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Great battle plan! Dubious tactics discussion.

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It definitely seems like you would hold the Dothraki in reserve to give a counter when you need to retreat. It seemed they had planned for falling back either way so why send them out so early? It was an incredible visual but made little sense.

 

I'm mostly confused on baiting the Night King. What were they supposed to do once he went in the godswood with Bran? Didn't seem like they had a solid way of dealing away with the NK at that point.

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4 hours ago, palemarerider said:

....

On the other side of bad strategy... Why did the OTHER/WW not enter the battle until the end?  The NK did not even commit his best soldiers until it was time to kill Bran.  Also when his army walked thru the wall at the end of the last season there were atleast a dozen Giants in his army.  Where were all the Giants?  Where were the white walker Bears and Ice Spiders?

Totally makes sense that the NK would keep the other WW back, he has a 100,000 footsoldiers he doesn't care about to take all the punishment the living can deal out, why risk his 99 brothers.   Any losses to his army of wights he expects to replenish with fresher, stronger bodies he can raise up from the dead defenders.   (as a side note to this - What I wish had happened is that they played up the idea from the earlier episode, where killing a WW caused a portion of the wight army to collapse, we could actually have some of our heroes have some duels with a few of the WW and take out huge sections of the undead army with one kill, but ultimately that would not be enough, until the NK himself goes down).

The last image we have of the Dothraki charge is a flash with them looking up at a wall of undead just as they hit it.   Perhaps the giants and bears were in the front row and the Dothraki actually did some damage before they went down and took out some of the big boys.

 

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2 hours ago, Magnamax said:

It definitely seems like you would hold the Dothraki in reserve to give a counter when you need to retreat. It seemed they had planned for falling back either way so why send them out so early? It was an incredible visual but made little sense.

 

I'm mostly confused on baiting the Night King. What were they supposed to do once he went in the godswood with Bran? Didn't seem like they had a solid way of dealing away with the NK at that point.

I thought there plan was to use dragon fire on the NK once he was in the godswood, but I'm not sure what poor Bran was going to do. :lol:

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The big idea of using Bran as "bait" seems silly after watching the episode... it looked like he had about 10 Ironborn with him, no one had Valyrian steel, and there seemed to be no actual plan in place to ambush the Night King once he got there. Things worked out due to Arya appearing at the last possible second, but wouldn't it have made more sense for her to have hidden there the whole time...?

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1 minute ago, The Prince of Porne said:

The big idea of using Bran as "bait" seems silly after watching the episode... it looked like he had about 10 Ironborn with him, no one had Valyrian steel, and there seemed to be no actual plan in place to ambush the Night King once he got there. Things worked out due to Arya appearing at the last possible second, but wouldn't it have made more sense for her to have hidden there the whole time...?

The  plan had been to have a dragon/rider nearby when the NK arrived and to burn him to ash.  But 1) wouldn't have worked because the NK couldn't burn for some reason and 2) things went sideways with the dragons and they were taken out of commission 

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4 minutes ago, The Prince of Porne said:

The big idea of using Bran as "bait" seems silly after watching the episode... it looked like he had about 10 Ironborn with him, no one had Valyrian steel, and there seemed to be no actual plan in place to ambush the Night King once he got there. Things worked out due to Arya appearing at the last possible second, but wouldn't it have made more sense for her to have hidden there the whole time...?

Agreed but see below...

2 minutes ago, Red Dragon10 said:

The  plan had been to have a dragon/rider nearby when the NK arrived and to burn him to ash.  But 1) wouldn't have worked because the NK couldn't burn for some reason and 2) things went sideways with the dragons and they were taken out of commission 

You saw this with Jon sitting on the wall at the Godswood .  Then he went after NK and after that fight NK raised the dead so he could just walk in while Jon was busy.  I'm with everyone that there appeared to be no real "trap" or plan to deal with NK when he got there outside of Jon but that was D&D's intent I suppose in order to make Arya more shocking.

