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How do y'all think the Unsullied and Dothraki will perform in Westeros?


Jaenara Belarys
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4 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Formations are never broken unless you are losing. It will not come down to one-on-one.

But strength still matters in formation fighting. Unsullied, being eunuchs from young age, will be weak, have fragile bones... and also weak immune system. Which means they will die in droves during campaigns and sieges.

They weren't; that is just a myth. Historical records do not support the idea that Spartans were significantly superior to other Greek hoplites, and they were decisively inferior to Thebans, Macedonians and Romans.

I have read it (both what is available in ASoIAF and in A World of Ice and Fire) and I have found absolutely no indication of Dothraki knowing how to besiege cities.

Can you provide citations? I am not going to look for your proof for you.

Valyrians and Rhoynar no longer exist, so that is irrelevant. As for the rest, no indication that they are in any way superior to Westerosi fortifications. You are correct about the Free Cities being bigger than Westerosi cities, but that is an exception, not the rule... and also completely irrelevant when it comes to actual military performance. Tenochtitlan had 200 000 inhabitants and was thus larger than any city of Kingdom of Hungary of the time (Buda had 13 500 inhabitants in 15th century), yet if somehow Hungary had ended up transported to America, I would not have bet on Aztecs winning any field engagements. Or a protracted war, seeing how Hungary had managed to hold back the Ottoman Empire for 300 years. Technological and tactical differences, as well as social structure of the states, were simply too different and too favorable to Hungarians.

Also, as I have shown, while cities themselves may on average be larger in Essos, Westeros has superior fortifications - and I don't mean size of city walls here, but the entire setup of how fortifications work within the military culture.

Braavos is in the position of Venice: it may be sea superpower, but it cannot win wars against land powers alone. War between Westeros (or any single Westerosi kingdom) and Braavos would end up in a stalemate, neither side able to signficantly damage the other.

Numbers and forts allowed Rome to win those wars. No, it wasn't a "genius general" which won Rome the Second Punic War. Sure, the final showdown between Scipio Africanus and Hannibal might get publicity for people who like drama, and Scipio was an excellent general. But fact is that Hannibal had been defeated much earlier, when he failed to convince Rome's allied cities to switch sides. By the time he was recalled to Carthage to face Scipio, Hannibal had already long been reduced to a non-entity, with him and his army starving in the southern Italy. Battle of Zama merely made into formality what was already obvious to everybody.

No, the secret to Alexander's success was mixed arms. Which, you know, is precisely what Westeros does.

Alexander's army had well coordinated mix of pikemen, light infantry, light cavalry and heavy cavalry. Pike phalanx served to pin the enemy in place while heavy cavalry was used to maneuver and provide decisive blow. Which, again, is exactly how Westerosi armies operate - but not the Unsullied, or any Essosi armies we have seen other than the Golden Company. Which is a Westerosi-style army operating in Essos.

GRRM has not portrayed the Dothraki as archers. Yes, they have arakhs, and they have bows. But as I have shown you: Dothraki rely primarily on arakhs in combat, and it is the arakh that has the cultural significance that a bow ought to have in a nomadic horse archer culture. Whatever Dothraki are, horse archers is not it.

Dany is given three weapons at her wedding: a whip, a bow and an arakh. That would suggest all three weapons are seen equally: and two of three are clearly melee weapons. Dothraki are very clearly not horse archers. As for Jorah, that guy is a liar and an idiot. I would not take anything he says seriously at all, considering how often he is proven wrong and how his opinions go against basic logic. He also has rose-tinted glasses when it comes to anything relating to Daenerys, and is in that scene actively trying to kiss up to Daenerys by saying that her husband can take Westeros for her. Jon Connington is a far better authority on Wessosi vs Esterosi armies, considering how he fought in, and against, both.

But even if Martin does fix that mistake...

"Very few of Westerosi forces will be archers" is not what we see. Archers feature prominently in all battles we see - including the (very few) field battles. Whenever we see a force left to defend or garrison a point, it is always either archers or "archers + something" - archers and swordsmen are left to hold the Twins, Northern host consists of "pikes and archers and great masses of men-at-arms on foot", Stannis has "knights, archers, and sellsword captains" at his feast, Catelyn "saw men with spears and men with swords, men in steel caps and mail shirts, camp followers strutting their charms, archers fletching arrows, teamsters driving wagons, swineherds driving pigs, pages running messages, squires honing swords, knights riding palfreys, grooms leading ill-tempered destriers"... Westerosi archers are also good enough to reliable shoot down ravens that are used to send messages. Riverrun crossing was guarded by "a mixed force of archers and pikemen wearing the eagle badge of the Mallisters". Archers also feature prominently in naval battles. And this is just first two books. We also know that Westerosi bows are better than composite bows of Essos, and latter should fall apart in Westerosi climate anyway.

Of course, this doesn't mean that archers will be majority of the army like 100 Years War English army did, but there should be enough of them to keep Dothraki at bay. And even when large portion of army are not archers, that does not mean horse archers will be able to defeat the army: just look at Battle of Arsuf. Saladin had 25 000 cavalry - majority of whom were horse archers - against Richard's 10 000 infantry - of whom majority were spearmen, with some crossbowmen and archers - and 1200 heavy cavalry. Richard could not reply effectively due to lack of archers, while Saladin could freely harass Richard's army. But heavy mail armor and large shields that Richard's troops had meant that Saladin's archery tactics were ineffective, forcing his army into close combat - where it was then defeated.

