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Stallion That Mounts Texas

Greatest battle commanders at the start of ASoIaF

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18 hours ago, Artimicia said:

None a single Roam Roman soldier from a middle era even could easily have taken any Westerosi character by and alrge large...

 

The collapse ofRome is due almost entirely to fringe entities like the others etc that possibly number in the 100s even today if you were to

analyze their historical real life counterparts and take that analogy forward to now.

 

Westeros is the story of everyone else... and it's really just a random collection of folk of the street.

A Roman general like Gnaeus Pompei is a fine example.  The Roman legions were professional men more similar to the infantrymen of Old Ghis and the Unsullied.  Pompei had a lot to work with.  A lord captain like Randyll has to make do with what levy he can call up.  The ballgame is different.  

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6 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Indeed. Why didn't Stannis take him up on it? Why resort to using a deus ex machina? 

Don't know, but it was the correct move as everyone in Stannis camp pointed out.

6 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

No, the Battle of Blackwater was achieved on the Battlefield. The clues in the name. 

It's funny you don't hold Robb to the same standard. His victories at the Camps and Whispering Wood was only achieved thanks to diplomacy and his mother gaining Frey support. 

I've already said, Blackwater is not a impressive victory either. 70k Tyrells, +20k Tywin taking Stannis army  of 20k in the rear. Tywin won the moment the Tyrells joined him, and this was diplomacy. 

 

7 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

What kind of logic is this? People in Westeros do consider Tywin an impressive commander.

"Peter the Great was not impressive therefore Tywin is not" is an exceptionally dumb argument to make.

Tywin has a reputation sure, so does other average generals in history that made their name famous. Montgomery for example is a very average commander, but he made his reputation beating Rommel in north africa. Mikhail Kutuzov made his name after stopping Napoleon, and he was not great general either. Hype and living to it are not the same.

7 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Did he? 

 Robb was 6,000 cavalry, plus the remnants of the Riverland army against a sleeping 8,000 infantry. Your math is shocking. 

 Even with the 4,000 with Prester unable to get involved due to the river does it come nowhere near double. 

 Why do you continue to spread misinformation? 

Jaime's army was 15k, he lost his 3.k cavalry in WW. 12k left in camps. Robb had 6k.

12/6 = 2. So yeah double of his number.

7 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Where is it claimed that camp (specifically) held 30k to 40k?

It is the number Jon gave us.

“What if we refuse the offer?” Jon had no doubt that they would. The Old Bear might at least have listened, though he would have balked at the notion of letting thirty or forty thousand wildlings loose on the Seven Kingdoms. But Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt would dismiss the notion out of hand.

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12 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Go into detail if you want to make that case, list the similarities in their command structure and we can properly debate them, but what you are doing is pretty weak. 

 

Are you familiar with the Great Northeam War ?

Peter and Tywin are both made man, they both crushed they major oposition in their realm by brutally suppressing a noble rebellion, they were both pragmatic, amoral and ambitions men and they both gambled against a teenager king and pay a heavy price for it. They both eventually won their war because they both had much more resources and their enemies were exausted.

Robb and Charles also share very similar traits. They are both young kings, fighting against overwelming odds, winning everybattle, but still losing men that they can't replace (Charles due to battle and sickness, Robb due to his dick). If you belive that Charles was killed by his own men like some say, they were both killed by treason, they were both great general and they both had a great chance to win the war at some point but were screwed by an ally with his own agenda (Robb had Edmure and Charles had the Turks).

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On 2/26/2019 at 7:41 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Battle command (BC) is the art and science of visualizing, describing, directing, and leading forces in operations against a hostile, thinking, and adaptive enemy.

Tywin more than fits the definition. 

 

I’m sorry, how should I respond to this?

Should I pull out the meaning of battle and commander or do something similar? Or should I say I never said Tywin isn’t a battle commander? 

I’ve no idea, really.

