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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Gideon Falcon's Avatar

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Tactics simply aren't that important or complex. We'd need to see exactly what kind of troops you're working with to be sure, but pretty much all tactics boil down to trying to attack somebody in the side or rear, sometimes creating a new side or rear to attack. Real genius is in the logistics and support factors, and anybody with knowledge will absolutely credit victories to those - and hail the victor as a genius for building up such a difficult and vital arm.
    Hm. That does make things difficult- the character in question is a Necromancer, which is why I said the logistics were largely taken care of. The previous times I asked, the thread kinda got caught up in describing just how devastatingly effective undead troops would be due to the logistics of not worrying about food, water, shelter, or medical care.

    The few ideas I was able to glean were basically that, for one, I might use more Iron Age battlefield conditions than Medieval (where the Roman Phalanx and other formations hadn't been invented yet and as such would be vastly superior), the use of what guerilla tactics could be transposed onto the setting through silent night-time raids and such, and the potential use of burrowing forms of undead as a method of, as you say, getting to the rear or side of the opponent, and maybe the use of flying undead to crreate primitive air forces.

    These all still have problems- a lot of the plot has yet to be worked out, so I'm not certain who he'd be needing to lead large armies against, let alone what possible creatures he could hunt down to add to his ranks; What constitutes the burrowing undead, since the D&D specific creatures that inspired the character's original concept are not necessarily in the setting? If there are flying creatures big enough to be used in war, why haven't people domesticated them the way they did falcons for hunting? In terms of his opponents; are they even human? Do they have to worry about logistics? Would their abilities potentially invalidate certain tactics, or just make them irrelevant?
    Some opponents could be your classic mostly mindless demonic hordes, but that would only require being smart enough to stop zerg rushes until you'd reanimated enough to even out the numbers.

    I guess I might not have been able to make it clear, but I just want to be able to have specific scenes, where, in some suitably cinematic way, the character is able to win a battle in a way that makes the reader think 'Dang, this guy is smart,' whether said reader can't tell what's wrong with Hollywood tactics or is a regular on threads like this. The stories I'm writing are meant to be in a comic format, so it is especially difficult to pull that off with just the large-scale logistics.
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  2. - Top - End - #242
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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
    I guess I might not have been able to make it clear, but I just want to be able to have specific scenes, where, in some suitably cinematic way, the character is able to win a battle in a way that makes the reader think 'Dang, this guy is smart,' whether said reader can't tell what's wrong with Hollywood tactics or is a regular on threads like this. The stories I'm writing are meant to be in a comic format, so it is especially difficult to pull that off with just the large-scale logistics.
    Perhaps you can read descriptions of historical battles, and assemble elements from them for your battle scenes? Often times battles are reduced to a few general schema -- turning maneuvers, frontal assaults, deceptions, surprise attacks, etc. Maybe you can find a technique you like, and research battles that successfully used that technique? (Not that I'm aware of any resources that categorize battles like that)

  3. - Top - End - #243
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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
    Hm. That does make things difficult- the character in question is a Necromancer, which is why I said the logistics were largely taken care of. The previous times I asked, the thread kinda got caught up in describing just how devastatingly effective undead troops would be due to the logistics of not worrying about food, water, shelter, or medical care.

    The few ideas I was able to glean were basically that, for one, I might use more Iron Age battlefield conditions than Medieval (where the Roman Phalanx and other formations hadn't been invented yet and as such would be vastly superior), the use of what guerilla tactics could be transposed onto the setting through silent night-time raids and such, and the potential use of burrowing forms of undead as a method of, as you say, getting to the rear or side of the opponent, and maybe the use of flying undead to crreate primitive air forces.

    These all still have problems- a lot of the plot has yet to be worked out, so I'm not certain who he'd be needing to lead large armies against, let alone what possible creatures he could hunt down to add to his ranks; What constitutes the burrowing undead, since the D&D specific creatures that inspired the character's original concept are not necessarily in the setting? If there are flying creatures big enough to be used in war, why haven't people domesticated them the way they did falcons for hunting? In terms of his opponents; are they even human? Do they have to worry about logistics? Would their abilities potentially invalidate certain tactics, or just make them irrelevant?
    Some opponents could be your classic mostly mindless demonic hordes, but that would only require being smart enough to stop zerg rushes until you'd reanimated enough to even out the numbers.

