Dukhasinov

Battle of Fire and Danny`s march West, and Beyond

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This is an educated guess about Danny`s victory in the Battle of Fire, and how she will consolidate her position and finally march on Westeros.

 

First, I think Baristan will be left dumbstruck by the totality of his victory against the Yunkish camp. He knows that the Unsullied have a serious qualitative edge on the Yunkishmen, but he doesn`t know what a complete shitshow the Yunkish army has become because of the Pale Mare and the general disarray of their leadership. The Unsullied and pit fighters are going to crush the slaver army with an ease that almost engender pity. According to the Baristan chapter, the Iron Fleet is breaking the Yunkish blockade even as the Unsullied are sallying out of the city. I don`t think Victarion is going to survive long enough to be crucial in Winds of Winter. And that`s really hard for me to say, because I love Victarion. I think the Dusky Woman is going to open his throat before he even gets a chance to meet Danny. There`s no way Euron wouldn`t anticipate Victarion`s betrayal. I think the Dusky Woman is Euron`s insurance policy against Victarion`s disloyalty. I hope I`m wrong. The battle on the coast will leave the Iron Fleet strengthened, rather than depleted. Since ramming and boarding are how naval combat works on Planetos, a ship is more likely to be captured than sunk, meaning that a victorious fleet can often wind up with more ships than it started the battle with.

   I don`t think that Danny will become a prisoner of the Dothraki the way she did in the show. She still has Drogon at her back, after all. It seems probable that she will come riding back to Meereen with a Dothraki horde at her back. That`s assuming, of course, that she doesn`t fly off to some kind of Walkabout to Asshai and only return to Meereen at the end of the book, which I think is also possible, but I FUCKING HOPE NOT. Upon arriving home to Meereen with her new Dothraki horde, she will be surprised to find the siege already broken, and a gaggle of new allies waiting for her, with a brand new fleet. The next challenge will be the massive oncoming fleet of Volantis. I predict that this will be a crushing victory akin to Salamis. The Volantene fleet is rowed by chained slaves. The Iron Fleet is rowed by Ironborn, who can snatch up an axe and join the boarding party. Even though the Volanenes outnumber the Iron Fleet substatially in terms of hulls, (300/50if I`m not mistaken) the Iron Fleet might actually outnumber the Volantenes in terms of actual fighting men. The ships captured from the Yunkish fleet will stiffen the Iron Fleet, and the Unsullied and pit fighters could be added to their compliment of marines. Also, it seems likely that Danny will have asserted more control over Drogon at that point, allowing her to add his fires to the battle. Perhaps Visserion and Rhaegal will tag along behind Drogon the way they did in the show.

   After the Volantenes are crushed, Danny will will boast a massive fleet crewed by the fiercest sailors in the world, some 50,000 highly motivated freedmen, (more if you include freedmen not of fighting quality, like women and the elderly) a hard corps of 8,000 Unsullied to anchor her ground forces, thousands of professional mercenaries, and several tens-of-thousands of the finest cavalry in the world, and 3 dragons of fighting weight. She will also have the council of Tyrion, the sorcery of Moqorro, and the generalship/symbol-of-legitimacy of Baristan. This will weigh in at a Xerxes-like horde of some 150,000 souls, and maybe half again as many horses, and upwards of 200 ships. I think one of her greatest assets might come from her Yunkish prisoners. The legions of Old Ghis are professional and disciplined, and trained to fight in the same style as the Unsullied. Most importantly, there must be senior officers (Centurions?) among these prisoners who could be persuaded to join Danny`s cause with the promise of exhorbitant pay. These hardened professionals can be used to train Danny`s freedmen-soldiers to march and fight in a manner compatible  with the backbone of her army, the Unsullied. The Mothers` Men, Free brothers, and Stalwart Shields could be molded into Legions in the fashion of Old Ghis.

   That is a lot of mouths to feed, and not nearly enough hulls to transport them all by sea. That`s why I think the bulk of her army`s journey west will be done on foot. After stripping Meereen`s countryside of every cart, wayne, and load-bearing animal in sight, her army will strike west along the coast for Morash and the Demon Road. This would save the bulk of her army from the danger of sailing around/through Valyria in the stormy autumn seas. In fact, unverified superstition aside, sailing through Valyria might be safer. Valyria is now an archipelago, rather than a peninsula, and the islands would shield the fleet from the worst of the storms. Mantarys and Tolos could be sacked or extorted for provisions to feed the army, as well as maps so that the army can find fresh water on its march. After sailing through the Smoking Sea, the fleet can shadow the army on its march.

   The final big obstacle before Danny can ferry her army across the Narrow Sea is Old Volantis. The Iron Fleet could likely reach Volantis before the news of her fleet`s defeat reached the city. The poor state of the city`s walls, her lack of a fleet, and the boiling 5th column of slaves and Rhlor worshipers who would have incentive to support Danny will make Volantis fall like a fat ripe fruit. The multitude of slaves, as well as the staggering wealth of the city could make Danny`s army staggeringly powerful. She could park in Volantis for months, harnessing its wealth and industry to equip her rabble of freedmen with weapons and armor. Her freedmen legions could now have equipment equal to or better than that of the Unsullied. The shipyards of Volantis can be used to lay even more keels for Danny`s fleet. The months she spends preparing her war machine can also be used to communicate with the other Free Cities. Marching across the Flatlands, she can resupply her army again by extorting Myr on her way to Pentos, which, thanks to Ilyrio, should receive her with some degree of civility. Ilyrio shouldn`t have much trouble convincing the Magisters of Pento to aid Danny`s crossing of the Narrow Sea, if for no other reason than to see such a massive and hungry army gone from their shores.

