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Great battle plan! Dubious tactics discussion.

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Posted (edited)

Dubious? Really?? The BEST way to stealth assassinate an undead man with lightning fast reflexes who can possibly see the future is to leap at him whilst screaming your head off.

The best way to build a trench against one hundred thousand undead soldiers who don't tire is to dig ONE single trench, a maximum of 6ft across, a couple of feet from your castle walls. BEHIND your entire army.

Always ensure your heavy artillery is kept outside and undefended.

Always begin the battle by sending your entire cavalry charging blindly into the enemy with absolutely no clue where or how many there are, with no armour, no dragonglass, and no valyrian steel, with no possible way of actually killing their enemy when they smash into each other (I don't count the flaming Arakh's as no one knew Mel would show up and do that).

If you have an undead army climbing the walls who are particularly vulnerable to fire, do NOT under any circumstances use common medieval tactics such as, oh, I don't know, pouring oil and fire at the people climbing and burn them all.  

When one of the few things you do know about your enemy is that they can easily raise the dead, be sure to trap the women and children in a tomb filled with the dead and no way out. For added effect, lock the ruler of the North, and your two 'best' advisors in there too.

Sigh, this episode...

 

Edited by thegearsofwar2010

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2 hours ago, Jora the Explorer said:

Some of the Dothraki would have been put to better use skirmishing, using their legendary bow skills to start whittling down the undead......500 to 1000 of the best horse archers spread out, shooting 48 arrows apiece,

And the undead keep coming.

And you try to get out their way and the undead keep coming. 

And you have to make for Winterfell and the undead keep coming. 

Your horses need to sleep and the undead keep coming. 

People cannot conceive this is an innumerable mass that does not stop to sleep, pause to breath or flinch. Its coming after you and no cleverness can slow it or stop it. 

When the horses are exhausted from a days non stop trot. Its over. 

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20 minutes ago, ferrelhadley said:

And the undead keep coming.

And you try to get out their way and the undead keep coming. 

And you have to make for Winterfell and the undead keep coming. 

Your horses need to sleep and the undead keep coming. 

People cannot conceive this is an innumerable mass that does not stop to sleep, pause to breath or flinch. Its coming after you and no cleverness can slow it or stop it. 

When the horses are exhausted from a days non stop trot. Its over. 

1000 horse archers loose off 20 to 30 shots a minute.  Typically, each man  carries 48 arrows, ..that's circa 48,000 undead down....rinse and repeat in relays of 1000  of new  horse archers or resupply .  Its not meant to slow or stop them, just thin them out a bit.....The Parthians at Carrhae 53BC,   had 9k of horse archers and beat 50k of slower Romans and their allies resupplying their horse archers during the battle,...agreed they weren't facing undead,  a zombie dragon, or needed obsidian tipped arrows, but the Dothraki are supposed to number 30k, and all are trained from boyhood to be expert horse archers.   The Dothraki had a whole day at least before the undead arrived at Winterfell...Tormond etc managed to ride around the undead, and arrive long before nightfall...There only real limit would be the supply of Obsidian arrow heads, and they could be as primitive as flint arrowheads.....They could have weakened the undead army, even with only 48 arrows each.....with few losses, and /or forcing the NK to use his dragon.......which is what team alive wanted anyway....No, its not going to stop them attacking Winterfell, but every little helps.

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6 hours ago, Jora the Explorer said:

Some of the Dothraki would have been put to better use skirmishing, using their legendary bow skills to start whittling down the undead......500 to 1000 of the best horse archers spread out, shooting 48 arrows apiece, at 200 to 300 metres, loosing off 20 to 30 arrows per minute....avoiding contact, and retreating, to flow around Winterfell, or through the gates...second nature to the Dothraki horse lords taught to fire bows from horseback from boyhood....assisted by a few large bonfires on the plain to give some idea of the undead dispositions...keep the rest of the Dothraki behind Winterfell as a counter attack.....that would have provoked the undead to charge the walls etc, and thus no one else needed to be outside the walls in the first place.!!!.....and that's without dragons!!!!

