Dukhasinov

Rob Stark was really not that great of a General

60 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Leaving the force he did behind at Winterfell was only a mistake because he was betrayed from the inside. No one who hadn't grown up at Winterfell could have taken it the way Theon did. Are you saying great generals should expect their allies to betray them? I see you've made Rodrik Cassel a teenager. He'll be thrilled to be young again.

Ah, so you expect GRRM to have written down every single order Robb ever gave to anyone, and never left anything out. I see.

He gave Edmure instructions that allowed for some flexibility. He did not tell Edmure to take major steps without consulting the other generals. In the military, you follow orders, you do not create your own. 

 

Yeah, I can`t blame Rob for losing Winterfell the way he did. Like you said, no-one who didn`t have inside knowledge could have pulled off what Theon did. Also, it`s ureasonable to expect Rob to anticipate an Ironborn invasion because of how catastrophically stupid it was. The most sparcely populated of the seven kingdoms deciding to invade the northernmost, geographically largest of the kingdoms on the eve of winter? You can`t predict that kind of stupid.

 

   Actually, we are given pretty good details on what Edmure knew and didn`t know. He told Rob, "I didn`t know!" Rob told him, "You were commanded to hold Riverrun, nothing more." 

Actually, in the military, a commander in the field separated from central authority is expected to take initiative, not blindly follow the last order given. If Edmure was aware of Rob`s intended "End State," he could have adjusted his actions accordingly. As it was, blocking the Lannisters` movement across the river was consistent with his mandate to defend Riverrun.

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10 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

His measure as a general is reflected in this tactical data. Losing the north reflects on his greatness as king.

No, he was in command of the Winterfell forces, Both Rodrik, Luwin and Bran point out the inexperience Robb chose to leave behind to defend his capital. 

Tywin knows the importance of the Rock and leaves it well defended, the young Robert knew the importance of Storm's End and it survives against the Tyrells. When Robb and his fool friend Theon decided to go to war they stripped the Stark's most valuable asset of all its experienced men. Robb the general made that choice and it backfired. 

10 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

 And most of his army died because he was betrayed long before he went to the twins. 

Due to mismanagement of his resources. he fucked over the Karstarks and Freys making their choice to betray him pretty easy while leaving an 10k army with no clear objectives for 6 months is always going to cause problems. This is command 101, basic failings that Robb himself caused. 

10 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

I don't understand them either but that isn't what we are talking about. Robb was an incredible general,

He really was not. An incredible captain, brigadier, colonel. Small objectives he was good at, the larger scale of war he was bad at, he had little input and communication with the majority of his army. He instead took the best parts of his military, went off on adventures and expected everyone else to simply hold the line. 

A general plays Chess, Robb was playing checkers. He was great at what he was doing

10 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

Leading an army at 15, never being defeated in battle,

He was though. He was the North's commander, not just the North's cavalrry leader. 

I hate to be rude because it so good to see you commenting in a thread where you are not simply saying that the author did not write this so lets not discuss it, but people don't seem to know that a General has more responsibilities than only the men nearest him. Robb gave all his subordinates orders, he is their general. If they lose then he loses. It is that simple. OP is very clear that this is about Robb the General. 

When Robb beat Jaime and Stafford that counted as defeats for Tywin. Something many Robb fans happily accept but when it comes to him taking responsibility for the losses of some of his subordinates then the list of excuses comes out. 

10 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

 

outmaneuvering one of the greatest generals alive to retake his Mother's family  seat,

Sure. That was a great move. Battle of the Camps is hands down one of the greatest wins in the series. 

10 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

 

ravaging unopposed through the heartland of his enemy, and only being brought down by treason, treachery and the violation of the most sacred tradition on the continent.  

He brought himself down through bad command. His weakness as a commander meant poor communication, ineffectual subordinates and mass mutiny against him. You know bad commanders, they tend to be betrayed by their own men. It is no coincidence that this happened to Robb. 

In fact one final point, allowing his men to drink themselves silly at he Red Wedding despite making this statement to his mother

Robb looked more amused than afraid. "I have an army to protect me, Mother, I don't need to trust in bread and salt. But if it pleases Lord Walder to serve me stewed crow smothered in maggots, I'll eat it and ask for a second bowl."

The fact that all of Robb's victories came because he surprised the enemy, the fact that Tywin had only recently surprised an unexpected Stannis, the fact that he knows the Freys were angry and yet he still allows his men to do this. It is just sloppy as fuck for any general. 

 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

The people you're arguing with have not said Robb is "the Greatest General." You are putting words in people's mouths...or keyboards.  Let me simplify this for you.

Are you really saying that no one in this forum has proclaimed Robb as the greatest military commander??

I will happily accept a wager on this with the proceeds going to a charity of my or your choice as it will be quite easy for me to find more than one example on this forum of someone making that claim. 