   The size that Danny`s army might reach by the time she consolidates in Volantis and prepares to cross the Narrow Sea is staggering. Many of Volantis` slaves are soldiers, and many more are skilled craftsmen (smiths, feriers, teamsters, herdsmen, carpenters, engineers, scribes, etc.) that wold be essential to such a massive army on the march. Danny might have to turn away large numbers of willing recruits to keep her horde down to a size that she can realistically feed on a hostile shore with winter fast approaching. I think her army could reach 500,000 strong by the time she finishes with Volantis, but there is no way she could keep such an army provisioned on campaign in Westeros. Great is Danny`s and Pentos` naval assets are, there is no way that they would be able to transport all of Danny`s men, supplies, arms, and horses in one trip. Driftmark and Dragonstone seem to me to be the likeliest staging points for the main invasion of the continent. Dragonstone is defensible and an important symbol of Targaryen legitimacy. But Driftmark is larger and slightly closer to the mainland. Dragonstone might not have a harbor big enough for her massive fleet, and the island, being dominated by the Dragonmont, might not be large enough to hold her host. It certainly isn`t rich enough to feed them. From Driftmark, a co-ordinated amphibious assault could put the entirety of Danny`s forces near Rook`s Rest very quickly. The non-existence of the Royal Fleet, and the very likely defeat of the Arbor`s fleet by Euron Greyjoy, makes it very unlikely that Danny will be opposed at sea. Starting her invasion of the Crownlands makes her more likely to find support among the lords of Westeros.

   It seems most likely that she will make common cause with Aegon and the Golden Company, and accept Aegon as her lost nephew. That`s certainly the result that Aegon would prefer. I don`t take any of the "Faigon" conspiracy theories seriously. If Jon Connington believes that Aegon is the genuine article, that`s good enough for me. He was Hand of the King and Rhaegar`s bestie. He should know what Rhaegar`s son looks like. Maybe Aegon and Daenerys joining forces will be what finally gets Dorne to stir with their strength.

   It`s actually kind of hard to imagine Danny having a real challenge taking the Iron Throne. Westeros is shattered by war, feeling the closing grip of winter, and without decisive leadership in King`s Landing. The Reach has armies in the field and incentive to defend the Crown, but they must divide their strength between the Ironborn, Dorne, and Danny`s army. It`s unclear whether the Stormlords have the resources or the will to fight for the Crown. While the Stormlands is largely untouched by the war, a large part of their strength did march off to die elsewhere. I guess most of the Storm Lords are at least nominally sworn to Stannis, but he`s put all of his chips into his Northern gamble. We`ll see where that stands when Aegon takes Storm`s End.

   It doesn`t look like there is any force on the continent that can credibly challenge Danny`s probable power bloc (World`s best trained infantry, world`s finest natural cavalry, Dorne, the Golden Company close air support) on the continent besides the Others. That`s probably the point.

   Unlike most of the fandom, I`m not entirely convinced that Jon will be given the Last Kiss and rise again. ADWD prologue foreshadowed the possibility of a Warg living on for a time in his animal, and it would be pretty compelling for Jon to have POV chapters from inside Ghost`s head, as he slowly loses his humanity. And it would fit with the pattern of the Stark men dying brutally, without warning, or apology (Ned and Rob). Provided that Aegon claims one of Danny`s dragons, this would still leave one dragon for Bran to warg and hijack to help fight the Others. Then again, having him resurrected would set him up nicely to be the third head of the Dragon with Danny and Aegon, and his Warging ability and Targaryen blood would set him up to be a natural Dragonrider.

 

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55 minutes ago, Dukhasinov said:

this would still leave one dragon for Bran to warg and hijack to help fight the Others. 

I just hate this so much. On so many levels.

EDIT: Sorry, that was rude of me. Most everything else you said I liked and made sense.

Edited by Damon_Tor

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1 hour ago, Dukhasinov said:

 

Here are my thoughts after reading your essay :)

  1. Victarion will survive the Dusky woman and swear loyalty to Dany.  There will be an ironborn civil war between Euron and Victarion.  It will be Vic instead of Asha who will bend the knee and swear to give up his reaving ways.
  2. Volantis will revolt against the slavers on their own, led by Vogarro's Widow.  They will side with Dany.
  3. Braavos will also experience an internal conflict.  Most Braavosi are anti slavery and will side with Dany.  The Iron Bank may be reluctant but in the end will side with Dany and help end slavery.  Elio had something to say on the topic.  You should watch.
  4. The Dothraki will not cross the Narrow Sea.  They will keep the peace in Slaver's Bay.  The Unsullied will accompany Dany to Westeros.  Barristan will lead Dany's forces.  
  5. Dorne will support Aegon versus the Lannisters.  And they will lose.  Dany comes in and saves Aegon.  Dany may not want to leave the people that she liberated and a deal could be worked out in which Aegon rules the West and Dany rules in the East after the Others are defeated.

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55 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

I just hate this so much. On so many levels.

EDIT: Sorry, that was rude of me. Most everything else you said I liked and made sense.

That`s fair, but it makes sense. Bran is learning to be a Greenseer now. His only real way of influencing the world, now, is long-distance warging. What would you do if you were trying to beat the Others, and your only weapon was warging over 4G? You`d grab a dragon, to.

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Just now, Dukhasinov said:

That`s fair, but it makes sense. Bran is learning to be a Greenseer now. His only real way of influencing the world, now, is long-distance warging. What would you do if you were trying to beat the Others, and your only weapon was warging over 4G? You`d grab a dragon, to.

I hope Bran's mind gets burned when he tries to warg a dragon.  Boiled like an egg.

