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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Gideon Falcon View Post
    Wow, a ton of great input now. Thank you, those examples should be a really good help moving forward... once I figure out exactly what he's fighting... heh...

    Awesome, I'll look him up.
    There's a lot of bad info about Gustavus Adolphus out there, so you have to be careful with what you read.


    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    I'd point at the honour harrington series as a great example, whilst arguably the events of the first book and the second and fourth battles of Grayson turned into war deciding events, only the first is obvious at the time. And ultimate victory, (such as it was), came because of a combination of strategic factors, (including technological advancements in warfare), yet countless characters spread across countless books not involved in those events are still able to have meaningful, complex and enjoyable stories in spite of that.
    No u.


    I'd be interested to hear your logic on this. Either you're misnumbering the battles (Second Yeltsin was the off-screen battle where Parnell somehow managed to get half his ships out of a trap that White Haven thought was escape-proof), or you're making an interpretation that I'm not seeing.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    Hmmm, I'll have to look at that. Everything I've read says that the French were waiting for more forces to arrive before attacking but there were nearly mutinous demands from the French lords that they be allowed to be in the first rank of the charge. My point is that they didn't need to fight. With the English unable to reach Calais or send out foraging parties they had two days, tops, before they would have been forced to negotiate. A strategic decision on the part of the French allowed the English to demonstrate tactical brilliance. And I'd argue that some of the tactical brilliance was based on a knowledge of strategy/logistics (Henry knew the character of the French knights).
    You’re reading the English accounts. The English version of the battle took great pains to present the French nobility as incompetent, war hungry, fools. A version that was spread over to France post-Revolution. You can understand why the new order would have a reason to portray the defeats of their past on what constitutes as the representative of the old order they just overthrew. It makes a very compelling narrative, and as I mentioned isn’t unbelievable, since something similar did happen at Crecy (though even there the French incompetence gets played up more than is probably deserved).

    But the French accounts don’t really justify that reading. While there were knights asking to lead the charge, that was pretty standard. It’s useful to have your warriors willing to do the most dangerous jobs. But the near mutinous pressure to commit to an immediate attack isn’t presented at all. They seemed happy to gloat about what good food they had in front of the English.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    There's a lot of bad info about Gustavus Adolphus out there, so you have to be careful with what you read.
    A lot of it created by his very self (and his staff). Zealously promoted by his, I want to say predominantly, English and Scandinavian admirers.

    Think it was attributed Napoleon who said basically he envied the man who got a his reputation at the cheap cost of a battle won, a battle lost and a battle drawn.

    The author of an Osprey book on the subject of the army of Gustav II Adolf, makes a rather good case that the only really revolutionary aspect was in fact his reputation as a revolutionary commander which was largely constructed by himself.

    He was probably not the genius he has been built up to, but he was able to take ideas that were floating around and roll it all into a very neat package. And he keenly understood the import of inspirational leadership.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Gideon Falcon View Post
    Hmm, parts of this could actually play into his established character- he's basically a very high functioning autistic, so he's used to not playing the same game as everyone else; not on purpose, but just because he thinks differently. In social situations he fumbles without noticing because he simply isn't playing the roles and games we expect of each other, and that unabashed practical thinking can be shown to contribute to his ability to look past to the 'long game' instead of falling into the traps of lesser tacticians. At the same time, removing the social context from his interactions with an enemy also removes his handicaps, as the cues and tells of an army are much less esoteric to his mindset and let him grasp how to really pull one over on them.
    I'd be very careful about this. Depending on where exactly on the spectrum they fall, they'll have a stronger tendency to fall into particular lines of thinking and at the strategic level, knowing the psychology of your opponent is very important.

    If your character can't do the same and adapt for his opponent's way of thinking (either because he can't or is unwilling), then he's little more than an tactical RPG AI - once his opponent has him pegged, he's not going to do very well.

