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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Total War History » Your favourite Battle
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Topic Subject:Your favourite Battle
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 03-25-12 11:04 PM EDT (US)         
Howdy lads, SO what would be your favourite ancient history battle? Mine would have to be the Battle of Zama.. Yours?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
AuthorReplies:
Hannibal the Conqueror
Ashigaru
(id: HannibalBarcaXXI)
posted 03-26-12 01:02 AM EDT (US)     1 / 16       
Siege of Sparta is quite interesting to be honest. It's my most frequently played ancient battle map, since it offers so much of a challenge.


But on the other hand, I'm a fan of some of the Barbarians vs. Rome battles, since I'm a brute tactics + mass numbers kind of commander.

"I long for Darkness."
- Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited.

"We are a species that ravages, plunders, kills, destroys, rapes and enslaves in the name of progress."
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 03-26-12 02:09 AM EDT (US)     2 / 16       
The Battle of Watling Street has always fascinated me, as well as those of Alexander at Gaugemela and Granicus (Tyre as well- impressive solution to the island-fortress problem).

Hannibal at Cannae was also quite impressive.

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ShieldWall
Ashigaru
posted 03-26-12 12:31 PM EDT (US)     3 / 16       
Gaugamela interests me as a well documented battle, but on the more obscure side of things I'm interested in the battles between the Britons and Caesar. Much of the histories which have been written from Roman perspective paint a picture of pretty straight forward series of wins, but reading between the lines of Caesar's account and considering matters from the Britons perspective it's nowhere near so clear cut. You have to be careful with Caesar of course as he's not writing a strictly accurate history of what took place, he's writing a piece of political propaganda for Roman consumption, so he could just be making the Britons sound much more formidable than they in fact were.

But if it's more or less true what he wrote then the Britons fought with intelligence both at the battlefield and on the campaign levels. There's no mad do-or-die charge, that dreadful stereotype of Celts everywhere. Instead what we read about is skirmishing with chariots, feigned withdrawals, even a strategic reserve! And when Cassivellaunus finally lost his great battle on the Second Invasion, he carried on fighting a guerilla campaign with just his chariots, apparently beating up the Gaulish cavalry and thwarting Caesar's strategy of devastation. Not that it made much difference because Caesar just defeated him through diplomatic means instead. But still I'm quite impressed with the way the Britons fought, in fact it could even be argued that they fought Caesar into a stalemate. Were it not for an unruly Gaul and troubled supply lines, doubtless Caesar would have had a much more convincing triumph. As it was it seems to me that it ended in a draw, Rome hadn't really won and the Britons hadn't really lost.
Hannibal the Conqueror
Ashigaru
(id: HannibalBarcaXXI)
posted 03-26-12 01:01 PM EDT (US)     4 / 16       
@Terikel


Thank You





"I long for Darkness."
- Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited.

"We are a species that ravages, plunders, kills, destroys, rapes and enslaves in the name of progress."
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 04-02-12 00:38 AM EDT (US)     5 / 16       
But if it's more or less true what he wrote then the Britons fought with intelligence both at the battlefield and on the campaign levels. There's no mad do-or-die charge, that dreadful stereotype of Celts everywhere. Instead what we read about is skirmishing with chariots, feigned withdrawals, even a strategic reserve! And when Cassivellaunus finally lost his great battle on the Second Invasion, he carried on fighting a guerilla campaign with just his chariots, apparently beating up the Gaulish cavalry and thwarting Caesar's strategy of devastation. Not that it made much difference because Caesar just defeated him through diplomatic means instead. But still I'm quite impressed with the way the Britons fought, in fact it could even be argued that they fought Caesar into a stalemate. Were it not for an unruly Gaul and troubled supply lines, doubtless Caesar would have had a much more convincing triumph. As it was it seems to me that it ended in a draw, Rome hadn't really won and the Britons hadn't really lost.
I actually never knew that about the Britons. I did hold them to that celtish Stereotype. What were some ways the Chariots were taken out in real life?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
ShieldWall
Ashigaru
posted 04-02-12 04:37 AM EDT (US)     6 / 16       
How did the Romans take out the chariots? With great difficulty according to Caesar. The Britons were extremely skilled in handling them, and the Roman infantry had no effective means of fighting back. Pila is not mentioned as being of any use, and although slingers are mentioned as being present on the ships they're not mentioned as being part of the army that went inland. Caesar had almost no cavalry whatsoever on the First Invasion and so he struggled quite a lot. 2,000 Gauls came across on the Second Invasion and this brought matters back into his favour somewhat. But even so it all sounded a very dangerous business to fight chariots. Caesar says that the Chariots would feign a withdrawal and encourage the Gauls to pursue them, and once they were a fair distance from the Roman infantry the Britons would dismount and fight on foot with the odds in their favour. He says that these tactics made matters as dangerous for the pursuers as the pursued.