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18 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Here are my thoughts after reading your essay :)

  1. Victarion will survive the Dusky woman and swear loyalty to Dany.  There will be an ironborn civil war between Euron and Victarion.  It will be Vic instead of Asha who will bend the knee and swear to give up his reaving ways.
  2. Volantis will revolt against the slavers on their own, led by Vogarro's Widow.  They will side with Dany.
  3. Braavos will also experience an internal conflict.  Most Braavosi are anti slavery and will side with Dany.  The Iron Bank may be reluctant but in the end will side with Dany and help end slavery.  Elio had something to say on the topic.  You should watch.
  4. The Dothraki will not cross the Narrow Sea.  They will keep the peace in Slaver's Bay.  The Unsullied will accompany Dany to Westeros.  Barristan will lead Dany's forces.  
  5. Dorne will support Aegon versus the Lannisters.  And they will lose.  Dany comes in and saves Aegon.  Dany may not want to leave the people that she liberated and a deal could be worked out in which Aegon rules the West and Dany rules in the East after the Others are defeated.

I don`t see a big Ironborn internal conflict happening. There is no way that Euron sent Victarion to Slaver`s Bay without anticipating his betrayal. He knows that Victarion hates him. But he`s a lot smarter than Victarion, so he must have some kind of trump card. He`s playing a really long game. I don`t see Braavos getting involved at all. They`re way too far away to be in Danny`s path of travel. I can see the Iron Bank making overtures to Danny if they think she`s going to wind up on top, but at this point, they`ve already bet on Stannis. The Volantene slaves may well overthrow their masters and open the gates for Danny before she finishes measuring the walls for her siege towers. Leaving the Dothraki to keep the peace anywhere is the very definition of setting the fox to guard the henhouse. The Dothraki would follow her for the promise of glory and plunder, crossing the Narrow Sea to the Sunset Kingdom precisely because it`s never been done before. They wouldn`t be satisfied being Meereen`s Gold Cloaks. At best, they would foster the return of the slave economy that was always so profitable for them in the past. Aegon has to deal with the Reach before he gets anywhere near the Lannisters. There are two serious Tyrell armies in the field, and one of them is led my Randyl Tarly. But it`s hard to see the Golden Company losing to a comparably sized Westerosi force. They are professional soldiers going up against feudal levies.

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24 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Dothraki will not cross the Narrow Sea.  They will keep the peace in Slaver's Bay.  The Unsullied will accompany Dany to Westeros.  Barristan will lead Dany's forces.  

I apologize for being rude, but there is no way in hell Daenerys crosses the narrow sea without at least 20-30,000 Dothraki. Dothraki are light/medium cavalry and can operate in much the same way as Ghengis Khans Mongolian army. Other than sellswords, she has no other cavalry. Medieval warfare was all about some damn cavalry (until the English Longbow, but that's besides the point). Her Dothraki will act as scouts, foragers, raiding parties, and vanguard in battle (ride at enemy force, shoot bow and arrow, ride off-- rinse repeat until it's time to charge). They will be very loyal to her, and any that get captured can't spill the beans because they don't speak the common tongue. 

So in my mind, Daenerys would be making a huge mistake if she didn't ferry over any and every Dothraki willing to fight for her cause.

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9 hours ago, Romaine3 said:

I apologize for being rude, but there is no way in hell Daenerys crosses the narrow sea without at least 20-30,000 Dothraki. Dothraki are light/medium cavalry and can operate in much the same way as Ghengis Khans Mongolian army. Other than sellswords, she has no other cavalry. Medieval warfare was all about some damn cavalry (until the English Longbow, but that's besides the point). Her Dothraki will act as scouts, foragers, raiding parties, and vanguard in battle (ride at enemy force, shoot bow and arrow, ride off-- rinse repeat until it's time to charge). They will be very loyal to her, and any that get captured can't spill the beans because they don't speak the common tongue. 

So in my mind, Daenerys would be making a huge mistake if she didn't ferry over any and every Dothraki willing to fight for her cause.

She won't have the ships to cross the narrow sea with that many Dothraki and if the Dothraki are unleashed onto the 7 kingdoms, they will rape and pillage. Their qualities as light cavalry will be useful until someone starts shooting arrows at them. Them not speaking the common tongue (or Valyrian) also means that they can't communicate with any possible commanders they have in the field.

Your mind goes counter to just about everything we read in the books.

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45 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

She won't have the ships to cross the narrow sea with that many Dothraki and if the Dothraki are unleashed onto the 7 kingdoms, they will rape and pillage. Their qualities as light cavalry will be useful until someone starts shooting arrows at them. Them not speaking the common tongue (or Valyrian) also means that they can't communicate with any possible commanders they have in the field.

Your mind goes counter to just about everything we read in the books.

From the information I gleaned in the OP, Dany will have access to 200+ ships, a large chunk of her army will take an overland route to get closer to Westeros, and the ships will take a few trips to ferry her entire army across the Narrow Sea.

The armies of Westeros haven't placed much faith in archers in a pitched battle scenario. They play a large role in siege battles, but only shoot a few volleys in the field. Whereas Dothraki can shoot accurately at a full gallop on horseback. Gallop into range, let a few well aimed shots off, retreat. Devastating and demoralizing to the enemy. If they huddle up and form a shield wall, their forward momentum comes to a halt. If not immediately, then eventually, the Dothraki tactics will take a psychological toll on their enemy.

Daenerys can make sure to enforce strict laws against any raping and pillaging. As for communication, there are several people in Daenerys' inner circle who can speak Dothraki. Plus there are many different forms of non-verbal communication that can be employed in battle or across great distances. 

So if my explanation doesn't make sense to you from a tactical standpoint from the information shared by the OP, maybe you can look into armies like the Mongolians, Huns, Sioux, or Cheyenne. They are some of the peoples said to be part of the inspiration for the Dothraki.

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1 minute ago, Romaine3 said:

From the information I gleaned in the OP, Dany will have access to 200+ ships, a large chunk of her army will take an overland route to get closer to Westeros, and the ships will take a few trips to ferry her entire army across the Narrow Sea.

