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  • » Military - Room 1
  • » Greatest armies in history by PatrickDup
  •    Debate on greatest fighting units/armies of all time. From Legion to Macedonian Phalanx.

    There are many views on which historical military unit or army has been the greatest and most effective during its own time and how much of an effect it has had on the world during its hayday. One view is the that armies like those of the Macedonian or Eporite Greeks with Macedonian Greek style 5-6m long pike/sarissa Phalanx and the composition of armies that it was a part of, made of 15% regular 2.5 metre long spear armed hoplites in the style of the Spartans and Athenians, 5% archers like the famed creten archers with composite bows, 5% light armed troops of say slingers and peltasts, 15% cavalry like Greek Thesalian cavalry and Macedonian or Eporite Companion cavalry, and 60% Macedonian style hoplites, were the most effective armies of their day as an Eporite Greek army of this composition  even beat the roman legions at one point in history at the beginning of the rise of Rome at the battles of Heraclea and Asculum and tied at the Battle of Beneventum (Good event) due to having a smaller army and the fact that the Romans occupied a strong defensive fort position. Others would disagree and say that the Roman legions and the legionary cohorts and their centurions were the best of their day as they beat the Macedonians and their Macedonian style Phalanx at the Battle of Cynocephalae (Dogs Heads) and several other battles during the Macedonian-Roman Wars. Still others would claim the fact that the late Byzantine Greek Empire, a successor state to the Roman Empire, lasting for 903 years if the beginning is considered to be during the reign of Justinian in around 550 AD, the longest lasting single political and military entity in history, that its army was the greatest military force in history as it held off invaders from the Franks to the late Hunnic tribes to the Bulgars and Slavs to the Sasanian Persians and the Arab muslims and, for a while, the "Barbaric" Turkic tribal federations such as the Seljuks and the Ottomans. These armies at times were likely to have composed 40% heavy infantry pikemen with 5-6m long pikes, 30% heavy cataphractos cavalry who were well armored both rider and horse and armed with a long lance and a long sword and composite bow and arrows and 30% well trained archers with composite bows and arrows. Make your argue-meants clear and supply statistics and facts and maybe we will come to an agreement on the best of the best.

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#41 2011-07-03 19:54:05

          Canada    SgtPeppers
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup

I was making the point that their enemies were not able to put up much resistance

Russia: Stalin had killed his best commanders, refused evidence that invasion was imminent and let the Germans roll over ill prepared forces

France: Did not put defences anywhere except on the border with Germany, when Germans went through Belgium they were doomed

England: let Hitler take huge swaths of Europe before the war started without a fight

Incompetence played a role

Last edited by SgtPeppers (2011-07-03 19:55:06)

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#42 2011-06-26 12:15:16

          Canada    someguy
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@SgtPeppers you forget the Mexican-American war from 1846 to 1848. And WW2. And I'm sorry but the Iraq war was won : the Iraqe goverment was taken down and that was the main objective.

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#43 2011-06-26 12:10:20

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@SgtPeppers Its strange that you say that. Brcause as far as i know the U.S. won in nearly every war they have taken part in. And you said that the germans won at the beginning due to their enemies ineptitude not because of the germans success. That is wrong. The germans perfected many modern tactics during ww2 and they punched well above their wight and numbers against all enemies in most battles of the war. There were some that they suffered more causalties in but mostly they killed many more enemies for every soldier they lost. Especially against the Russians/Soviets. If they were outnumbered say for example 2.45-1 instead of 4-1 they would have rolled over whoever that unlucky enemy was. Eg., the Russian/Soviets. This is what happened. During ww2 on the russian front the germans killed 6 million russian regular soldiers and 2 million partisans and militia. They also wiped out about 20 million civilians although i dont much care for that fact since killing civillians is low but in purely military feats the germans had a friendly to enemy casualty/death rate of 4 to 1 soldiers before the german army started to collapse when the russians and western allies got into germany and when all german and soviet losses are taken into account after germany falls and many german soldiers are killed in captivity in the years following the war then the numbers are 2.5-3 million german soldiers killed on all fronts by all allies to 8.4 million russian soldiers killed so roughly 1-3 in favour of the germans. So the germans basically kicked the russians arses during most of the fighting and if it was not for the americans and english sending the russians literally thousands of sherman and grant tanks that they, the russians would never show in russian ww2 footage for communist nationalistic pride and propoganda reasons, and also millions of rifles and thousands of tonnes of food, clothing and ammunition then the russians/soviets would have been finished off by the germans before they were able to regroup and get their industry in gear and move alot of their factories eastwards away from german troops. Also the americans and british commonwealth were keeping 600,000 german ground troops in France, norway, greece and italy throughout most of the war just with the threat of invasion from the british and americans and later with actual invasion. Those half a million troops would have been very helpfull indeed on the eastern front against the russians, in fact half a million extra troops would have been worth at least a million extra russians and dare i say that would have been the final nail in the coffin for the soviets/russians even by stalingrad a batte that the germans lost but after which they were still well in the fight.

