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nyser1

Lannister Military Buildup?

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Do you believe Tywin was building up the Westerlands for a possible war in the 15 years post rebellion?

 

What we know

- Lannister forces numbered around 13,000 during the sack of King’s Landing. We do not know how well equipped they were.

-Cersei had plans to off Robert. When/where/how not definitive.

-Lannister forces numbered around 35,000 at the beginning of the War of The Five Kings.  A host was levied by Stafford numbering around 10,000 (likely includes part of Jamie’s hosts). At this time, Lannister forces are known to have high quality equipment and a significant portion consisting of heavy cavalry.

-The timespan between Eddard’s arrival in KL and Tywin’s aggression is a short one.
- It would take a long time in this universe to gather such a force and to be able to supply it.

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26 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

Do you believe Tywin was building up the Westerlands for a possible war in the 15 years post rebellion?

Not really. Why would he??  Against whom? He had won.

 

27 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

-Lannister forces numbered around 35,000 at the beginning of the War of The Five Kings.  A host was levied by Stafford numbering around 10,000 (likely includes part of Jamie’s hosts). At this time, Lannister forces are known to have high quality equipment and a significant portion consisting of heavy cavalry.

Weren't we told that Lannister's numbers are up there between 50k and 60k?? This seems an appropiate number.

 

29 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

-The timespan between Eddard’s arrival in KL and Tywin’s aggression is a short one.

Half a year. That's no short time.

 

29 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

- It would take a long time in this universe to gather such a force and to be able to supply it.

Robb gather 18k swords in the North in less than a month iirc, the Westerlands is 4 times smaller, to say something, and the banners were being called since Tyrion's abuction.

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The evidence suggests the Lannisters, like most of Westeros, used peasant conscripts led by men at arms. Maintaining standing armies is hugely expensive.

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He likely raised those 13,000 men rapidly to take advantage of the rebel victory at the trident and then just set off with as many as he could gather in that limited time. 

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17 minutes ago, Trigger Warning said:

He likely raised those 13,000 men rapidly to take advantage of the rebel victory at the trident and then just set off with as many as he could gather in that limited time. 

There is also a possibility that he took with him only people who had a horse and could ride. Or he wanted to move fast and for that reason left behind anyone without access to a horse. 

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In light of the fact that Tywin supposedly raced to KL beating Ned to it who also marched with a smaller contingent we should assume that Tywin moved effectively only with his cavalry.

His ploy was based on the assumption he could get inside the city. If that failed, he could have joined Robert and helped with the siege/storm of KL, living off the provisions of the rebels as well as by raiding the Crownlands.

The idea that the Lannister military capabilites changed between 283 and 298 AC are not very likely. In fact, he would have lost some men when the Ironborn attacked Lannisport and burned the Lannister fleet.

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6 hours ago, nyser1 said:

It would take a long time in this universe to gather such a force and to be able to supply it.

This really depends on what GRRM intends to do in the situation. It's said that it takes a long time to build a host in the North(remember how the North only joined the Dance with Dragons when the war was basicaly over?) and yet Robb created one in what, half a year? And this including levies from distant lands like Bear Island and Karhold.

I suppose Tywin's strenght wasnt much greater than during the RR. Living on a pile of gold allows you to buy provisions and equipments for a large host in a short time.

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12 hours ago, The Hoare said:

This really depends on what GRRM intends to do in the situation. It's said that it takes a long time to build a host in the North(remember how the North only joined the Dance with Dragons when the war was basicaly over?) and yet Robb created one in what, half a year? And this including levies from distant lands like Bear Island and Karhold.

I suppose Tywin's strenght wasnt much greater than during the RR. Living on a pile of gold allows you to buy provisions and equipments for a large host in a short time.

True.  But trained archers, the armor and arms, training for levies, war horses, heck horses used for logistical purposes…these aren’t assembled like dixie cups in a 21st century factory. These skills, pieces of equipment, animals bred for a purpose - this takes a long time. And Tywin is very much prepared for war, we have zero indication that this was some quick rally.

Of course in the end the answer always comes down to George…

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47 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

True.  But trained archers, the armor and arms, training for levies, war horses, heck horses used for logistical purposes…these aren’t assembled like dixie cups in a 21st century factory. These skills, pieces of equipment, animals bred for a purpose - this takes a long time. And Tywin is very much prepared for war, we have zero indication that this was some quick rally.