    In my opinion, a better way to show different thinking is to use tactics and strategy that isn't in the 'proper' way of warfare, due to ignorance (wilful or accidental) of cultural or societal norms - a modern example would be not following the Geneva Protocols, a medieval example would be launching an attack on a holy day.

    If you don't want to have him that severe on the spectrum, then have him more focused on deception and being super sneaky. Try reading up on modern disinformation campaigns for how elaborate they can be (Operation Mincemeat is a modern example, the Thirty-Six Stratagems for something less high tech), which can be only compounded with D&D magic and undead.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    A lot of it created by his very self (and his staff). Zealously promoted by his, I want to say predominantly, English and Scandinavian admirers.

    Think it was attributed Napoleon who said basically he envied the man who got a his reputation at the cheap cost of a battle won, a battle lost and a battle drawn.

    The author of an Osprey book on the subject of the army of Gustav II Adolf, makes a rather good case that the only really revolutionary aspect was in fact his reputation as a revolutionary commander which was largely constructed by himself.

    He was probably not the genius he has been built up to, but he was able to take ideas that were floating around and roll it all into a very neat package. And he keenly understood the import of inspirational leadership.
    I wouldn't go that far (and it probably wasn't Napoleon that came up with that quote - Napoleon was a huge fan), and it was later historians that came up with a lot of the garbage (make the pike shorter, robbing it of all utility as a weapon? GENIUS!) rather than him. I wasn't casting aspersions so much as pointing out that Gustav II Adolf is an enormously mythologized figure, and that comes with a lot of garbage attached.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    For a fantasy setting, roughly late medieval, without widespread magical communication or firepower.

    If you were a military commander, at say the level of a "legion" sized force, and you had access to one non-replaceable agent who could teleport up to a mile or so safely, and was also something of an unstoppable killer in close quarters against "normal" people... how would you use that agent?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    For a fantasy setting, roughly late medieval, without widespread magical communication or firepower.

    If you were a military commander, at say the level of a "legion" sized force, and you had access to one non-replaceable agent who could teleport up to a mile or so safely, and was also something of an unstoppable killer in close quarters against "normal" people... how would you use that agent?
    Well, in a word, assassination. Clearly. But it depends on how often and how reliably he can teleport - in the middle of a fight? Twice in close succession?

    When a battle is imminent, have him teleport directly to the enemy commander, kill him, and teleport out. Unless your enemies are more prepared than the typical late-medieval force, this was cause enough havoc to give you a major advantage.

    If you can't do that - the target is hidden or too well guarded - what you can do is use him to fill the communication gap: use him as a runner to carry orders and receive updates from your own commanders. With instantaneous travel he's not quite a radio link but he's darn close.

    If you have sufficient warning, have him teleport past the enemy's sentries the night before a battle to:
    • poison or taint their supplies (drinking water in particular)
    • disrupt a major strategic resource (maim/kill/release horses in a cavalry-heavy army, set a fuse burning in their gunpowder storage and teleport out, etc.)
    • kidnap the commander or another key figure as hostage


    If you have more lead time, the possibilities are nearly endless; reliable teleportation is one of the most useful possibilities imaginable at that tech level.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    There's a much better use for such an agent - discovering and altering the enemy's plans. You assassinate a general, they promote his lieutenant. Wreck a few supplies, they just guard them better next time.


    Find out exactly what roads the other guy is using, then set up an ambush, or "somehow" know where the supply wagons are and hit them with raiding parties - they curse your luck. Do it over and over again, and they start tearing themselves apart looking for the spy.

    Alter orders to send a unit to a slightly wrong place, they curse the incompetence of the commander. Do it over and over again, they start freaking out.


    In an ideal situation, that one agent could lead you to a decisive victory without the enemy ever knowing he exists.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    I was also thinking that during an actual battle, just relaying messages could make a huge difference... the ability to coordinate the flanks in detail, send unambiguous orders and get unambiguous reports...
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I was also thinking that during an actual battle, just relaying messages could make a huge difference... the ability to coordinate the flanks in detail, send unambiguous orders and get unambiguous reports...
    While true, it's a bit of a last ditch use of such a powerful agent, much like using an officer like a rifleman.