    I guess I might not have been able to make it clear, but I just want to be able to have specific scenes, where, in some suitably cinematic way, the character is able to win a battle in a way that makes the reader think 'Dang, this guy is smart,' whether said reader can't tell what's wrong with Hollywood tactics or is a regular on threads like this. The stories I'm writing are meant to be in a comic format, so it is especially difficult to pull that off with just the large-scale logistics.
    Part of the issue is there's limited historical basis to work from. A big part of what makes even modern tactics work, (which i admit i know only a little about), is that we have more advanced communications. Effectively commanding units spread over a broad area was a huge issue in WW1 that caused all kinds of headaches for generals. And whilst various methods where found for getting around this as best they could the kind of complex tactical control possibble today wasn't a thing. There's also been a endancy at certain times, (and still is in many armies worldwide), for higher command not to trust the lower ranks so they don't put a great deal of effort into training them to think independently. They largely expect/ed a few major field commanders to give out minor modifications to some masterplan before the battle. The side that comes up with the better pre-battle plan, (all other things being equal), wins. Though again your necromancer if he can issue orders at a distance has the advantage here, he can sit back, watch the ebb and flow of the battle and modify the plan much more thoroughly on the fly, a not inconsiderable advantage. Add to that, tactics are seemingly quite hard to explain, (look at modern western militaries, every tom **** and harry knows something basic about the weapons systems employed, ask them about complex small unit tactics and they start to really struggle), so whatever there was we don't have good record on.

  4. - Top - End - #244
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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
    What I want to know are what kind of small-scale tactics, methods of conducting battles and skirmishes in a classical heroic fantasy landscape that would really differentiate him as the new Sun Tzu?
    Have you read Sun Tzu(*)?

    I picked up a version at the library that was less than 50+ pages. It's terribly vague, generic and full of to some degree common sense statements. It's a bit like learning philosophy by reading a website with the world's greatest quotes. A lot of ti wasn't terribly helpful in a practical sense either.

    (*) acknowledging there are probably dozens of variants not including various translations and expanded commented works, which may or may not also be labelled as Sun Tzu, and I'm also ignoring that to our best ability we can only say it was either written by Sun Tzu (of whom we know nothing) or some unknown person named "Sun Tzu".

    Quote Originally Posted by Gideon Falcon View Post
    The previous times I asked, the thread kinda got caught up in describing just how devastatingly effective undead troops would be due to the logistics of not worrying about food, water, shelter, or medical care.

    I guess I might not have been able to make it clear, but I just want to be able to have specific scenes, where, in some suitably cinematic way, the character is able to win a battle in a way that makes the reader think 'Dang, this guy is smart,' whether said reader can't tell what's wrong with Hollywood tactics or is a regular on threads like this. The stories I'm writing are meant to be in a comic format, so it is especially difficult to pull that off with just the large-scale logistics.
    The reason we got bogged down into the practicals is that they are the only things we can grasp at and actually discuss. Like Sun Tzu, generalist ideas are kinda wasted if the actual situation isn't exactly one where they could be applied.

    For the other part I would suggest reading accounts of historical battles and then crib good ones with surprising turns and figure out how a Necromancer woulda done the twist.

  5. - Top - End - #245
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    The reason we got bogged down into the practicals is that they are the only things we can grasp at and actually discuss. Like Sun Tzu, generalist ideas are kinda wasted if the actual situation isn't exactly one where they could be applied.
    I think thats going a bit far, the essence of good tactics is to properly analyse what your opponent is going to do or is currently trying to do and then figuring out what you can do to mess that up. The hard part of course is defining those things, (and in a pre-modern setting communicating that to your troops). But the real reason we focus on the strategic stuff is, good tactics make good copy in the newspapers and that, but they usually have little if any effect on the outcome of a war.

    Now if your trying t establish a characters individual rep and looking at a war from their viewpoint then it makes sense to focus on the tactical side of things. But from the PoV of what decided the war, it's generally pretty low on the list of factors.

  6. - Top - End - #246
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    But the real reason we focus on the strategic stuff is, good tactics make good copy in the newspapers and that, but they usually have little if any effect on the outcome of a war.
    That's a very rash statement.

    Tactics can turn a battle and winning battles generally leads to winning a war.

