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


Jaenara Belarys
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43 minutes ago, Rondo said:

And no, they will not unite for a former lord commander who opened the gates for the wildlings, set up the marriage of a noble woman to a wildling, bastard son of an admitted traitor, brother of the rebel Robb Stark, and then betrayed the Night's Watch.  

Who is this great villain? I seem to have missed him while reading.

43 minutes ago, Rondo said:

Dany's infantrymen are the best in that world.  Their discipline will not and has not broken down at all. 

I must have also missed the part where Frederick the Great's troops were transported across time and space to serve Daenerys.

Wow, I really need to work on my reading comprehension skills if I missed all that!

Edited by Craving Peaches
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21 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

I must have also missed the part where Frederick the Great's troops were transported across time and space to serve Daenerys.

Actually best infantrymen in the world are just now too busy killing Russians to care about teenage girl who want to gain funny hat and very unconfy chair

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1 hour ago, Loose Bolt said:

Actually best infantrymen in the world are just now too busy killing Russians to care about teenage girl who want to gain funny hat and very unconfy chair

They aren't best. Not by a far shot. They are just very motivated in defense of their homes, which brings us back to the fact that an army of part-time territorial defense troops / territorial levies / feudal levies has some major advantages over an army of full-time professionals in defensive scenarios.

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

The two forces together make a complete army on land.  Cavalry and infantry.  They will suffice to dispatch any army of Westeros. 

The question presents an unrealistic and biased scenario because Daenerys has the use of her dragons to add the element of an air force to her team.  The Ironborn fleet and Braavos will contribute resources as she needs them.  In comparison, Westeros is nearly depleted of resources because of the war of the five kings that has not yet been resolved. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Quoth the raven, said:

The two forces together make a complete army on land.  Cavalry and infantry.  They will suffice to dispatch any army of Westeros. 

11 minutes ago, Quoth the raven, said:

The question presents an unrealistic and biased scenario

Hmm...

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On 10/23/2022 at 9:10 PM, Jaenara Belarys said:

 The Spartans were not special, simply average, so I don't see how this is an advantage in fighting terms. Mentally, possibly, but not practically. 

I assume you mean round shields. And as for their "armor," Westerosi soldiers will be wearing that as well, under  proper mail, plate and brigandines. 

The spartans at their peak where far beyond their peers hence why such a small state was able to punch so far above their weight for so long, inability to adapt killed that though

Yep better armour , the unsullied could.use mail

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20 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Actually it does, unless you think there are cultures in Essos that have a clearly feudal system which would promote building an entire array of castles - and that Dothraki actually conquered them.

Again, having massive urban fortifications surrounding your cities is a little help against a discount Mongol culture if these are not supported by a network of castles. Name of the game here is area denial, not point defense.

Those wars you are referring to here are Social wars, which happened well over a hundred years after Hannibal, and may have been partly a result of the devastation he had caused. But during the Punic War, Roman allies stayed pretty damn loyal, with the exception of the southern Italian cities.

And later civil wars were a consequence of professionalization of the military, which made it loyal to the general instead of the state. But that again was a result of the processes which started with Second Punic War, and happened a century after said war's end.

I am not "discounting" the loss of Spain. It did have big effect - especially on the finance. I am however saying that it was not decisive - or rather, it wouldn't have mattered had Hannibal proven himself capable of taking cities.

Hannibal's entire strategy against Rome hinged on depriving Rome of its allies. His first victory in the field actually brought the Gauls and Ligurians to his side. But because he was not able to take cities, or even properly threaten them (he avoided attacking the at the time nearly undefended Rome!), Rome was essentially free to do whatever it wanted. Invade Spain, invade Sicily, invade Africa... or maybe all three? Oh, and they also fought the Macedon (the First Macedonian War) at the same time.

In short, defeat in Spain may have brought down Hannibal eventually, but the only reason it could do so was because Hannibal was unable to take Italian cities. Fortifications gave Rome the strategic resilience and freedom of action it required to actually defeat Hannibal.

Yes, pikemen did often have close-range infantry to help them... but that doesn't mean they were helpless against short-range infantry as you are suggesting. Yes, pikemen may be helpless up close - but you first need to get up close, and for that you need either pikemen of your own, or some combination of missile troops and armored lancers. The only way for short-range infantry to penetrate into a pike formation is if it is disordered in some way. But if it isn't - again, even against late and not-so-well drilled Macedonian phalanx, there is no example of Roman or any other no-pike infantry winning in a head-on engagement. They won by either using elephants or outflanking the phalanx: reason why Macedonian phalanx required supporting troops is because it wasn't able to protect its flanks. That is a problem which later schiltron and similar types of pike squares didn't have, but late Macedonian phalanx that Romans faced didn't operate the way pike squares did and didn't have supporting troops, and so could be outflanked. But head-on, it was still absolutely deadly, and could not be stopped by anything short of another phalanx.

Just look at how rodeleros and similar close-range troops in pike units were employed. Essentially, they were there to shift balance during the push of the pike - when enemy pikemen were being kept busy by friendly pikemen. But, whenever rodeleros (a sword-and-shield infantry actually kinda-sorta based on Roman legions) faced a pike square without support from a friendly pike square, they were regularly slaughtered.

Of course, Westerosi pikemen are unlikely to be as good as the Swiss pikemen... but "not as good" does not mean "bad". We see them advancing over a fairly rough terrain, and despite that they manage to keep good order. So again - not Swiss pikemen, but nothing to suggest that they are inferior to, say, the Unsullied.