    One of Sun Tzu's more useful quotes can be translated as "For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." (是故百戰百勝,非善之善者也;不戰而屈人之兵,善之善者也。) - in order words, use them like Gnoman's suggestions.

    Having your entire enemy force lose their trust and cohesion from paranoia because they busy worrying about being seen for a spy or hunting for a spy is an excellent suggestion, especially with non-instant communication - was that relief force late because they were honestly delayed or were they deliberately slow because they're working for the enemy? Better kill/imprison the entire leadership just in case.

    This concept can be applied at the strategic level as well: from the 36 Stratagems, "Kill with a borrowed knife." (借刀殺人).

    Spoiler: Zheng invasion of Kuai
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    During the Spring and Autumn period (8th - 5th Century BC), the Duke of Zheng wanted to conquer the minor state of Kuai. On his orders, his advisors gathered a list of all outstanding generals and public officials in Kuai and the Duke made a proclamation in his court that these people would help him conquer Kuai, and they would be rewarded with high posts and land.
    To seal the deal, he had a tall sacrificial tower build with the name list buried underneath it and held a grand ceremony with animal sacrifices.

    News of these soon leaked back to Kuai, and the ruler quickly had the named officials and general arrested and executed as traitors.

    Obviously when Zheng attacked shortly after, Kuai had no capable generals or officials to resist and was quickly conquered.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2019-07-28 at 06:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    You’re reading the English accounts. The English version of the battle took great pains to present the French nobility as incompetent, war hungry, fools. A version that was spread over to France post-Revolution. You can understand why the new order would have a reason to portray the defeats of their past on what constitutes as the representative of the old order they just overthrew. It makes a very compelling narrative, and as I mentioned isn’t unbelievable, since something similar did happen at Crecy (though even there the French incompetence gets played up more than is probably deserved).

    But the French accounts don’t really justify that reading. While there were knights asking to lead the charge, that was pretty standard. It’s useful to have your warriors willing to do the most dangerous jobs. But the near mutinous pressure to commit to an immediate attack isn’t presented at all. They seemed happy to gloat about what good food they had in front of the English.
    All countries do it to some extent, but the British have always been masters of political propaganda...

    Their external policies tend to be ruthlessly pragmatist and shamelessly amoral, but they manage to rewrite history as to come as harbingers of civilization...

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    There's a much better use for such an agent - discovering and altering the enemy's plans. You assassinate a general, they promote his lieutenant. Wreck a few supplies, they just guard them better next time.
    You're assuming any general is easily replaced, that might not be the case. There may not be an equally-capable lieutenant able to step up. Or worse, it could set off infighting over the succession to command of the army. Not to mention the morale impact of losing a potentially famous and well-loved general.

    Or for that matter, if the general is also the head of state, that might trigger wider political problems beyond just the command of the army.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2019-07-28 at 06:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    If the agent in question can carry enough of it, steal their gold and hire their mercenaries.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    What would be the closest modern-day analogy to sabatons? Like if I have something that specifically refers to sabatons (or whatever else would equate to them) but I want to use it in an industrial-revolution or modern setting, what would I call them to distinguish them from general shoes? Or is "combat boots" the only thing that works?
    Last edited by Squire Doodad; 2019-07-28 at 05:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Safety shoes? But do you require protection, grip, or what?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I was also thinking that during an actual battle, just relaying messages could make a huge difference... the ability to coordinate the flanks in detail, send unambiguous orders and get unambiguous reports...
    Well the order can still be unambiguous yet still end up in disaster.

    Like the Charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava. In a nutshell the Raglan sent a message saying to charge the guns. When Lord Cardigan got the message the guns he could see were different to the guns that Raglan could see. With much hilarity ensuing (if you are a Russian).