Mobility doesn't matter in archery duel. In fact, horse archers frequently dismounted when facing archers on foot, in order to gain a more stable firing basis. A horse archer, on horse, will have a) less stable basis and b) usually a weaker weapon as well. As a result, foot archer will significantly outrange him - and mobility hardly matters when facing a mass of arrows. This is not Matrix.

What horse archers are, is overrated. They were successful in warfare, but only when used properly as a part of combined arms force - and they were hardly uniformly successful. As a matter of fact, most of the time the horse archer armies lost against armies on foot. That is why those few examples when they didn't (e.g. Mongols) are so publicized.

In the 1st Mongol invasion of Hungary, Hungarian army was literally a Dothraki horde - it consisted of light cavalry (including horse archers) and light infantry, with almost no heavy infantry, no crossbowmen, and no knights beyond maybe couple hundred that had been provided by the knights' orders. It had no stone castles either - all but ten castles in Hungary proper were made of wood. Mongols were the side that was much closer to Westerosi - while they did indeed have heavy focus on horse archers, they also had heavy cavalry that was more similar to Byzantine kataphraktoi than anything else, advanced artillery and even gunpowder units.

You know what Hungary did after the disaster of 1241.-1242. invasion? Gave nobles land they were to use to raise heavy cavalry, obliged nobility to build stone castles, and introduced a large number of crossbowmen. In order to defeat Mongols, Hungary transformed from light cavalry-centric Dothraki-style army into heavy-cavalry centric Westerosi-style army. I rest my case.

Yes, Dothraki may have taken fortified cities. We still don't know how they did it, meaning that just knowing they did it is useless.

Dothraki do not have enough men to besiege every single castle, city, outpost and village in Westeros. So yes, their foraging parties will be vulnerable to destruction, and considering we are talking about Westeros here, not the Dothraki sea, your idea of Dothraki "eating their horses" will not work - and not just because they will run out of horses fast if they do so. Nomadic armies require steppe to sustain themselves - Dothraki sea, in other words. Where, exactly, do you see steppe in Westeros? If Dothraki try to feed themselves with your "what nomads do", they will die of hunger without Westerosi having to lift a finger - much like nearly happened in Hungary and Poland in 1241/1242. and again in 1285. And if they try to split into small parties in order to survive - well, see what I wrote about castles and piecemeal destruction.

No, six months is just English history, perhaps. And even then it is wrong (dear Lord, can you write anything that is not flat-out false?). Siege of Thessalonica lasted from 1422. to 1430. (so eight years), siege of Philadelphia lasted from 1378. to 1390. (so 12 years), siege of Tripoli lasted from 1102. to 1109. (so seven years), siege of Harlech Castle (England!) lasted from 1461. to 1468. (so seven years) and castle was only taken by negotiation, siege of Xianyang by your beloved Mongols lasted from 1267. to 1272. (so six years), siege of Bursa lasted from 1317. to 1326. (so nine years), siege of fort of Gerdkih (again by Mongols, this time in Persia) lasted from 1253. to 1270. (so 17 years). Granted, most of these examples are cities, but that is because cities are usually more strategically significant. In fact castles, if anything, should be able to last for longer - note that the longest example in the list is a fort, not a city. And we are talking real-world castles here, not provisioned-for-magical-ten-year-winter Westerosi castles.

Most sieges ended unsuccessfuly. In fact, they were so risky, that raiding was preferred way of waging warfare during Middle Ages (and well beyond then, in fact) - sieges were only performed when something absolutely had to be taken, while field battles were typically a result of either raiding party being intercepted (those "parties" were generally full-blown armies), an army being intercepted while on a way to besiege a castle or a city, or a besieged castle or a city being relieved.

Huh? It clearly says the dothraki took multiple walled  cities and left their ruins. I cant understand how you could have missed that part if you read even an overview of the century of blood

 

They arent irrelevent if we know the dothraki took their cities sport nor are the essos walled citied in any way behind westeros in  tech as we have covered they are at least westerosi level and most way beyond! If anything other than the main house castles in each region westeros walled cities and towns  are way behind in sophistication both inside and out!

 

Its utter domination of the sea, by far the biggest bank and a modern economy to buy professiobal land forces and of course unstoppable assasins to cripple leadership sorta means yes it could easily dominate westeros if lead right.

 

Scipios brilliant campaign in spain gave them the victory ,cutting off their finest infantry, steel  and  of course the  silver while smashing massive carthagian forces ....zama was just  the coup de grace!

 

You have conceded the point then, you said pikement would kill unsullied and i pointed out unsupported pikemen alone would be slaughtered  vs spearmen. I agree that westeros more varied infantry is one more advantage they have over the eunuchs

 

They are a hodgepodge mix of horse archer cultures man so yes they will be largely a horse archer force.westeros forces will have archers and many will be palced for obvious reasons at fortified positions but no they will be a small.% of infantry...we know archers were a well paid elite,crossbowmen much less so but even they were never a large % of any force!

