry = 25 500 000 square feet

      • drungus: 6 375 000 square feet

      • vexillum: 3 187 500 square feet

      • organized in four equal quarters
    Now you just have to figure out how much larger Trolls are compared to humans and multiply above values based on that.

    EDIT:
    Assuming that trolls are 1,5 times as tall as humans and thus take up roughly twice as much space:

    Calc 1:
    100 square feet per troll, 500 trolls = 50 000 square feet

    Calc 2:
    20 feet square tent space, 70 ft square baggage per troll
    500 trolls = 10 000 square feet tent space, 35 000 square feet baggage
    5 feet between tents = 100 - 120 feet square total space per troll
    500 trolls = 50 000 - 60 000 square feet camp space
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Thanks, folks. I'm going with five hundred. It fits the space (though I can adjust the space) but also because five is a magical number for trolls. There are five kingdoms and five gods. And five fingers on a hand. Whoa! Five planets. Whoa! Five elements. Duuude.

    Anyway, they're comfy with fives. So that's a hundred trolls for each kingdom here in the sacred space for the Trial of Kings. When things work out that neatly, the author is obliged to run with it.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Eclipse Sovereign

    Eclipse Sovereign Scribe

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    I was wanting to know the basics of naval warfare, primarily ancient Greek or Roman. In the book I’m writing, the setting is an archipelago that’s nearly impossible to travel in winter.
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    There are books on the topic. When you say "basics" what are you after, exactly? There's about a zillion (Official Estimate) things to know.
     
  6. Eclipse Sovereign

    Eclipse Sovereign Scribe

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    What sort of ships were in use? How did they fight? With rams? Did they use oars, or sails? And what sort of seas did they traverse?

    Sorry if I seem rude, I’m genuinely curious.
     
  7. chrispenycate

    chrispenycate Sage

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    If you go to the Baen Free library and download In the Heart of Darkness by Eric Flint and David Drake - WebScription Ebook you'll find, in chapter 25, a naval battle, even though most of the book concentrates on land warfare. This is late Roman Empire, Byzantine (indeed, the series is named after general Belisarius), so it wouldn't be the same as Athenian ships against Persian, for example, and anachronistic technology is already showing its head (more so later in the series), but it's always more amusing to read fiction (or contemporary historians) than reference books, no?

    Oars are essential - contemporary sail rigs wouldn't give enough manoeuverability to ram, and if the wind dropped you needed them just to stay in the battle, but even galleys frequently had auxilliary sails - having helped row an authentic Roman galley I'll promise wasting any potential external power would be looked on asckance, especially since your rowers were frequently your boarders, and, in landing operations, your soldiers - no room for dedicated oar slaves in warfare, and exhausting them would reduce the odds of a victory.

    Those craft were generally used in the Mediterranean and Persian gulf, and would not be practical for Atlantic or any more enthusiastic waters those ships would not be optimised - too shallow a draught, too lightweight a construction - it's amazing that the Vikings' dragon ships (another potential source of ideas and technology) but they didn't specialise in ship to ship battles, but raiding coasts and river settlements.

    Lots of grappling and boarding, fire an ever-present hazard, shortage of marine artillery meaning combat had to be close and fast - generally nasty. But no worse, I suppose, than the troops on land experienced.
     
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  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    You aren't being rude, you're being curious. Just know that really answering the question is going to mean more than asking a forum question. But it's not a bad place to start.

    >What sort of ships were in use?
    Galleys. There were plenty of other kinds of ships, but for war you're talking galleys.

    >How did they fight? With rams?
    Rams, arrows and other projectiles, and boarding. There are examples of fleet-level maneuvers (read about the Battle of Salamis, for example). Small engagements rarely got recorded, or at least such records have not survived.

    >Did they use oars, or sails?
    Yes. Both. But maneuvering was easier done with oars, so in actual engagement it was normally oars. Sails might be used to escape or to get into an advantageous position.