Roman legions had excellent shields - roman scutum easily protects the entire body - yet they were unable to get anywhere close to phalangites and found themselves pushed back until the phalanx fell apart due to its own rush, terrain and lack of drill. At Beneventum, they won by panicking Pyrrhus' elephants, which rampaged through the ranks of the phalanx. At Cynoscephale, Romans were routed by the phalanx wherever they faced it head-on; they won because a major part of Macedonian phalanx was routed by Roman elephants. At Pydna, phalanx again routed the Romans; Romans only won because the phalanx - King Perseus having refused to commit his cavalry - broke ranks in order to pursue them. Keep in mind however that sarissa phalanx was never intended to operate alone, yet that is precisely what happened against the Romans. And at Magnesia, phalanx was destroyed when its own elephants panicked and started trampling everyone.

Now, if Unsullied do have throwing spears, that will help - but description of their tactics implies nothing more complex than a Greek phalanx. There is no mention of javelins, and the fact that the Unsullied locked their shields is fairly indicative of a phalanx-type formation:

Skirmisher-style infantry such as early Roman legionaries never locked their shields as they required space to actually throw their spears; infantry fighting in a shield wall such as Greek hoplites or late Roman legions however did it regularly.

Also, late Roman legion did not use three spears; late Republican and early Imperial legion did, whereas late Roman legion only had one spear to be used for stabbing; missile power was provided by lead-weighted darts (the plumbata). But the Unsullied are some wierd mix which would not work in reality. One possibility that might work is that front ranks are spearmen while rear ranks are javelin throwers, but such distinction is never mentioned in the text.

Honestly, Romans won against Macedon because Philip V was an incompetent commander. Whenever Romans faced a phalanx under somebody somewhat competent - Phyrrus or later Hannibal - they tended to lose, and only win due to their structural and cultural advantages which had nothing to do with the tactical abilities.

Unsullied, being a phalanx-type infantry, may be able to withstand pikemen's frontal attack better: but they will also be less able to actually inflict damage and exploit opportunities, as they won't be able to get past the pikes.

"Getting close using their shields" is actually what Spanish rodeleros did, but that relied on having a friendly pike formation keeping the enemy pikemen busy. Now:

this is correct. If Dothraki can bombard pike formation with enough arrows to weaken it or force it to break, then it becomes far more vulnerable than a formation of, say, spearmen would. And in such a situation, Unsullied would win (well, against pikemen anyway - supporting men-at-arms would be a challenge). But pikemen will have supporting missile units of their own (most likely longbowmen), and between numbers advantage at actual engagement point and Dothraki lacking armor, I do not see Dothraki winning that exchange.

They still have large shields, mail and I presume gambeson. Which is not that bad of an armor - certainly better than what we see from the Unsullied and Dothraki - even if it is not as good as full plate.

That is true to an extent, and they may win against knights by baiting them. However, their baiting tactics will be far less effective than they were for the Mongols and the Seljuks because we see that - unlike the High Medieval European knights - Westerosi knights regularly have barding (horse armor).

Whether Daario would use arakh depends on who he is usually facing. As for pommel strike, that was a typical longsword technique - and keep in mind that knights would be aware of that vulnerability. Dothraki? Not so much.

Roman cavalry was not "well armoured". Roman cavalry of the time was essentially light to medium melee cavalry - not armored enough to stand up to horse archers, not armored or armed enough to stand up to genuine heavy cavalry. Romans did not in fact have anything comparable to Alexander's heavy Companion cavalry until 3rd century AD or so. And they adapted heavy cataphract cavalry precisely due to repeated wars with Persia. What Roman cavalry was, was disciplined - it wasn't until Hannibal that it actually met its match on the field.

And even there, "well armoured roman cavalry losing time and again easily to unarmoured numidian cavalry" is flat-out wrong. Despite what popular culture may tell you, Hannibal did not field just unarmored Numidian cavalry. He in fact fielded a well-balanced force of light Numidian cavalry, heavy Carthagenian cavalry, and also Iberian cavalry which could be used in both light cavalry and heavy shock cavalry role. In addition, Hannibal fielded 50 000 infantry and 9 000 cavalry when he left Spain - a far greater proportion of cavalry than any Roman army. This combination of various types of cavalry supporting equally diverse infantry (heavy Carthagenian, Iberian and Gallic, light Iberian) gave Hannibal a hithertho unprecedented level of flexibility on the battlefield, something Romans will not face until they come across Parthians much, much later. Essentially, Hannibal used his heavy cavalry to pin Roman cavalry down, while his light cavalry outflanked Romans. Forced to fight on two sides against usually superior numbers, Roman cavalry would break and run.

In fact, Hannibal's cavalry tactics were exactly what Mongols later used (well, different to an extent due to different equipment): using light cavalry to bait the enemy out of position before destroying them with heavy cavalry charge. Problem is, Dothraki do not have heavy cavalry, and therefore - barring magic or writer's fiat - cannot use such tactics.

That is true, but they would have to dismount knights first. And even then, unarmored barbarian vs fully armored knight... yeah, you would need about half a dozen Dothraki for each knight to have a chance of taking him down. Armor is a massive advantage, to the point that a field hand in full armor should be able to kill a Dothraki khal most of the time. And Westerosi knights are full-time professional soldiers.