The battle of arsuf was a close run thing too, richard himself saw so many wounded and horses shot out he worried his tactic of letting the saracens exhaust themselves and.one huge coordinated  counter charge would work.if he held out any longer, as so often his own tireless fearless personal example possibly won the battle!

No horse archers werent overrated ..youd need a serious bias or lack of historical knowledge to not at least see they were a very useful , sucessful and multi functional  unit , repeatedly used throughout history and linked to some of the most sucessful military camapigns of all time!

Yes we know they have taken fortified cities....multiple cities , what more would you need to know if they can again take walled cities? 

 

Yeah they arent gonna besige them all at once nor is westeros gonna march armies unnoticed between castles faster than a cavalry force ...ambushbis possible but even limited  cavalry scouting can help.vastly reduce that  , steppe is poor grazing land with little life there hence the nomadic lifestyle is moving on through the vast oceans of it.... central westeros (westerlands, riverlands, reach, crownlands,.stormlamds, lower vale )  by contrast is lush and filled with towns with food stores  fish,game ,vegtables ,fruit etc!

Many sieges worked though and in grmms magical world dothraki have repeatedly taken cities, and to add to that their magical eunuch allies can somehow   with no testosterone climb mountains in the dead of night  so walls arent safe at night either

 

 

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45 minutes ago, astarkchoice said:

Huh? It clearly says the dothraki took multiple walled  cities and left their ruins. I cant understand how you could have missed that part if you read even an overview of the century of blood

 

But how did they take it? They seem to not use siege weapons, and in the story of the Three Thousand, there's never a mention of siege weapons. 

You can take a city if you smash their morale enough, which is what the Dothraki probably did. Not siege warfare. They don't have the tech or the knowledge since they're nomads. 

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42 minutes ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

But how did they take it? They seem to not use siege weapons, and in the story of the Three Thousand, there's never a mention of siege weapons. 

You can take a city if you smash their morale enough, which is what the Dothraki probably did. Not siege warfare. They don't have the tech or the knowledge since they're nomads. 

Though no nomads, Slavs that migrated to Balkans quickly get knowledge of siege technology and start troubling Byzantine Empire. Not sure if they had siege technology before but Bulgars who were nomads do the same. Bulgars may have had siege technology before, since Attila probably had them. Sack of Aquileia - Wikipedia

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2 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

But how did they take it? They seem to not use siege weapons, and in the story of the Three Thousand, there's never a mention of siege weapons. 

You can take a city if you smash their morale enough, which is what the Dothraki probably did. Not siege warfare. They don't have the tech or the knowledge since they're nomads. 

Starvation of the defenders, bribery, employing foreign siege engineers.

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15 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

But how did they take it? They seem to not use siege weapons, and in the story of the Three Thousand, there's never a mention of siege weapons. 

You can take a city if you smash their morale enough, which is what the Dothraki probably did. Not siege warfare. They don't have the tech or the knowledge since they're nomads. 

Seem to isnt the same as 'dont' and as with other nomads they might get hire/recruit  siege engineers in........  or  then again most siges were resolved with simple starvation and/or surrender/inner betrayals rather than exciting siege weapons being used!

We know they have carts so basic battering rams wouldnt be too far a leap there,.we.know the useless slave troops of ghis in the new winds of winter exerts dug multiple trench lines and 6 trebuchets so its probably this cheap source of slave engineers!!!

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19 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Huh? It clearly says the dothraki took multiple walled  cities and left their ruins. I cant understand how you could have missed that part if you read even an overview of the century of blood

 

I have not missed that part. What you have clearly missed is that Essosi tend to leave their cities and face their enemies on the open field - we have very few to no examples of sieges akin to sieges we see in Westeros. And you know what fortified places with no defenders do? They surrender.

So yes, we have proof that Dothraki were able to sack fortified places. We have no proof that Dothraki are able to take defended fortifications by siege, however.

20 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

They arent irrelevent if we know the dothraki took their cities sport nor are the essos walled citied in any way behind westeros in  tech as we have covered they are at least westerosi level and most way beyond! If anything other than the main house castles in each region westeros walled cities and towns  are way behind in sophistication both inside and out!

 

Nope, most of Essosi cities are way below Westerosi level of fortifications. There are some that are ahead, but I doubt these would lose any sleep about Dothraki. And we also see no examples of fortified villages, castles and so on, meaning that even if we assume that Essosi cities on average have better defences than Westerosi equivalents, that still does not mean that Essos is ahead of Westeros in terms of fortifications. Not to mention that Essosi apparently tend to face the enemy in the field rather than, you know, actually use their fortifications.

And if you are so certain that Essosi cities are way ahead of Westeros, how about showing some proof? Because all you have done so far is pull things out of thin air.

20 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Its utter domination of the sea, by far the biggest bank and a modern economy to buy professiobal land forces and of course unstoppable assasins to cripple leadership sorta means yes it could easily dominate westeros if lead right.

 

Which is why Venice was able to dominate Hungary...? Yeah, right.