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Well the order can still be unambiguous yet still end up in disaster.

    Like the Charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava. In a nutshell the Raglan sent a message saying to charge the guns. When Lord Cardigan got the message the guns he could see were different to the guns that Raglan could see. With much hilarity ensuing (if you are a Russian).
    Depends on how tactically savvy the agent is... if they have the understanding and wits to realize that the guns visible from X are not the same guns visible from A, and make that clear to the subordinate officer a X, and get them pointed at the guns visible from A...
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    You're assuming any general is easily replaced, that might not be the case. There may not be an equally-capable lieutenant able to step up. Or worse, it could set off infighting over the succession to command of the army. Not to mention the morale impact of losing a potentially famous and well-loved general.

    Or for that matter, if the general is also the head of state, that might trigger wider political problems beyond just the command of the army.
    Case in point the Rome against Viriathus. The lusitanian commander kept kicking the roman's asses, until eventually the romans managed to bribe some of Viriathus closest advisors who were working as diplomats in between.

    Did the romans use their new agents to spy in Viriathus, seeking strategic advantages?

    No, the romans used them to assassinate Viriathus himself, and the lusitanian resistance quickly crumbled afterwards because Viriathus charisma and military genius had been critical in taking the roman legions head on, there was nobody that could replace him (and the assassins got executed by the romans themselves for their trouble. Rome may not pay traitors, but had no trouble using them).
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    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    No one has those wits. The sheer effort, the constant expenditure of willpower and alertness, it takes to keep a body of organized men moving in its own right is far, far greater than most people imagine. Even having the mental power for “simple” tactics becomes straining. With many bodies of troops, you’d be happy just to get them pointed the right way and in the right line.

    It’s not as if men throughout history were unaware that it would be better to attack someone in a flank. Or that being on a hill was a better place to be. Yet the infinite chaos and friction of warfare makes these difficult.

    The simplest act you take for granted in a board or computer game can exhaust the leaders trying to make it all happen. Take a very simple “game” move: move this column of men down the road. A left click or miniatures moved some inches. No need to think of more and they arrive where you wanted.

    In reality? The man leading the column can barely see past that wheat fields, and the hedge on his right. Stragglers are falling back, being herded by sergeants (if such a thing exists), creating a cloud of men impeding the neat movement of the men behind. There’s a divot in the road - easy enough for a man or cart to swing around, but shoulder to shoulder men try to sway onwards, jostling their fellows into the hedge on the right, or they try to step over it, step in it and turn an ankle or stumble. The men behind them, choking on dust, run into them and grow bad tempered and impatient.

    All the while the front of the column keeps moving oblivious. As each row of men crosses the divot - really, no more than a large wagon rut - it sees the row in front of it pulling away and races to catch up. A giant slinky ensues. More yelling.

    Meanwhile, the guy at the front of the column doesn’t actually k ow where to stop them. He doesn’t have GPS or a computer display, and may not even have a map - which might be inaccurate anyhow. “Deploy on the far side of the wheat fields”. Great. So...do I keep going past the fields and half a mile up those hills? Hills are good terrain, right? But I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be forming a line with units to my left and right - what if they stop at the edge of the field and I match my men off alone? And right on the edge, or should I leave space behind me for more units? And what do you mean half of my men are still struggling up the bloody road?

    And then a messenger arrives telling you to take the guns, that left who knows how long ago from a headquarter located at who knows where, carried by a young man who is excited and a little it lost. Honestly, who’s to say exactly where you are? Did he expect you to be at the edge of the field, on those hills, or did the message get sent half an hour ago, urging you to immediate action that is now a mile and a half out of date?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Case in point the Rome against Viriathus. The lusitanian commander kept kicking the roman's asses, until eventually the romans managed to bribe some of Viriathus closest advisors who were working as diplomats in between.

    Did the romans use their new agents to spy in Viriathus, seeking strategic advantages?

