- Aug 1, 2009
I can't believe how knowledgeable you people are on history. It is very interesting to read.
What did you numbet Dariuses army as? Some sources said it was 1 million, while modern historians say it was more likely 80 000 vs 15 000, still bad odds, but obviously far better.cromagnon said:I love it, particularly ancient + medieval military history. I once gave a presentation on the Battle of Gaugamela, Alexander the Great vs Darius of Persia.
I stopped the presentation at the decisive point of the battle when things were looking very bad for Alexander. I asked the group, how they would win the battle? Gave them some hefty hints, and let them discuss it for 2 minutes. No one figured out how to win it, when I told them how he did it, they woz impressed.
The battles of Alesia and Cannae are also really interesting. Along with hundreds of others and the First Crusade I find pretty fascinating.
The problem with modern military history is it is polluted with contemporary imperialism, it's ideologies and propaganda. A case in point is the inability to differentiate between a principled opposition to a war vs a pragmatic one.
Saying "we could never win that war" is not a principled objection. Saying "that war was a monstrous crime that devastated 2 countries and saw the use of chemical weapons to destroy food crops", that's a principled objection. (Which war am I referring to?).
Hear this man speak before he dies:
80,000 for Gaugamela, outnumbering Alexander by more than 2:1 also Darius recruited the fearsome Bactrian horsemen to try to counter Alexanders heavy cavalry. They would have done too but Alexander sprung what amounted to a mobile infantry ambush on them as a distraction, long enough to do his hammer + anvil on the persian infantry flank with his Companion cavalry and turn the tide of the battle. History has Darius down as a weak and stupid leader but really he was pretty decent and up against a genius.The Hitch said:What did you numbet Dariuses army as? Some sources said it was 1 million, while modern historians say it was more likely 80 000 vs 15 000, still bad odds, but obviously far better.
The spartan battle you mention was the battle of thermopylae. While the greeks were outnumbered the number 300 was used for the purposes of selling the film, as were the images of 10 feet tall emperors covered in earings, and elite squads of super ninjas . There were 300 spartans but they were supported by others.cromagnon said:80,000 for Gaugamela, outnumbering Alexander by more than 2:1 also Darius recruited the fearsome Bactrian horsemen to try to counter Alexanders heavy cavalry. They would have done too but Alexander sprung what amounted to a mobile infantry ambush on them as a distraction, long enough to do his hammer + anvil on the persian infantry flank with his Companion cavalry and turn the tide of the battle. History has Darius down as a weak and stupid leader but really he was pretty decent and up against a genius.
You might be thnking of the invasion force assembled by Xerxes to crush Greece which was supposed to have had at least a third of a million, 100,000 combatants + logistic and engineering corps. This force as we know was famously help up for a number of days by the 300 Spartans at a bottleneck. If that happened now the clinic would be full of posts about spartans .
Xerxes did accomplish one mission objective - to destroy Athens - but Themistocles wiped out so much of the Persian navy (against ridiculous odds) that they had to pull out. Interestingly, Alexander on his campaign was said (by some) to have destroyed the Persian capital Persepolis in retribution for the destruction of Athens by Xerxes about 150 years earlier.
Some cool vids
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7378684390083851646# <--- this
According to Arrian, Darius's force numbered 40,000 cavalry and 1,000,000 infantry,; Diodorus Siculus put it at 200,000 cavalry and 800,000 infantry,; Plutarch put it at 1,000,000 troops
The Hitch said:The spartan battle you mention was the battle of thermopylae. While the greeks were outnumbered the number 300 was used for the purposes of selling the film, as were the images of 10 feet tall emperors covered in earings, and elite squads of super ninjas . There were 300 spartans but they were supported by others.
Did anyone else go into that movie thinking it was based on Pressfield's Gates of Fire only to discover it was based on a comic book? I did...cromagnon said:The movie 300 is merely another example in a long line of the retelling of that story through the millenia in many nations, there is nothing new about embellishing the military feat. The trick is not to fall into the trap of dismissing everything, but reading between the lines
For the record, i do not believe for a second that there was anywhere near a million people at Gaugamela. My point has simply been that there are some sources which say there was a million. The figure of 100 000 is far more likely, or maybe even less.cromagnon said:Thracians, thespians, Spartans and reserves amounted to 10,000 at Thermopylae, the 300,000 persians is widely accepted. However in a strange twist, there really were 300 spartans, they really did send their reserves away when their position was compromised and their sacrifice really did serve to unite a very divided Greece. The "300" was already a tradition before the persian invasion where 300 veterans who had contributed to society by having sons (and who in my opinion would have questionable mental health from repeated battle-shock and a brutal existence, PTSD is as old as human cognitive function), would be sent on just such a mission.
The movie 300 is merely another example in a long line of the retelling of that story through the millenia in many nations, there is nothing new about embellishing the military feat. The trick is not to fall into the trap of dismissing everything, but reading between the lines.
Regarding Gaugamela numbers, I try to avoid cherry picking trimary sources, as how does one decide "I will accept this, but I won't accept that". People do it, but it makes me uncomfortable but...
I will say that at the battle of Issus (at which Darius was defeated prior to Gaugamela) there were nowhere near 1,000,000 combatants on the Persian side. You would wonder why Darius did not amass such a force there if he could at Issus, where he lost so many of his best troops in a pretty closely-fought battle. Logistically that would have been easier than doing it at Gaugamela. Additionally in both cases, Darius played a waiting game. That is not a position a commander having to feed so many troops would usually take. Just seems so out of whack from so many other campaigns. Also Alexander had his own "Historian" of the mission...