 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

The thread title is "Rob Stark was really not that great of a general." Not great is a subjective term. In order to discuss it we need to know not great compared to whom.

To the other Generals in the series. His performance than Tywin, Stannis and, on the war of the Five Kings alone, Balon. Renly was unlucy but did not do enough to be considered either good or bad. Obviously Robert, in my opinion, is the greatest we have seen. Aerys and Rhaegar (which ever was in command of that clusterfuck) the worst. 

In comparison with the other generals in the series Robb was not that great. of course responding to this OP it would help if everyone was aware of what the responsibilities of a General was. 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

The OP compared Robb to Tywin. I pointed out that it's not a good or fair comparison.

And you did not make good enough points. 

 

War is not a sport, there are not separate divisions and categorises for Generals by age. 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

 

The only guy who comes close to a fair comparison to Tywin in terms of leadership and military ability would be Barristan the Bold, who is even a bit older than Tywin, I think. The next closest would be Stannis. It's a simple question of comparing apples to apples, or comparing apples to shrimp. 

Or, you know, faction commanders to faction commanders. Both Tywin and Robb were the military generals of their faction. As commanders they can be compared. 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Robb lost the war based not on his military abilities or lack thereof but on his personal and political decisions

He lost it on his command, on the various points I have made 

And I hate to break this to you, but War generalship involves politics. 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

 

 

. If he hadn't been friends with Theon he might have been less trusting of him. If he hadn't seen how people treated Jon, he might have been willing to risk fathering a bastard on Jeyne Westerling. If he'd been a bit older and wiser, he would have insisted on marrying a Frey girl right away instead of waiting until the war was over.

Yes, he had reasons for making the stupid decisions he did as  the General of the North. It does not make those decisions any less stupid. 

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

 

If he'd been less attached to his mother, he might have thought as far as her being desperate enough to let Jaime go in the vain hope she'd get her daughters back. These are not military mistakes

What about all the military mistakes I pointed out? Just going to ignore them?

54 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

. The fact that they impact the war does not change the fact that his most detrimental decisions--the ones that actually cost him the war--were not military ones.

Yes they were. If a general pisses off his most important supporter then that is a command issue, a military one.  

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13 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

It was Cat who had to send Rodrik home. 

I had forgotten that Cat was the one who sent Ser Rodrik back. My apologies.

15 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Of course they could when they are poorly defended, which Winterfell was. Theon captured Winterfell with a few dozen men, had a larger force came they would have easily overwhelmed the poorly defended Northern capital like they did Torrhens Square and Deepwood Motte. 

Theon was only able to capture Winterfell with a few dozen men because he knew the castle inside and out. A stranger would have a much harder time of it.

 

17 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Did I? I will take your word for it as I am unable to read your post properly as you seem unable to use the quote button properly. 

Yeah, I missed the required tech course everyone is supposed to take before using this forum. But I'm trying to make it easier on you this time. 

 

18 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Where did I claim that? Please discuss things I actually said rather than make up arguments that you think I said. 

That would be here:

Quote

 

He told Roose and the largest part of his army to fight Tywin at the Green Fork and then not another objective for half a year. 

 

That fact that the author did not tell us about other objectives does not mean there weren't any. Your statement rather implies you expect the author to have included every order Robb gave to Roose. Which would be hard to do given that we get neither Roose's nor Robb's PsOV.

24 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Actually no, he gave vague instructions. 

"Would that it were. My brother commands in Riverrun?"
"Yes, my lady. His Grace left Ser Edmure to hold Riverrun and guard his rear."

1. Hold Riverrun. Pretty clear. I suppose he could have added "at all costs."

2. Guard my rear. You're telling me Edmure doesn't understand what that means? Given that holding Riverrun IS guarding Robb's rear, I don't see how Edmure would have been confused. Maybe he needed an itemized list of chores?

Since we don't get the exact wording Robb used, we have to go with what you quoted. And what you quoted is clear enough about the objectives, but not so specific that it doesn't allow Edmure to do whatever he needs to do to carry out the orders.

I think maybe the real problem Robb had with Edmure is being too vague about what not to do. He should have included 3: don't do anything else without permission.

31 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Notice how every single Riverlord agrees with Edmure's plan? Notice how Robb had to remove Edmure from everyone else so he could blame him for the Balckwater?

Notice how every single Riverlord is under Edmure's authority because he's their liege lord? And of course they all like the idea of the plan working, but the older men should have thought as far as the fact that they didn't know what the king was planning and that they were not in charge. 

I agree that this wouldn't have been an issue if Robb and confided his master plan to his uncle, but at the same time there's a reason he didn't. Edmure is not exactly anybody's go-to guy. Had he been given minute instructions there is still a very good chance Edmure would have messed things up. 

Notice how Robb removed Edmure from everyone else so that his bannermen wouldn't see him get a spanking? That's just common courtesy. Robb's not going to dress his uncle down in front of the other Riverlords. That would undermine his position and be a lousy thing to do.

