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Mrstrategy

WW1 military leaders vs best westeros military leaders

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Posted (edited)

If one of the top 10 world war one Generals was transported to westeros and put in charge of a medieval force of 10-20000 men and a week or two to get use to his new command would he have a chance to defeat some of westeros best military leaders like tywin Lannister, Robb Stark,Randyll tarly.... With a army 20-40000 strong with similar armor both sides

https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/world-war-1/top-10-outstanding-world-war-1-generals/

 

https://www.historyanswers.co.uk/history-of-war/world-war-1-leaders-the-10-greatest-german-generals-fighting-for-the-kaisers-cause/

 

Edited by Mrstrategy

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GRRM doesn't care about military realism. Standards for competence are abysmally low in Westeros.

Give me a year and I would be better than the chump Tywin Lannister.

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WW1 is an odd pick to compare to pseudo-medieval warfare, it was after industrialisation began, so allowed for enormous commitments of resources, but didn't have the communications and manoeuvrability that advancing technology gave to later 20th century warfare.

 

I don't think a week would have been sufficient for a WW1 general to orient himself to Westerosi logistics. A WW1 general might well have known how much feed a cavalry troop needed in a week - cav were still in use. But he might have been used to bringing that food by train, rather than foraging or using wagons.

And 19th/20thC soldiers didn't have much experience laying siege to stone castles without great artillery guns. So their skills at warfare might not particularly apply either.

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2 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

don't think a week would have been sufficient for a WW1 general to orient himself to Westerosi logistics.

WW1 generals were trained at military acadmies. Their staff officers know more than any medieval lordling.

Medieval logistics was limited to mostly foraging.

2 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

But he might have been used to bringing that food by train, rather than foraging or using wagons.

Late 19th century was full of colonial skirmishes. Muscle power was used back then (especially in colonies) because IC engines did not exist.

2 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

And 19th/20thC soldiers didn't have much experience laying siege to stone castles without great artillery guns.

WotFK has shown very little siege warfare. I doubt they will be missing something essential. They can simply let locals handle operations during a siege.

 

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I think it rly depends on the person. Some people are really good at adapting, and getting good at things, and others it seems to me happen to fit within there current system and don't have the ability to change very well. I know its a really weak response, I don't know anything abt the subject, but I thought it was a cool question so I wanted to contribute. 

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5 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

WW1 generals were trained at military acadmies. Their staff officers know more than any medieval lordling.

 

Yes, officers of professional armies are educated in warfare and know more, they would even be familiar with the broad principles of earlier forms of warfare. Westerosi knights and lords are also educated in warfare, from childhood. The quality of that education varies wildly depending on household, but it is education about the actual type of warfare they are fighting.

Modern academies teach Fire and Manoeuvre, and Asymmetric warfare, they don't have reason to go into detail of how to conduct trench warfare.

Quote

Medieval logistics was limited to mostly foraging.

Yeah, kinda my point.

I could get dropped in charge of a Westerosi army and give orders to go foraging, but I would do a poor job because I know little about the logistics of foraging.

I don't know what percentage of my cavalry to commit to foraging, how far my scouts should be ahead of my foragers, how far the radius should be to maintain my target march speed. It would very likely result in any losing coherence and effectiveness.

A WWI general would do better than me, but as they were educated on the more sophisticated supply chains of the 19th/20thC, their understanding of Westerosi logistics would be weaker than that of a decent Westerosi general.

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3 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

Modern academies teach Fire and Manoeuvre, and Asymmetric warfare, they don't have reason to go into detail of how to conduct trench warfare.

We are talking about generals, they will not be controlling tactical moves.

 

3 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

I don't know what percentage of my cavalry to commit to foraging, how far my scouts should be ahead of my foragers, how far the radius should be to maintain my target march speed. It would very likely result in any losing coherence and effectiveness

As I said above, this isn't the job of a general.

Even if it was they would know how to do this because 19th century warfare still shared many of the same features.

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That first link of top 10 generals is an odd ranking of WWI generals. I won't go far afield here but the WWI general who probably could have made the best transition is the French general Castlenau, who isn't on the above list but probably should be. My reason for picking him relates to some of the points @Buried Treasure and @saltedmalted make. Castlenau was very good at adapting general principles to different situations without being rigid or orthodox. I don't think he'd be hemmed in by his background and could make the adjustments. Otherwise the original question is a bit like asking which great soccer player would make a good basketball player. Sure, they're great athletes and would grasp the new rules and gameplay. But that doesn't mean they could execute at the same high level when playing a different game. 

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5 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

We are talking about generals, they will not be controlling tactical moves.

 

As I said above, this isn't the job of a general.

Even if it was they would know how to do this because 19th century warfare still shared many of the same features.

But a general should have understanding of these - and I am making the argument or takes more than a week of landing in Westeros to learn them.