Of course in the end the answer always comes down to George…

Feudal levies are not 20th century conscripts. They are part-time professionals, similar to the National Guard - they own weapons, and semi-regularly train with them. It is in their nobles' best interests that they do, as they are the basis of noble's power. No need for additional training, at least for the initial call-up. And this is true in the books as well. Northern army wasn't trained for the long time, yet we see no evidence of any lack of training. They perform well.

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59 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

True.  But trained archers, the armor and arms, training for levies, war horses, heck horses used for logistical purposes…these aren’t assembled like dixie cups in a 21st century factory. These skills, pieces of equipment, animals bred for a purpose - this takes a long time. And Tywin is very much prepared for war, we have zero indication that this was some quick rally.

Of course in the end the answer always comes down to George…

Tywin's prep time is not much different to Edmure's or Robb's.

More money and a more experienced leader will give Tywin certain advantages compared to his peers when it comes to having troops ready to go.

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3 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Tywin's prep time is not much different to Edmure's or Robb's.

More money and a more experienced leader will give Tywin certain advantages compared to his peers when it comes to having troops ready to go.

Fair points about the levies, but I would counter that would the Lannisters of Casterly Rock be able to furnish said army with war horses, equipment, and logistics in such massive supply and in short notice? Particularly the horses - they are not being raised in six months. And if one is familiar with war horses - they do take an extensive amount of time to train.

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2 hours ago, nyser1 said:

Fair points about the levies, but I would counter that would the Lannisters of Casterly Rock be able to furnish said army with war horses, equipment, and logistics in such massive supply and in short notice? Particularly the horses - they are not being raised in six months. And if one is familiar with war horses - they do take an extensive amount of time to train.

The nobility's profession is war. They're supposed to train and equip soldiers even in times of peace, and knights own their own horses.

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20 hours ago, The Hoare said:

This really depends on what GRRM intends to do in the situation. It's said that it takes a long time to build a host in the North(remember how the North only joined the Dance with Dragons when the war was basicaly over?) and yet Robb created one in what, half a year? And this including levies from distant lands like Bear Island and Karhold.

That is not completely true as men from White Harbor and Barrowton marched to war earlier. That said, the idea seems to be that Cregan was less foolish than Robb, actually focusing on the harvest before going to war. Although you also have to consider that things looked as if Cregan was no longer needed after Rhaenyra took KL early in 130 AC. When the riots broke out and she had to flee the city she wrote letters to the Vale and Winterfell and that's when Cregan told her that he would come with another army.

The idea thus isn't that Cregan took his time assembling an army for about two years but rather that he first focused on the harvest and allowed only few men to go to war and then decided to raise a big army when Rhaenyra asked for his help late in 130 AC.

8 hours ago, nyser1 said:

True.  But trained archers, the armor and arms, training for levies, war horses, heck horses used for logistical purposes…these aren’t assembled like dixie cups in a 21st century factory. These skills, pieces of equipment, animals bred for a purpose - this takes a long time. And Tywin is very much prepared for war, we have zero indication that this was some quick rally.

Of course in the end the answer always comes down to George…

Tywin called his banners early when the Rebellion broke out. He just didn't march to war.

And we have to assume he had decided to march, possibly to support Rhaegar, before he learned about his death. It doesn't make sense to assume he received word about the Trident at Casterly Rock and then beat Ned to KL in just two weeks. That cannot work.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/12/2021 at 11:00 AM, Lord Lannister said:

The evidence suggests the Lannisters, like most of Westeros, used peasant conscripts led by men at arms. Maintaining standing armies is hugely expensive.

Led by the nobles, not men at arms. Plus, it's not just the cost, it's the fact that if you maintain a standing army of heavy infantry, like the Lannisters in the later abomination seasons, you have to integrate them into the political structure of power. This guy explains it better: https://acoup.blog/2019/05/12/new-acquisitions-lannister-infantry-kit-review/. Note that he's talking about the Lannister armor shown in the show, but he also talks about why this feudal system is incompatible with large armies of heavy (read:professional) infantry. 

On 8/13/2021 at 5:02 AM, Aldarion said:

Feudal levies are not 20th century conscripts. They are part-time professionals, similar to the National Guard - they own weapons, and semi-regularly train with them. It is in their nobles' best interests that they do, as they are the basis of noble's power. No need for additional training, at least for the initial call-up. And this is true in the books as well. Northern army wasn't trained for the long time, yet we see no evidence of any lack of training. They perform well.