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#44 2011-06-23 18:40:59

          Canada    SgtPeppers
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup 

I read your earlier list and have some issues.

1. the United States has failed in virtually every war it has fought as the primary force, even with military victory it never accomplishes its actual goal (since you cited since 1940 you have Vietnam and the other fighting in that region loss, 1st gulf war kept Saddam Hussein in power,  Afghanistan military victory with allies but no real change)

2. The Germans victories, I can tell you from reading extensively on WW2 won mostly due to the opponents ineptitude, rather than on actual strategy, also what worked to start killed them in the end 



In the ancient armies I will say your list is fairly good, but Rome and the Mongols are both better at building and more importantly maintaining an empire than the Macedonians, also the Byzantine empire was to inconsistent to rate the second best

Last edited by SgtPeppers (2011-06-23 18:47:17)

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#45 2011-06-19 04:45:32

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser Yes but i was not just refferring to the 23 main european peoples that i mentioned before, the ones being the europeans i mostly identify with which includes my people the greeks, i was reffering also to the 4 succesful former european colonial countries that are tightly knit with europe, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These 27 nations, will be the superpowers or the 27 that decide foreign policy for decades to come.

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#46 2011-06-18 21:08:32

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@america sigh....i have watched all the world at war boxset (wonderful series). I have read plenty of books on the subject too. Proper ones..... not something like "the patriots guide to ww2" which you no doubt would read.

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#47 2011-06-18 20:48:14

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup will do mate.

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#48 2011-06-18 08:25:19

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser Okay cool keep me informed about your final decision.

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#49 2011-06-17 22:52:32

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup I will think about it. I will do some research first though. I seriously have recently been lacking in historical research...too much gaming.

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#50 2011-06-17 10:42:08

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser Yes very true. And also are you going to make your own list of militaries in the order you think they should go in?

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#51 2011-06-16 19:51:35

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@america even in the summer, russia was advancing at a much faster rate than the d-day allies.

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#52 2011-06-16 18:39:16

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup lol, it is a nice thought that Europe could once again become powerful. I personally believe its time to put away weapons and war machines. The world has been fighting for many millennia. Peace is a nice thought but unrealistic. Europe is becoming more and more tightly knitted, Britain and France have revealed that their militaries will become closer and closer. Who knows, the EU may with to become more prominent in world affairs. like their steps into the space race.

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#53 2011-06-16 18:35:36

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@ lol, it is a nice thought that Europe could once again become powerful. I personally believe its time to put away weapons and war machines. The world has been fighting for many millennia. Peace is a nice thought but unrealistic. Europe is becoming more and more tightly knitted, Britain and France have revealed that their militaries will become closer and closer. Who knows, the EU may with to become more prominent in world affairs. like their steps into the space race.

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#54 2011-06-16 04:12:41

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser Okay cool you agree with the armies but not the order okay well how about you give me a list of your own with your own order that includes my armies and some that you like. And i think it wil be america for another decade and then all the europeans in the world who are fed up with the persecution of europoids by violent minority groups in our own countries and the attacks on us by foreigners and by hostile nations and the lies of our governmens will form into a new organisation for only europoids and it will take the form of a new nation of maybe 20-20 million of the best we have to offer in the form of a hierarchical military government controlled by a military general/strategos who controlls all military and defense affairs and a civillian head who decides on domestic policy based on proper policy and regular large scale votes by the people on what they really need and want. All the people in high postions of power will have got there by merit alone and not money althoug this society will still have money of course as its core values wil be democracy and regulated capitalism although as i mentioned the leaders will not be voted in they will have come up through the ranks of government and military and the first leaders will be whoever starts this new organisation/nation and we will protect the rights of all europoid races and nations and their descendants and the nations that we currently dominate, these - England, Ireland, Scotland, Whales, Greece, Greek Republic of Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Lichternstien, Nederlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland, Greenland, and U.S.A. australia new zealand and canada, and then our secondary role would be world stability and prosperity for every race. And i think the order of world powersd from now back to when you were talking about would be America, America and Soviets, Nazi Germany, Great Britian, Napoleonic France, Britain again, Spain and thats back to when you were talking about and i put this because i disagreed with the order of super powers that you posted but nice list anyway.