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The problem with picking someone from Westeros is their lack of experience.  Stannis has only been in how many battles?  Very few compared to someone like Khal Drogo and the Tattered Prince.  The very best commanders are the leaders of the big sell sword companies and the Dothraki khals.  

  1. Khal Drogo
  2. The Tattered Prince

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On 2/28/2019 at 3:50 PM, Arthur Peres said:

Are you familiar with the Great Northeam War ?

Peter and Tywin are both made man, they both crushed they major oposition in their realm by brutally suppressing a noble rebellion, they were both pragmatic, amoral and ambitions men and they both gambled against a teenager king and pay a heavy price for it. They both eventually won their war because they both had much more resources and their enemies were exausted.

Robb and Charles also share very similar traits. They are both young kings, fighting against overwelming odds, winning everybattle, but still losing men that they can't replace (Charles due to battle and sickness, Robb due to his dick). If you belive that Charles was killed by his own men like some say, they were both killed by treason, they were both great general and they both had a great chance to win the war at some point but were screwed by an ally with his own agenda (Robb had Edmure and Charles had the Turks).

Interesting facts. I will look for more info.

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22 hours ago, Great Oshiro said:

The problem with picking someone from Westeros is their lack of experience.  Stannis has only been in how many battles?  Very few compared to someone like Khal Drogo and the Tattered Prince.  The very best commanders are the leaders of the big sell sword companies and the Dothraki khals.  

  1. Khal Drogo
  2. The Tattered Prince

Sorry but... Which battles won these two? Drogo was more used to plunder. And I get the impression he won more duels than battles. After these, the losers riders joined his side. Lhasarene weren't great oposition.

I didn't like Drogo and I really hope Dothraki never cross to Westeros. They are useful to plunder and rape and get slaves. They would waste all food and get starved trying to siege some castle. Their only victory would be against peasants.

Probably the Tattered Prince won many skirmishes, and still more by changins sides at the right time. But we don't know enough about his curriculum.

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30 minutes ago, the Last Teague said:

Sorry but... Which battles won these two? Drogo was more used to plunder. And I get the impression he won more duels than battles. After these, the losers riders joined his side. Lhasarene weren't great oposition.

I didn't like Drogo and I really hope Dothraki never cross to Westeros. They are useful to plunder and rape and get slaves. They would waste all food and get starved trying to siege some castle. Their only victory would be against peasants.

Probably the Tattered Prince won many skirmishes, and still more by changins sides at the right time. But we don't know enough about his curriculum.

I like the Dothraki.  Khal Drogo and the khalasars live in a warrior society.  They live in near constant wars.  For Drogo to build such a large khalasar meant he defeated other Khals who were leading experienced warriors.  These guys aren't farmers turned part-time soldiers.  These Dothraki are fit for war at wall times.  Fighting is their business.  So yes, Drogo is a great commander of men in battle.  

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I'll have to go with Stannis and Tywin as others have said before.

I'll also have to add Robert in his prime, winning two civil wars and being an absolute monster on the battlefield with his troops is another one to add to that list. So credit where credits due, even if he's busted out of shape at the beginning of the book haha. 

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I think Khal Drogo is one of the most underrated battle comanders, considering that he is undefeated in war, led a 40000 strong khallasar before the age of 30 and can make use of horseback archery an unique battle technique that no westeros-born commander can match

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Posted (edited)
On 2/24/2019 at 5:43 AM, Stallion That Mounts Texas said:

Not too much to go except for the obvious.  But, there were two wars in Robert's Rebellion and the Greyjoy Uprising.