Westeros has everything it needs in Westeros. Only things they get from Essos are maybe some luxury goods. In other words, while Braavosi navy would certainly be dangerous, it would not be able to win a war by itself. And mercenaries are expensive, not to mention, where do you find mercenaries able to face Westerosi armies one on one? Congratulations, you have just bankrupted Braavos.

20 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Scipios brilliant campaign in spain gave them the victory ,cutting off their finest infantry, steel  and  of course the  silver while smashing massive carthagian forces ....zama was just  the coup de grace!

 

Scipio's campaign in Spain was useful, but what it did was basically cut off Hannibal's reinforcements. Whether those reinforcements would have changed anything is not clear, but fact still remains that Hannibal failed because he wasn't able to take cities. His strategy was to remove from Rome her allies, and he failed that because he couldn't take - or even properly threaten - walled cities.

But yes, Zama was just coup the grace.

20 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

You have conceded the point then, you said pikement would kill unsullied and i pointed out unsupported pikemen alone would be slaughtered  vs spearmen. I agree that westeros more varied infantry is one more advantage they have over the eunuchs

 

I have conceded nothing. Firstly, pikemen are - in Westeros - never unsupported. Hence my point about combined arms.

Second, 15th century pikemen are a far cry from Macedonian sarissa phalanx, and lack most of phalanx's weaknesses. Macedonian phalanx can easily be outflanked, and is not very mobile, which is precisely what Romans utilized in order to beat it. While original Macedonian phalanx used cavalry and light troops to compensate for its weaknesses, Successor phalanxes that Romans faced consisted of phalangites and pretty much nothing else. But Medieval pike square cannot be easily ouflanked, and is exceptionally mobile. The only thing that can seriously threaten it is a combination of missile troops and heavy cavalry charge at its corners. Spearmen however have no chance against pikemen, be it Macedonian phalanx or a pike square. Unless they have some serious support, they will get slaughtered.

It should be obvious, honestly. Romans beat the Macedonian pikemen by forcing battles in hilly terrain where Macedonian pikemen would become disorganized - and because Successor state phalanxes lackes support troops of Alexander's army, that would lead to destruction of the phalanx. Swiss pikemen fought all the time in hilly terrain, and didn't have much trouble doing so.

Third, Romans frequently lost battles against properly arrayed and supported pike phalanx (see Hannibal). And even Roman victories against the unsupported phalanx weren't easily won, and owed more to Roman superiority in command and control than anything else:

  1. At Cynoscephale, Phillip's phalanx never managed to properly form up. While Phillip's phalanx won the battle on the right flank - where phalanx managed to form up - it lost in the center and the left, thus losing the battle overall. But medieval pikemen did not take so much time to form up due to different way in which they fought - which was actually more similar to Roman legions than to Macedonian phalanx.
  2. At Magnesia, Antiochus’ phalanx swept the entire Roman first line aside, taking virtually no casualties. But Roman auxiliaries forced the phalanx to form a square - which proved impossible to penetrate for the Romans, until war elephants in the center of the square went berserk and broke the formation, making it vulnerable to Roman swords. But medieval pike formations could act offensively even when in square formation, could split up into many smaller square or rectangle formations (which is what we see Westerosi pikemen doing), and did not utilize elephants. In other words, they have none of the weaknesses which Romans exploited at Magnesia, and likely would have won.
  3. At Pydna, Perseus’ phalanx pushed the Romans back so far that they essentially left the battlefield, moving into terrain too rocky to maintain formation. Only then were the Romans able to start cutting up individual phalangites, because legionary armament was better for individual combat than phalangite armament. But again, medieval pikemen a) had plate armor which was excellent for individual combat and b) had weapons (swords, war hammers etc.) that were excellent for individual combat. And medieval pike formations often contained troops whose entire purpose was to face enemies in close quarters - which again is something we see in Westeros:
    1. Quivers hanging from their belts, the foot archers arrayed themselves into three long lines, to
      east and west of the road, and stood calmly stringing their bows. Between them, pikemen formed
      squares; behind were rank on rank of men-at-arms with spear and sword and axe.
    2. The above in fact clearly shows that Westerosi pikemen are not vulnerable to spearmen/swordsmen the way Macedonian phalangites are. Firstly, instead of a long line of pikemen, you have pike squares: see above to see why that matters. Second, pikemen are supported by close-quarters troops: heavily armored dismounted men at arms "with spear and sword and axe". Meaning that even if the Unsullied manage to force the pikemen into close combat, pikemen can fall back and let their supporting spearmen slaughter the now-exhausted and likely disorganized Unsullied.

And most importantly, the Unsullied are more similar to Greek hoplites than to Roman legions. Matter of the fact is that Roman combat was highly individualistic - which is precisely why Roman legion could beat Macedonian phalanx in rough terrain. Roman legionaries were known to leave formation, with small groups penetrating into the gaps that would appear in Macedonian phalanx on the rough terrain. Roman equipment was in fact specifically intended to facilitate this: javelins (such as pilum) were used to bombard the phalanx, inflicting casualties and hopefully causing disorder which legionaries - using their large curved shield and short sword - could utilize to penetrate into the phalanx and face phalangites at close quarters where pikes were useless and tight formation a disadvantage. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what the Unsullied do: what little we know of them shows that the Unsullied are utterly obedient and pretty much never leave the formation, which is also how the Ghiscari lockstep legions (the model for the Unsullied) are described as fighting. That is literally Greek hoplite tactics: stay in line and shove the enemy backwards step by step. And Greek hoplites lost against both the Macedonian phalanx (albeit the original one) and the Roman legion.