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#55 2011-06-15 17:57:20

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup Well, It is really a very difficult question. I am lacking in making a very definitive comments i am not in possession of much historic military engineering technology. each age or century has a dominant power. Right now it is USA without a doubt, but in 100 years it is likely to be China. 100 years ago It was Britain and before that France. Habsburgs came before that and so on. I feel the question is rather vague and cannot comment confidently.

I do however feel that the armies you described all deserve to be on the list, but i maybe do not necessarily agree with the order.

Last edited by depresser (2011-06-15 17:58:43)

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#56 2011-06-15 17:50:21

          United Kingdom    depresser
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Re: Greatest armies in history




No i mean if America had not entered the war....I think i must have misunderstood your British standoff situation.....

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#57 2011-06-10 06:34:24

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@americaneag I forget that some people only respond when they get a message and sometimes dont check a debate when someone posts something that is in response to them and for other people too like this one before when i posted it. So ill post it again.

If I was going to make a list of best armies or military forces it would be something like this and i will give reasons. Taking in mind that you must compare them as relative to their success during their own day, as you cant just compare each army by their accomplishments overall since different armies at different times were exposed to different threats and challenges and had access to different technologies in their own days.

1-The Eporite Greek/Macedonian Greek style Phalanx and the army with the composition of soldiers that it fought with for example an army with composition of troops like this - 35,000 men, of which 20,000 are Greek macedonian style phalangites, 3,000 are heavy cavalry, 6,000 are levy hoplites in the style of Spartans and Athenians, 3,000 guard hoplites in the style of Spartans, 1,500 Cretan archers and 1,500 Peltasts (Javelin armed light troops). This is because it was one of the few military formations that could stand up to the early republican roman legionary army and win at times. It also helped Alexander the Great defeat the very large Persian Empire and take him further than any european had travelled for the day and for the next thousand years until european vikings made settlements in canada and other parts of north america in the 700's/800's.

2-The Byzantine army/navy, though at varying times during its history since its success and strength varied greatly at different times as the empire got different emperors with different degrees of competence. This was due to the simple fact that if you take the byzantine empire as ending in 1453 with the sacking and capture of Constantinopolos by the Ottoman Turks and take it as beginning at around the reign of justinian and after the fall of the Western Empire since after rome fell along with the western empire that would have been the time that Rome wasn't the epicentre of the greeco-roman culture anymore and Constantinopolis became more important, then the empire was in existance for a phenominal 900 years or more. This was longer than any other empire in history. Its army was very well trained and composed excellant troop types at numbers such as 40% heavy infantry with sword, large shield and 5-6m long pikes, 30% heavy cavalry called cataphractos that were well armored both horse and rider and had long lance and sword, and 30% well trained archers. This army was supported by a well trained and almost unbeatable navy that controlled the eastern mediteranean for centuries.

3-The Roman Legions. This is because Rome with it's legions conquered a large part of europe and North Africa thus creating the largest empire of its day. Any given army could range from 85,000 with 8 over sized legions and extra velites (Javelin men), to a regular sized army of 30-40,000 men with 6-8 regular sized legions. For the army of 85,000, each legion would have composed both roman and allies with 3,500 roman legionaries and 3,500 allied legionaries, 500 roman and 500 allied cavalry, and 1,000 roman and 1,000 allied velites(javelin men). This army 85,000 strong therefor contained 28,000 roman legionaries, 28,000 allied legionaries, 8,000 roman velites and 8,000 allied velites, and 4,000 roman and 4,000 allied cavalry and 5,000 extra velites.

4-The Mongol Horde and their horse archer cavalry warriors. This is due to the fact that in their hay day, from the 1200's-1400's, the Mongols under such leaders as Genghis Kahn and Kublie Kahn were almost undefeated and ruled over the second largest area of land for any one people. At the onset of the mongol invasions of China in the early 1200's there were only about 450,000 mongols of whom around 175,000 were mongol warriors. These would be divided into tumens of 10,000 men each of which was commanded by a mongol general and could make up a much larger army. The mongol warriors each had 3 or 4 steppe donkeys to alternate riding on so as to cover ground faster than any other army of the time, carried a heavy wooden mace and a composite bow and arrows with bone arrow heads which were very effective. They gradually became more advanced with the more territories they conquered and adopted metal arrow heads and swords and metal maces as time went on.