1. Tywin Lannister (not much of a question here)

2. Ned Stark - judging from what we know of Rob and his finishing the rebellion after Robert was injured by Rhaegar on the Trident

3. Randyll Tarly - Dealt Robert his only true defeat during the war, and should have been on the Trident with Rhaegar

4. Robert Baratheon - won three battles in a day and inspirational icon

5. Stannis Baratheon - Held Storm's End and smashed the Iron Fleet of Fair Isle

6. Brendon Tully

7. Hoster Tully

8. Yohn Royce

9. Jaime Lannister

10. Victarian Greyjoy

While great warrior of course does not necessarily imply great battle commander, there is nothing Selmy has done that implies he can only function as a fighter or at best a captain of men, but not a general.

Right below his CV at the start of AGOT and this really understates his heroics at Duskendale. He tasted defeat at the Trident of course as one of the commanders, redeemed to some extent at Great Wyk when he was LC of the KG.

There isn't enough data to argue against Stannis, Tywin, Robert, Ned and Tarly, but it's to be noted they are all significant Lords and had command handed to them. Granted, they have all done a decent job, even if no one is quite an Alexander, a Subutai or a Napoleon. Barristan as the son of a minor Lord has worked his way up since the age of 10 and brings with him a reputation and aura that should immediately lift morale. 

By the time of the sample chapters of TWOW, he has also experienced warfare in Essos, practiced war diplomacy (getting the Windblown on board as well as getting various of Dany's units and militias together under his command) and managed to gain the respect of all at war councils - and this is a disparate group of Freedman, Ghiscari Slavers and Sellswords from the free cities. His plans for the counter attack on the Yunkai appear tactically solid.

I'm not making a case for him to go to #1 on the OP's list, but at least #7. Or at the very, very least please replace that turnip Victarion? 

From the White Book

Ser Barristan of House Selmy. Firstborn son of Ser Lyonel Selmy of Harvest Hall. Served as squire to Ser Manfred Swann. Named "the Bold" in his 10th year, when he donned borrowed armor to appear as a mystery knight in the tourney of Blackhaven, where he was defeated and unmasked by Duncan, Prince of DragonfliesKnighted in his 16th year by King Aegon V Targaryen, after performing great feats of prowess as a mystery knight in the winter tourney at King's Landing, defeating Prince Duncan the small and Ser Duncan the TallLord Commander of the Kingsguard. Slew Maelys the Monstrous, last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, in single combat during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Defeated Lormelle Long Lance and Cedrik Storm, the Bastard of Bronzegate. Named to the Kingsguard in his 23rd year, by Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower. Defended the passage against all challengers in the tourney of the Silver Bridge. Victor in the mêlée at Maidenpool. Brought King Aerys II to safety during the Defiance of Duskendaledespite an arrow wound in the chest. Avenged the murder of his Sworn Brother, Ser Gwayne Gaunt. Rescued Lady Jeyne Swann and her septafrom the Kingswood Brotherhood, defeating Simon Toyne and the Smiling Knight, slaying the former. In the Oldtown tourney, defeated and unmasked the mystery knight, Blackshield revealing him to be the Bastard of Uplands. Sole champion of Lord Steffon's tourney at Storm's End, whereat he unhorsed Lord Robert Baratheon, Prince Oberyn Martell, Lord Leyton Hightower, Lord Jon Connington, Lord Jason Mallister, and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Wounded by arrow, spear, and sword at the Battle of the Trident whilst fighting beside his Sworn Brothers and Rhaegar Prince of Dragonstone. Pardoned, and named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, by King Robert I Baratheon. Served in the honor guard that brought Lady Cersei of House Lannister to King's Landing to wed King Robert. Led the attack on Old Wyk during Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion. Champion of the tourney at King's Landing, in his 57th year. Dismissed by King Joffrey I Baratheon in his 61st year, for reasons of advanced age

Edited by Ser Hedge

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On 2/25/2019 at 4:30 PM, the Last Teague said:

That's why passing from untested boy to military genius was dificult to swallow, in my opinion.

He had excellent and experienced general staff as advisors, and a seasoned/educated officer corps. So all he needed was clever intuition and decent instinct. His success of his plans relied explicitly on having talented and loyal subordinates carry them out. His inexperience and youth lose him the war though. 

