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Line Infantry is stupid?

suttichart.denpruektham
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6/8/2013 5:21:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
A few months ago, I have been discussing this topic with my friend about historical usefulness of line infantry tactic which have pretty interesting argument which I would like to hare.

I argue from a conservative point of view that line infantry is a necessity is such era due to the lack of accuracy in firearm of old age. As if you don not line your fire up and firing them at a single target at the same time, chances are that you will not hit anything at all. Close formation is also effective in hands to hands fighting as has been demonstrated for centuries from Roman Legion to medieval heavy infantry. It is also easier to command and control, form square, and avoid desertion.

My friend however argue that, if the infantry men never line up but fight loosely in light-skirmish formation, there would actually be more gun firing to the single target as in line formation, only the first of the line can fire a shot while in light-skirmish every one in battalion can fire at will. True, if infantry is under threat of cavalry charging or bayonet, line formation might be necessary but if such threat do not exist. For example enemy cavalry section is not exist (as in Anglo-Zulu war) or has far too little size when compare to our infantry section, line formation won't even be necessary and it is completely stupid to line up infantry against one another and fire up until either of the side is withdrawing. As for bayonet charge, so long as your infantry can retreat as they see fit, there is no chance that the enemy can catch up with you since both is moving by feet and thus can't outrun the other unless somebody stop.

It doesn't sound right but I found that surprisingly make sense. What do you think?

P.S. We (I and my friend) have been talked as in the case of musket-rifle armed infantry, arquebus with pike-and-shot formation is not counted.
1Historygenius
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6/8/2013 7:20:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
If the Duke of Wellington did not form line infantry, he would have lost the Battle of Waterloo. Not only does line infantry create a more disciplined army vs. another force where infantry have free reign, but it seems that no one considers the effect that volley fire has.

Volley fire was not just the correct form to fire a weapon back then, but also scared the opponents. A well disciplined line of troops firing in very organized volleys creates a powerful force and noise over the enemy.

By the way, armies did have skirmishes, but the reasons they weren't used in mass was because they were not as reliable as the line.
"The chief business of the American people is business." - Calvin Coolidge

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1Historygenius
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6/8/2013 7:31:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The generals of the 1700s and 1800s knew that they were doing. They knew that formation was best to do the most damage. Had Napoleon or the Prussians felt they knew something better than a line, they would have done it, but they did not because the line simply prevailed at the time.
"The chief business of the American people is business." - Calvin Coolidge

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suttichart.denpruektham
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6/8/2013 7:40:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 7:20:29 AM, 1Historygenius wrote:
If the Duke of Wellington did not form line infantry, he would have lost the Battle of Waterloo. Not only does line infantry create a more disciplined army vs. another force where infantry have free reign, but it seems that no one considers the effect that volley fire has.

Volley fire was not just the correct form to fire a weapon back then, but also scared the opponents. A well disciplined line of troops firing in very organized volleys creates a powerful force and noise over the enemy.

By the way, armies did have skirmishes, but the reasons they weren't used in mass was because they were not as reliable as the line.

Yeah, I told him that too. His point is that the psychological effect of valley fire is of any significant on the battlefield because the infantry men are not allowed to retreat at their own initiative and therefore is akin to facing firing squad with a chance of firing back, that's why it is scary.

However if the infantry is fighting in light-skirmish fashion, valley fire itself will be of little effect as the infantry men can take cover, retreat, or simply get down to avoid bullet fire and thus doesn't really have any reason to retreat unless their bullets have run out (or being charge upon).

Waterloo is certainly an example of how line infantry tactic is a necessity on the battlefield. Napoleonic forces were significantly composed of cavalry, and the french were know to prefer melee fighting as oppose to simple exchanging volley of fire and therefore is not what we discuss how line infantry is not necessary.

A better example would be a battle in American Revolutionary war, or some battle during War of the Spanish Succession, where infantry is deliberately discipline to standstill and exchange volley of fire with the enemy.
wrichcirw
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6/8/2013 1:04:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 5:21:35 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
A few months ago, I have been discussing this topic with my friend about historical usefulness of line infantry tactic which have pretty interesting argument which I would like to hare.

I argue from a conservative point of view that line infantry is a necessity is such era due to the lack of accuracy in firearm of old age. As if you don not line your fire up and firing them at a single target at the same time, chances are that you will not hit anything at all. Close formation is also effective in hands to hands fighting as has been demonstrated for centuries from Roman Legion to medieval heavy infantry. It is also easier to command and control, form square, and avoid desertion.

I think it's mainly to enforce discipline in the event of a charge, which you do address later.

1) My friend however argue that, if the infantry men never line up but fight loosely in light-skirmish formation, there would actually be more gun firing to the single target as in line formation, only the first of the line can fire a shot while in light-skirmish every one in battalion can fire at will. True, if infantry is under threat of cavalry charging or bayonet, line formation might be necessary but if such threat do not exist. For example enemy cavalry section is not exist (as in Anglo-Zulu war) or has far too little size when compare to our infantry section, line formation won't even be necessary and it is completely stupid to line up infantry against one another and fire up until either of the side is withdrawing. 2) As for bayonet charge, so long as your infantry can retreat as they see fit, there is no chance that the enemy can catch up with you since both is moving by feet and thus can't outrun the other unless somebody stop.

1) Your friend has described why modern military techniques no longer favor line formations. Also, the potency of modern artillery (including bombing runs and air strikes) favor loose skirmish formations and taking as much cover as possible in any situation. Charges, even with tanks, are absolutely foolhardy without artillery support.

The US military is potent not because of the effectiveness of its ground forces, but because of the unparalleled support these ground forces receive through uncontested air superiority.

If you're restricting this to pre-modern warfare, I think protecting against the charge is the most pertinent reason, especially given the relative ineffectiveness of pre-modern artillery.

2) Retreating lowers morale. It can easily be seen as a sign of cowardice by the troops, which becomes infecting and can lead to lack of discipline.

Furthermore, a withdrawing force will be less effective in fighting than an advancing force, leading to more casualties on the withdrawing side. In order for the withdrawing force to withdraw at the same speed of the advancing force, the withdrawing force will have to turn around, and run full speed in the opposite direction. This does not allow for the withdrawing force to fight in any manner. It is cowardice.

It doesn't sound right but I found that surprisingly make sense. What do you think?

P.S. We (I and my friend) have been talked as in the case of musket-rifle armed infantry, arquebus with pike-and-shot formation is not counted.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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6/8/2013 1:21:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 1:04:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/8/2013 5:21:35 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

Furthermore, a withdrawing force will be less effective in fighting than an advancing force, leading to more casualties on the withdrawing side. In order for the withdrawing force to withdraw at the same speed of the advancing force, the withdrawing force will have to turn around, and run full speed in the opposite direction. This does not allow for the withdrawing force to fight in any manner. It is cowardice.