46 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

And while we are on the subject, Robb was gone for around half a year. What kind of instructions are 'do nothing and stay in Riverrun"? Edmure has 11k men, Roose has 10k me. Why leave 4/5ths of your army to do nothing but hold their position until you decide to return. Please give me some of your excuses why this is a sign of a good commander?

Covered above, but can you please quote the text where Robb says that? I seem to have missed it.

49 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

If your argument is that Robb lacking these qualities does not matter as war is about the luck of the draw then I am going to be honest, I earlier overestimated your intelligence on this subject. However I will give you the benefit of the doubt and beleive you just phrased your meaning poorly. 

That was neither what I said nor my argument. I was merely observing that chance plays a large part in warfare, which is a crappy and unpredictable business. It's commentary. I do that. If you don't like it, feel free to skip my posts.

Tell you what, you try to stick to what I wrote, and I'll try to stick to what you wrote. Hopefully that will cut down on misunderstandings.

54 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Never once claimed otherwise. They were all a few years older than the 15/16 year old Robb. I said they were similar age. Nineteen year old Tywin being three years older than sixteen year old Robb when he beat Roger Reyne is a similarity. 

You are confusing the word similar with being exactly the same. 

No, I'm disputing your contention that they are similar enough to make for a good comparison. There are degrees of similarity. 

When was the last time you had a conversation with a 16 year old boy? How about a 19 year old boy? How about a 19 year old boy who has been to war? The perspectives, thoughts, ability to comprehend consequences, and overall maturity levels of the three would be incredibly different. In fact those factors would vary mightily between just the standard 19 year old and the 19 year old who has seen battle.

59 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

You said that Robert and Ned had seasoned veterans helping them in battle. i merely pointed out that so did Robb. Your original point had nothing to do with them ruling lands. 

Are you just going to move the goalposts every time one of your misinformed points gets debunked?

It's one thing to have battle experience, it's another to have mid-level leadership experience, and yet another to have top-level leadership experience. It's not about the lands they rule but about where that status puts them in the military food chain come wartime. Ned and Robert had top-level guys. Robb only had mid-level guys. The knowledge of military tactics, strategy, and other associated factors you have displayed thus far in the conversation led me to believe you would not need this explained to you in detail.

There's a difference between bringing in factors that have not yet been considered in the discussion and moving the goalposts. And I disagree that my point was either misinformed or successfully debunked.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Hoster did not get involved fairly early. Of the major battles Hoster did not get involved till after the Battle of Gulltown, the Battle of Summer Hill, the battle of Ashemark. He was not involved in the war at an early stage. Robert had time to wait for Jon to call his banners, attack Gulltown, travel home, call his banners, fight his own bannerman, return to Storm's End and hunt and hawk for a time with his captured guests, travel to the Reach and fight Tarly, then travel to the Riverlands before Hoster joined. 

Okay, I admit that the term "fairly early" was inaccurate. But since he got in less than a third of the way through the battles, I still call that early. The longest stretch of travel Robert would have had was from Gulltown back to Storm's End. It wasn't that far from SE to Summerhall or from Summerhall to Ashford. Would be great if GRRM would give us a more detailed timeline of the war, like how many weeks between this battle and that battle. It would give us a better idea of exactly how long into the war Hoster did join. 

I usually think of the Rebellion in terms of conceptions and births to disprove odd paternity theories. Hoster joins in time for Robb to be older than Jon. That is not easy to convert to battles in my head.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Robb also did not have a crown on his head when he scored his two most famous victories. He also listened to his mother's advice before he wore the crown. It was only after he became King that he decided he knew best and that is when his command turned to shit. 

It was also after he became king that he felt the weight of two kingdoms on his shoulders and the full responsibility of what happens if he screws up, and did happen, because he did screw up. When it's your head, it should be your decision. But again, the worst decisions he made were personal ones.

Catelyn's advice isn't always worth taking. If she could have talked him into exchanging Jaime for the girls, she would have. And it wouldn't have gone much better than it did when she went behind his back. I agree he should have listened to her, but he would need to be able to sort out the sound advice from the unsound, and he was too young to be able to do that.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Ned and Robert being willing to listen to more experienced heads only makes them better commanders. Robb deciding that he knew best was a major factor in his downfall. 

Case in point Cat telling him not to send Theon or Edmure suggesting that he does not execute Karstark. Both ignored and Robb paid dearly for both decisions. 

How many of Robb's more experienced commanders told him he was wrong, or tried to convince him to do something differently? 

Cat was right about Theon. Robb's personal feelings were the issue. Not his military leadership. 

Executing Karstark was the right thing to do. Not the smart thing to do, but the right one. Again this comes down to a personal decision. He chose the personal or right over the objective smart course, which again is a failure of inexperience not lack of ability.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

19 year old Ned was a far better commander than his 16 year old son. Maybe those three years made all the difference but Ned was better. 