 

Before the episode this is along the lines of what some folks, myself included, suggested was the best use of the Dothraki.   When they lined up in front of the catapults horse shoulder to horse shoulder, it was obvious they were going to do what they did.

 

For an interesting read re. that, check out towerofthand's article "Deconstructed: The Long Night".  The author makes a good point re. mission statments.

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3 hours ago, Jora the Explorer said:

1000 horse archers loose off 20 to 30 shots a minute.  Typically, each man  carries 48 arrows, ..that's circa 48,000 undead down.

Can't assume a 100% hit rate.  :) And don't forget the giants.

3 hours ago, Jora the Explorer said:

...rinse and repeat in relays of 1000  of new  horse archers or resupply . 

Resupply can be a problem.  Doubtful that can be accomplished before the dead reach the infantry.

3 hours ago, Jora the Explorer said:

Its not meant to slow or stop them, just thin them out a bit.....The Parthians at Carrhae 53BC,   had 9k of horse archers and beat 50k of slower Romans and their allies resupplying their horse archers during the battle,...agreed they weren't facing undead,  a zombie dragon, or needed obsidian tipped arrows, but the Dothraki are supposed to number 30k, and all are trained from boyhood to be expert horse archers.   The Dothraki had a whole day at least before the undead arrived at Winterfell...Tormond etc managed to ride around the undead, and arrive long before nightfall...There only real limit would be the supply of Obsidian arrow heads, and they could be as primitive as flint arrowheads.....They could have weakened the undead army, even with only 48 arrows each.....with few losses, and /or forcing the NK to use his dragon.......which is what team alive wanted anyway....No, its not going to stop them attacking Winterfell, but every little helps.

Oh.  You mean harass the dead all the way from he Wall?  Yes.  That is the best strategy and what I was expecting.

Interesting thought re. using the Dothraki to force the NK to expose himself.  I doubt that he would have done that, but he may have.

One problem could be the snow.  It may be too deep for the Dothraki to operate like the above.

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In addition to inflicting casaulties, even if you can pull some parts of the sent away from  the main force before they reach Winterfell, you don't need to destroy them completely. You will have bought time if they have to gather them up, or reduced the main strengh of the army if they cannot make it.

This should not be problematic for dothraki cavalry. They can pull away and disperse if they are engaged or followed by too large a force. The main problem will be keeping their horse strings alive with limited pasture. 

 

 

 

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On 5/5/2019 at 11:19 AM, Relic said:

Sending them to their death is the least of your worries, since your enemy can literally bring them back to half-life and use them against you. So you basically are giving the attacking enemy a few thousand Dothraki. SMART! Very smart! The most clever people in the Realm sure do know how to draw up those battle tactics!

It's a curse of the faux educated (those that learn through reading, not doing or being taught by those that have done).  Everyone thinks they're an expert because they are working with more information than the characters in a story and they also apply hundreds of years of learnings to a situation the characters have never faced before.

In 2019 sending the Dothraki charging towards a hopeless cause seems stupid and reckless.  And it was.  In 1916 hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in a manner equally as stupid and reckless.  We can say that retrospectively now, but at the time it seemed like a sensible strategy.

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1 hour ago, Ser Gareth said:

It's a curse of the faux educated (those that learn through reading, not doing or being taught by those that have done).  Everyone thinks they're an expert because they are working with more information than the characters in a story and they also apply hundreds of years of learnings to a situation the characters have never faced before.

In 2019 sending the Dothraki charging towards a hopeless cause seems stupid and reckless.  And it was.  In 1916 hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in a manner equally as stupid and reckless.  We can say that retrospectively now, but at the time it seemed like a sensible strategy.