The armies of Westeros haven't placed much faith in archers in a pitched battle scenario. They play a large role in siege battles, but only shoot a few volleys in the field. Whereas Dothraki can shoot accurately at a full gallop on horseback. Gallop into range, let a few well aimed shots off, retreat. Devastating and demoralizing to the enemy. If they huddle up and form a shield wall, their forward momentum comes to a halt. If not immediately, then eventually, the Dothraki tactics will take a psychological toll on their enemy.

Daenerys can make sure to enforce strict laws against any raping and pillaging. As for communication, there are several people in Daenerys' inner circle who can speak Dothraki. Plus there are many different forms of non-verbal communication that can be employed in battle or across great distances. 

So if my explanation doesn't make sense to you from a tactical standpoint from the information shared by the OP, maybe you can look into armies like the Mongolians, Huns, Sioux, or Cheyenne. They are some of the peoples said to be part of the inspiration for the Dothraki.

200+ ships will be maybe enough for her unsullied to get across the narrow sea, ignoring the year+ voyage it will take to get them to Westeros. The overland route will kill many and more will desert. This is repeatedly mentioned throughout AFFC and AWDW. "The demon road" is the only option.

We've only seen two pitched battles and archers played a significant role in both. Dothraki arrows are meant for unarmored opponents. Westerosi are armored. Dothraki have no armor. Westerosi arrows are meant for armored opponents. Not only will Westerosi arrows bring down armored opponents, they will wreak havoc on unarmored horses and unarmored riders. The Dothraki are just plain to vulnerable to any kind of fighting in Westeros -- close quarters and long distance -- that in any prolonged campaign she wages, they are going to end up breaking up into small bands or just being wiped out.

Your explanation doesn't make sense from a tactical perspective because those inspirations did things so unlike what is described in the books, had balanced forces, and are honestly just from disparate eras I don't see them as particularly relevant. They might well be useful in the first few battles but alienating the smallfolk and lords will happen. It happened to a large percentage of Stannis' supporters (both diehard and late-to-the-party) and the rest of Westeros.

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23 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

200+ ships will be maybe enough for her unsullied to get across the narrow sea, ignoring the year+ voyage it will take to get them to Westeros. The overland route will kill many and more will desert. This is repeatedly mentioned throughout AFFC and AWDW. "The demon road" is the only option.

We've only seen two pitched battles and archers played a significant role in both. Dothraki arrows are meant for unarmored opponents. Westerosi are armored. Dothraki have no armor. Westerosi arrows are meant for armored opponents. Not only will Westerosi arrows bring down armored opponents, they will wreak havoc on unarmored horses and unarmored riders. The Dothraki are just plain to vulnerable to any kind of fighting in Westeros -- close quarters and long distance -- that in any prolonged campaign she wages, they are going to end up breaking up into small bands or just being wiped out.

Your explanation doesn't make sense from a tactical perspective because those inspirations did things so unlike what is described in the books, had balanced forces, and are honestly just from disparate eras I don't see them as particularly relevant. They might well be useful in the first few battles but alienating the smallfolk and lords will happen. It happened to a large percentage of Stannis' supporters (both diehard and late-to-the-party) and the rest of Westeros.

If the Dothraki are so inept at combat and unprepared to face armored troops, then explain to me how they have managed to dominate so many different armies in Essos? Add to the fact that in Westeros, only Knights wear full armor. Knights are heavy cavalry. The rest of the troops on foot have chainmail or boiled leather for the most part. Arrows are going to penetrate that type of armor.

So long as Daenerys uses her Dothraki wisely, there is no reason that the smallfolk will feel the least bit alienated. She is bringing sellswords, Unsullied, and Dragons for crying out loud. An invasion force made up of foreigners anyway. And you are saying that bringing Dothraki will alienate them from the people of Westeros moreso than the rest of her army? Give me a break. You can't win this one.

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9 minutes ago, Romaine3 said:

If the Dothraki are so inept at combat and unprepared to face armored troops, then explain to me how they have managed to dominate so many different armies in Essos? Add to the fact that in Westeros, only Knights wear full armor. Knights are heavy cavalry. The rest of the troops on foot have chainmail or boiled leather for the most part. Arrows are going to penetrate that type of armor.

So long as Daenerys uses her Dothraki wisely, there is no reason that the smallfolk will feel the least bit alienated. She is bringing sellswords, Unsullied, and Dragons for crying out loud. An invasion force made up of foreigners anyway. And you are saying that bringing Dothraki will alienate them from the people of Westeros moreso than the rest of her army? Give me a break. You can't win this one.

They fight themselves and the Lhazarene now. They haven't fought armored foes in hundreds of years. The troops on foot have padded jacks, chainmail, and leather amongst other things. They are armored enough to stop arrows. If you don't believe that, then believe the muslim authors who describe First Crusaders as bristling with arrows wearing only gambesons, or what they called aketons.  

The Dothraki are foreigners with reputation for rape and cruelty. Unsullied to not. Dragons are not going to burn and torture the smallfolk. Why would the sellswords come across? Or the freedmen? People will need to protect and garrison the cities that declare for her and her fleet will be too small to bring back everyone you want to bring. 

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34 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

200+ ships will be maybe enough for her unsullied to get across the narrow sea, ignoring the year+ voyage it will take to get them to Westeros. The overland route will kill many and more will desert. This is repeatedly mentioned throughout AFFC and AWDW. "The demon road" is the only option.

We've only seen two pitched battles and archers played a significant role in both. Dothraki arrows are meant for unarmored opponents. Westerosi are armored. Dothraki have no armor. Westerosi arrows are meant for armored opponents. Not only will Westerosi arrows bring down armored opponents, they will wreak havoc on unarmored horses and unarmored riders. The Dothraki are just plain to vulnerable to any kind of fighting in Westeros -- close quarters and long distance -- that in any prolonged campaign she wages, they are going to end up breaking up into small bands or just being wiped out.