See, you can understand my point.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Course I can. They are teenagers. And Robb was almost 16 before his first ever battle. Yo, wrongly, thought was only 14. I really don't understand this, you incorrectly thought something that informed your opinion, happens to us all, but when pointed out your error you instead double down on your earlier opinion. 

I think you missed something, because I did not double down on Robb being 14. I accepted your correction and moved on to something else. But since you had so much trouble following my last post, I can see how you might have gotten confused.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Didnt say what? I'm sorry, but I really have no idea which parts you are replying to. 

Here is what I didn't say, that you said I said...

Quote

No one ignores this but if telling people they can't talk about him as a commander because of his age is redundant. 

I never said that people can't talk about Robb as a commander. I said it was not fair to compare him to commanders who are years older and have more experience. 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Press double space to separate quotes so you can answer the part you want. If this is too hard  separate each part with the quote function and then answer directly underneath. If for some reason this is not possible, owing to software or some other problem, then perhaps number each of my points in bold and then number your points so I have some idea what point you are replying to. I hope this was helpful. 

Yes, that was helpful. Thank you. 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

I did. I rated all the relevant criteria that makes us a general. i did not jist point out the he led the North and the Riverlands to defeat, I pointed out specific failings at command. I was also pointed out that he was an excellent brigadier/colonel and could well have risen to become a great commander with greater experience. Points you seem to have ignored. 

Given how much time you've spent on Robb's failings in this thread I'm sure you can understand how I might miss you agreeing with me about him having the potential to become a great commander, especially since you didn't actually say that. You may have meant to say it, or meant it but the words didn't quite come out right, so I'll give you credit right now. :thumbsup:

My not responding to a point doesn't mean I've ignored it. It means I'm not arguing about it.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Yes, I readily admit that Robb was handicapped. Does not change the fact that he was a poor commander. 

I said give him a handicap, not admit that he was handicapped. Were you just trying to be cute there are unfamiliar with that sports term?

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59 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Are you really saying that no one in this forum has proclaimed Robb as the greatest military commander?? 

No. That is not what I said. I was talking about the people you're arguing with in this thread. If you want to talk about the forum as a whole, that's a different conversation.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

To the other Generals in the series. His performance than Tywin, Stannis and, on the war of the Five Kings alone, Balon. Renly was unlucy but did not do enough to be considered either good or bad. Obviously Robert, in my opinion, is the greatest we have seen. Aerys and Rhaegar (which ever was in command of that clusterfuck) the worst. 

Renly didn't do enough? More like Renly didn't do a thing. I agree, he can't be rated.

Robert was strong and running on rage. Luck was very much on his side too, as well as going up against commanders like JonCon who were not willing to do whatever it took to ensure victory. If Robert had ever gone up against Tywin I doubt he'd have won that battle.

That last would be Rhaegar probably, another guy with no actual experience.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

And you did not make good enough points. 

According to you. And you are welcome and entitled to your opinions. As I am entitled to mine.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

War is not a sport, there are not separate divisions and categorises for Generals by age. 

This is not war. This is an academic discussion about the military abilities of fictional characters. And I never argued for categorization.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

And I hate to break this to you, but War generalship involves politics. 

Just for the record, how many wars have you been a general in? Or how many generals have you defeated in war games? I'll accept that as a viable alternative and own that I personally have never been in a war. 

Actually I didn't use any examples of Robb sucking at politics, so I may have to take that one back. All the examples I gave were personal, not political.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

What about all the military mistakes I pointed out? Just going to ignore them?

I thought I'd address those from the posts in which they were made. Is that okay with you?

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As much crap as I give Rob Stark, his ultimate ruin was largely the result of factors that were bigger than he was and that he had no control over. Leaving Winterfell lightly defended was a sound decision. The castle is hundreds of miles inland, in the middle of the most geographically defensible of the seven kingdoms. As long as Moat Cailin and White Harbor are well garrisoned, the rest of the North is pretty safe from any large scale invasion. Theon`s betrayal was a black swan that no-one could have predicted. Rob`s cause was pretty much hopeless after the Blackwater. With the Reach brought back into the royal fold and Stannis knocked out, Tywin had overwhelming numbers and nothing to distract him from finishing the Northerners. He didn`t march on Rob`s army only because he had already engineered the Red Wedding.

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Easily done. The Reach, Crownlands, Stormlands, and Vale join Tywin in his campaign in the Riverlands.

 

It is only the real problems of the war - Renly and Stannis - that prevent the Crownlands, Reach, and Stormlands from joining the Hand of the King in the Riverlands. 

Right you have lost me Robb is not a good general Tywin is much better because if Tywin could summon an additional 4 kingdoms worth of troops he could smash Robb?

You seem to imply that Tywin is so bad he needs the support of the Vale who he himself expected to march against him (aunt to Robb and daughter of Riverrun who has his son prisoner) to beat Robb!