The greatest in the real world, Alexander and Genghis Khan, also had the advantage of excellent subordinates and having a military that was top to bottom competent, able, and well-motivated. They wouldn't have had even half the success they did without the people below them, all the way down to the basic compenent, the soldier, being of good to excellent quality.  These are men with the full complement of talent, not just good in a scrap, but who have the political wherewithal to put armies together and sew countries together. They can gather and maintain all the resources they ever need or want, and only at the absolute limit do they ever reach anything like a breaking point. 

They uh, also have the good fortune, and good sense, to pick fights and wars they can win, and pick them as they can win them. Had say, Hitler, managed to keep an alliance with Stalin going instead of launching Barbarossa, he'd be up there.

Its the 2nd tier of generals, who

A. can command good loyalty and obedience, but use that to patch over weakness and achieve impressive results regardless

B. have absurd advantages over their opponents and simply don't "screw it all up"

that occupy the breadth and depth of "Great Generals", such as Hannibal Barca, who never managed to piece together the resources necessary to finish off Rome but nevertheless was its most dangerous adversary until it fell

All Robb had to do to stay in the war was marry a Frey girl asap, ignoring a betrothal entirely, and slap the dumbass out of Karstark for being butthurt that a man died in a battle. 

Tywin was never that good, I really don't see the justification for rating him so highly. He had the political chops, but otherwise maintained absurd advantages in all his victories, and relied upon treachery for his greatest achievements, while with one exception, letting the peace be lost after the war was done. I'm completely serious, after he put the Westerlands to order, he never again won another peace, and just let battelfield victories wither on the vine. Cersei having nothing but obvious Lannister bastards without being "talked to", letting the Riverlands and the North turn to complete shit because he just didn't care anymore, not raising his voice to mightily high levels as Robert let his realm be beggared so badly it gave the Sevenstars and foreign powers extreme leverage just because he thought he could gain just a little more, being a total monster to Tyrion while also being an obstinate jackass to him and refusing to remarry. I mean really, he could have remarried and had a grown adult ready by the time Robert died had he remarried while Tyrion was a toddler. 

Tywin was an excellent autocrat, but a poor battlefield commander and in his old age, utter shit at producing anything that would guarantee a long term peace. Tywin is closer to Hafez al-Assad than say, Khalid. 

 

There aren't any generals in the highest tier in ASOIAF, Drogo came the apparent closest. Stannis is coming close to 2nd tier, and if GRRM is kind, may even start touching the top tier only to be rudely interupted. Dany is a revolutionary cult figure who has zero education in basically anything, but will largely be drawing in warriors and capable people to her, like Subutai's and Jebe's and others. Shireen may have to do something similar if and when Stannis dies, likely managing the war as a restrainer or encourgaer of this or that. 

 

So start of series, a list of the last men you want to see on the other side of the battlefield

1. Stannis Baratheon

2. Robert Baratheon

3. Khal Drogo

4. Victarion and Euron Greyjoy

5. Gregor Clegane - yeah, GRRM calls him dumb, likely because GRRM holds that opinion about big muscly mean dudes, but accidentally wrote about him evading whatever he couldn't outfight, outfighting when he chose to attack and retreating in good order on the rare occasion he was caught by surprise. Gregor Clegane isn't just a damned near unstoppable engine of personal destruction, he also has excellent instincts for calvalry raiding and preserving his force in the field and keeping a disorderly vanguard in line. If Ser Gregor was actually stupid, the Mountain's Men would have been a constantly deplenishing bunch, getting used up to destruction. Maybe GRRM will retcon it into being so, when he sees that oopsy.

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I agree that Stannis is the best commander, for the moment. 

If what Tywin was treachery, how can Robb Stark considered a hero? He never won a pitched battle. Just ambushes and night attacks. Killing someone in pajama (like Steffon Lannister) is hardly epic stuff.