So when you combine all of the above, the Unsullied will lose against Westerosi pikemen ten times out of ten.

21 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

They are a hodgepodge mix of horse archer cultures man so yes they will be largely a horse archer force.westeros forces will have archers and many will be palced for obvious reasons at fortified positions but no they will be a small.% of infantry...we know archers were a well paid elite,crossbowmen much less so but even they were never a large % of any force!

The battle of arsuf was a close run thing too, richard himself saw so many wounded and horses shot out he worried his tactic of letting the saracens exhaust themselves and.one huge coordinated  counter charge would work.if he held out any longer, as so often his own tireless fearless personal example possibly won the battle!

No horse archers werent overrated ..youd need a serious bias or lack of historical knowledge to not at least see they were a very useful , sucessful and multi functional  unit , repeatedly used throughout history and linked to some of the most sucessful military camapigns of all time!

Firstly, "hodgepodge of horse archer cultures" means little considering how they are not described as horse archers. Second, horse archer cultures usually lost against settled peoples, so a "hodgepodge" of various horse archer cultures... yeah, I do not like their chances. Sure, they tended to win opening engagements... but then settled population would withdraw to their fortified cities, and unless said nomads managed to find settled allies somewhere, they were either wiped out or forced to withdraw. And next time horse archers came they would be faced with people who know how to fight them, and lose much more quickly.

The Battle of Arsuf was a close run thing, but do note what I wrote about lack of foot archers in Richard's force. He was basically forced to sit there and take it. Also note that Richard was outnumbered some 2,4:1. Average Westerosi army seems to have around 25 000 men, meaning that you would need 60 000 Dothraki... to still lose the battle in the end.

Horse archers were useful, I never denied that. But there is a very frequent tendency - which you have also shown here - to see them as this nearly unbeatable superweapon which conquered all in their path, when in reality nomadic horse archers lost against settled infantry armies nine times out of ten. While they had some extraordinary successes - Mongols, nacht - these cases were far more complex than just "horse archers go brrrt" and were a testament to organization and utilization of combined arms more than anything else.

21 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Yes we know they have taken fortified cities....multiple cities , what more would you need to know if they can again take walled cities? 

 

It matters because answer to how will also determine whether they will be able to take Westerosi fortifications. Westerosi armies tend not to march and fight the battle outside their massive walls unless they are at advantage or else have no choice, whereas Essosi tend to come out to fight ASAP. If Dothraki conquest of fortified cities relied on that tendency, then they will not be able to take Westerosi castles and cities.

22 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Yeah they arent gonna besige them all at once nor is westeros gonna march armies unnoticed between castles faster than a cavalry force ...ambushbis possible but even limited  cavalry scouting can help.vastly reduce that  , steppe is poor grazing land with little life there hence the nomadic lifestyle is moving on through the vast oceans of it.... central westeros (westerlands, riverlands, reach, crownlands,.stormlamds, lower vale )  by contrast is lush and filled with towns with food stores  fish,game ,vegtables ,fruit etc!

 

They don't need to besiege them all at once. If Dothraki besiege any single city or a castle, they will still need to a) waste time and soldiers on the siege (nomads tend to be very vulnerable to diseases during a siege) and b) send out raiding parties to find food and fodder in a likely burnt and ravaged countryside. In such a situation, Westerosi don't need to do anything - Dothraki (and Unsullied) will have to either lift a siege or die in hunger.

And in case that Westerosi do decide to relieve the besieged castle or a city... well, speed won't matter much, and in any case Dothraki are unlikely to maintain their mobility in a very-much-not-steppe Westerosi terrain.

Yeah, central Westeros might be lush. None of that will help Dothraki, because a) Westerosi are unlikely to leave behind anything Dothraki might be able to use and b) if Dothraki lose their horses to lack of pasture, their vaunted mobility is gone and they become just a shitty infantry force. Hungary and Poland were lush, and look what happened to Mongols there.

Keep in mind that Daenerys will be invading in winter. Mongols didn't like spending winter in Hungary much, although it seems castles were even bigger problem than winter was:

https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal/

22 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Many sieges worked though and in grmms magical world dothraki have repeatedly taken cities, and to add to that their magical eunuch allies can somehow   with no testosterone climb mountains in the dead of night  so walls arent safe at night either

 

See before as to how exactly Dothraki most likely took the cities they did. Sure, Martin can write whatever he wants, he can have Dothraki bringing down city walls with magical horns if he wants to... but so far, they have displayed no such ability.

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22 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Huh? It clearly says the dothraki took multiple walled  cities and left their ruins. I cant understand how you could have missed that part if you read even an overview of the century of blood

This issue is that while it's stated they took them, it doesn't specify how they took them. So it could have been because they had siege engines etc. and successfully besieged the city. But it could also be because the city sent out all it's defenders to fight and surrendered after they were killed because they had no means of defending themselves, which would not require the Dothraki to have any siege engines or much knowledge of siege warfare.

