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Which kingdom has the best quality of soldiers ?


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Of all the Seven Kingdoms, from the North to Dorne, which kingdom do you think produces the best soldiers in terms of quality, training, versatility and discipline overall ? 

Which kingdom has the best army in terms of quality which can defeat armies much larger if led by the right commander with the right tactics ? 

Edited by Terrorthatflapsinthenight9
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38 minutes ago, James Steller said:

I'd say the marcher lords are the traditional answer

 

 

23 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Stormlands.

Yeah, no. The Stormlands have a terrible track record when it comes to their military. They’ve had their asses kicked by the Westerlands, the riverlords, the Dornish, even the Ironborn while on land! Plus they turn on each other at the drop of a hat. Some of the most unreliable people ever, far as I’m concerned.

The real answer is the Vale. The men of the Vale are highly skilled knights who have almost never lost a war, and it isn’t just because of the quality of troops. They are very smart about picking sides. The best troops in the world will always lose they join the wrong side. 

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4 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

They’ve had their asses kicked by the Westerlands, the riverlords, the Dornish, even the Ironborn while on land!

Everyone has been beaten by someone else at some point. None of the kingdoms has gone undefeated. Also the Ironborn were competent back then and may have had support from rebellious Riverlords as well. If you look at the size of the Stormlands compared to everyone else, it seems they have less land and a smaller army, but they managed to survive for thousands of years as an independent kingdom, so their army must be able to punch above its weight. Unlike Dorne and the Vale they don't have mountain passes to stop people invading, and unlike the North they don't have the Neck, they'd have to rely on their army.

4 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Plus they turn on each other at the drop of a hat. Some of the most unreliable people ever, far as I’m concerned.

Again, this isn't restricted to the Stormlands...

Edited by Craving Peaches
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1 hour ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

Of all the Seven Kingdoms, from the North to Dorne, which kingdom do you think produces the best soldiers in terms of quality, training, versatility and discipline overall ? 

Which kingdom has the best army in terms of quality which can defeat armies much larger if led by the right commander with the right tactics ? 

Quality, training, and discipline will be lacking because the armies of those kingdoms are not full-time soldiers.  Relatively speaking, which is saying relative to the other kingdoms in Westeros, those who can support the most full-time soldiers will have the advantage over the rest.  The Tyrells hold a rich land which produces a food surplus. 

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8 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Everyone has been beaten by someone else at some point. None of the kingdoms has gone undefeated.

When has the Vale lost to another one of the kingdoms? And I don’t count Visenya’s dragon ride as a victory. Plus they did lose the Sisters to the North for a time, but they got them back eventually.

Edited by Canon Claude
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If we are talking about knights or other heavy cavalry, then the kingdom with the best and most prevalent tourney culture will likely produce the best knights, with a caveat that experience of real combat will give an added edge over tourney knights.

(I should note that tourneys are not just idle sport: they're combat training. For all the griping among some characters and fans about tourney culture and "the knights of summer", in peacetime the knights who participate in most tourneys are also the best-trained knights! But with a further caveat that melees are probably more useful than tilts, which may account for the relatively high apparent quality of Northern cavalry despite disdaining tourneys and indeed knighthood as an institution.)

So, it's probably the Reach, but the Vale may also be in the mix. We don't know a huge amount about Vale martial culture but they seem to be fond of tourneys and they also have the opportunity for homegrown real combat experience against the mountain clans.

In terms of infantry, most of the kingdoms' infantry will probably be much of a muchness. Equipment and experience will count for more, since most of them won't be full-time soldiers with intensive training, and equipment quality will presumably vary from lord to lord so even, say, Westerlands infantry, may not be better-equipped overall than their Reach/Vale/Riverlands equivalents even if the Lannister household troops are.

I would be tempted to say it might actually be the Iron Islands, as an infantry (or rather marine-) reliant force which also gets more frequent combat experience in raids. The Crownlands have a sizeable professional force of fighting men in the Gold Cloaks (not soldiers per se, but probably combat-experienced, and well-equipped) but they are not able to project that beyond Kings Landing.

 

It also depends what era you're talking about. At the start of ASoIaF, the realm has been in a state of relative peace for the best part of a generation. But if we go back a bit, there are more wars, particularly with Dorne, and before that, between the various kingdoms.

If we're going back to before Daeron II, then the marcher lords will probably produce the best troops overall, as they'll have the most combat experience combined with the tourney culture and the resources of the area. But over a hundred years of peace any advantage they had in that respect will have vanished by the time of the main novel series.