The sanori seem to have a feudal system , the valyrians did (ibbenese are said to have a king) whereas the free cities  and qaathi are more advanced thus durable society..only ghis is behind and again they all but ghis seem.to build bigger and better....their defensive layouts and planning.will be at least westerosi level. They early have forts, fortified towns all tied to fortified cities seemingly with better economic and logistics too

 

Again cities and towns opened their doors to carthage..it wasnt love for the romans it was choosing the side likely to win and after his enormous sucesses but then inability to protect all his allies at once(something massive reinforcements includong more  siege engineers would have fixed no?)and then increasingly losing their military backbone + the engine of their new economy.... the allies saw which way the wind was blowing due to scipios masterful war in spain!

The roman legions structure was superior though even head on the legionares  sometimes found ways to slow the superior lenght sarissamens advance  but more regularly it gave them freedom to peel men away from the rear  and feed them into flanks or gaps and slaughter up close on top of other advantages . (Side note no the throwing dart was  actualy the end evolution  going from  the pilum.through various germanic/eastern european throwing spears of differing weights for different ranges so yeah before they moved to the dart theyd have   used  different weighted thowing spears  possibly 2 different ones as well as one solid heavy main thrustimg spear)

Pikemen  who were professional and drilled well  enough to hold perfect  gapless formation both  going forward or defensively wont appear to late.middle ages(not westeros)  until then they required support infantry (archers ,regualr spears swords ,halberds etc) as  men DID get close.

 

The dothrakis lack of armour does pose issues vs regalar archers but we can assume to be useful without armour most of them with be horse archers with arkhs thus itl be the sheer numbers of arrows they can fire..the  so called ' rain of arrows 'jorah worried about.  Lets say the infantry form up into squares with a few hundred archers.at their core...if the dothraki use their mobility smartly (assume qhohor was just one dumb khal )  we could see them ride out of range of most of the archers and focus fire  on a single square and take them.out piecemeal ! Meanwhile a  % of their forces get the knights to chase them and both leave the  field leaving the infantry alome with the bulk of whats eft of the dorhtaki + Unsullied engaging the squares/schiltrons.

yeah id highly doubt a force thats been engaging westeros style sellswords doesnt know about their strengths and weaknesses by now, the armour is an advantage (jorah learned its not arkh proof though)  esp in enclosed space but given how quickly a sword blade or  esp pommel (basicaly a mini mace whe  used right) can knock even fully armoured people senseless  and the lesser focused importance of wrestling its highly unlikely a.knight can kill half a dozen ...two at most will pin him down and kill him.with ease

 

 

Edited by astarkchoice
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1 minute ago, astarkchoice said:

Fair enough but they did build better forts due to their superior stonework

With the dragons, yes.

1 minute ago, astarkchoice said:

their warriors better steel no?

Unless all their warriors were equipped with Valyrian Steel (doubtful as were this the case it should be far more common), I think they would have the same steel as everyone else.

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11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

The sanori seem to have a feudal system

Possible but unlikely. Description reads closer to Assyrian system of city-states than anything:

1) Sarnori army, with chariots and undisciplined screaming spearmen, seems to predate Sumerians in its military structure.

2) We know Sarnori cities fought against each other all the time and even used Dothraki as mercenaries: no mention of feudal power systems (families, duchies, kingdoms etc.)

3) Sarnori title of High King was used by Greeks, Etruscans and Sumerians.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

the valyrians did

Valyrian Freehold sounds far more like Roman Republic, where major landowners formed a Senate. So there are some surface similarities to feudalism there, but it still isn't it.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

ibbenese are said to have a king

That means absolutely nothing. Homeric societies had kings, as did Greeks and various other ancient urban and even tribal societies.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

whereas the free cities  and qaathi are more advanced thus durable society

Advanced does not necessarily mean durable. Ancient Roman Empire was far closer (and thus more "advanced") in its political and social structures to modern society than post-Arab-invasions Roman Empire (7th - 11th centuries), yet it was far less resillient than the Roman Empire of the Middle Byzantine period, because its professional military was expensive to maintain, found it difficult to replace troops, and was largely concentrated on borders. By contrast, Middle Byzantine empire had thematic forces comprised of landowners, which were spread throughout the entire Empire, and could raise massive armies in a hearbeat - kinda like the Roman Republic.

That being said, I would assume the Free Cities have good military and defensive structures overall.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

only ghis is behind and again they all but ghis seem.to build bigger and better....their defensive layouts and planning.will be at least westerosi level. They early have forts, fortified towns all tied to fortified cities seemingly with better economic and logistics too

Bigger maybe, but better? As I have shown, bigger is not necessarily better. And the only places that we know a) have walls comparable to Westeros, b) have militaries that may be comparable to Westerosi and c) may have extensive defensive systems overall (we never hear of Free Cities having many forts, so they may or may not have them - I think not, though)... don't really give a rat's ass about the Dothraki.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Again cities and towns opened their doors to carthage..it wasnt love for the romans it was choosing the side likely to win and after his enormous sucesses but then inability to protect all his allies at once(something massive reinforcements includong more  siege engineers would have fixed no?)and then increasingly losing their military backbone + the engine of their new economy.... the allies saw which way the wind was blowing due to scipios masterful war in spain!

 

Cities and towns in southern Italy, who were predominantly Greeks and hated Rome. And even there, major port cities remained loyal to Rome, and never even thought about switching sides.

If it was just about "choosing the side likely to win", Roman allies would have abandoned Rome and the Republic would have collapsed. This didn't happen, and Hannibal was forced into numerous sieges. More reinforcements would have prolonged the war - as you said, Hannibal may have been better able to protect his allies... but then again, Romans didn't have much issue destroying armies that weren't commanded by Hannibal, so more reinforcements would have just prolonged the war, not changed its outcome.