Just to add to this, the bolded does not apply to anything that can fight while retreating, such as tanks and Mongolian horse archers. The latter is what made the Mongols invincible...they could outrun any unit, and fight while running. The Mongols had exceptionally good accuracy on horseback compared to any other mounted unit it encountered. They typically won any open-field encounter against any force fielded by any nation. Furthermore, their forces could cover much more ground than anything fielded at the time. Napoleon claimed this alacrity as his primary advantage, but the Mongols had a much more superior advantage in this regard during their time. The Mongols did not need large supply trains...the soldiers drank mare's milk and raw horse blood when required to do so and could cover exceptionally large distances at absolutely frightening speeds compared to anything fielded in their time. This also contributed to the Mongol's primary weapon - disease and contagion. The bubonic plague unsurprisingly hit China DURING the Mongolian invasion, and if I recall correctly claimed far more lives than all military engagements put together.

The Mongol's only weakness was sieging fortified cities, and they solved this problem by enslaving Chinese engineers, who were expects in the craft. This is what allowed them to extend their invasions to all across Eurasia...that and the reputation they acquired through their conquests.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
DetectableNinja
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6/8/2013 8:31:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Regardless of its stupidity, damn was it cool looking.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
1Historygenius
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6/9/2013 6:53:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 7:40:24 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
At 6/8/2013 7:20:29 AM, 1Historygenius wrote:
If the Duke of Wellington did not form line infantry, he would have lost the Battle of Waterloo. Not only does line infantry create a more disciplined army vs. another force where infantry have free reign, but it seems that no one considers the effect that volley fire has.

Volley fire was not just the correct form to fire a weapon back then, but also scared the opponents. A well disciplined line of troops firing in very organized volleys creates a powerful force and noise over the enemy.

By the way, armies did have skirmishes, but the reasons they weren't used in mass was because they were not as reliable as the line.

Yeah, I told him that too. His point is that the psychological effect of valley fire is of any significant on the battlefield because the infantry men are not allowed to retreat at their own initiative and therefore is akin to facing firing squad with a chance of firing back, that's why it is scary.

What do you mean? Infantry have routed all the time during some battles, especially the militia. Now the officers are supposed to keep discipline, but that does not mean they can keep them in line all the time.

However if the infantry is fighting in light-skirmish fashion, valley fire itself will be of little effect as the infantry men can take cover, retreat, or simply get down to avoid bullet fire and thus doesn't really have any reason to retreat unless their bullets have run out (or being charge upon).

Not if you advancing in an open field where there is no cover. Most battles from the era took place in fields. It also seems that in fact, line infantry got things done faster since one strong blow in a battle can be strikes vs. watching infantry with no order run all over the place.

Waterloo is certainly an example of how line infantry tactic is a necessity on the battlefield. Napoleonic forces were significantly composed of cavalry, and the french were know to prefer melee fighting as oppose to simple exchanging volley of fire and therefore is not what we discuss how line infantry is not necessary.

But there we go on the square formations. Had Wellington had no line infantry, the forming of the squares would e unorganized.


A better example would be a battle in American Revolutionary war, or some battle during War of the Spanish Succession, where infantry is deliberately discipline to standstill and exchange volley of fire with the enemy.
"The chief business of the American people is business." - Calvin Coolidge

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suttichart.denpruektham
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6/10/2013 5:13:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
If you're restricting this to pre-modern warfare, I think protecting against the charge is the most pertinent reason, especially given the relative ineffectiveness of pre-modern artillery.

2) Retreating lowers morale. It can easily be seen as a sign of cowardice by the troops, which becomes infecting and can lead to lack of discipline.

Furthermore, a withdrawing force will be less effective in fighting than an advancing force, leading to more casualties on the withdrawing side. In order for the withdrawing force to withdraw at the same speed of the advancing force, the withdrawing force will have to turn around, and run full speed in the opposite direction. This does not allow for the withdrawing force to fight in any manner. It is cowardice.

Ah, but by retreating at the same speed or faster than the that of the enemy forces, they can also prevent enemy infantry from fulfilled any objective that is to make contact and destroy the enemy line of battle. If they chose to change their objective and target our hard target such as friendly settlement, they will have to do so under harassment and platoon fire from our line they failed to destroy.

Perhaps it is the whole point of this discussion, would cowardice be acceptable if it served in preventing an enemy from fulfilling its objective and maximize possible casualty.
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/10/2013 5:26:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yeah, I told him that too. His point is that the psychological effect of valley fire is of any significant on the battlefield because the infantry men are not allowed to retreat at their own initiative and therefore is akin to facing firing squad with a chance of firing back, that's why it is scary.

What do you mean? Infantry have routed all the time during some battles, especially the militia. Now the officers are supposed to keep discipline, but that does not mean they can keep them in line all the time.

Discipline as in this context would simply mean to obey an officer order to the letters, if the order were to stand where you are and being shot, then you would do it.

Point is we are normally obey other people's order because we need something from them in return. In societal context, this often mean protection, facing certain death is hardly something any intelligent body can accepted unless specifically trained to. That's why a militia, as oppose to regular solider have more tendency to desert their suicidal command. However if the command is not suicidal, and survival is mostly up to their own wit and capability to fight, then I think it is easier for infantry men to fight rather than simply left the field.

However if the infantry is fighting in light-skirmish fashion, valley fire itself will be of little effect as the infantry men can take cover, retreat, or simply get down to avoid bullet fire and thus doesn't really have any reason to retreat unless their bullets have run out (or being charge upon).

Not if you advancing in an open field where there is no cover. Most battles from the era took place in fields. It also seems that in fact, line infantry got things done faster since one strong blow in a battle can be strikes vs. watching infantry with no order run all over the place.

True, and perhaps that's why they later adopted trench tactic when the rifle fire became more advance.

However, I would still think that even on the open field, casualties will be far lesser if the infantry know to lay down to avoid bullet fire

Waterloo is certainly an example of how line infantry tactic is a necessity on the battlefield. Napoleonic forces were significantly composed of cavalry, and the french were know to prefer melee fighting as oppose to simple exchanging volley of fire and therefore is not what we discuss how line infantry is not necessary.

But there we go on the square formations. Had Wellington had no line infantry, the forming of the squares would e unorganized.