Would you care to give me a scenario where Tywin has invaded the Riverlands, Robb is marching south.  What I am looking for is what move would Tywin make without the distractions of Renly/Stannis. (Something to show what a great general would have done against a lucky one in Robb)

15 hours ago, elder brother jonothor dar said:

If Tywin hadn't underestimated Robb, knowing that the Starks could realistically not hope to be more than a nuisance in the grand scheme of things, considering their numbers, Robb would have been dealt with quickly and decisively.

But he was preoccupied with the death of Robert and the true dangers posed by Stannis and Renly. They had claims to the Iron Throne and the power and reputation to actually gain a lot of support for their campaigns.

So deal with Robb quickly or did you simply mean Tywin could have crushed him had he had the power of the 7k on his side?

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Tywin hangs out at Harrenhal as long as he does because he isn't sure whether he should march to KL or against Robb. If Robb had been his only problem he would have marched against Riverrun and had dealt with Robb there.

So having lost 1/2 his army he should lay sige to Riverrun splitting his army in 3 to do so, have Roose to his back and allow the Lord's of the Trident to regroup and have his army face off against 3 forces, gee Tywin sure sounds dumb. 

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8 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Tywin knows the importance of the Rock and leaves it well defended, the young Robert knew the importance of Storm's End and it survives against the Tyrells. When Robb and his fool friend Theon decided to go to war they stripped the Stark's most valuable asset of all its experienced men. Robb the general made that choice and it backfired

He should have left capable men to run the capital and a garrison.

Winterfell was extremely well protected.  It sits in the heart of the north.  The north is famous for being hard to invade.

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Posted (edited)

On 13/08/2017 at 2:37 AM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Would you say that a lawyer who never lost a case was not that great of a lawyer?

Or a physician who never lost a patient was not that great of a doctor?

Tywin Lannister, one of the greatest generals Westeros probably ever had, could not beat this kid. 

Robb had natural raw talent. What he lacked was experience. You can't blame him for being his age and having grown up during a time of peace. Given twenty more years, Robb would have outpaced even Tywin.

Since when exactly?

A- He was caught with his pants down during the Greyjoy's rebellion. The Westerlands is rich and in close proximity to these pirates. You expect their fleet to be distributed in numerous ports and to be well guarded

B- His son saved his arse in KL. Aerys could have easily bombed him out of oblivion with his wildfire trick

C- He couldn't pin the wolf pup down, despite his superior force + his vast experience. Instead this boy whose so green that he pisses grass ended up capturing his son and annihilating Stafford Lannister force. The North came just 3 days ride away Lannisport.

I love Tywin. He's the second best hand of the king and the finest negotiator in all Westeros. However he's not a great general. Bob would clean the floor with him. 

Edited by devilish

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On 13/8/2017 at 8:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

No, he was in command of the Winterfell forces, Both Rodrik, Luwin and Bran point out the inexperience Robb chose to leave behind to defend his capital. 

Tywin knows the importance of the Rock and leaves it well defended, the young Robert knew the importance of Storm's End and it survives against the Tyrells. When Robb and his fool friend Theon decided to go to war they stripped the Stark's most valuable asset of all its experienced men. Robb the general made that choice and it backfired. 

Due to mismanagement of his resources. he fucked over the Karstarks and Freys making their choice to betray him pretty easy while leaving an 10k army with no clear objectives for 6 months is always going to cause problems. This is command 101, basic failings that Robb himself caused. 

He really was not. An incredible captain, brigadier, colonel. Small objectives he was good at, the larger scale of war he was bad at, he had little input and communication with the majority of his army. He instead took the best parts of his military, went off on adventures and expected everyone else to simply hold the line. 

A general plays Chess, Robb was playing checkers. He was great at what he was doing

He was though. He was the North's commander, not just the North's cavalrry leader. 

I hate to be rude because it so good to see you commenting in a thread where you are not simply saying that the author did not write this so lets not discuss it, but people don't seem to know that a General has more responsibilities than only the men nearest him. Robb gave all his subordinates orders, he is their general. If they lose then he loses. It is that simple. OP is very clear that this is about Robb the General. 

When Robb beat Jaime and Stafford that counted as defeats for Tywin. Something many Robb fans happily accept but when it comes to him taking responsibility for the losses of some of his subordinates then the list of excuses comes out. 

Sure. That was a great move. Battle of the Camps is hands down one of the greatest wins in the series. 

He brought himself down through bad command. His weakness as a commander meant poor communication, ineffectual subordinates and mass mutiny against him. You know bad commanders, they tend to be betrayed by their own men. It is no coincidence that this happened to Robb. 

In fact one final point, allowing his men to drink themselves silly at he Red Wedding despite making this statement to his mother

Robb looked more amused than afraid. "I have an army to protect me, Mother, I don't need to trust in bread and salt. But if it pleases Lord Walder to serve me stewed crow smothered in maggots, I'll eat it and ask for a second bowl."