Tywin won wars by being better prepared, making long-term plans and not leaving anything to chance. 

Khal Drogo doesn't deserve being in any list. Except in chest-beating, maybe. The only battle we read about didn't show any tactical genius. He killed two rival chiefs. None of them had any reputation as warrior, so no merit there. Defeating Lazharene is easy. They are pacifist sheppards. 

If Dothraki only prey Lazhaar people, they reputation is undeserved. I don't get why people is so impressed by them. Gengis Khan had a highly organized army. Khal Drogo a horde of shirtless raiders. No matter how many bells they rang. 

 

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13 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

I agree that Stannis is the best commander, for the moment. 

If what Tywin was treachery, how can Robb Stark considered a hero? He never won a pitched battle. Just ambushes and night attacks. Killing someone in pajama (like Steffon Lannister) is hardly epic stuff.

Do you seriously not understand the difference between battlefield tactics and deceptive murder? Olga of Kiev did similar feats to Tywin and accomplished much more with it, but she is not lauded as a battlefield commander. 

13 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

Tywin won wars by being better prepared, making long-term plans and not leaving anything to chance. 

What? No seriously what? He was accomplished in the Ninepenny Kings but no more, bringing back order in the Westerlands wasn't a show of genius, it was a show of resolve.

The real smarts behind crushing the Reyne/Tarbeck rebellion was in acting quickly and bringing forces that could be quickly raised instead of calling for all the banners. It was genius to avoid a long war but on the battlefield, Tywin was and is average.

He didn't win the War of the Five Kings, everyone around him just fucked up and he took advantage of that. Everybody else being a fuck up does not make Tywin a genius. Renly could just as easily supported Stannis from the beginning, or Robb could have wedded and bedded a Frey girl right when he crossed the Twins and annexxed that land to the North and not accepted a kingship and not even tried to ally with Renly in any way and forced his mother to go homenot fucked up every off-battlefield decision he ever made. Just Robb alone would have meant the Northmen and Rivermen pillaging the Westerlands and working their way across the Riverlands, liberating and growing their number of men. Robb by himself without all of his off-battlefield stupidities was a serious problem that threatened to do to the Westerlands what Tywin had been doing to the Riverlands.

Even with the Tyrell alliance, the eventual outcome is the Reach being split between occupying the Stormlands, retaking and attempting to occupy the Westerlands and fighting in the Crownlands and reinvading the Riverlands. All while Tywin is cutoff from reinforcements, the Riverlands is stabilizing and fully mobilizing its manpower in both war and harvest labor. 

Tywin came into a winning position by sheer dumb luck. 

 

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On 2/24/2019 at 6:28 PM, Daemon of the Blacks said:

While I think the world of Tywin's skill I actually don't think he's a particularly great general. His win record doesn't come from being a star class general but by using his political skill to make sure the battle is already won before he sets out and some added ruthlessness to ensure his victory gets burned into people's minds.

I'd say he's still a very good commander but nowhere near the top.

I agree. Also whenever I see Tywins war council in the series, it gives off this strong Roman plutocrat senators vibe. Lannister armies remind me of Roman Republic legions where arrogant Patrician senators would lead their armies and get defeated, but because they had wealth to replace losses, systematic discipline and prestige, would always be worshipped and have their losses overlooked until they do win.  

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I put Jon Connington in as a dark horse, the guy was obviously a decent commander during RR but has not stagnated, instead learning from mistakes, constantly campaigning and maintaining an edge. Definitely one to watch out for

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2019 at 7:29 AM, Br16 said:

I agree. Also whenever I see Tywins war council in the series, it gives off this strong Roman plutocrat senators vibe. Lannister armies remind me of Roman Republic legions where arrogant Patrician senators would lead their armies and get defeated, but because they had wealth to replace losses, systematic discipline and prestige, would always be worshipped and have their losses overlooked until they do win.  