    This is all a matter of focus. On the smaller unit level, tactics matter a great deal. As you go higher up the chain, strategy and logistics matter more as the officer in question becomes more and more removed from the place where he can choose tactics.

    A private needs to know how to use his weapon and co-ordinate with his team. A corporal needs to use his team effectively and co-ordinate with the squad. A sergeant needs to use multiple teams in a squad effectively and co-ordinate with the other squads in the platoon. At this level, strategy and logistics have no bearing on what they do. Logistics start to matter at the company level, but only as a matter of making sure you steal--er--requisition-- enough stuff so that your guys have sufficient supplies. Logistic stuff matters to majors on up. Strategy matters to generals.

    Where you focus and what matters is all a matter of where in the chain you are.

    Tactics matter a lot to the guy at the point of the spear who may or may not go home at the end of the patrol. There are good and bad tacticians. Sun Tzu's works are aimed at generals or army commanders.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2019-07-24 at 05:00 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #247
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    As mentioned a few times, one of the things that really limits battlefield tactics prior to the advent of portable radio gear is communications.

    Out of sight and out of earshot means out of direct communication. You can send messengers, but your orders move at the speed of foot or hoof, and the messenger has to actually find the unit and then the leader that the message is for, in the chaos of battle, and avoid getting killed or captured or lost. Same thing with your scouts. The flow of information is slow and unreliable once you're past the point of seeing signals flags or hearing the drums and horns.

    In a medievaloid fantasy setting, if one force or state or "race" or whatever has any means of reliable non-LOS communication, they're going to have a HUGE advantage over any opposing force that doesn't.
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  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    That's a very rash statement.

    Tactics can turn a battle and winning battles generally leads to winning a war.

    This is all a matter of focus. On the smaller unit level, tactics matter a great deal. As you go higher up the chain, strategy and logistics matter more as the officer in question becomes more and more removed from the place where he can choose tactics.

    A private needs to know how to use his weapon and co-ordinate with his team. A corporal needs to use his team effectively and co-ordinate with the squad. A sergeant needs to use multiple teams in a squad effectively and co-ordinate with the other squads in the platoon. At this level, strategy and logistics have no bearing on what they do. Logistics start to matter at the company level, but only as a matter of making sure you steal--er--requisition-- enough stuff so that your guys have sufficient supplies. Logistic stuff matters to majors on up. Strategy matters to generals.

    Where you focus and what matters is all a matter of where in the chain you are.

    Tactics matter a lot to the guy at the point of the spear who may or may not go home at the end of the patrol. There are good and bad tacticians. Sun Tzu's works are aimed at generals or army commanders.
    Don't misunderstand me, tactics can change the outcome of a war in some cases. But to pick a classical and a modern example Neither Hannibal vs the Romans nor Japan vs the US ever had any hope of winning, the strategic factors where so stacked against them that they could win every battle yet never hope to win the war.

    Obviously they're extreme's, and if two sides in a war are fairly close in other respects, tactics are suddenly going to make a big difference, and there absolutely can be times when a good tactical decision can have lasting consequences on things like a wars duration and the political fallout. Also if one side has weak political will then a lot of phytic wins can give one side the edge by getting the enemy to quit, but a great many wars have been fought between opponents where the outcome was decided by strategic factors, (even if no one could see it at the time), long before the first shot was fired. In that situation god tactics will absolutely help the troops come home alive, but they won't affect the final strategic outcome.

  9. - Top - End - #249
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Don't misunderstand me, tactics can change the outcome of a war in some cases. But to pick a classical and a modern example Neither Hannibal vs the Romans nor Japan vs the US ever had any hope of winning, the strategic factors where so stacked against them that they could win every battle yet never hope to win the war.

    Obviously they're extreme's, and if two sides in a war are fairly close in other respects, tactics are suddenly going to make a big difference, and there absolutely can be times when a good tactical decision can have lasting consequences on things like a wars duration and the political fallout. Also if one side has weak political will then a lot of phytic wins can give one side the edge by getting the enemy to quit, but a great many wars have been fought between opponents where the outcome was decided by strategic factors, (even if no one could see it at the time), long before the first shot was fired. In that situation god tactics will absolutely help the troops come home alive, but they won't affect the final strategic outcome.
    If Hannibal had received a modicum of support from back home, and been able to obtain the siege gear needed to lay siege to Rome, history might be very different.
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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
    If Hannibal had received a modicum of support from back home, and been able to obtain the siege gear needed to lay siege to Rome, history might be very different.
    That's very true, but its a logistical obstacle for Hannibal. He didn't have the support or equipment so he in the end just couldn't win.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Don't misunderstand me, tactics can change the outcome of a war in some cases. But to pick a classical and a modern example Neither Hannibal vs the Romans nor Japan vs the US ever had any hope of winning, the strategic factors where so stacked against them that they could win every battle yet never hope to win the war.