From the one example we are giving, Qohor, it looks like the Dothraki use the latter strategy, which is unlikely to work in Westeros. It is also possible that the Khal was overconfident/being stupid but since that isn't stated, and the Dothraki consider it a shameful defeat (e.g. they aren't just blaming the Khal for bad tactics), I'm inclined to believe that this was the standard Dothraki mode of 'sieging' and as such they are unlikely to have siege engines.

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18 hours ago, Aldarion said:

I have not missed that part. What you have clearly missed is that Essosi tend to leave their cities and face their enemies on the open field - we have very few to no examples of sieges akin to sieges we see in Westeros. And you know what fortified places with no defenders do? They surrender.

So yes, we have proof that Dothraki were able to sack fortified places. We have no proof that Dothraki are able to take defended fortifications by siege, however.

Nope, most of Essosi cities are way below Westerosi level of fortifications. There are some that are ahead, but I doubt these would lose any sleep about Dothraki. And we also see no examples of fortified villages, castles and so on, meaning that even if we assume that Essosi cities on average have better defences than Westerosi equivalents, that still does not mean that Essos is ahead of Westeros in terms of fortifications. Not to mention that Essosi apparently tend to face the enemy in the field rather than, you know, actually use their fortifications.

And if you are so certain that Essosi cities are way ahead of Westeros, how about showing some proof? Because all you have done so far is pull things out of thin air.

Which is why Venice was able to dominate Hungary...? Yeah, right.

Westeros has everything it needs in Westeros. Only things they get from Essos are maybe some luxury goods. In other words, while Braavosi navy would certainly be dangerous, it would not be able to win a war by itself. And mercenaries are expensive, not to mention, where do you find mercenaries able to face Westerosi armies one on one? Congratulations, you have just bankrupted Braavos.

Scipio's campaign in Spain was useful, but what it did was basically cut off Hannibal's reinforcements. Whether those reinforcements would have changed anything is not clear, but fact still remains that Hannibal failed because he wasn't able to take cities. His strategy was to remove from Rome her allies, and he failed that because he couldn't take - or even properly threaten - walled cities.

But yes, Zama was just coup the grace.

I have conceded nothing. Firstly, pikemen are - in Westeros - never unsupported. Hence my point about combined arms.

Second, 15th century pikemen are a far cry from Macedonian sarissa phalanx, and lack most of phalanx's weaknesses. Macedonian phalanx can easily be outflanked, and is not very mobile, which is precisely what Romans utilized in order to beat it. While original Macedonian phalanx used cavalry and light troops to compensate for its weaknesses, Successor phalanxes that Romans faced consisted of phalangites and pretty much nothing else. But Medieval pike square cannot be easily ouflanked, and is exceptionally mobile. The only thing that can seriously threaten it is a combination of missile troops and heavy cavalry charge at its corners. Spearmen however have no chance against pikemen, be it Macedonian phalanx or a pike square. Unless they have some serious support, they will get slaughtered.

It should be obvious, honestly. Romans beat the Macedonian pikemen by forcing battles in hilly terrain where Macedonian pikemen would become disorganized - and because Successor state phalanxes lackes support troops of Alexander's army, that would lead to destruction of the phalanx. Swiss pikemen fought all the time in hilly terrain, and didn't have much trouble doing so.

Third, Romans frequently lost battles against properly arrayed and supported pike phalanx (see Hannibal). And even Roman victories against the unsupported phalanx weren't easily won, and owed more to Roman superiority in command and control than anything else:

  1. At Cynoscephale, Phillip's phalanx never managed to properly form up. While Phillip's phalanx won the battle on the right flank - where phalanx managed to form up - it lost in the center and the left, thus losing the battle overall. But medieval pikemen did not take so much time to form up due to different way in which they fought - which was actually more similar to Roman legions than to Macedonian phalanx.
  2. At Magnesia, Antiochus’ phalanx swept the entire Roman first line aside, taking virtually no casualties. But Roman auxiliaries forced the phalanx to form a square - which proved impossible to penetrate for the Romans, until war elephants in the center of the square went berserk and broke the formation, making it vulnerable to Roman swords. But medieval pike formations could act offensively even when in square formation, could split up into many smaller square or rectangle formations (which is what we see Westerosi pikemen doing), and did not utilize elephants. In other words, they have none of the weaknesses which Romans exploited at Magnesia, and likely would have won.
  3. At Pydna, Perseus’ phalanx pushed the Romans back so far that they essentially left the battlefield, moving into terrain too rocky to maintain formation. Only then were the Romans able to start cutting up individual phalangites, because legionary armament was better for individual combat than phalangite armament. But again, medieval pikemen a) had plate armor which was excellent for individual combat and b) had weapons (swords, war hammers etc.) that were excellent for individual combat. And medieval pike formations often contained troops whose entire purpose was to face enemies in close quarters - which again is something we see in Westeros:
    1. Quivers hanging from their belts, the foot archers arrayed themselves into three long lines, to
      east and west of the road, and stood calmly stringing their bows. Between them, pikemen formed
      squares; behind were rank on rank of men-at-arms with spear and sword and axe.
    2. The above in fact clearly shows that Westerosi pikemen are not vulnerable to spearmen/swordsmen the way Macedonian phalangites are. Firstly, instead of a long line of pikemen, you have pike squares: see above to see why that matters. Second, pikemen are supported by close-quarters troops: heavily armored dismounted men at arms "with spear and sword and axe". Meaning that even if the Unsullied manage to force the pikemen into close combat, pikemen can fall back and let their supporting spearmen slaughter the now-exhausted and likely disorganized Unsullied.