With that analogue, have to remember that the 1916 wave attacks were not the ideal plan. When the war started, the generals aimed for a more mobile form of warfare, and indeed, the germans achieved this, for a while, to the extent that the taxis of Paris were pressed into service to ferry troops to the front. It was only when the trenches eventually froze all along the border, after endless attempts at flanking, that they had to adapt to the new situation. Their solutions did not work, but they were born of a desire to attempt to break the deadlock.

Most of the suggestions people here make for a more intelligent battle plan are based in exisiting tactics and strategies that would be the go-to solution for a high to late medieval commander, which after all is what Westerosi warfare is based on.

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On 5/6/2019 at 12:34 PM, Ser Gareth said:

It's a curse of the faux educated (those that learn through reading, not doing or being taught by those that have done).  Everyone thinks they're an expert because they are working with more information than the characters in a story and they also apply hundreds of years of learnings to a situation the characters have never faced before.

In 2019 sending the Dothraki charging towards a hopeless cause seems stupid and reckless.  And it was.  In 1916 hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in a manner equally as stupid and reckless.  We can say that retrospectively now, but at the time it seemed like a sensible strategy.

It's a possibly sensible strategy only if you have an enemy that could break and run when you charge them.

Also, the British marching toward machine-gun nests in WWI was seen as stupid even by officers back then. I remember a French officer writing about that. Luckily they wisened up eventually. Then came the Americans with the same "chaaarge!" mentality. I read a story about how a British officer talked to the newly arrived Americans about taking cover, moving from cover to cover - so they had changed. After he was finished an American officer said, "Everybody, thank the nice captain. However, these are the people who haven't managed to break through in all this time." And then they did the same stupid thing as the British had done in the beginning, "chaaarge!", and throwing grenades like baseballs.

Anyhow, point being that it was possible to understand how stupid a head-on charge against a massively dangerous weapon facing you, was. It is possible for those who are battle-hardened. And remember, the Dothraki are the most battle-hardened people in the entire ASOIAF world. They have not survived and dominated by being stupid.

The Mongols, I recall, did not charge head-long into knights and soldiers. They used smart tactics, invented by Genghis Khan back in Mongolia when he fought other Mongols. To pretend to run to draw in the enemy, then have other units fire at them from the sides. When you are faster, because you are on horseback, you can do that. The Dothraki would know this.

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On 5/6/2019 at 11:34 AM, Ser Gareth said:

It's a curse of the faux educated (those that learn through reading, not doing or being taught by those that have done).  Everyone thinks they're an expert because they are working with more information than the characters in a story and they also apply hundreds of years of learnings to a situation the characters have never faced before.

The problem is that in TV land the Dothraki using their well tried horse archer tactics, (which GRRM based on his reading of historical tribes), is not as cinematic as a mass charge into an unseen, much larger enemy at night........

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On 4/29/2019 at 8:10 PM, ferrelhadley said:

Rarely if ever do you fight the undead. Look it up historically. 

Your cavalry had one chance to charge. Once the hoard was on top of you there would have been no space to maneuver , nowhere clever to put them. You need space to build up speed for a charge. 

One shot, it did not work. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY2jAnV5Fa4&t=544s

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On 5/5/2019 at 11:14 AM, TwiceBorn said:

So Dothraki bows have better range than Westerosi longbows too...

Quite possibly. But looking at it historically, that would likely mean they are using composite bows. Now, the areas they come from are rather dry, I believe, so that is not an issue. But Westeros is modelled after Europe, which means rain, at least at latitudes above King's Landing. Which would quickly render their bows useless (they would fall apart).

 

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On 5/3/2019 at 3:26 AM, sweetsunray said:

According to d&d he was an ice dragon, not a wight, since NK touched him.

But the point is, Dany and Jon didn't know that.  If you know a creature has been raised from being dead and all other such creatures can be killed with fire, why not at least try?

Also, if he wasn't like other Wights, why did he just collapse like all the Wights, and not shatter into shards of ice like the White Walkers?