True and true, that is why the Waterloo example is left out of discussion, had Napoleon doesn't bring any of his cuirassier to battle and rely mostly on artillery and musket fire it may be wise to adopt entirely light skirmish formation rather than tight line.

A better example would be a battle in American Revolutionary war, or some battle during War of the Spanish Succession, where infantry is deliberately discipline to standstill and exchange volley of fire with the enemy.

And that's an example I am talking about.
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/10/2013 5:34:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 1:21:17 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/8/2013 1:04:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/8/2013 5:21:35 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

Furthermore, a withdrawing force will be less effective in fighting than an advancing force, leading to more casualties on the withdrawing side. In order for the withdrawing force to withdraw at the same speed of the advancing force, the withdrawing force will have to turn around, and run full speed in the opposite direction. This does not allow for the withdrawing force to fight in any manner. It is cowardice.


Just to add to this, the bolded does not apply to anything that can fight while retreating, such as tanks and Mongolian horse archers. The latter is what made the Mongols invincible...they could outrun any unit, and fight while running. The Mongols had exceptionally good accuracy on horseback compared to any other mounted unit it encountered. They typically won any open-field encounter against any force fielded by any nation. Furthermore, their forces could cover much more ground than anything fielded at the time. Napoleon claimed this alacrity as his primary advantage, but the Mongols had a much more superior advantage in this regard during their time. The Mongols did not need large supply trains...the soldiers drank mare's milk and raw horse blood when required to do so and could cover exceptionally large distances at absolutely frightening speeds compared to anything fielded in their time. This also contributed to the Mongol's primary weapon - disease and contagion. The bubonic plague unsurprisingly hit China DURING the Mongolian invasion, and if I recall correctly claimed far more lives than all military engagements put together.

The Mongol's only weakness was sieging fortified cities, and they solved this problem by enslaving Chinese engineers, who were expects in the craft. This is what allowed them to extend their invasions to all across Eurasia...that and the reputation they acquired through their conquests.

One point you may consider is that, the Mongolian is certainly not as effective in fighting on horse back as when they are retreating. The only thing that can be done is arrow fire which I doubt would have any effect against armored and heavily shielded western cavalry and dismount infantry.

What constitute to Mongol victory in battle (as oppose to the deceases hey carried ) is the same as what make the Nazi triumph over France, communication. The use of flag, and horned and etc. to communicate their battlefield command make their formation more agile and flexible. Thus they can easily manipulate a disciplined heavy formation of the western army in to a trapped and annihilate. Which could actually serve as an example on why the disciplined formation might not even work in the first place.
wrichcirw
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6/10/2013 11:05:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 5:34:27 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
At 6/8/2013 1:21:17 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/8/2013 1:04:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/8/2013 5:21:35 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

Furthermore, a withdrawing force will be less effective in fighting than an advancing force, leading to more casualties on the withdrawing side. In order for the withdrawing force to withdraw at the same speed of the advancing force, the withdrawing force will have to turn around, and run full speed in the opposite direction. This does not allow for the withdrawing force to fight in any manner. It is cowardice.


Just to add to this, the bolded does not apply to anything that can fight while retreating, such as tanks and Mongolian horse archers. The latter is what made the Mongols invincible...they could outrun any unit, and fight while running. The Mongols had exceptionally good accuracy on horseback compared to any other mounted unit it encountered. They typically won any open-field encounter against any force fielded by any nation. Furthermore, their forces could cover much more ground than anything fielded at the time. Napoleon claimed this alacrity as his primary advantage, but the Mongols had a much more superior advantage in this regard during their time. The Mongols did not need large supply trains...the soldiers drank mare's milk and raw horse blood when required to do so and could cover exceptionally large distances at absolutely frightening speeds compared to anything fielded in their time. This also contributed to the Mongol's primary weapon - disease and contagion. The bubonic plague unsurprisingly hit China DURING the Mongolian invasion, and if I recall correctly claimed far more lives than all military engagements put together.

The Mongol's only weakness was sieging fortified cities, and they solved this problem by enslaving Chinese engineers, who were expects in the craft. This is what allowed them to extend their invasions to all across Eurasia...that and the reputation they acquired through their conquests.

One point you may consider is that, the Mongolian is certainly not as effective in fighting on horse back as when they are retreating. The only thing that can be done is arrow fire which I doubt would have any effect against armored and heavily shielded western cavalry and dismount infantry.

A horse archer compared to a footman can fight while retreating. Their mounts can run much faster than a footman at full sprint...the horse archer can run in retreat, then run flank, aim, and fire, and then retreat again. Furthermore, the archer himself does not exhaust himself through these tactics whereas the footman does. This is yet another advantage and highly demoralizing for the opposing side.

Furthermore, such a mounted force can easily strike at undefended positions. Say this wall of shields moves significant in the direction of the horse archers, leaving their supply line and command and control units (CC) exposed - more than likely the commander of the field is not part of the line formation. The horse archers can draw the army away from the CC, then make a dash for the CC and destroy it...and then still have the mobility to re-engage in the line formation before their own CC (which is probably also primarily mounted) is compromised.

On a more strategic level, the Mongols could lure a force away from highly defended positions, then make a strike against this now undefended position. Mobility is a gigantic advantage in any warfare, and the Mongols had it far beyond any fighting force of the time, mainly due to the cultural uniqueness of Mongolian society.

Because of the mobility of the Mongol force, they could choose when to fight, whereas the other side could not. The Mongols also had relatively few points of defense - they did not have fortified cities or what not...their "cities" moved with them. This conforms to the highest notions of effective warfare in the Art of War, in this case specifically making yourself invulnerable to attack.

What constitute to Mongol victory in battle (as oppose to the deceases hey carried ) is the same as what make the Nazi triumph over France, communication. The use of flag, and horned and etc. to communicate their battlefield command make their formation more agile and flexible. Thus they can easily manipulate a disciplined heavy formation of the western army in to a trapped and annihilate. Which could actually serve as an example on why the disciplined formation might not even work in the first place.

I think you are wholly discounting the speed inherent in any mounted unit. The core Mongolian fighting force was mounted, whereas for most other fighting forces of the time, they were primarily conscripted footmen.

It is this speed that led to the agility and flexibility you associate with the Mongols, IMHO. Any and all armies benefit from communication, the Mongols were no exception. What made the Mongols exceptional was their means of warfare, i.e. the mount.