And most importantly, the Unsullied are more similar to Greek hoplites than to Roman legions. Matter of the fact is that Roman combat was highly individualistic - which is precisely why Roman legion could beat Macedonian phalanx in rough terrain. Roman legionaries were known to leave formation, with small groups penetrating into the gaps that would appear in Macedonian phalanx on the rough terrain. Roman equipment was in fact specifically intended to facilitate this: javelins (such as pilum) were used to bombard the phalanx, inflicting casualties and hopefully causing disorder which legionaries - using their large curved shield and short sword - could utilize to penetrate into the phalanx and face phalangites at close quarters where pikes were useless and tight formation a disadvantage. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what the Unsullied do: what little we know of them shows that the Unsullied are utterly obedient and pretty much never leave the formation, which is also how the Ghiscari lockstep legions (the model for the Unsullied) are described as fighting. That is literally Greek hoplite tactics: stay in line and shove the enemy backwards step by step. And Greek hoplites lost against both the Macedonian phalanx (albeit the original one) and the Roman legion.

So when you combine all of the above, the Unsullied will lose against Westerosi pikemen ten times out of ten.

Firstly, "hodgepodge of horse archer cultures" means little considering how they are not described as horse archers. Second, horse archer cultures usually lost against settled peoples, so a "hodgepodge" of various horse archer cultures... yeah, I do not like their chances. Sure, they tended to win opening engagements... but then settled population would withdraw to their fortified cities, and unless said nomads managed to find settled allies somewhere, they were either wiped out or forced to withdraw. And next time horse archers came they would be faced with people who know how to fight them, and lose much more quickly.

The Battle of Arsuf was a close run thing, but do note what I wrote about lack of foot archers in Richard's force. He was basically forced to sit there and take it. Also note that Richard was outnumbered some 2,4:1. Average Westerosi army seems to have around 25 000 men, meaning that you would need 60 000 Dothraki... to still lose the battle in the end.

Horse archers were useful, I never denied that. But there is a very frequent tendency - which you have also shown here - to see them as this nearly unbeatable superweapon which conquered all in their path, when in reality nomadic horse archers lost against settled infantry armies nine times out of ten. While they had some extraordinary successes - Mongols, nacht - these cases were far more complex than just "horse archers go brrrt" and were a testament to organization and utilization of combined arms more than anything else.

It matters because answer to how will also determine whether they will be able to take Westerosi fortifications. Westerosi armies tend not to march and fight the battle outside their massive walls unless they are at advantage or else have no choice, whereas Essosi tend to come out to fight ASAP. If Dothraki conquest of fortified cities relied on that tendency, then they will not be able to take Westerosi castles and cities.

They don't need to besiege them all at once. If Dothraki besiege any single city or a castle, they will still need to a) waste time and soldiers on the siege (nomads tend to be very vulnerable to diseases during a siege) and b) send out raiding parties to find food and fodder in a likely burnt and ravaged countryside. In such a situation, Westerosi don't need to do anything - Dothraki (and Unsullied) will have to either lift a siege or die in hunger.

And in case that Westerosi do decide to relieve the besieged castle or a city... well, speed won't matter much, and in any case Dothraki are unlikely to maintain their mobility in a very-much-not-steppe Westerosi terrain.

Yeah, central Westeros might be lush. None of that will help Dothraki, because a) Westerosi are unlikely to leave behind anything Dothraki might be able to use and b) if Dothraki lose their horses to lack of pasture, their vaunted mobility is gone and they become just a shitty infantry force. Hungary and Poland were lush, and look what happened to Mongols there.

Keep in mind that Daenerys will be invading in winter. Mongols didn't like spending winter in Hungary much, although it seems castles were even bigger problem than winter was:

https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal/

See before as to how exactly Dothraki most likely took the cities they did. Sure, Martin can write whatever he wants, he can have Dothraki bringing down city walls with magical horns if he wants to... but so far, they have displayed no such ability.

They come out and face enemies in pitched battles yes as do the westeroi, this is a fedudal  setting you must if possible contest the very lands you claim to rule. Theres 0 evidence that the various cultures whos citys were sacked didnt have full guarding forces, even the sanori who lost a hige pitched battle may still have had city guard forces plus one battle.doesnt mean they cant replenish their ranks esp over the years it took for them all to fall.