    No, the romans used them to assassinate Viriathus himself, and the lusitanian resistance quickly crumbled afterwards because Viriathus charisma and military genius had been critical in taking the roman legions head on, there was nobody that could replace him (and the assassins got executed by the romans themselves for their trouble. Rome may not pay traitors, but had no trouble using them).
    Must be a theme with the Romans in Iberia, because they did the same to Roman rebel Quintus Sertorius. He defeated their armies repeatedly (one Gnaeus Pompeius was defeated in many different ways), so they got a disaffected rebel, Perpena, to kill him. Once he was gone, the native forces he'd been leading were swiftly rolled up and Hispania was theirs.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Well the order can still be unambiguous yet still end up in disaster.

    Like the Charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava. In a nutshell the Raglan sent a message saying to charge the guns. When Lord Cardigan got the message the guns he could see were different to the guns that Raglan could see. With much hilarity ensuing (if you are a Russian).
    This would have been even better, if the commander had meant for them to charge their own guns, as in, to load them.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Must be a theme with the Romans in Iberia, because they did the same to Roman rebel Quintus Sertorius. He defeated their armies repeatedly (one Gnaeus Pompeius was defeated in many different ways), so they got a disaffected rebel, Perpena, to kill him. Once he was gone, the native forces he'd been leading were swiftly rolled up and Hispania was theirs.
    This has a lot to do with the Iberian culture at the time. A charismatic and successful leader could gather the loyalty of a lot of otherwise disparate individuals and groups. Many of Hannibal's best troops were from the area, and loyal to him for these reasons.
    Sometimes an heir could step in when such a leader died (as indeed Hannibal did). But these coalitions tended to crumble, being dependent on personal loyalty rather than shared political aims. Sertorius tried to avert this collapse by starting Roman style senates and schools in the areas and towns he controlled. You have to wonder what would have happened if he had been around for another twenty or thirty years, maybe having made peace with Rome somehow.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    This would have been even better, if the commander had meant for them to charge their own guns, as in, to load them.
    thing is, the order, as intended, was to charge (with drawn swords) their own guns. specifically, they were to retake several redoubts that had been taken by the russains on the high ground to the "right" of the Light Brigade's eventual advance (the british general believed the russains were attempting to remove the guns form the rebouts, and the loss of cannon had long been used as a measure of defeat).

    those cannon they were supposed to be attacking were theirfore in a perfect place to pour flanking fire onto the Brigade when it advanced.


    Well the order can still be unambiguous yet still end up in disaster.

    Like the Charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava. In a nutshell the Raglan sent a message saying to charge the guns. When Lord Cardigan got the message the guns he could see were different to the guns that Raglan could see. With much hilarity ensuing (if you are a Russian).
    point of order: your thinking of Lord Lucan, the commander of the British cavalry in general. Capt Nolan (the messenger) delivered his written orders (and verbal clarification*) to Lord Lucan, who then gave the verbal orders to Lord Cardigan, commanding the Light Brigade. It didn't help that Lords Lucan and Cardigan, who happened to be brothers in law, were Not On Speaking Terms, due to a personal dispute (involving the wife/sister in law, but I forget who she was married to).

    Lord Cardigan, when given the clearly suicidal order, did in fact protest that it was suicidal, but Lucan reiterated it must happen regardless. Short of a full on refusal to follow orders in the face of the enemy (a capital offence), he didn't have much choice but to launch the attack. (when questioned about it later, he explained he assumed that he and his command were being sacrificed to prevent some catastrophe that he wasn't aware of, and that he followed the orders trusting his commanders knew what they were doing. considering the track record of his commanders up to that point, he was being rather trusting, frankly.)


