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Aldarion

Reach - a military Potemkin village?

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Reach is considered a military superpower because it can put a f***ton of troops in the field. But they may be yet another example of military Potemkin village, where actual structure and military potential do not justify the reputation (much like the Unsullied and Dothraki in Essos - though more on those later). Specifically, Reach is modelled on medieval France: preponderance of heavy cavalry, fact that chivalry as a concept originated there, terrain and everything else speak for that.

But this means that Reach may not be as strong as generally supposed. Medieval French armies often showed a lack of discipline. Battle of Nicopolis in 1396. was lost in large part because younger among French knights overrode the advice of their older colleagues and allies alike, and decided to attack. French "plan" of attack in this case shows remarkable similarity to what Renly planned to do against Stannis (and what Croatian nobility pulled off at Krbava in 1493.): a headlong charge straight into Ottoman center. It should be noted that French knights actually managed to crush Ottoman infantry - untrained azabs and trained Janissaries alike - but were then attacked in flanks by Ottoman sipahis and crushed themselves. This apparent dominance of heavy cavalry stands in contrast to tactics of e.g. Lannister army which utilizes combined-arms approach of a segmented battle line, with pikemen in center, archers on flanks of pikemen, and cavalry on their flanks. Lannister approach is similar to what John Hunyadi would utilize to crush Ottomans after failure of earlier knight-centric approach.

Now, for Aegon's campaign in Westeros: Golden Company is a combined-arms force in a way in which no other army in the series is. As a result, I expect that when army of Reach and Golden Company come to blows, we might see something similar to Agincourt or Nicopolis, with Reach knights charging down the center and being stopped by stakes or other obstacles and then crushed by elephants (smell of elephants panics unaccustomed horses), followed by slaughter of infantry now left devoid of cavalry protection.

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I personally see Aegon not yet VI as a Pyrrhus. After all P invaded Italy with army including 20.000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 2000 archers, 500 slingers and 20 war elephants and he won some battles but blood price of those were so high that his invasion failed.  my source. So Aegon could won some battles but he will never rule whole Westeros.

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5 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

I personally see Aegon not yet VI as a Pyrrhus. After all P invaded Italy with army including 20.000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 2000 archers, 500 slingers and 20 war elephants and he won some battles but blood price of those were so high that his invasion failed.  my source. So Aegon could won some battles but he will never rule whole Westeros.

Romans had almost unlimited resources, they could lose battle after battle and issue new armies.  And Pyrrhus was limited to what he brought with him plus some local Greeks and tribes. I think Aegon is in quite different situation, he is able to get local reinforcements. Much depends on his policy towards locals. Severe discipline and punishment for soldiers' crimes would be good idea.

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Aegon has to win the allegiance of the Reach - or at least a significant portion of it - if he wants to prevail. Or rather: he has to convince them to not take up arms against him.

But he still has to defeat or neutralize Mace's 30,000-40,000 men which are in KL right now. There is no way around that.

The Reach is not just the most powerful region in Westeros, it also produces the best fighters. The Reach is the heart of chivalry, the place where knighthood was born. It is the most fertile place in Westeros, with only the actual Vale of Arryn rivaling it in this regard (and the Vale knights might similarly powerful fighters, although they don't even remotely come close to the knights of the Reach in number).

There is no indication the Reach has too many knights and too few archers or infantry compared to other regions. In fact, half the Dornish Marches are Reach territory, and they are famed for their archers.

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48 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon has to win the allegiance of the Reach - or at least a significant portion of it - if he wants to prevail. Or rather: he has to convince them to not take up arms against him.

But he still has to defeat or neutralize Mace's 30,000-40,000 men which are in KL right now. There is no way around that.

The Reach is not just the most powerful region in Westeros, it also produces the best fighters. The Reach is the heart of chivalry, the place where knighthood was born. It is the most fertile place in Westeros, with only the actual Vale of Arryn rivaling it in this regard (and the Vale knights might similarly powerful fighters, although they don't even remotely come close to the knights of the Reach in number).

There is no indication the Reach has too many knights and too few archers or infantry compared to other regions. In fact, half the Dornish Marches are Reach territory, and they are famed for their archers.

Precisely - he needs to win against Mace to gain allegiance of Reach.

Problem for Reach is precisely that it is the heart of chivalry. It will constrain their options.

And who has mentioned archers - or even numerical balance of forces? I'm talking tactics and doctrine here.

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6 hours ago, broken one said:

Romans had almost unlimited resources, they could lose battle after battle and issue new armies.  And Pyrrhus was limited to what he brought with him plus some local Greeks and tribes. I think Aegon is in quite different situation, he is able to get local reinforcements. Much depends on his policy towards locals. Severe discipline and punishment for soldiers' crimes would be good idea.

If I were a nobleman knowing that there are men in Golden Company who think that they have better claims to my lands than me and would like to gain those lands for themselves. I would do anything in my power to fight against them. So I assume that Aegon has very few supporters among nobility of Reach.

Another thing that is making Aegon less popular in the Reach is the fact that he is flirting with Dorne. 

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17 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

If I were a nobleman knowing that there are men in Golden Company who think that they have better claims to my lands than me and would like to gain those lands for themselves.

that is a good point. question is how many noblemen are really endangered by this and what's spatial distribution of the lands in question.

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Posted (edited)

I feel that the weaness of the Reach is that it's not a cohesive region like The North for example. When it comes to army strnght they are definitely the strongest when you compare the fact  that they are the most in number, have some of the best war technology of the time and that they also have massive resources in supplies and gold. 

As for Aegon, I do believe that he will win against The Reach but it will be because of betrayals and bad decisions. Dividing The Reach between Aegon and Dany is important for the story considering that having a united Reach under Highgarden makes The Tyrells too OP for the point that the story is right now and because dividing The Reach is a great reference to The Dance of The Dragons part 2 that is coming. The Reach is the backbone of a united Wersteros, a civil War between two Targaryens is expected to divide The Reach.

Edited by Dreadscythe95

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Medieval France had a pretty good military record.  They did after all, win the Hundred Years War, and establish dynasties in Hungary, Naples, Athens, etc. 

I imagine the Reach is anything but a Potemkin village.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2020 at 10:38 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Reach is not just the most powerful region in Westeros, it also produces the best fighters. The Reach is the heart of chivalry, the place where knighthood was born

I beg to differ. The Reach may produce great knights, but common freeriders and men-at-arms are quite a different thing. We haven't heard of them being so great in battle like their knights other than their large numbers. And there are many better fighters than knights from the reach too

Arthur Dayne - Dorne

Young Jaime and the Cleganes bros. - Westerlands

Cregan Stark and the Umbers (Eddard too in a way) - North

Ser Aemon the Dragonknight - Crown lands (Cregan said he was his best opponent and Aemon said the same of him too) 

Howland Reed - Crannoglands(bogs or the Neck or whatever you want to call it) 

Ser Barristan the Bold - Marches

And there are many more than I can think of now. 

 

 

Edited by TheLastWolf

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Aegon is going to have to take down the Tyrell’s, that is a significant number of the Reach. I guess If he can get the Tarly’s To change sides somehow he wouldn’t need as many houses. The wildcard is the Hightowers. If Aegon can convince them to join him the rest will fall in line. As the Tyrells will be easily overmatched at that point. 

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