    Obviously they're extreme's, and if two sides in a war are fairly close in other respects, tactics are suddenly going to make a big difference, and there absolutely can be times when a good tactical decision can have lasting consequences on things like a wars duration and the political fallout. Also if one side has weak political will then a lot of phytic wins can give one side the edge by getting the enemy to quit, but a great many wars have been fought between opponents where the outcome was decided by strategic factors, (even if no one could see it at the time), long before the first shot was fired. In that situation god tactics will absolutely help the troops come home alive, but they won't affect the final strategic outcome.
    This is, again, very problematic for a storytelling perspective. If the war comes down to strategic factors decided from the beginning rather than any actual decisions on the part of the protagonists, then the entire things becomes anticlimactic.

    Anyway, it seems that the general consensus is that the question is too specific to answer. Thanks anyway.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    About tactics, you can capture people for ransom. Depending on who you capture and how huge the ransom is, this can collapse the enemy country or suddenly make you far richer.

    Also keep in mind that logistics matter, but, if they are generally bad, winning the battle becomes immensely relevant. The early middle ages were a mess because of how hard it was to recruit an army. This meant that a lost battle could cost you half or more of your kingdom, and a won battle could conclusively stop an invasion.

    Anyway, a question. The Combat of the Thirty was a deadly tournament that was held in 1351 between a total of 60 French, English, and Breton knights to solve a dynastic dispute.

    I was wondering, how historically accurate is this representation from the XIX century? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...%281857%29.jpg Do you see anything out of place?

    I personally am in love with this illumination of the same subject: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...Le_Baud%29.jpg I think it's from around 1500.
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  13. - Top - End - #253
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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
    This is, again, very problematic for a storytelling perspective. If the war comes down to strategic factors decided from the beginning rather than any actual decisions on the part of the protagonists, then the entire things becomes anticlimactic.

    Anyway, it seems that the general consensus is that the question is too specific to answer. Thanks anyway.
    Bear in mind you do not have to make the logistics factor super obvious. The reason we bring it up is it's important to understand whats important from the PoV of the war as a whole vs what someone at the lowest rungs sees. Many of the historical examples where not obvious at the time, they only became obvious long afterwards. And just because someone can't singlehandedly decide the outcome of the war doesn't make things anticlimactic. Being involved and present and being characters who readers care about and worry about makes the story relevant even if the characters aren't all singing all dancing war winners. Stories aren't just about where the story ends up, but also the journey to get there.

    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.

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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
    This is, again, very problematic for a storytelling perspective. If the war comes down to strategic factors decided from the beginning rather than any actual decisions on the part of the protagonists, then the entire things becomes anticlimactic.

    Anyway, it seems that the general consensus is that the question is too specific to answer. Thanks anyway.
    Eh, there are some things to point out at a tactical level that could be used to denote some tactical genius. Being able to read the terrain to know how it will effect the battle is pretty key. Knowing where and how to set up defenses. And being knowledgeable of strange quirks to pull off something insane an unexpected. Or being able to just see what happens, not panicking, and changing your plans should it needs be.

    For example, Admiral Yi Sun-Sin is a pretty key figure whose capabilities were just as much a part of his tactics as they were his strategy. He realized that if he needed to pin the enemy ships he needed a type of ship to act as an anvil to the rest of his fleets hammer, so he developed the Turtle ship and created an entirely new tactic of messing up the enemy's fleet formation with the turtle ships and using the rest to barrage the enemy fleet.

    And where that tactic was impossible (after a less tactically skilled admiral lost all those turtle ships) he looked over the maps until he found a straight that had a weird environmental quirk he could plan around and built a tactic around that.