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2019 at 3:05 AM, Erkan12 said:

Fire destroys everything, not only wights. Wights are just immune to regular stabbing and cutting through regular weapons. They are just not immune to fire, just like regular people aren't.

Viserion is a dragon, and dragons are immune to fire unlike other living things. Wight Viserion can use and breath blue flames, and yet you think it can be hurt by regular flames? Doesn't make sense. :D

 

My point is that they didn't even try flames on unViserion.  At least Dany had the sense to try fire on the Night King and found out it didn't affect him, yet it never occurred to either Dany or Jon to try fire on unViserion.  If the fire didn't work, so be it.

As far as dragons in the ASOIAF universe, you might want to read about a bit about them.

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Dragon

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Doom_of_Valyria#The_Doom

Edited by storm.131
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On 4/29/2019 at 12:22 PM, Tyrion1991 said:

Two words. Horse archers.

Yes! A horse based horde didn't have a bajillion mounted archers?

Why the fuck would they be that useless in a shield situation?

And even if you're going to use them in a charge?

Put in some more lines of defense at a distance!

Sentinels to set them on fire for obstacle, thinning down enemy forces and visibility for your cavalry!

I was like 'the fuck?! Cavalry charge in those conditions? Why didn't just put them in red shirts?'

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Posted (edited)

I'd propose the problem with criticizing the strategies being employed by the Winterfell force is in the assumption that there is a strategy which will result in a win condition. But there are none. Everyone who is suggesting some kind of "superior" strategy is failing to understand that their "superior" strategy results in the same outcome: defeat.

You cannot win against the undead horde and all "strategies" are equal in that they are doomed to fail. There are no "superior" strategies in that there is no precedent with which to gague any measure of risk. Thus everyone suggesting alternate strategies are really doing nothing at all except offer alternate ways to destroy your troops. All strategies become equal when facing certain death.

In this scenario, you must commit troops to certain death. In this battle, you must make sacrifices in order to attempt to bring about the only possible win-con. Everyone at Winterfell was committed to this goal. Better in their mind that virtually everyone at Winterfell was sacrificed then that the entire world would be destroyed.

There is only one possible win-con in the battle and that was the primary strategy of the Winterfell forces: provoke the fight, draw out the Night King, and eliminate that single troop. All troops must be fully committed to that one possible win-con. This is why the dragons were not supposed to engage at all. They were to wait until they had eyes on the Night King, then fully commit. All other strategies are equal in that the result is certain defeat.

Really, the only strategy is to, provoke the fight; fall into defensive formations; hope you get eyes on the single troop which presents the only possible win-con; eliminate that troop.

In the end, I'd propose that this criticism (as with virtually all criticisms I've seen with the series) are very poorly thought-out, and usually the result of critics not understanding the story they are watching. I can say that when I look at the story, I don't see any problems; but when I look at what critics say I see massive problems - so it appears all problems are on the critics' side of the reasoning table, as it were.

Edited by John Meta

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33 minutes ago, John Meta said:

I'd propose the problem with criticizing the strategies being employed by the Winterfell force is in the assumption that there is a strategy which will result in a win condition. But there are none. Everyone who is suggesting some kind of "superior" strategy is failing to understand that their "superior" strategy results in the same outcome: defeat.

You cannot win against the undead horde and all "strategies" are equal in that they are doomed to fail. There are no "superior" strategies in that there is no precedent with which to gague any measure of risk. Thus everyone suggesting alternate strategies are really doing nothing at all except offer alternate ways to destroy your troops. All strategies become equal when facing certain death.

In this scenario, you must commit troops to certain death. In this battle, you must make sacrifices in order to attempt to bring about the only possible win-con. Everyone at Winterfell was committed to this goal. Better in their mind that virtually everyone at Winterfell was sacrificed then that the entire world would be destroyed.