The fact that all of Robb's victories came because he surprised the enemy, the fact that Tywin had only recently surprised an unexpected Stannis, the fact that he knows the Freys were angry and yet he still allows his men to do this. It is just sloppy as fuck for any general. 

 

Are you really saying that no one in this forum has proclaimed Robb as the greatest military commander??

I will happily accept a wager on this with the proceeds going to a charity of my or your choice as it will be quite easy for me to find more than one example on this forum of someone making that claim. 

 

To the other Generals in the series. His performance than Tywin, Stannis and, on the war of the Five Kings alone, Balon. Renly was unlucy but did not do enough to be considered either good or bad. Obviously Robert, in my opinion, is the greatest we have seen. Aerys and Rhaegar (which ever was in command of that clusterfuck) the worst. 

In comparison with the other generals in the series Robb was not that great. of course responding to this OP it would help if everyone was aware of what the responsibilities of a General was. 

And you did not make good enough points. 

 

War is not a sport, there are not separate divisions and categorises for Generals by age. 

Or, you know, faction commanders to faction commanders. Both Tywin and Robb were the military generals of their faction. As commanders they can be compared. 

He lost it on his command, on the various points I have made 

And I hate to break this to you, but War generalship involves politics. 

Yes, he had reasons for making the stupid decisions he did as  the General of the North. It does not make those decisions any less stupid. 

What about all the military mistakes I pointed out? Just going to ignore them?

Yes they were. If a general pisses off his most important supporter then that is a command issue, a military one.  

I see you're bent on making Robb a 'brigadier'. Well, good luck.

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On 8/12/2017 at 7:49 PM, Bernie Mac said:

He successfully does that in what, the first quarter of ACOK? Rather than head East and press his advantage or further box Tywin in he instead wastes his time in the West knowing full well that he does not have the strength to take either Lannisport or the Rock. 

As I said, excellent Brigadier poor General. There is no shame in that, he was only 16. He could very easily, and likely, grown as a great commander but his mistakes in the war of the five kings cost the North dearly. 

 

 

 

Tactically it was the right move, in fact, if you look at the board it was the best move a commander made in the book IMO. Renly had crowned himself and had 100,000 men at his back. Robb had two choices, move south or west. IF he goes south Tywin either moves against him or retreats south to Kings landing. EIther way Robb loses a lot of his army and risks fighting with Renly as well. BUt going West was the genius move Sure another army was being gathered but it was relatively small and full of the bench warmers. Robb annihilated them and had complete control of Tywins lands. Robb was going to beat Tywin in the field from that point on, Tywin could not beat Robb unless his men simply prevailed in the battle. Robbs men would have had food, rest and most importantly the better position. They simply could have waited and Tywin would have to come to him if he doesn't then Robb still wins. Greyjoy was going to attack the  North whether he had Theon or not. Robb was outnumbered and wa less experienced. Robb played the board right but was to Naeve and ignored the politics because of his honor.    

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Robb was fighting a war that was impossible to win from the start because of his tides to the Riverlands. He would have been fighting wars for the rest of his life to defend the borders of the Riverlands unless who ever sat on the Iron Throne acknowledged his Kingship of the North and Trident.  Also the fact that Lysa didn't aid the Stark/Tully cause with her husband's armies made it impossible for him to win especially when the Reach joined the Lannisters. Then on top of that you throw in Balon finally getting his chance to go after the Starks with his Iron Born invasion of the North.

Robb was a very good general and leader but not even a great general would have been able to overcome the odds Robb was facing. Now if the Vale would have joined Robb and Theon was somehow able to convince Balon to join Robb's cause things would have gotten very interesting.

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LOL at Robb not being a great general.  He won every single battle that he ever committed himself to, and he had an ingenius plan to take back the north....a plan that he never got to see through because of the red wedding.  Every move Robb made was calculated and all his risks were calculated, and they were almost all the correct moves.  Who cares that he took advice from older, more seasoned men from time to time; in my opinion that makes him an even better general.

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On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

No, he was in command of the Winterfell forces, Both Rodrik, Luwin and Bran point out the inexperience Robb chose to leave behind to defend his capital. 

That was as king, not as an operating general, which if you had read he bk  wld know he was successful and never lost a battle. But since this has been discussed ad nauseum and you still can't accept what the author wrote, you are at an impasse. 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

. Tywin knows the importance of the Rock and leaves it well defended, the young Robert knew the importance of Storm's End and it survives against the Tyrells. When Robb and his fool friend Theon decided to go to war they stripped the Stark's most valuable asset of all its experienced men. Robb the general made that choice and it backfired. 