    Another interesting figure to look at would be Julius Caesar. Go read the accounts of him dealing with Gaul. Vercingetorix had Caesar strategically beaten. He had more men, he had Caesar pinned in and surrounded when another army was coming from the rear to flank Caesar's forces. And he had food while Caesar did not. By all reasonable measures Vercingetorix should have had Caesar beaten. But Caesar won Alesia, because he literally had his soldiers build two walls to turn the battle into a double-sided siege. Cut off information between the two opposing forces. And when they attacked, he was able to read where and how best to defend each section of the walls to make certain they didn't break.

    If you want your character to be the next tactical genius there isn't really any one size fits all method. There is just a way to think. Have your character think about every scrap of advantage he can squeeze out of any given situation. Have him be able to read the flow of battle to figure out which points are weak and where he needs to strike and when. Have him being able to take any seeming disadvantage and figure out just how to adapt for his force to succeed.

    He no longer has his turtle ships to pin the enemy down? Then he figures out a position on the map for the water to pin the enemy for him.

    He is about to be surrounded and cut off? Then he'll find a way to defend both sides of the attack in a way his opponents have never even thought possible.
    Last edited by Dienekes; 2019-07-24 at 10:26 PM.

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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
    This is, again, very problematic for a storytelling perspective. If the war comes down to strategic factors decided from the beginning rather than any actual decisions on the part of the protagonists, then the entire things becomes anticlimactic.

    Anyway, it seems that the general consensus is that the question is too specific to answer. Thanks anyway.
    It doesn't all come down to strategic and logistic factors, and decisions of commanders in the field are not irrelevant.

    Mead could have lost at Gettysburg and left Lee an open road to Washington if he'd not positioned his troops well on good ground and made use of interior lines.

    America might still be a British colony if John Stark hadn't blinded Burgoyne's army with his victory at Bennington that laid the groundwork for the victory at Saratoga that brought the French into the war.

    We might still have lost if Morgan hadn't all but wiped out Tarleton's force at Cowpens by a brilliant feigned retreat and double envelopment, putting Cornwallis in a bind in the Southern theater and leading to his surrender at Yorktown.

    If Wellington didn't have an eye for good ground, Napoleon might well have shattered the Alliance and reestablished the Empire

    Tactics win battles and winning battles matters.

    Not saying logistics and strategy don't matter, but sometimes the man on the spot can decide the fate of a nation.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2019-07-24 at 10:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Eh, there are some things to point out at a tactical level that could be used to denote some tactical genius. Being able to read the terrain to know how it will effect the battle is pretty key. Knowing where and how to set up defenses. And being knowledgeable of strange quirks to pull off something insane an unexpected. Or being able to
    Not being able to read terrain has its own problems.
    *coughAgincourtcough*
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Squire Doodad View Post
    Not being able to read terrain has its own problems.
    *coughAgincourtcough*
    There is another good one. I mean, yeah read that campaign. If we go by any purely strategic metric Henry should have lost that battle. But he picked his positioning well, set up his forces damn near perfectly, and set up picks to negate some of the best advantage of their enemy. They very likely could not have withstood a direct charge from the French knights. So the entire tactical set up was to make that as difficult as possible to pull off.

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

    I agree with the recent posters that strategic concerns can override tactical concerns, but they don't always. And sometimes the obvious-in-retrospect strategic advantages were not as clear cut in the moment. Carthage v. Rome is a good example of this, actually; Hannibal was hoping to pull some of Rome's allies/subject cities in Italy loose by rolling around and showing them to be weak. He didn't, but it wasn't an impossible dream and had they started to peel off Rome's material and manpower advantages would have been severely compromised. That it failed often means we treat it as a strategic inevitability, but it isn't necessarily so.