There is only one possible win-con in the battle and that was the primary strategy of the Winterfell forces: provoke the fight, draw out the Night King, and eliminate that single troop. All troops must be fully committed to that one possible win-con. This is why the dragons were not supposed to engage at all. They were to wait until they had eyes on the Night King, then fully commit. All other strategies are equal in that the result is certain defeat.

Really, the only strategy is to, provoke the fight; fall into defensive formations; hope you get eyes on the single troop which presents the only possible win-con; eliminate that troop.

In the end, I'd propose that this criticism (as with virtually all criticisms I've seen with the series) are very poorly thought-out, and usually the result of critics not understanding the story they are watching. I can say that when I look at the story, I don't see any problems; but when I look at what critics say I see massive problems - so it appears all problems are on the critics' side of the reasoning table, as it were.

I never meant a winning strategy.

Per your own admission and probably the notion many viewers had, the stand at Winterfell was a desperate one.

That still does not mean you should waste men on stupid movements against a proven superior force.

The objective was to lay out bait for the Night King and try to take him down in the hope that 'cut off the head of the snake' would prove effective.

That implies finding a needle in a haystack and then bringing that one element down.

It's remarkably easier to do so when you don't have a million times bigger haystack to search and also, if you should manage to thin down troops around that one element.

The point of contention here is not that there would've been a surefire way to win. There was no force of arms in Westeros, even if Cersei had sent her army, to win in a traditional, defeat the other army, sense. 

For me it was the perception that for what they gave us, they might've simply left Bran sitting there alone or done the Robb Stark strategy and used a much smaller army to the same effect.

If it hinged of the Night King believing them defeated in order to show himself, they could have achieved that with less loss of life by presenting a smaller challenge?

If it was a combination of both, well, they still could have eased their way in order to at least present a target for whoever finally got into a position to attempt to kill the Night King and not merely giveaway the king on their side of the board.

Instead we got a senseless massacre and superninja!Arya.

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43 minutes ago, John Meta said:

I'd propose the problem with criticizing the strategies being employed by the Winterfell force is in the assumption that there is a strategy which will result in a win condition. But there are none. Everyone who is suggesting some kind of "superior" strategy is failing to understand that their "superior" strategy results in the same outcome: defeat.

You cannot win against the undead horde and all "strategies" are equal in that they are doomed to fail. There are no "superior" strategies in that there is no precedent with which to gague any measure of risk. Thus everyone suggesting alternate strategies are really doing nothing at all except offer alternate ways to destroy your troops. All strategies become equal when facing certain death.

In this scenario, you must commit troops to certain death. In this battle, you must make sacrifices in order to attempt to bring about the only possible win-con. Everyone at Winterfell was committed to this goal. Better in their mind that virtually everyone at Winterfell was sacrificed then that the entire world would be destroyed.

There is only one possible win-con in the battle and that was the primary strategy of the Winterfell forces: provoke the fight, draw out the Night King, and eliminate that single troop. All troops must be fully committed to that one possible win-con. This is why the dragons were not supposed to engage at all. They were to wait until they had eyes on the Night King, then fully commit. All other strategies are equal in that the result is certain defeat.

Really, the only strategy is to, provoke the fight; fall into defensive formations; hope you get eyes on the single troop which presents the only possible win-con; eliminate that troop.

In the end, I'd propose that this criticism (as with virtually all criticisms I've seen with the series) are very poorly thought-out, and usually the result of critics not understanding the story they are watching. I can say that when I look at the story, I don't see any problems; but when I look at what critics say I see massive problems - so it appears all problems are on the critics' side of the reasoning table, as it were.

:bs:

According to your "logic", they might as well sit down in front of Winterfell and twiddle their thumbs. Or just commit suicide. Yes, they wouldn't win by mere physical fight, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't use a sound battle strategy to at least try and minimize their losses.

You can compare their situation with Aragorn's suicide mission to draw Sauron's attention away from Frodo's mission - they didn't know Frodo would save the day just at the nick of time, but they still used the best defensive strategy they could. Which is what the defence of Winterfell should have been, as well.