The Manchus also had this same advantage, albeit to a lesser extent than the Mongols. Both prized a strong horse culture as opposed to footmen when it came to military affairs. Both experienced surprising and overwhelming victories against a Chinese empire many, many times its size, and their mounts were key for both fighting forces. The Ming Chinese did have muskets and cannons, but not nearly refined to the craftsmanship associated with European designs of the time, and were thus relatively ineffective against the mounted Manchus. The Chinese adopted a kind of fortified position using wagons trains as shields for cannon artillery when fighting against such mobility. It was effective in defense but not on offense, and of course the mounted Manchus had somewhat similar mobility advantages as the Mongols did before them.

For the Nazis, the Blitzkrieg worked because they attacked relatively undefended positions with overwhelming force. WWII tanks, artillery, and air power were far superior than WWI equivalents and could actually punch through trench lines in an effective manner. The speed of the tank and airplane compared to entrenched foot soldiers led to similar advantages as to what the Mongols had during their time.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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6/10/2013 11:30:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 5:13:20 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
If you're restricting this to pre-modern warfare, I think protecting against the charge is the most pertinent reason, especially given the relative ineffectiveness of pre-modern artillery.


2) Retreating lowers morale. It can easily be seen as a sign of cowardice by the troops, which becomes infecting and can lead to lack of discipline.

Furthermore, a withdrawing force will be less effective in fighting than an advancing force, leading to more casualties on the withdrawing side. In order for the withdrawing force to withdraw at the same speed of the advancing force, the withdrawing force will have to turn around, and run full speed in the opposite direction. This does not allow for the withdrawing force to fight in any manner. It is cowardice.

Ah, but by retreating at the same speed or faster than the that of the enemy forces, they can also prevent enemy infantry from fulfilled any objective that is to make contact and destroy the enemy line of battle. If they chose to change their objective and target our hard target such as friendly settlement, they will have to do so under harassment and platoon fire from our line they failed to destroy.

Perhaps it is the whole point of this discussion, would cowardice be acceptable if it served in preventing an enemy from fulfilling its objective and maximize possible casualty.

The bolded can only be accomplished by a superior method of mobility, i.e. horseback. Otherwise, an organized retreat will invariably be either slower than a charge or less effective at fighting, especially if both sides are already engaged on the battlefield. As the advancing army approaches, discipline will be harder to maintain, as the retreating force is relatively incapable of defending itself. Sooner or later it will lead to a breakdown of discipline, and chaos and desertion will ensue.

Otherwise, pre-gunpowder, the Mongolians perfected the underlined technique. Not only that, they did not have cities to defend, so all they needed to think about was how to destroy the enemy. The more you think about it, the more the Mongols resemble the Four Horsemen.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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6/10/2013 11:33:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 11:05:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/10/2013 5:34:27 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

Furthermore, such a mounted force can easily strike at undefended positions. Say this wall of shields moves significant in the direction of the horse archers, leaving their supply line and command and control units (CC) exposed - more than likely the commander of the field is not part of the line formation. The horse archers can draw the army away from the CC, then make a dash for the CC and destroy it...and then still have the mobility to re-engage in the line formation before their own CC (which is probably also primarily mounted) is compromised.

Change the bolded to:

"...more than likely the commander of the field is not part of the fighting force proper."
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/11/2013 1:15:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
A horse archer compared to a footman can fight while retreating. Their mounts can run much faster than a footman at full sprint...the horse archer can run in retreat, then run flank, aim, and fire, and then retreat again. Furthermore, the archer himself does not exhaust himself through these tactics whereas the footman does. This is yet another advantage and highly demoralizing for the opposing side.

Furthermore, such a mounted force can easily strike at undefended positions. Say this wall of shields moves significant in the direction of the horse archers, leaving their supply line and command and control units (CC) exposed - more than likely the commander of the field is not part of the line formation. The horse archers can draw the army away from the CC, then make a dash for the CC and destroy it...and then still have the mobility to re-engage in the line formation before their own CC (which is probably also primarily mounted) is compromised.

On a more strategic level, the Mongols could lure a force away from highly defended positions, then make a strike against this now undefended position. Mobility is a gigantic advantage in any warfare, and the Mongols had it far beyond any fighting force of the time, mainly due to the cultural uniqueness of Mongolian society.

True but this could be done, not only because the Mongols were mounted but because they have superior command and control capability. The European forces also have a mounted cavalry, a medieval knight of France, Hussar of Hungary, eastern European kingdoms also knew to have a strong mounted culture (as in Poland, Lithuania etc.). Plus the Mongols enemies are not only limited to the European, they also fight the Turk, the Indian, etc. which also have reputation for excellent horsemanship. If mounting is the only advantage the Mongols have they wouldn't get pass Ankara in their conquest of the western world.

What make the Mongols unique (to the western army) is their way of communication, which is also certainly due to their extensive use of horsemanship but also because of the advance flag system and strategic mindset. Probably learned from the Chinese Imperial forces they were previously fought.

I think you are wholly discounting the speed inherent in any mounted unit. The core Mongolian fighting force was mounted, whereas for most other fighting forces of the time, they were primarily conscripted footmen.

Speed is certainly the issue of concern, however the method of fighting on horseback alone is not of any significant advantage compare to western army. I believe that had the Mongols had a need to confront western formation directly, they would probably be defeated quite easily.

The Mongols cavalry are light, bow-equipped forced. Bow can do little to no damage on plate armored infantry, properly armed with shield as in case of the Battle of Crecy where western infantry can simply walk through the rain of arrow to make contact with enemy with minimum casualty (albeit they are too exhausted to actually fight when they reach the enemy line). Spear formation can fend off even the heaviest charge by a heavily armored cataphract, let alone the mongolian light cavalry.

That is why the Mongol have to rely on deception and logistic disruption tactic to starve off the enemy before the assault. This could be done through mobility of course, but in this case mobility is created through better communication system (i.e. advance flag system, horn signal), and perhaps a more flexible, decentralized chain of command.

For the Nazis, the Blitzkrieg worked because they attacked relatively undefended positions with overwhelming force. WWII tanks, artillery, and air power were far superior than WWI equivalents and could actually punch through trench lines in an effective manner. The speed of the tank and airplane compared to entrenched foot soldiers led to similar advantages as to what the Mongols had during their time.

And they can do that because they have applied the use of radio to their command and control system. In term of pure combat effectiveness, the French had better tanks, more infantry, and is more motorized overall (contrary to most believe, German forces at the time is only partially motorized, mainly in their elite division). Air power may gave them more fire power, but it is because the use of radio that make their movement far better and responsive to the French whose line of communication is still primarily done by massage carrier.