Your explanation doesn't make sense from a tactical perspective because those inspirations did things so unlike what is described in the books, had balanced forces, and are honestly just from disparate eras I don't see them as particularly relevant. They might well be useful in the first few battles but alienating the smallfolk and lords will happen. It happened to a large percentage of Stannis' supporters (both diehard and late-to-the-party) and the rest of Westeros.

The overland route will be a cakewalk. They have a paved road. The Dothraki are nomads. They`re on the march all the time. The Unsullied are professional soldiers. Long marches are their mother`s milk. The freedmen troops are in worse shape, but the pace can be slowed to accomodate them. There is no reason to march them hard enough to make them drop from exhaustion. It`s not the Baatan Death March. In fact, the march to Mantarys will be one long conditioning march. The heat of the desert won`t be a big problem with the onset of winter. In the Planetos crazy-season-calendar, it`s probably about the equivalent of October, which is a pretty nice time of year in every desert I`ve ever been in. Keeping the army watered will be tricky, but if scouts map out the rivers and oases along the route, it should be manageable. 

   Communication shouldn`t be a problem for the Dothraki. Most of Danny`s army speaks the bastard-Valyrain of Slaver`s Bay. The Dothraki trade in Slaver`s Bay all the time. I`m sure plenty of them know enough of the language to get by. A lot of the freedmen and Unsullied are, also, themselves Dothraki.  Also, you don`t seem to have a great grasp of ancient warfare. Any heavily mounted army in history that you care to name was lightly armored or unarmored. The Mongols, even after they were rich from their conquest of China, rode to war mostly unarmored. History is full of examples of lightly equipped nomadic cavalry forces cutting apart armies based around foot-soldiers. Take a history book and throw it against the wall. When it falls to the floor, there is a good chance that it will be open to a page with an example of this. Even if it`s an American history book.

The United States, a politically united, technologically advanced, industrialized nation of 60,000,000, took more than a century to subdue the Plains Indians, which were squabbling, disorganized tribes of stone-age hunter-gatherers numbering about 50,000. Horse culture is a powerful thing. The Dothraki are going to take any force Westeros can throw at them and eat them raw.

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3 hours ago, Dukhasinov said:

The overland route will be a cakewalk. They have a paved road. The Dothraki are nomads. They`re on the march all the time. The Unsullied are professional soldiers. Long marches are their mother`s milk. The freedmen troops are in worse shape, but the pace can be slowed to accomodate them. There is no reason to march them hard enough to make them drop from exhaustion. It`s not the Baatan Death March. In fact, the march to Mantarys will be one long conditioning march. The heat of the desert won`t be a big problem with the onset of winter. In the Planetos crazy-season-calendar, it`s probably about the equivalent of October, which is a pretty nice time of year in every desert I`ve ever been in. Keeping the army watered will be tricky, but if scouts map out the rivers and oases along the route, it should be manageable. 

   Communication shouldn`t be a problem for the Dothraki. Most of Danny`s army speaks the bastard-Valyrain of Slaver`s Bay. The Dothraki trade in Slaver`s Bay all the time. I`m sure plenty of them know enough of the language to get by. A lot of the freedmen and Unsullied are, also, themselves Dothraki.  Also, you don`t seem to have a great grasp of ancient warfare. Any heavily mounted army in history that you care to name was lightly armored or unarmored. The Mongols, even after they were rich from their conquest of China, rode to war mostly unarmored. History is full of examples of lightly equipped nomadic cavalry forces cutting apart armies based around foot-soldiers. Take a history book and throw it against the wall. When it falls to the floor, there is a good chance that it will be open to a page with an example of this. Even if it`s an American history book.

The United States, a politically united, technologically advanced, industrialized nation of 60,000,000, took more than a century to subdue the Plains Indians, which were squabbling, disorganized tribes of stone-age hunter-gatherers numbering about 50,000. Horse culture is a powerful thing. The Dothraki are going to take any force Westeros can throw at them and eat them raw.

Demon road

1) "The demon road is dangerous, and too slow,"

2) "The demon road, they call it now," said Mollono Yos Dob. The plump commander of the Stalwart Shields looked more like a scribe than a soldier, with his inky hands and heavy paunch, but he was as clever as they came. "Many and more of us would die."

3) "The demon road is death. We will lose half the company to desertion if we attempt that march, and bury half of those who remain beside the road.

I will leave you with those. Long marches are awful. Even the mongols move slowly marching around china on long campaigns.

Communication & warfare

Communication will be a problem with any army that speaks 4+ languages that are not mutually intelligible. I do have a pretty solid grasp on ancient vs medieval weaponry and armor. Huns wore mail and barded their horses. This is stated by contemporary sources to the Huns and by archaeological finds. Lamellar armor is possible but not confirmed. It's not as expansive as the war of roses style plate and mail GRRM probably has in mind but it's most assuredly armor. That they use bow and lance interchangeably, once again according to contemporary sources, means that they are pretty much heavy cavalry with bows. The mongols wore both silk and lamellar armor. 6/10 of them were light cavalry but the rest were heavy cavalry, with supporting infantry/arrow fodder coming from conquered provinces. Both of the prominent cultures being used to compare/contrast them used such a different style of warfare that it's more contrast than anything. You can take the superficial comparison if you want, I'd not want to. There are plenty of examples of bowman and infantry defeating cavalry forces because of arrogance, lack of mixed force support, and ignoring the circumstances (terrain, et al). The French seem to be particularly fond of it (Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers, Courtrai), but the battle of Arsuf was lost by primarily light horse and horse archers. The biggest issue is the closest comparison to the Dothraki -- who use bows and weapons on unarmored foes and fight unarmored -- would be the Cythians or Parthians, meaning 1000 years deficient in technology and strategy, and those guys still used armor and weapons and had infantry they can and did use at their disposal.