 

 

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Posted (edited)


I never meant a winning strategy.

Per your own admission and probably the notion many viewers had, the stand at Winterfell was a desperate one.

That still does not mean you should waste men on stupid movements against a proven superior force.

The problem here is your statement "waste men" and "stupid movements". These statements imply you have practical knowledge of risk assessment, and precedent in battle tactics against an undead horde enshrouded in darkness which can summon snow storms, move in a rolling wave of destruction, and has no need of rest or sustenance. There is no precedent. There is no possible way for you to determine risk assessment. Your statement is based on no information at all. I'm not sure what you mean technically otherwise by "waste men" but, yes, men are going to be "wasted" in any battle.

The objective was to lay out bait for the Night King and try to take him down in the hope that 'cut off the head of the snake' would prove effective.

That implies finding a needle in a haystack and then bringing that one element down.

No, not finding a needle in a haystack - drawing a needle out of the haystack into sight. There is a huge different.

if you should manage to thin down troops around that one element.

Your suggesting a strategy of thinning down troops which roll like a wave of destruction? The Night King is easily able to replinish his troops with a wave of his hand. Now all of your troops that died "thinning down" his troops are part of his troops. This is a strategy, but it is no better than any other strategy that results in death of your army. Also, this strategy is based on a false premise, that we're "looking for a needle in a haystack" but we are drawing the needle out on its own. They are lying in wait.

For me it was the perception that for what they gave us, they might've simply left Bran sitting there alone or done the Robb Stark strategy and used a much smaller army to the same effect.

Okay, you're proposing an alternate strategy which "might've" done something different. Then again, it might not have. Your ability to state alternate "might've" strategies does nothing at all. It doesn't make your strategy "superior" or their strategy "inferior" since there is no possible way for anyone to determine risk assessment since they are in a completely unprecedented combat situation. Again, the one-and-only viable stragegy is: provoke attack, hope to draw out the single troop, hope to eliminate that single troop. That is the only strategy and that is what they did. Everything is is peripheral to that objective, and every peripheral has no strategy except "survive" by any means.

If it hinged of the Night King believing them defeated in order to show himself, they could have achieved that with less loss of life by presenting a smaller challenge?

There is no possible way to know that. Your "strategy" is completely hypothetical with no possible way to determine risk assessment or objective completion. There is just, no information, no viable strategy but the one. The Winterfell forces followed the one viable strategy. Everyone who is advancing "alternate strategies" is just creating hypotheticals based on no information with no ability to determine risk or success probabilities all ending in the same scenario: dead troops.

If it was a combination of both, well, they still could have eased their way in order to at least present a target for whoever finally got into a position to attempt to kill the Night King and not merely giveaway the king on their side of the board.

I don't know what that is supposed to be saying. "Eased their way"? Again the rolling waves of undead destruction? What are you saying here?

Instead we got a senseless massacre and superninja!Arya.

A battle is senseless massacre and wasted men. Were you thinking it was fun times at Winterfell? If you're meaning "senseless" as in, "could've been avoided" then once again you're drawing a conclusion based on nothing. You're conjuring words out of thin air and thinking they have some kind of meaningful relation to the story. But they don't. Without precedence and the ability to formulate practical risk assessment their is no possible way for you to conclude anything as "senseless" because first you would have to have the "sense" of precedence and risk assessment through which to make your conclusion. But you don't have those. You have, nothing. No useful information at all.

As for Arya - for seven seasons you've been shown that her training (by people who wear faces i.e. magic) allows her to move "silent as a shadow" "quick as a cat" "light as a feather" so for you to suddenly exclaim "superninja!" only begs the reply: right. Where have you been for seven seasons? Because apparently it wasn't spent watching this show. Yes, Arya is for all intents and purposes, a master ninja who can weaponize darkness. She's been fashioned over seven seasons for the specific purpose of weaponizing the Night King's own environment against him.

Edited by John Meta

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