    Similarly, tactics played a key role in the final battles of the Punic Wars. Roman armies facing Carthaginian forces had been defeated in the past when they allowed Carthage to use elephants to break their lines; Scipio knew this and arranged for countermeasures. (Essentially just 'open up lanes to drive them through, have forces prepared and equipped to do that,' but the prep mattered.) Nullifying that tactical advantage with tactics of his own helped avoid Rome losing another army in a scrap with Carthage - and while it seems obvious NOW that Rome had the reserves to keep piling on for as long as necessary, another military disaster could have substantially dulled the Roman appetite for more. Political will matters even when you have a massive strategic advantage, and if fighting Carthage came to be seen as a pointless quagmire capable of absorbing entire legions that will might have broken. Battles aren't the war, but battles matter, and sometimes tactics are key to winning those battles.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    There is another good one. I mean, yeah read that campaign. If we go by any purely strategic metric Henry should have lost that battle. But he picked his positioning well, set up his forces damn near perfectly, and set up picks to negate some of the best advantage of their enemy. They very likely could not have withstood a direct charge from the French knights. So the entire tactical set up was to make that as difficult as possible to pull off.
    Agincourt was a strategic loss. The French didn't have to fight. All they had to do was prevent the English from reaching Calais. As soon as they showed up Henry went on the defensive. He had to. They outnumbered him and had superior mobility. Instead of being patient and starving the English into surrender the French insisted on attacking. The tactical failure was the result of strategic failures (organization, discipline, ideology).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    Agincourt was a strategic loss. The French didn't have to fight. All they had to do was prevent the English from reaching Calais. As soon as they showed up Henry went on the defensive. He had to. They outnumbered him and had superior mobility. Instead of being patient and starving the English into surrender the French insisted on attacking. The tactical failure was the result of strategic failures (organization, discipline, ideology).
    That doesn't make tactics irrelevant. Had Henry chosen worse ground or the French co-ordinated their cavalry, infantry and crossbowmen better, they could have won.

    Strategy and logistics set you up for success, but tactics deliver. Then strategy takes advantage of the victory in battle to win the war.
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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
    This is, again, very problematic for a storytelling perspective. If the war comes down to strategic factors decided from the beginning rather than any actual decisions on the part of the protagonists, then the entire things becomes anticlimactic.

    Anyway, it seems that the general consensus is that the question is too specific to answer. Thanks anyway.
    one option is to have the character always thinking about how his current tactical situation can be turned to his long term advantage, even when hes currently at a short term disadvantage. I.E., he's playing the "long game", not so much thinking about how to win the battle in front of him, but whether the battle is even worth fighting. a willingness to concede minor losses to preserve his forces, a unwillingness to fight on his enemies terms, ect.

    things like bypassing a small fort that he could storm, but it would cost him too many causalities or take too much time to be worth it, so he goes around it and leaves a small screening force to keep the fort bottled up. Or pulling back form a skirmish thats inconclusive, because the forces needed to win it would be better used elsewhere on some other task. things like that, with all his fights working towards a clear, long term goal and helping him get their or at least preventing the enemy form stopping him. Hell, he could "lose" most of the battles in the campaign but still win the war because he made his victories count (the Lannisters in the GOT lost most of their actual battles against Rob Stark, but were able to win the war by playing these sort of long games.
    Last edited by Storm Bringer; 2019-07-25 at 03:09 PM.
    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 jjordan View Post
    Agincourt was a strategic loss. The French didn't have to fight. All they had to do was prevent the English from reaching Calais. As soon as they showed up Henry went on the defensive. He had to. They outnumbered him and had superior mobility. Instead of being patient and starving the English into surrender the French insisted on attacking. The tactical failure was the result of strategic failures (organization, discipline, ideology).
    May I ask what definitions of tactics and strategy are you using? Because unless I'm misunderstanding your post your placing the actions of the commander during the battle are being placed as part of strategy, which would just make everything strategy and thus make the division between strategy and tactic pointless.

    Here's what I mean, so you get where I'm coming from.

    Strategy is the design for which the theater of war is constructed. Picking out the design of the war, which are the points of interest, and why those points are important.

    Preventing the English from reaching Calais was a strategy. And a pretty good one. Getting a mass of knights that can theoretically storm over the majority of the English troops was made possible through strategy.

    On the other hand the details through which an objective is directly contested, that is the realm of tactics. Choosing to starve the English out or to just charge them is a tactical decision. Choosing to have your knights charge over poor terrain into the spike line the English set up was a tactical decision. Choosing to completely waste your archers and crossbowmen was a tactical decision. All of which Constable d'Albret chose poorly.

    That is why I see Agincourt as a tactical failure.

    Sure, certainly, there were outside pressures that influenced everyone's decision making. And many of those pressure were because of strategic realities. But the decisions that resulted in the failure were on a tactical level.

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

    Agincourt, like plenty of real-world battles, is one of those cases where we're going to start arguing about definitions, because strategy and tactics are not completely discrete. There's a necessary ambiguity between what counts as tactical and what counts as strategic near the intersection of the concepts.