When Caesar had effectively won and began his campaign of devastation to draw Cassivellaunus out, Cassivellaunus disbanded his army apart from the chariots. It seems that he didn't interfere with the Romans directly, but forced a stalemate onto them by following their line of march and clearing civilians and livestock from the path of where they were obviously going to advance. It would be easy to ride ahead of the Roman infantry and clear everything in their way, but campaigns of devastation are usually carried out by cavalry in the main - they can afterall range far and wide and descend without warning on settlements. To stop this Cassivellaunus ambushed them repeatedly. And it seems that he was so successful that the cavalry were kept in close contact with the infantry thereafter. Consequently they were much slower, unable to raid far ahead, and so the strategy of devastation was presumably failing. With winter approaching and probably the knowledge that Caesar would have to return to Gaul, it was a very clever game to play.
Thompsoncs
Ashigaru
posted 04-02-12 05:28 AM EDT (US)     7 / 16       
Well, generally speaking the celts didn't exactly use much tactics in their wars. Their main tactic was a mass attack hoping to overrun the enemy, but they were also famed for their ambushes.

However, under certain leaders of more quality they did much better. Ambiorix used cunning to draw the enemy out of his camp and ambushed them, killing more than 1 legion.

Vergingetorix knew he couldn't beat the romans in a head-on battle, so he ordered the cities, villages and crops to be burned. In the end Caesar and his legions proved to good for vercingetorix, but he did make it quite hard for Caesar.

And indeed Cassivellaunus also used more advanced tactics and strategies, but again: Caesar was carried the day.

It seems likely that the chariots were used for skirmishing, but according to the commentarii their main tactic was to dismount, fight on foot and when pressed their chariots came back, so they could quickly withdraw.

The british invasions were a rare occasion of Caesar being badly prepared. Especially crossing the channel and finding a proper landing place proved a difficult task.

Caesar almost certainly exaggerated in his commentarii, it was meant to make him popular in rome. But the broad picture is accurate. It would make Caesar look very bad if he really was lying, because many of his officers, including Cicero's brother, wrote letters to people in rome. His lies would soon have been revealed. So his commentarii try to give an account favorable to Caesar, but it could not depart from the truth too much.
ShieldWall
Ashigaru
posted 04-02-12 12:56 PM EDT (US)     8 / 16       
I'm no expert on the intricacies of Celtic warfare. They certainly did have the reputation for the mad charge where they either win on impact or, if held, the superior tactics of the Romans will eventually overcome them. I suspect though that this may not be quite true, it could just be Roman propaganda. From what I've read of the Britons I can see nothing at all which supports the image of a disorganised brawl, there's basic tactical understanding everywhere you look.

Whether this is entirely true or applies to other Celts, I don't know, but I think it merits a closer look. All too often there's been a willingness by classicists to adore everything Roman, despise everything barbarian, and assume it's a basic conflict of the civilised vs the savage. So far as I can tell the only reason for this is that the classical world left impressive buildings behind and they wrote things down. Apart from logistic brilliance and political unity, there are no other distinctions because Celtic civilisation, art, law and science, was extremely advanced, arguably much more so than Rome. That being said it does make me seriously wonder if the stereotype of Celtic disorganisation on the battlefield can be true.
Thompsoncs
Ashigaru
posted 04-02-12 03:39 PM EDT (US)     9 / 16       
Well, at least we do know that the core of the "barbarian" armies was made of peasants with a spear and if lucky a shield.

The republican roman army was also made of levies, but usually they received decent training and drilling. In most cases a roman levy army wasn't properly drilled and inexperienced they were slaughtered, unless the odds were really in their favor.

The celts had less organisation and probably less training in both their armies and society. At best the celts felt united as a tribe, but more often they were only loyal to their local lord. In battle too, they were much more individualistic and personal bravery played a much bigger role.

But you're without a doubt right that we must be careful with the roman and greek sources. The romans even considered the Carthaginians "Barbarian" and the greeks considered everything none-greek barbarian.

One problem is that we know so little of these lands from their pre-roman period. Most of what we know was written by greeks or romans. As the saying goes: "History is written by the victors"
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-03-12 01:30 AM EDT (US)     10 / 16       
Or in most cases of ancient sources, "History is written by those who could write..."