Nor do they as cultures not use their fortifications we know many sanori cities took sieges to fall, the qaathi obvioisly are very fond of avoiding direct engagement, the valaryians of course would have had their fused stone and ibbenese if i recall still ahve a fort city in dothraki striking range and as dany showed the ghiscari will use fortifications too

 

We are literaly told the walled towns outside the free cities are bigger than kings landing, volantis inside(far inside) walls are 200 ft high.and thick enough for horse races,  quarth easily  outshines everything in westeros ,the ghiscari buildings let downnonly by their crubmbling bricks and of course we are explicitly told the valyrians made better stoneworks than westerosi (for obvious reasons due to their pets) the level of building is both at least westerosi level or beyond , more modern and far grander in essos everywhere except slavers bay

 

Bravos would easily dominate the seas , assasinate leaders at will  and mercs who can raid as they like in westeros will find plunder enough to be paid. Thats before we even metion its more modern economy advantages

 

 

Scipios campaign in spain was the counterpoint to hannibals inital sucess, his breathtaking wins in spain are what kept romes allies loyal and kept huge reinforcements  from comming to dominate italy. Once spain was done so was hannibal.

So again unsupported pikemen  vs spearmen or swordsmen get slaughtered thats what we mentioned so yes you have conceded that part.

The roman formation and agressive centurion officer structure meant it always had the advantage...to strip off men from cohorts  and plunge  them into  any gaps or flanks  vs the defencless at close range sarissa wielders!! 

Greek hopites  and various other infantry are some of  what alexander flanked his  sarissa forces with to protext them (later sucessors forgetting the more mixed nature of this army is part of what  lost the sucessors their empires) and one of his most costly wins was vs greek mercs hoplites who got in among his sarissamen...not that we even know the unsullied are fully them given we hear of '3 spears' training and the fact (winds of winter the new ghis legions) they can form squares vs knights

 

They do seem to be based on  horse archer cultures though so until we see otherwise itd be silly to think of them as say slingers or heavy axemen no? And no nomads vs horse archers we know the nomads had some spectacular sucesses and losses...nwother had any advantage over the other (most interaction was actualy trade =  raw food for refinned goods)

Well that would mean wed have to assume in every single engagement the dorhtaki somehow got the defenders to send out the bulk.of their forces AND beat them in battle every time and every single time despite hearingnof other losses fotified cities still chose suicide by pitched open battle! Makes far more sense to just  assume they can take  fortified cities either through starvation, surrender or hiring essos plentiful  siege engineers  to take doen the walls/doors!

 

That would.assume a perfectly coordinated utter devasation of food,water and grass for 100s of miles around , a hard task even by modern logistics hence why it rarely worked . Even dany found enough to live on in the slavers dessert like scoured outsides. Westeros pasture vs nomadic would be far far lusher than what the nomads are used to..a literal bounty to them. The dothraki like many old armies jsut nned to leave enough to besiege their enemies and the rest of their forces moves right on

 

Yepnits grmms book and while the unsullied are daft and sorta a mix of ancient militaries and dothraki a very poor mans hun/mongol  in his world they did take cities..so we can assume there were special circumstances for each one.or the simple awnser is they took them...just as real medieval sieges  probably by simple starvation/betrayal or surrender instead of cool sieges engines or by getting slaves/paid professionals to make what  they possibly cant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

This issue is that while it's stated they took them, it doesn't specify how they took them. So it could have been because they had siege engines etc. and successfully besieged the city. But it could also be because the city sent out all it's defenders to fight and surrendered after they were killed because they had no means of defending themselves, which would not require the Dothraki to have any siege engines or much knowledge of siege warfare.

From the one example we are giving, Qohor, it looks like the Dothraki use the latter strategy, which is unlikely to work in Westeros. It is also possible that the Khal was overconfident/being stupid but since that isn't stated, and the Dothraki consider it a shameful defeat (e.g. they aren't just blaming the Khal for bad tactics), I'm inclined to believe that this was the standard Dothraki mode of 'sieging' and as such they are unlikely to have siege engines.

That wpuld mean tike and again the desite hearinf what happened others they kept falling for the ssme thing! Far more likely the dothraki took the cities simply by starvation or surrdener/inner betrayal (far more real cities fell to those than the sexy hollywood siege engine vs defender battled)

 

Or  like  real nomad forces its that  they just  got slaves or paid professionals to do it for them! We know essos is awash with both!!!!  Hell even the rubbish clankers slave army builds multiple lines of trenchs and 6 trebuchets vs dany!!!

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27 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Why is it far more likely? We aren't told how they took them, and the one time we are told what happens they don't use that strategy, so how is it far more likely?

The other option is every single time the fortified cities deployed too many  of their men outside and then lost a battle   and then the city/castle  fell plus  no matter how many times this occured other fortified cities still repeated the mistake over and over !!!!! ....or they tricked them somehow over and over too

 

 

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This argument seems a bit pointless.  If and when Dany comes to Westeros, she will have siege engineers in her employ, heavy cavalry like the Windblown, and local knights, and a mix of infantry. 

Ultimately, though, it's up to the author to determine how effective he wants to make any arm of battle.  We know that Renly's army, for example, is far too large to have existed in real life, but rule of cool applies.

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12 minutes ago, SeanF said:

We know that Renly's army, for example, is far too large to have existed in real life, but rule of cool applies.

This is why I believe Daenerys will not face as many logistical issues as she would in reality. But at the same time I don't think she will face no issues whatsoever. There has to be some sort of conflict.

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