The Dothraki might well surprise Westerosi armies once or twice, but when someone like Jaime, Tarly, or Connington -- men with the reputation, charisma, and knowledge to keep discipline during battle and march -- it's gonna go bad for the Dothraki.

The Great Plains comparison is pretty much just incorrect. The US didn't come close to 60 million people until the end of the Indian wars, nor was it unified, technologically modern, or industrialized nation for most of the 19th century. When a good chunk of the Indians wars took place, it was between when the US had just finished fighting the War of 1812, had a totally inadequate army and basically no industry to the brink of the civil war. The Great plains indians barely made it 50 years, and they did it at hugely divisive time (Civil War, Reconstruction) and in an area that was their home, sparsely populated, and fucking huge. Westeros is 2/3 against them. 

Any significant number of Dothraki that get brought over would likely just end up as bandits/broken men with few to no friends and have a bitter time during the fall, let alone winter. Any arrow that hits them wounds them and/or their horses. Any weapon that hits them does likewise. They have basically no supply train and horses have to spend hours grazing every day or fed grains. It's just hard to see how they'd be effective unless GRRM hand waves them (like the show did). 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Demon road

1) "The demon road is dangerous, and too slow,"

2) "The demon road, they call it now," said Mollono Yos Dob. The plump commander of the Stalwart Shields looked more like a scribe than a soldier, with his inky hands and heavy paunch, but he was as clever as they came. "Many and more of us would die."

3) "The demon road is death. We will lose half the company to desertion if we attempt that march, and bury half of those who remain beside the road.

I will leave you with those. Long marches are awful. Even the mongols move slowly marching around china on long campaigns.

Communication & warfare

Communication will be a problem with any army that speaks 4+ languages that are not mutually intelligible. I do have a pretty solid grasp on ancient vs medieval weaponry and armor. Huns wore mail and barded their horses. This is stated by contemporary sources to the Huns and by archaeological finds. Lamellar armor is possible but not confirmed. It's not as expansive as the war of roses style plate and mail GRRM probably has in mind but it's most assuredly armor. That they use bow and lance interchangeably, once again according to contemporary sources, means that they are pretty much heavy cavalry with bows. The mongols wore both silk and lamellar armor. 6/10 of them were light cavalry but the rest were heavy cavalry, with supporting infantry/arrow fodder coming from conquered provinces. Both of the prominent cultures being used to compare/contrast them used such a different style of warfare that it's more contrast than anything. You can take the superficial comparison if you want, I'd not want to. There are plenty of examples of bowman and infantry defeating cavalry forces because of arrogance, lack of mixed force support, and ignoring the circumstances (terrain, et al). The French seem to be particularly fond of it (Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers, Courtrai), but the battle of Arsuf was lost by primarily light horse and horse archers. The biggest issue is the closest comparison to the Dothraki -- who use bows and weapons on unarmored foes and fight unarmored -- would be the Cythians or Parthians, meaning 1000 years deficient in technology and strategy, and those guys still used armor and weapons and had infantry they can and did use at their disposal.

The Dothraki might well surprise Westerosi armies once or twice, but when someone like Jaime, Tarly, or Connington -- men with the reputation, charisma, and knowledge to keep discipline during battle and march -- it's gonna go bad for the Dothraki.

 

Any significant number of Dothraki that get brought over would likely just end up as bandits/broken men with few to no friends and have a bitter time during the fall, let alone winter. Any arrow that hits them wounds them and/or their horses. Any weapon that hits them does likewise. They have basically no supply train and horses have to spend hours grazing every day or fed grains. It's just hard to see how they'd be effective unless GRRM hand waves them (like the show did). 

 

 

I think most of the fear of the demon road comes from superstition, much like the fear of the ruins of Valyria. It is a very large desert, which does come with dangers, like heat and lack of water, but the first will be mitigated by the season, and the second can be managed by careful planning. Yes, long marches are aweful, but that`s how armies get around. You set a pace that can be held over long distances, and you stop and rest after 8 or 10 hours on the march. 

  The Dothraki are definitely NOT heavy cavalry with bows. The Plains Indians used lances, to, and they were definitely still light cavalry. Look at the field of crows; a frontal charge, followed by a feigned retreat, then a barrage of arrows, wrapped up by a total encirclement. Pretty classic light cavalry tactics. (We don`t talk about Qohor.) Yes, the scythians or parthians are a better parallel than the Mongols, but there isn`t really a big difference technologically. The Mongol bows weren`t that different than the bows the scythians used. The Mongols even used stone arrowheads a lot, at least before they got hold of the resources of China.

   The Dothraki also are not going to be operating alone. They will be maneuvering around friendly infantry, and not expendable arrow-fodder infantry, at that. They are also perfectly capable of adapting to new tactical situations. Yes, traditionally they fight unarmored foes with long curved swords. But they aren`t stupid. They`ll figure out that bodkin arrows are better at piercing armor. Maybe someone will even realize this before the army makes the crossing and makes a stockpile of bodkin arrows beforehand. Maces and warhammers are also effective against armor, and are a lot cheaper than swords. A lasso can be used to snatch an armored knight off his horse and drag him to his death. The huns and sarmatians both used this tactic. They might even be persuaded to wear some degree of armor. If they`ve already overcome their deep cultural aversion to crossing the ocean, they`ve already proven themselves to be pretty openminded.

 

Why do you suppose that the Dothraki will have a hard time in winter? Essos has winter, to. If you consider the Dothraki sea to be equivalent to the Eurasia Steppe, it probably has a pretty brutal winter. Even in the show they found some Ikea rugs to wrap around the Dothraki. As for logistics, they`ll be better off than Westerosi cavalry, as Dothraki horses wouldn`t be the grain-spoiled hothouse flowers that Westeros breed. Nomadic culures breed hardy and adaptible horseflesh. 