War started in 218 BC, Scipio started his campaign in Spain in 211 BC and fought the first battle in 209 BC. Battle of Cannae was in 216 BC. So no, Scipio's campaign in Spain will have had no impact on how Roman allies behaved - there was little difference between 216-211 period and later.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

The roman legions structure was superior though even head on the legionares  sometimes found ways to slow the superior lenght sarissamens advance  but more regularly it gave them freedom to peel men away from the rear  and feed them into flanks or gaps and slaughter up close on top of other advantages . (Side note no the throwing dart was  actualy the end evolution  going from  the pilum.through various germanic/eastern european throwing spears of differing weights for different ranges so yeah before they moved to the dart theyd have   used  different weighted thowing spears  possibly 2 different ones as well as one solid heavy main thrustimg spear)

 

It wasn't. It was superior to late phalanx which was just a blob of men steamrolling forward. A properly trained phalanx was capable of very complex maneuvers, and had light infantry and cavalry protecting its flanks. Advantage of legion was that it was easier to train legionaries and thus Rome could just throw legion after legion at the phalanx until it broke... or more likely, got bored and went away.

Again: legion never won a head-on engagement against the phalanx. All Roman victories were due to phalanx breaking up: sometimes due to terrain, mostly due to elephants rampaging. When they faced Pyrrhus, he destroyed Roman army after Roman army - and he wasn't even particularly good general. Romans lost every single battle against him, then he got bored and went off somewhere else, and when he came back, issue was decided solely by panicking his elephants. At Kynoskephalae, phalangites crushed Roman right, but Macedonian right was crushed by their own elephants, and then Macedonian center surrendered. At Pydna, Romans were being slaughtered until Macedonians, believing retreating Romans to have been routed (and they may have been), broke ranks to pursue, and then Romans turned around and slaughtered them. At Magnesia, it was again panicking elephants which destroyed their own phalangite formation, which had shown itself otherwise invulnerable to anything Romans threw at it (in this case, we are talking about a hollow square formation - Romans couldn't outflank it and couldn't win head-on).

And pikemen are far more dangerous enemy than ancient phalanx. Westerosi pikemen had shown ability to march over rough terrain in good order, and we know they are formed into squares. There will be no gaps for the enemy to exploit, meaning that your plan of dealing with pikemen will die on sharp points as men get impaled on pikes.

11 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Pikemen  who were professional and drilled well  enough to hold perfect  gapless formation both  going forward or defensively wont appear to late.middle ages(not westeros)  until then they required support infantry (archers ,regualr spears swords ,halberds etc) as  men DID get close.

 

Flemish pikemen managed to do precisely that in 1302., and Scottish fielded square schiltrons capable of offensive action in 1307. And we already know that Westerosi pikemen are capable of holding a very good formation going forward over a fairly rough terrain. They are not a semi-trained blob, so your point does not apply.

Early Spanish tercio also had support close-range troops. Doesn't mean it would lose against a Greek phalanx.

Fact that something happens once in a blue moon doesn't mean formation is suddenly weak. Also, pikemen always operated better with supporting infantry, but regular swordsmen and halberdiers were there to engage during push of the pike against other pike block, not because they expected pike block to be penetrated by shield-bearers.

Again: whenever shield-and-spear or shield-and-sword infantry engaged a pike block head-on, attempt was an abject failure.

16 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

The roman legions structure was superior though even head on the legionares  sometimes found ways to slow the superior lenght sarissamens advance  but more regularly it gave them freedom to peel men away from the rear  and feed them into flanks or gaps and slaughter up close on top of other advantages . (Side note no the throwing dart was  actualy the end evolution  going from  the pilum.through various germanic/eastern european throwing spears of differing weights for different ranges so yeah before they moved to the dart theyd have   used  different weighted thowing spears  possibly 2 different ones as well as one solid heavy main thrustimg spear)

 

That is true, but again: it only worked against a late Macedonian phalanx, which could literally just move forwards and backwards. Romans never faced something like Alexander's phalanx or medieval pike formations:

https://www.johndclare.net/AncientHistory/images/Gaugamela.gif

The closest they came to that was Pyrrhus and Hannibal, and in both cases Romans were outmaneuvered and slaughtered.

Also, unlike what you may be imagining, pike is not a passive "walk forward until the enemy impales on it" weapon. Sure, it is not as maneuverable as a spear, but you can still do a lot with it: jabbing, stabbing, parrying, deflection, redirection... but Macedonian phalangites had a massive disadvantage in that regard in that they had to have a shield strapped to their arm. This meant that shield could not be used properly as a defense against missiles as that would mean raising the pike, and necessity of having a shield meant that jabbing and parrying with pike was rather difficult. Medieval pikemen however had no such problems, and seeing how Northern pikemen at least advance behind a wall of pavises, it is almost certain they do not carry shields themselves. In other words, another one of major weaknesses of ancient pike phalanx is gone.

16 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Pikemen  who were professional and drilled well  enough to hold perfect  gapless formation both  going forward or defensively wont appear to late.middle ages(not westeros)  until then they required support infantry (archers ,regualr spears swords ,halberds etc) as  men DID get close.

 

Again, we actually see the "pikemen who are professional and drilled well enough to hold perfect gapless formation both going forward and defensively". Or have you forgotten this scene?:

Quote

His uncle would lead the center. Ser Kevan had raised his standards above the kingsroad.
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. Three hundred
heavy horse surrounded Ser Kevan and the lords bannermen Lefford, Lydden, and Serrett with
all their sworn retainers

Quote

and suddenly the enemy was there before
them, boiling over the tops of the hills, advancing with measured tread behind a wall of shields
and pikes
.