In my opinion, it is not the actual speed (i.e. mounted, motorized) of the army that constitute to over all organization agility of the military forces, speed only constituted to better movement of the organization. When you are maneuvering against opposition armed forces and not simply try to cover as mush territory as possible, a better responsiveness to a change in situation is required. This could only be done via better communication and efficient command and control. You may reached enemy position in 3 days but if the command to doing that take 5 days to reach, even if the enemy take 5 days to move they still able to outmaneuver your forces through better use of communication technology and efficient chain of command.

This could all link to the original question of this topic, perhaps the organized and discipline army formation might not be a good idea at the first place.
wrichcirw
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6/11/2013 2:09:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 1:15:15 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

True but this could be done, not only because the Mongols were mounted but because they have superior command and control capability. The European forces also have a mounted cavalry, a medieval knight of France, Hussar of Hungary, eastern European kingdoms also knew to have a strong mounted culture (as in Poland, Lithuania etc.). Plus the Mongols enemies are not only limited to the European, they also fight the Turk, the Indian, etc. which also have reputation for excellent horsemanship. If mounting is the only advantage the Mongols have they wouldn't get pass Ankara in their conquest of the western world.

What make the Mongols unique (to the western army) is their way of communication, which is also certainly due to their extensive use of horsemanship but also because of the advance flag system and strategic mindset. Probably learned from the Chinese Imperial forces they were previously fought.

While I agree with you that other civilizations had cavalry as well, the Mongols were vastly different. Most cavalry units in other civilizations were a special unit, like the tank in modern warfare...tanks alone do not win battles for most militaries...there were simply not enough tanks to go around.

However, for the Mongols, the vast majority of their fighting force was indeed mounted...it was inherent in their nomadic culture. Even their "cities" were essentially movable herds of horses. This is extremely different from any other army fielded in their time, and especially given their size, unprecedented in history.

I think you are wholly discounting the speed inherent in any mounted unit. The core Mongolian fighting force was mounted, whereas for most other fighting forces of the time, they were primarily conscripted footmen.

Speed is certainly the issue of concern, however the method of fighting on horseback alone is not of any significant advantage compare to western army. I believe that had the Mongols had a need to confront western formation directly, they would probably be defeated quite easily.

On the bolded, Everything I have read has stated otherwise. If the Mongols were up against armored cavalry, they could kill the horses and thereby immobilize the knight. The Mongolian heavy cavalry could then dispose with an unmounted armored unit.

The Mongols would invariably be faster than most Western mounted units, as they simply did not care for the type of armor that was stock European tradition.

The Mongols cavalry are light, bow-equipped forced. Bow can do little to no damage on plate armored infantry, properly armed with shield as in case of the Battle of Crecy where western infantry can simply walk through the rain of arrow to make contact with enemy with minimum casualty (albeit they are too exhausted to actually fight when they reach the enemy line). Spear formation can fend off even the heaviest charge by a heavily armored cataphract, let alone the mongolian light cavalry.

The battle of Crecy was not fought against the Mongols. It is not a valid comparison. Regardless, from what I can gather, only the archers on the French side were ineffective...the archers on the English side proved to be most effective, even against armored European opponents.

And they can do that because they have applied the use of radio to their command and control system. In term of pure combat effectiveness, the French had better tanks, more infantry, and is more motorized overall (contrary to most believe, German forces at the time is only partially motorized, mainly in their elite division). Air power may gave them more fire power, but it is because the use of radio that make their movement far better and responsive to the French whose line of communication is still primarily done by massage carrier.

In my opinion, it is not the actual speed (i.e. mounted, motorized) of the army that constitute to over all organization agility of the military forces, speed only constituted to better movement of the organization. When you are maneuvering against opposition armed forces and not simply try to cover as mush territory as possible, a better responsiveness to a change in situation is required. This could only be done via better communication and efficient command and control. You may reached enemy position in 3 days but if the command to doing that take 5 days to reach, even if the enemy take 5 days to move they still able to outmaneuver your forces through better use of communication technology and efficient chain of command.

I don't think this is a valid argument. Of course effective CCC (communication command control) is always going to be important, but the type of communication you are talking about here would only be possible under an efficient mounted courier system...one you would think the Mongols would easily employ due to their unique culture involving horses.

This could all link to the original question of this topic, perhaps the organized and discipline army formation might not be a good idea at the first place.

Yeah, the original question did not really deal with the Mongols in any manner...I merely used them to demonstrate that most military units cannot retreat and fight at the same time, with the exceptions of units like tanks and Mongol horse archers.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/11/2013 6:20:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
While I agree with you that other civilizations had cavalry as well, the Mongols were vastly different. Most cavalry units in other civilizations were a special unit, like the tank in modern warfare...tanks alone do not win battles for most militaries...there were simply not enough tanks to go around.

However, for the Mongols, the vast majority of their fighting force was indeed mounted...it was inherent in their nomadic culture. Even their "cities" were essentially movable herds of horses. This is extremely different from any other army fielded in their time, and especially given their size, unprecedented in history.

That is true, perhaps it is close to the concept of total war later invented in Napoleonic era, the entire nation against any opposition that might stand in the way. I do completely agree that the massive use of cavalry would gave Mongol advantage over partially mounted western forces, although I still not entirely convinced that the Turk, the Tartar, and the Poles would be of a significant disadvantage in term of the number of cavalry alone. Although I can't really find any supporting evidence for that but the fact that the entire Mongol nation is a mobile caravan should means that they would need a lot of horses for civilian purpose as well as military. Compare to the Turk or Egypt who have a staple supply of quality horse available, I don't think the number of mount troop will be of vastly different.


On the bolded, Everything I have read has stated otherwise. If the Mongols were up against armored cavalry, they could kill the horses and thereby immobilize the knight. The Mongolian heavy cavalry could then dispose with an unmounted armored unit.

The Mongols would invariably be faster than most Western mounted units, as they simply did not care for the type of armor that was stock European tradition.

Point is, although outrunning any western cavalry or infantry formation is entirely possible, Mongol cavalry on its own is not likely to be able to break a disciplined armor formation of the western infantry. Arrow fire can't penetrate plate or heavy mail armor used by the western forces at the time and certainly can't do any damage to a shield wall formation.

I used to read a research indicated that even a longbow wouldn't be able to penetrate a plate armor or shield, a heaviest crossbow at the time can but it would take a considerable time in reloading and I am not sure if it is possible to fire from horse back, above all such a technology is not available to the east which is so the Mongols


The battle of Crecy was not fought against the Mongols. It is not a valid comparison. Regardless, from what I can gather, only the archers on the French side were ineffective...the archers on the English side proved to be most effective, even against armored European opponents.