Robb's success in the West would not have been possible without successful logistics. We know the Blackfish was in charge of outriders and foragers. Although Robb made the strategic decision to go West independently (it's hinted he has already made that decision when Blackfish was still objecting to the dispersal of the riverlords), on the campaign they worked closely together.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Buried Treasure said:

Robb's success in the West would not have been possible without successful logistics.

What logistics? He was taking whatever he wanted from the countryside. Armies in the 19th century foraged too. 

 

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15 minutes ago, saltedmalted said:

What logistics? He was taking whatever he wanted from the countryside. Armies in the 19th century foraged too. 

 

These logistics:

 

10 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

I could get dropped in charge of a Westerosi army and give orders to go foraging, but I would do a poor job because I know little about the logistics of foraging.

I don't know what percentage of my cavalry to commit to foraging, how far my scouts should be ahead of my foragers, how far the radius should be to maintain my target march speed. It would very likely result in any losing coherence and effectiveness.

Uncontrolled ransacking of the countryside vs controlled ransacking of the countryside. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Buried Treasure said:

Uncontrolled ransacking of the countryside vs controlled ransacking of the countryside. 

There are enough subordinates to do that. You won't be able to micromanage it anyway.

The very personal nature of command would be a bigger problem. 

 

Edited by saltedmalted

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6 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

WW1 generals were trained at military acadmies. Their staff officers know more than any medieval lordling.

Medieval logistics was limited to mostly foraging.

Foraging was a critical part but medieval logistics were pretty complicated. Many campaigns, crusades and otherwise, were prepped for years from a money and foodstuffs and materiel standpoint (e.g. Third Crusade, Agincourt campaign, et al). Giving a WW1 general a week or two to prep his army basically screws him because these kind of battles typically had months of prep work built in. 

Assuming the prep work has been done, the adjustment would likely be minimal since he'd be advised by educated nobles who'd gone on campaigns before.

6 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

Late 19th century was full of colonial skirmishes. Muscle power was used back then (especially in colonies) because IC engines did not exist.

Railroads were used extensively in German Southwest Africa and a lot of other colonial places. The German generals would have been more reliant on machine power for logistics than you're crediting them with. 

6 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

WotFK has shown very little siege warfare. I doubt they will be missing something essential. They can simply let locals handle operations during a siege.

We see a lot of siege operations during the Wo5K. In no order:

  1. First siege of RR
  2. Tywin's entire southern route
  3. Stannis at SE
  4. Mace at SE
  5. Robb attacking Ashemark
  6. Second Siege of RR
  7. Bracken siege of Blackwood

 

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4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Railroads were used extensively in German Southwest Africa and a lot of other colonial places.

Railways only connected important points. The final miles were always covered by horse. 

Lettow-vorbeck's campaign was fought away from railroads. My point is that they wouldn't find a lack of motor vehicles and railways as problematic as many believe.

4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

First siege of RR

Should be renamed as the "Blockade of Riverrun".

4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Stannis at SE

He wasn't going to breach the walls. 

4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Bracken siege of Blackwood

Look above.

4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Mace at SE

Same as above.

 

We haven't seen any "storming" in the books. The castles in Westeros are ridiculous. Sapping and demolition is never seen.

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On 3/7/2021 at 11:12 PM, saltedmalted said:

Railways only connected important points. The final miles were always covered by horse. Lettow-vorbeck's campaign was fought away from railroads. My point is that they wouldn't find a lack of motor vehicles and railways as problematic as many believe.

Yes but on a continent thats 1000 miles wide and 3000 miles long, logistics over long range are very important. It will be a difficult adjustment unless you're literally dropping in the general to fight a nearby battle, which you didn't specify.

On 3/7/2021 at 11:12 PM, saltedmalted said:

Should be renamed as the "Blockade of Riverrun".

He wasn't going to breach the walls. 

Look above.

Same as above.

Sieges run the gamut from starving out to building siege weapons to sallies to storming the walls. "Letting locals do it" is an insufficient hand wave to a big task. There is a reason why there a specialized miners, foragers, siege engineers, et al. Vegetius didn't write a book (or chapter) about siege warfare for no reason.

On 3/7/2021 at 11:12 PM, saltedmalted said:

We haven't seen any "storming" in the books. The castles in Westeros are ridiculous. Sapping and demolition is never seen.

On screen? We've seen less; KL, Deepwoode Motte, the Wall, Arya's RL keep / holdfast, and prolly a few others. Off screen, we know that WF, Ashemarke, all of the RL castles Tywin took, Dragonstone et al were taken by storm. We hear about mining and sapping on Dragonstone:

Redwyne had miners working to drive a tunnel underneath the castle walls, 

GRRM's warfare has never been particularly realistic -- my least favorite is Ser Rodrik and his "defense" of WF from the IB -- but that doesn't mean it hasn't been done. Hell in the World Book we even see Tywin's men redirect a stream to a besieged castle and kill everyone. Just because it doesn't mirror real life doesn't mean it's not in the books.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Yes but on a continent thats 1000 miles wide and 3000 miles long, logistics over long range are very important.