Quote

He saw that
Ser Kevan had brought up his center in support of the van; his huge mass of pikemen had pushed
the northerners back against the hills. They were struggling on the slopes
, pikes thrusting against
another wall of shields, these oval and reinforced with iron studs.

They march over and fight on the hills while maintaining perfect formation. That is pretty much proof positive of Westerosi pikemen being well-trained professionals (this does not mean a standing army of full-time professionals - part-time soldiers such as Byzantine thematic troops or modern National Guard are also professionals, they just have a day job beside their military profession).

And support infantry was required for push of the pike and in the case heavy cavalry lancers managed to penetrate the pike square (while rare, it did happen on occasion). Not to counter spearmen, because spearmen were simply not capable of penetrating the pike square in the first place.

17 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

The dothrakis lack of armour does pose issues vs regalar archers but we can assume to be useful without armour most of them with be horse archers with arkhs thus itl be the sheer numbers of arrows they can fire..the  so called ' rain of arrows 'jorah worried about.  Lets say the infantry form up into squares with a few hundred archers.at their core...if the dothraki use their mobility smartly (assume qhohor was just one dumb khal )  we could see them ride out of range of most of the archers and focus fire  on a single square and take them.out piecemeal ! Meanwhile a  % of their forces get the knights to chase them and both leave the  field leaving the infantry alome with the bulk of whats eft of the dorhtaki + Unsullied engaging the squares/schiltrons.

 

Even in terms of number of arrows, Dothraki will not be able to match the foot archers as foot archers a) can be deployed much more densely, b) have more stable platform and thus more range and c) have better bows and thus more range. Large Westerosi army (say 10 000 men and above) will have thousands of archers, not hundreds of them.

And let's see about your scenario:

Lets say the infantry form up into squares with a few hundred archers at their core... OK, that works. if the dothraki use their mobility smartly (assume qhohor was just one dumb khal )  we could see them ride out of range of most of the archers and focus fire  on a single square and take them.out piecemeal ! It will not work. Foot archers outrange mounted archers by a fair margin in absolute range, and especially so in terms of effective range. And Westerosi troops are armored, and often equipped with large shields, while Dothraki lack armor. Even if Dothraki can take out such squares piecemeal, they will suffer for it far more than the Westerosi will. You could lose entire Dothraki horde of 25 000 to a Westerosi infantry force of some 5 000 - 10 000 men. Meanwhile a  % of their forces get the knights to chase them and both leave the  field leaving the infantry alome with the bulk of whats eft of the dorhtaki + Unsullied engaging the squares/schiltrons. That may work, but again: horse archery against armored infantry is not very effective, especially if infantry has shields, and foot archers outshoot horse archers. And Unsullied will lose a push of pike against Westerosi pikemen.

17 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

yeah id highly doubt a force thats been engaging westeros style sellswords doesnt know about their strengths and weaknesses by now, the armour is an advantage (jorah learned its not arkh proof though)  esp in enclosed space but given how quickly a sword blade or  esp pommel (basicaly a mini mace whe  used right) can knock even fully armoured people senseless  and the lesser focused importance of wrestling its highly unlikely a.knight can kill half a dozen ...two at most will pin him down and kill him.with ease

 

When exactly have Dothraki engaged Westeros style sellswords? Sure, there are some Free Companies in Essos, but we never see or hear of the Dothraki fighting against them. As for the Unsullied, Golden Company apparently easily defeated them, even though we do not know the details.

Also, no, learn a little about armored combat, please. Armor is a massive advantage. Yes, you can knock an armored knight unconscious with a pommel (not the blade), you can get past the gaps in armor with a specially-made blade (such as European arming sword or longsword which is used in Westeros), or even thrust through armor if it is mail and not plate... but fact is that you are still fighting a trained soldier. If he is wearing plate, you have to target fairly narrow areas - even with specialized weapons such as warhammers or poleaxes, there is a high probability blows will simply glance off. Mailed opponent is slightly easier, but you still need a well-placed thrust or blow with a lot of force to get through mail and gambeson. Meanwhile, an armored soldier facing unarmored idiot (such as Dothraki) does not even need to land a good blow to cause serious harm.

A knight can easily kill two unarmored idiots. Half a dozen are absolutely required to kill a knight.

17 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

No they didn't. They were a Freehold that had slaves. That is not a feudal system.

Technically, feudal societies also had slaves. They were just a minor proportion of the population. But yes, Freehold is based on Rome.

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2 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

That's interesting. I thought the feudal system replaced slavery, with the serfs on the bottom of the pyramid.

It mostly replaced slavery, so you will not see cases where you had 40% of population as slaves, the way you had in Roman Italy during some parts of the Imperial era. But in England in 1086., over 10% of population were slaves according to the Domesday Book. Republic of Venice was very active in slave trade, and also used a lot of slaves on its galleys. Interestingly, slavery in Croatia apparently largely disappeared after union with Hungary, though you still have records of monasteries owning slaves. In Croatia at least, extensive slave trade ended at the end of 13th century, and in 14th century traditional slavery nearly ceased - instead, you had people signing a contract for a specified period of time, but during the duration of the contract these people were under full authority of the master and were thus essentially slaves. They could even be sold to third persons, and some entered a contract for life which put them in same position as "real" slaves. During the late quarter of 14th and beginning of 15th century however we see rather extensive anti-slavery legislation. For Croatia specifically, you have more here.