    *when Nolan arrived with his (actually quite vague, see below) order to "attack the guns", Lord Lucan asked him for clarification as to which guns, as Capt Nolan was actually present when Lord Raglan gave the order and thus should have been able to provide the missing context and explain which guns the orders referred too. Capt Nolan, who was something of a firebrand and biting at the bit to get the cavalry into action, threw his hand out wide towards the Russian and said something like "THEM, SIR! THOSE GUNS!" however, instead of pointing towards the redoubts (not visable form the where the cavalry was waiting, but known to be in Russian hands), His wide sweep took in the russain guns at the far end of the valley. Having received clarification form the man who knew what the order was supposed to read, Lord Lucan went to carry out the orders he thought he;d been given.

    text of the written order:
    Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop of horse-artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate.
    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
    But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

    "Tommy", Rudyard Kipling

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    No one has those wits. The sheer effort, the constant expenditure of willpower and alertness, it takes to keep a body of organized men moving in its own right is far, far greater than most people imagine. Even having the mental power for “simple” tactics becomes straining. With many bodies of troops, you’d be happy just to get them pointed the right way and in the right line.

    It’s not as if men throughout history were unaware that it would be better to attack someone in a flank. Or that being on a hill was a better place to be. Yet the infinite chaos and friction of warfare makes these difficult.

    The simplest act you take for granted in a board or computer game can exhaust the leaders trying to make it all happen. Take a very simple “game” move: move this column of men down the road. A left click or miniatures moved some inches. No need to think of more and they arrive where you wanted.

    In reality? The man leading the column can barely see past that wheat fields, and the hedge on his right. Stragglers are falling back, being herded by sergeants (if such a thing exists), creating a cloud of men impeding the neat movement of the men behind. There’s a divot in the road - easy enough for a man or cart to swing around, but shoulder to shoulder men try to sway onwards, jostling their fellows into the hedge on the right, or they try to step over it, step in it and turn an ankle or stumble. The men behind them, choking on dust, run into them and grow bad tempered and impatient.

    All the while the front of the column keeps moving oblivious. As each row of men crosses the divot - really, no more than a large wagon rut - it sees the row in front of it pulling away and races to catch up. A giant slinky ensues. More yelling.

    Meanwhile, the guy at the front of the column doesn’t actually k ow where to stop them. He doesn’t have GPS or a computer display, and may not even have a map - which might be inaccurate anyhow. “Deploy on the far side of the wheat fields”. Great. So...do I keep going past the fields and half a mile up those hills? Hills are good terrain, right? But I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be forming a line with units to my left and right - what if they stop at the edge of the field and I match my men off alone? And right on the edge, or should I leave space behind me for more units? And what do you mean half of my men are still struggling up the bloody road?

    And then a messenger arrives telling you to take the guns, that left who knows how long ago from a headquarter located at who knows where, carried by a young man who is excited and a little it lost. Honestly, who’s to say exactly where you are? Did he expect you to be at the edge of the field, on those hills, or did the message get sent half an hour ago, urging you to immediate action that is now a mile and a half out of date?
    I won't say you're wrong about that, any of it. Prior to modern radio communication, no older that WW2 really, any sort of coordination was difficult, and getting subordinate units into the right place and knowing they'd arrived there and how their fight was going was at times simply impossible. It often went as you described.

