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  • » 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.

    Edit

#1 2017-04-19 11:43:36

          Taiwan (ROC)    Archduke
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@PatrickDup 

I think that "Byzantine" is simply too long to be a meaningful comparison to other armies. It may be better to divide it into "Flavian"(Under Constantine I and his descendants), "Justinian", "Heraclian", "Macedonian", "Komnenian" etc.

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#2 2017-04-14 14:41:18

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Re: Greatest armies in history




@irishgenius 

I did some homework in these years, and found that by Trajan (he ain't a Late Empire imperator, no?) Roman armies consist only of 10%
Italian population. That statistic speaks volumes.
Here's more. When Augustus Octavian passed away, the Roman Army consisted of 65% Italian population.
Barbarization is a nagging bedbug that finally ate the Roman Empire. Of course, similar symptons exist in almost every army.

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#3 2014-08-15 07:24:19

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Why is the Roman empire(+Byzantine) this long? Makes it hell difficult to select which Chinese dynasty(Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Ming) to compare it with.

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#4 2014-08-15 07:16:55

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Re: Greatest armies in history




@star0707 

(*)?

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#5 2014-08-15 07:15:20

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@irishgenius 
First of all, Wikipedia is edited by volunteers, so many problems exist.

But I admit, conscription is the major recruitment method for all Chinese armies.

And you are luring me into the equipment etc. trap again.

Han armies can fight to the end like Spartans. Yes, that kind of to the end. Spirit, that's what it is.

But as you have said, Romans used barbarians and their other former enemies in their armies. Soldiers which have a feud in them.
Training? Training cannot heal feuds.
The spirit is not morale, have you ever taken care to analyze how an army loses?

I have. A Han army usually surrenders upon defeat and becomes incorporated into enemy troops. Then when the next Han force arrives....you know.
But when they realize no help is coming, they spread through the desert or fight to the end.
Spirit. One for all spirit. religion

Last edited by Archduke (2014-08-15 07:15:42)

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#6 2014-08-15 07:00:16

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@irishgenius 
                       
Well I think I put that pretty clear at the beginning.

The Chinese invented gunpowder and was ahead in global firearms until the 17th century.

The Romans refused firearms.

The adaptive&creative spirit of the Chinese has already destined victory against the institutionalized Romans.

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#7 2014-08-14 21:34:47

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@irishgenius 

http://www.roman-empire.net/diverse/battles.html
forgot to post list

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#8 2014-08-14 21:32:13

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 

Obviously you use your strength's to you advantage. The Greeks used their strength's against the Scythians as any good commander would do. Obviously the Greek Companion Cavalry would have lost against the Scythian horse archer, but the cavalry is the only thing the Scythians have and when you examine armies, you need to examine all-round strength of the army rather than focus to much on one strength.

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#9 2014-08-14 21:26:38

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 

List of Roman battles. Look at battles at its height 27BC-250AD. Ignore civil wars (Romans had a lot of 'em)

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#10 2014-08-14 21:22:23

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 

Lets not jump ahead of time to 1500's. Lets examine the Roman Army shall we?. Roman Army: Latin citizens (legionaries) probably the most well trained and disciplined soldiers existing at the time. These soldiers were instilled with religious morale, Withe the Eagle Standards and fear through beatings, Decimation etc. Roman Legionaries have successfully beaten armies many times their size (Battle of Argentoratum (Strasbourg), in 357AD, and many more examples) because of their superior training. The Romans would also have Sarmatian cataphract Cavalry (assimilated into the Roman world and army when the entered the Empire looking for shelter), Scythian Horse archers (Same story as the Sarmatians), Germanic and Celtic (Picts, Irish) and Semi-Celtic (Britian, Guals [well known for superior horses]) warriors, Middle Eastern Troops, Mostly Armenian with one or two Persian troops, who have superior Archers, and North African troops (Sabaean) who have really good light infantry.and compare this massive swath of all round strength with the Chinese Han army. An army of semi-professional conscripts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_dynasty#Military

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#11 2014-08-08 02:47:38

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In the 300's China is in civil war....but yes, we were talking about a prime conflict....so like around 400,000 troops with the most advanced firearms in its era during the 1500's for the best Chinese army? cowboy

And numbers aren't really that decisive. Look how many most Reds started off with. mad

And you still haven't listed a comparable statistic for my last post. nono

AND for my first post in reply to yours, I insist on that point. Alexander used the phalanx and archers to his advantage. If Companions went against Scythians they'd turn into hedgehogs. lmao

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#12 2014-08-07 20:14:25

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 
                       
Roman army east and west 600,000 by late 300's

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#13 2014-08-07 01:35:37

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Re: Greatest armies in history




@irishgenius 

And as another disappointing reminder, the Song army (I admit, the Byzantine empire lasted extremely long) won over 70% of all conflicts over 10,000 men in its age. Did the Roman army reach that? lol2

The Song did NOT just shrink back, they did try to strike out. hump

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#14 2014-08-07 01:23:49

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Unless the Romans send spies, it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to develop firearms just from burnt-out gunpowder. evil

So, the possibility of Romans developing their own gunpowder or stealing Chinese gunpowder formula exist, but yeahno not likely. diagree

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#15 2014-08-06 20:07:00

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 

But would the Romans not learn about firearms?. They are really good at learning from their enemies.......Everything about their military was borrowed from other cultures

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#16 2014-08-06 14:35:23

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War speeds up tech improvement, irishgenius, perhaps 50 years into the conflict the Romans will be facing Urban cannons....and without gunpowder the Romans will be helpless.... box hump roll lol big_smile

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#17 2014-08-05 17:50:51

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 

Even with fire rockets, my point still stands.

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#18 2014-08-05 07:18:18

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Re: Greatest armies in history




As a disappointing reminder, irishgenius, the Chinese have firearms when the west was in the Roman age...do you think conflicting with an equal power would not let the Chinese decide to improve their best weapon?

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#19 2014-08-04 18:59:25

          Ireland    irishgenius
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Re: Greatest armies in history




@Archduke 

Are you saying that the Romans would have lost to the Chinese at both of their heights?. Both have good points, but I think Romes Professionalism and its all round mix of Citizen (Legionaries) and Non-Citizen (Auxiliaries, Germanic and Samaritan Nomads etc.) soldiers would probably win the day. The Roman Army only became "Barbarized" In the Late Empire when it was falling. And here the battle of Alexander Vs Scythians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jaxartes

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#20 2014-08-04 11:20:56

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The Hellenic States have no record of using cavalry successfully against nomad races, but Chinese have. So tactics, Chinese.
The Romans were barbarianized. The Chinese were not. So overall power, Chinese champ
P.S The Chinese developed the testudo independently.

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