The example is only to demonstrate the effectiveness of western armor against bow, even the heavy long bow of the English. The French cavalry did take a massive lost from this battle, however most of the kill is made on the captive, not the fighting French Knight. The arrow fire do most of the damage to the horse, not the armor knight, the dismounted knights who were exhausted from battle and long walk, were then captured and later on dispatched by the Englishmen.

While overall this is an example of a strategic failure of medieval armor warfare, it certainly proved that armor is an effective combat gear, especially against arrow of all kind.

And they can do that because they have applied the use of radio to their command and control system. In term of pure combat effectiveness, the French had better tanks, more infantry, and is more motorized overall (contrary to most believe, German forces at the time is only partially motorized, mainly in their elite division). Air power may gave them more fire power, but it is because the use of radio that make their movement far better and responsive to the French whose line of communication is still primarily done by massage carrier.

In my opinion, it is not the actual speed (i.e. mounted, motorized) of the army that constitute to over all organization agility of the military forces, speed only constituted to better movement of the organization. When you are maneuvering against opposition armed forces and not simply try to cover as mush territory as possible, a better responsiveness to a change in situation is required. This could only be done via better communication and efficient command and control. You may reached enemy position in 3 days but if the command to doing that take 5 days to reach, even if the enemy take 5 days to move they still able to outmaneuver your forces through better use of communication technology and efficient chain of command.

I don't think this is a valid argument. Of course effective CCC (communication command control) is always going to be important, but the type of communication you are talking about here would only be possible under an efficient mounted courier system...one you would think the Mongols would easily employ due to their unique culture involving horses.

In that case, we're in full agreement here.

This could all link to the original question of this topic, perhaps the organized and discipline army formation might not be a good idea at the first place.

Yeah, the original question did not really deal with the Mongols in any manner...I merely used them to demonstrate that most military units cannot retreat and fight at the same time, with the exceptions of units like tanks and Mongol horse archers.

Understood, what I try to say is that on philosophical level, your example is seem to have a relationship with my original question. What make a line infantry, a line infantry, is their strict discipline, efficient organization which heavily argument their combat effectiveness, at the cost of agility and responsiveness. Both of our example seem to agree, that in the end, this is too mush of a price, as organization or troop formation that proved themselves to be flexible seem to prevail in the end.

This could even applied to business theories, there is a time when we used to prefer a large organization with strict discipline and efficient production, as information technology improved the "light-skirmish" formation, started to replace the less mobile one, even at the cost of lower efficiency.
wrichcirw
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6/11/2013 6:26:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 6:20:16 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
While I agree with you that other civilizations had cavalry as well, the Mongols were vastly different. Most cavalry units in other civilizations were a special unit, like the tank in modern warfare...tanks alone do not win battles for most militaries...there were simply not enough tanks to go around.

However, for the Mongols, the vast majority of their fighting force was indeed mounted...it was inherent in their nomadic culture. Even their "cities" were essentially movable herds of horses. This is extremely different from any other army fielded in their time, and especially given their size, unprecedented in history.

That is true, perhaps it is close to the concept of total war later invented in Napoleonic era, the entire nation against any opposition that might stand in the way. I do completely agree that the massive use of cavalry would gave Mongol advantage over partially mounted western forces, although I still not entirely convinced that the Turk, the Tartar, and the Poles would be of a significant disadvantage in term of the number of cavalry alone. Although I can't really find any supporting evidence for that but the fact that the entire Mongol nation is a mobile caravan should means that they would need a lot of horses for civilian purpose as well as military. Compare to the Turk or Egypt who have a staple supply of quality horse available, I don't think the number of mount troop will be of vastly different.

Let me put it this way.

Most pre-modern cultures consisted of farmland, cities and noblemen. Imagine instead of farmland, cities and noblemen, you had horses instead of farmland, horses instead of cities, and men on horses for noblemen. The latter describes Mongolian culture under Genghis Khan.

So yes, the difference would be vast, dramatic, and startling. This is why when the Mongols contemplated turning entire civilizations into grazing fields for their horses, people took them seriously. The Chinese had to convince them that leaving the cities as they were and not butchering every man, woman and child was ultimately more profitable for the Mongols than turning them all into pastureland.

Point is, although outrunning any western cavalry or infantry formation is entirely possible, Mongol cavalry on its own is not likely to be able to break a disciplined armor formation of the western infantry. Arrow fire can't penetrate plate or heavy mail armor used by the western forces at the time and certainly can't do any damage to a shield wall formation.

Your example of the Battle of Crecy proved that European archers were easily capable of breaking European armor. The armor helps, but it does not make a force invincible. Given enough time, any defense will break. This is why the best defense is a good offense, and even then, you do not want to be in the offensive too long...otherwise your offense will break as well. This is essentially what happened to Hannibal Barca, who stayed in Rome far longer than he should have.

I used to read a research indicated that even a longbow wouldn't be able to penetrate a plate armor or shield, a heaviest crossbow at the time can but it would take a considerable time in reloading and I am not sure if it is possible to fire from horse back, above all such a technology is not available to the east which is so the Mongols

The Mongols perfected archery from horseback. Their tools were advanced...China was the most advanced civilization in the world at the time.

It depends on the type of shield and armor, sure, but this would suggest that "invincible" armor was prohibitively expensive for Europe:

"Cost and availability of armor, skill of the archer, horses, mass archery. Some armors that defend very well against arrows were prohibitively expensive. Skilled archers might be able to make up for many of the problems mentioned so far. In certain historical battles, the tactics of mass archery made a huge difference."

http://www.benjaminrose.com...

The battle of Crecy was not fought against the Mongols. It is not a valid comparison. Regardless, from what I can gather, only the archers on the French side were ineffective...the archers on the English side proved to be most effective, even against armored European opponents.

While overall this is an example of a strategic failure of medieval armor warfare, it certainly proved that armor is an effective combat gear, especially against arrow of all kind.

I'm certain that a 10 inch stone wall would be even more effective than medieval armor in deflecting arrows. However, the feasibility of carrying such a wall around with you for combat purposes is prohibitive. My point being, strategy is everything. If it strategically fails, then it will fail in warfare.

This could all link to the original question of this topic, perhaps the organized and discipline army formation might not be a good idea at the first place.

Yeah, the original question did not really deal with the Mongols in any manner...I merely used them to demonstrate that most military units cannot retreat and fight at the same time, with the exceptions of units like tanks and Mongol horse archers.

Understood, what I try to say is that on philosophical level, your example is seem to have a relationship with my original question. What make a line infantry, a line infantry, is their strict discipline, efficient organization which heavily argument their combat effectiveness, at the cost of agility and responsiveness. Both of our example seem to agree, that in the end, this is too mush of a price, as organization or troop formation that proved themselves to be flexible seem to prevail in the end.