Not at all.  Your argument is still deeply flawed.  Robb left men to defend the north and winterfell. Winterfell was occupied by theon due  a diversion, but it was the betrayal of a fellow northerner (sound familiar?) that caused winterfell to fall. If a person inside the rock let robbs men in, That would not be a lack of planning on tywin's part. It would be betrayal. 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Due to mismanagement of his resources. he fucked over the Karstarks and Freys making their choice to betray him pretty easy while leaving an 10k army with no clear objectives for 6 months is always going to cause problems. This is command 101, basic failings that Robb himself caused. 

Again, you have no idea what you are talking about. It wasn't "resources."   He denied the Karstarks the vengeance they desired on the Lannisters for the death of Rickards three sons in the whispering wood. They disobeyed their king and for that treason Lord Rickard was executed. 
Lord Walder Frey expected to be the grandfather of the prince/princess of the north. It was his whole reason for joining Robb in rebellion to the IT. It had nothing to do with resources. The Freys are rich. Walder wanted to find a way into royalty.
The 10k strong army had plenty of objectives. Roose marched them to their deaths at duskendale as a way to thin Robbs support and force him to return to the twins. Again, you seem to miss betrayal in every scenario. Why?

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

He really was not. An incredible captain, brigadier, colonel. Small objectives he was good at, the larger scale of war he was bad at, he had little input and communication with the majority of his army. He instead took the best parts of his military, went off on adventures and expected everyone else to simply hold the line. 

Ah, the nitpicking begins when the argument falls apart. Just put general in that list and be done with it.
Commanding his infantry to hold the line while the cavalry sorties  is what generals do. And he didn't go off on adventures. He very successfully raided the westerlands, took gold and livestock and he took a few castles and smashed the western army. That is great general stuff 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

A general plays Chess, Robb was playing checkers. He was great at what he was doing

Robb was making war. And yes, he was great at that. A great general, who never lost a battle. Checkers or Chess, Robb always won. 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

He was though. He was the North's KING, not just the North's Commanding General

There, I fixed it for you so it makes sense and is relevant to the discussion. Take note please

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

I hate to be rude because it so good to see you commenting in a thread where you are not simply saying that the author did not write this so lets not discuss it, but people don't seem to know that a General has more responsibilities than only the men nearest him. Robb gave all his subordinates orders, he is their general. If they lose then he loses. It is that simple. OP is very clear that this is about Robb the General. 

First off,  don't lie. Second, don't change the subject to all the immensely stupid what if's and theories based entirely on crackpot theories. 
Third, again, the responsibilities you describe are those of a kling and not a general. And you still ignore betrayal and put the results on the general.  Robb lost due to betrayal and  failure as a king, not from being a great kickass general who never lost a battle. 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

When Robb beat Jaime and Stafford that counted as defeats for Tywin. Something many Robb fans happily accept but when it comes to him taking responsibility for the losses of some of his subordinates then the list of excuses comes out. 

Yes, it was a defeat on Tywin, who underestimated a great young general, failed to see the feint and maneuvering  and thus committed he bulk of his forces to rout infantry leaving the camps at riverrun open to attack. That sounds like great strategy in Rbbs part. The stuff of a great general. 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Sure. That was a great move. Battle of the Camps is hands down one of the greatest wins in the series. 

 It was, and t showed how great a general Robb was  before he was brought down by betrayal due to his failure as a King 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

He brought himself down through bad command. His weakness as a commander meant poor communication, ineffectual subordinates and mass mutiny against him. You know bad commanders, they tend to be betrayed by their own men. It is no coincidence that this happened to Robb. 

That was as a King, not a commanding general. He was both, and concentrated on being the latter, while failing at being the former. 

On 8/13/2017 at 6:06 PM, Bernie Mac said:

In fact one final point, allowing his men to drink themselves silly at he Red Wedding despite making this statement to his mother

Robb looked more amused than afraid. "I have an army to protect me, Mother, I don't need to trust in bread and salt. But if it pleases Lord Walder to serve me stewed crow smothered in maggots, I'll eat it and ask for a second bowl."

The fact that all of Robb's victories came because he surprised the enemy, the fact that Tywin had only recently surprised an unexpected Stannis, the fact that he knows the Freys were angry and yet he still allows his men to do this. It is just sloppy as fuck for any general. 

That is several points but I digress, He, like almost everyone else in the realm trusted in the oldest tradition in the realm. Once he had the bread and salt he trusted to be safe with his own bannerman, even though he betrayed him. Again, this was his failure as a king
Also, surprise is a great tactic. It is literally the best tactic that a general can hope to employ if said great general s lacking in troop numbers.
Now, as a king, he should have been more war of dining with a bannerman he betrayed, but we never said Robb was a great king, just a great general 

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14 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

First off,  don't lie. Second, don't change the subject to all the immensely stupid what if's and theories based entirely on crackpot theories. 
Third, again, the responsibilities you describe are those of a kling and not a general. And you still ignore betrayal and put the results on the general.  Robb lost due to betrayal and  failure as a king, not from being a great kickass general who never lost a battle. 

