Jump to content
Stormking902

Why is the North talked about as if its impossible to invade ?

Recommended Posts

Yes MC is impregnable from land cool, as long as an army has a strong fleet the North could never repel an invading force from at least LANDING there army in Northern territory. The Norths shores are only defended at White Harbour on the East coast, the West coast isnt defended AT ALL so a beef with say the Lannisters or the Reach and you could see them sail and land a fleet rather easily. Not to mention before AGOT the Manderlys barely had a fleet at all definitely not one that could repel a foreign invasion from Essos or even if the Vale wanted to take Whites Harbour they could. The cold weather is an advantage and disadvantage for Northern lords because they also need to eat and stay warm which could be a problem if your sieged in your castle and don't have a huge grainery like WF and dreadfort etc.......... 

I see the North and Vale always talked about as the hardest to invade but I would put Dorne, Westerlands above the North as well due to there natural boarders of mountains and desserts. Even the SL might be harder due to landing a fleet at there shores is tricky business due to rocks and storms so a lord could concentrate his forces at the boarder and fend off there foes, and if a force did land in the Stormlands you can probably cut there fleet in half due to the numbers they would lose in the attempt. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Stormking902 said:

Yes MC is impregnable from land cool, as long as an army has a strong fleet the North could never repel an invading force from at least LANDING there army in Northern territory. The Norths shores are only defended at White Harbour on the East coast, the West coast isnt defended AT ALL so a beef with say the Lannisters or the Reach and you could see them sail and land a fleet rather easily. Not to mention before AGOT the Manderlys barely had a fleet at all definitely not one that could repel a foreign invasion from Essos or even if the Vale wanted to take Whites Harbour they could. The cold weather is an advantage and disadvantage for Northern lords because they also need to eat and stay warm which could be a problem if your sieged in your castle and don't have a huge grainery like WF and dreadfort etc.......... 

I see the North and Vale always talked about as the hardest to invade but I would put Dorne, Westerlands above the North as well due to there natural boarders of mountains and desserts. Even the SL might be harder due to landing a fleet at there shores is tricky business due to rocks and storms so a lord could concentrate his forces at the boarder and fend off there foes, and if a force did land in the Stormlands you can probably cut there fleet in half due to the numbers they would lose in the attempt. 

Logistics...

 

Ok, so for a longer answer, you assume that landing and sustaining a substantial naval invasion force in a distant, hostile territory is a trifling matter. Look at how few of the Golden Company soldiers managed to arrive in the Stormlands after just a short voyage across the Narrow Sea. And, being a relatively small force, the Golden company seems to be living off the supplies of the local Stormlands, rather than having to constantly resupply themselves from Essos.

For a proper invasion of the North, you would need to land at least 50,000 men via ship across stormy seas in the harsh North, where the land cannot sustain such a large force. So firstly, to land 50,000 men, how many do you need to send originally? Half again that number, if you are fortunate? So now you are talking about 75,000 men originally.

Next, even once they landed, you need to constantly resupply these men via ship, or up the Neck.

And even then, the Northmen know their terrain intimately, so your supply lines would be under constant attack, with Northmen melting away into the vast wilderness before you can retaliate.

I don't see how 50,000 foreign invaders can conquer even 30,000 Northmen on their own territory. And on their own territory, the North can raise far more than the 30,000 Torhenn marched into the Riverlands. Especially if they are dispersed into smaller groups, rather than assembled into one massive, hungry army.

The invaders would starve to death while the Northmen cut them off from their southron support. And by the time winter arrives, well, then it is game over for the southroners.

And then of course, you have to ask the most important question: How much would this foolish endeavour have cost the southron invader? Supporting such a vast force over such distances, constantly losing ships to storms and supply trains to Northern raiders? Not to mention the losses in men?

Martin answered the question himself. He was asked why no one had thought of circumventing Moat Cailin by sea in the past. He answered: Who says they haven't? 8,000 years is a long time and we don't know and won't learn about much of the events that happened during that entire era.

We do know that the might of the entire Vale was only ever able to burn the Wolf's Den. And then not even try and occupy it. They burnt it and retreated. It was obviously impossible to sustain a presence in the North over an extended  period of time so far from home, and at the mercy of the local Northmen.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically what @Free Northman Reborn said.