That's a good point and @Vashon makes a good distinction between a battle commander (which is what the OP is about) and 'conqueror' (where politics, diplomacy, longer term strategy are heavily involved)

Without ranking them in any particular order,  we have enough information over the course of the series that the following can handle command of a single land battle well (including feigning manouvers leading to the battle, preparing/choosing the battle field)

Stannis

Robb

Tywin

Randyll Tarly

Barristan (if you draw on information from TWOW sample chapters)

We don't get detailed information, but based on reputation, Robert and Ned should be at the top of the list. Again, you would think Greyworm and the commanders of most of the sell sword companies in Essos would have the necessary skills, we just don't see them in action.

Not enough evidence for Ser Loras and other names that are thrown around in the series.

Finally, while we didnt see Roose win an outright battle, he has the cunning and tactical nous to be considered, but probably doesn't have the daring of a Robert to spot an opportunity to aggressively exploit it, or at least we don't have evidence of the same.

I would throw Jamie out of the list for splitting his forces the way he did and walking into an ambush.

This was only land battles. Since Stannis had won at sea as well, that should place him at our near the top, but you have to say getting snowed in on the way to lay siege to Winterfell without enough supplies did not seem very impressive.

 

Edited by Ser Hedge

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15 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

That's a good point and @Vashon makes a good distinction between a battle commander (which is what the OP is about) and 'conqueror' (where politics, diplomacy, longer term strategy are heavily involved)

Without ranking them in any particular order,  we have enough information over the course of the series that the following can handle command of a single land battle well (including feigning manouvers leading to the battle, preparing/choosing the battle field)

Stannis

Robb

Tywin

Randyll Tarly

Barristan (if you draw on information from TWOW sample chapters)

We don't get detailed information, but based on reputation, Robert and Ned should be at the top of the list. Again, you would think Greyworm and the commanders of most of the sell sword companies in Essos would have the necessary skills, we just don't see them in action.

Not enough evidence for Ser Loras and other names that are thrown around in the series.

Finally, while we didnt see Roose win an outright battle, he has the cunning and tactical nous to be considered, but probably doesn't have the daring of a Robert to spot an opportunity to aggressively exploit it, or at least we don't have evidence of the same.

I would throw Jamie out of the list for splitting his forces the way he did and walking into an ambush.

This was only land battles. Since Stannis had won at sea as well, that should place him at our near the top, but you have to say getting snowed in on the way to lay siege to Winterfell without enough supplies did not seem very impressive.

 

I agree with Stannis at first place since he managed to beat even the Greyjoys at sea.

I also agree completely with throwing Jaime out. He made so many elementary mistakes. He forgot to  build pontoon bridges to connect his three besieging forces. Moreover, his reckless attempt to Kill Robb at Whispering wood was the peak of stupid. First of all, an underling should have been sent in the first place, and he had the chance to flee back, fortify his camp and send for Tywin, but chose to go one man against Robb. Even if he had succeeded, he would still probably be dead or captured, leading again to leaderless Lannister Host. 

Moreover, he made the same mistake by trying to pull off a St. George and charge at Dany during the Gold Road battle. Luckily Bronn saved him. 

Lastly, I wouldn't hold the being snowed in part against Stannis since I feel it was the result of his lack of generosity, not lack of command ability.

Stannis biggest problem is that his politically miserly and overly rigid legalist nature causes him to be impoverished and isolated. Had he struck a deal to treat Mance as an equal (which is fair considering that he is North of the Wall and outside IT territory), he would have found an ally with a massive army. With his 10,000 men at arms counterbalancing a 100K wilding army, all the Northern houses would portably yield and start sending supplies. Instead, his actions gave that 100K army to the NK, and left him with no support other than the ailing Nights Watch.  

Stannis is only effective if he had a rich boss who could fund him. He's the perfect trustworthy employee who would never steal, fail or betray, but he can't manage on his own. 

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