Logistics aren't important in medieval warfare as they are in modern times. You don't have to drag your tail all the way from home.

7 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Sieges run the gamut from starving out to building siege weapons to sallies to storming the walls. "Letting locals do it" is an insufficient hand wave to a big task. There is a reason why there a specialized miners, foragers, siege engineers, et al. Vegetius didn't write a book (or chapter) about siege warfare for no reason.

Siege warfare in ASoIaF is unlike what was found in the real world. Attacking defended forts was still part of curriculum.

My point is we haven't seen any place taken by siege. Stores in ASoIaF can last for years, starving out is not realistic.

7 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

GRRM's warfare has never been particularly realistic -- my least favorite is Ser Rodrik and his "defense" of WF from the IB -- but that doesn't mean it hasn't been done.

This is the sticking point. How can we make logical deductions in such an unrealistic setting?

The purpose of a general would be to control strategy, something GRRM writes very poorly.

 

Edited by saltedmalted

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3 minutes ago, saltedmalted said:

Logistics aren't important in medieval warfare as they are in modern times. You don't have to drag your tail all the way from home.

They are just as if not more important. The 30 years war proved that

3 minutes ago, saltedmalted said:

Siege warfare in ASoIaF is unlike what was found in the real world. Attacking defended forts was still part of curriculum.

And it's literally been shown and described several times. I even actually forgot to mention the countersiege of RR

3 minutes ago, saltedmalted said:

My point is we haven't seen any place taken by siege. Stores in ASoIaF can last for years, starving out is not realistic.

Yoren will be glad to hear you've never seen a place taken by siege. So will the NW at the First of the First Men. Sieges lasted for years in the real world too, though often because places were resupplied.

3 minutes ago, saltedmalted said:

This is the sticking point. How can we make logical deductions in such an unrealistic setting?

The purpose of a general would be to control strategy, something GRRM writes very poorly.

1) It's a fantasy world with fucking dragons, shadow baby assassins, and white walkers

2) We do see a large set of realistic sieges and attacks. The most unrealistic thing is how easily castles are taken by assault maybe followed by a completely isolated castle like Dreadfort lasting for 2 years under siege.

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23 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

They are just as if not more important. The 30 years war proved that

 

How did the TYW prove that?

23 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

And it's literally been shown and described several times. I even actually forgot to mention the countersiege of RR

Talked, not shown. 

24 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Yoren will be glad to hear you've never seen a place taken by siege. So will the NW at the First of the First Men. Sieges lasted for years in the real world too, though often because places were resupplied.

Are you comparing FotF and the attack on Yoren's party to sieges?

24 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

We do see a large set of realistic sieges and attacks.

We only see blockades, not storming of the walls. Castles like Riverrun are stupidly strong.

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13 hours ago, saltedmalted said:
How did the TYW prove that?

Generals like Wallenstein basically reproved that pre planning and proper logistics before and during the campaign reduces desertion, limits sacking, and makes the soldiers more productive because they don't have to forage as much. Basically reinstating the state as the most effective way to raise an army vs the vassal / levy system that was in place during the 

13 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

Talked, not shown. 

We are literally shown two battles where a fortification is surrounded and then assaulted, all of which falls underneath the wide set of definitions for "siege." Hell Stannis was on the verge of breaking down the KL doors when he was taken from behind. We *see* Stannis' men climb over the wall in DM and *hear* his siege weapons attacking the castle as the IB ride out the other exit.

13 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

Are you comparing FotF and the attack on Yoren's party to sieges?

Yes they are surrounded fist and the holdfast and assaulted them. They are most definitely a type of siege, if a small one.

13 hours ago, saltedmalted said:

We only see blockades, not storming of the walls. Castles like Riverrun are stupidly strong.

We literally see storming of walls at Deepwood Motte, KL, Yoren's holdfast, and the Fist as well as the Wall. Blockades and cordoning off castles or fortifications were a lot more common than assaulting castles anyway.

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3 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Generals like Wallenstein basically reproved that pre planning and proper logistics before and during the campaign reduces desertion, limits sacking, and makes the soldiers more productive because they don't have to forage as much.

Can you send me a quote? IIRC Wallenstein's soldiers lived off the land too. Moving things like shot and powder is a different matter.

3 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Hell Stannis was on the verge of breaking down the KL doors when he was taken from behind. We *see* Stannis' men climb over the wall in DM and *hear* his siege weapons attacking the castle as the IB ride out the other exit.

Are we really coparing KL's walls to Riverrun and Storm's End? 

3 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Hell Stannis was on the verge of breaking down the KL doors when he was taken from behind. We *see* Stannis' men climb over the wall in DM and *hear* his siege weapons attacking the castle as the IB ride out the other exit.

Storming a small, poorly defende holdfast is a completely different matter. WW1 soldiers knew all of this.

3 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Blockades and cordoning off castles or fortifications were a lot more common than assaulting castles anyway.

WW1 men know all of this. They would drastically improve strategy which is what really matters.

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