    >And what sort of seas did they traverse?
    Not sure what you're asking here.
     
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  9. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

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  10. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    I've always wanted to know...

    Why did people not use "hold out in a siege" against Napoleon's army very often? eg, the Turks were stopped at Vienna

    And in 1870, the Prussians held back from PAris when it refused to surrender

    was it because N had super-effective siege-busting ability? or that he was so civilised a conqueror that there was no point having the capital burned to the ground?
     
  11. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Don't know much about how Napoleon I made war. I've always thought it to be highly mobile. He wanted it all So long sieges just weren't on his plan list.
    The Prussians did take Paris in 1871 after what I sure felt like a really long 4-month siege. The tales of starvation and hunger in the city that winter are terrible.
    The Prussians wanted the city intact and didn't want to rally external support for the French by shelling the city and causing mass casualties. They wanted to keep it a local war.
    Also, they didn't want to try to take it by main force. The Prussians wanted to beat France and while Paris is important, it isn't the whole country. The Prussians could have ceased the city and then found themselves attacked by other French forces.
    And they were facing Napoleon III who wasn't the same type of leader as his [uncle?] namesake.
     
  12. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    Well yes, yes... Napoleon I was aiming for mobility etc... BUT but my Q is why didn't his enemies try to hold out in a long siege, like they did before his time (vs Turks) and after him (vs the Prussians)?

    All the diaries of soldiers in 1812 said the French were ragged and hungry going to fight at Borodino.... if the Russians had dug a series of redoubts / barricades and held out in a siege at Moscow instead of marching away... what might have happened?
     
  13. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I see, and I don't know. I don't think most soldiers think of sieges as a good idea if you are on the inside. You are trapped and surrounded. It is hard to start a siege if you are on the inside. It is up to the other side to want to besiege you. The Prussians chose not to storm or assault Paris for political and logistic reasons, hence a siege. I don't think the French thought it a good idea. The Parisians certainly didn't. Unless there are very good logistical or strategic reasons I guess that neither side wants to do it. I'm guessing that after the race/retreat to Moscow, both sides were on the ragged edge and not capable of very much. Communications were probably shaky at best and maybe there just wasn't time resources and manpower to plan and build big defences.
     
  14. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Napoleon was involved in sieges, and did well in a them. I think he was 1) an artillery major, 2) a brilliant tactician 3) was very good at making people want to fight for him. I think all of that probably had a bit to do with it. In a time when military rank was often given for reasons of social standing, someone who was actually good warfare was too outside the box for nobility.
     
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  15. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

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    I think it has to do with size and organization of armies. Roman wars often show pitched battles, because armies were so large and well-organized that trying to hold out in a siege was very dangerous. Ottoman wars OTOH have a large number of sieges (Constantinople, Belgrade, Sisak, Vienna etc.), but warfare was a) fought mainly by provincial armies and b) often ended in a pitched battle anyway.

    At any rate, there were sieges in Napoleonic wars. THey are just less famous than pitched battles:
    Category:Sieges of the Napoleonic Wars - Wikipedia
     
  16. CSEllis

    CSEllis Dreamer

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    Some the bloodiest fighting of Borodino were fought around the redoubts that the Russians made prior to the battle. Though the Russians retreated following Borodino, they weren't beaten. Their army remained an effective (if badly damaged mind) force and could camp out around Moscow as Napoleon marched into the open city. Napoleon was used to either one or a couple of swift battlefield victories that'd make the enemy cave in because the defeat would be decisive. At Borodino he was left with a field full of bodies and no victory. Nor did one present itself to him when he arrived at Moscow. The Russians proved unwilling to play ball. We obsess over battles, but battles aren't all.

    As for the original question, simply put, warfare had changed.