But also:

46 minutes ago, Stormking902 said:

The cold weather is an advantage and disadvantage for Northern lords because they also need to eat and stay warm which could be a problem if your sieged in your castle and don't have a huge grainery like WF and dreadfort etc..........

It's far more of a disadvantage for the southerners. The cold gives them no advantage. Stannis' march on Winterfell in Dance will shows just how much luck a southern army has marching through letting alone fighting in a northern winter. They struggle through the snow, their horses can't make it, they freeze and starve and they make incredibly slow progress. By contrast, the Northerner's get on just fine. They lose hardly anyone.

More than that, once winter hits every man in the army from the south is just gonna want to leave and go home. In the North? Depending on how bad the winter is, the older and middle age men will just want the chance to die a good death in battle to spare their familis the trouble of spending food on them. The alternative is freezing/starving. We know that when the food runs low and it gets cold enough men just leave and let themselves die to save some food for the family; but that's an awful death and most would prefer to die fighting to repel an invader from their home. And in an instant you have an army of northmen who don't care if they live or die. And the Dance of Dragons showed us how much damage even a small force of northmen with that mentality could do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A simpler answer is that the North is just not worth the cost to invade it. It’s far too big to be conquered easily, and far too distant from the Southern seats of power to be controlled eithout leaving there your entire armies for years. And the reward would be scarce: no natural resources, no rich agriculture or farming, no strategic location,...

From a Southern kingdom perspective it would make much more sense to try to conquer the Stepstones or one of the Free Cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not impossible to invade.  Just inconvenient.  A dragon can remove any advantage Moat Cailin offers.  Torrhen Stark bend the knee because he knew Moat Cailin is no defense against dragons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

A simpler answer is that the North is just not worth the cost to invade it. It’s far too big to be conquered easily, and far too distant from the Southern seats of power to be controlled eithout leaving there your entire armies for years. And the reward would be scarce: no natural resources, no rich agriculture or farming, no strategic location,...

From a Southern kingdom perspective it would make much more sense to try to conquer the Stepstones or one of the Free Cities.

Well a host of Andal kings and warlords would disagree. They all felt it was worth invading. To no avail, however.

But you have a point, if not quite articulated correctly. The cost of conquering the North would be insurmountable to almost any southron invader. Basically you can do a crude conversion of cost in men and gold per square mile of Northern territory conquered. And then whatever is conquered still needs to be held, and that entails a whole new cost on top of the original cost.

And if you add up all these costs, it is not a viable endeavour for any would be conqueror.

In the same way, Dorne did not generate a cost benefit surplus for the invading Targaryens. It is mostly desert, with very little fertile land. And the cost of conquering it was a hundred thousand men lost and who knows how much gold? The North would cost more, due to its greater size and impossible supply lines.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stormking902 said:

Yes MC is impregnable from land cool, as long as an army has a strong fleet the North could never repel an invading force from at least LANDING there army in Northern territory. The Norths shores are only defended at White Harbour on the East coast, the West coast isnt defended AT ALL so a beef with say the Lannisters or the Reach and you could see them sail and land a fleet rather easily. Not to mention before AGOT the Manderlys barely had a fleet at all definitely not one that could repel a foreign invasion from Essos or even if the Vale wanted to take Whites Harbour they could. The cold weather is an advantage and disadvantage for Northern lords because they also need to eat and stay warm which could be a problem if your sieged in your castle and don't have a huge grainery like WF and dreadfort etc.......... 

I see the North and Vale always talked about as the hardest to invade but I would put Dorne, Westerlands above the North as well due to there natural boarders of mountains and desserts. Even the SL might be harder due to landing a fleet at there shores is tricky business due to rocks and storms so a lord could concentrate his forces at the boarder and fend off there foes, and if a force did land in the Stormlands you can probably cut there fleet in half due to the numbers they would lose in the attempt. 

Long distances, getting supplies for your army ...