Try e-bayjoe_papp said:Why didn't anyone round-up a bunch of cool Nazi kit, some Panzer's, a bunch of FW-190's and store them in a warehouse for 65 years so that I could have one of each now, which I'd keep in my back yard?
The awarding to the VC in the UK has become a lot less common in recent times. I think the criteria was tightened up - basically to ensure that it is as prestigious as possible. Only thirteen have been awarded since WW2.Ferminal said:I know that Australia only awarded the first VC since Vietnam a couple of years ago (Afghanistan). NZ has been a bit more generous in handing them out I believe, not sure about UK.
Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross in WW1, Germany's equivalent of the VC.The Hitch said:No way would Hitler have a border with the French. Not after the humiliation of Versailles. Hitler by all accounts fought bravely in that war. It was probably the humiliation Germany recieved, for which Clemenceau pushed hard, which got Hitler accross the moral event horizon.
Different war but a trip to both the Somme area and Ypres (especially the service at the Menin gate each night) are a must in my view. A truly eye opening, incredible and humbling esperience.flyor64 said:Someone mentioned a desire to see Normandy, and I would wholeheartedly recommend that. From any of the beaches going inland through the layered defense of the Germans paints a strong picture. Alot of the terrain is ontouched other than what nature has done these past years. Specifically coming to mind is Point du Hoc, where the craters and fortifications are still there. A sobering experience.
Libertine Seguros said:war was almost inevitable in the climate of 1914, with all of the intertwining treaties and the power struggle in Europe.
Fritz Fischer's theory published in 1961, Griff nach der Weltmacht argues that Germany had been specifically planning for a war for most of the previous decade. War was certainly inevitable in 1914 - Fischer adds an interesting perspective on things, namely that Germany manipulated the circumstances of the assassination to put their own war aims into practice.jon_anders said:Exactly. I mobilize, you mobilize, my friend mobilizes, etc. I still find the Schlieffen Plan very interesting .
Hitler was actually awarded the Iron Cross second class, similar to the Distinguished Service Order (or what is now known as Conspicuous Gallantry Cross). Interestingly, Hitler actually wore the Iron Cross first class when he was Chancellor of Germany.Dancing On The Pedals said:Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross in WW1, Germany's equivalent of the VC.
Paris 1919 by Margaret McMillan is a fascinating book that details the Treaty of Versailles and its failings.Dancing On The Pedals said:Arguably, the treaty of Versailles was not crushing enough, as it provided the scope for Germany to rebuild.
+1. I visited Belgium for the third time earlier this year, attended services at Menin Gate and toured the Somme, Ypres Salient, Vimy Ridge, and Fromelles (I am an Australian living in Canada, so a nod to both nations). Very, very moving and something all Australians should do if they get the chance IMO.Dancing On The Pedals said:Different war but a trip to both the Somme area and Ypres (especially the service at the Menin gate each night) are a must in my view. A truly eye opening, incredible and humbling esperience.
Where did you study?Dancing On The Pedals said:Got directed here from The Hitch posting it in the Britain doesn't get road racing thread.
A similarly prophetic statement came from Marshall Foch.
"This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years
The reparations and limitations imposed on Germany at Versailles were overwhelming. Renunciation by Germany was inevitable unless Britain and France were resolute in policing the terms of the treaty. After Hitler sent his troops into the Ruhr, the inevitability of war should have been evident even to Chamberlain, Daladier and the appeasers. But it wasn't.hrotha said:Foch wanted the Rhineland occupied. No treaty would have been crushing enough for him, unless it totally destroyed Germany as a power. Just like there were some who pushed for harsher terms, there were others that thought softer terms would be better for everyone involved.
A counter theory is that he wanted war and kept invading neighbour states until he got it. I think somewhere he said something about how Britain couldnt let Czechoslovakia go without war, so he was going to antagonize them into doing it.MarkvW said:.
In '39, Hitler thought he could pull off Poland, like he pulled off the Ruhr, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Sure the British and French declared war, but did they take any military advantage of the futile Polish resistance? No, they waged Phoney War until May, 1940.
So tragically foreseeable.
I think it must be both. He was a compulsive gambler. He was going to keep pushing until war came. Once war came he was going to continue until he was killed.The Hitch said:A counter theory is that he wanted war and kept invading neighbour states until he got it. I think somewhere he said something about how Britain couldnt let Czechoslovakia go without war, so he was going to antagonize them into doing it.
Its difficult to know what he thought. Germany were in no position to fight at the time byt Hitler wasnt exactly a great military strategist.
I did my undergrad as a History Major. I like to think I got my degree is Pessimism.Thoughtforfood said:Yea, I have a degree in history, and love the history of WWII particularly. I love Ambrose's books, and the first two of the Liberation Trilogy by Atkinson (An Army at Dawn, and The Day of Battle, the third is yet published) are fantastic books. Past that, The Third Reich by Burleigh is great too, and many, many more.
We had a fairly spirited discussion on here some time back about whether or not the US entering the war was necessary. I thought there were some really silly suggestions proffered regarding the fact that it was not needed, but still, it was an interesting debate.