    Without strategy, you don't have the opportunity to win fights. But without tactics, you can't seize that opportunity. Hence why such a big part of logistics is making sure that proper tactics are likely to be used once the fighting starts and everything goes sideways.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2019-07-25 at 04:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    May I ask what definitions of tactics and strategy are you using? Because unless I'm misunderstanding your post your placing the actions of the commander during the battle are being placed as part of strategy, which would just make everything strategy and thus make the division between strategy and tactic pointless.
    In the case of Agincourt I consider the decision to attack to be a strategic decision. It was necessary because the French were outraged by the raid (and it was a chevauchee on a large scale), believed in the myth of the cavalry charge, and were eager to capture the accumulated loot of the raid and take prisoners for ransom. The logistical system that produced the French army and the weak leadership system made it impossible for the French commander to do anything but attack. That was a bad decision. It might have been forgivable if the tactical decisions made subsequently were not worse. But they were worse. Much worse. And they were made because of the same factors that dictated the French strategic decision.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    May I ask what definitions of tactics and strategy are you using? Because unless I'm misunderstanding your post your placing the actions of the commander during the battle are being placed as part of strategy, which would just make everything strategy and thus make the division between strategy and tactic pointless.

    Here's what I mean, so you get where I'm coming from.

    Strategy is the design for which the theater of war is constructed. Picking out the design of the war, which are the points of interest, and why those points are important.

    Preventing the English from reaching Calais was a strategy. And a pretty good one. Getting a mass of knights that can theoretically storm over the majority of the English troops was made possible through strategy.

    On the other hand the details through which an objective is directly contested, that is the realm of tactics. Choosing to starve the English out or to just charge them is a tactical decision. Choosing to have your knights charge over poor terrain into the spike line the English set up was a tactical decision. Choosing to completely waste your archers and crossbowmen was a tactical decision. All of which Constable d'Albret chose poorly.

    That is why I see Agincourt as a tactical failure.

    Sure, certainly, there were outside pressures that influenced everyone's decision making. And many of those pressure were because of strategic realities. But the decisions that resulted in the failure were on a tactical level.
    his point was that, strategically, the French didn't need to fight, just to keep the English away form resupply at Calais. they fought at Agincourt because the French commanders couldn't or wouldn't restrain themselves or their soldiers form a "easy victory". They didn't use their archers/crossbowmen properly because many of the knights didn't see any value in them. While their failings were tactical, they stemmed form failings at the strategic level, like not disciplining the troops to follow orders against their will, or to make combined arms warfare the default and intended approach to any battle.
    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 Mike_G View Post
    Strategy and logistics set you up for success, but tactics deliver. Then strategy takes advantage of the victory in battle to win the war.
    This was more or less the point i was trying to make. Your never going to win a war the strategic factors are set against, but your never going to win a war if you lose every battle ethier. That said a strong strategic position relative to your enemy can allow you to win battles with less efficient tactics, to sustain multiple defeats for each victory and still come out ahead, or so on and so forth. A strong strategic element, (be it logistics, control of key pieces of real estate, technology, or so on and so forth), is much more beneficial than good tactics, but like any part of an equation you need a value above a certain value in each parameter to get a positive number out the other side.

    Also as others have said the key strategic or tactical factors are not often self evident at the time. Ultimately though a lot of this stuff is sop situationally dependent it's hard to fill in the specifics for you because it's dependent on so many variables.

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

    Who was it that said "Strategy without tactics is the slowest way to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat?" I feel like that sounds very Sun Tzu-esque. Probably not dead Karl, doesn't seem his style.

    Anyhow, I tend to agree with Boyd. Success at a higher level of war trumps success at a lower one. But you can't ignore the lower ones, because A) you never know when you might tie higher, and B) they make it easier to be successful at the higher ones. So in a war like the 100 years war, you can spend a century getting mowed down by longbows in the big battles provided you slowly but surely contract the English freedom of movement when they come big, and pick them off one strongpoint at a time the rest of the time. And then one day you wake up and the English own Calais, but have lost all of northern France.

    Back to the OPs question: if you are really looking for a guy to model tactical genius on, perhaps use Gustavus. He was responsible for sweeping tactical reforms that made a low population country that was barely post-feudal into a European powerhouse. His battles are generally good battlefield tactics, but what made him brilliant was creating the system of tactics that built his army - how to properly align musket, pike, artillery, and use cavalry as more than pistolers on the gunpowder battlefield. Maybe you could do something similar, where the character is pretty good at fighting battles, but a generational light in how battles are fought.