I would rank kingdoms (in terms of how hard it is to invade and hold):

North (huge, coldest, Moat Cailin)

Vale (mountains, almost as cold as North considering altitude, Bloody Gates)

Dorne(desserts, really hot)

Westerlands (hilly, a lot of forest, alright climate)

Stormlands (hilly, alright climate but a bit stormy)

Reach (it is 2nd biggest so still not that easy, perfect climate, a lot of food)

Iron Islands (high shores, few supplies, stormy climate, but really small - Greyjoy rebellion showed you can take them pretty fast)

Riverlands (rivers can be a problem or an advantage(supplies via ships), alright climate)

Crownlands (easy, perfect climate, not that big, flatlands)

Westerlands have better climate and easier terrain (mountains are not as high) than Vale so I don't know why would you think Westerlands are harder than Vale. Dorne is tricky since with naval invasion it wouldn't be that hard to take eastern Dorne which is the core of Dorne, but taking it whole is pretty hard yes. Best invasion targets are definitely Reach, Crownlands, Riverlands while something like North and Iron Islands are retarded.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a medieval setting, it is easier to transport people and food over sea than land.

The fact of the matter is that you wouldn't need a full-scale invasion force, a la Barbarossa. You'd just need to seize the relevant choke points on the coast, and wait until the North starves. Attacking inland is suicide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

In a medieval setting, it is easier to transport people and food over sea than land.

The fact of the matter is that you wouldn't need a full-scale invasion force, a la Barbarossa. You'd just need to seize the relevant choke points on the coast, and wait until the North starves. Attacking inland is suicide.

North is huge though you would never starve them. And in medieval setting cost blockade would not last long because soldiers would be bored and your vassals would not enjoy you having their solders doing nothing which could result in rebellion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

In a medieval setting, it is easier to transport people and food over sea than land.

The fact of the matter is that you wouldn't need a full-scale invasion force, a la Barbarossa. You'd just need to seize the relevant choke points on the coast, and wait until the North starves. Attacking inland is suicide.

Yeah. That's why it worked so well over the last 8000 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Tygett Lannister said:

North is huge though you would never starve them. And in medieval setting cost blockade would not last long because soldiers would be bored and your vassals would not enjoy you having their solders doing nothing which could result in rebellion.

No need to blockade them - the North has no ships, and there's no point for smugglers to get involved, since what are the North going to use as payment?

Nor does size stop them starving - the North is in an extremely precarious situation, and reliant on stored food. Take out that stored food, and prevent them from getting more, and they're screwed. It also helps that the choke points you do want - White Harbour, Bear Island - are coastal, for ease of supply, year-round access to fish, and a milder climate.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Yeah. That's why it worked so well over the last 8000 years.

The North's lack of a navy is one of the biggest world-building holes in the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

No need to blockade them - the North has no ships, and there's no point for smugglers to get involved, since what are the North going to use as payment?

Nor does size stop them starving - the North is in an extremely precarious situation, and reliant on stored food. Take out that stored food, and prevent them from getting more, and they're screwed. It also helps that the choke points you do want - White Harbour, Bear Island - are coastal, for ease of supply, year-round access to fish, and a milder climate.

 

And how are you going to take out the stores at Winterfell, the dreadfort or last hearth since they are inland where you can not get to them without being cut to pieces. You also know that the North does not actually import food they grow it, inland that is so starving them out is impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

No need to blockade them - the North has no ships, and there's no point for smugglers to get involved, since what are the North going to use as payment?

Nor does size stop them starving - the North is in an extremely precarious situation, and reliant on stored food. Take out that stored food, and prevent them from getting more, and they're screwed. It also helps that the choke points you do want - White Harbour, Bear Island - are coastal, for ease of supply, year-round access to fish, and a milder climate.

 

This is simply not the case. The North didn't even have a major trading port at White Harbor until a mere 1000 years ago. The North is not reliant on food imports. What type of major food import could there have been for 7700 of the  last 8000 years?  Logistically you simply cannot import major quantities of food with the technology and infrastructure available.

The North earns income from White Harbor. It doesn't rely on White Harbor to feed itself. A naval blockade would not be a major blow to the North, as there does not appear to be major imports and exports happening to start with.