I`ll see your "Arsuf," and raise you a "Hatin." I think bringing up Crecy and Agincourt make my point better than yours. Both were lost by heavily armored cavalry to highly proficient archers. Arrows can kill armored men. Arrows are cheap and easy to make. put enough of them in the air, and some are bound to find the joints in the armor, or wound the horses.

  The big problem with the Dothraki is not whether they can win the war, but the fact that they will almost certainly lose the peace. Of course they`re going to rape pillage and murder during the fighting, but what is Danny supposed to do with them after the war is won? Maybe after the War for the Dawn the North will be so badly depopulated that they can be settled there, but they`ll want to migrate south during winter. You can`t very well put them in the Reach, and have the most productive farmland in the Kingdom given over to nomadic pasturage. Not to mention that they`re an aggressive raiding culture, and will want to continue in that way of life. Dothraki reservations, maybe?

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1 hour ago, Dukhasinov said:

I think most of the fear of the demon road comes from superstition, much like the fear of the ruins of Valyria. It is a very large desert, which does come with dangers, like heat and lack of water, but the first will be mitigated by the season, and the second can be managed by careful planning. Yes, long marches are aweful, but that`s how armies get around. You set a pace that can be held over long distances, and you stop and rest after 8 or 10 hours on the march. 

  The Dothraki are definitely NOT heavy cavalry with bows. The Plains Indians used lances, to, and they were definitely still light cavalry. Look at the field of crows; a frontal charge, followed by a feigned retreat, then a barrage of arrows, wrapped up by a total encirclement. Pretty classic light cavalry tactics. (We don`t talk about Qohor.) Yes, the scythians or parthians are a better parallel than the Mongols, but there isn`t really a big difference technologically. The Mongol bows weren`t that different than the bows the scythians used. The Mongols even used stone arrowheads a lot, at least before they got hold of the resources of China.

   The Dothraki also are not going to be operating alone. They will be maneuvering around friendly infantry, and not expendable arrow-fodder infantry, at that. They are also perfectly capable of adapting to new tactical situations. Yes, traditionally they fight unarmored foes with long curved swords. But they aren`t stupid. They`ll figure out that bodkin arrows are better at piercing armor. Maybe someone will even realize this before the army makes the crossing and makes a stockpile of bodkin arrows beforehand. Maces and warhammers are also effective against armor, and are a lot cheaper than swords. A lasso can be used to snatch an armored knight off his horse and drag him to his death. The huns and sarmatians both used this tactic. They might even be persuaded to wear some degree of armor. If they`ve already overcome their deep cultural aversion to crossing the ocean, they`ve already proven themselves to be pretty openminded.

Why do you suppose that the Dothraki will have a hard time in winter? Essos has winter, to. If you consider the Dothraki sea to be equivalent to the Eurasia Steppe, it probably has a pretty brutal winter. Even in the show they found some Ikea rugs to wrap around the Dothraki. As for logistics, they`ll be better off than Westerosi cavalry, as Dothraki horses wouldn`t be the grain-spoiled hothouse flowers that Westeros breed. Nomadic culures breed hardy and adaptible horseflesh. 

I`ll see your "Arsuf," and raise you a "Hatin." I think bringing up Crecy and Agincourt make my point better than yours. Both were lost by heavily armored cavalry to highly proficient archers. Arrows can kill armored men. Arrows are cheap and easy to make. put enough of them in the air, and some are bound to find the joints in the armor, or wound the horses.

  The big problem with the Dothraki is not whether they can win the war, but the fact that they will almost certainly lose the peace. Of course they`re going to rape pillage and murder during the fighting, but what is Danny supposed to do with them after the war is won? Maybe after the War for the Dawn the North will be so badly depopulated that they can be settled there, but they`ll want to migrate south during winter. You can`t very well put them in the Reach, and have the most productive farmland in the Kingdom given over to nomadic pasturage. Not to mention that they`re an aggressive raiding culture, and will want to continue in that way of life. Dothraki reservations, maybe?

1) People that have traveled or know merchants who travel that road know not to travel it because it's dangerous. I don't know how much more obvious you can get. Even if it isn't dangerous, it's still marching men and horses 2000+ miles through a desert with little water.

I didn't say the Dothraki were heavy cavalry. If you had bothered to even remotely read what I wrote, I was talking about the Huns and Scythians, less so the Mongols. And yes the Dothraki are stupid. They travel with no smiths. They travel with no arrowmakers.  They have no armor. This is all laid out for a reason and why the fake knights killed the fake khalasar. 

The Dothraki haven't experienced anything like the Westerosi winter. The winters we know about in Essos are a lot less harsh. And yes they might not need as much grain. You know what they need to do then, they need to graze for hours. Even the mongols needed their horses to graze longer than they could march. Their biggest problem and that of the Dothraki is finding supplies for men and horses, and those guys HAD A SUPPLY TRAIN. The dothraki do not and need just as mamy horses. 

It's Hattin and was won because of logistical failures, not because of the light cavalry with arrows. Arsuf and its march south are literally the playbook to beat the Dothraki. The arrows didn't kill the armored men. It killed the horses, with bunched masses (via suffocation and inability to defend oneself) and men-at-arms and archers with mallets who did the killing at Agincourt, Crecy, Poitiers. Seriously just read about the battles. It helps. Armor from padded jacks made from cotton and wool to silk to plate pretty much block arrows. They are just an inconvenience at that point. Even bodkins have to be very close range to pierce mail and a jack. You can argue with me but arguing with contemporary muslim and christian sources from everything from the First Crusade through the War of Roses seems a bit foolish.

Arrows are cheap but not easy to make. When the English invaded France (pick a date), they had hundreds of thousands of arrows created in the years before the campaigns so they'd have enough for the entire campaign. 5000 archers in the English army at Agincourt were supposed to be able to fire 10 arrows a minute. They carried sheafs of 72 plus spares in the wagons. Those guys ran out of arrows in 5-10 minutes. You think the Dothraki are going to be able to not only create that number without a supply line but sustain it without a supply line? Absolute joke of a concept.