Oh how I've missed you... :love:

You're wrong about one thing -- it's not true he 'never lost a battle'.  He lost the battle on the only battlefield that counts (for GRRM)...'love is a battlefield'!

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In defense of Robb's decision to go West,  when Tywin was discussing it to Tyrion he sure seemed to imply that Robb's strategy was a good one and it put Tywin in a very tough situation that was only saved by Renly being killed by a shadowbaby.  

Ser Kevan did as he was bid. Lord Tywin unrolled the leather, smoothing it flat. "Jaime has left us in a bad way. Roose Bolton and the remnants of his host are north of us. Our enemies hold the Twins and Moat Cailin. Robb Stark sits to the west, so we cannot retreat to Lannisport and the Rock unless we choose to give battle. Jaime is taken, and his army for all purposes has ceased to exist. Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion continue to plague our foraging parties. To our east we have the Arryns, Stannis Baratheon sits on Dragonstone, and in the south Highgarden and Storm's End are calling their banners."
Tyrion smiled crookedly. "Take heart, Father. At least Rhaegar Targaryen is still dead."
Edited by Blackfish Tully

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5 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Oh how I've missed you... :love:

You're wrong about one thing -- it's not true he 'never lost a battle'.  He lost the battle on the only battlefield that counts (for GRRM)...'love is a battlefield'!

True. Love is the only real battlefield in these books. :love: :spank::love:

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I would not say Robb was a great General, but he never lost that counts for something. He was just unlucky to be betrayed so many time i.e Roose thinning out the army more, Theon knowing winterfell, Karstark not having any sense to recognize his sons at least died in battle he killed hostages of war. Lets be honest even the greatest generals need luck, as awesome as Robert was he was lucky that Jon Con did want to win by any means necessary. He and stannis by extension were lucky that Davos came to resupple Stormsend during the rebellion (we all know what a rebel losing his castle does). 

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It seems to me that like Daenerys, Sansa, Theon, and Jaime, Robb is a fairly polarizing character among book fans. The only difference, of course, is that Robb is long dead. I didn't think much of him at first, but after re-reading the first three books, I've come to really sympathize with him. He was a teenage boy with the weight of the world thrust upon his shoulders, and was constantly being torn apart in ten different directions. In the first book alone, his father departs Winterfell, allowing him to slowly transition into the role of a lord. Only it turns out that training period was a pipe dream, as his brother is now injured and comatose, and his mother proceeds to spend weeks in a fog of grief and anger, refusing to so much as leave his bedside; then once she comes out of it, she leaves on a whim. Robb therefore has to act as a lord without any guidance from his parents, along with filling the role of a surrogate father to his two younger brothers--one of whom is disabled and the other is growing wild. When the time comes to march South, he doesn't have anyone there to advise him except for Luwin, and from that point forward his back's against the wall. He doesn't proclaim himself king; the lords of the North do. After that, he has to constantly try to please this lord or another, or risk losing their support. And while I personally believe that Robb did take Catelyn's advice to heart, in one respect she was much like the other lords, in the sense that had her own objectives that her son couldn't always attend to.

As others have said, I do think Robb was a great general, partly because of his success on the battlefield, but also because it appears to have been something he had an aptitude for. It's something he had a natural talent for, and with more experience, he could have grown to be an incredible general.

I'm intrigued by this discussion about the differences between being a good general, a good ruler, and a good politician. Robb, Stannis, and Victarion are all good generals, and Tywin, Littlefinger, and Varys are all good politicians. But how many characters in this series are actually good at ruling, at managing the wishes of the nobility and the smallfolk? We see in ADWD that neither Jon or Dany are naturals at this -- they both make admirable efforts,  but Jon isn't able to strike a balance between the Night's Watch, the wildlings, and the Baratheon men, and Dany can't excel as much as she needs to because it's not something she truly wants. We know from her internal dialogue that she secretly despises the Meereenese, and truthfully what she wants is not to rule but to conquer; her exhilaration in ASOS versus her misery in ADWD are indicative of this. One could argue that Tywin was a good ruler, but Tywin doesn't strive for stability so much as he strives to further his own goals. He didn't kill every Reyne and Tarbeck, order his men to gang-rape Tysha, and set his most brutal men loose on the smallfolk to bring peace; he did it to wreak havoc on anyone who stepped on his ego.

So who in this series is a good leader? Well, for one, Ned. There's a reason why the lords are still loyal to him long after his death, the roads of the North were safe to travel, and even the wildlings that come to rescue Jeyne Poole honor his memory. Ned wasn't a politician, nor was he renowned for his military prowess, but he was a level-headed ruler who left a good impression on rich and poor alike. And I think Bran showed an aptitude for this as well when he was the prince of Winterfell in ACOK. Luwin told Bran he was "his father's son" with his dying breath, and I am curious to see if--assuming he doesn't completely check out after realizing the full extent of his powers--he will one day take on his father's role as the ruler of the North.

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