5-The United States military from 1940 onwards. This is because of the technological supremacy of the united States and thus its military. It has won most of the battles and wars it has been involved in and has a level of training that few armies can equal.

6-The British Empire and its navy but also its reasonable army. This is obviously due to the fact that during the British empires almost 300 years, the British were victorious the majority of times and had the best navy for hundreds of years. The British empire was also the largest the world had and has yet to see, ruling over 1/4 of the worlds people and land.

7-The German military of ww2 in particular the Wermacht and Waffen SS for reasons that are so obvious im going to save a little time by not saying the reasons as i have been writing at this point for a while.

8-Napoleonic France. The French Grand Armee under Napoleon Boneparte and his generals held europe and russia by the throat for around 20 years and was extremely well lead and well supplied with advanced logistics and well trained and very well motivated men.

9-The Greek city-states of varying times and their hoplite armies and especially their almost unbeatable navies (except when versing other Greeks). Greek city-states like Athens were some of the first super powers of the Mediteranean and Athens in particular had an exceptional navy of 375 triremes at the height of its power, a boat that the greeks are credited with inventing and that was in use for almost a thousand years with the Greeks and by various peoples apart from the Greeks including the Romans, Persians and Carthagians/Phoenicians. Also the Spartan's and their truly awesome army and warriors. These were a people who had the first professional army.

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#58 2011-06-10 06:29:31

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser And also you haven't paid ettention to what i said about the americans being the more advanced and better off during the cold war in response to you saying that the russians were the true power. It was 4 of my posts down from this post, the really long one. And also whats your overall thoughts on this debate as in what do you think is the greatest army or military force in history, you'll find the debate on the first post which was mine. And what do you think of my list which includes an explanation of why i put the choices where i did on the list. You cant miss either of them the list/explanation is obvious it is very big and it starts off with points about the 'Greek' Macedonian/Eporite Phalanx and the army with the compositon of soldiers that it fought with and what compostion and then it continues with other armies.

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#59 2011-06-10 06:02:05

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser Well yes definately the battle of Britain and north africa war including the desert rats but not the rats of Tobruk if you were also trying to claim them as british since they were my fellow australians lol hehe not british although mostly british anglo british aussies so therefor similar to your people. And also dont forget the battle of the atlantic that britain took part in and the war against the german surface fleet and all the damage the british navy did against german land targets and also the RAF bombing campaign against germany did alot of damage in my mind despite alot of modern historians reconsidering the traditional view of the bombing campaign doing alot of damage to the german war effort. I still think it did because if you take into account all the factories that were destroyed and then rebuilt over and over again then the german war output would have been much higher and even though alot of people point to the fact that from the beginning of the war through the bombing to before the allies got into germany towards the end of the war that the german military economic output increased, i point back to the fact that it just would have increased even more without the bombing. So instead of the germans having a few thousand tanks and 6 thousand tank destroyers and assault guns at any one time at their height, assault guns and tank destroyers being the cheaper alternative to tanks, then the germans would have had maybe 15,000 heavy vehicles and they would have had an airforce double the size which would have helped enormously. This is all despite the fact that I dissagree with the wide spread destruction of civillian targets and civillians but drastic measures are taken in war and thats a fact and the RAF men did sacrifice alot too.

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#60 2011-06-10 05:42:36

          Australia    PatrickDup
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@depresser Germany was ahead in the nuclear race? You cant mean germany surely and my first thought is that your reffering to my other post about who was the superpower after ww2 but then again you cant mean the soviet union either because inittially they were behind the west in nuclear science too. So you must be reffering to germany's attempts at nuclear fission with the heavy water that was made in norway and all the rest but germany lost many ethnic germans who were anti nazi and were supporters of a democratic germany or lost german jews who were escaping persecution so they were always behind mate and the proof is that america tested the first a-bomb at the end of 1944 and used it on japan in 1945 before germany ever finished theirs and also mate your mistaken about how far along they were you should look it up they were going in a different direction with their fission experiments they built it wrong ive seen pictures of their version of it you should find an internet article about it, it will show you what i mean. So the western allies would have invaded before the germans used theirs or would have used it on the germans to end the war just like they did with the japanese.

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