Dany won't bring them because she won't have the ships and the 7 kingdoms would hate her for doing it. Maybe they come over for the war for the dawn, but certainly not for her crowning herself.

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1 hour ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

 

The Dothraki haven't experienced anything like the Westerosi winter. The winters we know about in Essos are a lot less harsh. And yes they might not need as much grain. You know what they need to do then, they need to graze for hours. Even the mongols needed their horses to graze longer than they could march. Their biggest problem and that of the Dothraki is finding supplies for men and horses, and those guys HAD A SUPPLY TRAIN. The dothraki do not and need just as mamy horses. 

It's Hattin and was won because of logistical failures, not because of the light cavalry with arrows. Arsuf and its march south are literally the playbook to beat the Dothraki. The arrows didn't kill the armored men. It killed the horses, with bunched masses (via suffocation and inability to defend oneself) and men-at-arms and archers with mallets who did the killing at Agincourt, Crecy, Poitiers. Seriously just read about the battles. It helps. Armor from padded jacks made from cotton and wool to silk to plate pretty much block arrows. They are just an inconvenience at that point. Even bodkins have to be very close range to pierce mail and a jack. You can argue with me but arguing with contemporary muslim and christian sources from everything from the First Crusade through the War of Roses seems a bit foolish.

Arrows are cheap but not easy to make. When the English invaded France (pick a date), they had hundreds of thousands of arrows created in the years before the campaigns so they'd have enough for the entire campaign. 5000 archers in the English army at Agincourt were supposed to be able to fire 10 arrows a minute. They carried sheafs of 72 plus spares in the wagons. Those guys ran out of arrows in 5-10 minutes. You think the Dothraki are going to be able to not only create that number without a supply line but sustain it without a supply line? Absolute joke of a concept.

Dany won't bring them because she won't have the ships and the 7 kingdoms would hate her for doing it. Maybe they come over for the war for the dawn, but certainly not for her crowning herself.

Maybe the Dothraki have never seen anything like a NORTHERN winter, but much of the Dothraki Sea shares a latitude with the Riverlands, which is now seeing snow. Dorne, it is not. What makes you think the Dothraki don`t know anything about logistics? And how do you figure they don`t have arrowmakers and smiths? They have arrows and arakhs, don`t they? If we`re talking about their warfare in Essos, their whole society is their supply line. While the screamers are out raiding, their wives are fletching arrows, tanning hides, smoking meat, striking and setting up camp. Their young sons are herding the spare horses and livestock. Their old men are making saddles and swords. They carry their whole lives with them on carts and pack animals. What makes you think they`re not smart enough to load down a few hundred mules with extra quivers? Keeping supplied with ammunition on a long campaign won`t be a new problem for them. If we`re talking about the ones in Danny`s army, they will have the support of same logistics system that will keep the rest of her army supplied (likely by skilled freedmen from Volantis). Yes, keeping their horses fed will be an issue, but it`s one that they`re used to dealing with. Yes, horses have to stop and eat, just like soldiers do. Westerosi knights` horses have to rest and eat, to, and they need a lot more food and are far pickier about what they can eat. Nomadic hordes ranged through Europe on several occasions (Avars, Magyars, Huns), and they managed to keep their horses fed in that most un-steppelike environment, probably by feeding them captured grain. And while armor certainly helps against arrows, it`s not a force-field. The Romans learned that at Carhae. And I`ll concede that a wealthy knight`s suit of plate is superior to a legionary`s lorica, the average levied puke with a bill-hook is not that well protected.

   Yes, Arsuf is a blueprint for beating the Dothraki. All the Westerosi have to do is keep their back to the sea for the entire war. Randyl Tarly needs to study the Jaxartes if he wants to handle the Dothraki. Incidentally, Arsuf is also a pretty good model for marching Danny`s army down the Demon Road; March in the morning and at dusk, rest during the heat of the day, hug the coast, etc. Yes, it`s a lot longer. Long marches suck. I get it. It sucked for Xenophon, to. It sucked for Alexander. But it`s doable.

 

But you`re probably right that it would be smarter in the long run for Danny to not bring them, given how badly they`ll fuck up her peace. But in the short run, she needs cavalry badly.

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I think Daenerys might bring a small number of Dothraki with her in her initial invasion, but most or all of them? Not a chance.

 

Her cavalry needs will, initially, probably be met by some of the sellswords she brings, the small group of squires and knights Selmy is training, and some of the Dothraki. 

She will most likely only bring a rather small number of Dothraki with her, at least initially. At minimum, she'll at least bring those Dothraki who stayed with her after Drogo died, but that's not all that many. At most, probably not more than a few thousand, if that many. If/when the Wights and White Walkers breach the Wall, she may bring over more Dothraki to throw at them.

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All this is telling me is that the entire continent of Essos (west of Yi-Ti) could have been taken over by any random peasant off the fields if s/he was teleported into Astapor with a dragon egg. The assembled forces of half the continent can't beat the army produced by Astapor + some Meereenese militia... why, exactly? Because a few thousand Westerosi light infantry are on the latter's side?

Edited by Nihlus

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On ‎9‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 8:51 PM, Dukhasinov said:

That`s fair, but it makes sense. Bran is learning to be a Greenseer now. His only real way of influencing the world, now, is long-distance warging. What would you do if you were trying to beat the Others, and your only weapon was warging over 4G? You`d grab a dragon, to.

The problem I have with it is the Targblood bypass. He's not of Valyrian descent. If we're led to believe that a mix of Targ and Stark blood is important then "lol nevermind Stark was enough" it cheapens one of the central mysteries of the series.

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