This could even applied to business theories, there is a time when we used to prefer a large organization with strict discipline and efficient production, as information technology improved the "light-skirmish" formation, started to replace the less mobile one, even at the cost of lower efficiency.

Very good point.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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6/11/2013 6:44:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Just to be clear, I simply do not see how the Battle of Crecy demonstrates the primacy of armored units...if anything, it demonstrates the primacy of a good archery unit over the knight:

http://www.longbow-archers.com...
http://www.midgleywebpages.com...
http://militaryhistory.about.com...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/12/2013 1:06:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 6:44:19 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
Just to be clear, I simply do not see how the Battle of Crecy demonstrates the primacy of armored units...if anything, it demonstrates the primacy of a good archery unit over the knight:

http://www.longbow-archers.com...
http://www.midgleywebpages.com...
http://militaryhistory.about.com...

not strategically, but technically it simply proved that the armor unit can withstand arrow fire, and if used effectively should grant a strategic advantage in combat.

The French failed to utilize their heavy armor in many level, they've charged their own crossbow mercenary unit which spread panic on their own army, it also slow down the horses which would then have to charge against a slope and stake in order to reach the English archer. There is even a record of testimony that the dismounted French knight were still be able to walk against the English arrow fire to fight, although they were too exhausted and can easily be captured by the English archer. It used to be on the wikipedia or so I think, last time I check, it is not their anymore, so sorry I can't show you that.

However, even with this strategic failure, most of the casualties on the French were done through the capture, not the fighting knight. That is enough to convinced me that armor in itself is effective as a protection gear. If battlefield is screened, if cavalry have not been deployed with a frontal charge, if crossbowmen were equipped with pavis, and many more that the French could have done to improve their better used of armor, the battle could be far better than what it turn out.
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/12/2013 1:22:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 6:26:43 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/11/2013 6:20:16 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
While I agree with you that other civilizations had cavalry as well, the Mongols were vastly different. Most cavalry units in other civilizations were a special unit, like the tank in modern warfare...tanks alone do not win battles for most militaries...there were simply not enough tanks to go around.

However, for the Mongols, the vast majority of their fighting force was indeed mounted...it was inherent in their nomadic culture. Even their "cities" were essentially movable herds of horses. This is extremely different from any other army fielded in their time, and especially given their size, unprecedented in history.

That is true, perhaps it is close to the concept of total war later invented in Napoleonic era, the entire nation against any opposition that might stand in the way. I do completely agree that the massive use of cavalry would gave Mongol advantage over partially mounted western forces, although I still not entirely convinced that the Turk, the Tartar, and the Poles would be of a significant disadvantage in term of the number of cavalry alone. Although I can't really find any supporting evidence for that but the fact that the entire Mongol nation is a mobile caravan should means that they would need a lot of horses for civilian purpose as well as military. Compare to the Turk or Egypt who have a staple supply of quality horse available, I don't think the number of mount troop will be of vastly different.

Let me put it this way.

Most pre-modern cultures consisted of farmland, cities and noblemen. Imagine instead of farmland, cities and noblemen, you had horses instead of farmland, horses instead of cities, and men on horses for noblemen. The latter describes Mongolian culture under Genghis Khan.

Still, you will need more horse for that farm lands, cities, etc. to make it mobile, may be even several time of what it actually need to let the exhausted horses rest and replace it with a fresher one. How mush more can you actually spare for those in the armed forces?

Your example of the Battle of Crecy proved that European archers were easily capable of breaking European armor. The armor helps, but it does not make a force invincible. Given enough time, any defense will break. This is why the best defense is a good offense, and even then, you do not want to be in the offensive too long...otherwise your offense will break as well. This is essentially what happened to Hannibal Barca, who stayed in Rome far longer than he should have.

But not the armor formation, an infantry in square formation with testudo-stlye shield wall will be effective against arrow. In fact, the Roman proved that even with simple shield and chain mail.

I used to read a research indicated that even a longbow wouldn't be able to penetrate a plate armor or shield, a heaviest crossbow at the time can but it would take a considerable time in reloading and I am not sure if it is possible to fire from horse back, above all such a technology is not available to the east which is so the Mongols

The Mongols perfected archery from horseback. Their tools were advanced...China was the most advanced civilization in the world at the time.

Chinese bows and crossbows were knew to be light and rapid but lacking a penetration power of the western crossbow and arquebus. This is evident to the fact that poisons were often applied to the Chinese arrow to increase its possible casualty.

I think that is reasonable, given that eastern armor also comparatively lighter than the west, and not completely enclosed so they don't really need a crossbow that can break a bone but is five times slower in rate of fire.

It depends on the type of shield and armor, sure, but this would suggest that "invincible" armor was prohibitively expensive for Europe:

"Cost and availability of armor, skill of the archer, horses, mass archery. Some armors that defend very well against arrows were prohibitively expensive. Skilled archers might be able to make up for many of the problems mentioned so far. In certain historical battles, the tactics of mass archery made a huge difference."

http://www.benjaminrose.com...

True and true, the western armies at a time should be far smaller than the Mongol horde.

I'm certain that a 10 inch stone wall would be even more effective than medieval armor in deflecting arrows. However, the feasibility of carrying such a wall around with you for combat purposes is prohibitive. My point being, strategy is everything. If it strategically fails, then it will fail in warfare.

Certainly. Still they don't need plate armor for every body the have, only a shield would be enough (and chain mail would be nice) as demonstrated by the Roman.
wrichcirw
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6/12/2013 2:13:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/12/2013 1:22:35 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
At 6/11/2013 6:26:43 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/11/2013 6:20:16 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
While I agree with you that other civilizations had cavalry as well, the Mongols were vastly different. Most cavalry units in other civilizations were a special unit, like the tank in modern warfare...tanks alone do not win battles for most militaries...there were simply not enough tanks to go around.

However, for the Mongols, the vast majority of their fighting force was indeed mounted...it was inherent in their nomadic culture. Even their "cities" were essentially movable herds of horses. This is extremely different from any other army fielded in their time, and especially given their size, unprecedented in history.

That is true, perhaps it is close to the concept of total war later invented in Napoleonic era, the entire nation against any opposition that might stand in the way. I do completely agree that the massive use of cavalry would gave Mongol advantage over partially mounted western forces, although I still not entirely convinced that the Turk, the Tartar, and the Poles would be of a significant disadvantage in term of the number of cavalry alone. Although I can't really find any supporting evidence for that but the fact that the entire Mongol nation is a mobile caravan should means that they would need a lot of horses for civilian purpose as well as military. Compare to the Turk or Egypt who have a staple supply of quality horse available, I don't think the number of mount troop will be of vastly different.