    But, I think you missed the context from the ongoing question I'd asked --

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...8#post24056598

    -- the messenger in question isn't an excited young squire or staffer who ran or rode at breakneck speed, breathlessly repeating a rote statement while secretly hoping he really did find the right officer to delivery it to. Rather, she's just stepped out of the shadow of a tree nearby, having stepped into the shadow of a tent near the general's command post way over there on that hill less than an instant beforehand... she's completely composed... and anyone who knows who she is knows her completely overblown and ridiculous reputation... and she's saying in that matter-of-fact voice that no, the guns the general wants attacked are not the guns you can see from here, the guns the general wants your unit to attack are on the other side of that rise in the terrain over there.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    -- the messenger in question isn't an excited young squire or staffer who ran or rode at breakneck speed, breathlessly repeating a rote statement while secretly hoping he really did find the right officer to delivery it to. Rather, she's just stepped out of the shadow of a tree nearby, having stepped into the shadow of a tent near the general's command post way over there on that hill less than an instant beforehand... she's completely composed... and anyone who knows who she is knows her completely overblown and ridiculous reputation... and she's saying in that matter-of-fact voice that no, the guns the general wants attacked are not the guns you can see from here, the guns the general wants your unit to attack are on the other side of that rise in the terrain over there.
    It's more or less instantaneous communication. I'd compare it to something like telegraph, rather than radio since its not full two-instant communication. WWII actions and battles with radios still had miscommunication because troops could get lost, or the radio operate was killed, or they just couldn't figure out what the order was in the chaos of battle. Without GPS and time to really use a map one hill in Belgium looks a lot like another.

    You can't stop units from getting lost, or not doing the right thing, but it means that a commander can instantly give troops new orders, at least if they aren't actively fighting.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2019-07-29 at 12:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Well, instantaneous communications would certainly help things. Assuming you knew where to look for the recipient...but we'll imagine our agent does. If we're at a limited-use-per-time-period either because of physical and mental strain, limited power or mana, or an arcane "you only get three shadow-steps a day because I say so", what would be interesting is how the commander would elect to use his limited number of instant communications. Who is deemed worthy of an instant-order, and under what circumstances. how often do you use it to regain awareness of the situation - and are these better spent on tactical moves, where at least you could expect a messenger to get something done in half an hour, or for talking to bodies of men that are on separate lines of operations?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    This has a lot to do with the Iberian culture at the time. A charismatic and successful leader could gather the loyalty of a lot of otherwise disparate individuals and groups. Many of Hannibal's best troops were from the area, and loyal to him for these reasons.
    Sometimes an heir could step in when such a leader died (as indeed Hannibal did). But these coalitions tended to crumble, being dependent on personal loyalty rather than shared political aims. Sertorius tried to avert this collapse by starting Roman style senates and schools in the areas and towns he controlled. You have to wonder what would have happened if he had been around for another twenty or thirty years, maybe having made peace with Rome somehow.
    Viriathus technically did sign a peace with Rome, but the roman senate quickly went "lol nope just jking" and resumed hostilities. Rome was aiming at full control of the Mediterranean and thus the only "peace" they were willing to accept was vassalage where you paid them taxes and sent them hostages (when they didn't just fully wipe you off the map and salted the earth, cough Carthage cough).

    But yeah, there was really no such thing as national identity in most of the world, just lots of tribes with temporary alliances that only hold under a charismatic leader.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    It's more or less instantaneous communication. I'd compare it to something like telegraph, rather than radio since its not full two-instant communication. WWII actions and battles with radios still had miscommunication because troops could get lost, or the radio operate was killed, or they just couldn't figure out what the order was in the chaos of battle. Without GPS and time to really use a map one hill in Belgium looks a lot like another.
    Even with modern tech problems still happen.

    In particular when you consider the huge range of lots of modern weapons. Often you can even barely see what you're firing at (or you're firiing blindly at some distant coordinates that you can only hope are correct).
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    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Even with modern tech problems still happen.

    In particular when you consider the huge range of lots of modern weapons. Often you can even barely see what you're firing at (or you're firiing blindly at some distant coordinates that you can only hope are correct).
    Oh yeah, anything that operates beyond LOS is a huge problem. Close support from artillery is dicey at best, but when it works it works great. When it doesn't work... well acceptable loses are a thing.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Oh yeah, anything that operates beyond LOS is a huge problem. Close support from artillery is dicey at best, but when it works it works great. When it doesn't work... well acceptable loses are a thing.
    "Danger close" exists for a reason.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Oh yeah, anything that operates beyond LOS is a huge problem. Close support from artillery is dicey at best, but when it works it works great. When it doesn't work... well acceptable loses are a thing.
    Said no infantryman ever.
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