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1 minute ago, Red Dragon10 said:

I thought there plan was to use dragon fire on the NK once he was in the godswood, but I'm not sure what poor Bran was going to do. :lol:

Jon did want Dany to wait, so I guess that makes sense? You're right, it seems like a weak plan. Retrospectively I would have liked more time spent in "Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" actually going over the battle plan. Given that none of the "farewell" scenes actually precipitated characters dying, it would have been nice for them to actually draw together what the whole plan was going to be. Planting Arya/Ghost in the God's Wood, for example, might have been smart; or at least someone who could quickly take out the Night King. Ditto for the front line defense: just seemed like they could have keyed in on what all these military guys wanted: which would lead to more tension when it fell apart.

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2 hours ago, Zorral said:

 :crying:

If you aren't using dragonglass against the dead, I would thought have thought that weapons that bludgeon the enemy (eg pole axes, war hammers etc.) would be much more use than edged or pointed weapons.   You need to smash their bones, rather than bleeding or cutting them.

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7 hours ago, ferrelhadley said:

A massed cavalry charge against a foe with no shield wall and no "shiltron" or pikes is a bad idea why?
At 450kg plus per horse plus 70kg rider moving at about 40km/h would give you a kinetic energy of around 400 kilo joules, a mass of thousands of them barrelling in tight formation to entities that are composed of brittle bone would in all likelihood induce a great deal of "rapid disassembly" among them. It should not kill them but it would have been likely they would have smashed them to pieces. Seems a reasonable tactic, given that I am not sure they had too many other options. 
Perhaps it did not work like that because the directors did not think like that, perhaps they did smash many thousands of them but were pulled of their horses and traded their lives for a significant winnowing down of the wights. 

Because:

1) rarely if ever do you LEAD an attack with Cav. Look it up historically. The few times it has been done, it mostly turned to disaster. 

2) you have an enemy of unknown strength and you have no idea of their exact position. At MOST you would send your cav at what you would expect to be a flank and it would be more recon than direct assault. 

3) It was pretty apparent they had a relative minor effect on the WWs.

4) as you mentioned, a charge typically creates carnage within the ranks of the enemy. They were charging undead.....I'm SURE they would have "broken their morale" and caused unbelievable confusion within the ranks......:rofl: 

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Someone apparently watched the cinematics for the Battle of Ostagar in Dragon Age: Origins, and thought it was the peak of battle strategy. You're vastly outnumbered by enemies that are hard to kill, so place your men OUTSIDE the defences.  DA:O at least had the catapult behind the lines. -Don't get me wrong, I love the game, and that part looks awesome, you just have to turn your brain off for a couple of minutes. However, this battle required a standby regime for too long, so half an hour into the episode I decided to turn the brain back on and the episode off. The shield wall in the battle of bastards was bad enough but this battle "plan" looked like a response to Sansa's concern that there wasn't enough food for such an army. - BTW, anyone wondered how Jon and Dany (or basically anyone in the fog) could tell a friend from foe and not cause any collateral damage?

Really, with all the money spent on the production, couldn't a little sum be invested into hiring a consultant on battle strategies? I'm sure lots of people would be willing to do that even for free.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, ferrelhadley said:

You know when cavalry is effective, when its moving.
You know when its not effective, when it is stood still with zero momentum.  
I would have said the Dothraki stood a far better chance of finding out if their charge would work by actually charging rather than standing around waiting to be unarmoured stationary cavalry when the melee arrived. But clearly there are many differing opinions here. 

Saying the job of cavalry is to move is like saying castles are built to stand still. Well, yeah. But that's not tactics. That's just stating basic facts. 

Edited by darmody

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Totally agree there were several rather silly concepts included in the pursuit of making the battle different to Helms Deep, or Minas Tirith.....putting the artillery outside the walls....Posting the troops in front of the ditch and palisade...seriously.!!!!....

The night is advantageous to the NK, so, don't charge him, keep firing the artillery, and wait for him to attack the defences.....The more he delays the nearer to dawn it gets.....if he commits, unleash the Dothraki, (but not in a futile frontal charge), and the heroes, Brienne, Jaimie, and Jorah, wide around the flank,  to try and kill off the WWs, even in the storm.....that would have given a different dimension to the attack....a counter attack.