Let me put it this way.

Most pre-modern cultures consisted of farmland, cities and noblemen. Imagine instead of farmland, cities and noblemen, you had horses instead of farmland, horses instead of cities, and men on horses for noblemen. The latter describes Mongolian culture under Genghis Khan.

Still, you will need more horse for that farm lands, cities, etc. to make it mobile, may be even several time of what it actually need to let the exhausted horses rest and replace it with a fresher one. How mush more can you actually spare for those in the armed forces?

Each Mongolian soldier typically had several horses. Their whole society was built around horses. Horses were their economy, their social structure, anything, everything.

They had horses to spare. They had so many horses because they had nothing else BUT horses.

A Mongol "city" consisted of tents that could be dismantled and pitched somewhere else in order to move with their herds. There was no stationary element to pastoral life.

I'd recommend that you look into Mongolian society around Genghis Khan. I cannot stress how unique this culture was in comparison to most other civilizations.

But not the armor formation, an infantry in square formation with testudo-stlye shield wall will be effective against arrow. In fact, the Roman proved that even with simple shield and chain mail.

Yes, but the Romans were not up against armies consisting solely of mounted archers that could choose when to engage. Sooner or later, the defenders will wear down. The attacker has the advantage.

Chinese bows and crossbows were knew to be light and rapid but lacking a penetration power of the western crossbow and arquebus. This is evident to the fact that poisons were often applied to the Chinese arrow to increase its possible casualty.

It's easily conceivable that Chinese weaponry was crafted against their specific enemy, which happened to be lightly armored nomadic tribes with high mobility.

It's just as conceivable that the Chinese could have easily adapted their weaponry to pierce heavy armor. They certainly had the technology, that much is not in doubt.

I'm certain that a 10 inch stone wall would be even more effective than medieval armor in deflecting arrows. However, the feasibility of carrying such a wall around with you for combat purposes is prohibitive. My point being, strategy is everything. If it strategically fails, then it will fail in warfare.

Certainly. Still they don't need plate armor for every body the have, only a shield would be enough (and chain mail would be nice) as demonstrated by the Roman.

All of that is still entails much more encumbrance compared to a lightly armored mounted unit capable of engaging and retreating at will without fear of retaliation. It places the encumbered unit at a gigantic disadvantage.

---

The Mongols were a very unique fighting force. The combination of nomadic civilization and the high mobility inherent in it, the terrible sanitation conditions in which the Mongols thrived, and the unification of the tribes into one horrific banner under Genghis Khan made them extremely difficult to combat.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
suttichart.denpruektham
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6/12/2013 10:39:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The fact that their entire society is based on horse back have little to do if their population is only a fraction of what of other civilizations were at the time, which is most likely the case given their nomadic nature. It would have more to do with economy rather than cultural factors, I think.

And it is not entirely true that the Mongols can chose when and where to engage simply because superior culture and technology. The fact that they do not have permanent cities or settlement, also mean that they would have to rely on external source for essential resource, such as food, water, and material for their weapon and armor. On that, the western force can simply fortify and concentrate their forces at this sources of resource and the Mongol would have no choice but to attack or retreat to the closest resource available to them.

I think what truly make the Mongols, a terrifying force is their effective use of strategy, how they can apply their strength to their enemies weakness, how they manipulate the enemy psychology and overall chain of command. In short, the Mongol's victory came from their leader. That should explain how all of their conquered territory always lost when the effective leaderships have finally pass away. If Genghis Khan was to born a French prince, he would surely make the same achievement whether he was born on a horseback or not. While technology and culture would surely help, the most decisive factor on a victory and defeat of one army, is and will always be the commander of such forces.
wrichcirw
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6/12/2013 11:07:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/12/2013 10:39:06 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
The fact that their entire society is based on horse back have little to do if their population is only a fraction of what of other civilizations were at the time, which is most likely the case given their nomadic nature. It would have more to do with economy rather than cultural factors, I think.

And it is not entirely true that the Mongols can chose when and where to engage simply because superior culture and technology. The fact that they do not have permanent cities or settlement, also mean that they would have to rely on external source for essential resource, such as food, water, and material for their weapon and armor. On that, the western force can simply fortify and concentrate their forces at this sources of resource and the Mongol would have no choice but to attack or retreat to the closest resource available to them.

I think what truly make the Mongols, a terrifying force is their effective use of strategy, how they can apply their strength to their enemies weakness, how they manipulate the enemy psychology and overall chain of command. In short, the Mongol's victory came from their leader. That should explain how all of their conquered territory always lost when the effective leaderships have finally pass away. If Genghis Khan was to born a French prince, he would surely make the same achievement whether he was born on a horseback or not. While technology and culture would surely help, the most decisive factor on a victory and defeat of one army, is and will always be the commander of such forces.

Again, I highly recommend you read about the Mongols during Genghis Khan's time.

The Mongols did not have the issues with the bolded. They drank mare's milk. Their horses grazed on the land. Their society was largely self sufficient and did not involve permanent settlements. Their armies were also largely self sufficient and did not require complex supply trains. They were not reliant upon resource centers to sustain their society or their army. They did not have these strategic vulnerabilities - I have already gone into this multiple times in detail. The only restraints they may have had were timber (minimal) and iron. Iron could easily be obtained via trade or raids against China. It's not possible to bar access to such a resource.

If you read about Mongol society, you would conclude that even though their civilization was small in absolute numbers, that their entire society was militarized from birth to death meant that whatever force they fielded easily matched those of other armies of the time...with the distinct exception that their forces were fully mounted, whereas most other armies of the time were not. That is like one side fighting with a fully self-sufficent, mechanized force without any need for fuel, against a fully unmechanized force.

The underlined was only possible due to the inherent strategic advantages that the Mongols enjoyed on the battlefield. Similarly, America's successes in the battlefield stem from America's distinct technological superiority, to such an extent that wholly tactically indefensible positions like Vietnam still turned into a massive and lopsided body count against America's enemies.

If Genghis Khan was a French prince, he would have had the same issues that the French had. If Genghis Khan was a Chinese emperor, he would have had the same issues that the Chinese had. If Genghis Khan was an American President, he would have had the same abilities afforded to American armies.

Means of combat are everything in warfare. They bestow strategic advantages that cannot be countered. They can turn what would otherwise be absurd battle strategies into resounding victories against absolutely overwhelming forces. This is exactly what explains Europe's successes with colonization even though they were typically outnumbered 50 to one. This explains Mongol dominance as well.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?