Keep in mind however that even in modern European countries you still have slaves, to the amount of cca 0,3% of population (that is specifically Poland).

Edited by Aldarion
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1 minute ago, Aldarion said:

Republic of Venice was very active in slave trade, and also used a lot of slaves on its galleys (even war galleys, for some time). Interestingly, slavery in Croatia apparently largely disappeared after union with Hungary, though you still have records of monasteries owning slaves. In Croatia at least, extensive slave trade ended at the end of 13th century, and in 14th century traditional slavery nearly ceased - instead, you had people signing a contract for a specified period of time, but during the duration of the contract these people were under full authority of the master and were thus essentially slaves. They could even be sold to third persons, and some entered a contract for life which put them in same position as "real" slaves. During the late quarter of 14th and beginning of 15th century however we see rather extensive anti-slavery legislation. For Croatia specifically, you have more here.

I knew about Venice and Genoa but the England one surprises me. Apparently we have never had slavery in Scotland though. The moment a slave stepped on Scottish soil, he was a free man (or so I've been told). Of course that didn't stop people here profiting from the Slave Trade.

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8 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Possible but unlikely. Description reads closer to Assyrian system of city-states than anything:

1) Sarnori army, with chariots and undisciplined screaming spearmen, seems to predate Sumerians in its military structure.

2) We know Sarnori cities fought against each other all the time and even used Dothraki as mercenaries: no mention of feudal power systems (families, duchies, kingdoms etc.)

3) Sarnori title of High King was used by Greeks, Etruscans and Sumerians.

Valyrian Freehold sounds far more like Roman Republic, where major landowners formed a Senate. So there are some surface similarities to feudalism there, but it still isn't it.

That means absolutely nothing. Homeric societies had kings, as did Greeks and various other ancient urban and even tribal societies.

Advanced does not necessarily mean durable. Ancient Roman Empire was far closer (and thus more "advanced") in its political and social structures to modern society than post-Arab-invasions Roman Empire (7th - 11th centuries), yet it was far less resillient than the Roman Empire of the Middle Byzantine period, because its professional military was expensive to maintain, found it difficult to replace troops, and was largely concentrated on borders. By contrast, Middle Byzantine empire had thematic forces comprised of landowners, which were spread throughout the entire Empire, and could raise massive armies in a hearbeat - kinda like the Roman Republic.

That being said, I would assume the Free Cities have good military and defensive structures overall.

Bigger maybe, but better? As I have shown, bigger is not necessarily better. And the only places that we know a) have walls comparable to Westeros, b) have militaries that may be comparable to Westerosi and c) may have extensive defensive systems overall (we never hear of Free Cities having many forts, so they may or may not have them - I think not, though)... don't really give a rat's ass about the Dothraki.

Cities and towns in southern Italy, who were predominantly Greeks and hated Rome. And even there, major port cities remained loyal to Rome, and never even thought about switching sides.

If it was just about "choosing the side likely to win", Roman allies would have abandoned Rome and the Republic would have collapsed. This didn't happen, and Hannibal was forced into numerous sieges. More reinforcements would have prolonged the war - as you said, Hannibal may have been better able to protect his allies... but then again, Romans didn't have much issue destroying armies that weren't commanded by Hannibal, so more reinforcements would have just prolonged the war, not changed its outcome.

War started in 218 BC, Scipio started his campaign in Spain in 211 BC and fought the first battle in 209 BC. Battle of Cannae was in 216 BC. So no, Scipio's campaign in Spain will have had no impact on how Roman allies behaved - there was little difference between 216-211 period and later.

It wasn't. It was superior to late phalanx which was just a blob of men steamrolling forward. A properly trained phalanx was capable of very complex maneuvers, and had light infantry and cavalry protecting its flanks. Advantage of legion was that it was easier to train legionaries and thus Rome could just throw legion after legion at the phalanx until it broke... or more likely, got bored and went away.

Again: legion never won a head-on engagement against the phalanx. All Roman victories were due to phalanx breaking up: sometimes due to terrain, mostly due to elephants rampaging. When they faced Pyrrhus, he destroyed Roman army after Roman army - and he wasn't even particularly good general. Romans lost every single battle against him, then he got bored and went off somewhere else, and when he came back, issue was decided solely by panicking his elephants. At Kynoskephalae, phalangites crushed Roman right, but Macedonian right was crushed by their own elephants, and then Macedonian center surrendered. At Pydna, Romans were being slaughtered until Macedonians, believing retreating Romans to have been routed (and they may have been), broke ranks to pursue, and then Romans turned around and slaughtered them. At Magnesia, it was again panicking elephants which destroyed their own phalangite formation, which had shown itself otherwise invulnerable to anything Romans threw at it (in this case, we are talking about a hollow square formation - Romans couldn't outflank it and couldn't win head-on).

And pikemen are far more dangerous enemy than ancient phalanx. Westerosi pikemen had shown ability to march over rough terrain in good order, and we know they are formed into squares. There will be no gaps for the enemy to exploit, meaning that your plan of dealing with pikemen will die on sharp points as men get impaled on pikes.

Flemish pikemen managed to do precisely that in 1302., and Scottish fielded square schiltrons capable of offensive action in 1307. And we already know that Westerosi pikemen are capable of holding a very good formation going forward over a fairly rough terrain. They are not a semi-trained blob, so your point does not apply.