The North largely keeps to itself, and relies on itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

No need to blockade them - the North has no ships, and there's no point for smugglers to get involved, since what are the North going to use as payment?

Nor does size stop them starving - the North is in an extremely precarious situation, and reliant on stored food. Take out that stored food, and prevent them from getting more, and they're screwed. It also helps that the choke points you do want - White Harbour, Bear Island - are coastal, for ease of supply, year-round access to fish, and a milder climate.

 

How do you prevent them from harvesting fields? You can do raids but Northern people will always know the land better and will guerrilla your raids. Most of the food is still from land not fishing. Yes some people would starve and die but you wouldn't be able to break them with that. North would prioritize that soldiers get food and let older people die. If you are talking about multi-generation blockade Northeren population would decline a bit let says 10% but that still wouldn't break them. Winters are alone are worse than blockade alone. Yes you can destroy North if they are unprepared for long winter but that is unlikely. Also harsh winter is also harsh for the invader.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

The North's lack of a navy is one of the biggest world-building holes in the book.

They had navy but some guy burned it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Tygett Lannister said:

How do you prevent them from harvesting fields? You can do raids but Northern people will always know the land better and will guerrilla your raids. Most of the food is still from land not fishing. Yes some people would starve and die but you wouldn't be able to break them with that. North would prioritize that soldiers get food and let older people die. If you are talking about multi-generation blockade Northeren population would decline a bit let says 10% but that still wouldn't break them. Winters are alone are worse than blockade alone. Yes you can destroy North if they are unprepared for long winter but that is unlikely. Also harsh winter is also harsh for the invader.

I still don't understand what this "blockade" is supposed to "block". Trade with the South? Trade with the Free Cities? I don't see how that has a major impact. It the intention is to block food imports, well, since major food imports don't happen at the moment, there is not much to block in that respect.

And you are still not going to stop local communities  from fishing along the coast. The coastline is just too vast. We are talking about thousands of miles of cumulative coastline here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I still don't understand what this "blockade" is supposed to "block". Trade with the South? Trade with the Free Cities? I don't see how that has a major impact. It the intention is to block food imports, well, since major food imports don't happen at the moment, there is not much to block in that respect.

And you are still not going to stop local communities  from fishing along the coast. The coastline is just too vast. We are talking about thousands of miles of cumulative coastline here.

Blockade as you cannot trade via The Neck or by sea with anyone, and Night's watch is not helping you. But it is not real blockade because you only need to block White Harbor (take it) and few other coastal cities. These are the terms @Roose Boltons Pet Leech gave I believe:

Quote

No need to blockade them - the North has no ships, and there's no point for smugglers to get involved, since what are the North going to use as payment?

Nor does size stop them starving - the North is in an extremely precarious situation, and reliant on stored food. Take out that stored food, and prevent them from getting more, and they're screwed. It also helps that the choke points you do want - White Harbour, Bear Island - are coastal, for ease of supply, year-round access to fish, and a milder climate.

He just doesn't calls it blockade.

And you are saying what I am, North cannot be starved unless you take castles, but that is hard to do because of huge distances. North doesn't needs fish but even with blockade they can still do fishing like you said.

Edited by Tygett Lannister

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So to summarize this:

You cannot take castles and hold them for long because you will have trouble supplying your army on such great distances (supplies can easily be raided) and once you take a castle supplies inside can be destroyed be defenders.

You cannot do full naval blockade because North is so wast and even if you do you won't starve North because most of the food is safely in castles and new is being produced inland.

Only way to take North is with slow conquest lasting generations taking one castle at the time and stabilizing rule over it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Tygett Lannister said:

Blockade as you cannot trade via The Neck or by sea with anyone, and Night's watch is not helping you. But it is not real blockade because you only need to block White Harbor (take it) and few other coastal cities. These are the terms @Roose Boltons Pet Leech gave I believe:

He just doesn't calls it blockade.

And you are saying what I am, North cannot be starved unless you take castles, but that is hard to do because of huge distances. North doesn't needs fish but even with blockade they can still do fishing like you said.

Oh sure, I am agreeing with you. Just adding some of my thoughts to your valid points raised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×