    A bit on sieges:
    You fight a war because you think you, in some way, will win (even if that "victory" is in Valhalla). Therefore, if you're besieged it means you don't believe you can take the enemy on in an open fight. If you can't take the enemy on in an open fight then you better have allies or be ready with peace terms of some kind. Sieges aren't pretty, it's a basic rule of warfare that if you take a city by storm (i.e. it resisted) then your soldiers get to sack it. Rape, pillage, anything goes. It's horrendous stuff. You as the besieged don't want that.
    So if your siege is going to keep on then you'd better hope for allies. If you can link up then you presumably can beat them. If you are alone then don't bother.
    The above is standard for "pre-modern" and "early modern" warfare.

    Except that by Napoleon's time things had changed. The French Revolution had created the "nation-at-arms" where every citizen was part of the war. It's not precisely "total war" in my book - but people have interpreted it that way. Certainly the proclamation whose name I can't remember (written by ole' Robespierre as I recall) that laid out the "Levee en masse" reads like something from the 20th Century, with the men fighting whilst the old men, women and boys make the equipment.

    All this means that in place of the vaguely professional armies of the 18th Century, now the French nation is at war - which means that they have hundreds of thousands of men to take on what is basically the rest of Europe that is coming to have a go at them. This doesn't translate so much into the battles. They're still not that much bigger than the ones in Seven Years War and the rest. It does mean however that French armies are everywhere. Napoleon gets his successes in Italy as part of a "unified" (wishful thinking with the communications they had, but still) strategy that involved armies north and south of the alps. We just know about Napoleon because he's the one who a) became famous after and b) actually won.

    With all these armies running around - fortresses begin to lose importance. This era has been identified as the beginning of the concept known as "operational art" - where strategy and tactics have to move to make room for the "operational" level of warfare - where you fight the enemy in a series of engagements and battles rather than just arriving at one side of a field and your opponent doing the same. As part of this, fortresses are now only inconveniences. Napoleon and the rest (Kutuzov, de Tolly, Schwarzenburg and Blucher will be in the same position in time - Wellington is a kind of outlier since he's hamstrung for manpower for much of his time in the Peninsular) now have the manpower to drop ten-twenty-thirty thousand men to besiege a fortress whilst the rest of the army runs all over the country trying to bring the real enemy to combat. Professional armies with professional engineers mean that you don't have to spend months besieiging a particular town that has the only bridge in the area because in a day your corps of engineers can build you a pontoon bridge that will be just as good. If you bring that enemy army to battle and smash it, fortresses mean nothing, they'll fall soon enough because with the enemy's army/ies defeated nobody can turn up to save it.

    So yeah - short of critical objectives (like capitals so the enemy can know they've lost) - sieges just steadily become less meaningful as armies grow bigger.
     
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  17. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Not sure how much Napoleon "wanted it all" as much as "Everyone is out to get me so unless I can remove their access to resources that can be used to raise armies to attack me, they're just going to keep coming."

    I'm a bit tired so I hope that I don't blow something out of proportions here.

    I think that the bolded part might be to strong actually. If I've understood your argument as being that Napoleon was breaking away from the connection between social and military rank.

    I think its more likely that the presence of someone with a rank and capabilities which exceeded his social ranking in the Old Regime was what raised the hackles of the European nobility along with Napoleon's connection with the French revolution. I'd like to point out that while Napoleon was very good, to my understanding he created a new nobility, ennobled or even made his leading marshalls into kings. This is certainly a progressive reformer in his time but not a man dedicated to social, or any other, equality.

    So I would say that Napoleon strained the traditional ideas about nobility and officer ranks. But he was never able, or willing, to break free from them.
     
  18. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I think that type of commentary is beyond anything I would know about Napoleon. I was merely suggesting that some who got to order troops about had no particular gift for it, and Napoleon seemed to be pretty good at it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  19. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    In this you are of course right. No objections from me to this.
     
  20. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Truth is, I have never really had any interest in Napoleon, but in researching a bit for this question, I found he was more inventive than I would have guessed. I am interested to know more now.
     
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