Early Spanish tercio also had support close-range troops. Doesn't mean it would lose against a Greek phalanx.

Fact that something happens once in a blue moon doesn't mean formation is suddenly weak. Also, pikemen always operated better with supporting infantry, but regular swordsmen and halberdiers were there to engage during push of the pike against other pike block, not because they expected pike block to be penetrated by shield-bearers.

Again: whenever shield-and-spear or shield-and-sword infantry engaged a pike block head-on, attempt was an abject failure.

That is true, but again: it only worked against a late Macedonian phalanx, which could literally just move forwards and backwards. Romans never faced something like Alexander's phalanx or medieval pike formations:

https://www.johndclare.net/AncientHistory/images/Gaugamela.gif

The closest they came to that was Pyrrhus and Hannibal, and in both cases Romans were outmaneuvered and slaughtered.

Also, unlike what you may be imagining, pike is not a passive "walk forward until the enemy impales on it" weapon. Sure, it is not as maneuverable as a spear, but you can still do a lot with it: jabbing, stabbing, parrying, deflection, redirection... but Macedonian phalangites had a massive disadvantage in that regard in that they had to have a shield strapped to their arm. This meant that shield could not be used properly as a defense against missiles as that would mean raising the pike, and necessity of having a shield meant that jabbing and parrying with pike was rather difficult. Medieval pikemen however had no such problems, and seeing how Northern pikemen at least advance behind a wall of pavises, it is almost certain they do not carry shields themselves. In other words, another one of major weaknesses of ancient pike phalanx is gone.

Again, we actually see the "pikemen who are professional and drilled well enough to hold perfect gapless formation both going forward and defensively". Or have you forgotten this scene?:

They march over and fight on the hills while maintaining perfect formation. That is pretty much proof positive of Westerosi pikemen being well-trained professionals (this does not mean a standing army of full-time professionals - part-time soldiers such as Byzantine thematic troops or modern National Guard are also professionals, they just have a day job beside their military profession).

And support infantry was required for push of the pike and in the case heavy cavalry lancers managed to penetrate the pike square (while rare, it did happen on occasion). Not to counter spearmen, because spearmen were simply not capable of penetrating the pike square in the first place.

Even in terms of number of arrows, Dothraki will not be able to match the foot archers as foot archers a) can be deployed much more densely, b) have more stable platform and thus more range and c) have better bows and thus more range. Large Westerosi army (say 10 000 men and above) will have thousands of archers, not hundreds of them.

And let's see about your scenario:

Lets say the infantry form up into squares with a few hundred archers at their core... OK, that works. if the dothraki use their mobility smartly (assume qhohor was just one dumb khal )  we could see them ride out of range of most of the archers and focus fire  on a single square and take them.out piecemeal ! It will not work. Foot archers outrange mounted archers by a fair margin in absolute range, and especially so in terms of effective range. And Westerosi troops are armored, and often equipped with large shields, while Dothraki lack armor. Even if Dothraki can take out such squares piecemeal, they will suffer for it far more than the Westerosi will. You could lose entire Dothraki horde of 25 000 to a Westerosi infantry force of some 5 000 - 10 000 men. Meanwhile a  % of their forces get the knights to chase them and both leave the  field leaving the infantry alome with the bulk of whats eft of the dorhtaki + Unsullied engaging the squares/schiltrons. That may work, but again: horse archery against armored infantry is not very effective, especially if infantry has shields, and foot archers outshoot horse archers. And Unsullied will lose a push of pike against Westerosi pikemen.

When exactly have Dothraki engaged Westeros style sellswords? Sure, there are some Free Companies in Essos, but we never see or hear of the Dothraki fighting against them. As for the Unsullied, Golden Company apparently easily defeated them, even though we do not know the details.

Also, no, learn a little about armored combat, please. Armor is a massive advantage. Yes, you can knock an armored knight unconscious with a pommel (not the blade), you can get past the gaps in armor with a specially-made blade (such as European arming sword or longsword which is used in Westeros), or even thrust through armor if it is mail and not plate... but fact is that you are still fighting a trained soldier. If he is wearing plate, you have to target fairly narrow areas - even with specialized weapons such as warhammers or poleaxes, there is a high probability blows will simply glance off. Mailed opponent is slightly easier, but you still need a well-placed thrust or blow with a lot of force to get through mail and gambeson. Meanwhile, an armored soldier facing unarmored idiot (such as Dothraki) does not even need to land a good blow to cause serious harm.

A knight can easily kill two unarmored idiots. Half a dozen are absolutely required to kill a knight.

Technically, feudal societies also had slaves. They were just a minor proportion of the population. But yes, Freehold is based on Rome.

Could be but this was also a society  that managed to survive and wage war in a period of high magic ,dragons(and grmm knows what else) and vs  the seeming endless masses of ghiscari and rohynr and  the highly inventive qaathi . We know  while  they did have ridiculous elements like  chariots  and slingers  they  also near their end could field  10k heavy cavalry covered with steel backed by spider silk (p4p stronger than kevlar!) mixed with light cavalry and spearmen infantry (again nothing to suggest these guys didnt also have steel arnour and spider silk) all suggesting a highly orgainsed military and huge logistics  society to back that up.