 

In actual warfare, numbers will count for a great deal, of course, and in that respect the Reach seems to be far and away the leading kingdom, which will have been the case at pretty much every point in history since the kingdom was formed.

But it also depends where you're fighting. The North, Vale, Dorne and the Iron Islands, and to a lesser extent the Westerlands, have the advantage of natural barriers which are highly defensible, and will act as a force multiplier, so can be expected to do better when attacked. The Riverlands, by contrast, may produce good soldiers in numbers, but are geographically positioned such that their borders are much less defensible. On home turf, Dorne may be the most effective kingdom.

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I've thought about this a lot (hence why no reply until now), but I'd say it is very definitely the Reach. Specifically, the Marcher Lords.

They have been under constant threat of, and experiencing, Dornish raids even after Aegon's Conquest. And while war experience alone is not enough to create a competent military, it does lead to improvement, so it is definitely an advantage over the rest of the Reach.

Now, good portion of Dornish Marches are in the Stormlands. But Stormlands have more limited resources than the Reach, I think. And as @Adelstein pointed out, tourneys are actually a form of combat training. So overall, soldiers from the Reach portion of Marches should be head and shoulders above everyone else. As for the rest, Reach culture of chivalry and available resources should allow them to field very good troops.

The worst soldiers are probably those of Iron Islands, as they are raiders and fight mostly on ships.

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Id say the westerlands. They have the most money to spend on training and weapons, and we do learn that they are training new troops, opposite to other regions.

 

also remember how Tywin’s foot deploys “as an iron rose” during his battle with Bolton. indicating quite some training

 

(this goes for regular troops, not knights)

Edited by HTN02
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3 minutes ago, HTN02 said:

opposite to other regions

That makes no sense. We have no reason to assume other regions wouldn't be training new troops, and also, doesn't Rodrick train new troops at Winterfell when Robb is down South?

14 minutes ago, HTN02 said:

also remember how Tywin’s foot deploys “as an iron rose” during his battle with Bolton. indicating quite some training

 

And Northern infantry in the same battle manages to maintain a shield wall despite advancing to attack over uneven terrain.

Matter of the fact is that, with the possible exception of the Ironborn, Westerosi armies are very well trained. It is not just a Lannister thing, it is Westerosi thing.

I wrote into more detail on the topic on my blog:

https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/proof-that-westerosi-armies-are-professionals/

https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/military-of-westeros-1-organization-and-manpower/

https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2020/02/16/military-of-westeros-2-tactics/

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Dunno each region has their own advantages.

 

-crownlands: obviously near the capital has vast pool of bodies with excellent armourers, we see in briennes chapter theres also local smaller lords good at guerilla swamp based fighting

-Westerlands: will have the biggest curve in quality with exceptionaly well funded and armoured knights and men at arms (esp tywins guard created  to prevent any lannister ever being taken hostage again) but also as we see has the funds to arm non pros to bulk out their forces and hire mercs. Will be able.to afford a higher % of the more expensive troops like archers etc

 

Dorne: has a history of warfare with stormlands  so will have battle/skirmish tested fighters as well as rep for its people being hot headed and prone to duels , but prefers a lighter cavalry/infantry based aporoach to warfare and probably will do very well in hot weather but awful in say the cold north. Dornes best military exploits have been luring people into its desserts to be destroyed but no so.much outside of them

 

Stormlords: despite constant skirmishing(batle.tested) with dorne seem to be a more traditional medieval military in terms of equipment and tactics. Heavily wooded so we can assume the stormlords have plenty of cheap.material for pikes, archers , thick shields etc as well as strong axemen

 

Iron islands: contantly battle tested men with probably well.funded equipment (due to spoils)  and excellently lead at the local level with clever/sneaky lords used to raiding and deception......however their tendency to reject all but the strongest central leadership and their being very weak at cavalry means they have flaws that can be exploited. They will do very well at an overall strategic total war attacking multiple points but poorly if forced into a largescale pitched battle. The ironfleet seems to represent a single  elite professional force lesser lords can rally around.

The north: due to its sheer size we can assume.its.men are excellent at marching , its cavalry very mobile and excellent at long range scouting. The constant threat of wildling raids will mean most outside of towns/cities will  be forced to be familar with weaponry training  and   have possibly killed to survive. Its men will be very good at foraging and generaly  hardy as well as probably very well protected to keep warm.as much as protect from melee stabbing weapons!

The reach: rich and a breadbasket so is probably the best ! well fed population with rich economy means its troops.will be big strong and well.equiped and.trained! the fact the tyrells seem to go out of their way to earn commoners support probably means their infantry will be enthusiatic.

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