Not using archers to concentrate fire, especially on the breaches in the palisade, really got on my nerves.

How was Theon and ten men supposed to defend Bran.????....and they didn't even have enough arrows.....

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Wik said:

1) rarely if ever do you LEAD an attack with Cav. Look it up historically

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. 

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4 hours ago, King Perkis said:

Am I missing something or did Jon just black out during Hardhome?

The purpose of the fight was a delaying action for Bran to have a chance to bring in the NK.  At Hardhome, the 10 foot wooden wall was the only thing delaying the undead (I'm not even going to get into how if the Wights can just climb ontop of each other to get over the wall, then Hardhome should have lasted about 10 min).  Jon literally watched everyone on the other side of the wall just get run through.  So, why was everyone outside of the walls (not real sure on height since battle seemed to show like 20-30 foot walls but when Theon and Sansa jumped it seemed like 60 foot)?  

Second point, Jon again saw the massive winter storm that came with the dead during Hardhome.  Did he just think that wouldn't happen again or am I missing something?  

 

Lastly, someone mentioned that the Dothraki charge was a mistake?  I guess the logic is the Dothraki got too fired up and just went for it after the fire was added or something to that extent.  That is why we see Jorah fall somewhere in the middle of the group as opposed to the front?  Anyone else hear this?

Jon knows nothing, remember. And things that happen several seasons ago never matter. 

At Hardhome he also learned of the power of Valyrian steel. Why were magic swords and daggers dispersed randomly throughout the battlefield? There should in the very least have been one near Bran, as the entire plan was to lure the Night King there. 

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1 hour ago, The Prince of Porne said:

The big idea of using Bran as "bait" seems silly after watching the episode... it looked like he had about 10 Ironborn with him, no one had Valyrian steel, and there seemed to be no actual plan in place to ambush the Night King once he got there. Things worked out due to Arya appearing at the last possible second, but wouldn't it have made more sense for her to have hidden there the whole time...?

Jon was perched above with his dragon for a while, so maybe the plan was to kill the Night King with dragonfire. Which we now know would have killed Bran and not the Night King. 

One of my biggest beefs with the episode is that Theon was not given Valyrian steel. 

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5 minutes ago, 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. 

Ahhhh!!! You're a clever one!!!! 

I get it though, send thousands to their death because they are probably only useful while leading a spearhead charge. Soldiers on horseback couldn't possibly have done anything else. 

Don't adjust.

Just like any Unsullied probably can't even ride a horse. They are only infantry with spears. Don't use a sword. Cause if you do, you're a waste. 

Why didn't they just lock their phalanx in and push all the dumb undead away from Winterfell anyhow? Then they could stab them all to death and just win, AMIRITE?! 

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29 minutes ago, theladyinspring said:

What was the plan for dealing with the giant ice dragon?

The other dragons.

That was screwed up by the blizzard they should have seen coming. 

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11 minutes ago, darmody said:

Jon knows nothing, remember. And things that happen several seasons ago never matter. 

At Hardhome he also learned of the power of Valyrian steel. Why were magic swords and daggers dispersed randomly throughout the battlefield? There should in the very least have been one near Bran, as the entire plan was to lure the Night King there. 

I especially loved that those random wooden blocking tools with dragon glass on them were everywhere in winterfell but around Bran, who literally could not move.

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6 hours ago, ferrelhadley said:

This is a suicide stance against a innumerable enemy. There is nothing to "reserve" for. 

It's a suicide stand, not a suicide rush. Theon, for instance, probably knew he was going to die before the battle started, but he didn't charge at the first zombies to show up. He saved his suicide charge for the Night King. 

The purpose of reserves tactically is to have uncommitted forces that your commanders can deploy where needed as events unfold. The advantage of having such reserves be cavalry is that men on horseback can move more swiftly, natch. 

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