Feudal conscripts did not semi-regularly train. Perhaps the men at arms, but not the peasants. We can see that in The Sworn Sword, where Ser Eustace "trains" his peasant levies. Furthermore, armies such as this did not "perform well." How would they? They're peasants, not the "nobles". Again, click on the link above. 

 

 

On 8/12/2021 at 9:57 AM, frenin said:

Weren't we told that Lannister's numbers are up there between 50k and 60k?? This seems an appropiate number.

 

About 60k I think. Here's a link to a thread talking about such: 

 

 

Edited by Jaenara Belarys

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Posted (edited)
On 8/13/2021 at 1:04 PM, Lord Varys said:

The idea thus isn't that Cregan took his time assembling an army for about two years but rather that he first focused on the harvest and allowed only few men to go to war and then decided to raise a big army when Rhaenyra asked for his help late in 130 AC.

 

Sorry about the double post, it's being annoying. But anyway, my question was: how long does it take to harvest crops? I mean, Lord Stark had 26 years of relative peace, so I would think in the years approaching winter and the Dance, he would at least have, what, half full granaries? More?

Edited by Jaenara Belarys

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10 minutes ago, Jaenara Belarys said:
Sorry about the double post, it's being annoying. But anyway, my question was: how long does it take to harvest crops? I mean, Lord Stark had 26 years of relative peace, so I would think in the years approaching winter and the Dance, he would at least have, what, half full granaries? More?

They would be as full as the previous harvests throughout spring, summer, and autumn would have allowed them to do ... and as empty as the demand for food had made them between harvests.

The idea seems to me that winter didn't really bother the North much in 129 and in most of 130 AC, allowing Cregan's peasant to continue plant and harvest crops before winter finally set in. I expect that a crucial part of getting through winter is to get one last harvest as late as possible since the food has to last, and while it isn't all that cold a lot of food might go bad before winter even sets in.

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I won't get involved in the discussion of the military strength of the Houses, because I'm really not too familiar with it, but on the topic of if Tywin was preparing for a possible war, I don't think this is the case at all. There's no reason why he a) would have suspected a war was coming, or b) wanted a war to start.

For a): There had been no dynastic struggle for fifteen years; Robert's rule seemed secure (the Greyjoy Rebellion wasn't a threat to it) and he was a fairly popular king outside of the few Targaryen crypto-loyalists who didn't dare show their true colours. Tywin may have had a suspicion about the incest between Jaime and Cersei, but he both refused to believe it to be true because of his own pride, and even if he did believe it he had no reason to think that after almost fifteen years it would suddenly become public knowledge and his grandchildren threatened. If it hadn't happened already, it wasn't likely going to. 

And as for b): Like @frenin said at the start of his post, Tywin had already won. His daughter was the Queen, his son was the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and the King and his government was indebted to Tywin personally, giving him enormous influence and potential leverage. When Robert died, Tywin's grandchildren would sit on the Iron Throne. Tywin had everything he ever wanted as the head of House Lannister. It was certainly not in his interest for a large war to break out between the Great Houses - this would risk everything he'd achieved.

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22 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

Led by the nobles, not men at arms. Plus, it's not just the cost, it's the fact that if you maintain a standing army of heavy infantry, like the Lannisters in the later abomination seasons, you have to integrate them into the political structure of power.

Well most of the men at arms are nobles. Not all though. You do have people like Dunk and Bronn and most of your hedge knights that compose this number as well. But yeah, there is social interest in keeping those lowly peasant scum in their place as the cannon fodder in battles. 

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3 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Well most of the men at arms are nobles. Not all though. You do have people like Dunk and Bronn and most of your hedge knights that compose this number as well. But yeah, there is social interest in keeping those lowly peasant scum in their place as the cannon fodder in battles. 

Yep. I hope the link helped explain it better. 

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I would assume that Tywin was as alert as anyone else, prior to the actual start of war. Robert knew something was afoot ("There's a war coming"), and when Ned learned of the attempt on Bran's life, he immediately gave Cat orders to deliver, manning and fortifying Moat Cailyn. Stannis had already gone back to Dragonstone and was making his own preparation. 

There is no way Tywin wasn't similarly informed, or cautious. He came through the Riverlands like a hot knife through butter.

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