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Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
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Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 04-03-12 04:09 AM EDT (US)     11 / 16       
Namely, the aristocrats.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
ShieldWall
Ashigaru
posted 04-03-12 04:51 AM EDT (US)     12 / 16       
Boudica's "army", if indeed that is the right term for it, was certainly a peasant army. The wider Celtic story though is a bit ambiguous. I'm currently reading a book about the Druids (one which examines only the known evidence and doesn't pluck mad fantasies out of the air as you'd expect a book about a near mythical people to do) and the view is put forward that the society was split into several social classes. At the bottom were the peasant class who farmed the fields, then you had the Druid class (as in the intellectuals; judges, doctors, astrologers, etc) and finally the warrior class. Presumably these people spent their lives practicing their art and so were very capable at it. How many of them there were I have no idea - a couple of battles gone against them and maybe the whole lot could be wiped out. Alternatively, in a place like Gaul where the population at Caesar's time was about 6 million, you could have many hundreds of thousands of them.

History tells us that these people were, as you say, a disorganised and poorly equipped mob, yet at the same time it also tells us that they were a warrior culture. It just makes me wonder how you can have a warrior culture and yet, evidently, be so bad at fighting? The Gauls must have been practiced at it through being almost constantly at war with someone, usually each other, but also with the Germans. And we know about their shield walls, a most disciplined and organised formation - surely the Gauls would have had to respond to that somehow? Also there's a bit of an elephant in the room here, because if the Gauls had no great talent, why did Caesar hire Gauls and Germans to fight for him? They formed the cavalry, who throughout human history have always been notoriously difficult to control, but presumably they must have had some sort of structure and discipline to be of any use to Caesar.

Basically what I'm saying is that the written history tells us to look on the barbarians as primitive savages with no knowledge of organisation and civilisation. To this day the view is maintained, although there's an awful lot of evidence emerging which contradicts it.
Thompsoncs
Ashigaru
posted 04-03-12 06:24 AM EDT (US)     13 / 16       
In fact, a lot of roman equipment seems to have been copied from encounters with the celts. At least their helmet model and their chainmail seems to have been of celtic origin.

And in the commentarii Caesar indeed mentions his cavalry coming from allied gallic tribes like the aedui, saying they were of high quality, yet a bit undisciplined. On the other hand, he mentions that in every encounter with germanic cavalry, the gallic cavalry loses. He also had Germanic Ubian cavalry with him, both during the Gallic campaign and during the civil war.

I know little about the druids in britannia, but Caesar describes the Aedui as having two leaders, the vergobret and a druid. The vergobret was elected for 1 year, and could not be elected twice. His family could not be elected as long as he was alive. The druids are said to be busy with religious business of the tribe and with law cases. Especially the rules of the election for vergobrets sounds a lot like the roman consul election rules.

By the time Caesar started his conquest of Gaul, most tribes were no longer monarchies. I'm not sure if this "democracy" is an effect of contact with Greek colonies, romans or that it just developed on it's own
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 04-03-12 03:57 PM EDT (US)     14 / 16       
Don't forget about the Thing! Pre-Greek colonization evidence of democracy among 'barbarians'.


And I have no favorite battle. Too many to choose from, as well as the circumstances that would bring into the 'favorite battle'. Favorite one to be in? To watch? To merely know about in great detail? All these questions have different answers.


Although Cannae is still studied by military theorists to this day. Just sayin'

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer

[This message has been edited by Punic Hoplite (edited 04-03-2012 @ 03:58 PM).]

Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 04-03-12 04:08 PM EDT (US)     15 / 16       
I like the siege of Syracuse in 415BCE during the Peloponnesian War. That battle was basically an ancient version of Stalingrad where barely a handful of the vast Athenian expedition survived at the hands of the Syracusians/Peloponnesian army.

General Rawlinson- This is most unsatisfactory. Where are the Sherwood Foresters? Where are the East Lancashires on the right?

Brigadier-General Oxley- They are lying out in No Man's Land, sir. And most of them will never stand again.

Two high ranking British generals discussing the fortunes of two regiments after the disastrous attack at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May 1915.
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 04-06-12 07:15 AM EDT (US)     16 / 16       
My favourite battle the battle of Polytimitos river during Alexander's Afghan campaign, as it shows that even the most developed and best organised army of that era (the macedonian army) could be defeated by a less organised army under a brilliant commander.It also was the greatest defeat Alexander's army suffered during that campaign, even though Alexander himself was not there.

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.

[This message has been edited by Alex_the_bold (edited 04-06-2012 @ 07:59 AM).]

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