    And, as a nod to the strategists, you can still have a war that is strategically ambiguous in it's results.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Storm Bringer View Post
    his point was that, strategically, the French didn't need to fight, just to keep the English away form resupply at Calais. they fought at Agincourt because the French commanders couldn't or wouldn't restrain themselves or their soldiers form a "easy victory". They didn't use their archers/crossbowmen properly because many of the knights didn't see any value in them. While their failings were tactical, they stemmed form failings at the strategic level, like not disciplining the troops to follow orders against their will, or to make combined arms warfare the default and intended approach to any battle.
    Were we discussing Crecy I would agree with you. But that's not how Agincourt went. We actually have the tactical plans for Agincourt from the higher French lords in really good detail. The French decided to spend the day and eat in front of the starving English forces as a way to decrease moral. They had an entire plan set up in detail of how to pick the English apart.

    Only Henry was the one who had his archers rush forward in a mock assault and pepper the French with arrows, which caused a panic and the charge was ordered as a response to the English provocation.

    The French knights weren't chopping at the bit to charge at the seemingly easy victory. There didn't seem to be some great pressure from the French knight class to prove their honor as their had been at Crecy. They had learned their lesson. They were even going to have the crossbowmen soften the English up first. Only because of the whole provocation by charge thing the crossbowmen got sent in without their pavisses and were torn to shreds. Followed by the ordering of the infamous charge, because the commanders kept trying to play by the battle plan they had thought to perform in perfect conditions rather than realize that they were heading into disaster.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Were we discussing Crecy I would agree with you. But that's not how Agincourt went. We actually have the tactical plans for Agincourt from the higher French lords in really good detail. The French decided to spend the day and eat in front of the starving English forces as a way to decrease moral. They had an entire plan set up in detail of how to pick the English apart.
    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).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Eh, there are some things to point out at a tactical level that could be used to denote some tactical genius. Being able to read the terrain to know how it will effect the battle is pretty key. Knowing where and how to set up defenses. And being knowledgeable of strange quirks to pull off something insane an unexpected. Or being able to just see what happens, not panicking, and changing your plans should it needs be.

    -snip-

    He no longer has his turtle ships to pin the enemy down? Then he figures out a position on the map for the water to pin the enemy for him.

    He is about to be surrounded and cut off? Then he'll find a way to defend both sides of the attack in a way his opponents have never even thought possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    It doesn't all come down to strategic and logistic factors, and decisions of commanders in the field are not irrelevant.
    -snip-

    Not saying logistics and strategy don't matter, but sometimes the man on the spot can decide the fate of a nation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    -snip-
    Similarly, tactics played a key role in the final battles of the Punic Wars. Roman armies facing Carthaginian forces had been defeated in the past when they allowed Carthage to use elephants to break their lines; Scipio knew this and arranged for countermeasures. (Essentially just 'open up lanes to drive them through, have forces prepared and equipped to do that,' but the prep mattered.) Nullifying that tactical advantage with tactics of his own helped avoid Rome losing another army in a scrap with Carthage -snip-
    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...


    Quote Originally Posted by Storm Bringer View Post
    -snip- ...he's playing the "long game", not so much thinking about how to win the battle in front of him, but whether the battle is even worth fighting. a willingness to concede minor losses to preserve his forces, a unwillingness to fight on his enemies terms, ect.
    -snip-
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    -snip-
    Back to the OPs question: if you are really looking for a guy to model tactical genius on, perhaps use Gustavus. He was responsible for sweeping tactical reforms that made a low population country that was barely post-feudal into a European powerhouse. His battles are generally good battlefield tactics, but what made him brilliant was creating the system of tactics that built his army - how to properly align musket, pike, artillery, and use cavalry as more than pistolers on the gunpowder battlefield. Maybe you could do something similar, where the character is pretty good at fighting battles, but a generational light in how battles are fought.

    And, as a nod to the strategists, you can still have a war that is strategically ambiguous in it's results.
    Awesome, I'll look him up.

    Thanks a ton, guys, I now definitely have some directions to look to, and even ways to show his personality through his tactics (which is huge, since the personalities are why I like my characters). That'll give me much more to work with going forward.
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