if we have alexander in there we can go with 3-way!Originally Posted by Bert
You forgot your own first sentence:Originally Posted by Bert
The Romans were renowned for their fortification skills, but that didn't mean they could magically conjure palisades out of thin air with a wave of hand. Nevermind that you said this was open terrain, meaning unless the Romans traveled with tons of wood (which would make their army exhausted), they have nothing to build palisades with, there is no way the Romans can put up a palisade in time with the mongols just a few miles away.Both armies arrive at just the same moment.
Finally, if you think the Romans would be the first to be ready, think again. Genghis Khan routinely roll calls his troops for checks, and he demands that all his troops be battle ready and lined up in formation within a count to 10. The Romans simply have NOTHING on the Mongols in terms of discipline, and the Mongols outstrip the Romans by leagues in terms of military technology.
Every ten Roman soldiers had a mule assigned to them on which they carried their segment of the fortifications. The supply train carried heavier stuff but they could put together a makeshift fort in a remarkably short space of time. A good general in hostile terrain had his men fortify their position every night, so those men knew what they had to do like the back of their hand. If you want to see how unbelievable Roman fortifications can be, read about Caesar's circumvallation of Alesia.Originally Posted by bladesyz
On discipline, the Mongols may well have had great discipline as you say - maybe even superior to the Romans' - but you can't discount them so easily. With a commander like Caesar in charge, the legionaries were battle-ready at every moment of the march. He was an old hand at marching through hostile terrain far from reinforcements with an enemy that could be hiding around every bush. Look at his entire campaign in Gaul, for heaven's sake.Originally Posted by bladesyz
As for technology, it's not like Khan had AK-47s and Apache Longbows. We've taken away gunpowder, and I think that without that their technology is comparable. Military technology didn't improve in a straight line from Caesar's time to ours, there were lots of plateaus and even backtracking.
That's a good point, well worth considering.Originally Posted by Kaysaar
The Romans were able to be intimidated, witness the mass desertions after some disasterous battles against the Cimbri (the fault of astonishingly incompetent generals). But with a good leader (and there are none better than Caesar), their morale could be untouchable. Anatolian despots particularly loved to use fear and brutality against their enemies, and Rome fell foul of them on no few occasions. Mithridates' mass slaughter of Romans all through the East reverberated from one end of the Mediterranean to the other, but it didn't intimidate the legions. It just made them mad.
And the Romans themselves were feared from Europe to Northern Africa to the Middle East in their day. Even Pontus, Armenia and their allies the Parthians (who between them were the supreme power in the middle east) were deathly afraid of the Romans. Not because they were particularly brutal (although they certainly could be if pressed), but because somehow they just kept winning.
Consider the story of Popilius Laenas and Antiochus. Antiochus IV was the powerful military ruler of Syria, and he had been conquering his neighbours in the Middle East and had set his sights on Egypt. He went through his enemies like a blowtorch and everyone in that part of the world was terrified of him. He took his army into Egypt and crushed their army and was marching on Alexandria.
The Pharaoh cried for help from the Romans. The Senate decided that an all-powerful Antiochus across the pond from them would be a bad thing so they sent a single messenger to meet him. Popilius Laenas was an old man with a small ceremonial bodyguard. He got off his ship and walked out to meet Antiochus' army, leaning on his staff on the way.
They met up not far from Alexandria. There stood the mighty Antiochus in full armour, surrounded by his massive army. In front of him was an old man leaning on his staff with a handful of guards in rather ridiulous ceremonial gear. Laenas told him to go home. Antiochus said he'd think the matter over.
At this point Laenas took his staff and drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus' feet. He said "decide before you step out of this circle". Antiochus stood rooted to the spot for a moment. Then he stepped out of the circle, took his army and went home.
That's true. Strategy is such an important part of the conflict, particularly for Caesar's side. Even his contemporaries like Pompey (no mean general himself) were astonished at his strategic genius. I imagine the same is true of Khan (though I admit I don't know that much about him). So we're never going to get a definitive answer on this... but it sure is fun debating it.Originally Posted by Generator Of Chaos
That's irrelvant. There's no way they'd be able to set up fortifications under artillery fire and Mongol harrassment (archers). They arrive at the same time. No way for the Romans to set up fortifications.Originally Posted by dondrei
But if they have scouts surely they had enough time to prepare... but okay, I'm willing to concede the point.Originally Posted by Module88
Was it usual for Rome's enemies to allow the legionaires to fortify the battlefield unopposed? I have a feeling that Caesar's army would have been accustomed to digging in under fire. Also, the Mongols don't get gunpowder, so neither side is going to have very effective anti-personel artillery. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but it's my understanding that ancient artillery was designed primarily for defending and destroying cities with stone walls and/or risky approaches. Invaders could effectively hit a town from relatively long range by flinging incendiaries over the walls onto the flammable structures beyond. I also think that the ballista that we keep talking about was used more to shock and frighten opponents than to kill large numbers of them.Originally Posted by Module88
I've waffled a lot on who would win this battle, but now I think it would be a toss up. Mainly because I think we're controlling all the factors that decide most battles: location, technology, army size, morale, treachery, surprise and luck, to name a few. In reality neither commander would ever fight under the conditions we're imposing. Both would try to gain some sort of advantage before they even met on the field.
Originally Posted by Moosashi
True, I said it before, we're controlling/ignoring some of the most important factors in a battle like this.... I seriously doubt both parties would just ride out and face each other head on with full army size... At least half of the battle is getting the enemy where you want him and exactly how you want him...
The only way we'd ever know this for sure, would be to exhume both Khan and Caesar, their troops, equip them with similar items that they had back then, give them each a fort, and tell them the first to conquer the other wins.
Or revive both general's and set them up for a game of Age of Empires 2
Where's that dang shovel... I'm gonna need some duct tape too... and my Necronomicon...Originally Posted by Generator Of Chaos
Actually, military technology, including the tactics that came with changing technology, evolved constantly.Originally Posted by dondrei
The most significant technological advantage the Mongols had over the Romans were their cavalry. I can't remember the specific details, but it is doubtless that Mongol cavalry were superior to Roman cavalry by leaps and bounds, and likewise with their cavalry tactics. IIRC, the stirrups weren't invented in Europe until the Middle-ages, for example. Remember that it wasn't gunpowder and cannons that created the Mongol Empire, it was the Mongol cavalry.
Examples of Mongol cavalry superiority would be: better cavalry battle tactics, faster horses, more horses (the Mongols carried a slew of extra horses with their army), better riding gear, better equestry skills, etc.