Then theres the other cultures whos cities fell

The valyrian fort/fortress city  we know will have had the distinctive superior dragon fused stonework to westerosi stonework + at bare minimum its elite armed in v.steel

The ibbenese seem.to somehow be semi neanderthals but with a huge stone fortress capital city and already have  cobbled streets with  oil lamps, described as skilled craftsmen   so can build at least as well as westeros forts , their individual military capabilites  is largely unkown but as fabled shield and axemen and reportedly  'excel over westerosi at wrestling' 

The qaathi we know  have built a city far in excess socialy, economywise and in terms of sheer defensive capability and scale  far beyond    anything (bar the wall) in westeros so again we can assume their outter forts and fortified cities were at least as good as westeros 

And yet somehow everyone of these cultures lost large defended city after city to the 'savages' somehow.....it cant all just be bad luck. The simplest explanation seems.to be staring us in the face in the books that essosi slaves/tradesmen that can work siegecraft well are easy to come by either by payment or force! We see this with the clanker lords.

The southern cities and towns (and yes ports ) surrendered to hannibal and while he had a large enough force to smash romes legions it wasnt big enough to siege major cities...something spain (or even the half hearted carthaginian senate out of their own pockets ) could have provided....while rome beat some non hannibal led forces this wasnt a given and those forces  could have potentialy altered the war, as would the  huge forces scipios victories robbed  them of. 

Hell if the carthagian force sent to break romes siege of syracuse hadnt caught the plauge hannibal.would have had access to the finest siege engineering minds on earth at the time,the punic war like.manh others if filled with dozens of what ifs but yes unquestionably losing its main economic and military base (spain) ended the war as a contest.

It was superior to even.alexanders phalanx man hence they won the wars  often in spite of their commnders.....while alexanders phalanx has more mixed forces and balance it still lacks the tactical and command flexibility of the legion. Once  commited its stuck with alexander at the head of his companion cavalry choosimg where to strike as gaps forming from the forward pressure of the sarissa which must maintain rigid lines ...by contrast the legions commanders are almost never near the danger and each maniples gaps allow.men to peel off where gaps form, while the phalanx has some advantages esp in forward pressure overall the legions more fluid + adaptable structure is better

Side note phyrus was an amazing general, literaly writing books on the subject that where cited  by hanibal etc but he (phyrus) was a terrible politican.

Soo we  see most of the infantry are  actualy armed with spears, swords and axes. The pikemen arent invincible they can be engaged by other infantry types sucessfully...the swiss hilly landscape wasnt suitable for large volumes of heavy cavalry to be easily raised hence the rise of a weapon that could both nulify expensive knights and push back other infantry but until later eras  ALWAYS  suppported by other types of melee and missle troops to prevent disaster.

That assume the dothraki dont focus all their firepower on one square at a time riding to areas to keep out of range of the the rest lets say 10 squares right to left...the dothraki stay to the far right of the furthest right one and avoid almost all the arrows from.the other 9 squares while making it rain on their nearest one and moving on.

Or they move around in small bands of dozens..each time.a block of foot archers fires  at one small group the reload time allows another dotraki block slightly behind time to ride past and pick head and neck shots in the pike line, very quickly opening gaps for larger volumes of horsmen to flow.into and begin breaking the square up.

Or like many horse archers did they'd carry 2 bows one for shooting on the move and another more powerful one for dismounting roughly equal to their foot archer foes

Thats not to say their lack.of armpur wont make this much heavier casulty wise than  it should be but its def doable 

 

Id say theyd constantly engage them, outside of the dispuited territoriy wars  its probabaly the bread and butter of sellswords to protect merchant caravans from khals and (if going on the coast) pirates raiders.

 

Never said armour wasnt an advantage just in grmms world we have seen arkhs can find gaps in them, sellswords who fight people in armour use them thus they cant be all bad vs knights.(and yeah pommel can single strike ko  but you can still be battered seneseless quickly with blade too in armour .....watch those.modern knight fighting comps!) And yeah knights are trained fighters but so are the dothraki...shit its the one of the only things they seemingly constantly focus on.

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Oof.  So much good commentary, people chiming in with historical stuff.  Love it.

So, I'll just throw a little fuel on the fire, because I feel like s'mores.  Omnomnom.

Even if the Unsullied aren't that great, if they can form a line and the enemy is temporarily forced to adopt a wide front, to break that line....wouldn't that be a really nice target for a dragon?

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3 hours ago, Ring3r said:

Even if the Unsullied aren't that great, if they can form a line and the enemy is temporarily forced to adopt a wide front, to break that line....wouldn't that be a really nice target for a dragon?

I think the point is that Unsullied aren't great alone (or just with Dothraki). If they are used with other types of troops and not used wastefully then they aren't going to do incredibly poorly. But I think Daenerys should avoid putting them on the front lines all the time. There are only so many of them and they can't be replaced now. Obviously if dragons are involved Daenerys is likely going to win unless the enemy gets really lucky.

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Another factor i suppose is mereens fighting pits over the centuries would probably have built up a large supply of various types of armour and weapons to suit different styles  of gladiator as well have skilled armourers so its not unthinkable for the eunuchs to get armoured up

 

Add in her messiah like.status for the slaves and you have a potential army of millions of fanatics!

Edited by astarkchoice
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13 minutes ago, astarkchoice said:

Another factor i suppose is mereens fighting pits over the centuries would probably have built up a large supply of various types of armour and weapons to suit different styles  of gladiator as well have skilled armourers so its not unthinkable for the eunuchs to get armoured up

 

Add in her messiah like.status for the slaves and you have a potential army of millions of fanatics!

So you say these armors would be undamaged even though their users have died, not rusty despite the fact they were just sitting around for maybe decades and most importantly there will be enough of these to support thousands upon thousands when fighting in the pits takes place with just a few individuals. Sure!

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